Warp Speed to Nonsense

Warp Speed to Nonsense

Monday, October 7, 2013

Season 1, Episode 12 "Miri"

Production Number: 12
Air Order: 8
Stardate: 2713.5
Original Air Date: October 27, 1966

A well-placed warning: there's some tastefully-painted nudity in this blog. If you're not already scrolling through to see it right away, let it be known that I'm placing this as a buffer for those who swoon, the back of the hand draped dramatically across the forehead, at the very thought of being partially-clothed. It's also for the benefit of mothers who watch over the teenage son's shoulder as he surfs the internet. You can't send me an angry email about how I tainted your kid's innocent mind with a painting that one could find in any museum, because I let you know ahead of time that it would be there. Nyah-nyah.

 But I'm also assuming that if you read this blog with any kind of regularity that you probably couldn't care less, seeing as how you've been forced, through countless screencaps, to look at William Shatner's nipples.


In the opening scene of this week's episode, the crew is analyzing an old earth-style distress signal coming from a planet nearby. Kirk is surprised because no Earth-based colonies or vessels are supposed to be out that far. Spock reads off a bunch of specs about the planet that you're probably not paying attention to, because why the hell do we care how much the planet weighs? But apparently everyone on the bridge is a damn genius and has those specs memorized, because when he finally reads that the atmosphere is oxygen-nitrogen, everyone gasps.
"Earth!" says Rand. (Why the hell is she even on the bridge?)
"Not Earth," corrects Kirk. "Another Earth."
I can't wait to see how they explain that one.

Um, that's North America, dude. Pretty sure that's our blue marble.

Captain's Log 2713.5: The Enterprise has stumbled upon a "duplicate Earth" way the hell out in the intergalactic boonies.
Kirk decides to beam down after receiving no answer to repeated hails. That seems a tad reckless, but it's Kirk - what'd you expect?
So here's our landing party: Kirk, who has to be at the center of everything; Spock the science officer (makes sense); McCoy the doctor (makes sense); two red shirts for phaser fodder (makes sense); and Rand. WTH? Were they afraid that they'd get bad coffee service on the surface?

Kirk is astounded that the landing coordinates appear to be Earth in the 1960's. (Knowing what the budget was like, none of the audience is surprised. It's a little like the joke about the TARDIS being able to go anywhere in time or space, but always ending up in present-day London. Or how the scenes on desert-like planets in no way resemble the areas surrounding Los Angeles. I really have to wonder if the original script called for the planet to be 1960's Earth or if they changed it to match the fact that they could rent a city set nearby. No way they had the budget to build this set.) Looking around at the abandoned buildings and empty streets, Spock suggests that the inhabitants of this planet are dead and that the distress signal was set on repeat.
They stumble upon a rusty, broken tricycle in a pile of dirt and trash, and just as McCoy is examining it, a crazy blond dude runs out and attacks him, yelling "Mine!" Of course Kirk beats the shit out the new guy. While the dude lies on the ground sobbing about how the trike is broken, Spock scans him and announces that he's humanoid (we hadn't noticed), and Kirk sums up that duh moment by saying that this guy is an adult with the mind of a child. Meanwhile, useless Rand hides behind Bones.

The crazy guy has a seizure and dies. Bones scans him and says that the guy's system seems to indicate that he aged 100 years in a few minutes. He has the sensitivity to refer to the blond guy as "it".
There's a very quiet noise and they all jump up and run toward it. They break into a house that's clearly been trashed and abandoned, and Spock reports that the piano is registering on his equipment as being 300 years old. In the closet they discover a girl of about 13 who begs them not to hurt her. They assure her they won't, but I'm with her; don't point a phaser at me and tell me you're my friend, dude. Kirk orders Spock and the red shirts to look for more life or a reason for a lack thereof.
Kirk sits the girl down to talk to her, and she seems surprised that they don't know what has happened on this planet. She refers to them as "grups", which Rand translates into "grown-ups".

The girl says that the adults went nuts ("killing, burning, hurting") before getting sick and dying. Bones guesses that a plague occurred. Kirk asks her name, and she replies that it's Miri. He tells her that's a pretty name for a pretty girl, in a voice he usually reserves for waxing poetic about the ship or talking about flesh women.
Meanwhile, Spock and the red shirts are playing hide and seek with certain someones that we are prevented from seeing through the use of plot devices. But because the away team isn't creeped out enough, the mysterious people hunting them sing nyah-nyah in little kid voices. They report back to Kirk that the planet seems to be inhabited by children they never see. Thinking there might be records of what happened to the grown-ups there, Kirk asks Miri if she'll take them to the hospital. She agrees and he touches her chin with his hand. But then she sees a blue scab on him and freaks out, saying he's got the thing that killed the adults.

Kirk's Log 2713.6: They go to the hospital, where the distress signal originated from, and discover that everyone on the away team has the blue blotches, with the exception of Spock. McCoy uses the hospital lab to take tissue samples from all of them, then requests that the Enterprise beam down more equipment. Some Dude Who is Not Uhura tells Kirk that he can beam down more personnel to help them, but Kirk replies that they can't risk more people getting sick. Not Uhura points out that Kirk could get too sick to run things, but Kirk brushes him off. Not Uhura has a point, which is why you shouldn't be heading away teams, Captain Dumbass. 
Another Log: The equipment Bones beamed down will work in conjunction with the Enterprise's computers. McCoy's illness is spreading more quickly than the others'.
Reading through old medical files, the team discovers that 300 years earlier the adults attempted to figure out a way to prolong life but contracted this disease instead. Spock surmises that the body's systems are different before puberty and that's why none of the kids have the disease. Rand points out that Miri is on the cusp of puberty, which is why she's got a crush on the captain. That doesn't explain why Rand keeps throwing herself into his arms, but whatever.
Kirk asks Miri to clean off a desk for him in a "Cool story, babe. Go make me a sandwich" tone, and I vomit a little in my mouth. Don't you dare go Lolita on me, Kirk. I will dump your ass and watch Dragnet instead.

According to calculations, the Life Prolongation Project set to out to make the inhabitants only age one month for every 100 years. Which means that Miri is geriatric. Kirk takes Miri by the hand and leads her off to get some answers while Rand seethes with jealousy.
We switch over to the kids' clubhouse, and it appears that this gang of Lost Boys is lead by Jahn, who is probably supposed to be 13 or 14, but looks about 30. It was really bugging me so I hopped over to IMDB. Dude was 27 here. Seems he convinced producers to give him the part because his baby face made him look younger. No, buddy. You look like a 30-year-old with a baby face. It's like the woman who played Andrea on 90210: "Yeah, she's 30, but she looks 17." No... no, she doesn't.

He also looks like he'd make a good Sweathog.

So Jahn tells the others that the grups (away team) talk to each other with little boxes, and that the best way to separate said grups from the ones in the sky is steal those little boxes. Then they'll be alone on the surface. They see Miri and Kirk outside, heading for the clubhouse, and they hide. But when Kirk and Miri go inside, they aren't attacked by the kids. They're attacked by a deranged teenage girl who has the plague. Kirk struggles with her, then stuns her with his phaser, but she dies instead of being knocked out. Miri tells Kirk that this girl was just a little older than herself.

She's looking for a prom date.

Back at the lab, Miri is given busy-work while the away teams talks. They estimate that she has 5-6 weeks left. Bones is screwed the most because he is the oldest. Spock is a carrier. Kirk, Rand and the red shirts have a week.
Kirk's Log: They are on day two of seven.
Bones finds a record that the adults attempted to bombard the cells of a living person with a series of viruses in order to extend life. Trying to keep their young charge in the dark, Rand is asked to take Miri for a walk. With her translation of the word grup and this new walk assignment, this brings Rand's constructive additions to this away mission up to a grand total of two. Kirk requests that Bones pull a vaccine out of his ass. Suddenly, they hear the nyah-nyah song and the OT3 goes running, looking for the source, and completely missing the fact that they've been duped. Jahn sneaks into the lab and steals the communicators, upping the drama of the plot and ensuring that, without the help from the E's computers, the vaccine will be created within seconds of the away team's deaths.

Kirk's Log, 2717.3: Three days left. Just to make sure that everyone is super-ultra-mega-fucked, they estimate that the kids will run out of food within a month. What? How the hell did they feed themselves for 300 years? Did the grups have a miraculous amount of food set aside to feed the kids for this long? Really, if you're going to suggest an implausible thing like kids living on their own for 300 years, why bring up plausible issues? For that matter, how did these kids survive 300 winters without dying of exposure?
So the away team is slowly losing their minds, getting pissed off at every little thing. Kirk walks by Rand and knocks a bottle out of her hand just to be a dick. She screams "NO!" and runs from the room, a perfect example of the phrase "well, that escalated quickly". Kirk goes after her and Miri decides to eavesdrop on them.
A sobbing Rand shows Kirk the big blue scab below her collarbone. She cries that she used to try to get him to look at her legs and begs him to do so now, even though at least part of this conversation could be construed as sexual harrassment. He does so hesitantly to find a blue plague mark on her upper thigh, which she quickly covers with her hand, which also has a plague mark. Look. Don't look. Sounds like entrapment to me. Then she hugs him. He awkwardly pats her on the back, knowing what he's doing could be construed as cheating on his old lady, the Enterprise.

Bones yells that he's got something and Kirk bolts the hell away from Rand and a possible lawsuit. In the lab, Bones says that he miscalculated and there's a chance that they can use that old disease to make a vaccine. Kirk partially hugs Rand in excitement and Miri's eyes go green.

In the clubhouse, Miri hatches a plan to the kids. She's going to tell Rand that one of the kids has fallen and hurt himself, then they can kidnap her. She thinks Kirk will go after Rand and they can kidnap him, too. One kid, in response, seems to suggest bashing in their prisoners' skulls with a hammer. Kid, there is no way your hammer will come anywhere near the bones in Rand's head with three feet of teased beehive in the way. Miri looks apprehensive, but probably figures if she gets Rand out of the way, the other kids will let her have Kirk and they can live happily ever after in a pink Lisa Frank castle. With ponies and rainbows.

The kid in the blue-patterned shirt seems to think everything should be bashed with a hammer. I think he should be introduced to a Neural Neutralizer.

We go back to the lab where Bones has a vaccine ready, but no dosage. Rand is already missing. Kirk knows Miri knows something, but she isn't spilling. They have hours left to get the comms back to see if the vaccine is correct. He decides that the best way to get her to cooperate is to rip the Band-Aid off and tell Miri that she has weeks to live. She yells that it's not true, and Kirk shows her the spot on her arm where a blue plague spot has formed. How convenient. And quizzical - she never bothered to look at her own arm?
The kids are at the old school with Rand when Miri and Kirk come in. He tries to convince the kids to give him the comms, to no avail. They encircle him, singing nyah-nyah in a sort of Children of the Corn way, then they beat the crap out of him. When he gets up bloody, he points out that the kids have now become like the grups they so despised, the ones who "hurt". He rips the sleeves on his shirt to show them his plague marks. Seeing as how his shirt wasn't ripped in that fight, I supposed it need to happen this way instead.

In the lab, Bones is losing his shit. He thinks they should try the vaccine without waiting for the comms to return. Spock insists that they wait. I should like to point out that Spock is in no immediate danger. He's pretty much the pointy-eared Typhoid Mary. He leaves to find Kirk and Bones takes the opportunity to inject himself. Apparently, it sucks. A lot. He screams Spock's name (though not in the way that shippers would like) and collapses. The science officer comes running.
The captain bursts in with the comms and a crowd of children who are all looking at him like he's the Messiah. Kirk goes to Bones, and through the miracle of time-lapse photography, we see that he is healed with only three hours left to go.

Miri smiles like she's still day-dreaming about that Lisa Frank castle, but we know that Kirk has been playing both her and Rand this whole episode. He's hugged both of them several times, and was encouraged to dabble briefly in pedophilia in order to save the away team. But it can never be with either of them, as the Enterprise is clearly Kirk's bottom bitch.

With two minutes left in the episode, Kirk tells Bones and Rand that "Space Central" has been contacted. (Really? "Space Central"? You're really go gonna with that? Kinda cartoonish, but whatever. It's your party.) Teachers and medical personnel are being sent to the planet. Rand tells Kirk that Miri really loved him, and he replies that he never gets involved with older women. Ba-dum-tiss.

So... I guess they weren't interested in explaining how a planet that's an exact copy of Earth was found out in the middle of nowhere. Are they aliens? Humans? Was it AU?
Also, how is it possible that half of the away team was dressed in red shirts, yet none of them was offed? This would have been a perfect time to kill Rand. She's wearing red and had no discernible business on that away mission. But no: we get stuck with her for another half-season. Blargh. There's nothing worse than the continued existence of a character you dislike.
Speaking of the yeoman, this is the second Rand-heavy episode we've had in this season so far. In both cases, she's put on a pedestal like she's something awesome to behold. All of the guys seem to lust after her. I'm baffled. Frankly, she pales in comparison to Uhura, which begs the question: WTF? Why would one go after Rand when there's a goddess sitting at the communications console? Not just a goddess, but a badass to boot! Yes, I know: it was 1966, and you were not supposed to look twice at a girl who wasn't white. Screw that. Don't put awesomeness on the bridge every week (barring this week for whatever reason), then point out Rand and say "that girl is the pretty one". Is she pretty? Yes. Is she a goddess? Hell no. Rand is a whiner and a bitch. She hides behind curmudgeonly doctors and throws herself at Kirk. Uhura flirts with Spock, but it's in the breakroom when they're off-duty. And it's proven that she's got a talent - girlfriend can sing. Who is the better candidate for Ship Goddess?

Damn straight, it's Uhura.

(This is Venus (Uhura) by Isabel Samaras. Why are you still reading this blog? Go look at her work! It's brilliant. There's a bit more Star Trek, but lots of other television characters from the 60's and 70's painted in Old Master-styles.)

So my friend Teacup treated me to Chinese food tonight, and of course I had tea with dinner. (Really, it seems strange to me that anyone would order anything else to go with Chinese food - they bring you a pot of tea for free, people!) I sort of like those little Plain Jane metal pots that they bring it in, and those tiny ceramic cups without handles. My friend watched me add sugar to my cup, and expressed incredulity that I would do such a thing. I like my tea to be sweet, I explained. Roomie has a thing for German rock sugar, which she buys in a refillable glass jar from Teavana. 
Teacup watched me down the first cup, then pour another and add more sugar. "I don't know if there's a Chinese word for gringa," she said, "but if there is, you're it."

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