Our imagination does not impose mortality. That’s why Sherlock Holmes comes back from Reichenbach Falls, Superman does not really die at the hands of Doomsday, and Spock, well he overcomes the wrath of Khan.
The real world though is different. No matter how loved you are, you still die. And there is no way for your character to be retconed or brought back, much though the fans might clamor and plead.
That’s just the way of the world.
So goodbye Leonard Nimoy. Goodbye First Officer Spock.
I know what you will say. That Spock still lives. That he does, in the JJ Abrams reboot and the countless re-reboots that will inevitably follow, for Spock is imaginary and popular and makes money for studios, with the last definitely guaranteeing the character’s immortality. However so perfect was Nimoy’s realization of Spock, from the arched eyebrow to the superior smirk, that, for me and I suppose countless others, he became the character, and while there may be many more actors down the line who will become Spock, the connect has somehow been broken, almost as if the transporter malfunctioned and the Spock that has materialized on the platform is not the one that was beamed down.
When I first started watching Star Trek, decades ago, Spock immediately became my favorite.
He had pointed ears. He could bring down men with a pinch on their shoulders. He could meld minds. He didn’t get horny much but when he did, he could kill for it. He bled blue. He calculated probabilities in his mind. He could beat you in 3D chess. And in a bare knuckles brawl.
He was way too cool.
Then as I was drawn into the world of the Trek, I realized who he was.
The real hero of Star Trek.
He was the real smarts behind the operation. Face it, left to Kirk, the Enterprise would have become cosmic flotsam years ago. I like Kirk a lot too but he was a horrible captain most of the time, whose solution for the problems of the galaxy was either killing or bedding the lifeform in front of him. It was Spock who cock-blocked Kirk when required, which was often, and held him back and shepherded him through one crisis after another, while standing back at his science-officer’s console at moments of success, letting the good captain be the glory-hound. He was brave, putting the needs of everyone else over his own. And he was the best friend a man could have. Why, when Kirk’s persona got split at the transporter, it was he who had declared, when no one on the Enterprise believed it, (perhaps for the behavior of the evil rapacious Kirk was not too dissimilar from the captain they knew), “I think we have an imposter on board”, such was his faith in his friend and captain.
As I grew older and became more immersed in the deep SF themes of Star Trek, I grew to love him more, for it was he who was the most human of all the characters, the struggle between his Vulcan (that he got from his father) and his human side (that he got from his mother) capturing one of the fundamental conflicts of the human condition, that between cold hard reasoning and irrational emotion, between the head and the heart.
And it was Leonard Nimoy’s masterful portrayal that made Spock Spock. He could not shout “Khaaaaannnn”. He could not show emotion. Because then he would be “out of character”.
Yet, and this was a testament to his craft, he could still bring out Spock’s vulnerability, his deep love for his friends and for the universe at large, and the defining conflict of his character in a way that, even after watching countless reruns, inspires awe.
It’s acting of a kind we will never see again. Because Leonard Nimoy is no more.
Or maybe I am wrong.
If there is anything that Star Trek has taught me it’s that our mind must always be open to alternate possibilities and that our imagination, like space, has no final frontier.
Maybe he is somewhere in the great beyond, in this universe or another, tricorder slung to the side, analyzing, understanding and feeling.
Maybe we shall meet again some time in the future.
Till then, dear sir, here is the Vulcan salute.
I have been, and shall always remain, your fan.
11 thoughts on “Goodbye Leonard Nimoy”
iMac with Retina 5k display 😛
Nothing indicates the passage of time and the coming of the autumn of life than the passing away of idols from the days of growing up when we were forming who we are. Spock was the uber cool to a generation – he was the one holding the Enterprise together. We all knew Kirk was not really upto it – how could he be for he was a human like us and subject to all the failings of the flesh. We knew Kirk was going to screw it up and he did not disappoint us. But we also knew Spock was there to save the day and the crew – Uhura, Sule et al.
The original Star Trek was made in a more innocent age where the focus was on story and character rather than special effects. I am already dreading the Abrams reboot for it is likely to be Transformers in Space – CGI explosions galore! The debates between Spock and Dr McCoy was great writing – it was the conflict between emotion and reason.
Vale Leonard Nimoy. Dif-tor heh smusma.
The original Star Trek TV series was made when there was no meaningful special effects, especially for TV shows. So focus would have to be on story & character. Also, there have been two JJ Abrams’ versions of Star Trek made already, & one of them even had a cameo by Nimoy, As a Star Trek fan, I thought they were quite good.
I have not watched Star Trek and am only a little familiar with the characters but this was a touching tribute that came straight from your heart.
I am a big fan of Spock as portrayed by Nimoy too. I felt the pang of sadness when I got the news of his demise. But I feel you are a little unfair in your assessment of Kirk. Kirk and Spock complemented each other wonderfully and that made the original Star Trek so enthralling despite it’s primitive sets and makeup. There were episodes where Kirk saved the day with his quick and out-of-the-box thinking.
I tagree with Greatbong. At school, all of us were Spock or the character that gets bumped or fooled. No one wanted to be Kirk, No one became Kirk, Sulu, maybe, Chekov, maybe but never Kirk. Because well, Kirk was just another character with a few nuances while Spock; Spock is special. Dif-tor heh smusma. Leonard Nimoy
I would like to see how Sheldon ‘Bazinga’ Cooper reacts to Leonard Nimoy’s death.
I wonder as human beings how far we are from achieving a certain level of virtual immortality.
Virtual immortality, because our flimsy bodies may perish, but maybe there will be someway to download our minds, including our rational thinking and emotions into some server, wherein our individual personality would survive without a physical manifestation. This is not saving up our knowledge or even wisdom, passively waiting to be called upon, as required, by our descendants, that has been the boon of mankind and perhaps their greatest advantage over other animals for millennia ever since we learnt to make cave paintings, developed language and evolved oral traditions. No, I mean a more active, self powered role, where we would be heard, regardless of the demand or absence thereof of our voices by those who are still among the physically living, conceptually similar to our ability to be heard while we ourselves were among the living.
Maybe as virtual personalities, while we would be unable to manipulate our hands and legs, for they would cease to exist, perhaps we may be able to manipulate the opinions, thoughts and maybe actions of those that do have a physical manifestation at the time.
A certain level of immortality because, I cannot get my head around the noise of billions and billions of virtual humans co – existing with billions of physical humans. All with free will, the latter further blessed with the physical abilities. So perhaps this would be an immortality available to an elite, either an intellectual elite or a financial elite or perhaps both.
A virtual immortality, where Leonard Nimoy, if he so chose, could blog about the Star Trek movie in general and Spock in particular, to be released in say 2060, regardless of whether anyone asked him for his views or not.
Good Bye Mr. Spock. May your Soul rest in Peace. Vulcan Salute to you Sir…
Great tribute GB…read this one today finally.
great thoughts from Argumentative Indian too…this may just be possible in future who knows
what sort of moderation do you have…cant see my comment