To Boldly Sew: Star Trek: The Motion Picture

To Boldly Sew is a recap of DS9 episodes of Star Trek, with a specific focus on the fashions of the many aliens and other characters that make up the universe. All screenshots come from

In this installment, we discuss: Star Trek: The Motion Picture. This is your narrator’s first time watching this movie. I am broadly familiar with the characters of the original series, but I haven’t watched much of it. Let us begin.

We start out with three ships we are soon to discover are Klingon vessels heading toward a blue area in space.

The inside of the ship is pretty dimly lit and kind of smoky. The captain sits in a chair while another Klingon stands behind him. The Klingons seem to be dressed as we’d expect Klingons to be dressed, with black outfits and gray armor that looks like it’s made out of rubber maybe.

The ships fly into the blue area while dramatic music plays.

After some study, the Klingons fire torpedoes into the blue area. The torpedoes disappear from their tracking screens. The Klingons are perplexed.

Meanwhile, this space building thing appears on screen, with a person in a space suit floating past. The arms and legs seem to be green and the rest is a brownish-orange.

It’s not clear why the person in the spacesuit is there or what they’re doing. Maybe just for scale?

Inside, a man and woman dressed in loose-fitting beige sweaters look at a screen that displays the Klingon ship we were seeing before. Words are being read out by a computer voice and displayed on screen. I assume this must be translated from the Klingon captain and he’s making a report.

They say that the blue thing the Klingons were shooting at is believed to be “an enormous power field surrounding (an) alien vessel” and their sensor scans are “unable to penetrate.” They identify the Klingon ship as a Cruiser named Amar and say they’re going to continue to attack. Another man comes up wearing gray pajamas that are slightly darker than the other two people’s outfits.

The man with the darker pajamas seems to have a belt around his waist that the other two do not. All three have patches on the chest that I suppose are some official insignia, and bars on the shoulders, which would look better if there was some structure to the shoulders, but there is not. These look like incredibly comfortable outfits, but…not very official.

They have a sensor drone intercepting the transmission, which is how they are getting the message. The Klingon Cruiser is in Klingon territory so it’s not clear who they are firing at.

The other guy says they have an exterior visual, so they see a big ball of energy or light or something comes out of the blue power field thing and hits one of the Klingon ships. Lightning flashes around it and it turns blue and then it vanishes.  

Special effects budget spent thus far: $$

There is now only one Klingon ship left. The dramatic music resumes.

A bright ball of light or whatever is headed toward the last ship. The captain orders torpedoes fired again but these just get vanished as well. The ball hits the ship, and we see a brief glimpse of the Klingons on board throwing up their hands to shield against the bright light and then they vanish.

The lady back on the communication station tells her Commander that they’ve plotted a course on the cloud thing, and it’s headed right for Earth.

Meanwhile, Spock has long hair and is praying or meditating on a planet with a bunch of gasses and geysers.

Oddly enough, his meditating in the wilderness type outfit seems to have more structure than the uniforms we saw in the last scene.

Three Vulcans appear near the entrance to a nearby cave and Spock goes to talk to them.

They’re standing underneath what appears to be a giant statue. You can see the foot to the left here.

The woman is blonde and wearing white robes and a head covering. The two men with her are wearing robes that also seem to have shoulder pads built into them. The designs on the front of their robes somehow manage to feel ancient and futuristic at the same time.

The woman says some nice things about Spock casting out his emotions and embracing logic and tries to give him a beaded necklace. She’s also wearing a chunky bracelet, and has what looks like a metal insignia on the shoulder, which looks like it’s very heavy even though I presume it’s actually plastic.

Doesn’t seem like Spock’s style, but what do I know?

Spock kneels to let her put it on him, but then stops her before she can do that. He looks hesitant, so the woman tells him to give her his thoughts and puts a hand on his face for a mind meld.

Afterward she says that there’s a consciousness calling him from space and it’s calling to his human side. She says he hasn’t achieved the logical state he was searching for and he has to search elsewhere. Then she tells him to live long and prosper, and she and the other two leave.

Spock says nothing through the whole scene, but he looks down at the necklace after she drops it and seems kind of sad.

Starfleet headquarters, San Francisco, Earth. We hear the Star Trek Theme Song. There’s this sort of transit hub thing and a shuttle flies in and then lands in a specific designated spot.

Seriously, this reminds me of a large train station.

The door opens and this dude gets off who seems pretty unhappy. It’s Kirk. A Vulcan comes up to meet him who Kirk calls Commander Sonak.

Kirk is wearing a uniform of dark greenish-gray pants and sleeves and a white chest. There’s a belt buckle and some wide stripes on the cuffs of the sleeves. I actually really like these colors, and the uniform looks comfortable as well as official, though maybe a bit too comfortable.

Sonak and many of the other people standing around getting on and off the shuttle are wearing blue pants and shirts that look remarkably like pajamas, and shoes the same color as their pants. It looks like a very comfortable outfit, and kind of reminds me of scrubs. Aside from the belt buckle, it looks like something one could easily sleep in.

There’s also a security person in this particular shot, wearing a beige outfit that also looks kind of pajama like. The boots look too big for them as well, and I imagine they clomp around a lot when walking. Perhaps to compensate for the incredibly comfortable uniform, there is a kind of stiff vest on over the shirt, which looks like it’s made of leather.

Sonak is going to be the science officer on the Enterprise, apparently on Kirk’s recommendation. Kirk is in a hurry to get onto the Enterprise and get moving as soon as possible. They arrange to meet there after Kirk has a meeting with an admiral.

Up in space over Earth, there’s a dock or transfer station or something. A few people inside are wearing brown, and there’s a woman operating the machines wearing beige, and also Scotty, wearing blue with yellow trim on the sleeves, just like Sonak. Scotty is watching the woman like he doesn’t quite trust her to operate the transporter properly.

Kirk appears and he and Scotty greet each other, Scotty complaining about the 12-hour departure time and how it’s unrealistic and Starfleet must be out of their minds. Kirk asks why the transporters on the Enterprise aren’t working. Scotty says it’s temporary and switches back to complaining about the departure time.

They leave the transporter room and head into a shuttle, Scotty shutting the door behind them. Kirk explains that an alien object of unbelievable destructive power is heading toward Earth and will be there within 3 days, and the Enterprise is the only one close enough to intercept. So, they need to be ready to go in 12 hours. The shuttle heads out.

As they fly, Scotty continues to complain that the crew hasn’t had enough time with the equipment and the engines haven’t even been tested at warp power and they have a new captain. Kirk explains that he’s in charge again. He admits he had to argue with Admiral Nogura and there’s some joking about how that must have been difficult.

They head out to this other docking thing where the Enterprise is waiting. Kirk stares at the ship with love in his eyes, and the camera pans slowly over it as we appreciate its beauty, a slow, romantic version of the theme playing. The shuttle flies past the ship and then turns back toward it so we can see the ship from that angle. The theme moves into a more heroic style as they approach. Tears almost well in Kirk’s eyes. Every so often, he and Scotty exchange appreciative glances, like proud parents watching their child in a recital, but no words are spoken. The shuttle flies over the ship and then down and under it. We can see some people in space suits floating around. Finally, they dock with an airlock on the side of the ship.

Scotty and Kirk come into the cargo bay, where a PA system is making announcements and they’re greeted by a guy helpfully given the name of “Cargo Deck Ensign” in the credits, wearing beige. He welcomes them aboard and tells them Scotty is needed in Engineering, so he leaves. Kirk looks over the cargo bay and then dismisses the Ensign who offers to show him around.

He gets on the turbolift and orders the Bridge.

Chaos is happening on the bridge. In addition to the already seen beige pajama uniforms and brown pajama uniforms there are also people with white pajama uniforms, which look especially form-fitting.

Someone is standing on what looks like a floating thing to look at the ceiling. We have a rare glimpse of shoes in this shot so we can see that everyone is wearing shoes that match their pants, and the pants are basically covering the shoes.  

Everyone is talking and arguing and looking at screens and talking about needing to get stuff done or things that should have been done already.

Everyone stops and looks happy when Kirk comes in, crowding around him. Kirk gets right to work, telling Uhura to keep a channel open to Epsilon IX which is monitoring the intruder. He asks after the Captain, Decker, and Sulu tells him he’s in engineering and doesn’t know about Kirk. Kirk tells Chekov to assemble the crew on the recreation deck at 0400 hours. I hope no one was planning to sleep.

In engineering some guys in blue are talking to Scotty. A blond guy looks up and says hi to Kirk, thinking he’s there to give them a “top-brass sendoff” and promises they’ll launch on time.

This is Captain Decker, played by Stephen Collins, later to become the dad on 7th Heaven.

Kirk pulls Decker aside to a relatively quiet area of Engineering and tells him he’s taking over command and Decker is temporarily stepping down to Commander. Decker does not take it well. Kirk says he’s sorry and Decker says he’s not, he knows Kirk just wants to be on a starship. Kirk tells him to go to the bridge and Decker storms off.

Scotty clearly saw if not overheard the whole conversation so he gives Kirk one of those sort of looks like “eh, what can you do,” and then some electricity sparks out of the console and there’s some issue with the transporter.

They try to tell the transporter room not to transport but the communication isn’t working either so Kirk and Scotty run off to the transporter room. The transporter people are trying to tell Starfleet not to transport but it’s too late and the transport is starting. Electricity sparks out of the computers here also. The computer starts repeating “Malfunction.”

Kirk and Scotty step in and talk to Starfleet, telling them to boost the signal. It doesn’t work. There’s the sound of screaming and the woman technician turns away and then they vanish.

We get this shot of what I suppose are half-formed people.

Kirk asks if Starfleet has them. Someone responds saying that what they got back didn’t live long. Fortunately. Kirk says to express his condolences to the families and that they can reach Commander Sonak’s through the Vulcan embassy. He tells the woman, Rand, that there’s nothing she could have done, then leaves to go back to the bridge.

Decker is in the hall in front of him. Kirk tells him they have to replace Sonak and he’d like a Vulcan. Decker says there’s no one available and no one who’s rated on this ship design. Kirk says Decker will have to double as science officer.

On the recreation deck, the crew gathers to watch the video of the Klingon ship getting blasted by the blue cloud and vanishing.

We see here a good selection of uniforms. There’s a short-sleeved option, which about half the crew is wearing, and they seem to come in brown, beige (or light brown), blue, white, and this sort of pinkish gray color modeled by the guy in the front row all the way to the left. The tall man in the center seems to have come directly from either space or some other somewhat dangerous job, since his outfit seems more protective than the rest of the pajamas.

The crew seems to be made up mostly of humans (or human-looking aliens) but there are three people with blue faces.

After the video ends, Kirk says that video and the fact that it’s 53.4 hours from Earth is all they know. They suspect there’s a vessel beyond the blue cloud and they hope it can reason the way they do.

The intercom signals and says there’s a communication from Epsilon IX. The commander we saw earlier comes on screen and says the cloud is definitely a power field.

He says they tried sending friendship messages but got no response. They say there’s a null reading from the middle. They think maybe it’s interpreting their scans as attacks.

The video starts to go wonky. The commander calls for deflector shields. Alarms blare. He’s under attack! The Enterprise switches to external view and we see a shadow pass over the station, then it starts glowing blue like the Klingon ship, and then vanishes.

The crew of the Enterprise stares in horror. Kirk orders the viewer turned off. He then says pre-launch countdown will start in 40 minutes.

Kirk, changed into his blue pajamas uniform, takes the captain’s chair as Uhura reports the transporters are fixed now. He says they’re just waiting for their final crew members. She says the navigator named Ilia is en route to the bridge already. She also says she’s Deltan.

The doors open. Ilia comes in. She’s wearing blue and has no hair.

Decker and she obviously know each other, and he explains he was stationed on her planet before. Kirk welcomes her aboard and she reminds him of her vow of celibacy. Which seems kind of a non-sequitur, but I guess she knows Kirk’s reputation.

Uhura says the final 6 crew members are ready to transport but one of them doesn’t want to step into the transporter. Kirk says he’ll see to it.

In the transporter room, a very bearded Dr. McCoy appears.

Kirk: never thought you’d be a hippie, Bones. Bones: Never thought you’d be a sellout to the man.

Bones has a real hippie look going on here, with the big medallion and the slightly opened shirt. His clothes aren’t a uniform, but they look like a similar design to one. He has a belt to go along with his belt buckle, but the clothes themselves remind me of a jogging suit. Combined with the medallion and beard, he’s a retired hippie for sure.

Kirk welcomes him aboard, saying he’s surprised that McCoy has returned to Starfleet. McCoy says that Admiral Nogura invoked a little-used reactivation clause, basically drafting him. Kirk has to admit that it was his idea. They have a discussion about the “thing” headed that way and Kirk says he needs Bones. The doctor is hesitant but shakes Kirk’s hand.

McCoy complains that his former nurse, Chapel, has an MD now and says he wants a nurse, not a doctor who will argue with him. He heads out, complaining that they’ve probably changed sick bay also since Engineers like to change things.

Outside, shuttles and random floating spacesuit people move away from the ship. Inside, the bridge crew calls out readiness as they disengage. Sulu uses thrusters to pull away.

Lights come on the side of the ship so we can all see what it is from the next planet, and the heroic theme begins to play. Kirk orders thrusters ahead and says, “take us out.”

The ship moves away from the dock slowly as we hear the theme music play. The sun rises over the blue planet below them and gives us dramatic lightning.

In engineering, Scotty says impulse power is okay, so Kirk tells Sulu to move at warp .5. He orders a view of behind them on the screen so they can watch the Earth move away, then ahead so they can see a bunch of stars. They fly out past Jupiter and we see a bunch of its moons.

Kirk updates his log. 1.8 hours from launch, and they have to risk engaging warp drive while still in the solar system. Decker says at warp 7 they’ll get to the cloud thing in 20 hours. Ilia agrees.

McCoy comes in. He’s changed into the blue pajamas uniform like Kirk and shaved. Kirk asks about the medical facilities and McCoy isn’t happy.

“Are you happy, Jim? I conformed to your standards.”

Decker doesn’t want to go to warp yet without more simulations. Engineering is also skeptical. Kirk wants to do it anyway. McCoy says to let them do their jobs.

In engineering all the engineers have changed from blue to some white spacesuit type things and they’re carrying helmets. Scotty says he can’t guarantee warp drive. Kirk tells them to go to Warp 1.

The rubber collars look especially uncomfortable, and I wonder how much they’d help if, like, the warp core exploded.

Sulu slowly moves them up to warp 7.

Things seem fine but then the computer starts blaring EMERGENCY ALERT. Kirk realizes there’s a wormhole and orders them back to impulse power.

The image is distorted, everyone’s blurry looking, the sound is echoing. Sulu says he’s lost helm control and is going full reverse. Uhura says subspace frequencies are all jammed, “wormhole effect.”

There’s some technospeak between Decker and Ilia and she says there’s an object in front of them in the wormhole. Helm is still nonresponsive. Nothing else is working either. They keep barreling forward. Everything is distorted.

Kirk wants to fire phasers at the thing, but Decker stops them, telling Chekov to use photon torpedoes instead. Chekov arms the torpedoes. They keep moving forward.

Ilia realizes it’s an asteroid in front of them in the wormhole.

Chekov targets, then fires.

The asteroid explodes and they apparently exit or destroy the wormhole. Everything goes back to normal.

Helm is restored now. So is communications. No damage or casualties reported.

Dr. McCoy says there are casualties – his wits, as in “frightened out of.”

They’re at warp .8. Decker asks Engineering for a status update. Scotty says they need more time. The engine imbalance caused the wormhole. Kirk says the object is less than two days away and they need to intercept.

He wants to talk to Decker in his quarters. Bones invites himself along.

Kirk’s quarters are very 1970s. I’m not sure if the large orange couch thing is intended as a bed or a couch. The geometric color art thing is kind of neat, though.

Kirk asks why his phaser order was countermanded. Decker explains that the redesign channels phaser power through the main engines. Since the engine was imbalanced the phasers wouldn’t work.

Decker apologizes for embarrassing him. Kirk says he saved the ship. Decker says he knows. Kirk says to stop competing with him.

Decker says that Kirk hasn’t logged a star hour in 2.5 years, and he doesn’t know the ship’s redesign, so the mission is in jeopardy. Kirk says he trusts Decker will nursemaid him. Decker agrees and leaves.

Bones says that Decker might be right.

Decker runs into Ilia in the hall. They have a roundabout conversation about the end of their previous relationship and seeing one another again.

Bones says that Kirk is competing and that he used the emergency to get the Enterprise back and it’s an obsession to him. Uhura interrupts to tell them that there’s a shuttle coming toward them.

The shuttle approaches the Enterprise. The computer announces that there’s one person on board and it’s not a security risk but there’s a security guard wearing some leather padding over his beige pajamas and a helmet of some sort waiting at the airlock with Chekov.

We saw part of this outfit back at Starfleet Headquarters, now we see that it also has some weird helmet. The armor seems to be made entirely of leather or similar material, and I wonder if metal or even plastic wouldn’t be better?

The airlock opens. It’s Spock!

Spock comes on the bridge and everyone is shocked to see him.

Okay, maybe not the sexiest outfit in all of Star Trek, but definitely up there.

Spock has some cool clothes here. He’s got a purple collar and black shirt, with long sleeves, that makes it look like he’s wearing robes until you see the full outfit. Since he has dark hair, it really looks awesome, and I hereby give this outfit the award for best outfit in the movie, possibly the entirety of Star Trek.

Spock takes over the science seat from Decker, who readily agrees.

Spock says he’s been monitoring their communications with Starfleet command and he knows of their engine issues. He offers his services. Decker doesn’t argue. Kirk tells Chekov to tell Starfleet that Spock is now the science officer.

McCoy and I guess Chapel come in and McCoy says he’s happy to see him. Spock just stares at them all and says nothing.

Spock tells Kirk he’s going to talk to the engineer. Kirk says welcome aboard. Spock pauses, says nothing, and enters the turbolift, leaving everyone else confused.

Kirk updates the log. Spock, who has now changed into blue pajamas uniform, has repaired the engines in less than 3 hours. I know it’s because he’s back to being Official Starfleet, but I wish they would have said, like, “oh, sorry, we don’t have any blue pajamas uniforms in your size so just keep wearing your current sexy outfit.”

Sulu pushes them up to Warp .8 .9, and then boom they’re off to warp. Kirk and Sulu have changed into short sleeved uniforms.

Also, Kirk is wearing white now, to advertise his pure and innocent thoughts.

No explanation is given for the change in clothing. I guess maybe they felt warm in long sleeves, or took a shower? Or maybe it’s just a way to indicate that time has passed.

They keep speeding up through the warps until they’re at 7. The theme plays heroically.

Kirk, Spock, and Bones meet in a room with a big window.

Bones and Spock are basically wearing the same uniform here, but Spock has perfect posture and almost looks like a ballerina, while Bones looks more like a guy who just woke up. I’m not usually a fan of Shatner, but his outfit makes his thighs look amazing.

The room has orange couches in it with brown and beige cushions. After Spock and Bones exchange barbs, Kirk tells them all to sit. Spock declines.

Kirk says he heard Spock was staying on Vulcan, and Bones says he was pursuing the Kolinahr discipline. Spock says this is correct. Bones clarifies that it is supposed to purge all remaining emotions. Kirk says that Spock broke it to join them. Undoubtedly Spock knows what Kolinahr is and his reasons for leaving and this is all exposition for the viewer.

Again, Kirk asks Spock to sit and so finally he does, stiffly. He says he was sensing a consciousness that was very powerful and with thoughts of perfect order and he thinks it’s from the intruder.

Kirk says he wants to know of any thought patterns Spock senses. Spock agrees. He asks if there’s anything else. When Kirk admits there is not, Spock leaves without further comment. Bones wonders if Spock will put his own interests above those of the ship. Kirk doesn’t think so.

Red alert! People rush onto the bridge. Kirk cancels the alert and orders the blue thing on the screen.

Uhura says they’re broadcasting the friendship message in all languages and on all frequencies. Spock says they’re being scanned. Kirk says not to scan back as it could be viewed as a hostile act. Spock says the scans are coming from the exact center of the cloud. He’s never encountered this type of energy.

Uhura is getting no response to the messages. Chekov asks about battle stations. Decker wants to raise shields. Kirk declines both saying they could also be interpreted as hostile.

He asks Spock about the cloud’s composition. 12th power energy field. Decker starts to argue his point since they’ve seen what the cloud’s weapons do. Spock says there’s an object at the heart of the cloud.

Kirk tells Ilia to head for the center of the cloud. Decker watches in horror as they move to the center of the space. He says that thousands of starships couldn’t generate 12th power energy. He turns to Spock, expecting to see agreement, but Spock is staring into space. Kirk notices this also and demands Spock tell him what’s going on.

Spock stands up and says he senses puzzlement. They have been contacted. Why have we not replied?

How have they been contacted? Kirk asks.

Before Spock can answer, the computer starts alarming and a ball of light heads toward them. Spock says it’s a ball of plasma energy, exact composition and guidance system, unknown. Kirk says to brace for impact.

They’re zapped with green light. Decker says they’re losing power on the force fields. Kirk asks Scotty what’s up, and he reports the system is overloading. Blue light crackles over the warp core. Chekov’s computer sparks and he is burned on his hand. He screams.

The sparking stops. Scotty calls and says that they can’t hold power on the deflector shield, they’re down to 70%. Kirk says to divert auxiliary power to deflectors. A nurse comes in to help Chekov.

Spock says the intruder has been attempting to communicate but the Enterprise was communicating too primitively, so he’s changing the frequency and rate of speed to match theirs. He gets to work with Decker.

The cloud rumbles. Another blast of light starts moving toward them. Scotty says the shields won’t be able handle it.

Kirk urges Spock to transmit the message. He finally does and the light goes away. They assume the messages were received and wait to see what happens next.

Kirk looks at the tactical projection and asks Spock and Decker to comment. Spock says proceed. Decker urges caution since they don’t know anything about it, and they can’t withstand another attack. He thinks it’s an unwarranted gamble.

Kirk finally says to continue on their course.

They move into the cloud while tense, somewhat ethereal music plays. Lots of weird blue lights. They’re all transfixed, staring at the screen.

They seem to be approaching something at the end. Bright lights flash. Everyone squints.

Then everything is black. Kirk and Decker lean forward and there’s a blue circle with some white dots in the middle. Bones and Chekov come on to the bridge to stare at the screen.  Kirk wants to send a picture of what they’re seeing to Starfleet and tell them they’re proceeding, but Uhura says that anything they’re transmitting is just being reflected back.

Sulu says they’re closing on it rapidly. Kirk asks him to fly over it at a close distance of 500 meters. Sulu is surprised but agrees. They get closer, and the music moves from ethereal to mostly just tense and suspenseful.

They fly over the blue shapes, with lots of different colored lights. Kirk wants to see behind them and yes, this looks like a HUGE ship they’ve just passed over. They move over a section with some sparking lights. Then finally some glowing orange balls. We zoom out to see that the enterprise is tiny next to the ship.

Kirk orders them to hold position. Then there’s an alarm – intruder alert. A bright white ball appears on screen, then a loud shrill noise and a light appears on the bridge. It moves slowly over the space.

Chekov asks if it’s one of the crew. Spock says it’s a probe. Decker says to not interfere. Kirk notes that it’s more interested in the ship than the crew. The lights zap out at the computer. Kirk wants to turn it off.

Decker tries but it’s taken control and is reading all their records about Earth defenses and the strength of Starfleet. Spock pushes Decker out of the way and smashes the computer with his hand and the light zaps him with the lightning, throwing him down. He recovers and gets up.

It zaps Ilia.

Decker calls out to her. Spock tries to grab her but is also zapped. Then she vanishes, leaving behind only a small thing she was holding, which falls to the ground.

The light vanishes.

Spock and Decker get to work on the computer. Then an alarm sounds saying there is negative control at helm. Kirk orders full shields and Decker orders defensive positions. They’re being pulled in by a tractor beam. Decker calls for someone to take over Ilia’s job.

Kirk orders them on emergency power. Scotty says they need to break free in 15 seconds or the ship will burn up. Spock says they have only a fraction of the power needed to break free, so Kirk tells Engineering to disengage the drive systems.

The crew goes back to tensely staring at the screen. Chief DiFalco, a woman, comes in to take Ilia’s station. Uhura is ready to launch a drone back to Starfleet with all their info, but Decker says to hold off since it won’t go anywhere while they’re in the tractor beam.

They’re moving toward a reddish pink light. Decker wants to hit it with a phaser, thinking that will let them break free. Spock thinks a show of resistance will be futile. Decker wants to fight.

Now, it looks like they’re going inside the giant ship, and Decker wonders why, as they could have been destroyed outside. Spock thinks it’s curiosity.

Behind them, an aperture closes, trapping them inside the giant ship.

They’re released from the tractor beam. Kirk orders them to move ahead at 1/3 thrusters. He orders a full sensor scan from Spock since they’re inside anyway. The thing in front of them closes so they stop moving.

Spock says all scans are reflected back and sensors are useless. Kirk asks his opinion. Spock says that the closed aperture in front of them moves to another chamber.

Then there’s an intruder alert on deck five. Kirk leaves Decker in charge and starts to head that way with Spock and wants security to meet them there.

Kirk and Spock rush in to find the sonic shower being used by some being. Kirk deactivates the shower. The flashing lights reveal a being that looks like Ilia.

She’s wearing what may be the skimpiest bathrobe allowed by movie censors, and has what looks like a little pink gemstone in her neck. It’s not clear why a) she appeared in the sonic shower and b) she’s wearing a tiny bathrobe as opposed to Ilia’s uniform.

When she speaks her voice sounds distorted as she says ‘You are the Kirk unit. You will assist me.’ She has been programmed by V’ger to observe the normal functions of the carbon-based life forms on the enterprise.

Bones comes in and Kirk says to scan her with the tricorder. He asks who V’ger is. That which programmed me. Is it the captain’s name? Bones and Spock conclude that Robot Ilia is a probe or a device. Kirk asks about the real Ilia and is told ‘that unit no longer functions’ and she has taken this form to communicate more easily with the carbon-based units infesting the enterprise.

Kirk asks why V’ger is going to Earth. To find the Creator. What does he want? To join with the Creator. How? They will become one. The Creator made V’ger, V’ger is that which seeks the Creator. The conversation is getting circular. Kirk is getting frustrated.

Spock suggests the doctor examine the probe for explanations. Bones agrees and tries to take her arm to lead her to sick bay, but she doesn’t move and says that she’s programmed to observe only the normal functions of the carbon-based units. Kirk says the examination is a normal function. She agrees to proceed.

In sick bay they scan her and find miniature hydraulics, sensors, and multi-processor chips. Decker comes in as they’re explaining how she is basically an exact copy of Ilia. She says “Decker” rather robotically as he stares at her in disbelief. Kirk leads him out of the room and Spock follows, locking the door behind him so they can speak privately.

They explain to Decker that Ilia is basically an android, and they suggest that the probe might have Ilia’s memories and loyalty and emotions and such. Decker had a relationship with Ilia. Kirk says that the probe is the only method they have to talk to their captor and wants to persuade it.

There’s a noise and Robot Ilia appears, having burst through the wall like the Kool-Aid man. She says she’s done enough recording and demands Kirk assist her. Kirk says Decker will be more efficient at that. Decker agrees with some reluctance.

Captain’s log. They think they’re four hours from Earth and have had no success at retrieving Real Ilia’s memories from Robot Ilia. Decker is giving her a tour, showing her the recreation area. He asks about the recreation on her vessel, and she says the words “recreation” and “enjoy” have no meaning to her.

Decker shows Robot Ilia a game that Real Ilia liked. Kirk and Bones are watching on a video and think that this will help Robot Ilia retrieve Real Ilia’s memories. Romantic music plays as Robot Ilia and Decker look at each other, then it stops suddenly, and she says the game device serves no purpose.

She asks why Enterprise needs carbon units. Decker says the ship can’t function without the carbon units. She says that when she’s done the carbon units will be saved as data and she needs to observe more to figure out about data storage. Decker tells her that she has Real Ilia’s memories and if she can retrieve them maybe she’ll understand them better. She agrees this is logical and tells him to proceed.

Spock goes to a room where a guy is working and gives him the Vulcan shoulder neck thing, knocking him out.

Robot Ilia tries on a head ribbon thing while Decker and Bones look on and Chapel says that she once heard Real Ilia saying that she once wore it.

This reminds me of the ribbons we give to small girls when we want the world to know they’re female, but they don’t have hair to put in ribbons. I guess it’s a way to feminize your face when you have no hair.

Robot Ilia looks confused. She recognizes Chapel and says her name, and then looks at Decker and touches his face and calls him Will.

Decker is lost in the moment and then Bones encourages him. Decker asks her to help them talk to V’ger. She says she can’t. What’s the Creator? V’Ger doesn’t know.

She turns back to the mirror and takes the ribbon thing off.

Outside, a single person in a spacesuit has left Enterprise. It’s Spock.

He records a message telling Kirk he’s trying to contact the aliens. His spacesuit warns him about using his thrusters. Spock says he’s trying to get a better view of the inside of the alien space craft.

Kirk goes on to the bridge and Uhura tells him they’re getting some messages from Starfleet. They are still watching the intruder but it’s decelerating.

Chekov says airlock 4 has been opened and a thruster suit is reported missing. Kirk is confused but then he realizes it’s Spock. He says to bring him back and then changes his mind and says to find his position.

Spock is floating away from the ship. He activates his thrusters and zooms away faster, leaving Enterprise behind. He heads toward the closed aperture. There’s a small hole and he flies through it, past some blue rings. His thrusters stop. He keeps floating.

He releases his thruster pack thing and now he’s just floating in a suit. He says that he’s successfully penetrated the interior of the alien’s next chamber. And he’s seeing a dimensional image that he thinks is a representation of V’ger’s home planet. Then he passes through a plasma conduit that he thinks is part of a giant imaging system.

He sees images of planets and moons and galaxies and he thinks this is a representation of V’ger’s journey. He sees the Epsilon station which was destroyed. He thinks they’re inside a living machine.

Moving closer, he sees a giant representation of Ilia and the glowing red thing at her neck is pulsing. Spock thinks this sensor has special meaning and wants to mind meld with it. He holds up his hands to the flashing lights and then starts screaming as more flashing lights flash around.

Kirk has gone out of the ship in a suit, I guess to follow Spock. The aperture opens and he sees Spock floating back to him, head over heels. It looks like he’s unconscious. Spock floats right to Kirk’s arms. He’s unconscious despite Kirk yelling his name.

Back in sick bay, Spock has opened his eyes but still seems unconscious. The doctors do some doctor stuff and say he has neurological trauma. Bones thinks there was a lot of power in the mind meld. Spock chuckles and they run over.

Spock says he should have known and V’ger is a conscious living entity, and he thinks V’ger sees the Enterprise as the same. He says he saw V’ger’s planet, populated by living machines and unbelievable technology. But despite all his logic he is barren and cold and has no mystery or beauty. He says again that he should have known and falls to sleep. Kirk asks what he should have known but Spock is unconscious. He manages to wake him.

Spock says this simple feeling is beyond V’ger’s comprehension. Kirk and Spock are holding hands. Spock nods and says V’ger has no hope and no answers and it’s asking questions. “Is this all that I am? Is there nothing more?”

Uhura calls Kirk and says they’re getting a signal from Starfleet saying the cloud is still approaching but slower and they are 3 minutes from orbit. Kirk wants Spock on the bridge. He’s amazed by a machine planet sending a living machine to Earth. He calls the bridge and asks Chekov where Decker and Robot Ilia are. Engineering.

On the bridge, Uhura shows Kirk, Bones, and Spock a tactical image from Starfleet showing their position and says that V’ger is sending Earth a signal.

Decker and Robot Ilia come in and look at the tactical image. Robot Ilia says V’ger is signaling the Creator.

It’s a binary code transmitted by carrier wave signal, or radio, according to Spock. Decker says V’ger wants an answer. Kirk doesn’t know what the question is. Robot Ilia says the Creator has not responded.

V’ger sends a ball of light toward Earth. Chekov says the planetary defense systems are inoperative. Everyone stares at the viewer as flashing light balls head toward earth. Uhura says that Starfleet reports the balls are orbiting the earth at equidistant positions.

Bones says that those are the same light balls that hit them. Spock says they’re 100s of times more powerful and from those position they could devastate the whole surface of the planet.

Kirk asks Robot Ilia why. The Creator hasn’t responded so the carbon units on Enterprise have to be eliminated. Why? They infest Enterprise and interfere with the Creator in the same manner. Kirk yells for V’ger but Robot Ilia doesn’t respond.

Spock calls a consultation between Bones, Decker, and Kirk and says V’ger is a child, evolving, learning, searching, needing. Needing what asks Decker. Bones says the child is going to wipe out everything on Earth. Spock says that V’ger knows only that it needs but it doesn’t know what it needs.

Kirk tells Robot Ilia they know why the Creator hasn’t responded. Disclose, she demands. He says not until V’ger withdraws the devices.

Uhura says there’s interference and she’s losing Starfleet. Robot Ilia demands Kirk disclose the information and explain why V’ger hasn’t responded. Kirk refuses. He tells everyone to secure all stations and secure the bridge. There’s a bang and the ship shakes. Sulu asks for clarification – secure the bridge? Yes.

They shake again as more of the electricity sparks them. Bones says the child is having a tantrum. People start to leave but the bridge keeps shaking. Kirk again orders the bridge cleared and Bones demands to know what’s going on. Kirk says that if V’ger destroys the Enterprise the information V’ger wants will be destroyed.

Robot Ilia says it is illogical to withhold information and asks why he won’t disclose. He says because V’ger is going to destroy all the carbon units on the third planet. She says they’ve repressed the Creator. He says the information will not be disclosed. She says he needs the info. He says only if V’ger withdraws all the orbiting devices. She says he’ll do this if the carbon units disclose.

Kirk again confers with Bones and Spock. Bones says it learns fast. Spock says that V’ger has a central brain complex where the orbiting devices are controlled.

Kirk says he can’t disclose to Robot Ilia but only directly to V’ger. She turns away and is quiet for a few minutes. Then the aperture opens, and the Enterprise moves them forward. Tractor beam, Spock realizes.

Decker asks what’s next. Kirk tells everyone to go back to their stations and so people move back on to the bridge. Kirk notes to Decker that his bluff has been called.

They’re moving toward a blue glowing thing. Spock thinks it’s their destination. Chekov reads an oxygen gravity envelope forming outside the enterprise. They come to a stop. Robot Ilia points and says this is V’ger. Uhura says this is the source of the radio transmission. Spock says this is a vital link between V’ger and the Creator.

Kirk starts to head out with Bones and Spock, saying that he will contact Decker every 5 minutes. Decker wants to come. Kirk agrees, leaving Sulu in charge. They leave the ship by riding an elevator up to the top of the saucer and then walking out to the edge. There’s a bunch of blue hexagons like rocks heading toward the glowing thing and blue lightning in the sky.

They’ve all put on ugly brown sweatshirts over their pajamas uniforms, so maybe it’s cold?

They follow Robot Ilia across the space, stepping cautiously over the hexagons. Near the edge they are smooth and flat. In the center there is what looks like a dish.

Robot Ilia points and says V’ger. The carbon units stare in astonishment. Robot Ilia walks over to the dish and they follow her down the inclined walls. Kirk gets closer and rubs at a spot on the wall of it. VGER – V’ger. He looks at Robot Ilia in surprised. He sees there are some letters blacked over and realizes this is Voyager.

Decker says it was launched more than 300 years ago. It’s a Voyager probe, designed to collect data and transmit it back to Earth. Kirk taps on the side. There’s a banging noise in response.

Decker explains that Voyager VI disappeared into what was called a black hole. They figure it must have found the machine planet and the machines thought it a kindred, though primitive. They interpreted its 20th century programming – collect all data possible, learn all that is possible, return all that to its Creator. They built the larger vessel so Voyager could fulfill its programming.

On its journey back it amassed so much knowledge it gained consciousness and became a living being.

Robot Ilia says V’ger wants the answer to its question of why the Creator isn’t responding. Kirk calls Enterprise and says they need the old NASA code that instructs Voyager VI to send its data back to Earth. Uhura gets to work. They realize that there’s no one on Earth who would recognize the old signal and be able to answer so V’ger thinks the Creator isn’t answering and the carbon units have destroyed the Creator.

There’s booming and electrical crackling as V’ger attempts to communicate. It’s dark and everything is tinted blue. Kirk tries calling out to V’ger. He explains that they are the Creator. Robot Ilia says that’s not possible – carbon units are not life forms.

Uhura calls back and says they have the code. That was easy. Kirk says to transmit the code from the Enterprise. She does. Decker reads off the numbers as they transmit.

Green light starts zapping and the light normalizes. Spock says that Voyager isn’t transmitting its data. Robot Ilia says the Creator must join with V’ger. Kirk tells Uhura to transmit the final signal again. Robot Ilia and Decker stare into each other’s eyes. Dramatic music plays. Spock says that Voyager isn’t transmitting because it didn’t receive the sequence. He has pulled off a panel and they can see a wire that’s broken.

Kirk says the antenna leads are broken. Spock says V’ger did it itself just now. Why? To prevent reception. Of course, to bring the creator here and finish transmitting in person, to touch the Creator, capture God. Bones says V’ger will be disappointed. Spock says maybe not.

There’s some more banging and now everything is red. Spock pulls them away from Robot Ilia and says V’ger must evolve, and it needs the answer from its Creator to “is there nothing else?” Bones asks what more is there than the universe? Decker says other dimensions and higher levels of being, which they then realize can’t be believed by V’ger right now because it’s not logical. Kirk says V’ger needs to have a human quality, their capacity to leap beyond knowledge, and to do so it wants to join with its Creator.

Bones wonders if it’s possible for V’ger to physically join with a human. Decker says let’s find out. He walks over to the panel. Kirk tries to stop him, but Robot Ilia stops Kirk. Decker says he’s going to run the final sequence through the ground test computer. Bones says he doesn’t know what that will do to him! Decker says he does.

Kirk tells him not to do it, but Bones and Spock are holding him back. Decker says he wants this as much as Kirk wanted the Enterprise. He again has this long stare with Robot Ilia. Then he starts glowing?

Kind of wondering what the dad from 7th Heaven would think of this image.

Lights flash around him and sparkle and he glows while Bones and Spock and Kirk watch. More lights flash and his hair waves dramatically in the…wind? Computer data? His body starts to vanish into light. Robot Ilia steps forward next to him while light swirls around them both. They keep staring at each other while the light gets brighter and then there’s more flashes and then Spock urges Kirk and Bones to leave the area.

They walk back over the Octagon rocks as the light gets brighter and starts spreading outward and then explodes, basically, over the earth. Finally, it fades, and now there is only the Enterprise over the planet. The heroic Star Trek theme plays.

Kirk, Bones, and Spock come into the bridge. Kirk hands his sweatshirt off to someone but Bones and Spock keep wearing theirs. Kirk asks Spock if they just saw the beginning of a new life form. Spock says yes, they witnessed a birth. Bones says it’s been a long time since they delivered a baby. Kirk hopes they gave it the ability to create its own sense of purpose and the three of them wax philosophical.

Uhura says that Starfleet is asking for status and if there’s anyone hurt or dead. Kirk starts to say Ilia and Decker but then he says to list them as missing instead, and the ship is fully operational.

Scotty comes on the bridge. Kirk asks if they should give the Enterprise a good testing. Sure. He tells Sulu to move at Warp 1. Okay, where too? Thataway, he says.

The heroic theme plays again, and we get a flyover looking at the ship in detail before it warps out of view.

Stray Thoughts:

  • When Kirk says “Take us out,” I was expecting him to say “Engage.” Clearly I’ve watched more Next Generation.
  • I’m told that initially, Leonard Nimoy did not want to be involved in this project, which is why Commander Sonak exists in the beginning but then is quickly killed off before the story even begins. I wish they could have kept him, he seemed interesting from the brief time we spent with him, and it might have been interesting to see him play off the crew, with and without Spock.
  • This movie was not terrible overall. With a little bit of trimming, it could have been episode length. But the wormhole and the parts about the ship needing work seemed a lot like padding.
  • Speaking of padding, there are MANY long shots of the Enterprise just sitting in dock, and of the inside of V’ger’s ship. I imagine all of this looks way more impressive on the big screen than on my television, where I was just feeling like this was a lot of shots of a ship. Yes, yes, it’s the Enterprise.
  • I haven’t watched a lot of the original series, so I don’t know if this is common, but it seemed like there was some interesting character exploration between Spock and Kirk, with Bones acting as kind of a mediator or counselor in a way. However, no one else gets much of a personality or anything to do. And I’m not sure why Kirk was insistent that Bones come along – the only real medical emergency is when Chekov burns his hand, which Bones doesn’t even do anything with! He does scan Robot Ilia, but this is really more the computer doing the work.
  • That said, I was surprised by how much Decker felt like a real person in this. His criticism of Kirk feels like it’s pretty accurate. It feels like he has a legit beef with being pushed out of his position as Captain. However, his relationship with Ilia seemed underdeveloped. Did they have a romance in the past? She mentions a vow of celibacy, so was this an unrequited love thing, or did she have feelings for him as well, although that vow got in the way?
  • And, of course, the ending. What? I could write like another 1,000 words on that, but you’ve read enough already. I’ll just summarize my thoughts as: a) how does a human merge with a satellite b) why does said merger result in both just…disappearing?
  • I guess now that I’ve started, I’ll watch another movie.