Star Trek

Star Trek

Monday, May 12, 2014

Season 2, Episode 40 "The Deadly Years"

"The Deadly Years"
Production Number: 40
Air Order: 41
Stardate: 3478.2
Original Air Date: December 8, 1967

Roomie: "I don't think that overalls should count as pants. It's like a whole outfit, because it covers your boobs, too."
Me: "Thank you, Dr Korby."



*******



This week's opening scene takes place on the surface of Gamma Hydra IV. An away team that includes Kirk, Spock, Bones, Scotty, Chekov and a random blue in a pixie cut beam into a complex with weird little buildings. (One of the buildings is Zefram Cochrane's house from  "Metamorphosis". Golf clap, Budget. Good job.) Kirk is put out because no one is there to greet them. He thinks something is wrong. He says that the expedition leader, Johnson, was expecting them, but his last communication seemed off.
"His conversation was disjointed."
I wonder how many people on the film crew giggled when The Shat delivered that line.
The team spreads out to look around, and Chekov wanders into the only building set that isn't a cardboard facade. He stumbles upon the dead body of an old man laid out on a platform, and dramatic music plays as he runs screaming for Kirk
I feel like this is a gross over-reaction. This crew encounters death all the time, and it's not as though they turn on the dramatic music for each one. So why the Hello Kitty is Chekov shrieking like a little girl? It's a dead body, not a zombie. I mean, no one's gonna eat your eyes, Chekov.
The away team follows him in, and Bones scans the body, saying the man died of old age. Two more seniors arrive, and the man says that he's Johnson. He's 29, and his wife is 27. Okay, now it's appropriate.
Dramatic music!



Kirk's Log 3417.2 "Went to an experimental colony to check on an expedition of six. Four are dead and the last two are kicking the bucket now, all of old age, even though no one was over 30."
In sick bay, Kirk tries to talk to Johnson, but the old man just wants to talk about how hot his wife used to be, back before she became a hideous old crone. Kirk gives up, and he and Bones go to the briefing room, where a meeting is ready to start. This meeting is attended by Commodore Stocker, because this planet falls under his jurisdiction. This actually looks like Kirk is being responsible, by inviting in upper management so that they can all work together as a team to figure out this mystery. But you and I both know that any time a commodore or a comptroller or an ambassador or the freaking High Priest of Starfleet comes on board, the following will happen: Kirk will become incapacitated because he's Kirk; this hotshot will shake things up on the bridge; the ship will be disabled, the commodore/whatever will wish he had Kirk back to save the day.



Also in attendance is Dr Janet Wallace, an expert in endocrinology. She is certainly not dressed as a scientist. She's dressed like one of Kirk's Old Friends, and you know at some point she'll get some Girl-O-Vision, or there will be a discussion about how they used to be Old Friends with Benefits, or maybe they might share a sweaty tumble by the time the episode is over. I suppose I shouldn't be judging this girl based on her appearance, but let's call it confirmation bias. Or, as Bones said to Areel Shaw in "Court Martial": "All of my old friends look like doctors. All of Jim's old friends look like you."



Anyway, the gist of the meeting is that everyone on the expedition aged really quickly and no one can figure out why. They're close to the Neutral Zone between the Federation and the Romulan Empire, so that adds a bit of tension to the episode, and when the meeting adjourns, Stocker reminds Kirk that he is traveling to starbase 10 to start a new job. Here are our episode pieces thus far: mystery (young people dying of old age); possible threat (Romulans); time constraint (you know the commodore is going to start whining about starbase 10 at some point); and romance (one of Kirk's Old Friends).
Oh! Conspiracy theory: somewhere out there is an intergalactic strip club called Old Friends, and Kirk is enough of a VIP to rate house calls. This is why he introduces curvy blondes as Old Friends. They're all just strippers.
Janet hangs out after the others leave, and she and Kirk briefly discuss that they used to make the beast with two backs. Apparently, they broke up, and she married some other guy in her field, but he's dead now. Kirk wants to jump the widow, but then Uhura cockblocks him by calling him to the bridge.



On the bridge, Spock says there's no reason for those people to be geezers, and the commodore tries to get Kirk to go to starbase 10 (that was quick). Kirk gives Sulu the same command twice and leaves. I think this scene lasted all of ten seconds.
In sick bay, Lieutenant Galway, the cute little Blue in the pixie cut, complains to Bones that her hearing is off. They've started to give her some old people make-up. She looks more like the beginning of a zombie than anything else.



Kirk is in his quarters, shirtless for some unknown reason, and he Skypes with Spock, because nothing says "professional" like Skyping shirtless while on duty. Kirk gives Spock the same command that he gave him before, then experiences some shoulder pain.

Also, that screen is positioned so that Spock is staring at  Kirk's navel.


He goes down to sick bay to complain to Bones.
"Hey, your hair is going gray," he laughs.
"Quiet, you. I'll cut you with a scalpel," Bones growls. He's in a bitchy mood because the Johnsons have died and he couldn't do a damn thing about it. Also, Scotty keeps calling to complain about being tired, because I guess they don't have coffee in the future.
Bones scans Kirk's arm and says that he has advanced arthritis.
"The hell?" asks Kirk.
Then Scotty comes in looking like Old Man Winter.
"The fuck?" demands Kirk.



Kirk's Log 3579.4: "Dude, we got old. Like, way old. So much for hitting the Merry Widow."

Everyone on the away team is in sick bay, getting checked out. Kirk's hairline has receded spectacularly, and Bones has aged 20 years over the commercial break. Spock looks about the same, but Vulcans are long-lived, so whatever. The wild card is Chekov, who is unchanged. They all talk to Galway, who is sitting off-camera. I guess Star Trek wanted to do a Big Reveal with her, but... ta-da! She's old. Like, she's much older that everyone else, which is weird because she was pretty young to begin with, but an old woman in a room of old people is not that big of a reveal.
Galway catches her reflection on her way out of sick bay.
"What a stupid place for a mirror!"
Yeah, seriously. Why the hell is there a mirror hanging in sick bay?



Janet is waiting in the corridor when Kirk leaves sick bay. She suggests that they get back together, but he shoots her down. He says that there was an almost 30-year age gap between herself and her late husband, and suggests that she only wants him now because she's a geezer grazer. Then he asks if she's offering love or a going-away present. Damn. Codger Kirk is a bitch.
We switch back to the bridge, where we get another brilliant Chekov-Sulu moment: Chekov is complaining bitterly about how, as the only unaffected member of the away team, he's been subjected to every medical test they have, and been forced to give samples. Sulu says that Chekov will live.
"I'm going to run out of samples," grumbles the Russian.
I love these helm dialogues. They're rare, because Walter Koenig was hired to fill the helm position during the days when Georgie was filming The Green Berets. But these two make a great pair. Sulu is typically a goofy cut-up when he's not focusing on work, but in these situations, he plays the straight man - the slightly older, slightly wiser officer to the less-experienced and brasher Chekov. They work really well together.



Kirk enters the bridge, and there's a brief discussion between him and Stocker about getting to starbase 10 on time. He tries to sign a document twice, and tells Spock to tell starbase 10 that they will be late in getting there, as they are staying on to find out about this geriatric situation. Spock says that he already talked to starbase 10 on Kirk's orders. I wonder how many more scenes I'll have to watch where the point is to document Kirk's impending memory problems. I'm only halfway through this episode.
Later, Kirk is asleep in the command chair when Spock enters the bridge. Kirk is woken, and Spock reports that they are aging rapidly because of radiation from a passing comet.
Really? That sounds like iffy science to me. I'm filing this one away with the slingshot-time-travel theory under "Shit Star Trek Says".
On his way to sick bay to give this dumb comet info to Bones, Kirk pauses to give Sulu the same damn command he's given him like four times already. Spock points out that Kirk is losing his marbles, and they take the lift to sick bay.
There's a brief scene when they get there, where they discuss the cause and treatment with Bones and Janet, but I can't focus on the dialog because Bones has a giant ALUMINUM FOIL DILDO sitting on the table.



Stocker catches Spock in the corridor and asks him to relieve Kirk of duty. Stocker likes Kirk, but the captain is no good to command right now. Spock tries to weasel out of it, not wanting to take over the ship in his own current condition. Stocker suggests a competency hearing, which Spock is not able to get out of, and he agrees, setting the hearing for later.
In sick bay, Kirk and Bones are testing Chekov again when Galway stumbles in and dies. Bones says that her metabolism made her age faster than the others. *sad trombone*
Everyone gathers for the hearing, and Stocker and Spock each try to play the martyr and accept responsibility for calling the hearing because neither wants to unseat Kirk. Spock runs the show, asking various crew members about their encounters with the captain and his failing memory. They're uncomfortable, answering questions with "Um, yeah, but..."



Kirk thinks the hearing is bullshit, and says so. He gets mad when the computer puts his physical age at 60-72, declaring himself to be 34. (Seriously? An early episode pegged him as being roughly 36. A few years have passed since in the Start Trek world, which would make him closer to 38. Is 34 the new 29?) Bones reluctantly agrees with the computer. Kirk gets up to make one of his big speeches, but kind of just makes things worse, ending with a bit of "Et tu, Spock?" Nobody wants to tell Kirk that he's batshit.
Also, check out the Old Guy make-up on Scotty and Bones. Why the hell is it purple?



After Kirk leaves, Stocker puts himself in charge of the ship, as both Spock and Scotty are out of commission, and it's obviously better to have him in charge than someone who ranks lower but who knows the ship and it's crew. He orders Sulu to proceed to starbase 10 by way of the Neutral Zone. Oh, Stocker. Here I thought you were going to be different, because you weren't an inflated dick. But you were cast in the same douchebag mold as everyone else in Starfleet Upper Management.


Spock and Janet go to Kirk's quarters to give him the bad news that Stocker is now in command. Kirk is angry because Stocker has never had a field assignment. He calls the commodore a "chair-bound paper-pusher" and yells at Spock to GTFO. Janet stays behind to try to console him. I don't even remember what she says. What the fuck is she wearing? The top part has potential, and I like the fabric, but when she stood up, it turned out to be a romper. Her first outfit was a romper, too. What the hell is wrong with these costumers? You don't put a grown-ass woman in a romper, FFS. That's toddler clothing. She looks ridiculous.

Dude, her little pink shoes are sparkly, too.


Kirk stomps down to sick bay to find Spock and Jan talking to Bones. They note that the only difference between themselves and Chekov is that Chekov freaked out at the sight of a dead body. They figure adrenaline kept him from getting radiation sickness, and there's a brief montage where Spock, Jan and Nurse Chapel do science stuff to come up with a cure.


The E enters the Neutral Zone and is instantly under fire from a Romulan fleet. Stocker is at a loss as to how to handle it. He just kind of freezes while shots rock the ship.
"I think I should surrender," he says finally.
"The Romulans don't take captives," growls Chekov.
I love you, Chekov. You don't just get annoyed, you get PMS-y, and you don't give a shit who knows it.

Wait, did they indicate Stocker's rank by filling in the space
between the cuff stripes with tin foil?

Spock bursts into sick bay with a serum, and Kirk insists on taking it first so that he can boot Stocker from his throne. The shots of Kirk reacting to the serum and then getting better consist of Jan's ass and his thrashing pelvis. Sounds sexier than it actually is.


Moments later, he steps out of the lift to bark orders, once more vaguely 30-ish. Earlier, quite a big deal was made of the fact that messages cannot be sent through code 2, because the Romulans have broken it. Now, Kirk has Uhura open a channel to Starfleet command under code 2, to say that he has accidentally wandered into the Neutral Zone, and finding himself surrounded, intends to set off the corbomite device, which will destroy the E and everything in the area. The Romulans take off, and Sulu warps them the hell out of the NZ.
Stocker apologizes for being a doucheweasel.


Bones comes onto the bridge looking normal, and says that he has a serum made up for the still-old Spock. They trade some barbs because they're contractually obligated to close each episode this way.
And Kirk wraps things up by looking at Jan like he's going to eat her.



Okay, Star Trek. I'll buy that radiation poisoning from a passing comet caused rapid aging and death in some colonists and part of the crew. I'll even kind of buy that adrenaline will stop them from aging to death. But my purchasing power stops at the fact that this magical serum not only halts the aging process, but reverses it. I'm done. Sell it to someone else.


Death Toll:
Red deaths this episode: 0
Red deaths this season: 12
Gold deaths this episode: 0
Gold deaths this season: 6
Blue deaths this episode: 1
Blue deaths this season: 1
Total crew deaths this season: 19
Total crew deaths thus far: 35
+ 2 civvies
So, In "Dagger of the Mind", I complained that everyone who dies on this show dies of weird stuff, and never regular things like old age. Can't say that anymore. Sort of.


*******

Firstly, let me apologize for the late posting today, and the missing tea post last week. My 10-year-old desktop finally bit it, and I've been struggling to acclimatize to the new laptop, which appears to have an iffy disc drive, and a super-shitty player. Boo! I didn't really feel like making myself a cuppa after the drama, so I merely posted as-is last week.
This week's tea is Caddy Shack by Peace Tea. You've probably seen these. They come in giant cans in the grocery store and they feature funky art. This particular flavor is just a re-named Arnold Palmer, which features lemonade and iced tea, two awesome things. It's pretty good, a nice balance of tea to lemonade, though if you're a tea purist, it might not be your thing, as it tastes like a pre-made tea. (Me, I'm good. I like McDonald's sweet tea, and in high school, bottled Lipton Brisk was my go-to drink.) You've probably met a pre-made tea before. It doesn't so much taste like tea as it tastes like "tea flavor."
A quick word of warning: if you're sensitive to fakey sugars like I am, you might want to steer clear, as it's sweetened with sucralose, something I failed to notice when perusing the nutrition label.



https://www.peaceicedtea.com/

It's available in a lot of places, and the website has one of those handy "find where it's sold by plugging in your zip code" search boxes.




"Um, do you mind? Trying to take a bath here..."

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