Star Trek

Star Trek

Monday, March 16, 2015

Season 3, Episode 71 "Whom Gods Destroy"


"Whom Gods Destroy"
Production Order: 71
Air Order: 69
Stardate: 5718.3
Original Air Date: January 3, 1969

Sorry this took a little longer to post. The wifi thinks it's fun to hiccup today. Fuck you, wifi. I got shit to do.

*******

Maybe we weren't supposed to remember this, but those are
Dr Adams' coveralls from "Dagger of the Mind". Or maybe we're
supposed to believe that the hand-dove-sun motif on his chest is
universal for "imprisonment colony."

Kirk's Log 5718.3: "Orbiting Elba II. It's an asylum for the mentally unstable, and the atmosphere is poisonous. The facility is in a dome. We're taking meds to the governor. They're supposed to make mental instability a thing of the past."

Quick, Trek fans - did you notice the two clever things that TOS kind of did right there? They put the asylum in a sealed dome on a planet with a poisonous atmosphere, making it an intergalactic Alcatraz. Then they named it Elba II after the island where Napolean was banished before he escaped and took over freaking Europe. Ooh, foreshadowing.
So Kirk and Spock beam down with the meds (even though it would probably make more sense to send Spock and Bones), and they meet the governor, Dr Cory. Cory turns the forcefield back on, and jokes that they are now trapped, and that they have no reason now to not stay for dinner. Everybody chuckles (okay, Cory and Kirk do), and Spock gives Cory the medicine. They discuss the newest member of the asylum, Garth of Izar. Apparently, Garth was a starship captain, and Kirk admits that Garth's exploits were required reading at the academy, and that he is one one of Kirk's heroes.
Now, maybe too much time has passed, and he's forgotten, but could someone remind Kirk that way back in season one we discovered that each time Kirk declared someone to be a person he admired, that person would inevitably be the villain of the episode. It seriously happened like three times. Maybe they figured that we would forget as well. But if you were paying attention to the Name Game above, and then matching up the Kirk's-hero-as-villain plot, then you know exactly how this shit is going down.

Think you've seen this dude's coat before? You're right. It was worn by
Commissioner Ferris in "The Galileo Seven", only here they've covered the white
lapels in blue glitter and embellished it with weird jewelry. Star Trek probably figured that
no one would notice, but they weren't banking that, forty years later, some underemployed
blogger with a sharp eye and no life would be scouring these episodes on DVD.

Kirk asks to see Garth, and Cory takes them to a room with three cells. He says there are only fifteen crazy people in the whole facility, so I guess there are a few more rooms like this? Each one is sectioned off like a brig cell, with what looks like an open doorway. The doorways are lined with lights, and Cory clicks a little box to turn off "the forcefield." Clever, Star Trek. Lights lining the doorways is probably cheaper than hiring an animation studio to create force field effects. 
They stop at one cell and a girl Cory calls Marta tries to convince Kirk that she isn't crazy. She's Orion, so we don't know how much we can trust her, given that the last one we met ("Journey to Babel") had surgically altered himself to look like an Andorian so he could fuck up some diplomatic relations. Marta tells Kirk that Cory isn't actually Cory. Cory laughs it off. 

It is driving me insane trying to determine in which episode I have seen this dress.


Guess who is in cells two and three? An Andorian and a Tellarite, both of whom we have encountered before in "Journey to Babel," and both of which Star Trek still has the costumes and make-up for. Putting in the overtime this week, Budget. It's not quite at "Menagerie" level, but still: good job.
Now we come to cell four, and guess who is occupying this one? It's Cory, who is actually floating in the corner. Not sure how that effect was achieved, but it looks pretty good.
"The fuck?" demands Kirk.
"You've been tricked," says the Cory in the cell, wearily.
The other Cory starts laughing. The camera zooms in and unfocuses. There's a boi-oi-oing sound, and then we zoom out and refocus, and Other Cory has morphed into Garth.


Garth has a phaser and the force field clicker, which he uses to turn off the other cells. Marta slithers out of her cell and also out of that dress, to reveal that she is wearing a sort of swimsuit with a skirt attached. The Andorian and Tellarite join them, and now the henchmen are assembled.
Dramatic music!


When we return, Spock has been stunned and is being hauled off by the Tellarite and Andorian, and Kirk has been tossed into the cell with Cory. He's now demanding to be addressed as "Lord Garth." Kirk manages to talk him into letting Cory down from whatever magic is keeping him floating. There's clearly something "off" about Marta. Garth is wearing this fur coat thing that she keeps petting. Then she stares up at the ceiling. Then she plays with her skirt. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
There's also something weird about Garth, who seems to go quickly between calm and demanding, and screaming loudly enough that his voice cracks like a fourteen-year-old. He tells Kirk that he intends to take over the Enterprise, and that Kirk will help him do it. Kirk agrees readily, and I can't tell if he's being facetious, or if he realizes that this guy is out of his mind, and that he should play along for now. It's Garth's plan to hunt down his mutinous old crew and kill them. Marta is now fascinated by a pendant that Garth is wearing, like a squirrel examining a nut. Kirk points out that the E's crew will also mutiny against him, and Garth morphs into Kirk. He tells the E captain that he's destroyed the medicine, which he refers to as "poison." Then he leaves laughing, with Marta on his arm.
"Bye, darling, I'll miss you!" she coos at Kirk.


I have to commend whoever cast this actress as Marta. She really pulls off "not quite there." Speaking of casting, guess which part she also won?

Na na na na na na na na na na na, Star Trek!

You know, I was totally joking last week when I suggested that Star Trek was just hiring whoever had guest starred the week before on Batman, but Yvonne Craig makes the fourth Batman series regular to make an appearance on this show (along with Frank Gorshin, Lee Meriwether, and Julie Newmar). I'm starting to form conspiracy theories, like maybe they were offered BOGO contracts: "By agreeing to play a part in this campy superhero show, you also agree to play a part in this other campy outer space show."
Anyway, back to the story: Kirk talks to Cory. Cory says that Garth claims to have the most powerful explosive in the universe. He says that Garth learned cellular generation techniques from the people of Antos. The regeneration was supposed to help heal Garth's wounds, but he figured out how to manipulate it into being able to take on the appearances of others. The first time they realized it was when Garth morphed into Cory and a hapless guard let him out of his cell. I guess they've played this game enough times to get rid of any other guards on Elba II, because they only other person we see in this episode who lives on this planet is Dr Cory.
Garth goes to the transporter room with his two henchmen, and he contacts the E. Scotty answers the phone.
"Beam me up," says Kirk-Garth."
"Cool," says Scotty. "Queen to queen's level three."
"Huh?" I ask the screen.
"Huh?" asks Kirk-Garth.
"Queen to queen's level three," replies Scotty.
"WTH?" asks Kirk-Garth. "What's with the chess problem?"
"Just following your orders," says Scotty. And he repeats his statement from before.
"Oh. Just testing," says Kirk-Garth, and he signs off.


Once the viewscreen is off, Kirk-Garth throws a massive tantrum, kicking over furniture, tossing his henchmen across the room, and literally beating his fists on the floor, all while screaming. He morphs back into Garth, and once he calms down, pulls his fur coat around him like a blankie.
On the E, Scotty is confused. Kirk was supposed to give him the other half of the code, but didn't. Having a code like that was pretty freaking genius, and I'm kind of surprised that Scotty says that Kirk came up with it. It sounds more like a thing that Spock would come up with. Maybe it was a joint endeavor?
"Captain, it might behoove us to take precautions before beaming up again. The last time that we visited a penal colony, a prisoner escaped and stowed away on the Enterprise."
"That's a good idea, Spock. Maybe a code that only we and Mr Scott know?"
"An excellent idea. May I suggest chess moves?"
Not to say that Kirk isn't smart enough on his own to come up with a plan like that, but... the guy is very leap before you look. There aren't a lot of precautions that exist in Kirk's life that didn't originate with (mostly ignored) Starfleet regulations, or ideas that Spock came up with. Just sayin.'

Scotty asks Uhura to hail the asylum again, but no one is answering. Scotty and Sulu briefly discuss how to get into the dome through the force field. The E is powerful enough to blast through them, but not without destroying the dome and killing everyone inside.
Garth returns to the cell room, all jovial and crap, and reminds Kirk that he invited the captain and Spock to dinner earlier. The henchmen bring in Spock at phaser-point, Marta complaining that she isn't allowed to blow off Spock's ears. Kirk tries to refuse when he learns that Dr Cory is not invited, but Cory tells him not to be foolish.

So the Tellarite is dressed appropriately in what we know by now is the
Tellarite uniform. But the Andorian is wearing a bright orange poncho with
a furry boa collar and lime green-electric blue plaid pants. Normally,
it's the females on this show who look like they got dressed in the dark.

At the dinner party of the damned, they sit at tables laden with food while the henchmen do goofy things for applause. Marta flirts with Kirk. Garth yells at her to knock it off. They start a loud argument, and she says that she's awesome because she paints and writes poetry. She gets up to recite some, and ends up reciting Shakespeare. Kirk and Spock mutter plans to escape.
"You dumb bitch!" yells Garth. "You didn't write that!"
"Yes, I did!" she counters. "He wrote it down hundreds of years ago, and I wrote it down again yesterday."
Technically, she's right. He screams at her in a high-pitched voice that he's going to kill her with his bare hands. She scurries away to hide behind some other inmates.
"Actually," he says in a perfectly calm voice, "she's a really great dancer." This dude is all over the place.
So Marta gets up and does a typical Orion slave girl dance, which is acrobatic, and looks like she should be dancing with a snake. Craig is pretty good at it. Garth asks Spock what he feels about Marta's dance.
"Nostalgic," says Spock. "Vulcan children do a similar dance in nursery school, though they're less-coordinated."
I... I can't decide if Spock is trolling Garth, you guys. Spock has a perpetual poker-face, and is pretty much a level 2000 troll.



When the dance is over, Garth "gifts" Marta to Kirk. Marta pouts, as she should. This is the future, people shouldn't be able to gift people to others.
"Um, thanks?" says Kirk. He's obviously going to leave that particular goody bag on the table on his way out of this party.
"We're friends," says Garth. Then he complements Kirk on his military exploits, and they discuss being space explorers.
"Hey, how come you tried to destroy Antos IV?" asks Spock, who does not chit-chat, but gets right to the point.
"They healed me, I offered them the galaxy in return, and when they refused, I condemned them to death," says Garth casually.
"Um, they're pacifists," says Spock. "Why would you think your crew would be down with that?"
"Because my crew had a decadent weakness," Garth says, even though that shit makes no sense. "You have it, too. Only my new crew doesn't have it, and they are these other crazy sonsabitches." He points to the other inmates. He then goes on a tirade about war.
Kirk interrupts him to say that peace has merit as well, and that peace is what has enabled himself and Spock to become brothers. Garth finds this idea to be goofy, and asks Spock if he considers Kirk to be his brother.
"Kirk is being sentimental, but yes," Spock replies. Whoa. That's a pretty huge thing to admit for Spock.


So Garth goes on about fleets, and says that Spock will command his own ship with Garth's army.
"Dude, where's your fleet?" asks Spock.
"Gonna steal it," Garth replies.
"Bro, you're trying to start the same shit that landed you in here. And you can say all you like that you were betrayed, but you tried to annihilate a race of people, and then you were kindly placed here to get better," points out Spock.
Garth shrieks "Remove this animal!" and Spock is hauled away.
He then attempts to get Kirk to give him the reply to "queen to queen's level three," but Kirk plays dumb. Marta tries to weasel it out of him by saying that if he just gives Garth the reply, that she and Kirk can go away and be together. She sort of purrs it in his ear, like Garth isn't listening to everything she's saying, and he plays along, but whispering in her ear that he can't.
Garth has his lackeys bring in the chair from "Dagger of the Mind." Only this time, the chair has colorful Princess Leia buns attached to the headrest. Kirk recognizes it as a therapy tool, but Garth says he "fixed" it so that now it just administers pain. He puts Cory in the chair and demands to know the response to the queen riddle. Kirk clams up and Garth tortures Cory.


Garth forces Kirk into the chair and turns it on. Kirk refuses to give up the ghost. Marta begs Garth to let him go, and promises that she can get Kirk to talk. He agrees.

There's a brief scene on the bridge where Scotty, Sulu and Bones discuss options, but there really aren't any, so it's back to the drawing board.

In a bedroom, Marta brings a sleeping Kirk some kind of drink. She tries to convince him to give her the answer, but they make out instead. Then she tries to stab him. He manages to push her off, and she grabs the knife off the floor, only to have Spock enter and grab her by the wrist. He then pinches her, and she drops like a fly. They head for the control room. Spock stuns the Tellarite guard, then gives Kirk that phaser. Kirk calls Scotty once inside while Spock drops the forcefield. He requests a contingent of armed Reds, and Spock suggests that Kirk go back upstairs and leave himself behind in charge of the security Reds.
"Reds are ready," says Scotty. "Queen to queen's level three."
"Um, Spock will respond," says Kirk, eyeing his "brother."
Spock turns off the forcefield and *booi-oi-oing!* becomes Garth.
"Ha! I gave you a dead phaser!" Garth crows at Kirk.


Kirk tries to talk Garth down, reminding him that he was once a well-respected member of Starfleet, and that people looked up to him. It goes about how you'd expect: Garth is actually going along with it, remembering the ol' days, but then of course it all falls apart when Kirk says that Garth is sick now and needs treatment to get back to the guy he was before. He goes off on a rant about old Earth rulers who got too big for their britches and didn't succeed at world domination (yep, he mentioned Napoleon), and how he was going to do better than all of them. Kirk makes a rush for the forcefield controls, but Garth stuns him.
Dramatic music! Commercial break!

When he comes to, Kirk is being held by the Tellarite and the Andorian  Telly and Andy, and Garth tells him that they are getting ready for the coronation. He asks Kirk if he'd like a larger role in the ceremony and suggests that he might be the human sacrifice.
"No, I wouldn't enjoy that at all," replies Kirk.
You know, most of Kirk's jokes are kind of lame, but every now and again, he reaches a Harry Potter level of sass that makes me snicker.
"Meh, I was gonna use someone else for that, anyway," shrugs Garth. "You should be the heir apparent."
What, like his son? Garth is exhibiting the kind of weird behavior that would leave me less than surprised if he requested that Kirk call him "Daddy."
The set-up is done (a chair on top of a table, and a gold table runner or something on the floor), and Garth enters the room again, flanked by Marta, who is carry a pillow with some kind of silver crown on it. There's some horn fanfare, though it isn't obvious where it's coming from, as no one is blowing a horn.
"None of you bitches is illustrious enough to crown me, so I'm gonna do it myself," Garth announces. Notice again, the Napoleon reference. All they're missing is the funny hat and a white horse. He names Marta as his consort, and he puts a necklace on her. Then he announces Kirk as his heir. Yeah, remember earlier when this asshole said everybody but himself and his new psycho friends had a "decadent weakness"? Please, tell me more about your crown and your fur coat and all of your jewelry.



He has Telly and Andy take Kirk to the transporter room, where Kirk tries to reason with the boys. They just aim phasers at him and say nothing. Garth strolls in a moment later. He shows Kirk a shampoo bottle filled with colored beads and tells him that it's the most powerful explosive in the universe, and that if he dropped the bottle, he could vaporize this planet. Is it now up to Kirk to determine if Garth is bluffing, or actually believes that what he has is an explosive? Nope. Because he planted one of those beads in Marta's necklace, and has had two of his guys drag her outside in the poisoned atmosphere.

Hey, look at that: those ridiculous hazmat suits from "The Tholian Web".
Good job, Budget.

They watch through the window as Garth's dudes leave Marta outside to cough up the crappy air.
"Aww, she's suffocating," says Garth. "Poor thing. I'll help her."
He presses a button on some remote control, and there's an explosion. Bye, Marta.
Upstairs, Sulu registers the explosion as a large one, and Uhura confirms that it didn't wipe out everyone on the surface. Scotty commands that they change orbit and blast through the weak point in the forcefield, which is on the other side of the planet. They try a pair of phaser blasts, but nothing doing: forcefield is still holding strong.


Downstairs, Garth is tossing the bottle around like a toy. "How's it going, Kirk?"
"Meh," Kirk replies. "You use that, we both die. Immaterial."
"You're hard to break," muses Garth. "Maybe I'll have them fetch your friend Spock."
Spock, meanwhile, is studying the forcefield in his cell when Andy and Telly come in. He feigns unconsciousness so that Andy and Telly have to each grab and arm and drag him backward through the force fields. Once they're through, he pinches them at the same time, and they drop to the floor. It's clever, if a bit convenient. Spock grabs a phaser off one of them and heads for the transporter room.
"Gonna convince Spock that he should come around to my way of thinking," says Garth.
There's some kind of beep, and he turns on a viewscreen. They can see Spock cautiously wandering the halls with his phaser. Okay: what kind of alarm did Garth have set up? That the equipment should beep if someone is loose in the hall? Or that it should go off if Telly or Andy lose consciousness? Is it a "transporter room proximity" alarm? I dunno. But it finds Spock right away, supposedly through closed-cicuit television.
Spock finds the transporter room, and the door slides open to reveal... two Kirks. I'm impressed, Star Trek. Seeing this scene over Spock's shoulder is an interesting viewpoint, and there isn't even an obvious seam in the film between the two Kirks. Good job.



Okay, there's a faded pinkish line close to the Kirk on the right. But it's subtle, and the film doesn't jump around, indicating that it was spliced together.
Immediately, one Kirk insists that Spock shoot the other. Ah, logic time.
"Queen to queen's level three," he says, stepping fully into the room.
"Not gonna answer that," says one of the Kirks. "Garth wants the answer."
The other Kirk agrees.
"I'm gonna call for security," says Spock, going to the forcefield panel.
"No!" says a Kirk. "Garth's guys could still overpower us, even with Reds!"
"True," agrees Kirk #2.
Spock tries asking about which manuever was used in a certain situation, to which one Kirk immediately answers, but then other points out that said maneuver is common, and every starship captain knows it.
"Fine," sighs Spock. "It must take energy to maintain the Kirk disguise, so I'm gonna wait you out."
He pulls the chair toward himself, but one of the Kirks knocks him out of it, and an altercation begins. There are a few shots where it's obvious that they've used a look-alike, but they typically just show the back of that dude. I wonder if Kirk is enjoying this, fighting himself. I bet he thinks he's a worthy opponent. This is probably also the closest thing he'll get to being able to experience himself as his own lover. Kirk ships it.


One Kirk lifts the chair over his head with the intention of clobbering the other one with it, and yells for Spock to shoot while Kirk #2 is on the floor.
"You have to shoot both us, to ensure the safety of the E!" yells Kirk #2. Translation: "Don't let Garth get his hands on my titanium pussy!"
Spock shoots the Kirk holding the chair, and that Kirk immediately morphs back into Garth. Fuck, dude. You should have just shot them both to begin with. Then you'd two unconscious guys, but they'd be separate people.
Spock turns off the forcefield and calls the E.
"Queen to queen's level three," says Scotty.
"Queen to king's level four," replies Spock.
Clearly, that was the answer, as our next shot is of Andy getting a dose of meds from Bones and Cory. Bones says the medicine should start repairing the affected areas of the brain immediately. Garth is in the therapy chair. Cory gives it a moment, then turns it off. Garth doesn't recognize Kirk or Spock, and he shakes Kirk's hand when Kirk introduces himself. Apparently, he got meds before the chair treatment, and a now-docile Garth is headed back to his cell for some rest. He doesn't remember a damn thing.

Also, check out our boy in red back there. He's just a lineless extra,
an NPC, but he's taking this role of Security Red very seriously. Bet
he's gonna use this footage to land himself a role as "Buckingham
palace guard" later in the year.


"Hey, Spock," says Kirk. "How could you not know your own boyfriend? How come it took you so long to figure out which one of us was me?"
"It didn't," Spock answers. "I decided to see who won the fight. I was banking on Garth to win."
"Hey!" says Kirk, massaging his bruised ego.
"Don't be like that," says Spock. "They kicked the crap out of you with that chair earlier. There's no way you were going to win that fight."
Again, I'm left wondering if Spock is trolling again.
Kirk makes a joke about King Solomon, which leaves Spock pondering, and the captain calls Scotty for a beam-up.






Death Toll:
Red deaths this episode: 0
Red deaths this season: 6
Gold deaths this episode: 0
Gold deaths this season: 0
Blue deaths this episode: 0
Blue deaths this season: 1
Total crew deaths this season: 7
Total crew deaths thus far: 49

No crew deaths, just Marta. Poor, poor, crazy Marta.

This episode is shockingly similar to: "Dagger of the Mind" from the first season. There are a few distinctions, of course. In DOTM, a mad doctor is experimenting on inmates in a penal colony, a bit like Nazi doctors in WWII Germany. Here, the mad doctor is replaced by a mental patient who has taken over the asylum. Both are similar to "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" in that one slightly-off dude runs amok with institutionalized people, though "Whom Gods Destroy" lacks a Nurse Wratchet character.

*******

So I was planning on continuing with my Doctor Who sample teas from Adagio this week, but I was out of town this weekend, and it's kind of a pain in the ass to pack one's tea strainer and loose-leaf tea. Speaking of strainers, I happened to see this at my local grocery store:


Now, I have an odd fascination with large-scale human tragedies, but... this is a bit much. It's creeptacular, and kind of really not clever. Some shit, for me at least, will always remain on the "too soon" list.


Anyway, my aunt offered me a cuppa this weekend, so I selected the Bigelow green blend. It was pretty good, though not as fragrant as some other greens, and less floral as well. I guess if you're looking for a less-floral green, this is your brand.









Bratty judges those who buy Titanic tea strainers.

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