Star Trek

Star Trek

Monday, June 16, 2014

Season 2, Episode 44 "Journey to Babel"

"Journey to Babel"
Production Number: 44
Air Order: 39
Stardate: 3842.3
Original Air Date:

The Great Experiment is now complete, my friends. Here are the findings:
- One cannot work two 80-hour workweeks back to back and still write and publish a weekly blog.
- No matter how often one tells oneself that the blog will be done during lunch break, Murphy's Law states that said lunch will, inevitably, never be taken. One will find oneself becoming ravenous at 5 pm, but not understanding why until the next day, when one discovers one's uneaten lunch in the work refrigerator. Verbal confirmation of "oh, yeah....." will occur.
Conclusion: My apologies.




*******


The chick that's talking to the purple chick is wearing Areel Shaw's
dress from "Court Martial." This is my life, you guys. I spend so
much time studying this show that I recognize re-used costumes
from previous episodes.
*cough, cough* season one, episode five *cough, cough* 

So our boys are getting ready for some diplomatic thing, and Bones is bitching about having to wear dress uniforms, but he doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about, because choker whites are sexy as hell. Be quiet, eye candy. Just look pretty.
They go to the shuttle hangar to greet the Vulcan ambassador, and Spock teaches Bones the Vulcan salute. A contingent of Reds line up next to the Zombie Galileo, and a guy who played a now-dead Romulan steps off the shuttle, but you're not supposed to realize that he's both a different race and alive now. The Vulcan ambassador Sarek introduces his aides and his wife. Amanda is sweet. She and Sarek engage in what has become known in the fandom as "the Vulcan kiss", where they touch their extended pointer and middle fingers. In a culture that does not engage in displays of affection, this is kind of racy PDA. Frankly, I find this intimate gesture to be way sexier than Kirk's half-naked conquests.


Kirk tells Sarek and Amanda that Spock will show them around the ship, and Sarek requests that someone else do it. Attempting to move around an awkward moment, Kirk suggests that Spock pop down to Vulcan for a few to visit his parents before they leave orbit, but it's only made more uncomfortable when Spock reveals that Sarek and Amanda are his parents. We get some Dramatic music! and a great oh, shit face from Kirk as he realizes that he's just met his boyfriend's parental units.

Kirk's Log 3842.3: "Taking Federation ambassadors to a planet named Babel for a peace conference. All of the guests on board kind of hate each other. Also, really glad that Bones' parents aren't on the ship right now. I can only take so much of this coming out crap at a time."

Sarek and Amanda follow Kirk into engineering, and Amanda breaks off to talk to Spock. Seems Spock hasn't talked to his father in 18 years, and hasn't been home to visit in 4. That math suggests that he spent 14 years visiting and not talking to the guy who comprised half of those visits. Yeah, I wouldn't visit, either. Sounds lame. Kirk asks Spock to explain the computer systems to his parents, but Sarek bitchily replies that he already gets it, and he and Spock leave separately to do their own things. Amanda is left to complete the tour without her husband. She explains to Kirk that Sarek and Spock are at odds because Spock didn't go to Sarek's alma mater. Can we say "lame"? That's a shitty reason not to talk to someone for almost two decades. Sarek is annoyed that Spock chose Starfleet over the Vulcan Science Academy. Kirk suggests that both men are stubborn. 
Amanda smirks. "A human trait?"
And they both laugh because they both love exasperating Vulcans.
Dude, Amanda is charming as fuck. I love this chick. I don't love that wig that they piled on top of her real hair, but she is otherwise fabulous. I'm hoping for another episode with her in it. Please, Star Trek. I've sat through a lot of crap in the last year. Just throw me this bone, okay?


Uhura calls Kirk to say that she's intercepted some kind of close-range mysterious signal, which is undecipherable. Kirk orders her to scan the area.

Kirk's Log 3842.4: "This flight is super awkward. Political crap and family crap. The ambassadors are going to vote on whether to admit the Coridan system and it's planets into the Federation or not. Lots of people don't want that for Coridan. Also, I'll probably try to get Spock and his dad to hug. I think they have a Cats in the Crandle thing going on or something."

At a cocktail party, Sarek is approached by a pair of aliens whose masks will give me nightmares for weeks. (Seriously, where the hell are their eyes?) They're Tellarites, and they want to know how Sarek is voting, because others follow him like sheep. Sarek tells them to fuck off. A nosy Andorian tries to butt in, but Kirk points out that they're at a cocktail party, so they should shut up and drink their drinks. After they leave, Sarek admits that the Tellarites tried to start shit with him the last time they met, but Sarek handed the Tellarite ambassador, Gav, his ass.

Good job, costumer. None of these outfits suck.

Bones asks Amanda about Little Spock (his childhood, not his dick. Get your mind out of the sewer). She tells Bones about Spock's pet sehlat, which she describes as "a fat teddy bear". Bones is tickled. Spock corrects Bones' thinking, stating that his live "teddy bear" had 6 inch fangs. 
Chekov calls Kirk to tell him there's a weird little ship in the vicinity. Kirk and Spock go to the bridge, only to learn that the ship is out of phaser range, is of unknown origin, and is not answering hails.
In their quarters, Sarek gives Amanda shit for teasing Spock in front of his friends. She teases him for actually giving a shit about his own son.
"Are you proud of him?" she asks, pushing his buttons.
They touch fingers and make up. Dude, I totally ship this. Like, way hard. Harder than Spockura, and Kirkerprise.

Blech, what is that negligee thing? It's so... Rand.

On the bridge, Uhura gets a report from Starfleet confirming that the E should be the only ship in the area. The ship flies at them doing warp 10, and they arm phasers, but the ship just rushes past.
Sarek re-enters the cocktail party sans Amanda. He pours himself a Saurian brandy and Gav the ManBearPig approaches him again to ask how he's going to vote. Sarek admits that he is in favor of inclusion, because the Coridans are under threat of having their dilithium illegally mined, and the Federation can protect them and help them distribute it better. 
"I'm not saying you guys are illegally mining, but you guys are illegally mining."
ManBearPig gets all puffed up and tries to grab Sarek, but attacking a Vulcan is about as smart as sticking a wet fork in an electrical outlet. Sarek easily pushes him away. Kirk rushes in to break up the fight, but Sarek has already beat down Gav without really doing anything, so Kirk just looks like a dork yelling "break it up!"
Gav leaves in a huff. "Rawr, rawr, bluster, bluster, empty threat."
A Red finds the body of Gav in a Jeffries tube a little bit later. He calls Kirk, who is in his quarters, inexplicably shirtless. 



No, really, why is he shirtless? Is this supposed to show Kirk in his downtime? Getting ready for bed? How come we can't see him winding down with a book? They keeping pushing that Kirk is a scholar and a reader, yet we never see him do either. He's always shirtless when he's in his quarters. I guess they want us to think that he's a man's man, but I'm not getting man's man from Kirk so much as I'm getting "dude who doesn't know when too much Axe body spray is too much."
Anyway, the Red gives this disturbing news, and Kirk makes his serious face.

"Maybe I should put on more body spray, so I smell good when
I view the body."

Bones examines the body, and says the neck was expertly broken. Spock admits that Vulcans are expert neck-breakers, and that on ancient Vulcan, people were put to death by tal'shaya, a broken neck. He's pretty up front about the fact that his dad could have easily killed this guy.
The trio goes to Sarek's quarters, where Amanda tells them that he's been meditating for the past hour, as he always does before bed. Sarek enters after a moment, and Kirk tells him that Gav has been murdered by tal-shaya. Amanda objects to the possible accusation of Sarek as the murderer, but Sarek admits that he is logically the most likely suspect. 
Um, unless it's Spock. He's probably also familiar with that technique. But nobody suspects the science officer at all. I kind of wish they did. That might add an interesting layer to things.
Anyway, Sarek's alibi is solitary meditation, and he goes kind of Vulcan-mysterious about it with a bit of "We don't discuss such things with outsiders."
Unfortunately, Sarek takes this moment to collapse. Spock remains coolly stoic. Bones diagnoses him with a heart condition, but Vulcan physiology is different, so he can't tell what kind.


On the bridge, Spock is hard at work trying to figure out the alien ship when Kirk approaches him to talk about Sarek.
"I'm sorry you dad is sick."
"Dude, step off," says Spock. "It happened. Quit trying to take me on a feels trip. That's so human."
He switches the topic back to the alien ship, and Uhura picks up a response to the ship's earlier message. No one can decode it, but they figure out that the call is coming from inside the house Enterprise! Ba-ba-BUUUUMMMMM.


Spock and Kirk go to visit Sarek in sick bay. Bones says that he had the Vulcan equivalent of a heart attack. Sarek admits that he has had them before, two before they left Vulcan, and one on the observation deck when the Tellarite was being murdered. Amanda is pissed off that he didn't tell her.
"Meh," shrugs Sarek. "You couldn't have done anything. I saw a doctor. He gave me meds."
"You should have a complicated open-heart surgery," says Spock.
"Yeah, probably," replies Sarek.


"Dude, that procedure would require a lot of Vulcan blood," protests Bones. "I don't have a good stock of it on board."
"Also, I'm a rare blood type," says Sarek.
"I'm the same blood type as him," Spock offers.
"You don't have enough for two people," says Bones.
"You also have human blood qualities," answers Christine, who seems to be in every episode, but only ever gets like, one line.
"Meh," shrugs Spock. "The machine will filter out the chaff."
"This is dangerous," Bones tells Amanda. "The odds are not great."
Spock starts to calculate the exact odds.
"Spock," barks Amanda, "seriously: shut the fuck up."  

More of these women, please.

Later in sick bay, Spock and Bones are discussing an experimental drug that encourages blood to make more of itself or something. Spock wants to use it. Bones is hesitant because it's hard on the body. Amanda comes in, and deduces what Spock is dancing around: that he himself take the drug, and that a blood transfusion between them would deliver the blood to Sarek.
"No way," says Amanda. "I could lose both of you."
"Too risky," Bones tells Spock.
"Bitch, you've got no choice," says Spock. "We're doing this thing. I'll be working til you're ready. Scrub up."

We jump immediately into a fight scene between Kirk and the Andorian in the corridor. Like right in the middle. It's so sudden that your brain actually says "the fuck?" when the scene changes. They roll around for a moment, then the Andorian shivs Kirk. Kirk manages to knock him out, then calls Spock from a comm on the wall, requesting some Reds to come get the Andorian, before he passes the hell out.


Kirk's Log via Spock 3843.4: "My boyfriend is in sick bay with my dad, and that dumb little ship is still following us."

Everyone is down in sick bay again, and Bones tells Spock that the shiv punctured one of Kirk's lungs. Plus, Sarek is getting worse, so now Bones must operate. He needs Spock to hop into a backless hospital gown, stat. 
"No way," says Spock. "I'm in command now, and I can't run the ship from a hospital bed."
"So give it to Scotty," suggests Bones.
"As if," Spock snorts. "This diplomatic-thingy is too important."


Spock goes down to the brig to check out Thelev, the dude who shanked Kirk. He glowers from the cell as the Andorian ambassador tells Spock that the guy is part of his staff, and that he doesn't know anything about him. 
Okay, time out. Why the hell is it, in pretty much every story/movie/show/whatever that includes a bunch of diplomats or important people coming together, that someone insignificant will travel with the important people, and who will undoubtedly turn out to be a spy caught up in an assassination plot or some kind of espionage? I can think of half a dozen times off the top of my head where this same plot occurs - in fact, it happened a few weeks ago with "The Trouble with Tribbles". DOES NOBODY RUN BACKGROUND CHECKS ON THEIR ASSISTANTS?
Anyway, the Andorian ambassador says that his people are pretty violent, but they have no beef with Kirk.


Spock is in his quarters later when Amanda comes in. She begs him to turn control of the ship over to someone else so he can do the operation, but he refuses, saying that there is too much going on, that there are too many important people on the ship, for him to just give up command like that. When she tries to appeal to his human half, he acts like she just called him a Mudblood. She then recounts a story of him coming home, secretly upset, because the other Vulcan boys were saying that he wasn't fully Vulcan, and that she knows that the human inside of him was crying, and that she cried as well. Ow, dude. My feels. 


He wonders aloud how she could marry a Vulcan, live on Vulcan, raise a Vulcan, and still know nothing of Vulcans. Then he tells her that Sarek is not more important than the success of this mission, and she slaps him before storming out. He turns and places his hand on the door after she leaves. This is fucking brilliant. I'm giving Leonard credit for thinking of that, because it seems like everything that is strictly Vulcan has come from him, this actor who studies his part so well. In a race that suppresses emotion, every little emotive gesture is noticed and analyzed. He also invented the Vulcan kiss, the Vulcan hand salute, and 
suggested that drunk Spock would break down crying while trying to regain his composure. Vulcans are highly complex. Leonard Nimoy understands.


Down in sick bay, Kirk awakens and attempts to sit up.
"So that sucked," he groans, laying back down.
"Lemme catch you up while you're stuck in bed," Bones tells him. "Sarek is dying, but I can't operate without Spock. Spock won't do it because he has command while you're down for the count."
"Hmmm, that sucks, too," muses Kirk. "What if  I pretend to be okay, take back command, and send Spock's stubborn ass down here for the operation?"
Bones isn't thrilled, but agrees to play along.

They go up to the bridge, and the surprised look on Spock's face is awesome.
"Bones says I'm fine," Kirk tells him.
"Uhhh... yeah, he's good," adds Bones.
"Now that I'm coincidentally okay, you should go to sick bay for that surgery," says Kirk.
Kirk is all bravado until Spock and Bones leave, then he starts to call Scotty to take command for him. But oops, here's that alien wessel again, and Uhura says the mysterious message is being transmitted from the brig this time. Kirk radios for Reds to the brig.


Down in sick bay, they're starting the surgery and transfusion, when Spock actually tries to get up.
"That alien ship," he says. "I just realized something - I have to tell Kirk."
Comm him, you fool. Even non-Vulcans know that it's stupid to get up in the middle of surgery.
Christine shoots him full of knock-out juice, and he passes out. For some weird reason, Amanda is in the room. Did she scrub in for this?



In the brig, a pair of Reds pat Thelev the Andorian down as though he were boarding a local flight in the US. They're about to do the routine cavity search when he starts a fist-fight. He knocks out one Red before the other remembers that he's packing, and that his phaser is set to stun. When Thelev hits the ground, one of his antennae snaps off. Gross. Do you think it grows back, like a lizard tail?


Oh, hey. There's a transmitter in there. The Red reports it to Kirk. Chekov tells Kirk that the alien wessel is coming at them again, and the E attempts to fire at it, but the little ship is too fast. Kirk tries to fire a spread, remembering from his years of playing Asteroids that one should aim not for where the enemy ship is but where it will be. But video game knowledge fails here, and they miss. Sick bay is getting rocked along with the rest of the ship. Bones is afraid he'll lose both Spock and Sarek.
The Reds drag Thelev onto the bridge.
"Who the hell are you?" asks Kirk. "You're a spy, surgically altered to look like an Andorian."
Thelev is pretty cocky, not giving his name, but nobody is cockier than James Tiberius Kirk, and he shuts off the ship to play possum. When the alien wessel inches forward to check it out, he fires phasers on the little ship, disabling it. Kirk turns the power back on, and tells Uhura to hail them and inquire about surrendering. But there's a flash of light and some animation on the viewscreen, and Thelev tells them that his comrades were under instruction to self-destruct. 


With one antenna, Thelev looks like a snork.

 Then he announces that he too was ordered to self-destruct, and has taken a slow poison with no known antidote. Kirk tries to have him taken to sick bay, but no go. Dude dies on the bridge. Kirk decides that it would be best for him to get medical attention, so he leaves Chekov in charge, because why the fuck not? It's not like every other person on the bridge has seniority over this guy, right? 

Kirk goes into sick bay to see how things turned out, and Bones bitches at him for a moment about rocking the ship while he was performing delicate tasks inside Sarek's chest cavity. They go in to see Sarek and Spock. 
Spock tells Kirk that Thelev was an Orion. The Orions had been smuggling dilithium from the Coridan system for a while, and if they shook up enough shit at this delegation, they could start a war and sell dilithium to both sides while continuing to raid the Coridan system. 
So Thelev was a pink dude, playing a green dude who had surgically altered himself to look like a blue dude. Got it.
Amanda suggests that Sarek thank Spock for saving his life. Yeah, right. Getting Vulcans to express gratitude to someone they haven't talked to in 18 years is like pulling teeth. Wisdom teeth. With long, wonky roots that grow sideways.
"Why should I thank him? That was the logical choice, and he made it," Sarek responds.
Amanda throws a bitch fit about logic.
The dialog here is the best:
Spock: "Emotional, isn't she?"
Sarek: "She has always been that way."
Spock: "Indeed. Why did you marry her?"
Sarek: "At the time, it seemed the logical thing to do."

OMG, you guys. I am not a hugger, not by any stretch of the imagination. But I want to hug the pair of them right now. Hug them and squeeze them and call them George.
Kirk and Bones kind of smirk at this, as does Amanda, because the dry Vulcan humor is a wonderful thing to behold. Sarek and Amanda share a Vulcan kiss, and you know that if Sarek was feeling better, he would so be getting some make-up Pon Farr later.


Kirk starts to collapse, and Bones and Christine help him back into bed. Bones tells Kirk that the captain is now his bitch, and will be stuck in bed for a while. Spock then tries to get up to go back to his station, and Bones puts the smack-down on him as well. Both men protest, and Bones barks at them to STFU. Kirk suggests that Bones is enjoying this, and he gets shushed again. After a moment, Bones smiles pretty much into the camera and says "I finally got the last word!"



Dude, this episode was awesome, easily one of my favorites. There's a total lack of iffy science, the costuming wasn't awful (for the most part), Kirk wasn't obnoxious, and we got to delve deeper into the development of one of this show's strongest characters. 
I'm also pleased when Star Trek attempts to make aliens that don't look like "we gave a human a funny hairstyle" was the goal. Sure, when you start comparing alien aesthetics of this show to that of others, it's obvious that the budget here was a smaller one. But someone went to a lot of trouble to get those white cotton wigs and chain mail shirts and blue paint. The antennae in particular were good, well-made and they appeared to actually be growing from the Andorians' heads.
My only qualms were a gratuitous shirtless Kirk scene, and some of Amanda's stylings were weird (that Dracula collar on her coat in the first scene, that unnecessary wig, and that red crocheted poncho thing with the pink maribou feathers - what?). But really, these are so minor that they almost aren't worth mentioning. The awesomeness of this episode overshadows those things and I can shrug them off.
Command gold star to you, Star Trek.

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: 0
Blue deaths this season: 1
Total crew deaths this season: 19
Total crew deaths thus far: 35

Just two civvies this time.

*******

Peppermint is not my favorite flavor. It's not something that I reach for unless it's combined with chocolate, but I feel like crap right now, and peppermint has been proven to ease indigestion, so I'm drinking Stash Peppermint tonight. It's like chamomile, but slightly less creamy. And this tea has more of a minty bite to it at the end that wasn't present with the chamomile. Also, I feel less crappy. This is why restaurants offer you mints at the end of your meal.



This tea is herbal, and caffeine-free, which is a bonus if you're drinking this tea before bed. The cool thing about the Stash Tea Company is that they offer a bunch of different-sized packages to order, as few as ten bags and as many as 90. Awesome-sauce.







Uhura and Moe

2 comments:

  1. Excellent catch about how Uhura should have taken command instead of Chekhov! If the writers were sqeamish about a woman in command - Scotty should have taken command. Uhura TOTALLY outranks Chekhov! I like reading a woman's perspective on ST TOS. I'm also a sucker for cute cat pictures...

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    1. Haha, thanks PJ. It's sort of a funny line trying to talk about feminism in Star Trek because, while feminism was on the rise then, it was still a sticking point. Sometimes I have to pause and take into consideration the fact that I might be projecting today's standards on that of the late sixties. We lost Number One going in, but we got Uhura on the bridge. We get female bad-asses, but we get damsels in distress, too. I'm gonna guess that they picked Chekov to be in charge because the censors really did not want a chick in charge. It's kind of a shame. I bet Uhura would totally bring her A-game to the captain's chair.

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