Star Trek

Star Trek

Monday, December 29, 2014

Season 3, Episode 60 "And the Children Shall Lead"


"And the Children Shall Lead"
Production Order: 60
Air Order: 59
Stardate: 5029.5
Original Air Date: October 11, 1968

I realized tonight that my condiment choices actually match the level of awesomeness that I assign to Star Trek colors. The best condiment, which goes good with pretty much everything, is bleu cheese dressing. Second-best is mustard, which is good on hot dogs and sandwiches. Dead last, collecting mold in the back of the fridge, is ketchup. You're expendable ketchup, and you should be phasered off the planet.


Also, apologies for skipping a week. I meant to post this sometime in the middle of last week, but my wi-fi caught ebola or some shit. My friend Boy has examined my laptop and assures me that my connection is now operating at maximum efficiency.

*******

Kirk's Log 5029.5: "Got a distress call from this planet, Triacus. Gonna beam down."



The trio beams down. I can see the need for McCoy if it's a medical emergency, and maybe for Spock, if they have some kind of scientific problem, but Kirk is superfluous here, and I notice that they're walking into an unknown situation with zero armed Reds. We pan across the studio-built scene, which an outdoor space littered with seven adult bodies. And what's that I spot? Two of the females are wearing the clothing made for Dr Janet Wallace, one of Kirk's Old Friends. Good job recycling, Budget.




One guy stands up with his phaser. He's Dr Starnes and he doesn't seem to recognize Kirk before falling down dead. Bones finds a container in one woman's mouth and declares it to be poison. Kirk plays Starnes' last log entry, where the doctor rants about taking their own lives to rid them of the "alien presence within."
A group of kids coming running out of a nearby cave, laughing and playing. The oldest kid spots the trio and introduces himself as Tommy Starnes. Then they all join hands around Kirk and play Ring Around The Rosie in an area containing their parents' dead bodies. The writers probably picked that game as an association with the Black Plague. ISWYDT, Star Trek.


Kirk's Log, supplemental: "Buried the dead people. We're super sad about it, but the kids have zero fucks to give."

Bones thinks that the kids are in denial and that it could do permanent damage to them if they don't deal with the situation. He beams up with them. Kirk and Spock remain on the surface talking about things. Spock thinks that the scientists were encouraged to commit suicide by some outside influence.
"How come the kids weren't affected?" Kirk muses.
"Maybe those little shits were being threatened, or were promised some kind of reward for cooperating with said outside influence," suggests Spock.
They go into the cave. There's some random equipment, and Spock says he is getting some weird readings. Kirk says he is getting a creepy feeling from the cave. Because this is Star Trek, I'm gonna go with alien-disguised-as-haunting.


Back on the ship, Christine has been put in charge of the kids. Oh, Majel Barrett. You went from second in command to ship's babysitter. 
She hands out replicator tapes to the greedy kids, who pull them out of her hand like savage little monkeys, and who then run to the replicators to collect ice cream sundaes. She tells Stevie, the kid in blue, that she has a surprise for him, and she hands him a random tape for the replicator. He eagerly inserts it. When the ice cream comes out, he is disappointed, saying that he got coconut and vanilla, which are both white. She comforts him, saying that life is full of surprises, both pleasant and unpleasant. This is a good learning moment, but unfortunately, it goes to shit very quickly.
"That's your unpleasant surprise," she tells him. "Now you can pick your ice cream flavor and get a pleasant surprise." (It's not a surprise if you let him pick, Christine. That's a "choice." Learn what words mean.)
He asks for chocolate wobble (whatever that is) and pistachio. She starts to hand him the tape that's colored brown on one half and light green on the other, but then he adds, "Also peach!" She hands him the tape with the brown stripe, the green one, and a peach one. Okay: chocolate and pistachio actually sounds pretty good. Lots of people mix chocolate and nuts. But who the hell adds peach to that? Apparently, enough people that they actually have to have a tape for it. This is the future, friends. And in it, they eat gross ice cream combinations.
Stevie gets his new ice cream, which is much larger, and skips off to join the others.
I hate this tiny scene. It's bullshit. A woman (and a relative stranger) offers a kid some ice cream, and he bitches when he receives it because both ingredients are white. WTF? Is this Calliou In Space or something? I rewrote this scene because it needed to be done:
Christine offers Stevie a surprise, to which he eagerly agrees. He gets the ice cream out of the replicator and his face falls, because both the ice cream and the topping are the same fucking color.
"Life is full of surprises, Stevie," says Christine. "I offered you ice cream and you are disappointed. Now you are in for a unpleasant surprise. For being a total twatwaffle about the ice cream and for  being ungrateful, you now get nothing. Suck it up, buttercup."
And she walks the hell away, because that is how one deals with a complete Calliou.
 Really, Star Trek, if you wanted a small-ish situation to arise with the ice cream without making Stevie come off like a tool, all you had to have him say was, "but I'm allergic to coconut." Now he looks like a dick.


In the corridor, Bones tells Kirk that the kids are fine physically, but he wants to take them to a starbase to get them checked out by a shrink. Kirk refuses. He wants to continue investigating Triacus, to see what else they might glean from this situation.
Kirk enters the rec room and asks the kids if he can have ice cream with them. Christine brings him a dish, but he doesn't eat it. So she's a waitress now as well. Lovely.
Kirk asks the kids about Triacus. They tell him that the planet sucks, and that they're glad to be away, and that their parents loved it there. They give him a brief stare-down, then start chanting "busy, busy" before getting up and running in circles. Kirk suggests that Christine take them to their quarters to get some rest.
Tommy, the tall ginger, declares that grown-ups are assholes. The kids go with Christine, but Kirk keeps Tommy back.
He asks if Tommy's father was upset today, and Tommy says yes, but he doesn't really care either way how his father was feeling. He says that his parents loved it on Triacus, but that he hated it, so now everyone is happy, because his parents are staying on the planet (you know, cuz they're dead). Then he rudely tells Kirk that he's leaving to go to his quarters. Kirk asks security to post a detail on the kids.


In their quarters, the kids join hands and chant to a "friendly angel." An alien hologram thing appears.
"Good job getting on board the Enterprise," it tells them. "Now we have to get to Marcus XII, where there are millions of people. Some will be our friends, but everybody else must die, like on Triacus. We'll also kill everyone on board this ship, because they are not our friends, either. But first you have to control them to get the ship to Marcus XII."
The kids excitedly agree.
This is our premise, Trek fans: creepy kids try to take over the ship because they are being brainwashed by an evil alien presence. Good writing will save a shitty story, but unfortunately, this isn't one of those times. Would you care to rubberneck this traffic collision of an episode?


Spock enters the bridge with Professor Starnes' log entry tapes to show to Kirk. Starnes says that he and the other adults are anxious on the planet, but the kids seem to be fine. As the logs progress, he talks about how some excavations have been done on the planet, and that the previous race, which died out long ago, had perished from some natural disaster. But now they are starting to think that there may have been more to it than that. Tommy enters the bridge for some reason, and sees that they are watching the logs. He gets angry and shakes his fist a few times, as though he is pounding it on an invisible table. The log entry goes fuzzy and stops. Are you paying attention, friends? These creepy kids now have magical powers.
"Weird," says Spock. "It should continue."
Tommy steps forward and asks Kirk to take them to Marcus XII, because he "has family there."
"Nope," says Kirk. "Going to a starbase that's closer to us."
Tommy then asks if he can hang out on the bridge and watch, promising to be quiet. Kirk agrees, which is stupid. Then he and Spock leave, which is also stupid, and which you know was done to further this terrible plot.


Tommy walks up behind Sulu and shakes his fist again. Sulu, who is susceptible to drugs and suggestion and every other thing in the universe, quietly charges their heading so that they move out of orbit and toward Marcus XII. Mary, the little blonde creeper with the pigtails, enters the bridge and asks if Sulu and Chekov think they are still orbiting Triacus. Tommy replies that the viewscreen is showing them that they are still in orbit. Uhura looks up and starts to yell to Sulu that they are off-course, but Tommy shakes his fist at her, and now she thinks that they are in orbit as well.


Down in engineering, an altercation breaks out between Scotty and his crew because the cute little black kid now controls that section of the ship, and many crew members believe that they are still in orbit.
The trio is in Kirk's cabin watching the remaining Triacus entry logs. Starnes says that he actually called Starfleet to request a ship but couldn't recall what he wanted one for, and that's when he realized that his mind was being controlled. He tried to call Starfleet to warn them, but they realized that they had to kill themselves to get rid of the alien within. 
Spock says a warning was never sent to Starfleet, and that they made the decision to kill themselves quickly. Kirk asks about the dead race that Starnes and the others were investigating. Spock tells them that the old race was a band of marauders who were eventually taken down by some evil of their own making. According to legend, the evil is waiting for some new catalyst to awaken it again.
Is this horror, or sci-fi? Because it's trying to come off as both, and isn't succeeding as either.
Kirk thinks that the alien presence was trying to get Starnes to call it a ship, and that Starnes canceled it because he realized that he was being controlled by the alien. He plans to send down an away party to gather info on the surface.


Hope you weren't too attached to those Reds. Kirk beams them to the surface then realizes that they aren't in orbit around Triacus anymore, so he actually beamed them out into space.
*Pac-man death noise*
He then requests that the transporter chief beam up the security detachment, but there isn't anyone to beam up. Query: did one of those kids think to go into the transporter room to screw around with the mind of the transporter chief? Or did he just not bother to look at his instrument panel before beaming two guys into outer space? Spock checks the panel and sees that they are no longer in orbit. Then they check the bridge screen, which confirms it. Also, please note that they never again mention the security detachment, or go back for them. Kirk calls Sulu to ask why the hell they've left orbit, and Sulu tells him that they haven't.
On the bridge, the kids hold hands and turn a circle while chanting to the angel guy again.


And here comes the armless creeper angel again. Dramatic music! Commercial break!
The angel guy tells the kids that they've hit a snag because Kirk and Spock have figured out that they've left orbit. But he tells the kids (in front of everyone) that this is no big deal, because the kids control the ship now, and if they have to, they can call upon the "beasts" of the crew. He explains that the "beasts" are the fears of the crew, and that the kids possess the magical powers to make the crew afraid. Then he disappears.


Tommy sends the boys back to the rest of the ship to ensure that they keep going forward to Marcus XII, and Kirk eyes him. Then Kirk tells Sulu that they aren't actually orbiting Triacus, and that he needs Sulu to set a course for Starbase 4. Tommy shakes his fist, which I guess calls up Sulu's "beast," which appears to be... I dunno, knives floating in space or some shit.


Soooo, Sulu is afraid of this, or...? 
Kirk turns to Uhura and tells her to contact Starfleet and report that they have some little creepers that he think might be aliens or something. She agrees and turns back to her station, which for some reason has a mirror at eye level. Why the hell is there a mirror there? Oh, wait. Because they needed one there, to show Uhura as a very old woman. Apparently, she's really conceited or something, because her fear-beast thing is "getting older." Whatever. It's not as stupid as "stock photos of knives floating through space in a circular pattern."


Kirk tells Spock to send the message to Starfleet instead, but Tommy shakes his fist.
"No, that's lame," says Spock. "Everything is under control."
Um, not sure how Spock's regular behavior with him just refusing to call Starfleet is in any way a fear of his (he fears being insubordinate?), but that's his thing. Kirk tries to ask a Red shirt to take a terrified Sulu to his quarters, but Tommy shakes his fist and now Kirk is speaking gibberish. Tommy looks smug as fuck. Spock seems to shake the effects, but Tommy shakes his fist and now Kirk is afraid that he's lost command. Spock pushes Kirk into the lift and Kirk clings to him in a Spirk moment.



But then he just kind of gets over it. He and Spock exit the lift normally, and head to engineering, where Kirk tells Scotty that he needs to alter course. Scotty replies that the instruments are delicate, and that altering course could mess them up and that they "be lost forever." Is that really what the cute little black kid has convinced them? That they can't steer the ship at all, or they'll get lost in space? The kid shakes his fist menacingly, and Scotty growls at Kirk to get out, or he'll kill him. Kirk says that an alien has control of the ship, and an altercation breaks out between Kirk, Spock, and the engineering crew. Of course Kirk and Spock manage to throw off three Reds at once, because Rules, and they back into the corridor.



Spock tries to convince Kirk that they are still in danger, even if he himself is not feeling the "beast blood" thing. Kirk argues that they're just children and that children are innocent, but Spock gives us a fairly decent Hmm Moment here: "They are followers. Without followers, evil cannot spread." This gives Kirk pause, and he realizes that unless they stop the kids, they will be forced to kill them.
This is an opportune time for Tommy to come down the hall with Chekov and two Reds. Chekov claims that he has to place Kirk and Spock under arrest, by order of Starfleet.
Of course there's an altercation. And of course Kirk and Spock win. Spock takes Chekov and the two Reds to the brig by phaser-point.


Kirk returns to the bridge to find that little freckled fucker sitting in his chair. He removes the kid bodily, and they get into a shouting match over the crazy alien hologram thing. Spock enters the bridge and Kirk tells him to turn on the angel chant recording. When did they record that? Oh, well. Of course the lift opens and the rest of the kids conveniently show up. They stand there while the recording plays, and the angel shows up.



"Get the fuck off my ship," Kirk tells it.
"Make me," the angel replies. "Y'all are weak. The crew is too gentle, which is why we will have to destroy you, like we destroyed the parents. They were also too gentle to be followers." (No, seriously: he used the word "gentle" several times. What a weird word choice.)
Kirk shows the kids some video of themselves playing games with their parents at a picnic or something. Everyone is laughing and smiling, and happy music plays. The kids seem to be enjoying the video, until it ends with shots of their dead parents' bodies, which is kind of a douchey thing to do. The kids turn to look at the angel dude.
"It's cool," he tells them. "We killed them because they were getting in the way of our plans. They wouldn't have helped us."
Spock then shows the kids their parents' graves. They start to sob.
"No, it's good that they're dead," continues the angel. He's dug so far down that he can barely see out of his hole now. "They were weak, like the ship's crew." The angel's face starts to develop sores or something, and melt, I guess.
"Now that you're not receptacles of evil anymore," Kirk tells the kids, "all of the evil resides in him. See how ugly he is?"
That's... what? That's a kind of half-assed explanation of things, Star Trek. Where did that even come from?


"Fuck you guys!" yells the angel. He fades away.
Bones comes onto the bridge and sees the kids crying. He's overjoyed because now he feels as though the kids can be successfully rehabilitated. He's grinning from ear to ear. Bones, I understand that you're glad that the kids can be treated now, but your timing is terrible. He leads them off of the bridge.
Sulu and Uhura are clearly over their "beasts" and acting normally. Kirk gives the order to go to Starbase 4, and everyone poses for the credits.


The story for this episode feels sloppy to me. There's a "creepy kids with powers" thing going on, and then it's revealed that the kids allowed their parents to be killed because they're in league with some alien, for whom we never get any real information. Then this alien gives these kids the power to not only control the thoughts of the crew members, but also call up their fears. I get that Uhura is afraid of getting older and dying and disease. That kind of makes sense. As does Kirk's fear of losing control of his command. But Sulu - the fencer - is afraid of floating knives? What? And Spock just becomes lackadaisical...? The thing that kills me here is that Sulu, Uhura, and the engineering crew continue to cower for the rest of the episode while Mary Sue Kirk and Mary Sue Spock immediately snap out of it. What's the point in Disabling the Ship that way if you're not going to use it? And what makes Kirk and Spock such hot shit?
So this is how this breaks down: the science team is on the surface, studying the ancient race that died out. Some alien force that may or may not be part of that race shows up and convinces the kids to work for it. It drives the adults mad, and they kill themselves. The Enterprise picks up the kids, and the alien tells them to drive the crew mad and get them to take the ship to Marcus XII. It fails and Kirk shows the kids how ugly the alien is. The kids are sad. The end. The story sucked. Like seriously. It sucked hard enough that it could coax an elephant up a straw. We get one Spirk moment in the lift, but very little other times when the characters related to each other. There was one brief moment where Spock offers a Hmmm Moment by talking about how evil needs followers in order to maintain that evil, but there was no exploration of it. We didn't even get a moment at the end where the trio, or even Kirk and Spock, stand on the bridge and discuss it for a few. And that's all they had to do, just break it down a bit. But there was no follow-through. They didn't give a shit, so why should we?


Death Toll:
Red deaths this episode: 2
Red deaths this season: 3
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: 3
Total crew deaths thus far: 47

So there's poster art of this terrible, terrible episode (as there are of many TOS episodes, both awesome and crappy alike). You can buy it on glasses and t-shirts and things. The question is, why? Why would you want a t-shirt of this awful episode? They also have t-shirts of "City on the Edge of Tomorrow." That was a great fucking episode. Get that shirt instead.



*******


Bought two more of those Tea of a Kind teas (they have four flavors, but there were only three offered at the store). Opted this time for the Pomegranate & Acai, which is made from a blend of white and black teas. This time I paid attention when I opened the bottle. A kid I was hanging out with at the time took a video as I twisted the cap off, and we laughed pretty hard at the video when the liquid squirted into the water in the bottle and we both instinctively went "Whooooaaaa...". As for the tea, I could taste the tea, the pomegranate, and the acai, but unfortunately the combination tastes like a cheap, watered down Grape Kool-Aid. Not great.

Before


After


This is the super-weird cap for these teas. All of the flavoring
is stored in there until you twist the cap.

http://teaofakind.com/




2 comments:

  1. Did you count the (presumed) dead and abandoned security team?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nah, the security team beamed down off-camera, so there's no way to know how many were involved. As far as we know, Kirk could have sent down every Red on the ship outside of Scotty and Uhura.

      Delete