Star Trek

Star Trek

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Season 2, Episode 53 "The Ultimate Computer"

"The Ultimate Computer"
Production Number: 53
Air Order: 53
Stardate: 4729.4
Original Air Date: March 8, 1968

The title of this episode makes me groan, you guys. Typically, Star Trek will choose esoteric or philosophical titles for their episodes, but here we have what sounds like an advertisement gimmick for some product from the fifties. Or it should be the title of the aforementioned late-sixties sci-fi novel with the title in a slime green futuristic font.
Humor me, here: say "The Ultimate Computer" out loud, but don't use the voice of Rod Roddy, the announcer from "The Price Is Right." You can't do it, can you? Because when you say it in that voice, it conjures images of girls in swanky dresses, making a sweeping gestures with their palms up and opening panels on the front of said ultimate computer to show the contestant what could be theirs, if the price is right. But it won't be theirs, because the ultimate computer probably comes packaged with a dining room set, and who wants that when you know there's a trip to Germany and a ski boat or some shit in the next showcase, so they'll pass to the other contestant and no one will win because no one knows how much an ultimate computer and a dining room set costs.

I really wish I didn't suck at Photoshop, you guys. I would love to illustrate this thought with a Barker Beauty gesturing in front of like, Landru.


*******



We start out this week with Kirk in a snit. The E glides up on a space station, and he talks to Commodore Enright.
"Commodore, WTF?" he demands. "You guys paged me here and you won't tell me why."
"Shut your pie-hole," Enright answers. "A dude is beaming onto your ship."
"Bullshit," says Kirk, and he stomps off to the transporter room with Spock in tow.
When they get there, a gold shirt is beamed aboard, and Kirk knows him. He's Commodore Bob Wesley. Kirk tells the red who beamed Wesley aboard to GTFO, then demands to know why he was called to the space station, and why his crew has to leave the ship.
"It's war games time, bitches!" says Wesley. "We're gonna alter your woman with this new computer, the M-5, then we're gonna run it through some tests and do war games. A bunch of ships headed up by me, versus the E and you and the M-5. Your people need to leave because we won't need them. The M-5 runs the ship without people."
"Sweet!" says Spock. "The M-5 is the computer invented by Dr Richard Daystrom, on whom I have a raging nerd-crush."


"So Daystrom will come on board with the M-5, and you get to keep 20 crew members, and your job is easy, because you just have to sit in the captain's chair and look pretty," adds Wesley.
Kirk looks pretty pissed off about this, considering the fact that this is mostly what he does all day anyway. Maybe he's mad because Starfleet found out.

Kirk's Log 2749.4: "Exposition. Shit you forgot over the last commercial break."

Kirk gets into the lift with Spock and Bones. Bones complains that you can't let one computer run a whole starship. The Spock and Bones Odd Couple dialogue here is awesome, so I'm just gonna copy it down verbatim:
Spock: "The most unfortunate lack in current computer programming is that there is nothing available to immediately replace the starship's surgeon."
Bones: "Very funny. If it could, they wouldn't have to replace me; I'd resign because everything else would be nothing but circuits and memory banks. You know the type, Spock."


The trio enters engineering and meets Dr Daystrom, who is played by a giant black man. This is awesome. Dr Daystrom's character is written loosely enough that they could have picked damn near anyone - any white guy you wanted - and they picked a black dude instead to play the smart-as-hell scientist. Probably to piss of the censors in the deep South market. Anyway, this dude is not just black - he's huge. Standing next to Kirk puts one in mind of Cary Elwes standing next to Andre the Giant in The Princess Bride. Let's say you had written a screenplay about John Henry, the railroad guy. This is the dude you would get to play him. Big with a deep voice.
Daystrom is important. He designed all of the computers that are being used on the Enterprise, and the Daystrom Institute, mentioned in future Star trek spin-offs, was named for this guy.



Spock once again fangirls over Daystrom and the M-5, while Bones complains and Kirk sulks. Daystrom admits to the trio that the computer is called the M-5 because M's one through four fell flat on their collective faces. He then suggests that Kirk doesn't like the idea of a computer-run ship because Kirk is fond of the power and prestige that comes with being the captain. Dude, I agree. Kirk likes to whip out his rank as much as he likes whipping other things out.
He and Bones leave, and Bones has another great line here:
"Did you see the love-light in Spock's eyes? The right computer finally came along."
Kirk is troubled. He instinctively feels that the situation is off, but can't give a solid reason as to why. He wonders aloud about Daystrom's suggestion that he loves the power and prestige of being captain.
"Am I that petty?" he asks Bones.
Bones kind of brushes the question off, so I'll give you a definitive answer, Kirk: YES. Yes, you are.


On the bridge, the M-5 has completed the task of taking the E to a set of coordinates, and Kirk switches it off from his chair.
"That was dumb," he says. "We're here, but Sulu and Chekov could have done that just as easily."
"But they didn't have to," says Daystrom."The computer did the work of both."
"Blow me," Kirk replies.
Spock steps down to the dais to talk to Kirk. "You're being a dick."
Kirk shrugs it off.
Chekov turns to tell Kirk that they're approaching the planet that they were headed for. He seems thrilled. You know how, in "Galaxy Quest", Sigorney Weaver's character's job description was pretty much "repeat everything said by the computer"? This is Chekov's job now. I'd be pissed, too.



"Hey, time to turn on the M-5," says Daystrom. "This task will be approaching the planet, setting up a standard orbit, and making landing party recommendations."
"Screw you," says Kirk. "I make the landing party recommendations." But he turns on the M-5 anyway.
Kirk asks Spock to give him info on the planet while the M-5 makes it's recommendations. 
"So I say we should have a landing party of five that avoids the life-forms," says Kirk. "Me, Bones, Spock, an astrophysicist, and a geologist."
They put in the info tape that M-5 spit out. It recommends the same as Kirk, but picks a different geologist, and eliminates Kirk and Bones. Kirk is confused as to why it picked an ensign geologist rather than the head, and when they ask why the M-5 selected personnel the way it did, the M-5 replies that the ensign has had previous experience with similar planets. It then tells them that Kirk and Bones were "unnecessary." How about that. Maybe M-5 writes a Star Trek review blog as well. Or maybe the M-5 possesses some fucking common sense. When the M-5 says that Kirk and Bones were not necessary additions to the landing party, Daystrom gives Kirk this awesome sad trombone look.


Scotty turns and announces that the M-5 is turning off systems all over the ship. We get a camera sweep up to Scotty, with dramatic music and a commercial break, but it's all for nothing, because when we return, Daystrom explains that the M-5 realized that there was no one on decks 4-6, so it shut off power to those decks to conserve energy.
Uhura reports that there are two ships in the vicinity, and Kirk returns to his chair to check it out. Bones is on the bridge because the M-5 cut power to sick bay from lack of patients. Chekov grudgingly reports that the M-5 has determined that these are Federation ships Lexington and Excalibur.
"Too soon for war games," say Spock. "Maybe an unscheduled drill for the M-5?"
It's an unnecessary line, as the commodore calls to say as much.
Out of habit, Kirk starts to order prep stuff for his skeleton bridge crew, but there's no need, as the M-5 has already done it. Now both Chekov and Sulu are playing Repeat the Computer. The M-5 fires phasers at the other ships while Sulu and Chekov narrate. Chekov keeps making these hand gestures like he's over this shit, and I don't blame him: I was once replaced as an art teacher by a fucking Cricut machine.
The other ships move off, and Kirk asks Spock for a damage report so he can enter it into a log. We get a tender Spirk moment here, complete with soft music. Spock tells his captain that he is fine using computers as tools, but wouldn't want to serve under one. (No, really, can you imagine bottoming to a computer? Probably hurts like hell.)
Commodore Wesley calls to say that enough simulated damage was done to the Excalibur and Lexington to award the battle to the M-5. He congratulates the M-5 unit and "captain dunsel."


Everyone on the bridge looks uncomfortable at this comment, and Kirk, who had been smiling after his Spirk moment, now does a Charlie Brown walk back to his quarters.
"Who the hell is Captain Dunsel?" asks Bones.
Spock explains that "dunsel" is a slang term used by midshipmen at the Academy, and it refers to a part that serves no useful purpose. Kirk is not my favorite guy, but that was a super-bitchy thing for Wesley to say.

Like a good friend, Bones goes to Kirk's quarters with cocktails. Kirk admits to feeling useless, but Bones and his drink manage to make him feel better. He waxes rhapsodic a bit about actually piloting a ship through water and navigating by stars, but he's interrupted by Uhura calling him back to the bridge.


It turns out to be an unmanned, old-school ore freighter. The crew shrugs it off, but the M-5 raises shields and charges at it, firing a pair of photon torpedoes and blowing it out of the sky. The frantic crew, who tried to turn of the M-5 and override it's actions, stares at the screen.
"WTF?" Kirk and Bones yell at Daystrom.
"Um, looks like a malfunction or something," says Daystrom. "Good thing the freighter was unmanned."
"Like I give a shit," says Kirk. "And your dumb computer wouldn't have, either. We're shutting that shit down."
He, Daystrom and Spock go down to engineering to shut off the M-5, but Kirk is electrocuted by a force field.


Kirk's Log 4731.3: "The M-5 has taken control of my woman, and Dr Daystrom says he didn't put that force field on it, which means it now won't let anyone shut it down."

"The fuck?" Kirk yells at Daystrom.
"It's a glitch," says Daystrom. "You have to expect some of those during a test."
"Glitch, my ass," says Kirk. "We're shutting this shit down at the source."
Scotty's unnamed Red assistant pulls out a tool and attempts to disconnect the M-5 from its power source and it fries him. Like, the dude becomes startstuff again.
"You killed whats-his-name! You bastard!" Kirk rages.
"That's unfortunate," says Daystrom. "He got in the way."
"That thing tapped into the warp engines," says Scotty. "It has unlimited power!"

While Daystrom babysits his computer in engineering, our boys have a meeting. The M-5 has taken over all systems on the ship, including communications, so Uhura cannot warn the other ships, who are getting ready for the war games. Spock suggests that the computer can be shut off through engineering on deck three, and Scotty agrees that he and Spock can get 'er done within an hour. Spock then notes that the M-5 is not acting logically, as a computer should.
"Don't say it's fascinating!" grouches Bones.
"Okay. It's... interesting," Spock offers.
And Bones rolls his eyes so hard that I'm surprised he didn't injure himself.


We cut to Scotty and Spock in a Jeffries tube, making some modifications to shut down the M-5. I love these shots so much. I know that they had to go to the trouble to build tiny tube sets and put the camera at the top in order to get these shots, but I feel like the trouble was totally worth it. Also, check out the way that Scotty's arms form a hexagon that perfectly frame Spock, whose head intersects with piping that points to him. The ratio of organic and inorganic elements here is nice, too. Mmmmm, composition.


Down in engineering, Bones asks Daystrom if he's figured out how to shut off the M-5. Daystrom starts talking about child development, and about how the M-5 is learning. 
Yeah... I used to teach preschool. Children do not learn by murdering helpless Reds, mmkay?
He then goes on to talk about how men die in space, and he's trying to prevent that by creating starships that run themselves so that the computers and technology can do the dangerous jobs and less lives will be lost.
"You don't understand," he finishes. "We want to save life, not to destroy it."
Who's this "we", Daystrom?

By request, Bones brings an autobiography info tape about Daystrom to Kirk. They briefly discuss the pressures of genius, and how Daystrom hit it big early in his career and is still trying to be brilliant. Bones notes that Daystrom talks about the M-5 as though it were a child. Kirk responds by noting that Daystrom won't let Spock near the computer. Scotty calls to report that they are done with the modifications.

Everyone meets up at the Jeffries tube, and Kirk tells Daystrom that they're shutting the whole thing down. Daystrom yells, "No, you can't!" and tries to lunge into the tube to stop Spock and Scotty, but Kirk, who is a good head shorter than him, easily subdues Daystrom, because... oh, screw it. You know why.


They think they have control of the ship, but nope. That would be too easy. There are still 15 minutes left in the show. Spock suggests that when the M-5 discovered that they were tampering with the system, it rerouted everything and made that particular Jeffries tube a decoy, making it look active.
"Okay, 'fess up," Kirk tells Daystrom. "Your computer is screwy, and you know why."
"Sooo, people kept saying that computers don't act like men because they don't think like men, right?" asks Daystrom. "So I programmed it with human engrams, so now it thinks like a human. Good, huh?"
(I didn't know what the hell "engrams" were, so I've taken the liberty of Googling that shit for you: it's brain stuff, like the thing that records or stores memories or consciousness.)
Uhura pages Kirk and Spock to the bridge. The four Federation ships are assembling for the war games, not knowing that the M-5 isn't actually "playing."


This shot makes me want to pinch Star Trek's cheek and say "Awww, look at you, with your low-budget special effects! You're so cuuuute!" I'm pretty sure they filmed the same model once, then cut-and-pasted it four times onto the same background. It's cheesy, but it gets the job done. I'm still kind of snickering, though. So goofy, Star Trek.

Up on the bridge, Uhura is desperately trying to hail the Lexington, to no avail, as the M-5 has everything on lock, including distress signals. At one point, the Lexington calls the E to announce that they are here for the M-5 drills, and the M-5 responds back.
"It's cool," says Daystrom in that deep, soothing voice of his. "The M-5 knows this is a drill. That thing with the ore freighter was a fluke."
"You're full of shit," says Kirk, as the M-5 raises it's shields and prepares to fire heavy artillery at ships that do not have shields up.
The M-5 sends a full round of phasers at both the Lexington and Excalibur, leaving them limping in space.
"The fuck?" demands Wesley.
It's a tense moment, so Chekov bites his knuckles while reading from the screen.


Kirk grabs a flustered-looking Daystrom. "There's got to be a way to get to the M-5!"



"I can't!" says Daystrom. "It's totally protected itself!"
"This shit is scary," confirms Spock. "It thinks like a human, but acts with the swiftness of a computer. Everyone is screwed."
Wesley contacts the E, yelling at Kirk to call off the fight, as there are 65 dead reported between the Lexington and Excalibur ships. But Uhura can't override M-5, so Kirk can't respond.


The Excalibur tries to turn and run, but the M-5 chases it down and incapacitates it before going after the third ship, the Potempkin. Uhura intercepts a message from the Lexington to Starfleet and broadcasts it.
"Kirk is nucking futs. The captain and first officer on the Excalibur are dead. I think the only way to stop him is to kill him. Request permission to blow his ass out of the sky."
"You have to stop this shit!" Kirk yells at Daystrom. "You gave it your engrams, right? And you can interact with the program, yes?"
"Yes. I'll try," says Daystrom. He goes to the M-5 to talk to it. "Hey, M-5," he coos. "How's it going? So, you wanna not blow those ships up?"
"Those are enemy ships," says M-5. "Gotta protect myself."
"They're not," says Daystrom. "We're kind of murdering innocent people here."
"They attacked us. We have to survive," M-5 responds.
"Daystrom is losing his shit," Kirk whispers to Spock.
"He's going in circles," Spock whispers back. "He made the M-5 a mirror-image of himself, so he's basically talking to himself."


Bones says he's having a nervous breakdown, and Kirk takes the opportunity to tell Daystrom that they need to destroy the M-5. This pushes Daystrom just enough over the edge that he comes at Kirk, giving Spock a reason to pinch him. They send the half-conscious Daystrom to sick bay with Bones and two Reds.
The Excalibur appears to be dead, and Uhura is getting in the return message from Starfleet to go ahead and blow Kirk away.
"Fuck," says Kirk. "They'll attack us, but the M-5 will destroy those ships."
Kirk asks the M-5 about the "why" behind it's self-preservation. The M-5 tells him that it must survive so that it can eventually replace man in space, to keep men alive. You know where this is going, just as I did: whenever Kirk stumbles upon an out-of-control sentient computer, he must give it an identity crisis and encourage it to commit suicide.
An interesting aside here, from the smarty-pantses at IMDB: Kirk asks the M-5 what the penalty is for murder, and the M-5 responds that it is death. But in the Federation, the only crime that gets the death penalty is visiting Talos IV.


Once the M-5 is taken out, the shields drop. But apparently, communications are still out, so Kirk can't call Wesley and cancel his own death. Instead, he climbs on the comm, and addresses the other 18 members of the crew, and tells them that they are about to die at the hands of their fellow officers. It's cheerful.
Scotty calls from engineering saying that he and Spock have got the shields up, but everything else will take hours to bring online. Instead, Kirk gambles everything and tells Scotty to cut all power.
Wesley sees that the E looks dead, and wonders out loud if it's a trap before calling off the other ships. Of course it worked. It was Kirk's plan, and Kirk is the biggest Mary Sue of them all.

Down in sick bay, Bones tells Kirk and Spock that Daystrom will have to be committed for a while. Spock asks why Kirk chose to go with the opossum route, as the M-5 might have set that trap for Wesley. Kirk replies that he was gambling on Wesley's compassion to realize that the E being dead in the water was a surrender rather than a trap.
The trio gets into the lift, and Spock and Bones begin another brief argument about humans vs computers, which Spock ends with, "I'd really like to see a computer imprinted with your illogical engrams."
And Kirk laughs and everything is awesome because he got another computer to commit suicide.



Death Toll:
Red deaths this episode: 1
Red deaths this season: 19
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: 26
Total crew deaths thus far: 43

Plus, a bunch of people on the Excalibur and Lexington ships, but I can't really count those.

*******

This week's tea is the second to come out of that Celestial Seasonings herbal fruit pack: the Raspberry Zinger. Apparently, the "zinger" part refers to the fact that they mixed hibiscus in with the fruit parts, as I've seen another "zinger" tea and the common thing seems to be that flower. The tea isn't terribly floral, though, mostly just fruity, and it's a good raspberry, like actually eating fresh berries rather than some weird fakey fruity taste. I'd actually like to try this tea as a raspberry Arnold Palmer. You can also buy a version of this tea as specifically an iced tea, but it's one of those "zero calorie, sweetened by creepy fake sweetener" things that I don't trust, so you know I won't be trying that anytime soon. Either way, this version is good.












Monday, October 20, 2014

Season 2, Episode 52 "Patterns of Force"

"Patterns of Force"
Production Number: 52
Air Order: 50
Stardate: Unknown
Original Air Date: February 16, 1968

Roomie came home the other day, all excited because her friend gave her a bunch of Trek stuff, including a poster that reads "All I need to know in life I learned from Star Trek", and it lists a bunch of lessons picked up from TOS. My favorite from this list is "never put all of your officers in the same shuttlecraft." The poster is smarter than Kirk. Imagine that.
She also presented me with something more unusual: a plastic-wrapped copy of the script from Wrath of Khan. It was suggested that I read it.
"Spoilers, sweetie," I replied. "I've never seen Wrath of Khan." I received her best WTF face. "I'm a Next Gen girl. You know that. I've seen most of the Next Gen films, but none of the TOS ones, with the exception of the first reboot film."
Full disclosure: I haven't seen any of season two beyond what I've already reviewed, nor have I seen what I've been assured is the shitstorm known as season three. I'm catching everything in order as I go along, thanks.
In the meantime, check it out: Wrath of Khan script.



*******


We start this episode with the E moving into a solar system that contains two planets, Zeon and Ekos. This is the last known location of John Gill, an Earth historian who came here six months earlier, and promptly vanished. (Gill is the dude pictured on the wall behind the trio.)
The Ship Goddess breaks into the conversation to say that there is no response to hailing from anyone on any Starfleet channel. They put a new hairstyle on her that I like. It's simple, and flattering, which is not something you get very often on this show.


Chekov, who doesn't get very many lines, alerts Kirk to the fact that a rocket is headed their way. It's coming from Ekos, but has a Zeon design, which is weird because Zeon has primitive interplanetary travel capabilities, but Ekos doesn't. Oops, it's an unmanned explosive. The E phasers that shit out of the sky, and the bridge crew wonders if John Gill has been giving these people tech tips. Dramatic music and credits break!

When we come back, there's more discussion about the warhead. The Ekosians are too primitive to have such a thing, and the Zeons, who have the technical capabilities, are pacifists.
Kirk decides that he and Spock should beam down to the surface to see what's up, but they take the precaution of having Bones inject them with the kind of microchip that you put in your dog in case he gets lost. This way, if they can't use their communicators on the surface, Scotty can still beam them up from the animal shelter. 
Kirk and Spock are wearing their undercover clothes, button-down shirts and jeans, with the ubiquitous beanie on Spock, and this time they've added the most horrible, shapeless, ratty old sweater as well.

My God, who has the number for Stacy and Clinton?


The beam down onto Ekos, and Spock remarks that these people are similar to humans, which is why the architecture looks like the backlot of Desilou studios. That also makes for a nice excuse when they see another person a moment later who is wearing human clothes and looks exactly like a human in every way possible. But he's actually an alien. the alien tells them to run, and Kirk and Spock duck behind some architecture which is definitely not human while the new guy gets the crap kicked out of him by... Nazis. Yaaaay, Space Nazis. Please cue the facepalm.


Kirk acts like he wants to help the guy, but Spock reminds him of the Prime Directive, so they stay put. The Nazis call the guy a Zeon and haul him off.
"Holy crap!" says Kirk. "Space Nazis!"
A tv nearby in the square begins broadcasting propaganda, showing historical footage of Nazi Germany, and proclaiming that Ekos will soon be rid of Zeons. The reporter then states that Zeons tried to attack Ekos a bit ago, but the Ekosians launched a missile and blew the Zeons out of the sky. He uses terms like "sieg heil" and "Fuhrer" and the salute is the same. There is footage of some chick named Daras receiving some honor from an upper-echelon named Malekon.


The reporter ends by saluting a portrait of the Fuhrer, and it turns out to be John Gill. This would be an ideal place for some dramatic music, but it's not as dramatic as you'd want to to be for an a-ha! moment like that.
They're spotted by a Nazi guard, and Kirk karate-chops at his neck, which is the most effective thing ever, because the guard drops like a fly. Spock puts on the uniform and they move along. They encounter a Gestapo officer and Spock tells him that he's captured a Zeon, right before he pinches the guy. Now Kirk has a cosplay as well.


"I believe you'll make a fine Nazi," says the tall Jewish guy to the shorter Jewish guy, and Kirk gives Spock a funny look in response. Unfortunately, they don't get very far, because just outside of the building that supposedly houses the Fuhrer's office, they run into another gestapo officer who orders Spock to remove his helmet for no reason at all, revealing those magnificent ears. OMG, an alien! Dramatic music plays as I wonder how Kirk and Spock figured out that this building was where they could find John Gill.


We cut to the jail, where Shirtless Kirk and Spock are being whipped. Someone was paying attention and remembered that Spock has green blood and a higher pain tolerance. Kirk, in comparison, is red and sweaty. When they refuse to give up the goods, the Gestapo officer decides to kill them. He is deterred by Chairman Eneg, who tries to question them further. Kirk says he'll tell his story to the Fuhrer.
"Not gonna happen," says Eneg. 
He asks about the phasers and comms that they took from our boys, but they remain silent. Eneg admits that the SS tried to take these items apart and couldn't figure out how they worked. He orders Kirk and Spock to be tossed in a cell for an hour. The Gestapo officer attempts to argue, but Eneg tells him to STFU before he leaves, and the officer, bitch-slapped by a higher-up, acquiesces.

Meanwhile, Spock is thinking that he should buy a boat.

Our boys get tossed into a cell and Kirk wonders aloud how Gill could have ever become a Nazi. He pronounces it "Nhat-zee" rather than "Nawt-zee" like everyone else, and I have to wonder about that. Did the Shat suddenly remember during this episode that Kirk is supposed to be from middle America? Or does he actually pronounce that word that way? I thought that actors were encouraged to speak without accents and pronounce everything uniformly unless the character has a discernible accent, like Scotty? Dude is the only one saying it like that.
The guy in the next cell is the guy they encountered when they first beamed down. He states that Kirk and Spock are not Zeons, and wants to know why the Nazis hate them. Okay, hold the comm badge: how does he know they aren't Zeons? The Zeons and Ekosians all look like humans, with nothing to distinguish them from one another. Spock counters by asking why the Ekosians hate the Zeons.
The prisoner says that the Zeons gave up on violence generations earlier, and some had moved to Ekos to help them out. In the last few years, the Nazi party had risen up and made the Zeons their enemies because it gave the party something to unite over. Now he's afraid that his pacifistic people will just give up without a fight, and be destroyed by the technology that the Zeons gave to the Ekosians.


"Do you have a copy of the layout of this building?" Kirk asks him.
It's a stupid question. Dude has been here 20 minutes longer than you have, why the fuck would he have blueprints on him? Kirk might as well have asked, "Do you have one of those high-powered blenders like they use at Jamba Juice? I want a smoothie."
This is leading to Kirk's plan to get the weapons and comms from the SS lab.
"We're locked in," says Spock.
"Oh, I know!" says Kirk, because he always has to be the one to come up with the plan. "We can melt the lock by digging the crystals in those dog microchips out of our arms and holding them up to the lightbulb in the cell! Yay!"
So I guess Kirk has gotten really strong by winning every fistfight ever, because he manages to take apart a piece of the bed frame, which he then uses to perform flawless, blood-free surgery on himself and Spock. I take a tiny amount of pleasure in the fact that, during this scene, you can see that the handcuffs that are binding him are actually open. Anyway, he removes the crystals from the microchip things, and Spock bends the metal so that the crystals attached to each end are about 27 millimeters apart, then he hops on Kirk's back, and the Spirk shippers rejoice, because half-naked-Spock-on-Kirk is now canon. On Kirk's back, Spock is tall enough to hold the crystals up to the lightbulb, creating a frickin' laser that melts the cell lock. I'm not even going to try to explain that shit, and why it's dumb. I'm just going to file it away under "Nazi Planet."


The lock is broken, and Kirk makes this face while Spock is on top of him. Accompanying dialogue on Kirk's part? "Oh, my goodness."


Spock seems mildly surprised that this plan worked, mostly because it's BS. He leaves the cell and hides while Kirk screams to the guard that he's ready to talk. When the guard comes back, Spock pinches him, and then lets the Zeon out while Kirk strips the guard down. For those of you keeping track at home, this is the third time that Spirk has knocked a man unconscious and stripped him naked.
The Zeon takes them to the lab, and when they encounter another SS officer, Kirk pretends to be leading them at gunpoint. He bumps into the officer, and yells at the Zeon for knocking him back.
"Don't worry," he tells the other officer. "I'm taking these Zeon pigs to the lab for experimentation."

Kirk, have you never run espionage before? You fucking talk too much. Now, if that officer is questioned later, he can say for certain that you were going to the lab. Shut your damn mouth for once. You don't have to volunteer false information to fake coworkers. It's like if you walked around an office, telling everyone you encountered that you're taking these files to the boss' secretary for filing. No one cares.

Turns out that Kirk bumping into the officer was to get the key to the lab, so I guess Kirk is an expert at sleight-of-hand as well as fisticuffs. Inside the lab, they find a box with the disassembled comms, and Kirk finds paperwork saying that the phasers have been sent elsewhere. The officer, realizing that his keys are missing, returns to the lab with his gun drawn. Kirk, Spock and the Zeon all turn around with guilty expressions on their faces, but the Zeon manages to knock out the officer and, being heavily influenced by Spirk, proceeds to undress the officer, while talking about stealing a car. That's four naked Nazis so far, you guys.


Kirk and Spock, now dressed as Gestapo again, carry the "unconscious" Zeon out the front door past the guards. Nobody cares, but Kirk decides to open his big fat mouth again, and jokingly tell the guards that they're having "good hunting today" and that they've "caught so many Zeon pigs that we have to dispose of them outside." Why the hell would an officer be joking with some guards? Just for your pains, Kirk, the guards look suspiciously at you as you walk away... dumbass.
The Zeon, Isak, leads them through the sewers to his friends, Davod and Abrom. Sooo, they're aliens with Jewish names, on the Nazi planet. Oookay.
Isak's friends are suspicious of Kirk and Spock, but Isak explains that they helped him escape, and Kirk says that if he can speak to the Fuhrer, he can fix everything. Abrom then tells Isak that his fiance was killed. Isak decides that the best way to prevent more tragedies is to help Kirk and Spock.


Spock uses parts from both comms to reassemble one, but isn't certain that it will work. Suddenly, Davod, Isak and Abrom are paraded into the area at gunpoint, followed by that chick from the tv, Daras, and some Nazis.
"You're the guys who broke out of jail," says Daras.
"I need to talk to the Fuhrer," Kirk tells her.
Daras shoots Abrom. Dramatic music and commercial break!


Kirk and Spock wrestle the gun away from Daras, and hold her at gunpoint, but Abrom gets off the floor, unharmed.
"Lols, j/k," says Isak. "Sorry, all these guys are with us. We were just messing with you to see if you were Nazi spies or not."
"This chick is a decorated Nazi," says Spock, still holding the gun on Daras.
"No way," says Daras. "I'm a double agent Ekosian. My dad pissed off the party, and to get me into their ranks, he had me turn him in. Now I look like some dumb Nazi, but I'm one of the good guys. We don't know who everyone in the resistance is, so if we get caught, we only know who a handful are."
"The Fuhrer is one of our people," says Kirk. "We were sent here to get him after we lost contact. He came here as a cultural observer."
"He's under maximum security, and no one ever talks to him, except for his BFF, Malekon," says Isak.
"But he's making a speech tonight," says Daras. "Everyone who is anyone in the party will be there."

So they show up with lights and a camera and tell everyone that they're making a documentary on Daras. This is... not a dumb plan. Propaganda is big in a police state, so this actually makes sense. Who came up with this plan? Couldn't be Kirk.


They check out the set up, with Daras explaining that the Fuhrer doesn't give the speeches in person, he gives them from behind a curtain in a recording booth, then the speech is broadcast onto a screen. They take their equipment over to the guarded door of the recording booth, and Spock glances through a window. He sees that it is John Gill, but the man appears to be drugged or catatonic.

Kirk and Spock hole up in a cloak room to... contact the ship... right. They manage to raise Uhura, who is confused as to why they are on a funky frequency, and they tell her to send Bones to their coordinates, in a Nazi doctor uniform. Isak overhears two guards talking about how they discovered a weird transmission coming from inside the building, and are going to search the place for it. He and Daras bust into the cloak room to tell Kirk and Spock, and Bones appears in full uniform. After another moment, Chairman Eneg comes in with two armed guards. 
There's an uncomfortable pause, and then Kirk says, "The doctor has had too much to drink tonight. We are hiding him here so the Fuhrer won't see."
"Good thinking," says Eneg, and he leaves.
"The fuck?" asks Spock. "He didn't recognize us?"


Everybody crowds into the hall to watch the speech. 
"Yeah, something wrong with that guy," whispers Bones.
"This speech is just sentences strung together," whispers Spock.
"We have to get into the broadcast booth," whispers Kirk.


They go back to their documentary ruse, and tell the guards at the booth door that they want a shot of them with Daras, watching the speech. Of course Spock and Isak knock the guards out. In the hall, Malekon gets up to give the real speech, calling for the extermination of Zeon. Once they get into the booth, Bones examines John Gill and declares him to be drugged almost to the point of being catatonic. He gives Gill a stimulant, but it doesn't really do anything. Spock attempts a mind meld while the others discuss the possibility of using the E's weapons to wipe out the Ekosian fleet that is being sent to destroy Zeon. Spock finishes his meld and tells Kirk that Gill can answer questions. He notes that Gill is just the figurehead now, and that Malekon has been secretly in charge for years.


Gill tells Kirk that the planet was heavily divided, and he chose Nazi Germany as an example because they were the most organized, efficient state in Earth's history. He figured he could only use the good parts, and leave out the bad, and Ekos would flourish. It worked at first, but then Melakon took over and began drugging him. Gill passes out again, and Kirk begs Bones to give him another shot of stimulant, but Bones refuses. Isak sees that Eneg is coming with guards, and Kirk tells Spock to take his helmet off.
"Daras is a hero again," Isak tells Eneg. "She caught this Zeon spy trying to kill the Fuhrer! We should make an example of him, take him to Malekon."
Eneg pauses before agreeing, then leaves with the guards and Spock.
Isak practically does a happy dance. "Dude, Eneg is one of us!"
Isak, Bones and Daras follow Eneg and Spock back into the hall, while Kirk locks himself in the booth with Gill, giving him another shot of stimulant.
"Look at this cool spy we caught you!" Daras tells Malekon.
"Hey, sweet!" says Malekon. "We should dissect him, and then display his body in the museum. He appears to be really inferior to us."


But then the screen comes on again, and it's a tired Gill.
"People of Ekos, we were betrayed by this dickhole, Malekon. I've recalled the fleet, and demanded that the killing stop now. The Zeons are not our enemies. That douchebag Malekon is, and he deserves to be fucked sideways with a katana."
But before anyone can draw a katana to do the honors, Malekon grabs a semi-automatic and sprays the curtained booth with bullets. Isak then pumps a round or two into Malekon.
In the booth, Kirk cradles a dying Gill.
"That was so dumb," says Gill. "The PD is the way to go."
He dies, and Kirk unlocks the door for Spock, Bones, Isak, Daras, and Eneg.



"So that sucks," says Isak.
"Yep," agrees Kirk.
"Eneg and I are going on the air to declare this dumb war over," says Daras. "We appreciate your help clearing this up, but it would be awesome now if you could GTFO so we can get this sorted."
The trio beams back up again.

On the bridge, they discuss the idea that absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Spock is surprised that such a level-headed guy like Gill could have based his plans on such a crappy model. He and Bones begin arguing over humans and power.
"OMG, Chekov," says Kirk. "Please just get us the hell out of here."



Okay, so let me get an annoyance out of the way: when Star Trek does "historical" stuff, they either have the choice of actually going back in time somehow, or they encounter an alien planet where the exact same thing is happening there as it did on Earth. They typically go with the latter, as they did in "Bread and Circuses" and "A Piece of the Action". There was a slightly different take on it in "Who Mourns For Adonais?", where it is suggested that ancient Roman gods actually existed, but were, in fact, aliens from another planet (this is also touched upon briefly at the end of the Doctor Who episode "The God Complex"). In truth, I kind of just wish they would bullshit their way through time travel rather than going with the Bread and Circuses model, because seriously, what are the odds that that planet developed in exactly the same way as Earth? Haymitch Abernathy wouldn't put money on that shit.

"That's a lousy wager, sweetheart."

I was immediately irked with this episode when I thought that it was just a re-hash of the "Bread and Circuses" plot of "Federation rock star goes missing and turns up as the unscrupulous ruler of a Prime Directive culture." But "Patterns of Force" goes in it's own direction, making it more legit in my eyes. The fact that Gill broke the PD in order to make things better not only leads to the conclusion that absolute power corrupts absolutely, but also that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. An historian felt that if he could extract the productive, beneficial side of the Nazi party and shed their plans for genocide and war, he could make the Ekosian culture function harmoniously. His heart was in the right place, but it seems that he put his trust in the wrong dude. The thing is, you take your chances with every leader. Sometimes they actually start out with good intentions and the power goes to their head, as was the case with a young Albus Dumbledore. Under certain leaders, things can either go very, very wrong or very, very right. But the situation remains a crapshoot either way. The irony is not lost on me that this episode is being reviewed right around mid-term elections in the States. It's a complete coincidence, but an interesting one nonetheless.

Red deaths this episode: 0
Red deaths this season: 18
Gold deaths this episode: 0
Gold deaths this season: 6
Blue deaths this episode: 0
Blue deaths this season: 1
Total crew deaths this season: 25
Total crew deaths thus far: 42

No crew deaths this week, just a sad old man and one fucking Nazi, but who gives a shit about him?

*******

Buying a new box of tea each week gets expensive, and fills our tea cupboard quickly, so I look for mixed boxes whenever possible. This week, the only sampler box I could find was Celestial Seasonings Fruit Sampler box, which features five herbal-based fruit-flavored teas. I decided to start with the Black Cherry Berry. 
Black Cherry is one of those flavors that people either get really right or really wrong, like pomegranate flavor, or gardenia scent (badly done gardenia scent is the worst). I'm a little hesitant here because of that last word "berry". Basically, I don't like to mix berry flavors into one generic flavor. Each one is fabulous on it's own, why the holy hell do we need monstrosities like cran-raspberry? You just ruined two good berries!
Okay, maybe you like mixed berries. I'm sorry. I have very strong opinions on berry-mixing, which is only okay in my world when cobbler is involved.
Tangent Train: we were talking about Black Cherry tea. The smell is good, a bit fake-y, but that doesn't faze me because there are quite a few foods whose actual scent/flavor is kind of fake. For instance, have you ever had amarena cherries? They're preserved in sugar syrup, and they taste - I shit you not - like Slurpees. They're imported and hard to find, but if you ever go to Italy, eat these. They're awesome.
So, after my 20-minute hiatus in which I waited for the damn tea to cool off, I gave it a sip. It's good. Like cherry juice, only lighter, because it's tea rather than cherry-flavored high fructose corn syrup. There's a tiny bit of mixed berry in there, but it isn't terribly noticeable. In truth, the black cherry flavor that it reminds me of is Fruit Roll-Up. Not the new, rubbery kind on the white cellophane, but the ones that you buy individually in the produce section, the kind that's made with actual pulverized fruit, and comes spread in a thin circle on the clear cellophane? That kind. Like fruit leather, but this was the original fruit roll-up. They had peach, too. 
Oh, nostalgia. You will be the reason why I drink this tea again. Mmm, fruit roll-up. I bet it's fantastic iced. OMG, BLACK CHERRY TEA DAQUIRI. YESSSSS.







Maya and Balam


Monday, October 13, 2014

Season 2, Episode 51 "Return to Tomorrow"

"Return to Tomorrow"
Production Number: 51
Air Order: 49
Stardate: 4768.3
Original Air Date: February 9, 1968


Hello, Trek fans. Happy Indigenous Peoples' Day (aka, Random Bank Holiday) to our readers from the States, and Happy Thanksgiving to our Canadian readers. Either way, it is not the wrong day for some Trek.

*******



We begin this week on the bridge. The E is heading toward someone or something out in BFE, Space that has lit up their distress signal detectors, but it is not actually broadcasting a distress signal, just some coordinates. The spot they stumble upon is some neon green Class M planet, and Spock relays info from the Science Station: the planet is similar to Earth, but has been dead for half a million years. There's no atmosphere.
"What else? Why are we here?" demands Kirk.
"Like I know," shrugs Spock. "Just because I know a lot doesn't mean I have every answer."
This is seriously the second time this season that he's said that to Kirk, and it feels like an important distinction. Not every person is going to have every answer, and expecting someone to just know everything is dumb. I bet Spock gets that a lot, actually.
 "You're smart, tell me the solution to this mystery when we have no clues!"
Sit your ass down and let Velma gather some info first, Fred.
As it so happens, Velma is off the hook, as a disembodied baritone broadcasts onto the bridge that they have been guided to the planet by thought energy, and now that they are close enough, the voice can actually speak to them. The voice is named Sargon.
"Please assume standard orbit around the planet," says Sargon.
"Is that a demand or a request?" asks Kirk.
Bitch, did he stutter? If someone uses the magic word, it is a request. Hashtag: things I learned in kindergarten.

"Seriously, Jim. Did you not hear him say please? The rest of us did."

Sargon gives them some cryptic shit about being as dead as the planet, and about mankind possibly perishing, and everyone on the bridge exchanges funny looks before we break for opening credits.

Kirk's Log: 4768.3: "So we're orbiting this dead planet, but this voice is telling us that something has survived this whole time. Because I'm Kirk and never assume that anything is a trap, I'm probably gonna go down to see what it is."

Kirk asks Uhura how long until Starfleet receives his log, and she reports back that it'll be at least three weeks. Oh, good. That'll give your body plenty of time to decompose out here in the middle of nowhere.
Spock reports from Science that his equipment senses a cavern deep in the planet where some energy is emanating.
I shit you not, Sargon chimes in with, "Your probes have touched me, Mr Spock," and the helm is obviously holding in a "that's what she said!"



Sargon then requests that the crew beam down into the cavern, below 100 miles of solid rock. "I'm altering your transporter to make it so, and the chamber is safe for humans," he says.
Spock is obviously itching to go, but Kirk tells him that it would be foolish if both the captain and second-in-command were to go on the away mission.
What?
Hold the motherfucking comm badge, is he serious?
After weeks of just outright ignoring protocol and dragging him along, now Kirk has decided that it's a bad idea? You know what would be an even better idea, Kirk? If your chubby ass stayed onboard and you let the science officer do his job.
But apparently Sargon isn't down with the idea of leaving Spock behind, because he shuts off the damn ship without saying anything.
"Spock should come along," suggests Kirk, and the E turns on again.
Soooo, we're beaming down through 100 miles of solid rock on a dead planet to seek out the energy behind a disembodied voice who throws silent tantrums. Good plan.
Only Scotty and Bones seem to think this idea sucks, and they both object when Kirk and Spock reach the transporter room. Kirk assuages them by saying that he thinks if Sargon wanted to completely destroy them, he/it would have done so. I wonder if ants have this conversation before being fried by some psycho kid with a magnifying glass.
The camera switches over, and someone new joins in.
Holy shitsnacks... it's Diana Muldaur, you guys.


For those of you who are strict TOSers, or you just can't place where the hell you've seen this chick before, Diana Muldaur played Dr Pulaski on Next Gen. She replaced Gates McFadden as the ship's doctor in the second season, when McFadden wasn't certain that she wanted to return. McFadden played Beverly Crusher, who had a lovely "will they, won't they?" with Picard. Pulaski was set up to be the Bones to Patrick Stewart's Picard, a curmudgeonly doctor who was even suspect of the transporter, as Bones is in TOS. While Dr Crusher was well-liked among fans, Pulaski was universally hated for picking on the charming android Data, calling him "it" and mispronouncing his name. I'm gonna try to be objective about her here. Dr Pulaski is, for me at least, the Rand of TNG: she serves little purpose, I hate her guts, and she got the boot after one season. I'll start off by saying that, though I don't love the way that they've done up her hair, she was actually pretty attractive in her younger years. Then I'll ruin it by laughing at the fact that they made her a Red.


So, anyway, Muldaur gets the Pretty Girl music, and Kirk approaches her, because he's never met any of the people on his ship outside of his bridge crew. That's an awful lot of strangers to just blindly trust, Kirk.
Muldaur says that she's Dr Ann Mulhall, an astrobiologist, and that she was ordered to report to the transporter room for away mission duty. When Kirk asks her who told her to report there, she is confused, and admits that she doesn't know. Apparently, Sargon is going to pick his own welcoming committee. Kirk is still fine with this.
They get on the pad, and Bones hesitates when Sargon announces that he has set the controls instead of Scotty. But he climbs up there as well, and our trio (plus Mulhall) energizes and transports down, leaving the random pair of security Reds behind.


Kirk briefly contacts Scotty about their missing Reds, but decides to shrug it off. Kirk is the sort of guy who will agree to carry suspicious luggage onto a plane for you. The away crew looks around the transporter room, and the wall opens onto another room with a super-ugly lamp. The lamp speaks. It is Sargon.


Despite having encountered this numerous times, the away team is surprised that Sargon's people have evolved past the point of needing physical form and just being pure thought and energy. Sargon explains that previously, his people had bodies, and were much like humans. He calls the away team "my children" because he thinks that they may be distant descendants of his people, as they engaged in universal seeding. Mulhall says that human life evolved independently, but Spock admits that this theory could explain how Vulcans came to be. Sargon isn't certain. He talks about a time when his people nearly destroyed themselves, and Kirk starts bragging like a total douche how humans managed to evolve beyond nuclear crises, but Sargon is all, "Yeah, we had that primitive nuclear war and shit, but this was bigger. That'll happen to you at some point." And Kirk gets the verbal smack-down put on him.


"Ummm, you said you wanted some help?" asks Kirk.
"Yeah," says Sargon, and Shatner does some iffy acting that's supposed to signify a transfer of minds to body. When he speaks again, it's from Kirk's mouth, and The Shat walks stilted and stiffly around the room, complimenting Kirk on his excellent body. You can tell it's Sargon rather than Kirk speaking, because reverb is used on the voice.


He says that Kirk is in the ugly lamp, but isn't smart enough to be able to talk to them from it. Bones and Pulaski Mulhall tell Sargon that his being inside of Kirk is killing the captain, and Spock says that Sargon needs to hurry the fuck up with whatever he's doing. Sargon explains that he needs the bodies of Mulhall and Spock to house the essences of two more of his people.
Dramatic music and commercial break!

Sargon takes the away team into the next room, where there are more ugly lamps on IKEA storage units. He says that when they hit their Big Destruction, the best minds were secreted away, and two more besides him have survived: his wife Thalassa, and Henoch, who was "from the other side." Sargon was put into the other room to search outer space, in the hopes that someday, descendants of their race would come back and help them. I guess Thalassa and Henoch have been hibernating?


Sargon wants to use Kirk's body, and those of Spock and Mulhall, to build android bodies so that the aliens (no collective name given to them) can inhabit those bodies instead. Apparently, the humans can't do it for them, because they're too stupid. Kirk is not doing well, so Sargon hops back into the lamp. Kirk claims to understand and trust Sargon now, and is willing to go along with the plan. Bones and Mulhall think it's crap.
"What if we say thanks, but no thanks?" asks Spock.
"It's cool," says Sargon. "You can leave if you don't want to help."

The away team beams back to the E, and there's a smash cut to the debriefing room, where Scotty gives a spluttery, censor-friendly version of WTF?! to Kirk. Bones of course, is not onboard with the plan, but Mulhall is now interested. To convince Bones, Kirk and Spock start telling him how the aliens are going to give them all kinds of advanced technical and medical advice. Umm, is this not reverse-Prime Directive? Are they allowed to profit from this situation like that? Seems like it would give the Federation an unfair advantage. Kirk tells Scotty that with those kinds of advantages, they could end up with starships who have engines the size of walnuts. Scotty seems twelve kinds of offended.


Bones points out that this whole thing could be very dangerous, and that they don't know these aliens at all, and Kirk agrees with him, but gives this impassioned speech about how their very mission to explore the stars is risky, and hadn't man moved himself forward by learning to fly even though he didn't have wings? It works, because no one dissents, and they beam the receptacles on board.

We cut to sick bay, where the transfer is made. Spock/Henoch responds to the transfer by immediately hitting on Christine. It's a bit creepy, but it seems innocent enough.


Mulhall/Thelassa gets up, reveling in being in a solid form again, and she goes to Kirk/Sargon. They call each other "beloved", and marvel at one another's new bodies and kiss. This is not the cheesy "Kirk kisses every new female featured on the show," though. And it's not one of those "switched bodies" things where you never fully believe that it's someone else's mind in another person's body, where it just looks like the same person is acting funny. Maybe it's the reverb that they use, but I actually buy this as ancient beings borrowing the bodies of the Enterprise crew, and I totally buy that Sargon and Thelassa are that excited to see each other. I think I actually ship that as well.


Henoch seems extra pleased with his lot, getting better strength and hearing from his Vulcan host than his fellows, who just got crummy human hosts. He tells Bones that he is surprised that the Vulcans didn't conquer the human race. But then Sargon and Thelassa start to faint, and they are moved back to their beds to rest. They transfer back after Henoch agrees to make some sort of serum to stabilize the human hosts. Henoch takes Christine to pharmacology to make the serum.
Down in pharmacology, Henoch makes up the hypos and has Christine label them for himself, Thelassa and Sargon. She notes that Kirk's serum is different, and that he will die if he doesn't get the same serum as the others.
"That's okay," says Henoch pleasantly. "Nobody will notice because you are giving them." Then he mind-melds with her. "We cool?"
"Yep," says Christine.
Then, a monologue: "Awesome. I intend to keep Spock's body, but Sargon won't let me, so I have to kill both him and Kirk."

Can we please, PLEASE stop screwing with Christine's hair?
The whole top is a wig and it's awful-looking.

Bones' Log 4769.1: "So the aliens are inhabiting the bodies of three crew members, and they're making androids. I'm still paranoid as hell, but there's nothing amiss yet. Please look for my I told you so at the end of this episode."

Sargon and Thalassa are building their androids in the lab and canoodling a bit when Henoch comes in and reminds Thalassa that she should not get used to the sensation of touch, because her android body won't have that. I'm really digging this Nimoy-as-Spock-as-Henoch. He's a touch creepy without necessarily setting off any warning bells. He makes people just uncomfortable enough that they squirm, but not so much that they suspect anything. Just the right combination of  Khan and blissed-out Spock from "This Side of Paradise". Sargon tells Thalassa that they will be able to use their android bodies to move among the living, and guide the humans away from the mistakes that they themselves made long ago. But then he stumbles out of the room to get another hypo of poison.


Down in sick bay, Christine confusedly tries to tell Bones about the effed-up hypos, but can't remember what she needs to tell him, so she ends up saying that the serum is working perfectly.

Thalassa is down in the lab admiring her reflection in what is actually the metal lid of a chafing dish, but which I'm sure is supposed to be some kind of futuristic something-or-other. ("Hey, prop guy. We need some kind of reflective surface that's shiny and futuristic-looking." "Hmmm, have you checked the craft services table?") Thalassa is wearing her hair in the style of Girl In Love, which is actually really flattering on Diana Muldaur. Scotty comes in to give her some piece of tech that she needs for the android, and he expresses concern that it won't work. Henoch enters and tells him that it will if he stops wasting Thalassa's time and lets her finish. Scotty leaves and Henoch takes the opportunity to win over Thalassa, saying that the android bodies are 1000-year prisons, and when those wear out, they'll build more, on into time immemorial. He tries to talk her into keeping Mulhall's body. She pulls away from him and stalks out while he smiles.



Thalassa finds a sick-looking Sargon in the briefing room, going over Henoch's formula. He seems paranoid, but declares the formula to be correct, and calls Bones for another shot. Thalassa, not looking forward to android bodies, tries to talk Sargon into keeping Kirk. He doesn't like the idea of going back on his word, and promises that everything will still be awesome when they have their new artificial bodies. They kiss again, but he collapses on the floor, and we get this cool shot of Bones and Christine running in to help. They hypo him, but he's dead, Jim.


Bones' Log 4770.3: "Sargon is dead because he was too far away from the receptacle when Jim's body died. Jim's body is being kept alive on machines, but his consciousness is still in the receptacle."

Down in the lab, Henoch finishes work on one of the android bodies.
"Why are you working on that?" Thalassa asks him. "You plan to keep Spock."
"Naw, this is yours," says Henoch. "You know Sargon wouldn't want you to keep Mulhall. You can be trapped in this crappy non-feeling fake body, and I'll continue to walk around like I own this one."
"Screw you, I'm not doing that!" she yells, and runs from the lab.

I cannot for the life of me figure out how the prop guys made that android.
Did they paint an extra with latex paint? Did they use a mannequin?
At one point, the arm raises by itself - was it a puppet?
It's creepy as hell.

Thalassa goes back to sick bay and tells Bones that she has the power to save Kirk, that they have powers that Sargon wouldn't let them use. Then she tells him that she intends to keep Mulhall's body.
"The hell you are!" he responds.
"Nobody has to know," she says. "Besides, why are you upset? You didn't really know her."
"Her body isn't mine to give away. I will not peddle flesh!" he hisses. (That's a great line, by the way.)
She angrily refers to him as a "primitive medicine man" and gets a bit of a God Complex about her, saying that she could destroy him with a single thought. He doubles over in pain while animation lines dance around him.


The thing is, Thalassa seems to have decided that doing this makes her a bit monstrous, and she stops, asking Bones for his forgiveness. Apparently, Sargon forbidding them to use those extra powers was a good thing. But then Sargon's voice booms out over Sick Bay, telling Thalassa that he's proud of her for coming to that conclusion on her own. It seems that Sargon had powers that Henoch didn't know about, and he seems to have uploaded himself into the ship or something. Don't tell Kirk. He'll freak out if he finds that you're involved with his woman like that. Christine enters just as Thalassa asks Bones to leave so she and Sargon can get to work. He does, but when he realizes that Christine is not behind him, and the door closes and locks, he pounds on it like Fred Flinstone trying to get back in the house after Dino throws him out during the closing credits. Not gonna lie, him doing that is the only reason why we're supposed to feel like something's amiss.


He tries to radio for security Reds, but then the door opens and Christine walks out wordlessly. Running back into Sick Bay, he finds Kirk awake and alive. Mulhall is there as well, and says that Thalassa is gone. Shocked, Bones turns to the receptacles. Each one is destroyed. Bones flips out.
"WTF? The receptacles are gone! What about Spock?"
"We had to do it," says Kirk. "Now you have to mix a hypo of poison strong enough to kill a Vulcan so we can kill Henoch."

Fried fiberglass is seriously icky-looking. To be honest, I hope the
prop guys kept these. They look like alien eggs. It would be awesome if
they showed up in some future episode.

They smash cut to the Ship Goddess, who screams in pain while Henoch does some kind of creepy mind thing to her. She falls over in pain at her console and he casually makes his way to the captain's chair, threatening to inflict pain on Sulu if he tries anything. Kirk, Bones and Mulhall enter from the lift, and Kirk and Mulhall are quickly doubled over in pain as well. Bones tries to hypo Henoch, but the alien in the stolen Vulcan vehicle can read everyone's thoughts. 


He orders Christine to take the hypo and inject Bones with it, but at the last moment she injects Henoch instead. He laughs, saying that he will simply transfer his consciousness to someone else, but then he begins a silent communication with Sargon, who is clearly refusing him the transfer. Henoch/Spock collapses on the floor. 
Kirk checks him: "He's dead, me."
"Yeah, sooo..." comes Sargon's voice over the bridge PA, "that ended badly, huh? Totes didn't mean for this shit to happen, and I really dislike the idea of you not having your friend because our friend turned out to be a dick. Gonna give him back, okay?" Blue lights fill the bridge, and Spock gets up as Christine stumbles. "The poison in the hypo was only enough to knock Spock out, but I made the doctor think it was enough to kill him. Henoch read his mind, fled the body, and that was it."
"Spock's consciousness was stored in me. We shared a consciousness," says Christine in a mildly suggestive way.
Gross. Still don't ship that.


Sargon requests one last transfer so he and Thalassa can kiss one more time, and Kirk and Mulhall agree. There's some more blue light and they tell each other in reverb that oblivion will be okay as long as they are together. They kiss, and as soon as their lips part, Sargon and Thalassa are gone, leaving zero time for Kirk and Mulhall to adjust back to the situation. Kirk says he thinks that the aliens appreciated their cooperation, and Mulhall says that she was happy to help. Then Kirk smiles at her like he would appreciate her cooperation later in his quarters, and we end with her reaction shot. Oh, Diana Muldaur, I forgive you for your future crimes against Star Trek, if for no other reason than the look on your face here.




Death Toll:
Red deaths this episode: 0
Red deaths this season: 18
Gold deaths this episode: 0
Gold deaths this season: 6
Blue deaths this episode: 0
Blue deaths this season: 1
Total crew deaths this season: 25
Total crew deaths thus far: 42

This was actually a pretty good episode. I feel like I'd rate this one as Most Late-Sixties Sci-Fi-ish, because, frankly, it sounds like late-sixties sci-fi. I was surprised not see like an Isaac Asimov writing credit on this one (he never did write any episodes, though he was actually a good friend of Gene Rod, and they would sometimes exchange correspondence about the show). The whole thing feels like a novel with terrible cover art and a questionable font in neon green: fun and campy, but still kind of serious.



I've become kind of intrigued by the Girl In Love hair. Every time a girl on this show decides that she's in love with someone, she moves from wearing it up in some crazy chignon to wearing it down around her shoulders. The thing is, this isn't an isolated incident, because I've seen the same thing happen to Aunt Polly in the 1960 movie Pollyanna. I think it's an historical thing, and probably related to the phrase "let one's hair down", but I doubt that this is of interest to anyone but me and my little Hermione brain, so I won't waste more typing space on it.
IMDB says that this is the first time that Diana Muldaur appears in the Trek 'verse, and that we'll see her again one more time on TOS before she morphs into Dr Killitwithfire on TNG. We'll see how she does on that second episode.


*******

I've developed the kind of throat cold where you cough inconveniently and your voice changes just enough that you can hear the difference, but no one else can. Anyway, it's fall, bitches, and that means hot tea season is back! YES! Hot tea is awesome for "you don't hear it?" colds, so I made Ginger Peach Green Tea from The Republic of Tea. I'm starting to feel like I like my fruity teas with a green base because the leaf base competes with the fruit less. Either way, the tea and the fruit flavor were both really light and refreshing. Not a lot of ginger, so if you're looking for more, it might behoove you to add some crystallized bits to the hot tea. The peach was nice but also light, and you could taste the green. They blended nicely. It's a good one.






Uhura ate one of my sewing needles. And this is why I can't make
nice things. :P