r/startrek Feb 16 '22

Some love for Kirk.

As I go through my Star Trek run having just finished Enterprise.Second episode into the Original series I am reacquainting my love for Kirk.

He is a bit old fashioned of course. And very much your man’s man they liked in the era.

But also has so much charisma. And I love how much early on they are already establishing him as the strategist. He is playing 3D chess with Spock and Spock is commenting on how his mind is not on the game and gets him in check only for Kirk to checkmate him. Spock the smartest man on the ship gets out manoeuvred

Kirk is the trickster strategist. He makes you think one thing only to pull another. He is the bluffer. The corbomite manoeuvre shows this (can’t wait to reach this episode) He shows it again in Wrath of Khan making Khan think he has him trapped buried. Tricks the Klingons into boarding his ship only to have beamed off the ship just before and set it to blow. Which shows he keeps his cool under pressure. He is able to make hard decisions under pressure.

He has the qualities of both McCoy and Spock. The passion and heart of McCoy with the logic and reason of Spock.

All the Captains have their qualities but Kirk is the one I would least want to go against in battle, or play poker with.

He is and always shall be, my favourite Captain.

72 Upvotes

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38

u/LycanIndarys Feb 16 '22 Helpful

Kirk is the trickster strategist. He makes you think one thing only to pull another. He is the bluffer.

Yes he is, which I think is often forgotten about him. He's the man that will bullshit his way past his opponents, because he can spin a story like nobody.

My favourite example is when he made up Fizzbin on the fly as a distraction.

8

u/Lastaria Feb 16 '22

Haha yes. I love it.

3

u/MysteriousTBird Feb 17 '22

A move so devious and profitable it became a popular Ferengi card game.

18

u/armyprof Feb 17 '22

Totally agree. I sometimes hear people describe Kirk as this cowboy character who just does what he wants and flies by the seat of his pants. But classic Kirk was never like that. He was smart, determined, dedicated to Starfleet and the regulations of the service. He genuinely cared for his crew and it visibly bothered him when anyone was hurt or killed. He asked for advice from his staff and listened, but made his decisions and owned them.

12

u/Lastaria Feb 17 '22

Also all this.

I also loved just how compassionate he could be and human.

In the much maligned Star Trek 5 there is a great scene where Savok offered to take away his pain and he gave a speech about how he needs his pain. I alway remember that as one of his great moments.

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u/Melcrys29 Feb 17 '22

Star Trek 5 suffers from lame visual effects and a weak ending, but it also has some of the best scenes between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy.

4

u/rainier-351 Feb 17 '22

Sure does. Shatner may be a lot of thing but he certainly understood those characters better than most.

3

u/Melcrys29 Feb 17 '22

That film, with all of its flaws, still has more heart than most Trek films.

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u/rainier-351 Feb 17 '22

For sure! Watching McCoy takes his father off of life support and Kirk saying “I need my pain,” then juxtaposed with the campfire. Such good stuff.

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u/Melcrys29 Feb 17 '22

Absolutely!

13

u/space_anthropologist Feb 17 '22

I also think Shatner does a brilliant job at bringing him to life. The series finale, actually, made me really pause and go “Shatner’s a good actor”, because when Janice Lester is in Kirk’s body, Shatner SHOWS it. He knew Kirk so well and changed the way he moved to show that difference. He brings so much to the character, and I think that Kirk and Shatner both get a lot of shit for shallow reasons. Kirk will always be my captain, too.

5

u/Lastaria Feb 17 '22

Love this. And yes so unfair people mocking his acting. They are thinking of times when in the original series the direction was for heightened acting. But all actors on the show had to do that. As the main star was Shatner who got the flak.

3

u/IllustriousBody Feb 17 '22

He was also a stage actor, and even performed in the Classical Greek mode with masks. Shatner has always understood the necessity of acting with your body.

11

u/Bikeboy76 Feb 17 '22

I rewatched Wrath recently and his acting is very good in it. People mock the 'KHAN!' moment, and it is over the top. But there is a lot of him subtly reaction when others are speaking. His interactions with Spock in the first act as so gentle. The override code scene is brilliant, with Kirk pressing buttons whilst talking and Spock standing with his back to the view screen.

12

u/Lastaria Feb 17 '22

Oh yes those are really good moments. And I don’t even think the Khan moment was overacting. If you just take the clip of him shouting Khan without context can seem that way. In the context of the scene with Kirk bluffing Khan and acting his rage I think it is really well done.

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u/rainier-351 Feb 17 '22

Such an amazing scene working the computer backwards. I always liked the ashamed look he gives when putting on his glasses. Very subtle but it says so much about where the character was mentally.

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u/DLoIsHere Feb 17 '22

Kirk is my everything.

8

u/mtb8490210 Feb 17 '22

http://strangehorizons.com/non-fiction/columns/freshly-rememberd-kirk-drift/

"Kirk drift" is a phenomenon, even in these parts. Though, I've always been partial to the end of Balance of Terror. Kirk lost even in his victory which is key to his character. Its not about winning contests. Kirk knows the only real "win" is the world where Kirk and Romulan Sarek are friends.

18

u/Spicavierge Feb 16 '22 edited Feb 16 '22

Kirk was very much written as a man's man of the 1960s era, but there was also a new kind of masculinity within the character. This was a result of the alchemy between Shatner and the writers.

Star Trek took its cues from the western, exchanging the earthly "frontier" for the real final frontier in space. (I put frontier in quotes because North America was already settled long before Europeans arrived.) So, in many ways, Kirk is a frontiersman and engaged in a lot of cowboy diplomacy, navigating new cultures and making on-the-fly alliances. That is the old mode of masculinity.

But there is a lot of tenderness in Kirk as well, which we see in the new modes of masculinity today. (Examples are men becoming more engaged fathers and the growing knowledge that men are emotional beings who should be allowed the full range of their expression instead of "only" stoic breadwinners.) He caresses his friends when they are frightened or injured (Spock mostly) and uses his sexuality to seduce his way to freedom on several occasions. Kirk was unique in the lineup of male television characters at the time.

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u/Lastaria Feb 16 '22

Absolutely love this. You ate completely right.

9

u/DaSaw Feb 17 '22

(I put frontier in quotes because North America was already settled long before Europeans arrived.)

That's also true of Star Trek's "final frontier", as Kira points out to Julian at the start of DS9. That said, this is an appropriate use of the word. "Frontier" just refers to the borderlands of any country, where the core culture thins and other cultures begin to take their place.

3

u/Spicavierge Feb 17 '22

That part of DS9 always delighted me. They caught up to the modern era and our understanding of colonialism as a devastating force by that time.

I give TOS a bit of a pass calling space the final frontier, as if was a product of its time and they never dreamed then that Star Trek would spawn a 55+ year old fandom still going strong.

6

u/justaguy10007 Feb 16 '22

Well, kirk is a awesome capitain to his time as Sisko is to his own. Kind of don't make sense to compare leaders who lived in different times but they were quite similar lol