Thursday, July 10, 2008

Yet more pointless commentary on the original episodes of Star Trek

"The Corbomite Maneuver" Season 1, episode 10. This is a great early episode. Something is chasing the Enterprise to keep it from going about its mission. Amazingly Kirk wants to go around it and leave it alone until he can't. Mr. Bailey, a navigator before we ever encounter Chekhov, was a back-talking, yelling, scaredy-cat. And he is never seen again in Star Trek. Bones says Kirk must have "seen something in him" akin to Kirk eleven years ago, which is reminiscent of several characters in Trek episodes that Kirk likes to prod along. You just know that Bailey is going to blow up later in the episode, and you're right. Kirk's solution to the problem at hand is one of the best moves in all of Star Trek (and I think he has said it once before in a previously commented-upon episode, but for the life of me I can't remember which one now). Balok the alien says, "It was a pleasure testing you." Yet another super-entity with awesome technology that you wonder whatever happens to. Bailey ends up staying with Balok.

"Catspaw" Season 2, episode 7. What is up with Chekhov's hair in this one?? Was that the style when this was made? My God. In this episode, some guy named Jackson dies within the first minute after being beamed up from the surface of the planet. Some Mr. DeSalle is commanding officer--a guy seen once before in "This Side of Paradise." The cat becomes a woman and does her voodoo on the Enterprise, dangling an Enterprise pendant over a candle and causing the temperature to rise in it. Then, the bad aliens encase the ship in a force field block with a snap of the fingers. What power! And Kirk simply destroys the device. Some of these super-entities with limitless power get kind of boring.
"The Changeling" Season 2, episode 3. An attack out of nowhere and we find out it comes from NOMAD, a probe said to be launched in the early 2000s. (I love references to space time that never come to be--Lost in Space's Jupiter II was launched in 1997, Buck Rogers was frozen in the 1990s, Khan was ruler in the late 1990s after World War III [I find it remarkable that Roddenberry deemed World War III inevitable], in 2001 we are taking shuttles to the moon, etc.--But I digress.) "You are the Kirk, the Creator," NOMAD says, in a remarkable coincidence of the plotline of Star Trek: The Motion Picture with V'Ger (Voyager). NOMAD's prime purpose has been mixed with an alien probe, just like the movie. Bones gets to say, "He's dead, Jim" over Scotty's body. NOMAD easily "repairs" Scotty. Two guards get killed by NOMAD and then two more. All four are vaporized so they can't be miraculously repaired--why wasn't Scotty vaporized?
"This Side of Paradise" Season 1, episode 24. They travel to Omicron Seti III, an agricultural colony that is supposed to be dead from something called Berthold rays. Then this episode becomes a space version of that segment in The Odyssey entitled "The Lotus-Eaters." The colony is staying alive and drugged by plant spores. Spock knows one of the colonists, a girl named Layla, apparently a previous love interest. Spock is overtaken by emotion after ingesting the spores of the flower. Everyone becomes infected, all 430 of the ship's complement. Kirk is the only one immune, and if he had become infected, it would have been all over. Fascinating debate on whether ot take paradise or struggle. Kirk says,"Man stagnates if he has no ambition, no desire to be more than he is." Sandoval of the colony says, "We have what we need." Kirk replies, "Except the challenge!" Is it better to live in oblivious bliss if all your needs are met or struggle with independence? That DeSalle character is there.
"For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky" Season 3, episode 8. The Enterprise encounters a spaceship made into the center of an asteroid. It's on a collision course in a year and a half with a Federation planet. When Chekhov gives the heading of the asteroid, in numbers, Spock immediately, without consulting the computer, calculates that it will hit the planet in 300+ days (he gives the exact number but I forget). I didn't know Spock had all of the orbits of every planet in relation to the ship memorized, even in his Vulcan brain. It's like they didn't want to take the extra seconds to show Spock consulting a computer. They beam down and are, of course!, captured by the inhabitants, who are oblivious to the fact that it is in fact a spaceship. McCoy diagnoses himself with some rare illness without a cure, giving himself a year to live. Kirk then pimps out Bones to make moves on the High Priestess of Yonada, whom he marries in this episode, so Kirk and Spock can scout the asteroid. We find the asteroid comes from the planet of the Fabrini, whose sun went supernova 10,000 years ago and destroyed the solar system. What I don't understand is how Spock is so well versed on a people, a written language, and a solar system of a world that was destroyed 10 millenia ago. Sometimes Spock is just way too much of a walking encyclopedia. And why has this asteroid been flying for 10,000 years and still not reache its destination? That would put this Fabrini way out of Federation territory, especially in Kirk's time. And another miracle, Spock finds the cure for McCoy's uncurable disease in the Fabrini medical banks. McCoy and the High Priestess go their separate ways, however, Kirk says they can rendezvous in 390 days when the asteroid comes to the end of its journey. What happens to this woman?
"The Galileo Seven" Season 1, episode 16. This is one of those "Spock character" episodes. There is a Commissioner Ferris trying to get the Enterprise to rendezvous with another ship to get medicine for a plague to some colony. The rendezvous if five days away and it only takes three days to get there, so Kirk, in all his infinite wisdom, decides to play for a couple of days and send a scientific crew of seven to investigate a quasar. And, of course!, they get lost in space. There is, of course!, some kind of ion storm (a phrase that writers use to say, "OK, we need a plot complication that nobody can define! How about an ion storm!") that makes all the sensors on the Enterprise useless. So the shuttle crashes on type-M planet no less, and Spock is in command. You just love watching this one to see Kirk squirm, knowing he made a really stupid mistake. Mr. Boma, who we never see again in Star Trek, yells at Spock for his lack of emotion, driving home the Spock characterization of this episode. Mr. Latimer gets speared to death by the giant caveman-like indigenous inhabitants of the planet and Mr. Gaetano gets his phaser knocked from his hand by a thrown rock and then gets killed by the creature. (Yet it is amazing that all the other "thrown" spears look like they were thrown by wusses and wouldn't stick to the side of a barn.) Because of the lack of scanners on the Enterprise, Kirk launches another shuttlecraft, the Columbus, to investigate the planet. I guess he's not worried about losing another shuttle. At one point, Scotty says that in order to achieve orbit (he is with Spock on the planet in the downed shuttle), they'd have to lighten the load by 500 pounds. Spock says, "The weight of three grown men." Boma yells, "Who is to choose?" And I am sitting here wondering why they couldn't come back for a few men, but this was before the creatures were out there killing indiscriminately. Yet I am also wondering how ill-equipped a shuttlecraft must be. Wouldn't there be emergency supplies, phasers, force field generators, in case of accident? Another ensign of a search party, O'Neil, whom we do not ever see, is reported speared to death. How does a Starfeet landing party fall to cave-people with spears? Yet, surprisingly, this is an entertaining episode.
"Shore Leave" Season 1, episode 15. A strange episode, simply for the ramifications unto the Star Trek universe. An idyllic shore leave situation on a strange new world turns into a nightmare. Bones mentions Alice in Wonderland and then sees the rabbit and Alice in a rather goofy scene, even for Star Trek. We Trekkies can take badly costumed aliens, but throw in a white rabbit with a waistcoat and pocket watch shouting, "I'm late!" and we cringe. Kirk thinks about and then sees two people from his past, Finnegan and some girl named Ruth. (Another aside: How does Kirk manage to get another beautiful yeoman every other week? Why couldn't they stick around? Does Kirk engage in hanky-panky and the girls quit? Is that what happened to Yeoman Rand?) No matter how strange this episode, because as I sat there, I just couldn't help thinking of what would have happened if someone started thinking about naughty things, like when Bones is snuggling up to Yeoman Barrows. Bones ends up getting lanced to death by a knight ("I'm dead, Jim!"--Ha ha!). Kirk shoots the knight. A crewman named Angela gets shot by a warplane--do we ever find out her fate?--but Bones comes back as we find out this is an amusement planet, like a Star Trek Fantasy Island, where what you imagine comes true. That was at the end and it threw me--a planet that can make any fantasy come true? There would be wars fought over this planet! Better than a holodeck!

No comments: