Sunday, November 28, 2004

Great Love Dialogue, #1

From the Star Trek (The Original Series) episode "The City on the Edge of Forever" (which also happens to be the single finest episode that any version of Star Trek has ever produced).

The set-up: In a medical accident, Dr. McCoy injects himself with some medication at a high enough dosage that it drives him insane. He beams down to a planet surface and, before Kirk and the rest of the landing party can stop him, flees through a portal into time called "the Guardian of Forever". After failing to contact the Enterprise, Kirk and Spock realize that somehow McCoy has changed history so that Starfleet never existed. They, too, go back in time to stop him -- and arrive in 1930s New York City, where in the course of identifying just what McCoy has done to screw things up, Kirk falls in love with a mission worker, Edith Keeler. One night, the two are out walking, and they have this exchange:

EDITH: Are you afraid of something? Whatever it is, let me help.

KIRK: "Let me help." A hundred years or so from now, a novelist will write a classic using that theme. He'll recommend those three words even over "I love you."

EDITH: Centuries from now? Who is he? Where does he come -- Where will he come from?

KIRK: Silly question. Want to hear a silly answer?


KIRK: A planet...circling that far left star in Orion's belt. See?

And he points to the sky.

It eventually turns out that Edith Keeler is the one who changes history: somehow McCoy keeps her from dying in an automobile accident, and she goes on to enable the Nazis to win World War II. Thus, to restore the correct order of the Universe, Kirk must allow the woman he loves to die. But I just wanted to point out that fine exchange of love dialogue from a simple scene set upon a city sidewalk.

(This is the first in what I plan to be an ongoing series of posts in which I simply offer fine bits of dialogue, either from films, television shows, or books, that center on the theme of love. As with "Exploring the CD Collection" and Move Over Britney!, this series will be sporadic. Hey, I told you I was feeling sappy these days.)

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