Star Trek

Star Trek

Monday, January 12, 2015

Season 3, Episode 62 "Is There In Truth No Beauty?"

"Is There In Truth No Beauty?"
Production Order: 62
Air Order: 60
Stardate: 5630.7
Original Air Date: October 18, 1968



Kirk's Log 5630.7: "Gonna pick up the Medusan ambassador from Federation space and take him back to Medusan space. The Medusans are super-wise and stuff, but they have a non-corporeal form that humans can't look at, or they go mad."

Spock beams a dude on board who introduces himself as Dr Larry Marvick.  He was one of the designers of the Enterprise. Dr Marvick is surprised to see Kirk and Scotty in the transporter room. Kirk explains that they will leave, and Spock will put on some special red sunglasses so that he can beam the ambassador onboard. Apparently, Vulcans are not as susceptible to that whole madness thing as humans are, so it's cool for him to be there. He still needs those sunglasses, though. Scotty and Marvick leave, Kirk behind them, and Spock puts on his Robocop sunglasses to beam ambassador Kollos aboard.
They actually do this cool thing here where they cover the camera with a red film to show what Spock is seeing. They'll use more shots later of Spock's point of view. It's nice, mixes things up a bit.


Spock beams up a box and a woman. The woman introduces herself as Dr Miranda Jones. It's... Diana Muldaur again. I don't mind that it's her, because I actually liked her in TOS, and in the previous episode where she was featured, "Return to Tomorrow". But... she played a large role in that episode, and she plays a large role in this one as well. Did they think we wouldn't notice simply because her hair has changed color?


Let's take a quick look at her costume: they did her hair like Kelinda from "By Any Other Name". I have theory about this hairstyle that I'll touch on later. Then they made Dr Jones a sleeveless romper-thing from the same material that was used for Nancy Hedford's dress in "Metamorphosis". I'm actually pretty pleased with both of these things. I like that they used that fabric again, which is nice and kind of futuristic-looking. Points, costume-makers. The sleeveless romper is also nice, with wide-enough legs that it looks like a dress, and I like the high collar. More points. I'm not crazy about that gauzy Bedazzled thing they overlaid her costume with, but it's not the end of the world.

One more brief side-note before I jump back to the story: according to IMDB, the part of Dr Jones was supposed to go to Jessica Walters. Now, I know she wasn't known for those roles in 1969, but imagine Lucille Bluth in space. Being seduced by Kirk. Or Mallory Sterling pulling a honeypot on Spock. I'll pause here while you snort with laughter.


Anyway, Dr Jones gives Spock the Vulcan salute, which he returns, and he introduces himself to her. The ambassador is apparently in the box, the idea of which earns a rare Spock eyebrow raise.
Following the opening credits, Kirk announces to the ship that everyone needs to clear the corridors so they can move the ambassador to his quarters, and Spock and Jones put their Robocop glasses on to haul the box.
In the corridor, Spock congratulates Jones on getting the assignment working with Kollos, and she mentions that she heard Spock was up for it as well, but turned it down. He corroborates the story, and says that his place is on the Enterprise. She then says that her success or failure will hinge on whether or not she is able to mind-meld with the Medusans. He says that, based on mind-melding with other alien species, that it's a fascinating experience.


Spock asks to greet the ambassador, and she stiffly tells him that the ambassador would be charmed. The box opens, and there's some flashing lime green light, and shots of Spock in his Robocop glasses are interspersed with fleeting shots of abstract images. This is what the Medusans look like. It's weird, but a golf clap to Star Trek for attempting to portray a non-corporeal life-form.


Spock tells Jones that he almost envies her, and she says that she sees in his mind that he wishes to take her job.
"Not really," he corrects her. "Were you born a telepath?"
"Yeah, that's why I studied on Vulcan," she replies.
He offers to show her to her quarters, but she declines to help the ambassador get settled in, and he leaves. Then she does something weird - she takes off her Robocop glasses and asks the ambassador what Spock sees when he looks into the box. The box opens, and the flashing green lights appear.

We skip to a welcome dinner, where our boys are wearing their dress uniforms. 
SCOTTY IS WEARING A KILT. And they seem to have been paying attention to which tartan belongs to the Scott clan. Bonus points, costume department.



Kirk, in his sorry attempts to be Jack Harkness, asks Jones why the human male population is allowing her to gallivant in space with Kollos. That's not "Captain Jack", Kirk. That's "sexist asshole." He then asks why, as a human, she can hang out with Kollos when no one else can. She replies that she studied on Vulcan and learned to shut everyone else's thoughts out, as she was born a telepath. She then notices Spock's IDIC pin, which she pronounces as "idic", rather than as an acronym. She rather bitchily asks if he's worn it to remind her that, as a Vulcan, he can mind-link better than she can. He is surprised at her reaction, and says that he wore it to honor her. Kirk steers the conversation back to the Medusans by asking if their awesome navigation skills could one day be incorporated into Federation ships.


And that's it. They don't mention the pin again in this episode, or the ideology that it represents, or what IDIC even stands for. I have to wonder if they wrote more about it in an earlier draft and it was edited for time.
The conversation carries forward by Jones saying that Marvick's job is to figure out how to integrate the Medusan navigational info with Federation starship technology. Just in case you were wondering what the hell Marvick is doing on the ship. Which I was. They then launch into a debate about the human failing concerning the notion that good things are beautiful, but evil things are ugly. I guess green flashing lights and abstract images are considered ugly. Makes no sense to me, but whatever. Then everybody but Jones stands and they make a toast to her beauty. This is a smart-ass woman doing an important job for the Federation, but let's talk about hot she is instead.
Bones asks if they, as men, can condemn her to look upon ugliness (the Mesdusans) for the rest of her life, and the guys reply no. She parries with the question of how Bones can spend his entire life looking at the ugliness of disease, effectively flipping that gendered bullshit back around on him. Ha! He finally toasts her by saying, "To whatever you want the most, Miranda," and they all drink. But then she gets a funny look on her face and says that she feels like someone nearby is thinking about murder. It passes, and she excuses herself from the party.
After she leaves, Bones remarks that she's a real lady. Marvick coldly tells the others that they should treat her that way, before excusing himself.



Scotty leaves, and Spock, prompting Kirk to ask Bones about Jones. Bones replies that she seems vulnerable. There's a funny bit here where Kirk swallows the last of his drink, and when they cut to him, his glass is full again. Bones excuses himself as well, and Kirk ends on a pensive moment.

In the next scene, Jones is in her quarters when Marvick shows up. He begs her not to continue her service with Kollos, not to go away. She tells him that they've discussed this many times, and that she's doing it whether he wants her to or not. And here now, we see the real reason why Marvick is on board: the writer needed some reason for Dr Jones' love interest to be on board the Enterprise, so it was decided that he should be the person who will eventually link the Medusans to the Federation. He kisses her. You can see from the profiles that Diana Muldaur is blinking. Jones is not kissing him back. You got no game, Marvick. She's just not that into you.


She tells him that she's always been straight with him, and wasn't lying when she told him that she doesn't return his feelings. He is asked to leave, but then she realizes that the murder thoughts were coming from him. She tries to get him to talk to her about it, to tell her who he wants to kill, but he just gets pissy and accuses her of trying to psychoanalyze him.
"Now I know what it takes to get your attention! You want to treat me like a patient!" (Huh? Is she a psychiatrist? Was that mentioned somewhere and I didn't notice it?) Then we go back to the sexist remarks: "Why don't you act like a woman for once?"
Marvick then runs out into the corridor. Fresh from his tantrum, he stalks down to another door, his face all murder-y. It's like every slasher film ever, when they cute girls decide to check the dilapidated garden shed for their missing friend. 
Marvick goes into the ambassador's quarters. The box opens and the lights flash. Marvick takes out his phaser, but ends up dropping it, and screaming in pain. Told you not to go into the garden shed, you dipshit.


Pretty sure this episode should come with an epilepsy warning: the lights flash, and they keep switching camera angles from third person to first person, interspersing it with shots of Kollos. Marvick is spinning and flipping around the room. he runs out into the corridor and catches the lift.
Meanwhile, Jones notices a disturbance in the Force or whatever and goes to Kollos' room, where she finds the box open and the phaser on the floor.
Marvick stumbles out of the lift and bumps into a random Gold. Instead of saying, "sorry, my bad," he decks the guy. Then he runs into engineering. Scotty had, in a friendly gesture, offered to let him fly the ship earlier. Now, not realizing that Marvick is fucking coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs, he allows him to do so.
Meanwhile, Kirk and our boys in blue move down the corridor with a pair of Reds, looking for all the world like Sharks looking for Jets. They encounter Jones, who tells them that Marvick tried to kill the ambassador.
The Shat, rather than say his lines like any normal human ("Larry Marvick - why?"), puts an extra weird pause in the middle, so it comes out as "Larry? Marvick? Why?"
Jones confirms that Marvick looked at the ambassador, so now he's crazy.
Kirk puts out an APB for Larry Marvick, attempted murderer of ambassador Kollos. Scotty tries to pull him off the E's navigation panel in engineering, and Marvick proceeds to beat the living shit out of him and two other Reds. Apparently, being nuts gives you super-human strength.


Marvick then steers the ship off in some other direction. We see the effect of this on the bridge, as the whole thing tilts and the crew members struggle to stay at their stations. There's a new shot here, looking beyond Bones and Jones' shoulders onto the bridge from the position of the lift. Nice.


Marvick is pushing the ship beyond warp nine, heading God knows where. When they get him on intercom, he yells some gibberish about not going to sleep, and how they'll "suffocate in your dreams." WTF? Kirk and Jones head to engineering with Bones and two Reds. They grab him, but are not able to keep the ship from wandering into some kind of weird light field. Friends, it's hit like this, along with the flashing scenes and rapidly-switching viewpoints, that makes me wonder what watching this show is like while altered. Like on acid or something. Probably either fun, or a really bad trip. Maybe it was written while altered. 1969, y'all.


Scotty can't figure out where they hell they've stopped, but Marvick yells that they're beyond the barrier of the galaxy, and that they're safe now. Bones tries to hypo him, and he freaks out, yelling about sleep again. He sees Jones standing in the back and is excited.
"My love, you're here!"
She tries to be nice, because that's what one does when confronted by a crazy man, but then she gets worried because she can see his crazy-ass thoughts. Then he loses it again, yelling at the others that they shouldn't love her. He attempts to strangle Jones, then collapses.
He's dead, Jim.



Kirk's Log 5630.8: "According to the viewscreen, we're in somebody's bad acid trip. Probably the special effects guy. The problem is, we're so far out of our own galaxy that we have no reference points, so no way to navigate. So we're just kind of sitting here. Marvick totally Disabled the Ship."

Bones enters to the bridge to report that he can't figure out why Marvick dropped dead. Spock reports that they experienced sensory issues when they crossed the barrier, and will have troubles if they try to warp back across it; however, they can't get back across unless they use warp. 
"Let's ask the ambassador," suggests Kirk.
"That could work," says Spock. "I could mind-meld with him. But Jones will be a problem. She's kind of a jealous bitch about Kollos. We have to keep her occupied."
"I'll do it," volunteers Kirk.
"God, are you gonna try to seduce her?" I asked the screen the first time I watched this episode.




Yep.
Imagine how crappy a Choose Your Own Adventure book based on Kirk would be. At every junction, your only choices would be "do something reckless that endangers the crew" or "seduce a sexy female." It doesn't matter what you choose, because you'll always end up at page five, where you'll win the day automatically because you're Kirk.

He takes her to the conservatory, where they examine and smell flowers. She gets pricked by a rose thorn, and he fawns all over her. Then comes the argument that every asexual everywhere has heard a million times over: "But you're so young! You're so pretty! Someday you may want companionship, blah, blah, blah." She counters him well: "Bitch, did you not hear me say a bunch of times that I have trouble shutting out the thoughts and emotions of others? I like the Vulcan way. Too much unwanted input from others makes my head spin, so back the fuck off already."
Haha, you found a girl you can't seduce, Kirk. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
They move back to the ideas of beauty versus ugliness again, and he kind of insults her, then says he meant no disrespect.
Remember the fact that I pointed out that Miranda Jones has the same hairstyle as Kalinda, the emotionless girl from "By Any Other Name"? This is apparently the way you wear your hair to alert Kirk know that he has zero chance of seducing you. Gonna be on the look-out for this hairstyle in the future so I know who to root for from the beginning.
Realizing that he isn't getting very far, Kirk doubles down and says, "Hey, baby. This place is romantic. I was wish there was moonlight. You'd look so hot by moonlight." He tries to kiss her. What the fuck is up with guys forcing themselves on her? No wonder she likes the Medusans.
"I can see you're a very complicated man," she tells him, pushing away. Her tone says that she's clearly thinking the opposite.
Unfortunately, Kirk's insincere attention is not enough to hold her attention, and when she realizes what Spock is doing, runs out of the conservatory.




She and Kirk rush to the ambassador's quarters and meet Spock and Bones outside.
"Sorry," Spock tells her. "I know your mind-link powers are better than mine, but you can't pilot a starship. I have to do it."
"No way! You can teach me! I can memorize it instantly!" she protests.
"Not gonna happen," says Bones. "You can do most things that a sighted person can do, but you can't fly the ship."
Wait. HOLD THE MOTHERFUCKING COMM BADGE.
Girlfriend is blind? That's a pretty sneaky plot twist, Star Trek. Turns out that gauzy Bedazzled thing she wears over all her clothes? A sensory net to feed info into her brain. And nobody noticed because people just wear weird shit like that in Star Trek. It's cool that she's a human working with Medusans because the madness that comes from dealing with them is tied into being able to see them. She's a blind telepath with Vulcan training, making her awesome for the job.
She tries to convince them that she's still the one to mind-link with Kollos and fly them out of there, but despite the fact that her sensor-thing gives her accurate information, they still think Spock is a better choice.
"How come you didn't tell us?" he asks.
"I hate pity," she replies.
Makes sense. She goes into Kollos' quarters to communicate with him.



"Dude, how come you didn't say anything?" Kirk asks Bones.
"It was none of your fucking business," Bones answers. Respect for Bones, yo. It was none of Kirk's business.
There's a scream from inside Kollos' quarters, but rather than rushing in to see what's going on, the boys just kind of stare at the door until it opens and Jones comes out.
"Spock will do the mind-link and fly the ship," she sighs.
Kirk nods. The lighting on him in this next shot is freaking weird as hell.



Kirk's Log, supplementary: "We put Kollos' box behind a screen on the bridge so Spock can meld with him and navigate us the hell out of here."

Spock does his melding, and steps from behind the screen, grinning.
"This is delightful!" says Kollos. He greets the bridge crew, quotes some poetry, and gets down to the business of navigating the ship.
The Enterprise moves through some more of that wavy colored light, and there's actually organ music added to the regular score. It's not quite "Whiter Shade of Pale," but it might as well be.



Job done, Kollos gets up and begins talking about how awesome it is to experience life through another life form. He then remarks that, while the different senses are cool, being in separate bodies is kind of lonely.
"Hey, you wanna maybe switch back?" Kirk asks him. "Kind of need Spock."
"Cool," says Kollos. He hops behind the screen and pops the box open to do the transfer.
Then Sulu points out that Kollos didn't put the Robocop glasses back on, so Spock's brain is getting fried right about now. Oops.
Dramatic music! Commercial break!

Spock stands up, wild-eyed, and we see the bridge from his point of view, sort of fish lens. He fights everyone on the bridge until Kirk stuns him with a phaser and two Reds carry him to sick bay.


Kirk Hamlets outside of sick bay while Bones tells him not interfere. Jones is in with Spock, doing a mind-meld to draw his mind back out. Despite Bones telling Kirk not to go in there, Kirk decides that it would be best if he yelled at Jones. When he gets in there, he sees that sees working without her sensor net thingy, trying to mind-meld with Spock.
"His mind is pretty far gone," she says.
He starts yelling at her that she's a nasty jealous bitch who only wants Spock to die, and isn't helping him at all because of it. He grabs her and shakes her, tells her that she's ugly on the inside, and nearly brings her to tears. Then he stumbles out into the corridor.
"Um, I may have just fucked up all the shit," he admits to Bones.
"Good job, asshole," snorts Bones.
In sick bay, Jones decides to double down on her efforts, attempting another mind-meld. He partially wakes up, and we get a weird montage of strange POV shots, quickly interspersed with shots of Kollos in his box form and fish-eye lens scenes from Spock beating the crap out of the bridge crew. Even the music is strange. Spock puts his hands on Jones' face to meld with her as well. Spock comes out weak, but okay. Somewhere in there, through Spock, she is able to mind-link with Kollos.





Kirk is in the transporter room to see her off. He brings her a rose, and she is nice to him.
"Not sure you'd talk to me," he says in surprise.
"Those horribly abusive things you said to me gave me the strength to be able to link with Kollos," she says, which I don't buy at all.
Spock is wearing his IDIC pendant on a chain, and they exchange pleasantries about combinations and diversities, but not in any way that you'd think to tie them together with the pendant. (Frankly, I want to know how she was able to see that he was wearing it, either time. Her sensor net thing seems to be able to relay some information, but not all of it. When Kirk handed her the rose, she said "I suppose it has thorns," meaning that she obviously had some limitations. The IDIC pendant should have fallen into the same category, as the sensory net does not seem to function in the same way as Geordi LaForge's VISOR or implants.) Spock tells her that he is glad that she has been able to link with Kollos, and wishes her well.
She gets on the transporter with the box, and she and Spock exchange Vulcan farewells before he puts on the Robocop glasses and beams her off the ship.
Unfortunately, Kirk neglected to leave the transporter room and wasn't wearing any frickin' glasses, so he lost his mind, piloted the ship to an unknown portion of space and dropped dead in engineering after declaring undying love to all of the female crew members. The end.




I'm placing this episode somewhere in the middle. Not terrible, but not the best, either. The story was okay, but I was irked by the random sexism that kept showing up, and by Kirk and Marvick's insistence that Dr Jones needed human companionship. No, quit trying to fit everyone into a neat little box. I'm also annoyed as hell that Kirk yelled nasty stuff at Jones, admitted right afterward that he shouldn't have done that, and then she thanked him for it later. It seemed like the writer was just trying to make Kirk out to be the good guy when he had clearly done something douchey.
Things that worked out: I always give props to Star Trek when they attempt to portray different forms of life that don't involve humanoids. It's a little weird that they contained him in a box. I kept thinking that in order to see Kollos, Jones or Spock would first have chant "Mecca lecca hi, lecca hiney ho" before the box would open. 
The costumes didn't suck. As per the usual, whenever Leonard Nimoy is called upon to portray a character living in Spock's body, I buy it. And the addition of new camera angles and POVs was intriguing.
Which leads to the weird part, which is neither good nor bad: said POVs were mixed with flashing lights, abstract images, swathes of light and color, and different angles. Points to the film crew for trying out new stuff to mix it up. It was fairly effective when trying to convey that someone had lost their mind. But there were times when it seemed like too much. It was a bit like watching the final project of a multi-media artist, just with a more-coherent storyline.
With all of these things, now I'm curious: what the hell does this look like when viewed while "on" something? I mean, Lady Archon doesn't condone drug use, but let's say you had scheduled a time to take some LSD or do some shrooms. How about, instead of watching Fantasia for the millionth time, you watched this instead? With a buddy. Then report back. For posterity.



Death Toll:
Red deaths this episode: 0
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: 45

No crew deaths. Just Marvick. And whoever was being suffocated when he sleeps.

*******


So my sister is on this candida diet. You can get candida a bunch of different ways (my friend got it after developing non-curable Lyme's), but there's really only one way to get rid of it: medicine and this awful diet. Seriously, she can only eat like, quinoa, vegetables and nuts for six months. It's pretty much the worst thing ever. And some people have to be on this diet for the rest of their lives. I think I'd rather take a phaser shot to the knee.
Anyway, she can't drink coffee on this diet. She asked if I wanted some chicory.
"What the hell is chicory?" I asked.
"Like coffee, but not coffee. It's made from a root."
"So it's like tea?"
"Meh, not really."
She gave me a bit in a cup that ironically had a coffee logo splashed across the front, and added some almond milk.
It tastes like coffee, but the almond milk did not cut the bitterness. It gave it a slightly toffee aftertaste, but it was still bitter as all get-out. I added sugar. Like, a lot of sugar. Still bitter. I'm pretty sure that if I carefully painted my tongue with agave syrup that that chicory would still be bitter.
If you like a good bitter drink, you should give it a whirl. If you're like me and like your drinks mostly sweet, you should stay far, far away from chicory.




These are the two reasons why I never get anything done.


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