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Star Trek: The Galileo Seven

Spock: "The logical thing for you to have done was to have left me behind."
McCoy: "Mr. Spock, remind me to tell you that I'm sick and tired of your logic."
Spock: "That is a most illogical attitude."

Yes, this was another bad episode that we usually skipped. What can I say. Star Trek had its share of stinkers.

This was their opportunity to use the word "logic" about three hundred times while pointing out how inhuman Spock was, how few people skills he had, and how he must not have paid attention in command school. Yes, I get that the subtext was racial prejudice, and it was a nice touch, making Spock's primary antagonist a black man. Although personally, I think Spock should have kicked Boma out of the shuttlecraft and sealed the door. But that's not what Spock learned in command school. No, wait, Spock obviously didn't take those classes and hasn't been in Starfleet for decades.

Scotty got to be an engineering miracle worker, a common theme on Trek. McCoy was, as usual, all humanistic – except I thought Spock did better in that department. I mean, why did everyone find it so irrational that Spock didn't want to injure the giant brainless furballs if he could help it? And can you tell me what was so funny that everyone on the bridge pretty much dissolved into hysterical laughter at the end? Spock took a very logical gamble by burning what was left of the fuel. What was he supposed to do, save forty-five minutes of fuel so that they could orbit the planet and sight-see before their fiery deaths in re-entry?

Boma lectured Spock on the importance of a decent burial, the human thing to do. Yes, let's risk our lives to dig a hole in the ground before the monsters come back with the spears and shish-ke-bob us. Although I agree that the spears weren't much of a deterrent. Yes, they were huge, but they kind of just fell in front of the cast, like they'd been dropped from above by a production assistant. And the scary horrible planet was made up of rocks that smoked. Why would the rocks be smoking if it wasn't really hot? And what did those creatures live on, rock soup? I thought the furry guy bonking the shuttlecraft with a great big rock was just hilarious, definitely the best scene in the episode.

The original Enterprise is famous for never showing bathrooms. The Galileo didn't seem to have a bathroom, either. All the machinery was under the floor, so James Doohan had to spend the entire episode bent over or sprawled. And if weight was so important and they actually had futuristic screwdrivers, why didn't they dismantle the seats and sit on the floor? The Enterprise beamed up the crew on the shuttlecraft at the very last moment, but we didn't see them arrive. Did they materialize in a seated position and fall over? I've always wondered about that.

There wasn't even a decent B plot. "Galactic High Commissioner" Ferris got to stomp around the bridge making threats, pretty much like the civilized version of the fur monsters on the planet, while Kirk kept trying to postpone saving the lives of plague victims on New Paris in order to search for the Galileo. Yes, we needed a reason for Kirk to abandon the search while not really abandoning the search, but I just didn't buy it.

Ben says...

The attack of the giant hairy guys with the giant styrofoam log spears. If I could have only one prop from Star Trek I would own one of those crazy spears. Okay, there are probably a bunch of other props I would rather have, a Tribble maybe, or some genuine worn-by-Nimoy Spock ears, but I still love the crazy spears. I would put it on the wall in my office and make up stories about where I got it, all of which would vaguely refer to the events of the episode.

I don't know why, but I always forget this episode. Which is odd, because I had a model of the Galileo Seven as a kid, and re-watching the episode, I found a lot to recommend it. I think maybe it's the central message that you have to lead with your guts, not with your brain. Lt. Boma giving Spock a hard time because of his interest in the spear used to skewer the poor red shirt (okay, he wore yellow, but clearly it was just a laundry error) was a good example. Yeah right, Boma, don't want to learn too much about these guys. Also the flare at the end, umm, not so illogical after all, it was spotted and death was imminent regardless. It's exactly the unemotional last roll of the dice that was needed.

So I guess this wasn't a favorite because it never made a lot of sense to me. Indeed, I'll go so far as to say, "most illogical."

Back to Billie for bits and pieces:

— Stardate 2821.5. While en route to Makus 3, the Enterprise encountered quasar-like formation Murasaki 312. (I'm glad it was a quasar-like formation and not a quasar, because aren't quasars absolutely huge and really, really far away?) The Galileo was stranded on Taurus 2.

— Uhura got some significant problem-solving dialogue on the bridge, probably because Spock was on the shuttlecraft. And the vapid Yeoman Mears on the shuttlecraft got to be the girly girl. "I don't want to die!"

— At least there are a couple of shuttlecrafts now (the Columbus is also mentioned). Maybe someone took a second look at what didn't work in "The Enemy Within" and did something about it. Or maybe they just had a script about a shuttlecraft. Probably the latter.

— Two crewmen we've never met before were killed on the planet. But they were wearing gold shirts, not red, so I sure didn't see that coming.


Scott: "What a mess."
Spock: "Picturesque descriptions will not mend broken circuits, Mr. Scott."

Spock: "Just the facts, Doctor." Spock has obviously seen Dragnet.

Spock: "I neither enjoy the idea of command, nor am I frightened of it. It simply exists."

Boma: "If any 'minor damage' was overlooked, it was when they put his head together."
McCoy: "Not his head, Mr. Boma. His heart."
Low blow, McCoy. You're supposed to be an officer; you don't diss your peers that way. You didn't hear Scotty making anti-Spock cracks in this episode, did you?

Scott: "That's done it. We have no fuel."
Spock: "That would seem to solve the problem of who to leave behind."
Wouldn't that be 'whom,' Mister Spock?

Spock: "I may have been mistaken."
McCoy: "Well, at least I lived long enough to hear that."

Spock: "The Enterprise is surely on course for Makus 3 by now. I, for one, do not believe in angels."

One out of four illogical smoking rocks,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. Nicely put!

    I also have to admit, the shuttlecraft design and set emphasis herein, sure gives one a good sense of claustrophobia -- well-captured in your screen shot, BTW. Which is way more likely to be a 'space, the final frontier' experience in the foreseeable future than the comparative luxury of an expansive star ship. And look at what happens to folk when they're sardines in the can -- it doesn't take long for everything to fall apart, emotional wise and of course (heh) mechanical wise. So that much is a nice play. Tells us a little more about us than we might want to admit or experience, and is an interesting juxtaposition along the lines of "to get to the vastness and infinitude of space, one must first be sealed in a tin can with way too many fellow porcupines" kinda thing. Or maybe I'm seeing even more than is actually there...

    I liked the boulder-hurling monster too -- reminded me of a similar space giant on an early Lost In Space episode, said incident being also captured on their lunchbox and board game. Of course the best "similar-themed tv episode" along THOSE lines (trying hard not to be a spoiler-y even after all these years) must surely be Agnes Moorehead's superbly-acted, Richard Matheson's terrifically-penned Twilight Zone ep "The Invaders".

    Anyway, onward and upward in a blaze of glory and fuel!

  2. Although not one of my favorite episode, I think you're being too hard on it. I'd rate it somewhere in between good and bad.

  3. "And can you tell me what was so funny that everyone on the bridge pretty much dissolved into hysterical laughter at the end?"

    I quote the late-but-great sitcom Titus:

    "Because we've been up for two days and we're to that place beyond tired where everything's funny."

  4. I decided to rewatch the entire series, starting with s101, but after sitting through Charlie X and the salt monster, elected to skip around. The Galileo 7 was one of the episodes I recalled very favorably, and retain a good opinion of it after re-watching, and even after reading your review and the comments.

    Only halfway through the first season, and this episode gave us a much better look at Spock than we had gotten before. McCoy does battle, but with only the one slip you noticed, and otherwise keeps his dignity. And Scotty is a pillar of integrity throughout.

    Among the weak moments were the crew turning a little too quickly against Spock, and the aliens weren't terribly convincing, as you mentioned. The logistics of leaving a guard behind in a shroud of fog was also not convincing, but there was still plenty of meat in this engaging, offbeat episode.

  5. Can't understand why you dislike this one so much. It's way, way better than anything in season 3, and many earlier episodes too. Some nice lines, good interaction between McCoy, Spock and Scotty. So the aliens weren't very well done - so what? It was the 60s, they did them as well as they could, you just need to roll with it. As for what the aliens lived on, well we only see a tiny part of the planet, there's no reason why the next valley over can't be fertile.
    Lastly, something I rarely see mentioned: the crew (and a lot of reviewers) focus on Spock's single-mindedness in getting the craft off the ground, while ignoring the emotions going on around him; but Scotty actually does exactly the same thing!

  6. this was actually one of my favourites that I remember watching as a kid. I'm surprised you hated it so much. The whole burning the last bit of fuel in a flare thing was tense and a great character moment for Spock I felt.

    A top 5 episode for me. Great site btw really enjoying the Buffy and firefly reviews

  7. I always thought as a kid that Spock was so unfairly treated by everyone in this episode. Okay, he made errors of judgement but he was doing his best (which is better than anyone else's best!) The crew was quick to jump to borderline mutiny and Spock's analysis of the spear seemed apt to me under the circumstances; know thy enemy, surely? Anyway, I enjoyed this episode now and then and learned a lot about the need for balance in command and using both logic and emotion to be fully functional.

  8. I'm largely with Ben in that I don't remember this one all that well. That's not a good sign as that means it wasn't good enough or bad enough for me to really recall it well!

    Even out best shows have stinkers to be sure. Tom Baker is my all time favorite Doctor, and he was usually good-excellent, but he has some trash too, like The Invisible Enemy and Underworld!


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