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Six of the seven do not react like Star Fleet personnel

  • Feb 4, 2005
While there is some interesting action, I dislike this episode on a visceral level. Through the unforeseen actions of a quasar-like phenomenon, the Enterprise shuttlecraft Galileo is thrown wildly off course and crash-lands on a planet. Spock is in command and the other crewmembers are Scotty, McCoy, Lieutenant Boma, a female yeoman and two other expendable crewmen. The Galileo group begins to reconnoiter the surface and almost immediately come under attack from large, humanoid creatures. One of the expendables is quickly killed and almost immediately, Boma and McCoy start to criticize Spock for being more interested in the spear than the death of a fellow crewman.
This criticism continues, as Spock refuses to kill the humanoids, hoping to frighten them off with measured, rather than fatal phaser fire. The humanoids do not react as Spock had predicted and tensions aboard the Galileo reach the point of near mutiny when another of the expendables is killed. They finally manage to lift off the surface, and even as it appears that they will all die within minutes, McCoy cannot resist giving Spock one more verbal jab.
Meanwhile, there is a level of hostility aboard the Enterprise as well. It is carrying a supply of medicine that will avert a plague that must be delivered on time. A Federation high commissioner supervising the delivery objects to the Enterprise searching for the Galileo. He and Kirk go at it, and while the commissioner is right to insist that they make their rendezvous appointment, his manner is extremely annoying and counterproductive.
Once the Galileo achieves a temporary orbit, Spock releases the remaining fuel and ignites it, creating a flare-like signal that is seen by the Enterprise. At the very last second before the Galileo is destroyed by atmospheric friction, the remaining five-crew members are beamed aboard the Enterprise.
There are several reasons why I don't like this episode. The first is the amount of insubordination towards Spock exhibited by the remaining members of the crew. While they may not agree with his reasoning or even like the way Vulcans act, Spock is their commanding officer and their criticisms are unbecoming Star Fleet personnel. The only times in the series when crewmembers question their commanding officer is when Spock is in charge. McCoy disagrees with Kirk, but he never questions his command decisions. In the episode "The Doomsday Machine", when an obviously disturbed Commodore Decker takes command of the Enterprise, the crew follows his orders, which almost destroys the ship.
When the first expendable crewman is killed and the others start criticizing Spock, they are also not reacting as Star Fleet personnel would. Part of their training would be as soldiers, and a soldier would not react to the unexpected death of a comrade by criticizing their superior officer.
Finally, all of the other crewmembers, including McCoy, are in favor of simply killing the humanoid creatures. This violates the fundamental principle of non-interference, at the time; they have no idea how intelligent the creatures are. In such a situation, they can kill only when their lives are directly at risk. Therefore, Spock's statements and commands are more in line with Federation law than the urgings of his shipmates, which are quite barbaric. In "A Private Little War" Spock is severely shot, yet they still do not use their phasers to defend themselves. This is much more in keeping with the ethics of the Federation when dealing with other beings on their world.

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Quick Tip by . January 06, 2012
Spock must take control of Enterprise crewman after a shuttle crash strands them all on a primitive planet while Kirk must do everything he can to find the shuttle before a deadline is hit and he is forced to abandon his search. Spock must make hard choices with unruly crewman who get more aggravated with his actions.
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Charles Ashbacher ()
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Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
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Teleplay writer Oliver Crawford says "The Galileo Seven" was inspired by his viewing of a 1939 film calledFive Came Back. (A catty footnote: David Gerrold, scribe of the famous "Trouble with Tribbles" episode, called "The Galileo Seven" a rip-off of the Jimmy Stewart filmThe Flight of the Phoenix. Meow.)Five Came Backconcerned a plane crash in the Andes and the survivors who faced the constant threat of surrounding headhunters. Crawford toyed with the idea and came up with a story line in which Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley), and a couple of other crew members crash on the surface of a hostile planet during a shuttle mission. With communication between the small craft and theEnterprisedisrupted by quasar activity, Spock and the others must defend themselves against a formidable threat with only primitive, handmade weapons. That's the scenario, but the real drama is in the rising conflict between the half-Vulcan Spock's coldly logical approach to survival and the passions of his human crew, who soon come to regard him as a hateful, unfeeling monster. This is an interesting episode, both as a taut action piece and, somewhat indirectly, as a portrait of intolerance (specifically, an intolerance of individual differences) developing under stress.--Tom Keogh
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Studio: CBS Paramount International Television

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