This question contains movie plot spoilers.

So in the film Star Trek (2009), Spock wastes about 10 precious seconds explaining to Uhura why he needs to beam down. As Captain though, he shouldn't need to explain his actions, especially in the middle of a crisis. When Uhura said "Spock, wait! Where are you going?," he could have simply said "No time to explain!" and then only after he beamed back up explained the significance of the Katric Ark and the necessity of beaming down in person. Most importantly, his mother was lost when the rock ledge collapsed about 12 seconds before completing the teleport, and Chekov declared her signal as lost only about 9 seconds before the teleport was completed. It appears that if Spock hadn't taken the time to explain to his Lieutenant, there is a chance his mother could have survived by him arriving on Vulcan 10 seconds sooner. Even in a romantic relationship with Uhura, it does not seem Logical for Spock to pander to human emotions in such a situation, so why does he pause and take the time to explain to her what his plans are?

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    Is this the ten seconds they spent in the turbolift?
    – n_b
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 14:56
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    Yes. Uhura says: "Spock, wait! Where are you going?" Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 14:58
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    Because exposition? Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 15:27
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    Movies are not to be taken so literal. Movie time is usually not the same as real time. There is a lot of artistic freedom. You can stretch tense moments to get longer tension. You can compress boring moments to make your movie less boring. You can take a brief break to add an explanation for the audience when things would be hard to follow otherwise. Could he have saved his mother if they had decided to cut the explanation? No, absolutely not
    – Raditz_35
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 15:40
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    Amanda was doomed because the evil, tyrannical gods who at that time were in charge of the Star Trek universe - J.J. Abrams, Robert Ocri, and Alex Kurtzman, had decided that she must die on Vulcan for arcane reasons of plot impossible for those who live in the Star Trek universe to understand. Therefore Amanda would have died whether Spock was slower or faster. So the gods (at that time) of the Star Trek universe made Spock illogically slow - not caring how guilty he might later feel - for the purpose of exposition to benefit others who existed in the realm of the gods. Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 16:10

1 Answer 1


It's fundamental to the plot in terms of providing the emotional out-of-control Spock. The movie starts with the other Vulcan boys calling his father a traitor and mother a whore. His only source of unconditional love and approval has been from his mother. And we need Sarek for a whole bunch of things in the future (even though their homeworld is destroyed, the surviving Vulcans can still have an ambassador?).

(Didn't realize this is your first time through - congratulations! Practical reasons Spock took so long: he was a new captain lots of responsibilities; his ultra hot girlfriend needed soothing; he was breaking all sorts of rules. Him being the boss of a ship in crisis - well, you know how long it can take to get out of work on a busy day.)

Throughout the movie, Amanda and then her death, are primary emotional story drivers for Spock. Besides allowing for the elevation of Kirk to captain, with her death Spock forms new primary relationships and a new family. For us viewers, we also feel the regret of her death (as you posted, if he'd done all these things differently she might have lived = the old woulda-coulda-shoulda) and so emotionally identify with what he's going through (not only loss but self blame).

Fascinating because now Spock, a Vulcan, is the emotional center of the Enterprise and what ties the whole bridge crew together. The next movie, Into Darkness, relies on the power of these relationships as well and builds upon them till the final scene with Spock & Spock and the "follow your heart" speech.

   Then Beyond begins with Kirk throwing away regulations, Prime Directive included, to save Spock because their relationship is absolute, replacing that he had with his mother. Spock and Uhura have a neat thing but it is conditional, boyfriend/girlfriend fickle. While the whole crew is amusing and cherished, nothing comes close to the primary love story in these movies: that between Spock and Kirk; and that is made possible by the extreme vulnerability that Spock finds himself in after his mother's death.

  • I can only read the first two paragraphs because I have not seen the new movie yet. :-O Just saw /Into Darkness/ yesterday. Gonna try to watch the new one tonight. Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 17:52
  • It makes perfect sense that Vulcan would still have an ambassador - you don't deny people rights just because their planet got destroyed!
    – Adamant
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 20:03
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    This explains "out-of-universe" why Amanda has to die, it does not explain "in-universe" why Spock does what he does in that scene before she dies. Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 21:35
  • @TeemPorary The answer's first sentence sums it up nicely, "It's fundamental to the plot in terms of providing the emotional out-of-control Spock". Kirk played upon this to get command. He taunted Spock about not loving his mother, at which point Spock lunges after Kirk--beating him up on the bridge. Realizing how far he has gone, Spock relieves himself of duty and leaves the bridge. Kirk assumes command. Had we seen an always logical Spock, especially in regards to his mother, that scene would seem out of place.
    – MivaScott
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 22:55
  • Adamant - we've gotten into plenty of trouble with governments in exile, not always a good idea (Shaw of Iran, Taiwan, etc). Also if they aren't representing any material resources, power or commerce, then why would other representatives to the Federation listen to them? (Think Andorians and Tellerites). Are there Native American tribal leaders on the UN council? Some Vulcans may have wisdom to offer but not the political power of Ambassador. Liaison from the Vulcan people is more like it.
    – Hebekiah
    Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 15:44

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