Star Trek

Star Trek

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year, Trek fans!

Kitty Kirk sez:


"Be safe if you're out partying, and no more than one glass 
of Romulan ale, because that shit is potent."

Monday, December 29, 2014

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


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

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


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

*******

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



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




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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



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



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


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



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


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


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


Death Toll:
Red deaths this episode: 2
Red deaths this season: 3
Gold deaths this episode: 0
Gold deaths this season: 0
Blue deaths this episode: 0
Blue deaths this season: 0
Total crew deaths this season: 3
Total crew deaths thus far: 47

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



*******


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

Before


After


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

http://teaofakind.com/




Sunday, December 28, 2014

Happy Birthday, Ship Goddess!


Happy Birthday, Nichelle Nichols!


So glad MLK convinced you to continue to boldly go -
that bridge needed your humble badassery more than they'd
probably care to admit.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Blogger busy handcrafting Elsa dresses and eating latkas

Sorry the new post is late. Roomie has been filling this little introvert's time with holiday parties hosted by people who (thankfully) don't suck and are nerdy, and my niece's fondest wish for Christmas was an Elsa dress for her doll, which Auntie Archon was forced to make by hand. *narrows eyes at Disney company for inventing such a thing and making it desirable to every kid on the planet*
I am, as I type, creating this weeks' post after everyone has gone to bed, sitting in my brother-in-law's mancave, eyeing his multiple expansion packs of Cards Against Humanity, and wondering if he will notice if they go missing when I leave to go back home after Christmas. We wants them.
*narrows eyes at inner Gollem*

In the meantime, please enjoy these Vulcan Christmas carols, which I was inspired to create following this Facebook post:



Jingle Bells: "It is illogical to become inebriated and attempt to operate a horse-drawn sleigh in the snow."

The Dreidel Song: "I have created a geometric shape with the expectations of being rewarded chocolate."

O, Little Town of Bethlehem: "A human woman who has not yet experienced coitus has birthed a male child. One should give praise to this child because his arrival was not expected in normal biology."

Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer: "A member of one's matrilineage becomes intoxicated and unwisely leaves the safety of the domicile to walk in the dark. She is ostensibly overtaken by a member of the caribou species and expires. Sometimes, the stampede of the one is greater than the stampede of the many."


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Happy Hanukkah!

And remember:



It is never the wrong time to break out the Star Trek Pez menorah.
I hope you get that stuffed Tribble that you've had your eye on forever.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Season 3, Episode 59 "The Enterprise Incident"

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


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

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

*******




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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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


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



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


Romulan photobomb!

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

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



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


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



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



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

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

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



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



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



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


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



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

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

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


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



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

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


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

Heh, twatwaffle.


Death Toll:

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

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

*******

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





"I iz help you put dishes away?"