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."

Monday, October 21, 2013

Season One, Episode 14 "The Galileo Seven"

"The Galileo Seven"
Production Number: 14
Air Order: 16
Stardate: 2821.5
Original Air Date: January 5, 1967

So most of these episodes I've seen at least twice, once when Roomie brought them home and we watched them marathon-style; and a second time when I was building puzzles and needed something on in the background. Somehow, I barely remember it. I think I might have nodded off the first time. The second time around I was probably wrestling with this stupid kitten-in-a-flower-garden puzzle that made me want to punch baby dolphins. So I'm kind of coming at it with fresh eyes. FYI - it takes about 200 completed, resin-covered puzzles to build a dance-floor.


*******

Kirk's Log 2821.5: The Enterprise is on route to Makus III with medical supplies when they pass a quasar and decide to investigate. They have some dick named Galactic High Commissioner Ferris on board who is babysitting them while they do this medical run. He seems like the sort of guy who would get the part of the high school principal with the high blood pressure who is tortured by the carefree main character in teen movies. You just know this guy's whole role is going to involve a strict adherence to the rules, getting pissed at Kirk for not doing so, then grudgingly admitting that the captain is awesome when Kirk brazenly breaks all the rules in the heat of a crisis and his crazy-ass stunt works.


So Kirk has ordered Spock & Co into the shuttlecraft Galileo to check out the quasar and of course Ferris has his frilly manties in a wad because it takes three days to get to Makus III, and they only have 5 to get to their rendezvous. Apparently, there's a plague in New Paris that needs those meds. But Kirk reminds the commish that their mission is to drop everything and look at pretty shit in space explore astronomical anomalies. Really, they both have a point, but Ferris should just chillax because confirmation bias tells us that the USS Mary Sue will deliver the goods a few hours before anyone dies. Geez, Ferris - don't you ever watch this show?
They launch the Galileo, which is the first time we've seen a shuttlecraft. There's immediate trouble when the shuttle is pulled into the gravitational draw of the quasar, which is putting out a ton of radiation and ionization. Kirk is pissed because he can't find the shuttle or it's complement, and also he looks like a giant asshole for sending people into a quasar and losing them within 5 minutes, all in front of the commissioner dude. Ferris seems pleased because now he gets to hand Kirk a big fat "I told you so." But who cares about that? Both the Comm Goddess and the fabulous Mr Sulu are back on the bridge! It's so much better when all of the key players get lines and screen time.



Another log in case you missed the opening scene. A different Snack Bitch brings Kirk and Ferris drinks for whatever reason, and the men bicker about the situation. While they're busy yapping, Uhura has been diligently doing her job and now reports back that there's a Class M planet nearby, unexplored, in the middle of the quasar.


The Galileo has managed to land on the planet (Taurus II) and Mr Spock takes inventory. Everyone is fine, but the craft needs work. Spock orders two gold shirts outside and Scotty pulls out his duct tape and Sonic Screwdriver.

This is your Galileo Seven: three regular characters, and  four possible casualties.

Upstairs, Uhura reports zero communications ability with Galileo, Sulu can't find them with scanners, and the transporter can't get a lock to beam the away team off of the surface. Kirk orders the launch of the shuttlecraft Columbus to search for the away team, and Ferris spouts off some regulation at him. "Dude," says Kirk, "shut the hell up. I don't ditch my friends in space unless they've got Spice Eyes, and sometimes not even then." I can say this for Kirk - at least he's a good friend.
On the surface, Bones tells Spock that he thinks the Vulcan has always fancied being in command, using logic to run things, and that now he has his "big chance" to do so. "Meh," says Spock. "Not really interested in leading."


Scotty reports an extreme loss of fuel. They'll have to lose 500 pounds to make it into orbit. Spock points out that that's like three guys. Bones suggests ditching equipment, but they need it all. Boma, the other blue shirt, demands to know who will be left behind and who will choose who stays. Spock says he'll choose, as he is in command, and Boma and Bones look mildly annoyed at this conclusion.



The gold shirts are off exploring with phasers when they encounter a growling noise. They can't figure out where it's coming from in the rocky terrain, and a furry upright thing throws a primitive spear, catching one of them in the back. He screams and falls, prompting Spock and Boma to go running. There's a weird kind of split-screen thing going on that I guess is supposed to denote fog or something, and the other gold shirt fires off his phaser randomly into the mist.



Spock and Boma arrive and the science officer examines the spear,  saying that it isn't a terribly efficient weapon. Boma goes off on him, Bones-style, about how Spock is being insensitively illogical about how a man died. You know, maybe it's because I'm pretty much the love child of Spock and Hermione Granger, but I'd like to point out that Spock is being remarkably level-headed in the face of a crisis, and if Boma shuts his mouth, his ass may get off this planet. The remaining gold shirt (Gaetano) gives the science officer some flak as well, and together, he and Boma carry Latimer's body back to the Galileo.


Kirk's Log 2228.3: Kirk is still looking for the shuttlecraft, and Ferris is still being a bureaucratic dick. They have 24 hours to find the shuttle before they have to leave to meet their rendezvous.
Downstairs, the yeoman and Bones have been pulling out non-essential equipment to lighten their load, but they are still 150 pounds short. Spock is helping Scotty with repairs. Boma pops his head in the shuttle to say that they're ready to have a burial for Latimer, and Spock politely declines the duty of heading it up, suggesting Bones do it instead. Bones argues that Spock, as captain, must do it. Dude, Bones is mostly doing nothing, while Spock is helping Scotty. They have zero time left. Let the man work.

Spoilers, sweetie: being as concerned as they are with weight, you'd think they would ditch those big-ass chairs, but they don't. The chairs stay, and they think about who they might leave behind instead.

Scotty declares that the fuel is depleted, and he and Spock are trying to consider what to do about it when Bones bursts in and alerts them to danger outside. They can hear that funny noise surrounding them, and Boma suggests that they pre-strike. The others agree, and Spock states that it does seem logical, but he is concerned about the action of killing off another life form without knowing about it first. He suggests an alternate plan, where he, Boma and Gaetano fire their phasers to scare off the unknown inhabitants. Gaetano is pissed but Spock is the CO, so they follow him into the fog.
In the rocky outcroppings, they hear the sound again and a huge spear is thrown, followed by a massive shield, big enough for them to camp under. 



Spock checks their position then directs the others to fire into the mists. He then declares the creatures as being scared off. Boma and Spock go back to the Galileo, leaving Gaetano to stand guard. As he and Spock go, Boma pats Gaetano as if to say, "Sorry you're gonna die, buddy."


Back at the Galileo, Scotty has a plan. He can convert phaser energy into fuel, but it'll eat up the only defense they have against the Taurusians. Bones and the yeoman reluctantly hand over their phasers.
Up top, the transporter crew has successfully beamed up and down some objects, rendering it safe for people. The funny thing is, the stuff they beamed up are re-utilized equipment that Bones and the yeoman removed from the Galileo a few scenes earlier. We're supposed to believe that the ttransporter techs just scrounged up some stuff to beam. I momentarily thought that they had beamed this up from the crash site, until Kirk indicated otherwise. You're clever budget, but it would really behoove you not to re-use things in such a way as to confuse your audience.
Anyway, Kirk decides to beam a team to the surface to look for the crew. They're really operating on luck, as they have no idea where the shuttle landed, but I guess when both of your bromances go missing, you kind of throw caution to the wind.
Downstairs, Gaetano loses his phaser to a thrown rock, and his life to the creatures with the furry backs.

Behold the Spacesquatch!

Spock, Bones and Boma come across the phaser and Spock asks Bones to take it back to Scotty for conversion before handing his own over as well. He's going off to look for Gaetano alone, and wants them to convert it if he doesn't return. He finds Gaetano, and spears randomly thrown in his direction follow him back to the shuttle.

Seriously: those over-sized spears had zero aerodynamics. I feel like after several takes, the director said, "Just kind of toss them. And try not to hit Nimoy, okay?"

While Scotty converts phasers, Spock tries to rationalize why the spacesquatch on this planet were not afraid of the away team's superior weapons and didn't respect their space. Bones barks back that respect is a rational reaction and these things are too primitive for that. 
Well, yes. But here's the thing - it's not a question of respect. It's a question of fight or flight, which originates in the "animal hind-brain". They would either see that you had better weapons and take off, or they'd get pissed off that you fired on them and decide to stand their ground.
As an argument heats up in the shuttle, with everyone vs Spock and Spock vs his own rationalization, the squatch closes in and beats the Galileo with a rock. Before you were tiny squishy creatures with lasers. Now you're tiny squishy creatures in a tin can. Om nom nom. Spacesquatch smash!

I'm pretty sure that's the worst font ever for a scientific space vehicle. That's the font they use for up-tempo Broadway musicals whose reviews utilize the phrase "rollicking good fun!"

Kirk's Log 2823.1: A search party is on the surface, and the scanners are slowly returning as the ion storm dissipates. Ferris the High Asshole tells Kirk that he has less than three hours and Kirk tells Ferris to eat a bag of dicks.
Downstairs, Spock asks Scotty if the batteries will electrify the outside of the ship. Everyone grounds themselves and Scotty throws the switch. It buys them time while the squatches move off, and Boma insists on burying Gaetano. There's another argument, and Spocks tells Boma that he can have the burial at his own risk. This whole thing seems ridiculous to me - wouldn't they have a service for both of those gold shirts back on the Enterprise? You know, later... when they weren't being hunted?


One search party returns to the Enterprise with two wounded and one dead, an Ensign O'Neill. The leader says they were attacked by spacesquatches, similar to ones found on another planet, but these were 10-12 feet tall. Ferris says that Kirk is SOL, and that under his authority, Kirk must leave orbit and go to Makus III. Silently giving Ferris the finger, Kirk beams the other parties up and orders the Columbus to return. 
On the Galileo, Scotty tells Spock that they can leave in 10. Spock calls Boma and Bones forward to say that they have that long to bury Gaetano, that the coast is clear for now, and that he will help them.
The Columbus back on board, Kirk directs Uhura to do sensor sweeps out of the back of the ship, and that Sulu should set course for Makus III at "space-normal". Sulu seems as confused as I am - what the fuck is "space-normal"? Apparently, it's the equivalent of half-blind 80-year-old man in a Cadillac, in a two-lane highway on a Sunday. Kirk intends to crawl to Makus III with his blinker on.


The trio of blue shirts finishes the burial and are attacked. Spock's leg gets trapped under a boulder, and even though he tells Boma and Bones to leave him and take off, they roll the foam rock off of him and everyone climbs on board. They can't take off with squatches hanging off the ship, so Spock is forced to engage the boosters to shake them loose. This does, of course, severely shorten their fuel because there just wasn't enough drama at this point. Then, to pile on, Spock lectures Bones and Boma about how they should have marooned him there. "Bro," says Bones, "shut the hell up and fly the stupid plane."


They have enough fuel for one orbit, then the odds are good that they will burn up on re-entry. Everyone starts bitching at Spock again, this time for using the boosters. He thinks for a moment, then flips the switch to jettison and ignite the fuel. "WTF?" yell the others. Now they have six minutes until the orbit decays and they fall out of the sky in a fiery ball of death.


But what's this? Hawk-eyed Sulu notices a weird glowing streak against the backdrop of Taurus II, and Kirk excitedly tells him to turn around and fire up the transporter.
On the Galileo, Scotty says, "Oh, it was like a flare! That was hella smart, Spock!" Finally, a damn compliment.
"That was rather human," smiles Bones. Nope, spoke too soon.
"Meh, nobody saw it, so it was actually kind of stupid," admits Spock. 
The shuttle starts to lose orbit. But then they all shimmer and are beamed off the Galileo, just as it burns up in the atmosphere. Uhura reports to Kirk that they snatched 5 people from the jaws of death.

They're being beamed off the ship, I promise. They're not on fire.

Later on the bridge, everyone gathers to give Spock shit.
"You used emotion," accuses Kirk gleefully.
"The situation was hopeless," says Spock. "And logistically the response to that is to do something desperate."
"You're not going to admit that you acted in a human way?" they ask.
"Yo' mama," he replies, and he goes back to work while they all laugh.


*******
So Ferris' involvement here makes little sense to the story other than to provide extra urgency for getting their butts to Makus III. He would make more sense if he had been stuck on the ship to evaluate Kirk's reckless command style, or if he was being used to illustrate logic vs gut-reaction and emotion in reference to command styles. But he was just some inflated brass hat. I don't think he was necessary.
I feel like the moral of this story is logic = bad, which is weird because Kirk frequently sides with gut-reaction over logic. We see Spock in charge for a change, and everyone flips the hell out on him for ...I dunno, lack of bedside manner? Sure, it sucked that two people were lost under his command, but they had a limited amount of time in which to try to get off that planet, and I think most good commanders would set aside emotional feelings for the task at hand. Solve the issue first, then grieve on your own time. I feel like Kirk would have actually handled it in a similar manner, so I don't see why everyone got all bent out of shape.

*******

RIP Roll-Call

Gold Shirt Latimer


Gold Shirt Gaetano


Mystery Color Ensign O'Neill
Photo Not Found

*******

So Adagio has me pegged. The ads that run down my FB page have been adding in tea, and I clicked on one to find that I could get a little sampler for $4, no shipping. Nine teas, two of each. Hell, yes!


This week I tried the Rooibos Vanilla, which was in the sampler. "That must be rather subtle," remarked Roomie. Nope. Heavy on the vanilla. Like sipping vanilla extract or eating a spoonful of vanilla bean paste. In other words, awesome for people like me who enjoy that flavor a lot, but not so much if the the thought of drinking a bottle of extract makes you gag. Okay, maybe it isn't THAT strong. But it's a strong vanilla flavor nonetheless. Can warm be a flavor? It tastes warm. And it rates highly among reviewers.

The Republic of Tea has my number, too. "Hey, kids! Learn awesome shit about tea! We'll send you info about tea every day for a week! Tea 101!" Yup, I was all over that one as well. I'm such a sucker for information, and now I know how to say "rooibos" (ROY-boss, and don't you try to tell me that it's REEE-O-boss, because that's not even close).


Aw, crap. I just noticed that Republic of Tea has a Downton Abbey blend. I'm totally screwed.



Monday, October 14, 2013

Season 1, Episode 13 "Conscience of the King"

"Conscience of the King"
Production Number: 13
Air Order: 13
Stardate: 2817.6
Original Air Date: December 8, 1966

This episode comes with pop-ups! Yes! Nothing like a bunch of mindless trivia to make my day. (No, I'm not being facetious here. I really do enjoy mindless trivia.) I'll put those bits in purple.

So we start this episode with a dramatic stabbing. Sadly, the victim is not Rand, but some unknown guy. The stabber is also a mysterious man. Kirk and another dude, presumably a friend, are watching from the audience. They're also talking. Dude, Mystery Science Theater doesn't do live Shakespeare. I say if either of them starts texting, we take them out back and shoot them... phasers not set to stun.


Can I just say how tickled I am that Shakespeare still exists in the 24th century? Some things should always be a part of the human experience. With the exception of the Romeo and Juliet re-enactment in the movie Hot Fuzz, which... just... no.

Seriously. Juliet shoots herself rather than using a happy dagger, and this chick literally yells "BANG!", making everyone in the audience wish that she'd shot them instead.

Kirk and his friend are talking again, and I'm baffled that no one has told them to shut their traps. Kirk's friend, who we only see in profile, says that he's certain that the actor portraying MacBeth is actually Kodos the Executioner.
Kirk's Log 2817.6: The Enterprise has gone off-course because Kirk's friend, Dr Thomas Leighton, has claimed that he's made a synthetic food that will end hunger on a nearby Earth colony.
Turns out it's bullshit. Kirk is pissed when Tom tells him that he pulled him off-course because he thinks the dude is Kodos. Kirk insists that Kodos is dead, but Tom argues that all the authorities found was a body burned beyond recognition, and that they need to find out if Karidian the actor is Kodos, because the lovely and charming Kodos killed 4000 people 20 years earlier. Tom finally moves out of profile, and we find out that he's actually the Phantom of the Opera. He points out that less than 10 people actually saw Kodos, and that includes both of them.


Tom reveals that he and his wife Martha are hosting a cocktail party that night for the acting troupe, in the hopes of ensnaring Karidian. "Fuck you, Tom," says Kirk, and he leaves to go tell his log that Tom is a giant dick who doesn't care about the hungry. 
Upstairs, Kirk asks the computer to compare Kodos the Executioner and Anton Karidian. Seems Kodos was governor on Tarsus IV and killed 50% of the population. Karidian is currently the director and lead of a traveling acting company, and has been for the last nine years. The computer admits that it doesn't have any info on him further back than that. You know what you should do, Kirk? Invite them both to the same cocktail party and see if they can be spotted in the same place at the same time. Then you'll know if Karidian is Kodos' mild-mannered alter ego. Kodos does evil things, but Karidian eats froyo in laundromats with girls who help the homeless.


After conferring with the Spockinator, Kirk decides to attend the cocktail party. I'm kind of disappointed that he doesn't have a dress uniform for such things. Maybe an unripped shirt is considered dressy enough. Tom's wife Martha says that Tom has gone to town but should be back shortly.
The Star Trek theme, arranged differently, plays in the background of the cocktail party. 
Some blonde hotsy totsy enters in this dress that I sort of hate. She's Karidian's 19-year-old daughter Lenore, and while flirting shamelessly with her, Kirk discovers that Karidian is kind of a hermit and doesn't do parties. So much for Tom's brilliant plan. Kirk and Lenore dance around the fact that they'd like to share a sweaty tumble, and they go for a walk. All I can say for you Kirk, is that at least this one isn't geriatric jailbait.

I hate her shawl/veil thing, too. It reminds me of No Face from Spirited Away.

Lenore tells Kirk that he seems sweet, but kind of lonely, which they like to talk about a lot on this show, because that's the excuse they use as to why Kirk feels the need to park his ship in every port. He goes to kiss her, but a dead body behind her ruins the mood. Dramatic music! Ah, shit. It's Tom of the Opera.


At the house, Martha seems rather unaffected until she throws herself into Kirk's arms and cries "How I'll miss him!" Yep. Sounds like an accurate portrayal of the widow of a murdered man.


Kirk hatches a plan and calls the captain of the ship that the acting troupe was going to hitch a ride with to their next destination. I swear to Dog the voice of the captain of the Astral Queen is the immortal John Astin of Addams Family fame, but the voice credit isn't listed on IMDB. Sad times. Kirk says that he will take the actors instead, then beams back up to the E.
We never actually see the Astral Queen, but hear her captain's voice instead - it's cheaper to hire a voice actor than build a ship. Yay, budget!
On the bridge, Kirk acts all prescient when Lenore beams aboard. She's invited onto the bridge to see Kirk and - what the hell is she wearing? Shiny kitten heels, sparkly tights, tan suede gloves that match nothing, a clutch that's either cheetah or cow-print, and what I can only assume is a giant fur muff with a brooch masquerading as a dress. She looks like somebody's slutty grandmother. I'm calling Stacy and Clinton.


Lenore tells Kirk that the troupe's ride flaked, and she and the captain do another dance where the subtext is that they'd like to bang each other, but the words actually being said are "we'll do a performance for the crew in exchange for a lift," and "okay". Lenore goes to leave the bridge just as Rand gets out of the lift, and in this moment, between Lenore's clothes and Rand's hair, I'd like to slap the costumer of this episode.

Even Rand can't believe this shit.

Spock points out that dropping the troupe off at their next destination will take them light-years off-course. Translation: "Dammit, captain. Are you piloting with your dick again?" Kirk tells him to fuck off, and Spock shrugs, which pretty much means, "fuck you too, buddy."


The spinning pattern on the console behind Spock was cool, but visually distracting, and was usually turned off during filming.
Kirk's Log 2818.9: Kirk is weirded out that Karidian might be Kodos.
Kirk asks the computer for a list of the people who can ID Kodos. Tom was one, Kirk is another... also, Kevin Riley. Gee, how convenient. As a precaution, Kirk asks Spock to transfer Riley from communications to engineering. Spock points out that Riley will consider it as being put on the naughty spot. Again, Spock receives a "fuck you" without an explanation.
The science officer goes to Bones about Kirk's recent potty-mouth and Bones spouts more crap about command being "lonely". That's starting to sound more and more like a catch-all excuse for everything.
Dear Sallie Mae, I'm lonely. I won't be paying my student loans for a while.
Spock and the good doctor exchange more mildly racist remarks and Bones waxes rhapsodic about Saurian Brandy, and how everyone should be warm for Lenore's badly-clothed form. Saurian Brandy bottles have been featured in several ST movies and spin-offs.



Lenore and Kirk go up to the Observation Deck and Lenore remarks that the ship has a lot of power, "surging and throbbing, but under control." She asks Kirk if he's like that. Oh my Zod. If you just do her, will this insufferable innuendo stop? They use Girl-O-Vision on Lenore, and she and Kirk make out.

The top part of this dress isn't awful, but the sleeves are lined with sparkly lilac fabric and edged with lime maribou feathers.

The Observation Deck was one of the only sets with windows that show stars. It was felt that, logistically, the hull would be weakened by windows. It was also expensive to make star-filled backdrops. The Observation Deck set was built for this episode, then never used again. Minus points, budget.

Spock runs a computer analysis between the eyewitnesses and Kodos, then reports back to Bones. Seems that 20 years earlier, Tarsus IV was struck by a fungus that destroyed it's crops. Faced with some horrible decisions, Kodos chose to hand-select who would die so that some others could live, employing his own sense of value to human life. Riley and Kirk are the only eyewitnesses left who had actually seen Kodos. Spock suspects that Kirk thinks Karidian is Kodos. Maybe he should. Each time another eyewitness has died, the acting troupe has been nearby.
Meanwhile, Riley is pouting in Engineering. He calls the Rec Room for company, and Uhura plays Spock's harp and sings for him.

Nichelle Nichols toured with Duke Ellington.

While he's listening, some mysterious person poisons Riley's milk. He takes a sip and croaks "help me!" into the intercom before collapsing.
This Riley's second and last appearance in this series. Too bad. I kind of liked him.

Really? A spray bottle? You couldn't find anything more futuristic... or sinister-looking? Also, what's up with the square food? That's all they eat out in space, I guess: rations from The Matrix

In sick bay, Spock tells Bones that Kirk is the last target. If Riley bites the dust, they're screwed.
Kirk's Log 2819.1: Riley sick. Everyone worried. McCoy working on it.
Spock and Bones go to Kirk to give him the medical report, and Spock says that he knows Kirk's secret and that Kirk is a target. Kirk gets belligerent and launches into a soliloquy about how he's putting things on the line on a hunch. Spock says that the logical answer is that Karidian is Kodos, but Kirk is still unsure. Are you kidding me? If a Vulcan says that your hunch is correct, you can take that shit to the bank.
Bones and Spock are used as the different parts of Kirk's personality: Spock as dispassionate logic and reason; Bones as emotion and passion. Kirk's balance comes from utilizing both. This pop-up makes me imagine a regular-sized Kirk, with Bones and Spock as "angel-devil shoulder-riders."


In the next scene, everything appears to be the same, but the doctor is gone. Spock's obviously awesome hearing picks up a weird sound, which they determine to be an overloading phaser. Kirk announces over the PA that the deck needs to be evacuated and he sends Spock out before finding the phaser and dropping it into a garbage chute. The idea that a phaser would explode when overloading came from the first pilot "The Cage".
Kirk goes to confront Karidian in his quarters, and Karidian replies "maybe, maybe not" when Kirk asks if he is really Kodos. There's a "dramatic-off" between the Shakespearean actor and the over-actor which represents a lot of sound and fury, but signifies nothing. Kirk turns to leave and Lenore calls him back. She says she is no longer interested in jumping him, and calls him inhuman. At least she wasn't wearing something ridiculous this time.


Bones makes a med log about how Riley is fine now, but confined to sick bay by Kirk, who doesn't want him running into Karidian. He also reveals that Kirk suspects Karidian of being Kodos, the man who murdered Riley's family. Of course Riley is standing behind him. DRAMATIC MUSIC!

Was Riley spared because he knew all the words to "I'll take You Home Again, Kathleen"?

In the theater, Lenore introduces the play - Hamlet, of all things - and McCoy calls Kirk to report that Riley is missing. A red shirt then pages Kirk to let him know that a phaser is missing from the weapons locker. Kirk puts the red shirts on alert for Riley, then rushes to the theater. (Okay, seriously: this ship has a freaking theater?) He finds Riley backstage with the phaser and talks him down from killing Kodos, sending him back to sick bay. The writers used MacBeth as the opening play because MacBeth believes himself to be a good person who justifies murder, and whose life is ruined by guilt. This represents Kodos/Karidian. Hamlet relates to Kirk.


Between acts backstage, a fidgety Karidian vaguely tells Lenore that he's feeling haunted by the past, and she assures him that it's okay, because she's the murderous bitch who's been popping caps in the witnesses' asses. She just has to murder Kirk and Riley to collect the whole set. "What the fuck, Lenore?" he demands. "You were the only untainted thing in my life, and now I find out you're freaking HH Holmes." Kirk has been eavesdropping and he steps forward to point out they have some sort of fucked-up Gift of the Magi thing going on. He yells for a guard to come arrest Karidian, but Lenore grabs the red shirt's phaser and runs into the theater. She gives a rather Shakespearean speech about how she's going to kill everyone onboard.

Crazy. It's always in the eyes.

She tries to shoot Kirk, but Karidian dives in front of him, gets hit and dies. Lenore promptly loses it, quoting Shakespeare over her father's dead body. Kirk disarms her and the theater full of people is left to wonder what the hell just happened and mutter about how they got screwed out of the third act. As in Hamlet, a play is used to uncover a killer.


On the bridge, Bones reports that Lenore remembers nothing, thinks her father is still touring, and seems to have been left in a mental institution (was it Tantalus, by any chance?). It's okay, Lenore. If they ask you why you did it, just claim loneliness.


Lose Ends:
Why is half of Tom's face missing? We can guess that it has something to do with Kodos, but it's actually never explained.
What was Kirk doing on Tarsus IV? He was born in Iowa, and joined Starfleet, but was he visiting? He would have been about 17 at the time of the famine/genocide. Had he completed his coursework at the academy and gone on to an assignment? Was he part of the rescue that showed up a bit too late to save those people?
Why was Riley spared when his parents were not? He was probably a little kid when this occurred, so what makes him more valuable than his parents?
If 4000 people were left on the planet, how did only a handful of people know what he looked like? Did dude live in some secluded castle away from other people?... while wearing a mask?

*******

And now it's time for a rousing round of "Are You As Awesome As Uhura?"

Champion Uhura

Are you moderately attractive? +1
Are you good at your job? +1
Are you a team player? +1
Do you have a innate sense of style? +1
Do you have a talent? +1
Are you immune to Damsel in Distress Syndrome? +1
Are you sane? +1

The score to beat is lucky number 7.

Challenger Lenore Karidian

Are you moderately attractive? Yep +1
Are you good at your job? Presumably so +1
Are you a team player? Possibly +1
Do you have a innate sense of style? Hell no -1
Do you have a talent? Acting +1
Are you immune to Damsel in Distress Syndrome? Effectively murdered 7 people without help, going with a yes +1
Are you sane? Good Lord, no -1000

Lenore's score is -955. So sorry, you are not as awesome as Uhura. Thank you for playing, and please enjoy your Rice-A-Roni, the Starfleet Headquarters Treat. Ding-ding!

*******

So I've been trying to kick my soda habit, but the lack of caffeine coupled with trouble falling asleep has left me tired.
"I need caffeine but don't want a soda," I complained to Roomie.
"You should try mate (mah-tay)," she suggested. "It has a caffeine content similar to coffee, but it tastes like chocolate."
I balked. Too much caffeine makes me nuts, and there's only two kinds of drinkable chocolate that are okay by me: hot chocolate, and Mexican hot chocolate. I remember years ago when the Shasta company had a chocolate soda, and I was excited. "Chocolate? I love chocolate!" No. Not good. Blech. Roomie regaled me with tales from the soda fountain, mixing chocolate Cokes for people while gagging on the inside. She suggested cutting the mate with something for less caffeine and chocolate taste.
So we brewed half JavaVana Mate and half Tropical Nut Paradise (a rooibos) for a nice blend of not-too-nutty, not-too-chocolately, not-too-caffeine-laden tea. Both are available from Teavana.