Why Orci is a Terrible Writer and Giving Him the Director’s Chair is NOT the Solution — Specifically: Concerning Spock
So we already know that Orci has no understanding of Jim Kirk’s character — no one who compares him to George W. Bush possibly could, in my opinion. But what about Spock, Kirk’s co-protagonist? Here, again, Orci’s (and, really, the writers’) stupidity shines — he both doesn’t understand Spock’s character and doesn’t understand basic human psychology.
Let me get this out of the way, first, though — this is a writing issue, not a shipping issue. These problems would apply to Spock no matter who he was paired with due to the way he was written.
To start, Orci doesn’t understand Spock’s way of thinking. Spock, in TOS, was ashamed of his human emotions and did everything possible to conceal them. He confessed to Jim, in The Naked Time, that he was ashamed of the friendship he felt for him and that he couldn’t even tell his mother that he loved her. Think about that for a minute — this man is in his mid-30s, he served with Captain Pike, and he’s so emotionally repressed that he can’t even tell his own mother that he loves her.
Now comes the 2009 film. And suddenly, Spock is in a romantic relationship. There is no explanation here — it’s never shown how or why Spock became involved with someone. Suddenly, he just is — all those hangups TOS!Spock had suddenly disappeared. A man who couldn’t tell his mother that he loved her is involved with a former student.
And before anyone says “it’s a different universe” — that’s no excuse in this situation. Why? Because Spock, as far as we can tell, is the same at the point he gets romantically involved — he has the same genetics as TOS!Spock, he was brought up by the same people on the same planet. Both Spocks were bullied as children (Spock’s mother in TOS says as much in Journey to Babel), both chose to enter Starfleet instead of the Vulcan Science Academy (to the displeasure of their father). That is all we see of Spock before he is in a romantic relationship and NOTHING differs from TOS Spock.
But this problem is hugely compounded by Star Trek Into Darkness. You see Zachary Quinto above — he basically describes Spock’s character arc in that film. ”Spock really earns an understanding of friendship.” (He says that Jim earns his leadership.) And this is a HUGE problem because it defies basic psychology. Quinto doesn’t say, “Spock comes to see Kirk as a friend” or “Spock comes to understand that Kirk doesn’t hate him and mutual respect grows between them.” Instead, he says that Spock gains an understanding of friendship — as a general concept.
And that makes NO SENSE WHATSOEVER.
Spock is in a romantic relationship. He has a girlfriend. You CANNOT be in a healthy, stable romantic relationship with someone you do not consider a friend. Everyone I’ve ever talked to who was in a successful long-term partnership said that one’s spouse, if you removed the sex, would be one’s best friend.
Or to use a very extended analogy:
Let’s say that friendship is a cake. And romance is a frosted cake, with frosting representing the sexual attraction and romantic love that is present in romance where it would be absent in a friendship. Either can be great desserts — an unfrosted cake doesn’t necessarily need frosting, just as a friendship is not incomplete without a romance/attraction. But without a friendship, a romance can’t exist. Just like frosting on its own, is not a proper desert. (Of course, you can eat frosting on its own, but this would be more equivalent to hooking up — which is fine — but there’s no real relationship between the two parties that are sexually active is my point).
Spock, historically, has been part of a society that views desserts as shameful and thus doesn’t bake or give out desserts.
Spock in TOS refused to bake and expressed shame at the prospect.
Spock in the 2009 film bakes and gives someone a frosted cake. It’s never explained HOW he learned to bake or how he got over his baking hang-ups. NOPE. Suddenly, he just gives someone a frosted cake.
Then, STID is about Spock not only giving Kirk an unfrosted cake, but LEARNING HOW to bake cakes in the first place.
Do you see what I mean — where the problem is. How the heck could Spock give anyone a frosted cake in the first film? The second film wants us to believe that he didn’t know how to bake and learned, but that makes ZERO SENSE in light of the fact that he apparently could already produce frosted cakes in the first movie.
(Good Lord, now that I re-read my analogy does it sound stupid. But the point stands!)
And this is just yet another example of how Orci doesn’t understand how to writer proper human interaction and relationships. No one can be in a healthy romantic relationship if they don’t consider their partner their friend. Spock should already have an understanding of friendship — it makes no sense for the events of STID to cause him to earn one. And yet, in Orci’s world, apparently you can have a partner or girlfriend and still not understand how friendship works.
Just an absolutely mind-bogglingly poor understanding and characterization for Spock in this regard.