Star Trek

Star Trek

Monday, October 28, 2013

Season 1, Episode 15 "Court Martial"

"Court Martial"
Production Number: 15
Air Order: 20
Stardate: 2947.3
Original Air Date: February 2, 1967

Kirk's Log, 2947.3 The Enterprise was caught in a bad ion storm that half-destroyed the ship and left one crewman dead, so Kirk has decided to make a pit stop at Starbase 11 for repairs.
Look at this starbase, you guys. It looks so Jetsons that I'm actually trying to see if I can re-write that theme song with Star Trek characters. "Meet James Ki-irk. First Mate Spah-ock. Doctor Mic-Coy. Sulu, helmsman." Hmm, I don't remember the song being that short, but whatever. Command Gold star to you if you sang it. Two if you sang it out loud and someone looked at you funny.


Kirk is in Commodore Stone's office doing some BS paperwork. I'm pretty sure this is one of the only shows that I've seen that acknowledges the fact that no matter how far one travels in the universe, there will always be a bureaucracy that makes you file BS paperwork for every adventure you have. Personally, I'd like a peek at Kirk's reports. "Did something reckless and trashed the ship again. Ran out of red shirts, so I'll pick some up later at the nearest starbase."
Our intrepid captain is wearing his green blouse again and - WTF? The commodore is a red shirt? How is that even possible?


Kirk seems weirded out about filing paperwork on the late lieutenant-commander Finney, which seems strange because he should be used to it by now, having to fill out these papers at the end of every episode. But then he states to the commodore that he "had to jettison the pod". Ah, it's directly his fault this time.
Spock beams into the commodore's office. (The commodore ranks his own private transporter pads? Swanky!) The first officer has the records from the incident on the ship, and just as the commodore puts the tape in to examine it, the door slides open and a girl of maybe 13 comes in, wearing a dress that can only be described as Intergalactic Little Orphan Annie.

It's pronounced "Jamie".

She's Jame Finney, daughter of the deceased lieutenant-commander, and she screams at Kirk that he murdered her father. Kirk protests that they were friends, and Spock escorts her out before the commodore informs Kirk that the computer says something different from his paperwork. "Damn, son. You're about to be court martialed."
Kirk's Log 2948.5: The Enterprise is in orbit over Starbase 11, being repaired. Kirk seems to think he's not going to lose his job, even though the commodore said he was pretty much screwed.
Kirk and Bones go into the starbase bar, and I know there's a joke in there somewhere, but it's not presenting itself. Kirk greets some old friends but they tell him to get bent. They're clearly with Jame, and blame Kirk. He gives them the finger and storms out. A girl who is supposed to be hot walks in wearing the most distracting dress ever. Whenever the dressers on this show try to mix 60's psychedelia with "new-fangled futuristic", the result seems to be shapeless, unflattering, and weird.

I think it's pronounced somewhere between "Ariel" and "Areeeel".

Bones tries to hit on her, and she says she's Areel Shaw, an old friend of Kirk's. Bones grumbles that all of his old friends look like doctors, and all of Kirk's old friends look like her. That's because none of your friends come with benefits, doctor.
Kirk and the commodore go through a pre-hearing, and Kirk gives him a run-down of his friendship with Ben Finney. He was a midshipman, and Finney an academy instructor, when they met. They were such good friends that Ben named his daughter Jame after Kirk. Their friendship soured after a few years when they were assigned to the same ship and Finney made a mistake. As per regulations, Kirk noted and logged it, and Finney was reprimanded and dropped to the bottom of the promotions list. Finney blamed him, then probably kicked himself for naming his daughter after his former BFF. It's the equivalent of getting someone's name tattooed on you - the relationship is destined to go to shit as soon as the ink settles, and then you're stuck with it. It now sucks doubly for Jame, who thinks she was named after her father's murderer.

"Hi. I'm Albus Severus Potter, and I'm named after two men whose actions lead to the death of my grandparents when my father was a baby."

So fast-forward a few years, and Finney is assigned to the Enterprise. The ion storm comes up just as Finney hits the top of the duty roster, and he gets sent into the ion pod. Kirk signaled yellow alert, and the storm got worse. Kirk went to red. Finney had seconds to get his shit together, and when he didn't, Kirk gave him a few extra. But it was getting too close to explode-y time, and Kirk finally jettisoned the pod. Stone asks why the computer log reads the jettison during yellow alert. "Dunno," says Kirk. "Someone effed up." "Pretty much," agrees Stone. Kirk says that Spock is looking into the matter with the logs, but Kirk isn't sure he'll find anything. The commodore turns off the recording to offer to file paperwork stating that Kirk is exhausted and he had a mental breakdown, and that he can recommend that Kirk get a desk job. Apparently, no one in Starfleet command has ever been court martialed before.
"Fuck that shit!" yells Kirk. "I'm not taking a desk job! Court martial: bring it."


Kirk's Log 2948.9: Repairs are almost complete on the Enterprise, and the officers are gathering for the court martial.
Kirk goes to meet Areel at the bar, where I guess she's been hanging out for the last four hours. They hit on each other, and he orders a drink before she brings up his legal problems. He dances around the suggestion of them sharing a sweaty tumble, but she's a lawyer in the Judge Advocate's office, and wants to offer him legal advice instead. Apparently, the possibility of getting canned is an effective cock-block, so he listens to her. She says he needs a good lawyer. He suggests her, and when she says she's busy, he makes a quasi-skeevy remark about how a girl of her abilities should be able to handle two cases at once. She recommends Samuel T. Cogley, who sounds like the sort of lawyer who wears cream-colored suits and bolo ties. Ten bucks says he has a Southern accent. Then Areel reveals that she's the prosecution, and it's her job to have him drummed out.
#1: Who didn't see that coming?
#2: Is she even supposed to be talking to him? Couldn't she get disbarred for that?

I can't focus on this scene because of Areel's crazy dress, matching stained-glass earrings, or that super-girly drink of hers, with the swirly straw, foliage and fruit chunks.

Kirk goes back to his quarters for Saurian Brandy (despite the fact that he just had drinks with Areel at the bar), and finds a man there surrounded by giant piles of books. The man says he figured they'd be spending a lot of time together, so he moved in. Sorry, what? By that logic, the guy who keeps coming to fix my washer might as well set up camp in my living room. This guy is his lawyer, and the whole point of this scene is to set up the fact that he's quirky, and that he has a book fetish. It's interesting to note that Kirk never talked to this guy and never hired him, but instead he took on the case and moved in while Kirk was on a date.

Kirk's quarters look like a cheap motel, down to the crappy landscape painting. It's probably supposed to be an alien landscape, but that doesn't make it not cheap-looking. I'd check for bed-bugs, dude. Space bed-bugs.

At the trial, they go through all the legal crappola, and Kirk, wearing a mint green dress uniform, pleads not guilty. Dramatic music plays, but I'm not sure why, as we already knew that was coming. Spock is called to testify. He looks hella good in his dress uniform.

...although in this particular shot, he looks like he's wearing little kid jammies.

Areel asks him if he knows about computers, and specifically the one on the Enterprise. He says that he does, but in this case, the computer is wrong. He's pretty sassy about it in his logical, Vulcan way. Cogley refuses a cross-examination. Areel calls the Personnel Officer, who answers questions about the earlier incident that ruined Finney's friendship with Kirk. Cogley declines to cross her as well, and when the Personnel Officer walks pasts Kirk, she shakes her head at him as if to say "You're boned, dude," though from her expression I can't tell if she feels bad about testifying against him, or if she's being bitchy. Bones is called next, and we find out that his rank is lieutenant-commander. Areel grills him on "space psychology" and asks if it's theoretically possible that Kirk hated Finney because Finney hated him.
"It's possible in general," says Bones. "But not with Kirk."
Cogley brushes off the cross again, and calls Kirk to the stand. Whenever someone is called to the stand, their service record is announced, including commendations. Of course Kirk's drags on forever. There's actually one for "conspicuous gallantry". "We noticed that you're brave. Here's a neat-o pin for you to wear."
Kirk's testimony talks about how the actions that he took were correct, that he would do the same thing again if need be, and that his actions saved the ship. It's really obvious that Kirk ships himself with the ship. I'm surprised that Areel isn't getting jealous.
They play a visual log of the incident and I fail to see how it's supposed to work the way they claim it does. Most of the shots are wider-angle and you can see everything on the bridge. Kirk orders Finney into the ion pod and puts the ship on yellow alert. He tells Finney that he'll have to bust ass in there because they'll probably be going to red. The playback shows a close-up of Kirk pushing the yellow alert button. How did it catch that? Or Kirk pushing the "jettison pod" button a moment later? Dramatic music, fade to black as Kirk says "...but it didn't happen that way!"


Kirk realizes that the cards are not stacked in his favor, and fears his lawyer doubts his innocence. Cogley says there's still time to change his plea. Spock calls in to report that his tests on the ship's computers are coming up negative. Kirk ruefully jokes that Spock should look on the bright side - he might be able to beat his next captain at chess. A light bulb appears over Spock's head.
Jame comes in to talk to Kirk. She apologizes, saying she re-read her father's letters home, and that she never realized what good friends they had been. This is a pretty big leap forward, considering that she spent the entire trial sitting behind Kirk, alternately crying and mad-dogging the back of his head. She begs Cogley to make him take a desk job. Cogley gets a light bulb, too.

The girl playing Jame moves around a lot, and I was trying to get a good shot of her, but wouldn't you know it - once she stopped moving, Kirk was being super-creepy right behind her.

Spock is playing 3-D chess against the computer when Bones comes in. 
"WTF, Spock? Kirk is being court martialed, and you're playing games?"
"Dude," says Spock, "I'm winning. I shouldn't be able to win. I programmed the computer months ago, so against me, it should always end in a draw."
"Oh, shit!" says Bones, and they go to the transporter room so they can burst into the courtroom to save Kirk just as the guilty verdict is about to be announced. That's the Enterprise way.


Which is kind of what happens. Our boys in blue burst in to whisper to Cogley and Kirk, and Cogley approaches the bench to ask that the court reconvene on the Enterprise, where Kirk can face his accuser, the computer. Cogley goes off about how humans have rights, but machines do not. These questions actually come with some interesting debates, from the Next Gen episode "Measure of a Man" (where Data, an android, tries to defend his rights as an officer and his own person rather than as property of Starfleet; and ironically Picard, as Data's defense lawyer, has had a past/present entanglement with the judge), to the argument that traffic cameras don't count as accusers when giving out tickets because those receiving the tickets cannot face them.
Kirk's Log 2950.1: The court has reconvened on the Enterprise.
Spock explains that if he programmed the computer months earlier with his knowledge of chess, then every game he plays against it should be a draw, as the computer cannot make a mistake. But if he keeps winning, then it means that computer's memory banks have been tampered with. Cogley asks who on the ship has the ability to alter those memory banks. "Myself, the captain, and lieutenant-commander Finney," Spock replies. Cogley then asks Kirk what he did to find Cogley after the pod was jettisoned. Kirk replies that they did a Phase I, which is a thorough search of the ship that is done when a crewman is presumed injured and unable to respond.
"What if the dude was hiding?" asks Cogley.
"Say fucking what?" asks Kirk, getting a light bulb.
Everybody goes to the bridge, and Kirk runs an experiment. The crew leaves the ship, with a few exceptions on the bridge and the guy in the transporter room. The ship is picking up and broadcasting all of the heartbeats of everyone on board. One by one, Bones eliminates the sound of each person's heartbeat, and Spock takes care of the guy running the transporter. There's one heartbeat left. They figure out that it's coming from engineering. Kirk goes down there by himself to wrestle with Finney and probably rip his shirt.


Kirk does a voice-over to explain that Cogley went ashore to get Jame. I have no idea who he's talking to. Of course they have a limited amount of time in which to catch Finney because their orbit is beginning to decay. Um... why?
In engineering, Ben talks to Kirk in this Great and Powerful Oz kind of way, not revealing himself until he's able to stick a phaser in Kirk's back and disarm him. Dude has all kinds of conspiracy theories about how Kirk destroyed his career. And their conversation is being broadcast back onto the bridge. The court is considering Ben's rants to be "testimony". Turns out the orbit is decaying because Ben has disabled the ship.
"You touched my woman?" roars Kirk.
They wrestle for the phaser, and Kirk's shirt gets ripped. As revenge for Finney violating the Enterprise, Kirk tells him that Jame has come on board. Finney tries to bash in Kirk's head with a giant wrench. Kirk beats the shit out of him, and in another voice-over, Kirk explains that Finney admitted where he had sabotaged the ship, and Kirk fixed it... just in the nick of time. The Enterprise is saved, and Kirk is declared innocent by default.


On the bridge later, Areel gives Kirk a book from Cogley, who is now busy defending Ben Finney. Areel asks Kirk if it would be a break in protocol to kiss him. Pretty much, yeah. He says they should try it, and he gives her a fairly chaste kiss in comparison to the tonsil-hockey he played with Helen Noel in "Dagger of the Mind".


"See?" says Kirk. "Discipline remains."
No, dude. Your crew is simply used to seeing you play the he-whore. She leaves, and Kirk sits in his chair, flanked by Bones and Spock.
"She's a very good lawyer," says Kirk.
"Yep," say the boys. Because after years of watching Kirk play pump and dump, there's not much else to say.


*******


RIP Roll-Call



Lieutenant-Commander Ben Finney, who was dead, and then not. We didn't even get some brain-scarfing or the Thriller dance. Worst. Zombie. Ever.
BUT
Not a bad villain. Slightly paranoid, slightly nuts, dude faked his own death for several days and hid it in the wake of an ion storm and ship damage, then altered the ship's computers to make it seem like Kirk was to blame. All in the hopes of getting Kirk canned. And his motivation for doing so was revenge. We don't get to see him until the last ten minutes of this episode, but that makes the final reveal all the more dramatic. I'm awarding Ben Finney 7/10 Command Gold stars for villain abilities. Too bad he can't apply those to a promotion.

*******

So Roomie is engaged to my other roommate, Rumor. (Roomie and Roomer, get it? :p) Rumor is in the process of joining the military, and when you join up, they test you, and give you a list of what jobs you'd be good at. You pick one, and supposedly sign up for it. Unbeknownst to us, the guys at the sign-up center have quotas or something, so when you go in and say, "I'd like to be trained as a X," they try to talk you into signing up for job Y instead. A lot of the time they want you to sign up to be "cannon fodder" as Roomie put it. It makes me wonder if you get the same treatment in Starfleet: 
"I see you've signed up for Science."
"Yes, sir."
"Yeah, Science is pretty good. Not a lot of room for promotion, you understand. If you join Science, you're kind of stuck there. Now Security - there's field with a lot of opportunity to move up. That's partly because those with seniority will sometimes fall by the wayside, but you look pretty sturdy. Security also allows you to be outside exploring more often. Science will have you chained to a console all day, looking at screens, but Security - that's where the adventure lies! Say, I bet you'd look good in red..."

"Choose Wisely"


*******

This week's tea came from that sampler. The sampler itself appears to be sold out at this point, but the teas are all available individually, and this one comes in a sample size (5 cups) that's only $2. I tried out the Blueberry White, which also got really good reviews. It's light like most whites, but it's got a really good blueberry. Not super-fakey blueberry, either. Plus, you get the bonus of drinking two items which are high in anti-oxidants, which are supposed to be awesome for you. I'm really not a good judge of that, though. Rumor's birthday was last week, and we have a lot of cake in the fridge, so... yeah, I've been having cake for breakfast. Don't take health tips from me.



*******

"Hooman, your lap is too small. Go eat more cake so there will be room for all of us."

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