Spock is a perfect example of the modern anti-hero. An anti-hero is a protagonist whom we are supposed to identify with, but he's not a simple hero: he's a guy who is sometimes good, or who usually tries to be good, but he's flawed, and sometimes he's really not a very good guy. Sometimes he's a not-good-guy on purpose, and at those times he has no moral qualms about it, which is what distinguishes him from the simple good-guy, who is in agony if he's forced to do a not-good thing.
Jim Kirk is an example of a good guy. If he's ever forced to do a non-good thing, it kills him. Jim Kirk's flaws are endearing. They take a guy who would otherwise be too good to be true, and make him human. Jim Kirk is a modernized version of the classic hero. He's a good-guy hero, pure and simple. What makes him modern is his updated ideas and methods. What makes him classic is that he represents a good person who is possessed of the best virtues. He represents human ideals. His stories are the stories of an idealized human, in action.
Spock is not pure, and Spock is not simple. Spock is impure, mixed up, half-this-and-half-that. His demonic appearance sometimes matches his behavior. Spock has done some highly questionable things, for questionable reasons, and he did them knowingly. He is by no means a naive innocent, awash in the wild world of woe. Spock is at times an agent of woe. He actually brings woe with him wherever he goes, and if you poke him the right way, or if he's having a bad day, he will unleash the forces of woe upon your sorry ass without mercy.
It's been well established in canon that Spock is basically not a happy guy. He's got issues. He's out of joint with his Vulcan relatives, and he's out of joint with the humans around him, too. His one real friend is Jim Kirk, and one reason for this is because Jim is the kind of guy who is a friend to all. Spock is not an easy guy to be friends with. Only someone like Jim really makes the effort.
Spock is the kind of guy who can be petting a purring tribble one second, and beaming it and all its fluffy cousins into the Klingon's engine room the next.
Spock is the kind of guy who will risk everything, including the lives of everyone around him, on a dicey chance, without even asking them how they feel about it first, like he did at the climax of Galileo Seven.
Spock is the kind of guy who will cleverly and ruthlessly commandeer the Enterprise, and abandon his best friend, to kidnap his former captain (now an invalid) and take him against his expressed wishes to a life of captivity - and he doesn't give a rat's ass if anybody likes it.
Spock creatively used his phenomenal mind-meld ability to erase his captain's painful memories of a failed love affair - without being asked to. HUH!? WHY!? That's not exactly kosher, is it? Is that cricket, I ask you!
He treats his best friend like shit: Lies to him, steals his ship, beats him up (more than once), sets him up for embarrassment (More than once...why couldn't he have warned Kirk that ambassador Sarek was his dad? Why couldn't he have warned Jim to stay out of the wedding ceremony at all costs?). It's a good thing for Spock that Jim is a very forgiving fellow. Jim could have rightfully tossed Spock in the brig and brought Spock's fleet career to a screeching halt at least a half-dozen times, yet mysteriously opted not to.
There is something very funny going on between those two. The most charitable explanation is that Kirk is in love with Spock, although it is hard to say precisely why he would be. He'd HAVE TO BE A MASOCHIST for this to work. The less charitable but equally logical explanation is that Spock is manipulating Jim, using Jim, and messing with Jim's mind in such a way that Jim doesn't honestly know which way is up. Maybe he just thinks he's Spock's friend because it's convenient for Spock if he does. Maybe he's really just Spock's tool.
Maybe Kirk isn't Spock's first victim. Maybe the reason Spock's so anxious to lose Captain Pike is because Pike knows too much.
Think about it: Spock was the one who took Kirk aside in Where No Man Has Gone Before, and casually advocated that Kirk should kill his best friend Gary Mitchell. He waited until nobody else was around to do this.
I know my Spock is not a cozily likable little Bambi-faun of a Spock, but I've been *gentle*. Believe me, I could make him look much worse that I have, very easily, and canon would do nothing but help me.
All site contents Copyright L. Goodwin 1990 - 2002
Back to details
Back to SSTO