They might not be related by blood, but the crew members of the USS Enterprise are pretty much family. They spend their days and nights together. They rely on each other in times of need. Heck, they even bring each other back to life. That's commitment. In Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, this makeshift family is torn asunder by its members' conflicted relationships with their real fams. Think Family Feud: Intergalactic Style. In the end, the crew members realize that the bonds they've built with each other are sometimes stronger than those they've left behind.
Although the specifics of McCoy's and Spock's relationships with their families differ, these families are similar to the extent that they both involve repressed feelings.
The opening and closing camping scenes are meant to depict the closeness of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, specifically its familial nature.
Forget Scientology—the cult of Sybok is the real sci-fi religion, if you ask the folks in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. A half-brother of Enterprise's very own Spock, Sybok abandons the hardcore logical fixation of his Vulcan people and turns instead to an intensely emotional brand of spirituality, the basic tenet of which is that all intergalactic faiths refer back to one core set of truths. Sybok sets out to prove his theory by voyaging to the center of the universe and straight up meeting God. Big plan. But will it come to fruition? Click on to find out, loyal Shmoopers.
The ultimate revelation that God is an impostor suggests that it is foolhardy to attempt to discover the true reality behind spiritual matters.
Though many of his beliefs are bizarre, Sybok's ideas about religious syncretism are valid in many ways.
The men and women of Enterprise have rough relationships with their pasts. In Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, we find out that "Bones" McCoy is haunted by difficult decisions he made when his father was deathly ill. Spock is tortured by the shame he felt when Vulcan peers bullied him for his human heritage. Even Kirk has bad stuff buried in his past, though he has no interest in sharing the specifics with us. One thing this film shows is that we all carry the weight of our pasts.
While Sybok thinks that the past must be fixed, Kirk believes that it must be learned from.
Although McCoy might not have fully made peace with his past, he has started down the road to recovery.
No one in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is exempt from suffering. (Heck, is anybody?) The colonists on Nimbus III suffer from politicians' manipulations and exploitation. McCoy and Spock suffer from pain in their pasts. Everyone's got something tough to deal with. Enter a weirdo Vulcan named Sybok, who claims he can help individuals unlock their immense potential by revealing their "secret pain" and giving them strength from it. But is suffering something any of us can escape?
Unlike Sybok, Kirk sees suffering as something to learn from, rather than something to erase.
Although Sybok can be criticized in many ways, his efforts to relieve others' suffering seem largely successful.