Sybok invites “God” to share “God’s” pain
After “God” does some mighty smiting with lightning bolts from his eyes and disowns the notion of Sha Ka Ree, it shows itself to be a “God” Sybok has created in his own image. (You’ll remember, way back in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Will Decker says we all do.)
In these moments as “God,” Laurence Luckinbill finally gets to do the villainous scene-chewing he could have done but did not do as Sybok. All the more remarkable, “God” still speaks with George Murdock’s voice, even while wearing Sybok’s face, which means Luckinbill manages to convey all of the entity’s disdain for “these puny things”—Kirk, Spock, and McCoy—with broad facial work alone.
Realizing too late and repenting of his arrogance, Sybok gives our heroes the chance to get away by sacrificing himself in the only fitting way. “I couldn’t help but notice your pain,” he tells “God.” “It runs deep. Share it with me!” Not unlike Lazarus in “The Alternative Factor,” Sybok wrestles with this other version of himself, finally using the Vulcan mental powers he’s used throughout the movie to manipulate others for a noble end.
I will never argue The Final Frontier is a perfect Star Trek movie. I’d even agree with Ryan Britt that, in the final analysis, the film doesn’t really quite work. But Laurence Luckinbill is not to blame.
His nuanced, detailed, and thoughtful performance of Sybok is the best thing about the film, and the impression he made in the role is surely a major reason Strange New Worlds is taking the gamble of bringing Sybok back to the fore.