Star Trek

Star Trek

Monday, May 26, 2014

Season 2, Episode 42 "The Trouble With Tribbles"

"The Trouble With Tribbles"
Production Number: 42
Air Order: 44
Stardate: 4523.3
Original Air Date: December 29, 1967


Happy Memorial Day to all of the servicemen and women, whose sacrifice and service have oddly allowed me to write this ridiculous blog. Thank you.


*******


As I sit here typing this on Towel Day, I am reflecting on the fact that the production number on this episode is 42. Sweeeet.



This week we begin with a briefing between Kirk, Spock, and Chekov. They're discussing the circumstances of a space station nearby, K-7. It seems that the planet nearby is in dispute, being claimed by both the Klingons and the Federation. Chekov makes a little joke about being close enough to the Klingons to smell them, and Spock dickishly points out that scent does not transfer through space. Dude, we know. It's a joke. Build a bridge. I feel like Spock has lived among humans long enough to be used to their dumb little amusements, and should have already been just internalizing his annoyance at it.
The other part of this scene which bugs me is that the planet in question is called "Sherman's Planet", which is just awful. If you're going to name a location after someone, just use their name, and drop the possessive. "Sherman's Planet" sounds like a food cart with the food part missing: "Sherman's Falafel Planet".
 "Sherman's Kombucha Planet".
"Sherman's Gluten-Free Paleo Planet."
Just call the planet Sherman, okay?
Anyway, Uhura calls the briefing room to inform Kirk that K-7 has made a priority one distress call to them, and the E goes to Red Alert.

Kirk's Log 4523.3:  "Priority one is an emergency call. It pretty much means that your ship or station is FUBAR, so we're rushing over there."

When they get to the station, it's fine. Also, check it out - the production guys went to the trouble to build a space station. That's pretty awesome, even if it does look like an ugly late-60's Christmas ornament.




Kirk calls the station. "Hey, K-7. WTH? Why did you yell "fire!"? There's nothing wrong with you."
The manager, Mr Lurry, apologizes in a way that makes him sound as though he accidentally butt-dialed 911, and is hoping that he won't get fined. He asks Kirk to beam over so he can explain.
So Kirk and Spock beam over, and Kirk starts yelling at Lurry for issuing a scary alert when some little bureaucrat asshole steps forward and says he made the call.  This guy is Nilz Baris and apparently we all better recognize, because don't you know who he is? He's the Federation Undersecretary in charge of Agricultural Affairs in the quadrant, according to the snivelly little PA at Baris' elbow.



You know, I'm sure most PAs are nice people, and are just trying to do their jobs. So why are they always portrayed as weasels, kind of on the small side, heads up their boss' ass, and nasty to people they consider beneath them?
Kirk asks why Baris called them, and dude replies that he wants a contingent of Reds to hop over to the station to guard this super-awesome grain called quadrotriticale. When Kirk asks what that is, Baris snidely remarks that he wouldn't expect Kirk to know, but Spock heads him off by giving a thorough history of it. It seems that this hybrid grain is the only thing that will grow on Sherman's Pleasure Planet, which is important, because in order to secure their claim on the planet over the Klingons, they have to show that they can make the space more productive than the other race.
Pissed off that they were called in by some inflated douchebag to watch over some wheat, Kirk starts to go off on Baris and his underling. Spock points out that there are Klingons nearby, and the Sherman's Pizza Planet thing is important to the Federation, so Kirk resignedly calls Uhura and orders a pair of Reds to beam down and report to Lurry, then gives the command to give the rest of the off-duty crew shore leave.
"The fuck?" yells Baris. "This is important! MOAR REDS!"
"Bite me," says Kirk. "I already have half a mind to report your ass for abusing Priority One."

Check that out: it's the E out the window, orbiting the station.
I don't know who thought to add that detail, but good on ya,
buddy.
Kirk and Spock go to the station bar -- what in gay hell is that? The waitresses are wearing short plastic backless romper things...with wings. This leaves me to imagine all of the situations that might have lead to this outcome, including:
- the costumers found wings at the Dollar Store, and thought, "Boy, I'm sure I can put these to good use!"
- somebody on the crew was in charge of making their kids' costumes for the school play, A Midsummer Night's Dream. They then donated these items to the low-budget television show they worked on.
- someone in the costume department is on drugs.
everyone in the costume department is on drugs.



So Kirk and Spock are drinking in the drug lounge on the space station, and Kirk is bitching about Baris. As they leave, they meet Uhura and Chekov coming in, and they have a brief exchange about the quadrotriticale. Chekov takes the bottle of it from Kirk before he leaves. As Uhura and Chekov approach the bar, the bartender tells a guy wearing a coat with too many pockets that he's not buying any more of his crap. Too Many Pockets displays a few things on the bar, then pulls out a ball of lint.
"Hey, that's cute!" says Uhura. "Can I hold it?"
The lint ball purrs in her hand. The bartender and Pockets argue about how much the bartender will pay for the lintball, which Pockets refers to as a tribble. At one point, Uhura puts the tribble down, and it eats some of the quadrotriticale that Chekov spilled on the bar. Pockets gives Uhura the tribble, figuring it'll make good advertising for people to see a cute girl with a ball of living lint.

Lookin' creepy there, Pavel.

Kirk and Spock are back in the briefing room on the E when Uhura calls from her station (wow, that was some short shore leave). Starfleet admiral Fitzpatrick tells Kirk the same thing that Spock said before, about how the grain and Sherman's Freaking Planet are important, and he is to make himself Baris' bitch for a while. Kirk is annoyed as hell, but has to do it because it's orders. OR, he could just do like he always does, and ignore orders.
Okay, I have to interject here: if this situation is so damn important, why was Baris not simply given a bunch of Reds of his own from the get-go? Why the hell is he harvesting them from the E at the last minute? That makes no sense.
Uhura calls again to tell Kirk that there are Klingon ships in the vicinity, and they go to red alert again. When Kirk and Spock arrive on the bridge, they call Lurry.
"They won't attack," says Lurry. "Their captain is sitting here with me."
We zoom out and see it's true. Dramatic music!

The E is still visible outside the window. E-ception!

Kirk's Log 4524.2: "Oh, fuck me. First I have to deal with that prick Baris, now I've got Klingons on my ass. Calgon, take me away."

Kirk and Spock beam down, and Kirk greets the Klingon captain, Koloth, by name. Koloth greets him back, and my inner Grumpy Cat says NO. Koloth is played by William Campbell, the guy who played Trelane, the Squire of Gothos. Campbell was perfect as Trelane. He was selfish, impetuous, and had a child-like enthusiasm for everything, as well as a shit-eating grin that he employed often. My brain immediately rejects him as a Klingon. He's too smiley, too fun, too dorky. He is not gritty enough to be a Klingon.


"We're here for shore leave," Koloth says brightly.
"That's up to Lurry," says Kirk.
Lurry pulls Kirk aside to tell him that he doesn't want Klingons on his station, but that he isn't really allowed to say no. Kirk turns back to Koloth, and replies that his men may have shore leave here, but that only 12 can come on board at a time, and that he's posting one Red on board for each of Koloth's men.
"That's cool. We're totes peaceful," says Koloth. The one or two lines that his companion has had in this scene mark the lesser-ranked Klingon as the better example of the race. Kirk and Koloth exchange some bullshit diplomacy that neither actually means, and the Klingons depart.

Back in the E breakroom, Kirk and Spock find Scotty relaxing with technical manuals. The way Scotty talks about those manuals makes it sound like they have a diagram of the E's engines as a centerfold. Ooh, baby. Check out the couplings on her!
Uhura has a table full of tribbles. Apparently, it had babies overnight. Spock picks one up and observes that the purring of the tribble has a calming effect on the human nervous system, and notes that he is lucky because it does not affect him. They all turn to find him snuggling the tribble.


Uhura gives one to Bones to study back in sick bay, and then gives the others away to crew members. You guys are going to spay and neuter those, right? RIGHT?

Out in the corridor, Baris calls Kirk to bitch about the Klingons.
"All of my Reds are either guarding grain or the Klingons," replies Kirk. "What the hell else do you want?"
He signs off and goes to sick bay to get headache meds.
Bones now has 11 tribbles. "Their metabolism is 50% reproduction," he tells Kirk. "Know what you get when you feed a tribble too much?"
"A fat tribble?" guesses Kirk.
"Nope," says Bones. "Lots of little hungry tribbles."
Kirk then heads down to the transporter room to see off some crew members. Scotty doesn't want to take shore leave, but Kirk pulls rank, and Scotty resignedly gets on the pad.
Oh, vot dammit. This episode offers pop-up trivia balloons, which are clearly not working right, as I'm 19 minutes in, and this is the first pop-up we've had. It appears to be the second of a two-parter, and it gives a reason for Kirk to sometimes wear that Casual Friday wrap-around blouse, only it doesn't give the whole thing, so I'm stuck with the world's most uninteresting mystery.


Scotty, Chekov, and some random Gold enter the station bar, followed shortly by Too Many Pockets. He offers to sell them a tribble, but they politely refuse, so he turns to a table of Klingons. Koloth's companion bristles at the sight of it, and barks at Pockets to get it the hell away from him. The tribble sort of growls or something. Pockets then tries to sell another tribble to the bartender, who pulls a good dozen tribbles from behind the bar.
At the table, Scotty and Chekov make fun of each other's choice of drinks. The Klingon makes his way to the bar and loudly starts some shit about "Earthers". (Seriously? Earthers? I guess it's supposed to be a slur or something.) Chekov's hackles go up. He wants to beat the crap out of the Klingon, but Scotty stops him, recognizing that the Klingon would snap Chekov like a dry twig. Scotty keeps his cool... until the Klingon starts talking smack about his woman, the Enterprise. Then he starts a knock-down drag-out brawl with the whole fucking bar. Scotterprise: he ships it.



With the bartender gone, Pockets helps himself to free drinks behind the bar. There's some physical comedy that's just kind of okay as he makes his way through the brawl to the door while trying not to spill his drink. It was really not necessary to add that, though I suppose it meant not having to watch a boring-ass fight scene, so I'll call that a draw.


Kirk's Log 4525.6: "A big-ass fight went down on the station, so I canceled shore leave. I can't believe I missed the fight. That super-sucks."

Kirk lines up the shore-leavers in the briefing room to drill them about the fight, but everyone is like "I dunno, it wasn't me!" Everyone is grounded, and he keeps Scotty back in the hopes that he'll rat out one of his fellow crewmen.
"Dude, I started it," admits Scotty. He has the worst black eye make-up ever. It looks like he's turning into a pink dalmatian. "Chekov wanted to come out swinging when they started talking shit about you, but I told him to sit his ass down. But then they started in on our girl E, so I had to put the smack-down on them."
Kirk seems put-out. Maybe he's upset because Scotty picked the E over him. Or maybe he realizes that they're both in love with the same woman. Either way, Scotty is now grounded too. He seems ecstatic, as this will allow him to stay locked in his quarters with his engine porn.



There's kind of a throw-away scene next where Bones and Spock use the tribbles to insult one another, and the only way that the story is forwarded at all by this scene is that it shows them utilizing sick bay equipment to study the tribbles.
Entering the bridge, Kirk fails to notice that nearly every surface is covered in tribbles, until he sits on one. Bones comes in and reports that the tribbles appear to be bisexual, and seem to be born pregnant.
"Saves time!" he says cheerfully.
"They're eating the supplies, and giving nothing in return, the freeloaders," remarks Spock.
"No way," protests Uhura. "They give love!"
"Dude, get these lintballs off my bridge," Kirk tells Uhura. "Then call Lurry and have him hold Pockets." He, Bones and Spock leave in the lift.


Okay, so it wasn't until the previous scene that we actually learn Pockets' name, and it turns out to be even more ridiculous than Too Many Pockets: it's Cyrano Jones. However, I kind of like "Pockets", so we'll stick with that.
Kirk, Spock, and Lurry interrogate Pockets in Lurry's office. Spock, in typical Vulcan-speak, tells Pockets that, by removing the tribbles from their natural habitat and predators, that he has brought about an overpopulation on the station. Pockets actually looks at him and says "Huh?"
Baris and the weasley PA enter just as Pockets exists. Baris accuses Pockets of being a Klingon agent. Kirk laughs in his face.
"We checked him out," insists the brown-nose PA. "He was there for the barfight, and he has been in Klingon space within the last four months."
"Yeah, I checked him out, too," says Spock. "Dude is just a peddler of crap."
"You're a peddler of crap, too," Kirk tells Baris, and he and Spock leave.

"You tell 'em, boss! You tell 'em!"

Kirk and Spock enter the breakroom, which is covered in tribbles, and they go to the food replicators. They pull out trays of tribbles for lunch. Scotty comes in with an armload.
"They're in the machinery, and probably traveling through the air vents," he says.
"Fuck!" says Kirk, making a realization.
"Fuck indeed," replies Spock, knowing what he means. They call the station, and ask for a meeting with Baris and Lurry.


Beaming down, Spock and Kirk rush to the storage compartments with Baris and Lurry. Kirk opens an overhead compartment and it rains tribbles (as opposed to men). Kirk is now wearing a lovely hoop skirt of furry purries.

The WTF Faces here on Baris and Lurry are the best. 

"Kirk, you bitch! This is your fault! They ate my grain," huffs Baris.
"Baris, shut the fuck up," says Kirk.
Bones comes running in, all excited. "They stop reproducing if you don't feed them!"
Wow, really? So if feeding them too much produces little tribbles, then not feeding them produces none? You're a genius, Bones. Tell us now what happens when you get them wet. Will the babies be evil if you feed them after midnight?
"So... most of these tribbles are dead," says Spock. "I think there's something wrong with the grain."
Bones takes some dead tribbles and some grain samples back to the E to study them.

Everybody heads back to Lurry's office to interrogate Pockets again. The Klingons come rushing in, and Koloth demands that Kirk apologize to his men for treating them like crap.
"Don't do it!" says Baris. "They'll use that as leverage to get Sherman's Gluten-Free Paleo Planet!"
You know, they really should give the planet to the Klingons. They'd probably give it a better fucking name.
"We'll talk to you civilly if you get those tribbles out of here," Koloth tells Kirk.
The Reds carry the tribbles past the Klingons, and the furries make that squeaky-growl again. The door opens, and it's the slimy PA. When the Reds try to carry the tribbles past him, they freak out again. Bones comes in with his results, but before he can give them, Kirk runs a test. He holds the tribbles up to Spock, and they purr. He holds the tribbles up to Baris, and they purr. He holds them up to the PA, and they squeak-growl. 
Bones scans the PA. "Dude is a Klingon."
Because in TOS, all you have to do to be human is shave off your fu man chu.



"So the grain is poisoned," Bones continues.
The PA confesses in the same voice as an unmasked old man in costume. "I would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for you meddling kids."
The PA is arrested, and Baris follows them out.
Kirk turns to Koloth. "So that apology... go fuck yourself, dude."
The Klingons rush out.



Kirk and Spock take Pockets back to the bar, where the bartender is buried in tribbles.
"Guess what?" says Kirk. "We won't turn you in for shady business practices if you pick up all of these tribbles."
"Um, there are more than one million tribbles on this station," says Pockets. "That will take years!"
"Yeah, 17," replies Spock.
(Really? Seventeen? That seems iffy to me, Star Trek. By that math, he only has to pick up about 160 tribbles a day to reach his goal within 17 years. He could really pick up more than that and be done much sooner. Plus, you're not taking into account the fact that some of those tribbles will reproduce in the meantime. Also, where is he going to store them? In the poisoned grain lockers? I think you choose an arbitrary number of years. Knock it off.)

Back on the E bridge, Kirk checks his chair before sitting down. He asks where the tribbles went. Bones passes the buck to Scotty, who passes it to Spock, who bounces it back to Scotty again.
"Um..." says Scotty. "Beamed 'em off."
"Into space?" demands Kirk. "You asshole!"
"No... I beamed them onto the Klingon ship," admits Scotty.
And the idea of the Klingons warping away with all of those screaming tribbles on board makes them all laugh, despite the fact that the Klingons probably will end up beaming them out into the depths of space to get rid of them.




The back and forth of this episode kind of annoys me. In one scene, Kirk is on the Enterprise. In the next scene, he's on the station. Then he's on the E again. In the course of six hours, Kirk and Spock beam back and forth 8 times. That's one beam each, every 45 minutes or so. Seems like a giant waste of energy to me. Like, how much energy does it take to run the transporter? Probably quite a bit - it has to disassemble someone in one place, and reassemble them elsewhere. And you can't tell me that shit doesn't give some people motion sickness. I'd have barfed on the transporter pad by beam four. Clearly, Kirk and Spock have heartier constitutions than I.

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

*******

This week's tea is Blackberry Sage by The Republic of Tea. It's good and fruity, with a snap of sage. The black leaf base gives it a slightly bitter aftertaste, but not in a bad way. I think I underestimated how sweet this tea would be on it's own, because it seemed a bit too sweet for me after I added my regular amount of rock sugar. I bought the loose leaf tea, but it also comes in bags and bottles (though those bottles are a whopping 5 bucks for one - ouch!).






Sunday, May 25, 2014

Happy Towel Day!

Happy Towel Day to all of my Hitchhiking Trek friends!


Don't Panic, and remember your towels, hoopy froods.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Season 2, Episode 41 "I, Mudd"

"I, Mudd"
Production Number: 41
Air Order: 37
Stardate: 4513.3
Original Air Date: November 3, 1967



Spock and Bones are in the corridor pre-credits, and pass a Blue Shirt, who greets them cordially before moving on.
"That dude is weird," says Bones. "I know he's new, but he never smiles, or talks about himself - only about work."
Spock walks away, all butthurt.
Bones runs after him like a husband who has admitted that his wife does indeed look fat in those jeans, and he needs to now fix it if he doesn't want to sleep on the couch.
"C'mon, baby. You know I didn't mean it like that." Then he adds, "Your ears are super-sexy today."
"Blow me," says Spock. But it's an insult rather than an invitation.
"That weird guy missed two physical exam appointments," muses Bones.
"He's probably terrified of your beads and rattles," Spock deadpans before walking away.

The aforementioned Blue Shirt (Norman) enters Auxiliary Control and takes out a Gold Shirt. Then he alters the course of the ship.


On the bridge, Sulu alerts Kirk to the fact that they are changing course. The controls are jammed. Kirk sends a trio of Reds to Aux Control, who find the Gold and put out an alert for an intruder.
Norman then goes down to engineering, quickly Chuck Norrises all of the Reds working there, and gives the E some gas.
"Going pretty fast," reports Sulu. "Can't do a thing to change it, either."

Hey, look. It's Friday again.

"This is BS," says Kirk.
He starts to run off to catch the intruder himself, but the lift opens, and Norman steps out.
"We need your ship," he tells Kirk. "We don't mean you any harm, but we totally put a bomb in the system, and if you try to alter course or slow down or drop below 55 mph, everyone will die."
It's the real deal, too. No freaking corbomite this time.
"Who's this we?" asks Kirk.
And Norman opens a panel in his abdomen, revealing a bunch of circuitry. 
Dramatic music! Commercial break!


Kirk's Log 2513.3 "That new crewmember Norman is an android. He hijacked the ship, and we've spent the last four days en route to the planet that we are currently orbiting."
 When they reach their destination, Norman comes out of hibernation and his screen saver turns off. He then specifies an away team: Kirk, Spock, Bones, Chekov and Uhura.


They beam down with Norman, and are immediately shown into a throne room. Hey, look who it is! Pirate-carny!


"WTF, Harry Mudd?" demands Kirk.
"Dude, I'm king of the androids! Cool, huh? I have 500 Alices!"
Ooh, let's talk about Alice(s). They're wearing shimmery peach fabric with foil flowers. It's draped so that it's one-shouldered, with one long sleeve. Then we get short-shorts, with a sort of pant-skirt on one side. The whole thing is literally tied together with silver rope that starts in her hair, crisscrosses the chest, circles the waist, causing a tripping hazard by winding behind the knee, and ties around the left wrist.  It's accessorized with iridescent tights and fucking Lucite kitten heels. What the hell is up with you and those Lucite kitten heels, Star Trek? Does your costuming department only own one pair of shoes? Those are the epitome of vomitous. Also, ditch those short-shorts. Make the bottom half a long skirt with a slit up the side. No more sparkly tights, rope belt only, and please lose those foil flowers.

I wondered: multiples, or split-screens? Both. One set of twins, with Twin #1
playing Alices 1-250, and Twin #2 playing 251-500. And you can totally
see the split-screen here.

So Mudd tells Kirk that he got caught selling alien tech to other cultures, and was jailed and awaiting the death penalty when he escaped in a stolen spaceship. The ship was damaged in the getaway, and he limped through space until he landed on this android planet.
"Here's the thing," he says. "They won't let me leave, and I'm fucking bored. So I got them to bring your ship here. You guys will stay behind so the androids will have humans to study, and I'll take your ship and fly away."
Good plan, dude. I bet you can fit hundreds of space hookers in the E with you. And more if they're dead!
Just to underscore how certifiable Mudd is, he shows them the android copy he had made of his naggy wife Stella, a woman he thoroughly hates. Because she's a machine, he can just tell her to STFU, and she has to obey.

And yes, that is one of the actresses that played Aunt Hagatha
on Bewitched.

Norman and two Alices escort the away team to some quarters, and Kirk asks about Norman's creators. Norman says that they all died out eventually, but that he is one of the original androids from that time period. They're kind of grateful to Mudd because his stupid commands give them purpose, which they need. The Alices tell the humans all about the wonderful facilities they have, and then Kirk gleefully tells the to take a hike.
Left alone, Kirk turns to his team for ideas. Spock suggests that there is one central intelligence ruling over the androids, so it must be located somewhere. Everyone splits up to look for a way to get off the planet.

Spock heads for what seems to be the control room. Norman, now wearing the typical male android outfit, sports the number One, and gropes some kind of glowing crystal. He confirms to Spock that the crystal is the central control system, and that there are more than 200,000 androids on the planet, but when Spock asks if the crystal controls the androids, he gives the old "I am not programmed to respond in this area" that they all give when asked something they shouldn't answer.


Mudd and a pair of Alices show Kirk and Uhura another android series, and once again, they're chicks in slinky, sparkly dresses. Mudd declares that he designed several series of female androids. When Kirk asks him about designing males, Mudd fumbles around the fact that he really can't fap to male androids as easily. Alice 263 tells them that human brains are placed in android bodies, which then function for 500,000 years. Uhura seems thoughtful, which appears to worry Kirk, but the skeevy Mudd silkily tells her that she could remain young and beautiful forever.


Kirk and Spock are conspiring quietly in their quarters when Bones and Mudd stumble in. Bones is excited because their science labs are awesome. Kirk starts to tell Bones not to get comfortable when another Alice pitches Scotty into the room. Scotty says that an Alice forced him into a transporter beam, and then Mudd admits that he's been quietly replacing the crew with androids, beaming the Starfleeters down onto the surface. (Okay: wait. How were they beaming up in the first place? "Hey, Enterprise. This is an android. Beam me up. Your captain said it was cool.") Kirk goes Homer Simpson on Mudd.



Mudd points out that he'll totally get away with stealing the E, because he has an army of loyal androids, and the E can outrun everyone, even other Starfleet ships.
Kirk finally says, "You're an asshole," and lets Mudd go. Mudd and that last Alice slink out.
"This sucks," Kirk tells the others. "The entire crew is down here, and this place is awesome. The androids here are programmed to give the humans anything they want, in whatever amount. All they have to do is ask."
So of course there's a cut-away to Chekov on the throne. He chats up a pair of Alices, who give him the old "fully functional and programmed in multiple techniques" speech. He realizes that that perv Mudd programmed them, and decides that life would be grand as the cream filling in a Chekov-android Oreo.


Kirk returns to their quarters to find that his bridge crew is thinking that staying on the surface is a great idea. He's angry that Mudd has been pimping out the planet to make it more appealing to the crewmembers. Chekov has clearly gotten a healthy serving of cookie. An Alice comes in to ask if they want anything.
"I want my ship," says Kirk.
"A ship is not a want, a ship is a machine," she replies.
Kirk roars at her that the E is not a machine, but a beautiful lady. Welcome back, Kirkerprise. It's been a while since Kirk shipped himself with the ship.
"I'm unhappy," he tells this Alice.
She is confused, and asks for the meaning of the word unhappy. When he gives it, the number medallion that she's wearing flashes and beeps, which indicates confusion. She asks for help from Norman, and after a while, she replies that the androids need to study the word "unhappy", before exiting.



Kirk and Spock go into the throne room with Mudd. Mudd asks Alice One to put his bags on the the E, and the androids all steadfastly refuse. It seems that in studying humans, the androids determined that they were destructive and needed to be stopped. The new plan is for the androids to take the ship, abandon the humans on the planet, and go out into the universe, finding humans to control. How will they control the human tendency to destroy? By offering themselves up as servants. Subversive, behind-the-scenes control, and the humans won't suspect because they love being waited on.
That's actually a really great plot twist. Kudos, Star Trek.



In their quarters, the group hatches a plan. Spock believes that Norman controls the hive mind of the androids, seeing as how there are lots of other series of androids, but only one of him. The flashing of the medallions is the hive mind thinking. Kirk thinks that the androids will expect an escape plan from them. Bones hypos Mudd, and Kirk summons Alice One to tell her that Mudd is dying and needs to be treated in sick bay. Uhura interrupts.
"He's lying. It's a ruse to escape," she tells Alice One.
"Uhura, WTF?" demands Kirk.
"I want an android body," she tells him. "I want to live forever."
"Ooh," says Alice One. "You guys are so denied access to the Enterprise. Mudd's sorry ass can die. The pretty chick helped us. We're gonna make her a kick-ass body before we leave."
Alice One sashays away, and Kirk turns turns angrily to Uhura. Then he grins. It was a ruse, yo. A ruse within a ruse. Ruse-ception. (Yeah, okay. Sorry for that. Couldn't resist.)



Kirk goes into the throne room and takes a seat. A pair of Alices ask if he requires something. The door opens, and Scotty and Bones come in, playing imaginary musical instruments. Then Uhura and Chekov dance in.
"They are celebrating their captivity," Kirk tells the androids. "Isn't the music great?"
The Alices are confused. When Chekov and Uhura finish dancing, she backhands him "because she likes him." Kirk orders Chekov to get up and stand perfectly still. So Chekov gets up and begins dancing again. The lights on the medallions flash, and the Alices freeze. Bones scans them and says that they're totally preoccupied.



Spock is down in the lab with two other Alices. He attempts to pinch one, but it doesn't work, so he tries another tactic.
"I love you," he tells one. He turns to the other. "But I hate you."
"But we're the same," protests the hated android.
"Yeah, I hate you because you're the same as her," Spock replies.
These Alices also freeze, and Spock walks away.

The scene that follows is awesome. The away team (plus Scotty and Mudd) goes into the control room to talk to Norman and a pair of Alices. Only they don't talk. They launch into a series of theatrical skits that make zero sense, but basically get the point across that humans are unhappy simply being served. At one point, they all aim finger guns at Scotty and whistle as he falls. Bones pronounces him dead.



This whole scene reads like terrible, hilarious improv. The medallions on the confused androids light up, and Spock tells Norman that logic is a wreath of pretty flowers that smell bad. There's a bit with an invisible bomb that Mudd pretends to tee off like a golf ball, and the Alices finally freeze up because of all of the WTF? in the room. Kirk marches up to Norman and announces that Mudd always lies.
"I'm lying now," says Mudd cheerfully.
Norman attempts to determine if Mudd is lying about lying, and appeals to Kirk concerning the logic of the problem.
"I'm not programmed to respond in this area," says Kirk sarcastically as smoke pours from Norman's ears. The android turns off.



Everyone is once again in the throne room, androids and all. Kirk tells Mudd that the Enterprise is leaving without him, that he's been sentenced to probation on this planet, and that the androids have been reprogrammed to not treat him like a god. In fact, they've been taught to hold him as the worst of humanity, and to learn from him in that way.
"Well... that was kind of a dick move, Kirk, but I am still surrounded by gorgeous, partially-dressed female androids, so I guess it's not so bad," admits Mudd.
"Cool," says Kirk. "I got you an assistant to keep you on track."
Of course it's Stella. Mudd protests loudly over her yelling, but his voice is drowned out by the second and third Stellas, who surround him. The medallion on the third reads "500". The away team exits to the sound of Mudd protesting.




I was totally looking forward to this episode for the prime reason that it's funny. When Star Trek goes out of it's way to be funny, it really does a good job, whether it be awkward funny, sarcastic funny, or just silly in general. I also really liked the plot twist used here, which seemed more original than others I've encountered, and the fact that they used the same old tired "give the sentient machine an existential crisis" in a new way. Rather than tell the androids that they aren't behaving logically, the humans convince them that the humans are in fact behaving logically, and that the androids themselves were not making the connection. A new twist on an old Star Trek theme is definitely welcome.



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

Random IMDB story: Gene Rod was having trouble locating identical twins to play the parts of Alice. Nearing his deadline one night, he spotted Alyce and Rhae Andrece walking along the sidewalk. He pulled over and said something to the effect of "Guess what? You're gonna be on tv." Fortunate that Gene Rod wasn't a total creep.
*******

Roomie brought home a case of Canada Dry Sparkling Green Tea Ginger Ale this week. I had to try it, of course. Those are two of my favorite things. But like any time items are mixed like that, I was cautious. It could either be awesome or awful. Turns out it's more in the middle. I was concerned that the green tea or the ginger ale was going to be overpowered by the other taste, but neither was. I feel like you taste a bit of the green tea first, and it finishes with the ginger ale. Not overpowering on either end, and actually kind of a nice complement. As always, though, it's canned, which means it tastes like tea flavor rather than tea.


Seems like it's available in some places more readily than others, and according to some places on the interwebs, it might be discontinued soon? Oops.







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..."