The Motion Picture has a reputation as a bad movie. Yes, the Kirk-and-Scotty-transport-out-to-the-Enterprise-and-bask-in-her-beauty scene is too long. Yes, the movie drags at times. Yes, at the beginning, Spock has Really Bad Hair. Despite this, the movie has redeeming qualities. One of my favorite aspects of the film is the use of light and shadow to show Spock’s emerging acceptance of his human half.
We first encounter Spock at Gol, where he is unkempt, confused, searching. He is about to give up the human half of himself. He is bathed in shadows. He looks tired. In the novelization, we know he is thinking of Jim in this scene, saying his final goodbye (and receiving Jim’s thoughts across the cosmos).
When Spock first returns to the Enterprise, having failed to achieve kolinahr, his face is severe. He is shown in part shadow (note the smiling Chekov has no shadows on his face), which works to accentuate his features – the high cheekbone, the sharp hairline, the absolute lack of expression. He’s also cloaked in black, which only enhances the shadows. This is not the Mr. Spock we know and love from TOS.
The severity is at its height when Jim speaks to him on the bridge, and Spock refuses to accept Jim’s welcome. Frown lines are apparent. His face is drawn. He is shot from below, so we see the indents beside his mouth, the crease between his eyebrows. He is perfectly stoic. He is Vulcan. He is barren, cold – as he later describes V'ger’s planet as barren and cold, because it is a world of pure logic. This is a Spock without his humanity.
Later in the film, Spock melds with V'ger. He returns to the Enterprise, and we witness a changed Spock. The severity is abruptly absent. He wears white. He appears softer, almost serene. The shadows are faint. The color in his face is warmer. He is quite beautiful.
The loveliest emotional moment in the film is when Spock clasps Jim’s arm and hand, and he speaks of “this simple feeling,” something a being of pure logic cannot understand. Spock can comprehend it, can feel it, therefore he is not a being of pure logic. Taking Jim’s hand, speaking these words, is an acknowledgment that he accepts this. He accepts that to live without emotions is to be barren. Spock has come 180 from when he first set foot back on the Enterprise, and it is obvious by the appearance of his face.
In the bridge scene that follows, the softness in Spock’s face remains. It is partially due to Nimoy’s facial expression, but it is also because of the angle of the camera, the way the shadows are gentler across Spock’s face. This is the Mr. Spock we remember, both human and Vulcan, gazing fondly at Jim on the bridge as he re-confirms that he, like V'ger, needed something but did not know what…until now.
The Jim/Spock relationship parallels that of V'ger and the Creator. As V'ger literally merges with Decker to achieve completion, so Jim and Spock join hands in sickbay. We understand they are not complete without the other, that what Spock needed is the friendship and love he finds in Jim. V'ger and the Creator emerge as a new lifeform, and Jim and Spock emerge as soulmates (which Jim confirms in the next two films).
The Motion Picture will never go down in history as a great movie, but little details like the lightplay make me love it despite its flaws. Spock’s emotional journey in TOS and through the six films, with Jim at his side, is, hands down, my #1 reason for falling head-over-high-heels for Star Trek.
This playlist tells the story of K/S after the five year mission all the way up to the end of TMP. I chose the songs based on the lyrics. They’re all in sequential order. :D
01. Pink - Just Give Me a Reason Calm waters become stormy. Jim senses there’s something wrong with Spock which is affecting their relationship, but he can’t get an answer from him. The harder Jim tries to identify the issue, the more reserved Spock becomes. Even without fully understanding what’s happening, Jim tries to convince Spock that their relationship is worth fighting for.
02. Billy Joel - And So It Goes Spock nearly fully withdraws from all contact outside of his duty, despite all of Jim’s efforts. Jim wonders if Spock is thinking of breaking it off, but that couldn’t happen because what they have is too perfect…
03. Phil Collins - Against All Odds …….Spock actually left Jim to pursue Kolinahr. </3 His deep love for Jim convinced him that he was shaming his Vulcan heritage, so he set off to purge it in the only way that could possibly work…
04. David Gray - Sail Away Depressed and feeling alone, Jim tries to drown himself in his work behind a desk on Earth. It doesn’t help.
05. Righteous Brothers - Unchained Melody Even after 2.8 years, the wound is still fresh. Jim is disgusted with himself when he thinks about how he still loves Spock. He wonders if he’ll ever see him again, if only to receive closure so he can move on.
06. Roy Orbison - Coming Home Spock fails his Kolinahr test and leaves to meet up with the Enterprise to assist with the V'Ger crisis.
07. Dido - White Flag Spock appears on the bridge, seeing Jim for the first time in years. He schools his expression to remain neutral and unaffected but, deep down, he can’t quell the desire to reach out and touch him. Instead, he disappears into the lift. It would do no good. It’s not logical for Jim to still love him…. even though love was written all over his face when their eyes met.
08. Roy Orbison - Crying Jim calls Spock to meet with him and McCoy in the officer’s lounge. Tension hangs in the air like thick fog because of the things left unsaid that desperately need to be spoken. Spock remains cold. Jim remains silent. They return to their stations just like this.
09. Daughtry - What About Now? This. simple. feeling. The scene.
10. Christina Perri - A Thousand Years With the crisis over, Jim falls into Spock’s arms in his quarters and they just hold each other tightly. They don’t move for several minutes in a silent homage to the years they both completely wasted running from each other. No more. That night, they’ll decide to form a bond which will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Okay so after Ragnar became earl in season 1 he started wearing a new arm ring right
which should look familiar because
But this isn’t a case of Ragnar having a matching or similar arm ring made for Athelstan, as I had always kind of assumed had been the case because ngl I didn’t pay attention to how often Ragnar’s had changed, but in early season 2 he is already wearing a different one…
Anyways if you pay attention you’ll notice most of the characters all wear slightly different ones, so it would have made more sense for Ragnar to have a completely unique one created for Athelstan if he’d had one made especially for him buttttt I don’t think that’s what happened and it is now my officially accepted head canon that the arm ring Ragnar gave to Athelstan in 2x02 is in fact his old one and I just???? Am I super late to the party here or???? Because this just adds so many more layers to the significance of it and I can’t deal…
And now I can’t stop thinking about the beautiful symmetry of Athelstan walking around wearing a piece of Ragnar’s old jewelry for the longest time, and then years later Ragnar finding himself in mourning and wearing a piece of Athelstan’s jewelry as a result… and I’m gonna go weep now bye.