Star Trek

Star Trek

Monday, October 6, 2014

Season 2, Episode 50 "By Any Other Name"

"By Any Other Name"
Production Number: 50
Air Order: 51
Stardate: 4657.5
Original Air Date: February 23, 1968


You know, there are a lot of cliches out there. The title of this episode is part of one. Star Trek has it's own special set of cliches, such as Kirk Gets Kidnapped, Kirk Seduces a Girl For His Own Uses, No One Can Win a Fight Against Kirk, The Reds Always Die, The Ship Is Disabled, The Alien Females Will Look Like Beautiful Humans And Wear Skimpy Costumes, ect.
And guess what? This episode is just a bunch of Star Trek cliches strung together.
Let's count them together, shall we?


*******




We start out on some planet on a sound stage, and it looks vaguely like a bunch of the other "paradise type" sets we've seen. See those Reds that we've never seen before and will probably never see again? One of them will die. Spoilers, sweetie.
The away team takes scans, looking for the person or persons who might have sent a distress signal from this planet. Two people approach, a male and a female. The female is wearing a backless jumpsuit. The Alien Females Will Look Like Beautiful Humans And Wear Skimpy Costumes: Star Trek cliche #1.



Kirk introduces himself to these new people, and says they are there because of the distress signal.
"Awesome," says the dude in orange. "We're taking over your ship." And he and the chick press buttons on their belts, freezing the away team. "I'm Rojan of Kelva, and we're taking you and your ship back to our planet. Sucks to be you."
The chick collects their weapons and comms and puts them on the ground nearby, close enough that any one of the away team could easily reach out and pick them up, but we're supposed to understand that those things are now inaccessible. She then stands in the foreground, facing the hostages, so that we can clearly see that she's Bringing Sexy Back.


Rojan explains that he can control the away team by freezing them with the button on his belt. Then he explains it with science that may or may not actually be science: Star Trek Cliche 2. Once he unfreezes them, he tells the away team that their home, Kelva, is in the Andromeda system, that their planet will become uninhabitable eventually, and they are scouting for a new home. But they got stranded, and instead of using their distress signal to hitch a ride somewhere, they're going to be dicks and car-jack the E.
Upstairs, Kelvans are appearing all over the ship and freezing the crew so they can take over more easily.

Kirk is not wearing his green blouse, so we know it can't be Friday.
But this Kelvan is wearing pink, so we know it must be Wednesday.

Kirk objects that the ship is too slow to reach Andromeda, and Rojan brushes him off by telling him that they're altering the E so that they can easily make the trip. 
I'm calling bullshit. It took them multiple generations to get to that part of space, but they're going to alter what is most likely lesser tech in order to arrive in Andromeda within 300 years? Firstly, their own ship wasn't capable of that, even with their advanced technology. Secondly, you can't just use parts from less-advanced technology to build better technology. It'll only go so far. What they're proposing to do is alter a Beta-Max player to Netflix season 3 of Sherlock. Even if they have parts that are compatible with Beta-Max, there's no way they could do it that quickly. Thirdly, they plan to up the velocity that the E travels at so that they will arrive faster. Yet, somehow, they plan to make sure that the damn ship doesn't fall apart, even thought it wasn't built to travel at those speeds.

I'll give Kirk some credit here: he tries to reason with Rojan by explaining that the Federation has spent decades exploring and cataloging the galaxy, and knows of plenty of planets that they can colonize. That's actually a good point. But Rojan refuses the help, saying they are conquerors rather than colonizers, and they're just going to take over the place instead.
"Beeteedubs, you guys are now hostages."
Star Trek Cliche #3: Kirk gets Kidnapped.
I know I'm shocked. Are you?


There's a brief scene between the commander Rojan and an underling, Hanar, about how it will be nice to get off the planet that they've been stranded on. Hanar says that he kind of likes the planet, and Rojan says that the human forms they have taken are strange, and the senses that come with them, like touch and smell, are interesting. Gee, just like Sylvia in "Cat's Paw." Did the writer of this episode simply cherry-pick stuff from other episodes and string them together?



In their cave-prison-cell, the away team discusses the fact that the aliens register as "perfect human life forms". Then Kirk asks if Spock can free them using a trick he used on Eminiar 7, which was to convince the guards that they had escaped already. Remember that? It's from "A Taste of Armageddon", and I suppose that they were maybe trying to establish continuity by mentioning previous adventures, but it really does sound as though this writer sat down and watched every episode prior to this and just took what they wanted without having to add much new content. Here, they even admit to having ripped off the episode by mentioning it specifically.



Anyway, Spock mind-melds with the wall, and makes some kind of contact with the backless girl, Kelinda. The attempt ends with him being thrown across the room, but she stumbles in to see what's wrong with Spock, and Kirk ends up karate-chopping her... on her upper arm. Which knocks her out completely and instantly. He takes her belt-buckle-neuron-freezing-thing and they head out. Too bad they're caught right outside the cave. 
"You need to be punished, so I'm killing your Reds," Rojan tells Kirk.
So he takes Lt Shea (the tall black dude) and Yeoman Thompson (the chick), and get this shit: he turns them into gaming dice. Rojan tells Kirk that he has to roll a D-12 to get them back. 



Naw, I'm just fucking with you. He crushes the yeoman and restores Lt Shea. Kirk kind of plays with the dust that was Thompson, the implications of which leave me feeling squicky.

Kirk's Log 4657.5: "Stuck down here with Rojan's crew while he alters my woman."

Spock is troubled by his earlier mind-meld, in which he saw the true forms of the Kelvans, which are actually large life forms with tentacles. Kirk asks Spock if he can reverse the polarity on Bones' medical equipment to short out the neural-paralyzer thing. Spock says that he guesses so, and Kirk suggests that Spock play sick in order to be transferred back to the E. Just like in "I, Mudd", for instance. Or "Bread and Circuses". Or "The Gamesters of Triskelion" or "A Piece of the Action". Or, every other episode of Star Trek. Cliche #4: Pretending That A Prisoner is Sick is An Effective Way to Win Your Freedom. And because Hanar hasn't seen this show, he falls for it. 
So Spock goes into a Vulcan meditative state, and Kirk calls for a guard. Hanar makes sure to tell Kirk to stand away from the door before opening it, but then he leaves it wide-open like a dipshit. Bones tells Hanar that Spock will die if he doesn't get him to sickbay, and Hanar agrees to transport them back to the ship.


Upstairs, Bones makes Christine prepare him some BS hypo-sprays to give Spock, while the dude in pink watches. Bones tells Pinky that Spock has Rigellian Casaba fever and that he should be fine in a few hours, buying them some time to fuck around with ship modifications, or to at least form a plan.

Downstairs, Rojan and Kirk argue while Kelinda messes with some flowering plant. She asks Kirk about the flowers, and says that they have some crystals on Kelva that grow to look similar. He quotes Shakespeare at her, but I think I may be missing the connection, and why it's so important that they would include it as the title for this episode. Are they trying to make the point that Kelvans and terrans are not so different?



In the next scene, the mods have been made, and they are approaching the edge of the galaxy, with Kirk in the captain's chair and Chekov at the helm, but the Kelvan Drea is driving. They push the speed to warp 11.
Spock and Scotty sneak down to engineering to take out the device that powers the neural paralyzer belts, but Spock declares it impossible, as the metal used to protect the device is impenetrable.
"We could always rig the ship to blow up," he suggests.
"That solution sucks, but I'm willing to alter the ship just in case," Scotty agrees.


In the turbolift, Spock and Scotty quietly inform Kirk of their possible plan to blow up the ship by flooding the engines with positive matter energy. There is a barrier at the edge of the galaxy that they must cross before the Kelvans can go home. It's the same barrier that the E encountered in "Where No Man Has Gone Before", and it's made of negative energy. Kirk is shocked that they would move to suicide so quickly, and that Scotty has made the adjustments already. They get off at the bridge, and take their seats, preparing to fly through the barrier.


Kirk sits and Hamlets in his chair while Scotty, nearby at the engineering console, literally waits with his finger on the button. Dramatic music!
But Kirk chickens out and they fly through the barrier in one piece. Rojan compliments Kirk on the efficiency of his crew, then announces that he is killing most of them.
"The fuck?" asks Kirk.
"We needed them to get past the barrier," says Rojan, "but we only need a few of you now. Everyone else becomes gaming dice."
The Ship Goddess, Chekov and the rest of the bridge crew are turned into dice, leaving Kirk, Scotty and Spock. Later, Rojan runs into Kirk in the hallway, who is staring at all of the dice on the floor.
"Beeteedubs, we found out about your little plan to blow us all to kingdom come," says Rojan. "Don't try that shit again, mmkay?"


Kirk goes into commissary to find Scotty, Spock and Bones having lunch. Bones gives Kirk some shit for not blowing up the ship when he had the chance. Pinky enters and asks why they eat solid food when they could just take pill supplements.
"Maybe you should try it," says Bones huffily, clearly still miffed that Kirk didn't kill them all.
Pinky makes Bones help him to use the replicator, then puts the tray down at another table. Pinky isn't part of their clique, so he can't sit with them.
"Let's try to take out the paralyzer-thing again," Scotty whispers.
"No, we need it to change the crew back," whispers Kirk.
Spock quietly points out to the others that Pinky is enjoying his food with the gusto of Mikey eating Life cereal. Apparently, in their quest to be brainy and awesome, the Kelvans ditched their extra senses, along with emotion. But they are currently trapped in their human bodies because the ship will not support their kind of original life, and the price they are paying is that they are having to deal with those senses and emotions again.
"Let's stimulate that stuff and distract them," says Kirk.
Scotty gleefully gets up and offers Pinky some Saurian brandy.

He doesn't even go here.


In the next brief scene, Bones tells Hanar in sick bay that he's heavily anemic because all Hanar does is take those supplement pills rather than eating solid food. He gives Hanar a hypo in the arm and tells him that he needs to eat actual food, and get three shots a day.

"Here, let me gleefully stab you with this hypo."

Kirk goes to Kelinda's quarters to apologize to her knocking her out by tapping her on the upper arm. But you know he's actually there to seduce her because they bring out the sexy music to play over the top of the scene, especially when he starts yapping about love and sex and she gives him a perplexed look.
Cliche #5: Kirk Kisses the Pretty Girl.
Cliche #6: Kirk Teaches The Pretty Girl About Love By Way Of His Penis.


These last two cliches are almost made up for when she instantly calls his bullshit and says "Oh, I get it. You're trying to seduce me." And Kirk makes this fabulous face that says that he can't believe that she saw through that most excellent of ruses. Surprise, Kirk - Kelinda did her homework. Maybe she even watched this show to find out all of your dumb tricks ahead of time.

"I can't believe she saw through my most brilliant move!"

But then the whole fucking thing is ruined again when, in an effort to understand why humans find crushing their mouths together pleasurable, she kisses him. You were almost cool, Kelinda. Almost. Anyway, Rojan cock-blocks Kirk just then, and Kirk leaves. In order to explain what they were doing, Kelinda then makes out with a confused Rojan.

Not sure Rojan could enjoy this less.

Rojan runs to Spock for a game of 3-D chess and an explanation as to why humans are so fucking weird.
Spock shrugs. "Got me, bro. But you seem totes jelly over the fact that she was kissing Kirk. Also, your chess skills suck."
"I don't like Kelinda!" says Rojan in a way that makes you think he's plotting to pull her hair at recess.

Meanwhile, a bunch of these scenes have been intercut with scenes from Scotty's room, where he is very busy literally drinking Pinky under the table.


Kelinda is in her room, playing with her hair, because on this show, that means that she like-likes a boy. Rojan comes in and angrily orders her to stay away from Kirk. She refuses, and they both briefly marvel at the fact that they were angry. Fade to commercial.

Kirk, Spock and Bones meet up in the rec room to discuss how their sabotage is progressing. No one has seen Scotty or Pinky, but Rojan is angry and jealous, Kelinda appears to be luke-warm for Kirk, and Bones has been giving hypos of some kind of mood-alteration to Hanar, making him angry. Kelinda comes in to talk to Kirk, and Spock and bones leave. Apparently, Kelinda wants to make out with Kirk some more. We don't need more screen-captures of Kirk making out with some chick, so we'll cut back to Hanar telling off Rojan.


Spock, on the bridge, "accidentally" lets it slip that Kirk and Kelinda are probably having naked fun in the break room, as Kelinda is warm for his human form. 
In his quarters, Scotty finally succeeds in knocking out Pinky. He takes Pinky's belt zapper, but then collapses because, holy shitsnacks, that guy keeps A LOT of booze in his quarters.

Rojan bursts into the rec room to yell at Kirk and Kelinda, and Kirk further pokes the bear by declaring that Rojan can't control Kelinda. A fight breaks out, and you know how that shit will eventually end because of Cliche #7: No One In The Known Universe Can Fight. So they break a bunch of stuff on the rec room tables, and Kirk continues to provoke Rojan, at one point telling a just-arrived Spock and Bones that he was riling Rojan up. Thank you, Captain Closed-Captioning.


So Kirk wins (again, I'm shocked), and he tells Rojan that what they really need to do is contact the Federation with their relocation problem, and ask the Feds if they can hang out in this galaxy.
"That planet you were on when you carjack us was pretty nice," says Bones.
"That's true," says Rojan. "Do you want to stay with Kirk?" he asks Kelinda.
"No," she says. "I want to go with you. I owe you an apology." And she gives him a thimble. No, I'm just screwing with you again. She makes out with him because this show likes to take a smart, vulnerable woman and make her all about the D in the space of 50 minutes.
So Rojan turns control of the E back over to Kirk, and everybody lives happily ever after. Except for Scotty and Pinky, who now have alcohol poisoning.


Blech, this episode dragged. And I managed to find seven Star Trek cliches in just this one episode. It was almost painful to watch. Good riddance, "By Any Other Name." You kind of sucked.

*******

Dear Mr and Mrs Thompson,

It is with great regret that I report that your daughter Yeoman Thompson was killed in the line of duty. We beamed down to this one planet, right? And these douchebags with some kind paralyzer things on their belts told us that they were space-jacking our ship, and then they took us hostage, as per the usual. Did I say that your daughter was with us? Right, she was with us. We tried this lame-o escape, and we got caught, and the head douchebag said he was gonna punish the two most-expendable members of our group, which was your daughter and this other guy. Never sign up to be a Red, amirite? LOL. So anyway, they turned your daughter into a gaming die, and just to be extra-douchey, they brought the other Red back to life and crumbled your daughter into the grass. Luck of the draw, I guess. Anyway, I felt bad, so I picked up some of the space dust that's now your daughter, and I sort of rubbed her between my fingers. It wasn't til a few minutes later that it occurred to me that I probably fondled her accidentally in weird places. Oh man, if I had a space nickle for every time that happened, I could freaking retire tomorrow, you know? ROFL.
Anyway.
Sorry, 
Captain James T Kirk

Death Toll:
Red deaths this episode: 1
Red deaths this season: 18
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: 25
Total crew deaths thus far: 42

According to IMDB, Yeoman Thompson is the only female Red to die in the series.
*******

So Teacup and I ended up at the Crimson Bird restaurant again, this time so we could split her free birthday burger, as is tradition. I went with the peach iced tea, as I had wanted to last time, buuuuut it did not turn out well. I again forgot to stir the tea so that the peach syrup mixed more evenly in the glass, and I got another mouthful of syrup. It... was not good. Is "earthy" a polite way to say that the syrup tasted a bit like dirt?
 It was an earthy peach.
Stirring it in with the tea didn't make it much better.
If you go to the Crimson Bird, get yourself the fancy burgers and possibly a cocktail. But not the peach tea. Avoid that stuff. If you want to do flavored tea there, do the pomegranate. It's not fantastic, but it isn't earthy, either.

Princess Peach is shocked at how unappealing
this tea was.



Oolong the baby ewok

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