Star Trek TOS: Cue the Word ‘Logic’ on Repeat

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Star Trek: The Original Series

Season 1, Episode 17

The Galileo Seven

Spock, McCoy, and a couple of others boarded Galileo, a small explorative ship. Immediately, Galileo was met with turbulence, so the lighthearted feel from Shore Leave was firmly in the rearview. Kirk was tasked with mitigating the danger Spock’s ship encountered, albeit from afar. How’s that hallucinogenic island sound now?

A man named High Commissioner Ferris was on Enterprise, and he was overly critical of Kirk, assuredly setting up conflict between the two throughout the episode. Ferris basically hovered like an awful manager that you’ve undoubtedly experienced.

Spock gave viewers a glimpse into his soul during a speech to McCoy. He opted to figure out the stranded plight on the foreign planet with logic, scoffing at the idea of following in love with “command.” Spock neither enjoyed nor disliked leading but would prefer sticking to the analytics and science of the situation. Although Kirk was not in the scene, this painted a stark distinction between the leadership acumen of Kirk versus the logic-based tendencies of Spock — which brought Enterprise the utmost balance. 

Wouldn’t you know it — the entities on the planet were hostile, stirring more turmoil for Spock, McCoy, and friends. When a man was killed, Spock’s callousness was called into question by a Black crew member. Spock’s brain was irking folks. Back on Enterprise, Ferris inconveniently continued to nag, even offering an ultimatum to Kirk for finding his lost men. 

The strange part about the crew’s reaction to Kirk? Everyone acted like this was a new Spock — as if he had not operated solely based on logic before the Galileo jaunt. They chose an odd time to begin giving the Vulcan grief about his personality. 

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Interestingly, in a heated exchange, Spock affirmed he was not interested “in the opinion of the majority,” pivoting to a solution-based idea that disregarded his peers’ thoughts. As a temporary leader, Spock had no appetite for a democratic approach to exploration and survival. 

In addition, The Galileo Seven is noteworthy in Star Trek’s etymology because it is largely Kirk-lite. All things considered, it’s a Spock-fueled episode. Kirk and Spock ordinarily tackled controversies together, fought like brothers, or did both simultaneously. In terms of screen time, Spock and Kirk led men separately but equally. 

The word logic or logical must have been used at least 20 times, pounding home the theory crises need leaders — not thinkers. Too, Spock seemed outwardly surprised that his personal analytics were not rewarding. 

Still up against the clock imposed by Ferris, Kirk must focus on his leadership brand to save the bookworm-like Spock while not immediately in his presence. Quite the assignment. 

The traditionalists clung to customs like burying the dead, whereas Spock sought to minimize risk no matter folks’ feelings. Boma, the Black crew member, resorted to calling a Spock a machine. Later, Spock announced he did not “believe in angels,” one of the first hints at religion in the series (or lack thereof). 

The Galileo managed to find its way back to Enterprise under Spock’s command. And guess what that means? Leadership and logic are both needed to stay alive in the face of peril. Stubbornness on behalf of Spock was rewarded. 

Spock rarely loses. 

Themes: Logic vs. Leadership

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. His odyssey with Star Trek starts from beginning to finish, watching ‘The Original Series,’ all the way to the present day. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).