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In the episode Operation: Annihilate! Kirk finds his brother dead. He didn't seem very upset (definitely no tears, was able to continue with work immediately). Was there any reason in particular for this? Or did the director make the choice because it would have been boring to see his sadness played out for too long?

EDIT: I somewhat disagree with the answers given. Kirk does show emotion, including negative ones. For example in the episode Miri he gets mad when they weren't finding a cure to the disease fast enough and smashes some flasks, and this episode happens prior to "Operation: Annihilate!".

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    It has to be said, William Shatner is not frequently accused of under-acting. – Daniel Roseman Jan 14 '14 at 12:26
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    I have zero knowledge about US TV audience tastes in the 60s (hence this is a comment, not an answer), but I’d naively suspect that romantic male leads were expected to be strong in those days, rather than sensitive like blubbing Picard in First Contact. – Paul D. Waite Jan 14 '14 at 12:40
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    Showing emotion would have actually required Shatner to act. I believe there was a clause in his contract precluding that. – terdon Jan 14 '14 at 12:50
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Kirk is known to be based on Horatio Hornblower. Hornblower considered it an important part of leadership not to let feelings interfere with his command decisions, and that showing his feelings would be setting a bad example to his men, who he also expected to get on with their tasks despite any feelings. it's a philosophy shared by many (most?) commanders outside of Hollywoodland. In real life SEAL teams don't get to stop and cry because they have found something that upsets them. It's reasonable to assume that the writers wrote Kirk like that, at least in the early days. Later on he was allowed to express his feelings rather more.

  • Can you provide some type of backup for 'known to be based on' ... ? An interview with Roddenberry or one of the main cast characters from TOS would be great. – Stan Jan 14 '14 at 19:37
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    This, this, this and this for starters. – DJClayworth Jan 14 '14 at 19:44
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    And now this. – DJClayworth Jan 14 '14 at 19:56
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    Thanks for the great feedback. Learn something new every day. You might consider editing your answer and incorporating those references directly in it. +1 – Stan Jan 14 '14 at 20:08
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Not everyone wears their heart on their sleeve. Any soldier would tell you to mourn your comrades when the mission is over, also some would say honor them by completing the mission.

  • While not strictly in-universe, this attitude is consistent with Kirk's typically unflappable, no-nonsense demeanor. In fact, this is part of why his final encounter with Kahn in The Wrath thereof was so important. He finally lost his cool. – Matt Jan 14 '14 at 16:04

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