Thursday, September 17, 2015

Plot protection

Graham and I are now well past the halfway mark in watching the original Star Trek, and he has already articulated a very important principle that he has observed.  All the main characters, Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scottie, and Uhura, are said to have "plot protection."  That is, no matter how dangerous the situation, we know that they will not die.

Now, this is an important learning for a kid to have. I think that in time we all come to realize that this is true of main characters, and it is one of the great assurances, indeed the key functions of narrative of this sort, to instill in us this belief.  That no matter what happens, the hero will survive the episode, the sun will rise tomorrow.  It instills in us the optimism to keep plugging forward, no matter what obstacles life puts in our path.

Actually, Graham is already in touch with the idea of "Deus ex machina" coming in to save the day.

It makes me think back to the time, 5 years and change ago, when we went to see Toy Story 3 (chronicled in this post), and Graham did not have anything resembling this level of trust in the masters of the plot.  So it is good to see what some years of imbibing plots will do for a young fellow's intellectual and temperamental development.

Tonight, it looked not so good for Kirk, McCoy, and especially Spock, who boldly set out in a hovercraft as the Enterprise was being drawn inexorably into the center of a 11,000 mile long energy-sucking amoeba, which was threatening to reproduce.  Luckily, Kirk thought of injecting some anti-matter into the chromosomal core of the thing, based on some analysis Spock had radioed, seemingly with one of his dying breaths.  Luckily, it worked, and everybody survived, and a hearty laugh was had by all.  But it was tense and, it must be owned, a little emotional.

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