Warp Speed to Nonsense

Warp Speed to Nonsense

Monday, November 18, 2013

Season 1, Episode 17 "Shore Leave"

"Shore Leave"
Production Number: 17
Air Order: 15
Stardate: 3025.3
Original Air Date:  December 29, 1966

So some of you may be thinking, "What the hell has this blog become? I just read two weeks' worth of entries about how this chick ships herself with the TOS budget! That's not funny unless there's badly-written fic about it!"
Fear not, my friends: I hate this week's episode. I hate it like I hate Rand's stupid basket-weave, and I hate it like I hate bacon. (Yes, I know. You can fill the comments section with reasons why I should luuurve bacon, but you'll never convince me. It's gross. Really, you should look at it the other way - if I get a portion of it served to me, the chances are good that I'll give it to you. Really, this just means more bacon for you. So shut your craw and just eat my portion, will you?)
I hate this episode because it's starts out promising, goes nowhere fast, and falls flat on it's face in horse manure at the end. And what's perhaps most insulting about this episode is that this is the crap that they filmed after the brilliance of "The Menagerie". Gah.


We open over a green planet, where the Enterprise is orbiting, waiting for a report from the away team. Kirk complains of a kink in his back, and without waiting for a request, the yeoman behind him begins massaging his back. He leans forward and gives direction - "higher... harder". Then "really dig in there, Mr Spock", as Spock steps forward. Kirk has an "oh, shit" moment while the head of every Spirk shipper on the planet explodes with the delightful thought of Kirk urging Spock "higher and harder". The yeoman suggests that Kirk needs sleep, and Spock agrees, saying everyone on board does.
"Except me, of course. Vulcans are the shit, unlike weak-ass humans."

Downstairs, Bones and Sulu are wandering around what is actually outside. I shit you not. No fake-ass rocks, no sand, no artificially-lit skyline. Actual trees and grass! The whole cast took a field trip!

Sulu and Bones chat excitedly about Kirk possibly giving the okay for them to take shore leave there. Bones makes an off-hand comment about this planet being like Alice in Wonderland (it's not, but that line is important, so whatever). Sulu gleefully runs off to collect plant samples. Bones walks away and is surprised to see the Easter Bunny, who declares that he is late before galloping away into the foliage. No, seriously. Dude gallops. Of course a little blonde British girl comes by and asks if he's seen a white rabbit in a waistcoat. Bones points silently into the foliage, and she follows before the good doctor bellows for Sulu.

"You look like a deranged Easter bunny."

Kirk's Log 3025.3: The Enterprise is orbiting an uninhabited planet in the Omicron Delta region, which is similar to Earth. Kirk admits that he won't be going down, and Spock says he won't either. Bones calls them.
"Um, so I think I've lost my marbles," says Bones, and he explains about the rabbit.
Kirk shuts off the comm and laughingly tells Spock that this is McCoy's way of getting him to go on shore leave - by presenting him with a mystery. Spock lets Kirk know that they have a stressed crew member whose reaction time is down quite a bit, and who refuses to take shore leave. He builds it up, and Kirk finally declares that he's going to order that this crew member take leave.
"It's you," says Spock, and the music they play right then lets you know that Spock's human half is laughing internally, adding "Haha, suckaaaah!" 

Down on the surface, the camera discovers a pistol under a rock. Dramatic music!
Nearby, a blue shirt (Rodriguez) scans a plant, and a gold shirt chastises him for working when he should be admiring the scenery. It took me a second to figure out, but the gold shirt is Angela Martine, the girl in Balance of Terror who is kinda-sorta widowed on her wedding day. She seems terribly smiley for someone whose fiance died in battle not that long ago. Actually, Balance of Terror aired right before this episode. Probably because of Christmas, there was a two-week pause between the two episodes, but according to the stardates... wait.... WTH? Somehow, we managed to lose a year and a half in that two week time period? So I guess Martine is free to move on. Still... for fans that are not paying attention, she sure seems to have gone on the rebound quickly.

The captain and the cuter brunette yeoman beam down. They meet up with Bones, who shows them giant tracks. All scans so far have shown that there are no animals on this planet, and a suspicious Kirk puts a halt on the shore leave beam-downs.
A gun goes off repeatedly, and they all go running. It's a trigger-happy Sulu, who found that old-school pistol and is using it for target practice. He's super-stoked and says he "just found" the gun. Dude, you never "just find" a gun on an uninhabited planet. The yeoman (Barrows) points out more giant bunny tracks. Bones confirms again that the scans showed "no birds, insects, or animals". What? Hold the fucking comm badge. Are they serious? How the hell do you have an ecosystem without insects? You don't, that's how. Shoddy science, Star Trek. That's like, third grade biology.
So Bones and Kirk go off on their own to track the rabbit, and a television aerial pops up in the foreground. Oh no, you guys! This mysterious planet is going to gift them cable!

As they're walking along, Kirk reminisces about a guy at the academy who picked on him, a jerk named Finnegan. Kirk and Bones spot the rabbit tracks, this time where they meet up with the prints of a little kid. They decide to backtrack. 
"You take the rabbit," says Kirk. I'll follow the girl." No surprises there.
Kirk takes like 10 steps away from the footprint rendezvous, and guess who randomly shows up on this uninhabited planet?
Finnegan says, "What up, Kirk?" and promptly punches him.

Seems like every Irishman on Star Trek has been a douchebag. What does this how have against the Irish?

Without stopping to think about how or why Finnegan is here, Kirk gleefully starts duking it out with him. Yeoman Barrows screams in the distance, and Kirk abandons his fight so he and Bones can go running to her rescue.
Barrows' dress has been ripped. "Damn," says Roomie. "Starfleet really needs to look into uniform fabric with better textile integrity."
The yeoman says a guy with a cloak and a jeweled dagger attacked her.
"It's Don Juan!" says Bones. Um, I don't recall Don Juan attacking women, but okay.
"Yes!" says Barrows. "I was daydreaming about meeting Don Juan. "Sulu ran after him."

Kirk runs after Sulu, but instead of finding him, stumbles upon some pretty flowers. He forgets about Sulu and the dude that attacked Barrows, and - hooray, it's Ruth! Don't know who she is? That's okay, none of us does. She's some girl from Kirk's past. She's standing in front of him in one of the ugliest Star Trek outfits ever. It's like, a two-toned body stocking, and half of it is covered with a white dress overlay, and the other is like a black romper accented with flowers. I feel like two costumers were arguing over what to put her in, and decided to do both, half and half... with two different-colored shoes. Friend Dubs suggests that it might be Heaven and Hell, like those angel-devil Halloween costumes that have become so popular. Whatever it is, it's a #fail. Anyway, Kirk and Ruth kind of make out before commercial break.

I like her hair and her earrings. Everything else has to go.
Why do I get the sudden urge to add, "That's what Kirk said!"?

Kirk's Log 3025.8:  Kirk is weirded out by the fact that unexplainable shit keeps happening.
However, he seems to actually have no fucks to give as he is clearly most interested in banging Ruth.
Bones calls him to ask if he's found Sulu.
"No," says Kirk vaguely. "I'm sure he's fine..."
Rodriguez calls him to say that, despite the initial readings of no birds, he just saw a flock fly overhead. 
"Whatever," says Kirk.
Somehow, he manages to gather his wits about him, and excuses himself from Ruth.
Spock calls to say that something under the planet's surface is fucking with communications and draining the ship's power.

The tv aerial follows Bones and Barrows, and she wishes out loud for a princess costume. Ta-da! One appears. There's a weird romantic moment between them that I really don't ship.
"You'd look so hot in that," he tells her.
She runs off into the bushes to put it on, and Rodriguez calls Bones. Communications suck, but Kirk wants everyone to meet back at the white rabbit glade.

I initially wondered why Rand wasn't in this episode, but it's clear that she wasn't so that Kirk could mack on Ruth. But we needed a yeoman to objectify, so they put in Barrows instead. Then we needed to have someone hit on Barrows, so they added in that awkward massage scene right at the beginning to let us know that she didn't belong to Kirk. They hooked her up with Bones instead. There's even color-coordination: Kirk gets all the blondes, so Bones have can have the brunettes. What, you didn't think they'd try to set her up with Spock, do you?

So Rodriguez and Martine are screwed. Surprise! It's a tiger! Martine clings to Rodriguez, all damsel-y. In the Star Trek world, you can either be a damsel or a badass. I had Martine pegged as a badass, sadly.

I bet tiger rental is expensive. Instead, they bought some footage of one and spliced it in with shots of Martine clutching at Rodriguez.

Kirk finds Sulu when the helmsman comes running out of a canyon yelling "fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck". But the samurai that was chasing him is gone now.
"My phaser doesn't work," says Sulu. Neither does Kirk's.

Spock beams down and tells them that they're essentially trapped, as he's used the last of the beaming energy to deliver this message. All three hear Rodriguez's tiger and go running, but instead find Bones and Barrows. A black knight charges at Bones, who declares that hallucinations can't hurt them. The knight stabs Bones with his lance, and he falls down, wounded.
I'm dead, Jim.

Spock shoots the knight with Sulu's pistol and the knight dies. They scan him.
"Everything on this planet is made from the same thing," declares Spock. "The plants, the animals, the people - it's all being manufactured."
So... I'd like to issue a formal apology to ST on my earlier rant vis a vis the lack of insects and ecology of the planet. Turns out it was just a plot point, and not another instance of them completely ignoring how science works. My bad.

Rodriguez and Martine are now being chased by old bomber planes. They run and Martine gets knocked out when she runs into a tree. Nearby, the others look up as the plans fly overhead, and when they look back, Bones and the knight are both gone.
Right on top of it, Detective Spock asks Kirk what he was thinking about just before Finnegan and Ruth showed up, and Kirk admits that he was thinking about his time at the academy.
Hey, guess who shows up, you guys? It's fucking Finnegan again. He's back to perpetuate the stereotype that anyone with an Irish name will have an Irish accent, and is looking for a good fistfight. He takes off, and Kirk goes after him, stupidly thinking this douchenozzle has the answers to this mystery. We waste a bunch of time following this pair as they run across the terrain, then another fistfight starts, and Ripped-Shirt Kirk shows up.
You want definitive proof that Auntie Archon is a girl? I hate fight scenes. They bore me. Really, you only have to throw one punch, and then enter the next scene slightly battered to let us know there was a fight. There are pretty much two kinds of fight scenes that don't bore me: scenes from the first Matrix movie, which had action scenes mixed with cool effects, but which got boring in the sequels because we had seen all that in the first film; and scenes from another awesome show, which I will emulate here for my own amusement.

Na na na na na na na na na na na -- Star Trek!

You know what really kills me? At one point, Kirk gets knocked out, and we go to commercial. Before commercial, his shirt is intact. When we come back, and he wakes up, and his shirt is shredded.

This was the longest scene ever. Seriously. I timed it. Most scenes on this show are like one or two minutes long. This scene was seven and a half minutes of punching and trading barbs. I actually got up to pee and came back to find them still fighting. This scene is the drum solo of this episode.

Kirk is also sporting what has come to be known as The Sexy Lip Cut.

Here's a bit of bonus ridiculousness: later, when we see Kirk in his ripped shirt, we can see the place where it was cut and re-stitched in place. A few shots later, Shatner has tucked that hem back into place behind the shirt to hide it. Hooray for the miracles brought to us by better-quality video!

Spock shows up at the fight and they just kind of forget about Finnegan.
"If you think about it, it will appear," says the science officer.
The tiger appears. Who the fuck thought about that? Then, instead of imaging that it's a kitten or something equally harmless, they run from it. They run from the planes and the samurai.

Back at the glade, Barrows has swapped out the princess dress for her ripped uniform... and when she puts it back on, it's ripped on the wrong side.

A dude with a sword (presumably Don Juan) tries to snatch her, but feels the might of the mighty Enterprise away team. He takes off, and Kirk and Spock rush back into the glade, lining up the crew members and keeping them at attention.
"Don't think! We'll be screwed!"
So here comes this old dude in flowing robes, and he tells Kirk that this is his people's amusement park, and that the planet provides fantasies to live out based on one's thoughts. (Talos IV, anyone?) He invites the Enterprise crew to stay for shore leave.

"Who are your people?" asks Kirk.
"Humans are kind of too stupid to understand us," says the old dude.
"Agreed," says Spock.
Guess who shows up then? Nope, not Finnegan. Bones. And he has Vegas showgirls on his arm, and because this is Star Trek, their costumes are extra-ridiculous.
"I didn't die! They have a super-cool facility underground where they patched me up!"

Looks like Dr Seuss porn.

"Who they fuck are they?" demands Barrows, who is clearly not pleased that he spent all episode chasing her tail, then ditched her for furry britches. She has conveniently forgotten that her fantasies included Don Juan ripping her clothes off of her, and a black knight who "killed" Bones. Seems to me that one of the requirements for Starfleet is the ability to not only think on your feet, but with your glands as well. Spock can pass this test with flying colors, but sadly, can only have it administered every seven years.
"Yeah..." says Bones, and he pawns off the showgirls on Rodriguez and Sulu so that he can snuggle Barrows. 
Somehow, no one has noticed that Martine has magically shown up in the interim.
Spock announces that he's really just fucking done with this planet, and now that they have communications and beaming back, that he's leaving.
"You should stay," says Kirk. "I'll go."
But here comes Ruth again, and Kirk remembers that he was supposed to bone her.

And that's it. A lot of smoke and mirrors, Kirk trying to hit some asshole whose Irish accent kept slipping, and three women in terrible 60's costumes. The plot for this episode was reminiscent of Scooby-Doo. There was some perceived danger, weird shit went down, and then they figured out that there was never any real danger at all. There was even an old man at the end to explain everything. All that we're missing are the antics of one stoner and one talking dog.

Go home, Star Trek. You're drunk.


This week's tea is Red Velvet Cuppa Chocolate Tea by The Republic of Tea. A friend gave us a tin of these bags, and we've been skeptical of them, mostly because he tried them, and decided that he would not end up drinking any more. Tea + chocolate can be a weird combo. So it's a rooibos base, with chocolate and beet used for flavoring, and the first thing that I noticed was the scent - a bit like a chocolate scratch-n-sniff sticker. It wasn't the worst thing ever, but I feel like making something that is chocolate-flavored without adding any actual chocolate is tricky. The ingredients listed included "natural chocolate and vanilla flavoring", so maybe they used oils? Not sure.
The taste was okay. Lighter than cocoa for sure, because I didn't mix mine with milk, as was suggested. (I just don't care for milk or cream in my tea.) I can taste the vanilla and chocolate, but also the tea. It was lightly sweetened, but I added a little more.
I checked out the online reviews as well. Very mixed. While it averaged 4 out of 5, people either seemed to love it or hate it. Some people were touting it as being a dessert tea, others as a diet tea, as they drink this when they get sugar cravings and don't want the calories.
Bottom line: it's pretty good, but it probably won't make my regular rotation.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, I don't know when you wrote this, but it came up when I googled 'Star Trek, Shore Leave, Terrible Episode'. I've been watching TOS on Netflix and loving it, but couldn't remember this episode very well...I remember why, I blacked it out...and 7:00 minutes of fisticuffs was downright lazy writing. Awful. And the portrayal of women was literally the worst yet of what I've rewatched of season 1...yup I concur, Star Trek you're drunk!