Sybok is eager to please the God Thing
George Murdock as the glowing face of the most stereotypical, unimaginative image of God that Western civilization has to offer—the bearded old man in the sky—is the lowest of The Final Frontier’s several low points. (Although Uhura’s fan dance on Nimbus III comes close.)
To his credit, Laurence Luckinbill acts the heck out of Sybok finally seeing face to face (with apologies to St. Paul). He walks toward “God” unsteadily, with arms outstretched, as though a child taking first steps toward a parent.
And he responds to each of “God’s” questions about the Enterprise’s journey through the Galactic Barrier (the inner one, not the outer one) with childlike earnesty and eagerness to please. He pours out wide-eyed adoration: “We sought only your infinite wisdom!” And he quickly and enthusiastically volunteers the Enterprise to be the entity’s “chariot”—thus setting up William Shatner to deliver The Final Frontier’s most famous line, and as fine a bit of iconoclasm as James T. Kirk has ever done.
In this scene, Luckinbill plays Sybok as completely entranced by and absorbed in his vision of “God.” The affection Sybok feels toward this “God Thing” (apologies this time to Gene Roddenberry himself) and his desire to make it happy add to the pathos of Sybok’s now almost-upon-us fate.