Revisit: STD 2.8 “If Memory Serves”

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Been a while since I whipped out this avatar…

For some unexplainable reason, I had a sudden urge to go back and rewatch some STD. I guess you could call it a “flair up” of sorts. I can’t really say why I wanted to subject myself to more agony, I knew that I simply had the urge to do so. Rummaging through the worst of the worst in my mind, I thought about rewatching the entire Lorca arc, but then I remembered what I actually did like about STD. It was none of the original STD characters. In fact, when I went through the first two seasons the first time, I really liked how tasteful the entire Stametz/Culber relationship was handled. It wasn’t as vulgar as Carlos Pendraza’s take on homosexual relationships in Star Trek when he ran HIDDEN FRONTIER and penned some episodes for NEW VOYAGES/PHASE II fan films. I thought they handled the first canon same-sex relationship on Trek with class.

Of course, when the actors who played the same went on racist Twitter rants, destroying fans and any goodwill they had with them, every time I saw them on screen, I retched. These are very, very evil individuals and their tweets speak for themselves.

So, I chose the “best of the worst” – “If Memory Serves” was directed by TJ Scott based off of a story written by Dan Dworkin and Jay Beattie, and sees Mikey Spock and Spock (himself) go to (return for Spock) Talos IV so that Spock can get some mind therapy. Along the way, Section 31 is openly hunting for them while tracking the Discovery so that Leland can be led directly to Mikey and Spock.

The episode opens with a great homage to “The Cage,” the unaired and (frankly) non-canon pilot (well, the colored sections anyway, which appeared in TOS “The Menagerie,” which were actually canon). The transition between Jeffery Hunter’s Pike and Anson Mount’s Pike is jarring, to say the least. But, by this point, the majority of fans (and STD haters like myself) have embraced Mount’s Pike as the definitive version of Chris Pike, thus when this transition hits, we have accepted that this is the same character and we can move on.

The episode is very well acted by all, including the guest star who plays Vina, the new Talosians (went from the original three elderly ladies to three very tall dudes), and dare I say, Sonequa Martin-Green. We get to see the anime-esq reveal of why the season is going the way it is, the story line behind Skynet’s rise to power, and how it sent terminators to take out all sentient life.

We also get to see some very sweet exchanges between Pike and Vina on the Discovery, even though she was an illusion to begin with. Mount played the role of a man in deep pain and conflict over the whole ordeal extremely well. We were made to believe that this was the same man from “The Cage,” who conflicted with being held captive by an oppressive alien force to falling deeply in love with the woman the Talosians gave him. Their love affair carried over well beyond the original episode taped almost 60 years ago, by two actors who probably weren’t even spawned in their parents’ bodies at that time. The captain’s office scene with Vina and Pike was one of the most well played moments on STAR TREK.

Too bad we can’t say anything about the rest of the cast, save for Doug Jones as Saru, who is always a welcome sight to behold on television.

I would like an edit that left out the Stametz/Culber scenes. Originally, I appreciated them as they were, indeed, very well played. The conflict between Culber and Voq Tyler coming to a head (murder victim vs. murderer) was well crafted. Two men, one killer one victim, both of them having a duality that they are struggling to cope with, clashing for whatever reason, was probably as deep as STD would ever go.

Then, Rapp and Cruz had to go and screw it all up with their racist, heterophobic Twitter rants. When I first saw this scene, I appreciated it. Now, I can’t even stand it when Rapp and Cruz are on the screen. There was a time when their unprofessionalism would have cost them their jobs. Now, SJWs praise them and they will no longer have a shortage of work in the future.

Finally, we come to the coups de gras of the episode: the ultimate reveal of why Burnham and Spock fell out. At first, we mocked the scene where Michael turns to Spock and calls him a, “weird, little half-breed.” Then she storms off. We mocked it because these words were meant to represent the ultimate twist of a knife plunged deep into the dick of Spock. We raged when Burnham was given the story arc for Spock instead, destroying the character and mythos of Spock in the process.

In retrospect, let me put the brakes on this and reflect on what we know of Spock.

From childhood, we know that Spock was bullied in school because of his mother, and his two-world heritage. We can also assume that Michael was in the same learning center as Spock and, because of how close they became, Michael would stand up for Spock when the bullies would start their games. We know that Michael would have seen Spock at his worst, having his heritage used as an agonizer. So, to get Spock off her back, having Michael turn around and call him “half-breed” would be enough to make Spock feel betrayed. After-all, Michael was the one protecting him in school, doubtlessly taking the brunt of the bullying in Spock’s stead. Having her be the one to say such a thing would be the ultimate punctuation mark.

That, or indulging the fanbase who though the two had a childhood or even a teenage-level sexual relationship that broke Spock in the end.

I digress.

“If Memory Serves” is one of the best of STD. It’s not the best of Trek by any means, not even close. It’s entertaining and watchable, however. It’s sad that the rest of STD wasn’t anywhere near this level of quality.

BONUS: TokyoGaijin’s TOP 10 STAR TREK EPISODES OF ALL TIME!

  1. “City on the Edge of Forever” – STAR TREK
  2. “Far Beyond the Stars” – STAR TREK DEEP SPACE NINE
  3. “The Best of Both Worlds I” – STAR TREK THE NEXT GENERATION
  4. “Children of Time” – STAR TREK DEEP SPACE NINE
  5. “A Taste of Armageddon” – STAR TREK
  6. “Year of Hell II” – STAR TREK VOYAGER
  7. “Dark Frontier” – STAR TREK VOYAGER
  8. “Workforce II” – STAR TREK VOYAGER
  9. “Future Tense I” – STAR TREK DEEP SPACE NINE
  10. “Balance of Terror” – STAR TREK

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