tanithryudo: (IDIC)
[personal profile] tanithryudo
So I've been reading more TOS fics. Including the reboot Trek stuff since beggars can't be choosers. Been noticing a lot of fanon poppping up that didn't make sense in context of the new series. Then I went back and looked over some episode transcripts of TOS and lo and behold, it wasn't really canon there either.

The big one is Spock and Sarek's relationship. So many fics go the route of Sarek disowning Spock over ditching the VSA to join Starfleet. He gets a lot of flak for being close-minded, overbearing, controlling... Some of them even has him putting political pressure on Starfleet to get Spock to leave. And they basically never speak to each other up until the Journey to Babel episode.

But if we actually look at the primary canon from that episode, this is what the show actually says:

AMANDA: You don't understand the Vulcan way, Captain. It's logical. It's a better way than ours. But it's not easy. It has kept Spock and Sarek from speaking as father and son for eighteen years.

Emphasis mine. It's curious that she feels the need to tack on a qualifier "as father and son" rather than just saying "it kept them from speaking for 18 years". To me it implies that they may well have spoken in the interim time frame, just not...familiarly.

Then there's this, earlier in that same conversation:

AMANDA: And you haven't come to see us in four years, either.

Which implies that it's quite possible he's been back home on Vulcan during that 18 year span too, during times when Sarek was also in residence. I say this because McCoy specifically mentions that Sarek had just come out of an early retirement for the Babel negotiation.

Then if we look at Sarek's other behavior in that episode, he seems to make it clear (to Kirk) that his disapproval of Spock is one of personal opinion (not following his footsteps) and he casts no aspersions on his son's abilities or character otherwise (there's none of this you've shamed me/the family/your race). Hell, that's better than what Picard got from his dad or older brother.

And we're not even getting into the 2009 reboot, where Sarek seemed to actually approve of Spock giving the VSA admissions panel the proverbial terran finger for their discriminatory aspersions.

Then there's the trope that when Spock decided to defy his father and join Starfleet, Amanda would take his side, throw an emotional fit at Sarek, maybe even threaten to leave him.

Yeah...no. Just because she's human, I suppose we're to assume that she approves of Starfleet as a career option? Do most women automatically approve of their kid joining the military? I don't think that's a given.

In Journey to Babel, it's Sarek that's more considerate of Spock's current profession and the need for him to have the respect of his peers. In contrast, Amanda seems to be a stereotypical human mother out to embarrass her kid in front of not just his coworkers, but also a bunch of alien diplomats.

And besides, divorcing a Vulcan? Man, that's like an implicit threat of murder right there, considering the kun-ut-kalifee. Taken that way, it would make Amanda seem to be the horrifically unreasonable one if she actually made that threat.

And finally, is Spock really the blameless victim in this familial rift? I mean, I guess TOS implied he was bullied, sure, and even on the Enterprise there were quite a bit of discrimination against him, cementing him into a sort of woobie role. The reboot movie canonizes his status as a victim of bullying...but it also shows him giving as good as he gets.

That's all external forces though. Internally, within the family though, did Spock have no part in creating the rift other than picking an unorthodox career?

The TNG episode Unification has this to say:

SAREK: Yes, I'm sure he did. In fact, I recall Spock coming to me with optimism about a continuing dialogue with the Romulans. I told him it was illogical to maintain such an expectation. Spock was always so impressionable. This Romulan, Pardek, had no support at home. Of course, in the end I was proven correct. I gave Spock the benefit of experience, of logic. He never listened. Never listened.


SAREK: No. I never knew what Spock was doing. When he was a boy, he would disappear for days into the mountains. I asked him where he had gone, what he had done, he refused to tell me. I insisted that he tell me. He would not. I forbade him to go. He ignored me. I punished him. He endured it, silently. But always he returned to the mountains. One might as well ask the river not to run. (lies down again) But secretly I admired him, the proud core of him that would not yield.

Seems to me Spock never made it easy on his parents either. Amanda also implies in Babel that both of them are really stubborn. Curiously though, between the two, we've only seen one of them ever admit to being wrong, and that was Sarek in STIV.

I can get why fics don't take that interpretation. Spock is simply the more popular "woobie" character and no one wants to think ill of him, plus his situation is simply easier for audiences to emphasize with. (whether he is as much of a saint as fans want him to be is another topic, I think. In a certain amount of retrospect, the Quinto!Spock characterization might not be all that..."incorrect".)

My current headcanon for this family (TOS version) is this:

Sarek always means well, and he certainly places high value (and hidden pride) on Spock's achievements no matter what they are, but he has a very hard time understanding his son (ironically because they're a lot alike). He's very stubborn though, so he keeps trying to reach out (like a good diplomat should), but unfortunately, it comes across as being bit of a helicopter parent.

Spock, on the other hand, was an introverted prodigy who lived a lot inside his own head and didn't really communicate or socialize well (and didn't *care* about his socializing skills until maybe after his death & rebirth). Most of the time, he's already made up his mind, and won't bother to explain himself, even if this behavior causes friction with others. He's also stubborn, and often won't change his mind, no matter if he's in the right or wrong (until reality smacks him in the face).

Amanda... is amused, bemused, aggrieved, exasperated over the both of them. They both out-stubborn her, and she has rarely been able to sway either of them once they've *really* made up their minds. Trying to change them will only drive her nuts (and gives her the urge to throttle the both of them), so she's learned to stick to the role of a neutral Switzerland when it comes to their family dynamics. She loves them both, but she's not going to get in the middle of that again.

When Spock decided to reject the VSA for Starfleet (in the Prime TL), he essentially did it at the last minute, and didn't bother to explain himself when he just up and left. Sarek got stuck cleaning up the political fallout with the Academy, which compounded his displeasure over Spock's choice. He sent some strong words to his wayward son, and got back an unrepentant response. That pretty much set the tone for their interactions over the next 18 years.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-10-14 01:56 pm (UTC)
cashew: Sumomo acting like Sumomo (Default)
From: [personal profile] cashew
My problem with nu!Spock is that he literally sent Kirk out to die. I don't care how much you dislike one of your crew members. This isn't a pirate ship. You don't go stranding one of your crew on an isolated planet to live or die by nature. You are part of the freaking Starfleet and I refuse to believe Spock is capable of ignoring standard Starfleet procedure just because Kirk was being stubborn. Just...no.

So, that was a long winded way of saying, do not like nu!Spock.

As for SpockPrime, yeah, never really saw him as saintly. One of Spock's biggest character flaws is how stubborn he can get when he thinks he's right and how difficult it is for him to admit he made a mistake. Mistakes are just not one of those thing he sees himself making, hence contributing to his stubbornness. Wait...why did Spock get picked as an Ambassador again? o.O

(no subject)

Date: 2016-10-15 05:43 pm (UTC)
cashew: Sumomo acting like Sumomo (Default)
From: [personal profile] cashew
I'm trying to wrap my head around all those words. They sound familiar, but I can't recall most of the things that go with them. XD /not a ToS nerd

But will agree with the claim that SpockPrime got shafted. Why couldn't they just let the two of them go build a cabin in the woods on some remote planet and have a nice retirement? Ugh.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-10-20 12:42 am (UTC)
cashew: Sumomo acting like Sumomo (Default)
From: [personal profile] cashew

That is actually way more coherent than it has any right to be. XD Kinda feel bad for Nero, since he kinda got fucked over by life. To be fair, not reason enough to go batshits, but still, understandable. And nuSpock is kind of annoying, so...

(no subject)

Date: 2016-10-20 02:12 pm (UTC)
cashew: Sumomo acting like Sumomo (Default)
From: [personal profile] cashew
Ugh. NuTrek. Why so much suck?
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