Warp Speed to Nonsense

Warp Speed to Nonsense

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Season 1, Episode 05: The Enemy Within

"The Enemy Within"
Production Number: 05
Air Order: 5
Stardate: 1672.1
Air Date: October 6, 1966

This time, we open on a planet surface set where the crew appears to be gathering samples to study. Supposedly, the "surface sets" are far more expensive to create than the on-ship sets, which is probably why the next two budget decisions were made. Sulu is holding a dog (I think it's a terrier) that's wrapped in orange fur and has a horn and two feeler things. This is the local fauna, apparently.

Hey, kids! Make your own TOS creature at home! Just buy one of these

and some straws (but not the bendy kind, because that would look ridiculous), and a few yards of neon-colored fur from your local craft store - the more Muppet-y it looks, the better. Attach the horn and straws to the top of your dog's head and wrap him/her in the fur. Voila! Your very own dog-thing from Planet Somethingorother.

The other budget-y thing is that one of the crew members gathering "ore" slips and cuts himself and his uniform is covered in yellow paint. It looks like someone literally dipped a paintbrush into a can of Road-Stripe Yellow paint and brushed a strip on either side of his chest. I guess buying powder was more expensive?

Kirk sends the crewman upstairs to get checked out by Bones, and Scotty struggles to get him transported up, as the beamer is hiccuping. It's a few minutes before Scotty can beam up the captain. When he's finally able to do it, Kirk stumbles off the pad, feeling weird. Scotty offers to accompany the captain back to his quarters, and Kirk tells him not to leave the transporter room unmanned, but Scotty replies that he'll only be gone for a second. Gee friends, when would this ever actually be a problem unless it was a plot device? It's like the over-used telephone situation, where one person is on the phone but repeats back to the unknown caller everything they just said so that the audience knows what's going down on the street. In fact, I don't think we even need that line between Scotty and Kirk, because as soon as they leave, the beam glows, and Evil Kirk steps off the transporter pad. How do I know he's evil? He's dramatically lit in an odd way, he's overly shifty-looking, and the music says that he'd like to steal candy from small children. All he's missing is a mustache to twiddle.

 Captain's Log 1672.11 The crew of the Enterprise was doing a specimen-gathering on Alpha 171 when the transporter malfunctioned. They have to get that shit fixed quick because the temps drop to below freezing at night, and pretty much their whole away team is stuck down there until they can fix the beams.

Good Kirk/Bad Kirk sequence: Good Kirk goes back to his cabin to lay down because he doesn't feel well. Bad Kirk goes into sick bay and demands Saurian brandy. Good Kirk does his homework. Bad Kirk terrorizes neighborhood pets. Good Kirk looks both ways. Bad Kirk runs out into traffic, causing several collisions and ruining perfect driving records and low insurance premiums.

Good Kirk is in his cabin, shirtless again. I'm pretty sure that's in his contract or something. Maybe Bill Shatner used to be a nipple model and they're trying to exploit his talents, like how Nichelle Nicholls sometimes sings on the show.

Anyway, Spock comes in and says that Bones tattled on Kirk for roughing up the doctor and taking all the booze like a little bitch. Kirk laughs and says that Bones is just screwing with Spock. The captain gets paged to the transporter room, where Scotty shows them two identical dog-things. The transporter beamed aboard one good dog and a one-headed Cerberus. "The landing party is fucked," says Scotty. They can't beam anyone on board unless they want an evil copy of everyone.

...um, hello? Shuttlecraft?

Just to make things easier for the viewer, the captain has donned a conveniently green wrap-around blouse so we can tell the Kirks apart. This green shirt appears at other times, but is never explained. It's like his "on vacation" shirt, because there are no official uniform markings, but I swear sometimes he wears it while on duty.

Yeoman Rand enters her quarters and attempts to fix her hair, but she fails miserably, as it remains in that basket-weave beehive thing. Evil Kirk jumps out and demands that they knock Federation-issued boots, then he forces and icky-looking awkward kiss on her. They struggle, and she scratches his face. The door opens, and the geologist from earlier (Fisher) is in the corridor. He runs to the intercom to page Spock, but Evil Kirk punches him first.

Spock fetches Good Kirk and tells him what Rand has accused him of, and that Saurian brandy was found in her room. A tearful Rand tells them and McCoy what happened, and that she was unsure, because, you know, he's the capatain, and she didn't want to get him into trouble. Kirk points out that she claims to have scratched him, yet there are no scratches on his face, and she gets confused. But then a roughed-up geologist Fisher comes in and corroborates her story. Everyone is confused but Spock, who says that the only logical answer is that there's an impostor on board. Yes, Spock. I suppose that when you're in a science-fiction drama, the only logical answer is that an impostor exists, and not that your captain is lying.

Captain's Log 1672.9 Temperatures on the surface are dropping and the away team is in danger. Hey, really? We hadn't noticed. I'm pretty sure at this point that log entries are just recaps for viewers who forget the whole plot during commercial breaks. "OMG, that was an amazing ad for Ovaltine! Wait - what was I watching again?"

So Good Kirk is starting to come off as indecisive and unsure. He snuggles the nice version of the dog-thing while talking to Spock. The Vulcan points out that when going after Evil Kirk, they can't kill him, because they have no idea what would happen. he then reminds GK that he doesn't have the luxury of appearing to be less than perfect to the crew. He must not appear wussy, indecisive, overweight, or with less than baby-butt smooth skin. He may never get a pimple, and must always be fit enough to stroll around the ship shirtless. No pressure, though.

1673.1 Good Kirk announces to the crew that there is an impostor on board, who can be identified by scratches on his face. He tells the crew to arm themselves, but to set their phasers to stun rather than kill. Evil Kirk hears the announcement and loses his shit. This is understandable. In his eyes, he is the captain, and now some spineless wimp is declaring himself captain instead? In an effort to make himself look more like Good Kirk, he uses make-up to cover the scratches on his cheek. Maybe he's beamed with it. Maybe it's Maybelline. Evil Kirk opens the door to find a crewman, whom he addresses by name. He tells the crewman to give him his phaser, and they make small talk before Evil Kirk knocks him the hell out.

The temperatures downstairs have reached twenty below. Some heaters were beamed down, but they duplicated and failed to turn on. The attack on the crewman is reported to Spock and Good Kirk. The science officer asks the half-captain where he would go if trying to evade a search. "Engineering," replies GK.

Down in Engineering, the two Kirks play Spy Versus Spy for a bit and Evil Kirk manages to blast a hole in some wiring. GK gives the other a speech about how they need each other to survive. EK starts to scream that he doesn't need Good Kirk, but then Spock rolls up from behind and drops him with a nerve pinch. And that's how they get things done on Vulcan, bitch.

Back in sick bay, Spock waxes poetic about the fact that here was proof that both light and dark sides are needed to survive. He surmises that Good Kirk has become an indecisive wuss because the leadership traits belong to Evil Kirk.

Sulu reports that it's now 40 below. he and the away team huddle under a blanket and he asks if the Enterprise can find a long rope to lower down a pot of coffee or some sake. Dude is probably dying of hypothermia, and he's cracking jokes. Given his penchant for humor, I have to wonder if George Takei wrote any of his own lines. You're pretty much the coolest guy on this ship, Sulu.

Meanwhile, back in Engineering... Scotty has discovered that the wiring that Evil Kirk blasted was running the transporter. Of course it was. ETA on that repair: a whole flipping week.

Good Kirk makes a rather emo log, and Sulu checks in again. 75 below, and he's using hand phasers to heat rocks. He makes a joke about ski season. You know, I'd really like to see the spin-off where Sulu is captain. I would so sign up for that mission. Hell, as long as we're making Christmas lists, I'd like a Doctor Who Christmas crossover special, where George Takei is the companion.
"Where is the heading, Doctor?"
"Not where, Georgie, but when."

 Evil Kirk is dying. Good Kirk takes his hand and gives him the Jack-and-Rose-on-the-raft speech about not letting go. It's a very tender moment for those who ship Kirk with himself. Scotty pages Good Kirk to the transporter room, saying that he's fixed the problem (one week, my ass, Scotty). They decide to knock out the evil dog-thing and send them both through on the same pad. But when they beam them back, only one dead dog-thing returns. They surmise that it died of shock.

1673.1 Spock makes this log, and it's just another recap. "Spock here, everything's the same, life sucks right now, and we're all SOL. More to come!"

Bones plans to do an autopsy on the dog-thing to find out if it really died of shock, or if it was the transporter. he wants some better answers before sending Jim through. Spock wants to finish the repairs to the transporter and risk sending the captains through. Kirk laments on what to do, then decides to do both. Come on, dude. It took the little Mexican girl in the taco shell commercial less time to make decisions.

Deciding that they should both get on the transporter pad, Good Kirk unstraps Evil Kirk from the sick bay bed. EK is nice to him for all of three seconds, then drops the act, and they struggle. Holy crap, Bill struggles a lot in this series. So far, he is always shirtless, wearing ripped clothing, or struggling with someone. I may start keeping track.
Evil Kirk knocks out Good Kirk, and he grabs a green blouse from the captain's quarters so that they look more alike. Running into Yeoman Rand in the corridor, he tells her about the double and how "he scratched my face to make us look alike." An uncomfortable Rand agrees to see him in her cabin later to talk about it.

 He makes his way to the bridge, announces that the away team is toast anyway, and tells the helmsmen to leave. The bridge crew protests, but Evil Kirk tells them to go fuck themselves. Good Kirk enters the bridge and Evil Kirk freaks out, saying that he's going to kill Good Kirk, and that he just wants to live, dammit! The crew seems uncertain as to which one to grab. *sigh* Grab them both, idiots. They're both going to the same place. There's another struggle, and EK gets a hypo to the neck.

In the transporter room, both Kirks get onto the pad, and Good Kirk holds Evil Kirk in a warm embrace, as though they're slow-dancing. No seriously, why do more people not ship K/K?

Spock beams them down and back again, with only one returning. He steps off the pad and booms a command to beam the others on board. Bones remarks that but for a little frostbite, he's sure that the away team will be fine.

So... the guys on the surface have been down there for hours, and this is the first mention of frostbite, despite the fact that that was my first thought. Sulu's last check-in reported that two guys were already unconscious. How have they not all died from exposure by now? Are they really trying to convince me that the technology has advanced so far that their PJ-like uniforms and those thin blankets were keeping them warm enough in temperatures that are twice as low as the lowest temps on Mt Everest? Give me my money back - I'm not buying it.


So, setting aside this week's theme of yin-yang/light and dark, an idea sprouts that has since been explored in other science fiction, that of "what happens to The Other?" On the bridge, Evil Kirk yells that he wants to live, and views the rejoining of Good Kirk as a death for himself. He will cease to be as he knows himself, and will be blended back together with Good Kirk to just become Kirk. This "what about me?" idea has been looked at in other mediums and shows, including another Star Trek (Next Gen), where a transporter accident splits Riker into two parts: one that made it back onto the ship, and one that was beamed back onto the now-unmanned station on a planet's surface. Secure in the knowledge that they had Riker on board, the ship leaves, and the other Riker is stranded for some 8 years before being discovered by the Enterprise. In this case, both Rikers are full people, simply created twice by the transporter, and both have full memories of those 8 years. Those years have had their effect on each, and while one continues his career with Starfleet, the other becomes a rebel. In this case, they are not two halves of the same person, but two separate people. There is no talk of splicing them back together again, and the rebel (who changed his name to Thomas) is allowed to go about his business. In another example that I am familiar with, companion Amy Pond falls out of  time sync with her husband Rory and The Doctor while at a medical facility. When they try to rescue her, they find that they have both the Amy that they just left, and an Amy who has lived at the facility, battling euthanasia robots, for a whopping 38 years. The problem here is that if they rescue the Amy who has just entered the facility, they essentially destroy Amy 38. She refuses to help them and requests that they take her with them when they rescue Amy 0. Again, the question is, what happens to that very real person with the very real experiences who wishes to keep on living that way? Do you force them into obsolescence? How will things be altered if left alone?
In this episode of TOS, it is made clear that both halves require each other to live, because the basis is the philosophical idea of a person being made of good and bad, light and dark, and a necessity of balance. Spock insists that he is similar, being made of human and Vulcan parts, and that his intelligence triumphs over both, allowing him to live with his two warring halves.
But sometimes the answer to this question is less clear than "let's put them back together". In the Doctor Who episode, taking Amy 0 back into the TARDIS and not Amy 38 really would wipe out 38's existence. She will have ceased to exist, as well as the memories of things that she had lived through in her years of existing first as Amy 0, then as Amy 38. She pleads her case to Rory and The Doctor, stating that she wants to live.
I suppose that this is not really a problem with a straight-forward answer. It really does depend on the circumstances - can one live without the other? If yes, then what are the other implications of allowing there to be two separate versions of that person? It is not as though they were twins and began life as two people. Both persons were one at some point, and split. It seems as though the passage of time makes a difference.

Okay, sorry for that brief philosophical interruption. I blame it on this week's tea, "Courtesan's Blend" from the Firefly collection by Friday Afternoons (www.fridaytea.com). It's an oolong, with clove, cinnamon, and vanilla flavors, lovely as both a hot tea and a cold one, but a touch too light to be used in a mixed drink, as it would probably be overpowered by the alcohol taste. You can find it listed under Geeky Blends.

1 comment:

  1. You might be interested in how season 3 of Farscape approached the "what happens to the Other" scenario when John Crichton got "twinned" - neither was a clone, and neither was the original, and both had serious issues accepting the other.