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In Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country, while Martia the shapeshifter, Kirk and McCoy are escaping, after Martia's treachery is revealed she transforms herself into Kirk.

Then when the guards come, they are not sure which Kirk to shoot, and a sort of reverse version of the old "Spot The Impostor" trope is played out, where both Kirks are trying to claim the other one is the real Kirk so the guard will shoot them.

But why did Martia turn into a Kirk impostor in the first place? And couldn't she have just transformed back to prove to the guard she wasn't really Kirk?

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She's been found out as a double-cross , which Kirk announces by punching her. She clearly doesn't like getting punched, which is probably part of why she assumed "a pleasing shape" in the first place. Since Kirk isn't reluctant to punch that form, she assumes his face instead. She gains two immediate benefits

  1. McCoy is stunned at her new form (he foolishly leans in for a closer look) and she uses that confusion to head butt him, meaning he can't effectively participate in the ensuing fight
  2. Kirk clearly doesn't like it. This is either because he's having to punch his own face, or just from the weirdness of having someone else impersonate you

KIRK: Isn't it about time you became something else?

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  • If there was ever a time when the "shoot 'em both" trope would be appropriate...... Mar 12, 2021 at 0:10

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