Study Guide

Star Trek: The Motion Picture Inside V'Ger

Inside V'Ger

Spock's journey deep into the heart of V'Ger is the trippiest sci-fi sequence outside of 2001: A Space Odyssey. And that's saying something: 2001 features giant space babies.

Magical Mystery Tour

Our favorite Vulcan's first stop is a series of holographic images of V'Ger's past. We see the machine planet where it was given a second life. We see planets and stars and nebulas. We see V'ger's entire galaxy-spanning journey in its full glory.

If we think about this area as V'Ger's brain, then we're left with the conclusion that V'Ger isn't so different from us after all. Like humans, it creates an identity out of experiences.

The real piece de resistance, however, is the giant "Ilia" that Spock mind-melds with at the end of the tunnel. This raises some interesting questions. Why is Ilia so important to V'Ger? Are Ilia and V'Ger the same person now? And did Spock get way too little sleep and start hallucinating? These questions, ultimately, are left unanswered.

Logic < Emotion

In fact, our biggest takeaway is Spock's confusion upon emerging from the belly of the beast. Take a look:

SPOCK: I saw V'Ger's planet, a planet populated by living machines. Unbelievable technology. V'Ger has knowledge that spans this universe. And, yet, with all this pure logic, V'Ger is barren, cold—no mystery, no beauty. I should have known.

KIRK: Known? Known what? Spock, what should you have known?

[Spock takes Kirk hand.]

SPOCK: This simple feeling is beyond V'Ger's comprehension. No meaning, no hope, and—Jim—no answers. It's asking questions. Is this all I am? Is there nothing more?

Although we've noted some similarities between V'Ger and us oxygen-breathers, Spock is left with a resounding sense of how different we are. For all its intelligence and uber-advanced technology, V'Ger lacks the capacity to feel.

That's a huge deal, as it explains why V'Ger is so eager to merge with its creator and find out if there's something more to life than all of this meaningless data.

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