|Fandom:||Star Trek: The Original Series|
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
"Kirk has a head injury, we learn of his cruel, abusive mother. Kirk is unjured soon after Deneva, and while he is on sickleave with Spock his mother shows up to torment him."
Reactions and Reviews
['Wednesday's Child' and its sequel 'Bitter Circle' both by Debbie Bryant]: Instead of the cliched, grey haired, little old lady living on a farm in Iowa, here we have a Mrs. Kirk who is, end always has been, a bitch, notwithstanding her physical and emotional battering in the past, Kirk still wants her to love him. The relationship between Kirk and Spock is portrayed sympathetically but I'm not entirely happy with Kirk's inability to cope with the conflicting emotions evoked by his mother - however, I suspect the author established that Kirk was in a weakened state physically, so that we weren't treated to the sight of a command trained, starship captain falling apart at the seams because his mother doesn't love him. At any event, it was a novel approach to a normally rather hackneyed subject. 
Ms Bryant portrays Kirk’s mother as undeniably mean, with criminal intent and a history of child abuse. This is both unpleasant and unusual. But Spock’s reaction to the situation and his protectiveness of Kirk, without being solicitous, makes the read worthwhile. All the events take place during a period when Kirk is recuperating from a head injury and is in a great deal of discomfort. Enough, in fact, that I kept waiting for a medical crisis to strike. It never did, leaving that part of the storyline unresolved.
[comments on both "Bitter Circle" and "Wednesday's Child"]: Seeing Kirk's mother portrayed as mean, deceitful and abusive is discomforting to me. Yet, I am fully aware that overcoming such parental influence can create a strong and determined individual, so perhaps it is not so inconceivable after all. Both these stories deal with such a concept and are very interrelated, the latter being a sequel.
Kirk reacts much as any of us would to his mother's unexpected reappearance after many years. He is not happy she has come to take custody of his nephew Peter after Deneva and he is not pleased of this living reminder of unhappy times. The classic desire to please is most evident in spite of ail this. We always try much harder to win the favor of a parent who has withheld their love and acceptance and the writer makes this struggle very evident and painfully realistic.
Spock is supportive, even angry at times, but there is less interaction than most of us would like to find in such a situation. He wants to be protective but is ever-cognizant of his proper place in the exchanges between mother and son.
My instinct is to call the first story "not Kirk and Spock", but given these particular circumstances and this kind of family history, perhaps the reaction is not so difficult to understand. I would have liked to see Spock fiercely protective rather than maintaining his distance.There is not a great deal of what we expect from K/S in either of these entries. The second one deals with an injured Kirk, taking shore leave with Spock (a nice touch) to recover from a head injury. Mom shows up again to upset whatever might have been gained by the interlude, and this time Spock's instincts toward his t'hy'la are more evident. Again, it is an extremely uncomfortable ordeal and this time Kirk is not up to it physically. Hurt abounds, but comfort is not lacking. A lot of thought and soul dredging has gone into these stories and it shows in every line.