Star Trek

Star Trek

Monday, December 15, 2014

Season 3, Episode 59 "The Enterprise Incident"

"The Enterprise Incident"
Production Order: 59
Air Order: 57
Stardate: 5027.3
Original Air Date: September 27, 1968


I went to a new doctor this week, and we were going over intake paperwork, and she asked how I dealt with stress.
"Recently, I put Next Gen on in the background while I do stuff," I replied. "I find it relaxing."
She printed up a paper with medical emergency numbers on it and advice for dealing with stress. At the top she wrote "watch Star Trek."

tl;dr: Doctor says I control the Netflix now. It's for my health. I have a note.

*******




Chief Medical Officer's Log 5027.3: "Kirk is being a bigger dick than usual. Kinda concerned."

Dude, I love that we start out with one of Bones' logs. That never happens. We don't get a lot from Bones, and it sets the scene nicely, as it's overlaid with Kirk coming onto the bridge and barking at Chekov that he needs to fucking do his job right. Chekov walks away looking frustrated and kind of hurt. Then he yells at Spock for not giving him an update since his last update, which sounds like it was given like ten minutes ago. He then proceeds to yell generally at the bridge crew, who are simultaneously trying to keep their heads down and not let Kirk see how annoyed they are that he hasn't taken his Midol this morning.

Bone's log continues: "I dunno what the fuck is wrong with him, except maybe he's been out to sea too long or something. He won't come in for a medical eval."

Kirk gives Sulu some new coordinates and Sulu concernedly reminds him that that would steer the ship into the Neutral Zone. Kirk barks back that Sulu should STFU and take them there. Scotty enters the bridge and overhears Sulu announcing that they are leaving the Neutral Zone. The engineers asks Uhura in a whisper when the order came in from Starfleet to enter the Neutral Zone. She whispers back that it didn't. Kirk yells at them for talking shit about him behind his back. Spock announces that they are now surrounded by Klingon ships, and that the Romulans are now using Klingon designs. Good job, Kirk. Dramatic music! Opening theme!

IMDb trivia: a production assistant stepped on and broke the
Romulan warbird model just before shooting this episode, so
they used Klingon cruisers instead and claimed that the Roms were
adopting Klingon design.


Kirk orders Uhura to send all logs thus far to Starfleet, and she alerts him that they are being hailed. The Romulan on the screen introduces himself as sub-commander Tal and asks if he is Kirk. He wants the E to surrender or he will blow them out of the Romulan sky. Kirk puts the screen on mute to talk to Spock. They agree that Tal probably wants the E, or he would have fired on them before this.
"Fuck you," Kirk tells Tal. "If you board us, I'll blow the ship up."
Tal is very interested in Spock. He gets a call from his commander, and offers the E an hour to surrender.
"Starfleet knows of this situation," Kirk says.
"Bitch, I know how subspace communication works," Tal replies. "It'll take three weeks for Starfleet to get your messages."
Seriously, Kirk. Those that travel in space are aware of how much time it takes for messages to travel, you numbnuts.
I was trying to figure out why Tal's appearance seemed so strange to me. I think it's because these are OG Romulans, and they don't yet have the textured forehead and straight black hair of the TNG Romulans. Tal has wavy hair. Also, I'm pretty sure he's the lovechild of Peter Capaldi and Ben Stiller.


Kirk calls a meeting in the briefing room, and it appears this meeting is open to more than just senior officers, because there are random crew members leaning against the walls. Spock says he thinks the Roms are using cloaking devices that make them invisible on the sensors. Scotty comments that the Roms took them by surprise. Kirk dickishly asks if Scotty has anything helpful to say. He then states that they have three choices: surrender, destroy the E, or fight and be destroyed. Scotty points out that giving them the E would allow them to find out what kinds of tech Starfleet has.
"Bitch, you got us into this mess," Spock tells Kirk. "What are you doing about it?"
"Wait - the fuck?" asks Bones. "This is your fault?"
"GTFO," Kirk tells him.
Bones stalks out of the room. Uhura comms in to say that Tal is hailing them again, and Kirk takes the call there.
"My commander wants to talk to you and your first officer in person, over here," says Tal. "We'll send two of our guys to your ship in exchange."
Yeah, that doesn't sound fishy as hell.
"Why should we trust you?" Kirk demands.
"You entered our space," Tal points out. "Why should we trust you?"
Kirk agrees to the swap.


In the transporter room, Kirk tells Scotty that if the Romulans being sent over try to to take the E, they should fight and possibly blow up the ship. (Speaking of which, where are they putting these Romulans? Pretty much everywhere but in quarters would  reveal Starfleet technology, and tossing them - even temporarily - into the brig would ruin the good faith action of sending the Romulans to the Enterprise in the first place. Quarters it is. Imagine being those Romulans, trapped in quarters for hours. "So... this is a Starfleet flagship... the decor is tacky. Wish we'd brought a deck of cards.") Kirk and Spock beam over at the exact moment that the Romulans beam onto the E. Good thing they picked specific pads to beam onto, otherwise we would have ended up with another fun transporter accident. The Romulans step forward menacingly with their weapons drawn, but Scotty makes a stern face at them.


Kirk and Spock are shown to the commander's office, and the chair spins around. Holy shit - it's a chick! YEEESSSS!

Dear Terrans of the late 1960's,
As you can see, war-mongering aliens from the future are more socially advanced than we are now. Do something about that, won't you?
Love,
Star Trek


The commander seems just as interested in Spock as Tal was, but she asks him to leave so that she can question Kirk privately. Once alone, she asks why the E is in Romulan space. He gives her some bullshit line about how their navigation equipment failed, and they found themselves in Rom space before they could fix the problem. They were then surrounded by Romulans before they could leave. She sees right through this crap and accuses him of espionage. He gets his panties in a twist over this, and she asks how it would be handles if a Romalan ship "wandered" into Federation territory, which is a good point. She then calls Spock in, admitting surprise to his being on the Enterprise. 
Kirk asks why they seem so taken with Spock, and the commander puts on her "It's a pointy-eared thing. You wouldn't understand" t-shirt. She cites the common ancestor that Vulcans and Romulans share.
"I hear Vulcans are incapable of lying," she says. "Tell me why you are in Romulan space."



"I claim the fifth," he replies, which she takes as proof that they aren't just dicking around in Rom space, like Kirk said.
She and Kirk get into a shouting match, and she ends by smoothly suggesting that she intends to use torture to get the information from Kirk. Spock tells the commander that this would not be a good idea, as Kirk is already half-broken from stress. Kirk angrily calls Spock a liar.
"Kirk is out of his mind," Spock continues. "In order to protect the Federation and the Enterprise, I'm gonna tell you the truth: Kirk ordered us into Romulan space on his own volition, and nobody on the knows why the hell he did it."
"You bitch, I'll kill you!" Kirk rages at Spock. Two Romulan guards hold him off.


Romulan photobomb!

The commander connects to the Enterprise PA system and announces that the Empire is charging Kirk with espionage, and that Spock's testimony about the ordeal says that the Enterprise is in Romulan space on his own command rather than that of Starfleet or the Federation. Because the ship's crew was just following orders, she isn't going to charge them. She wants Scotty to follow them back to the nearest Romulan starbase, where they will be processed and turned over to the Federation. That's actually pretty decent of her. She could have insisted that they were all spies and then tortured the crew as captives.
In retaliation, Scotty orders the two Romulans be moved to the brig, and then Uhura opens the channel to the commander.
"Dude, fuck you. We don't take orders from anybody but Kirk, and if you try to board us, we'll blow up the ship and take a bunch of you with us to hell," Scotty answers.
"Spock, you fucking traitor," rages Kirk. "Scotty's a real man. Scotty didn't betray us."
The commander has him pitched into the brig, then sets her sights on Spock. "I don't know how you work with humans all day," she says, lounging in her chair. "You're smarter than they are - why don't you have your own ship?"
"I don't want a ship," he answers. He admits to having been in Starfleet for 18 years, and for being half-human, but thinking of himself as a Vulcan.
"You should switch sides," she suggests. "The Romulans could give you your own ship."
Ma'am, do you have wax in your pointy ears? He just said he didn't want one.
"You only want the Enterprise," he accuses her.
"Yeah, it would look hella-awesome if I showed up at some starbase with the Enterprise in tow," she agrees.

Meanwhile, Kirk is tossed in the brig. He gets off the floor and tries to run through the barrier, but he's quickly dropped like a sack. Dumbshit, did you not think there would be a forcefield in place?



Bones is paged over to the Romulan ship to examine Kirk, where he tells the guard that Kirk needs medical attention. The guard pages the commander, and she asks Spock to come with her.
Let's pause to look at her outfit here. By TNG, Romulan costumes have become big and very boxy, but here they are still following the guidelines of "alien Romans." The scarves are only given to higher-ranking officers, but here the scarf is made to be part of the commander's dress/tunic thing. It's sewn to the front of her tunic and is slipped under her belt in front. It hangs loose down her back, and the right sleeve of her tunic is made from the same material, which is interesting. But it's the length that catches my eye. It isn't quite long enough that you can't see her underwear. Front, back, it doesn't matter. It's visible from either side. She's then given thigh-high black boots. I can't tell if she's the ship's commander, or a Romulan go-go dancer. She's supposed to have greater status than anyone on this ship, yet she looks like one of Vivian's friends on Pretty Woman.


While walking down the hall, the commander tells him she wants him to report to her for dinner, then she pauses and rephases it into a request. He sarcastically asks if the guards are invited as well, and she dismisses them before he replies that he would be honored to attend a dinner with her.
He starts down another corridor, at the end of which is an imposing-looking door guarded by some Romulan soldier, and she warns him that anyone not wishing to die a terrible death is forbidden to go down that corridor, because that's where she keeps her three-headed dog. He apologizes and they start back toward the brig.
Bones confirms that Kirk is not doing well and is off his rocker. She asks if he's unfit for command.
"He is now," says Bones.
"Killer," says the commander. "So now Spock is in charge of the Enterprise."
Kirk comes out of his stupor long enough to shriek, "You traitor! I'll kill you!"
He runs at Spock, who... grabs his face. Kirk sinks to the ground.
"WTF?" demands Bones.
"I wasn't prepared for that," admits Spock. "I used the Vulcan Death Grip by accident."
"You're dead, Jim," Bones tells Kirk.
Dramatic music!



Kirk is lying on a bed in sick bay when Christine comes in. He opens his eyes once, and she yells for Bones. With her prerequisite one-line-per-episode, she tells him that Kirk is alive.
He turns on the equipment and explains to her that Spock gave Kirk the Vulcan nerve pinch, making him appear dead to the Romulan doctors, then they transferred him back to the E. Apparently, there was a secret command from Starfleet to fly into Romulan space to commit espionage, and he didn't know it until recently. They wake Kirk up, and he explains that everyone is being kept in the dark so that nothing will be tied back to the Federation or the Enterprise. Then he tells Bones to prepare for surgery.
Bones pages Scotty to sick bay a bit later. Scotty grudgingly complies, and finds this:



And I choke on my own saliva at the face that Scotty makes, and the sheer and utter idiocy of how Kirk looks. Do yourself a favor. Stop laughing at this long enough to scroll away from it. Do something else for a moment. Then scroll back and continue to laugh. Just... God.
"WTF?" demands Scotty, which is the correct thing to say when someone is surgically altered to look like a Romulan and this is the result.
"Go steal me a uniform from one of those Romulans in the brig," Kirk tells him.
Scotty practically skips there.

Spock shows up at the commander's quarters for dinner. Because this is 1969, she's got strings of beads hanging floor to ceiling which totally helps me to stop thinking of her as a go-go dancer. Spock notices that she has Vulcan food for him, and they raise glasses of Romulan ale.

Kirk beams over to the cruiser and encounters a Romulan flunky. Because he's wearing a centurian uniform, he can order the dude around, which he does right away, saying that he's just escaped from the E with an important message for sub-commander Tal. The guy buys it, because apparently, he doesn't know the centurions on this ship well enough to recognize that Kirk is a complete fucking fake. Are you kidding me? I'm sure this ship is large, but when you're an underling, you know exactly who the bigwigs are, because you don't want to screw up in front of them.



The commander pours Spock another drink and starts talking about how she could offer him a lot of cool shit if he defects to the Romulans, and then she tells him that Romulan women are not sterile and logical like Vulcan women. Lady, Vulcans are kind of asexual. You're really going to take the seduction route? She suggests that he would study this as a Vulcan, but appreciate it as a human. Okay, I guess she is going there. Good luck to you, madam. Surprisingly, he leans in and tells her that he does appreciate it. Huh?



She tells him that he should re-board the E and together they will venture into Romulan space. He suggests that they wait an hour. She's getting some Girl-O-Vision here, but instead of the Pretty Girl music, it's overlaid with an exotic music. Pretty Girl music is for when Kirk decides to mate with another human. Exotic music plays when Spock considers mating with an alien. He refers to her as commander, and she tells him that she has a first name, whispering it in his ear. He says it's beautiful but doesn't match up with her soldier persona. She goes into the other room to slip into something more comfortable. Please, please, don't let it be shapeless and floaty. So tired of that.
Spock takes the opportunity to call Kirk and tell him that the cloaking device is in the room at the end of the three-head dog corridor. Unfortunately, some flunky on the bridge sees that someone on board is sending communications from somewhere on the ship.
The conversation is cut short as the commander (no, we never learn her name) comes out of the bedroom. This... this is fantastic. It's not floaty or shapeless or unflattering. I would wear this! Her earrings are cool, too. Commander, are you the only woman in the known universe with cute lingerie?



He tells her that not only is her attire more appropriate, but that he thinks it will stimulate their conversation. I... is he flirting? He makes the Vulcan hand salute, and she does as well. They actually start stroking each other's faces and necks with their hands held this way, and I have to say, it's fairly erotic. This is way hotter than any of the shit that Kirk pulls on this show. Kirk stuffs his tongue down girls' throats. Spock gives carefully-measured compliments and almost ritualistic touching. Whoooaaaa.


Kirk finds the Forbidden Corridor and is immediately questioned by a much-smarter flunky, who isn't blinded by Kirk's centurion scarf. When he demands to see Kirk's clearance, Kirk starts an altercation and drops the guy, of course.
Spock and the commander are continuing their slow exploration when they're cock-blocked by Tal, who says they intercepted an alien transmission coming from her quarters. She takes a short, sort of devastated look at Spock, who holds up his comm as a confession, and she rushes out of the room with the guards and Spock in tow. She knows that they are after the cloaking device.
Kirk gains entry to the Forbidden Room at the end of the Forbidden Corridor, where he encounters another smart soldier, who doesn't buy Kirk's distraction of "there's someone on board who is trying to get the device!" Kirk is forced to kick the guy in the face to get rid of him. He then grabs the cloaking device, which was made from parts scavenged from Sargon (the ugly lamp-globe thing) and Nomad (pretty sure that's Nomad's head). Good on ya, Budget.



I half-thought Kirk was gonna try to walk out of there with that big-ass device under his shirt, but he actually calls Scotty for a beam-out. Transporters are awfully convenient sometimes. You know, when they work right. Upon appearing in the transporter room on the E, Kirk tells Scotty that he has 15 minutes in which to figure out how the device works, hook it up to their own technology and try to make the two compatible. Seriously, if this was any other show in the world, Scotty would have a snowball's chance in hell of coming up with tech compatibility like that.
The soldiers burst into the Forbidden Room with Spock and the commander, who is barefoot and still in her skivvies.
Despite the fact that the cloaking device is huge, it takes multiple Romulans to realize that it's gone.
"You're not gonna find it," Spock tells the commander.
"Who the hell do you think you are?" she asks angrily.
"First officer of the Enterprise," he replies, totes letting her know that he was playing her. The truth sinks in, and he slaps him. Then he asks her what the Romulans' current form of execution is. Dramatic music!

Kirk's Log 5027.4: "Once again, I've asked my chief engineer to do the impossible. Good thing he works on the USS Mary Sue, or I might be worried."

Kirk strides onto the bridge and politely but firmly issues orders to his crew. They can't decide if they're excited because he's not acting as big a dick anymore, or if the find his current appearance hilarious. Maybe a combination. With that deep widow's peak, he looks like Eddie Munster.


The commander tells a foot soldier to start the taking of the Enterprise, and that they should destroy the ship if there's resistance. She then tells Spock that the execution will be painful, and that it will take place right after he's charged. He asks for a Right of Statement, which is Romulan tradition. She gives him a recording device, and he admits to sabotage. He says that the new cloaking devices are a threat to Starfleet, and that he carried out his orders as such.
On the E, Scotty reports that the cloaking device has been installed, but he isn't sure it's going to work. Chekov gets Spock's coordinates fed into the transporter, and they try to beam him out. Unfortunately, the commander sees that Spock is being beamed off of her ship, and she grabs onto him. They both transport over, which Kirk and Uhura find funny. Kirk gives the command to warp the fuck out of there, and calls Spock to the bridge. He and the commander arrive.
The commander is pissed as hell. Kirk opens the comm to the Romulan ship.
"What up, pointy-eared homies? We got your commander."
The commander yells at Tal to destroy the E, and Tal orders weapons trained on the Enterprise when they come into range. Scotty throws the switch on the cloaking device, and the E disappears.
"Crap," says Tal. 
But Tal plays Space Invaders, and he knows to figure out where the enemy ship will be, and fire there instead. Sadly for Tal, the cloaked E turns and flies past the cruiser. The commander closes her eyes, and you that Tal is so getting a flogging when she gets back to Romulan space. A whip may be involved as well, depending on her mood.
Kirk tells her that they'll take her to Federation space and drop her at a starbase so she can hitch a ride home on a Fed ship. He's also going to assign her quarters rather than toss her in the brig. That's probably the least he can do. Barefoot, in her jammies, maybe wearing her best push-up date bra, and now she's been quasi-kidnapped after thinking that she was about to ride triumphantly into Romulan space with Starfleet's flagship. The commander is having a shitty, shitty day.



Spock and the commander climb into the lift.
"Sorry you got dragged along for the ride," he tells her. "We only wanted the cloaking device."
"You got it," she replies bitterly.
"Yeah, but... kinda like you now," he admits. Back in her quarters, he told her that he was affected emotionally by her, and you assume that he's screwing with her, because it's part of the mission. But saying that now brings him nothing. He actually likes her.
"It's our secret," she says quietly. She checked the Yes box.
I... I think I totally ship this, you guys.

On the bridge, Kirk is paged to sick bay to have his ears fixed.
"You don't think they're hot?" Kirk asks Bones.
Spock gets out of the lift. "Fool, get your ass to sick bay. You make the pointy-eared community look bad." 


And the bridge crew laughs after he leaves. Because they should. 
Romulan Kirk looks like a twatwaffle.

Heh, twatwaffle.


Death Toll:

Red deaths this episode: 0
Red deaths this season: 1
Gold deaths this episode: 0
Gold deaths this season: 0
Blue deaths this episode: 0
Blue deaths this season: 0
Total crew deaths this season: 1
Total crew deaths thus far: 45

You guys have no idea how excited I get when a good episode of Star Trek follows several crappy ones. There's a tiny dance of joy involved. This episode feel like those cool espionage episodes of Next Gen that we get later, the ones where someone in Starfleet ends up going deep undercover and has to be surgically altered to perpetuate the ruse. I'd like to think that this episode was the inspiration for those later ones. And passing over Kirk's ridiculous appearance as a Romulan, the actual espionage was good. Spock's involvement seems to have been accidental, but he played his part well. I also like the fact that his part seems to have been to just keep the commander occupied, but that he ended up falling for her, and she for him. Had Kirk been the one to seduce the commander, I would have rolled my eyes again, because it's so cliche for him to play the honey pot. For Spock to do it, do it well, and then falter at the end only adds to his character development. And despite the fact that the commander does not get a name in this episode, she feel well-rounded. She offers Spock a place in the Romulan space program, moves in to seduce him, and ends up getting caught up in it. When the dust clears, it's obvious that she still likes Spock, but is also concerned about her career and how to save face. She believes in fair play, despite the fact that she threatened to have Kirk tortured at the beginning of the episode. I like her. I wouldn't be sorry to see her again.

*******

This week I sprang for some bottled tea that I had been eyeing in several stores but had not actually tried. I had been turned off by the fact that, while this particular tea utilized cane sugar, it also uses stevia, which is one of those "sugar alternatives," that my system doesn't like at all. I figured I would give it a shot anyway, as there may be some reader out there who doesn't mind stevia, and would be glad to hear of this tea. The company is called Tea of a Kind, or TOAK, and one of the first things that you notice when you pick up the bottle is that the liquid inside is clear. I wondered if it was like Crystal Pepsi or something, where the taste is added, but the coloring is not. How could they eliminate the coloring from tea? I decided to try it anyway, and twisted the cap without reading the bottle first. The bottle expanded in my hand while the cap made a hissing noise, and I jumped. Too many years of having sodas explode on you will give you that kind of reaction. When I checked again, the tea was... tea-colored. I pulled the cap off. Or up, rather. There's a cylinder attached to the inside of the lid that apparently holds the liquid flavor of the tea, and when you twist the cap, the flavor is released into what I was now pretty sure was just bottled water. The bottle label talks about how things like flavor and nutrients are lost over time in regular bottled teas, and how keeping these things separate ensures that none of it is lost.
 I don't know how true that is. There certainly wasn't a taste difference that I could tell. The bottle that I opened was Peach Ginger Black Tea, and there was a nice balance of tea flavor and peach. I didn't taste a lot of ginger, to be honest, but that was okay. I feel like ginger is the salt to the fruit world. You add it to pies and fruit-based stuff to bring out the fruit flavors. The thing about the taste was the stevia - for me, it tastes fake, and way too sweet. In this case, the role it played was obscuring the slightly bitter aftertaste that one gets from black teas. I know from experience that regular sugar can do that as well, but it typically takes a lot of sugar to do that, and there wasn't a lot of stevia in there, if you believe the caloric read-out on the nutrition label.
Bottom line thoughts on this tea: the flavor is good, minus the stevia. I don't know about the science experiment that the cap presents, or if the price of $3.49 a bottle is worth the idea that the flavors and nutrients need to be held elsewhere until just before you drink it, but I guess it's kind of fun.
When checking their website, it seems that TOAK is not sold in too many brick-and-mortar places, though you can buy it on Amazon in cases.





"I iz help you put dishes away?"

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