Warp Speed to Nonsense

Warp Speed to Nonsense

Monday, May 18, 2015

Season 3, Episode 79, "Turnabout Intruder"

"Turnabout Intruder"
Production Order: 79
Air Order: 79
Stardate: 5928.5
Original Air Date: June 3, 1969

Conversation that I keep having:
Me: "I'd like to get a job that involves maybe content writing and proof-reading. I have all those skills already, and I know that I'm pretty good at it, but the places where I've applied all turn me down because I don't have professional experience."
Other Person Who Is Trying To Be Helpful: "You should list your blog!"
Me: "No, that's really not a good idea."
Other Person: "Why not? You've been doing a weekly blog for nearly two years now. You have a small but relatively stable readership. It should count. You should add it to your resume."
Me: "No, it's really unprofessional."
OP: "I don't see why you won't. It proves that you have experience."
Me: "Because it's not good experience? I write that blog anonymously because I don't want it tied to me on a professional level. I can't put it on a resume. It's not appropriate."
OP: "I still don't see why you won't do it!"
Me: (tired of dancing around the main issue) "Maybe because of the frequent F-bombs and insinuations that Kirk has a physical relationship with the Enterprise?"
OP: "........"
OP: "........"
OP: "...yeah, maybe don't list that blog."
Me: "...yeah. I won't."


Kirk's Log 5928.5: "Got a distress call from Camus II, where scientists are exploring a dead civilization. Among the survivors are the doctor, Coleman, and the expedition leader, Dr Janice Lester. Heads up, I banged this chick a while back. May get awkward."

According to the stardate, this episode takes place before the previous episode. Way to pay attention, people.

Our intrepid trio beams down to the surface of Camus II to be greeted by Coleman, who is watching over Lester, who is asleep in the bed. Bones asks Coleman what is wrong with Lester, and Coleman replies that it's some kind radiation poisoning, but he doesn't know what kind. Spock says there are other survivors nearby. They make like they're all going to go check it out, but Lester wakes up and makes this urgent moaning noise like she doesn't want Kirk leaving. She grabs his arm, too. Since she's supposed to be keeping quiet, he elects to stay behind while the others go check out the rest of the expedition.

"I wish you weren't here," says Lester. "I loved you for that year we were together at Starfleet, but you went away. I wanted to be a captain, but girls can't be captains."
"And you were a bitch to me because of it," says Kirk.
Now wait - hold the motherfucking comm badge. What's this "girls can't be captains" bullshit? Is Starfleet some kind of old boys club? Does having a vag mean you lack leadership skills? Does Number One's position as second in command mean that that's as far as she'd be able to proceed? Did she not get the Enterprise when Captain Pike was removed from command? What kind of crap was that? Once again, Star Trek is advocating for women in science, then telling them that they'd only get so far. Mixed messages, Star Trek. Fortunately, Good Guy Gene Rod agreed. He later regretted including that line because he thought it was sexist. Because it is. This was later rectified in the fourth movie, where a female captain is shown. That movie takes places approximately seventeen years after this episode, so even if girls couldn't be captain earlier in Starfleet, they certainly could by 2286.

Anyway, Kirk and Lester seem to have had a tumultuous love affair. She had wanted to be together with him, even though they were kind of crappy together.
Kirk gets up and walks around the room, checking out the ruins and stuff. When he moves close to a wall covered in carvings, Lester sits up and presses a button on a remote. The wall becomes a Lite Brite, and Kirk is stuck to it. Then Lester, who is clearly not sick, gets up and goes to the next section of wall, flipping some switches and standing in place. Then a special effect occurs which tells us that Kirk and Lester are switching bodies.

Wowie-zowie! What sorts of Freaky Friday hijinks will we get up to this week?

Kirk-Lester wakes up against the wall, and switches off the machine. For whatever reason, Lester-Kirk is out cold. "He" picks "her" up, and carries "her" to the bed, where he drops her and begins monologing about how now she's in charge, and how weak Kirk is, yada, yada. This body/gender swapping thing is going to be a bitch to write about. Okay, if I say "Kirk" I mean Kirk's body with Janice Lester's soul or whatever, and when I say "Lester" that means Lester's body, which is now housing Kirk.
So Kirk is pretty pleased with herself, because she figured out a way to get around the "girls can't be captain" bullshit, even though the better and more effective way to do that would be to take charge of a ship while the captain was out of commission, and actually prove that women are capable of leadership skills just as well as any male. But naw, it's easier to use the technology of a long-dead civilization to swap bodies with an ex-lover.                                     

She decides that she's going to kill Lester, who for some reason, has woken up, and can only whimper. She pulls the scarf from around his neck, twists it into a garrote, and starts going off about how Kirk now knows what it feels like to live with "the indignity of being a woman." Whut? Also, "it's better to be dead than live alone as a woman." Yeaaah, as an introverted female, I'd like to say that this bitch only speaks for herself. I am totes okay living alone as a female, thanks. Would my life be easier as a male? Maybe. But the plumbing strikes me as weird, and I suspect that guys have their own set of problems as well. Nobody's grass is greener. It's all just grass.
So Kirk tries to kill Lester-Kirk with the scarf, but she hears the others coming, so she's all, "Hey, guys. What's up? I wasn't doing anything suspicious."
Bones says that he and Dr Coleman differ on what they think injured the others, but they're kind of goners at this point. However, they have to be specific in how Lester is treated, or she'll be as good as gone, too.
Coleman goes to Lester, who is slipping in and out of consciousness, and I don't get how this is supposed to be feasible. I get that Lester in Lester's body was just faking, and that's how she went from mostly-unconscious to dashing across the room to steal Kirk's body, but here we have Kirk in Lester's body, a body that was never weakened by illness. Lester should be able to sit up and be all, "That bitch stole my body!"
But Lady Archon, maybe Lester's body was weakened by the switch! Yeah, maybe. But then, wouldn't Kirk's body be weakened as well? They shrugged off the science/medical stuff to satisfy the story. As someone pointed out me yesterday, this is an acceptable thing for science fiction. But it has to make sense in some way other than "it works for the story that Lester can't tell the others what happened."A hypospray filled with sedative would have worked nicely here. Take the two seconds to reconcile the science with the story, please.

So Coleman and Bones go to Lester, and determines that s/he is near death. Bones recommends that they beam him to sick bay. Coleman doesn't seem to like this idea, but Kirk suggests that Lester hasn't gotten better because she is concerned for her staff. Kirk calls Scotty for a beam-up, and uses oddly formal titles ("Captain Kirk" rather than just Kirk, and "Mr Scott" rather than Scotty). She gives Coleman pointed looks. Coleman stops protesting.
They beam up, and some medical workers take Lester to sick bay on a gurney. Bones stays behind at Kirk's request, and Kirk says that she used to bang Lester, but then left when it got serious.
"I was a total dick to her," she says, laying it on. "I was young, but that's not a good excuse."
Bones promises to work with Coleman to find a cure.

In sick bay, Kirk enters to see Coleman standing over Lester. Lester is unconscious, but moaning like Meg Ryan in the diner scene from When Harry Met Sally.

"We can't let her become lucid enough to tell anyone what happened," says Kirk.
"It's cool," says Coleman. "Nobody will believe this shit, anyway."
They start an argument. Lester killed her staff by sending them into a place where there was high radiation and crappy shielding, and Coleman had purposefully left Lester and Kirk alone long enough for Lester to switch bodies and then kill Kirk. He accuses Lester of not doing the job because she loves Kirk. Kirk loses her shit and yells at Coleman that that's stupid, that Kirk was too strong to kill, and anyway, who cares, because she's Kirk now. Coleman says he won't murder Kirk for Lester. Kirk yells back that Coleman is responsible for the deaths of Lester's staff because he knew about the radiation and didn't treat them.
Are you following this shit? Lester wanted Kirk's life, so she and Coleman put her crew in danger, then she pretended to be sick as well, and they issued a distress call to the Enterprise. Then Lester switched bodies with Kirk and tried to kill Kirk, who inhabits Lester's body. So Kirk is trying to kill Lester. Got it?
Bones and Christine come in. They changed Christine's hair again, like to a light brown, with maybe a reddish tinge? I dunno how I feel about that. For me, Majel Barrett will always look best with dark brown hair. 

So Bones says it's weird that Lester is delirious, because she shows zero signs of radiation poisoning. Coleman argues that Lester has been under his care for two years, and he knows best how to treat her. Kirk appears to consider both arguments before turning complete treatment over to Coleman. Coleman orders Christine to give Lester a sedative, because Lester is waking up. There's an interesting shot from Lester's point of view, where Kirk comes into focus. There's then a quick series of flashbacks showing Kirk and Lester switching bodies before Christine reluctantly knocks Lester out. Bones storms out of the room.
"...can't believe I'm losing control of the Enterprise," murmurs Lester as the sedative kicks in. What a ridiculously obvious thing to say. It would have been less obvious and more realistic for her to mutter something along the lines of "...Lester, switched bodies, I'm Kirk..." Either way, Christine looks at Kirk weird.

Kirk's voice-over thingy: "Fuckin' sweet! I'm captain now! I plotted for years and studied the schematics and goings on of the Enterprise for years, so no one will be the wiser. I'm so awesome."

Kirk goes to the bridge and sits in the captain's chair. Then she tells Chekov to set course for the Benecia colony.
"Um, that's the opposite direction of the way we need to go," says Spock. "We have a rendezvous to make."
"Dr Lester needs medical care, so we're going to Benecia, because we can get there in two days," says Kirk.
"Okay, but Starbase 2 has better medical facilities. with specialists, and they're on the way to our appointment," says Spock. "The Benecia colony has witchdoctors and Band-Aids."
"No, it's three days to Starbase 2," argues Kirk. "Coleman says she'll die before we reach there."

"If we go faster, we can get to Starbase 2 before her time is up," replies Spock.
Bahahaha, you may have read schematics, but you didn't wager on having to argue with Vulcan logic, you bipolar bitch.
The red-headed communications officer asks if Kirk wants her to inform Starfleet of the change in course, and she blows up at this new girl. Spock points out that it's policy to let Starfleet know if they're changing course, or will be late for a rendezvous.
"Then you should have done it!" Kirk yells at Spock. "Do your fucking job, Spock!"
"That's your fucking job," Spock points out calmly.
"Fine!" barks Kirk. "Tell Starfleet!" she yells at the comms officer, before storming off the bridge.

Hey, friends. Who recognizes this comms officer? Yep, that's the same girl who played Angela Martine from "Balance of Terror" and "Shore Leave", both in season one. There, she was a brunette in a command gold tunic who is widowed on her wedding day, and is chased by a tiger made of plant material. Now she's a red-headed comms officer who's just trying to do her job.

Bones goes to see Kirk in her quarters. Kirk is filing her nails. Now, I know that's supposed to indicate that Kirk is actually being piloted by a female, but let's face it: it's not all that weird. Kirk is kind of metro. I really wouldn't be surprised if Kirk did that when he was not female.
So Bones is pissed off about being usurped by Coleman, so he did some digging and found out that Coleman is a fucking quack. Like, Starfleet removed him from his ship because he's incompetent. (Okay, then how'd he get the job with Lester? Was it strictly civilian?)
"Whatever," shrugs Kirk.
"Fine," says Bones. "I'm ordering you to take a battery of medical tests."
"Why?" demands an angry Kirk.
"Because you're acting weird," Bones replies. Kirk implies that Bones is doing this to punish her for giving Lester over to Coleman, but Bones reminds him that he can have Kirk relieved of duty.
Sulu calls Kirk to say that Starfleet wants to know why they're delaying their rendezvous, and Kirk stomps off to the bridge.

In sick bay, Lester wakes up and tries to figure out why he is in sick bay. It dawns on him what has happened, and he shouts for Bones. Coleman comes in instead, and when Christine enters a few moments later to find Lester ranting about being Kirk, Coleman tells Christine that Lester suffers from the delusion that she is Kirk. He says it started six months earlier, was exacerbated by the radiation, and she know requires sedation. Christine leaves to prepare a hypospray. Lester sees himself in the mirror and has flashbacks about being on the surface of Camus II and swapping bodies with Kirk.
Dramatic music! Commercial break!

We return to sick bay a few minutes later. Lester has been put back into bed, and a thick strap has been fastened over his thighs. Honestly, that still seems pretty easy to get out of, but I guess we're supposed to believe it's keeping Lester in bed.

Lester's Log, stardate unknown: "I'm in a weird body. FTS."

Christine comes in with a drinkable sedative. Why that's needed when they have them in hyposprays, I don't know. I mean, for the story, yes. But most people watching this show will recall a few minutes earlier that they administered sedatives through a spray, so...
Lester asks to see Bones, but Christine says that that isn't possible. So Lester asks to see "that nice Mr Spock." Why that doesn't send up a red flag with Christine, I don't know, but she smiles and says "maybe." Lester convinces Christine that he will drink the rest of the sedative, and the nurse leaves. Lester then empties the sedative on the floor (subtle), breaks the glass (again, subtle), and uses it to saw through the seat belt keeping him in bed. No need to mention that there's a buckle on the freaking belt.

Meanwhile, in the next frickin' room, Spock and Bones are talking about how Kirk is acting weird, and Bones needs to figure out what's wrong with him. Spock says he thinks that whatever changed Kirk happened when the captain was briefly alone with Dr Lester, so he'll ask her. Kirk reports in for her physical, all smiles.
Lester comes running down the hall with that broken glass in hand. Good lord, how big is sick bay? Shouldn't he be just in the next room? He busts through the door and yells, "Spock! Bones! You've got to help me!"
Kirk advances on him, knocking the glass from his hand, and chopping at the back of his neck. Lester crumples in the hall. Bones catches Lester and gives Kirk a dirty look while a pair of Reds come running.

Kirk orders that Lester be locked in his quarters, and be allowed to see no one. Then she gleefully marches into the sick bay, while Bones glares at her and the Reds carry Lester off down the corridor. Sooo... that neck-chopping thing... is that a Starfleet-standard move, taught to all officers? Or is that Kirk-specific, as in "Lester should not know how to do that move"?

Spock shows up at Lester's quarters and requests to be let in.
"No can do," says one of the Reds. "Captain said no one can see her."
"Does that sort of command usually apply to senior officers?" logics Spock.
"No, I guess not," replies the Red cheerfully. He accompanies Spock inside.

Back in sick bay, shirtless Kirk is doing that exercise where you lay on the table on your back and pretend like you're running, while pressing these blocks into the wall with your feet.
"Fine, you're healthy," grumps Bones, who was probably hoping that his job would be made easier when an alien burst through Kirk's chest.
Kirk goes to get dressed again, but Bones puts a stop to it: "Don't get dressed yet. I need to run an optical test that will tell me about your emotional health."
Sorry... you need Kirk to be half-naked to test his eyesight?

Back in Lester's quarters, Spock has been brought up to speed, and is repeating the story back to make sure he got the facts right: Lester switched bodies with Kirk, and is now masquerading as him.
"Body-switching isn't possible," says Spock.
"It is," says Lester. "The people who died out on Camus II a long time ago could do it. Lester was able to figure it out, and made it happen between us." 
Spock says it still sounds like crap, so Lester tries to convince him by talking about some of their past adventures. The Vulcan then points out that paperwork was filed with Starfleet about those adventures, and that Lester might have learned of them that way.
"Fine," says Lester. "Let's mind-meld."
So far, that Red has just been standing by the door observing this whole weird convo without comment.

Okay, so I guess that Lester was in quarters before instead of sick bay.
So that means that there are quarters somewhere on the ship that
contain medical beds with straps, and medical read-out screens, and
also look exactly like the sick bay.

"Okay, you're Kirk," says Spock. "But no one is going to believe us. We should talk to Bones."
The Red stops Lester from leaving.
Down in sick bay, Bones declares grudgingly that Kirk is fine.
Spock pinches the Red, who calls out to the Red in the corridor. The Red in the corridor calls Kirk in sick bay to report an escape attempt, and Kirk calls security to Lester's room. Spock and Lester exit the room and Spock pinches that second Red just as Bones, Kirk, and two more Reds come running.
"There's no need to be a dick," Spock tells Kirk. "We're not gonna fight you."
Kirk walks to the nearest comm panel and turns on the PA.
"Hey, all. I'm arresting Spock for mutiny. We're gonna have a hearing to see if we can court-martial his ass."
Dramatic music! Commercial break!

Kirk's Log 5930.3: "Haha, fooled McCoy's dumb tests. Totes the captain now."

At the court-martial hearing, Scotty is examining Spock.
"So you mind-melded with Dr Lester, and determined that she's actually Captain Kirk?" asks Scotty, who is pretty sure that Spock is high or something. "Where's the evidence?"
"The evidence is Dr Lester," says Spock. "But that dumb bitch in the gold tunic locked her up."
"She's crazy," laughs Kirk. "She's locked up for everyone's safety."
"She's nuts according to you," says Spock. "Bring her here and have your officers talk to her."
"Pssht, fine," says Kirk. "Then everyone will know she's crazy."
So Kirk sends a Red to get Lester, and examines Bones in the meantime. Bones grudgingly admits that all of his tests turned up nothing.
The Red returns with Lester and Coleman, but Kirk boots Coleman. Lester takes the stand. Pretty sure Lester's eyes are burning a hole straight through the back of Kirk's head.

Through semantics on both sides, it comes to light that whatever essence makes Kirk "Kirk," is currently trapped within the body of Janice Lester. All of the audience members, including the security Reds, exchange smirks. Kirk is also snickering. Lester explains that he was forced into something on Camus II, and that's when the switch took place. 
"Why would Dr Lester want to switch?" Kirk asks, laughing.
"Because Janice Lester is a giant bitch who wants power, and hates being a woman. Living with her was fucking impossible," snarls Lester. "Also, she wants to kill Kirk."
Kirk gets kind of manic then, and accuses Spock of trying to remove her from power so that he can run the ship in Kirk's absence.
"You should drop this crap," says Kirk. "I'll get rid of these charges. And Dr Lester will be cared for for the rest of her life, because I was a dick to her forever ago, and I owe her that much."
"Bitch, you're not Kirk," says Spock. "I'm gonna figure out a way to prove it."
"Mutiny!" shrieks Kirk.

It's a rainbow of bullshit: Kirk is spewing it, but neither Scotty nor
Bones is buying.

She starts screaming about mutiny, and how Spock is going down. Then Kirk calls a recess for an hour and declares that a vote will be taken when they come back.
A bit later, Scotty joins Bones in the corridor.
"Man, I seen the captain do some crazy shit," says Scotty, "but that was some seriously, seriously crazy shit."
"I know," says Bones. "But we can't prove anything, and Starfleet is only gonna be interested in things we can prove. A mind-meld isn't proof, even if I do believe Spock."
"If we both vote with Spock, what will the captain do?" asks Scotty.
"Flip his shit," replies Bones with some hesitation.
"And then we have to mutiny," says Scotty.
"I guess we do," Bones admits.

They go back in to vote, and Kirk orders that girl-who-was-Angela-Martine to play a tape. Apparently, Kirk engaged in some illegal bullshit wire-tapping or something in the corridor, and we hear Scotty and Bones' conversation again.
"You guys are conspiring with mutineers!" yells Kirk. "The penalty is death for both of you!"
"Fuck that!" yells Chekov. He and Sulu spring to their feet.
"That's illegal! We don't use the death penalty for anything but General Order Four!" says Sulu. (Remember General Order Four? Spock violated it in "The Menagerie".)
Kirk barks at them to get back to their posts, then has Scotty and Bones taken into custody until he can have them executed. Along for the ride: Spock and Lester.

Back on the bridge, Sulu and Chekov are discussing how the captain has lost his shit, because now he's talking execution.
"This crap is not happening," says Sulu firmly.
Chekov agrees, as does she-who-was-Angela.
Kirk enters the bridge and starts barking orders about how he wants a representative from each group of workers on the Enterprise on the hangar deck to witness the executions. And he still wants to go to Benecia colony, so he can get rid of Lester, and bury the bodies of Scotty and Bones. In an act of civil disobedience, Sulu and Chekov let their hands slid down the panels and into their laps. The helm is now a lunch counter, and these boys move for no one.

Kirk throws a fucking tantrum like a giant child. In the middle of screaming about how everyone on the ship will be charged with mutiny, she suddenly has some kind of seizure. It's interspersed with shots of the brig, where Spock is manipulating the neck and head of Dr Lester. The transference is briefly broken, and Lester said he was on the bridge for a moment.
"Cool," says Bones. "Looks like we can get rid of this."

Kirk rushes off the bridge and runs down to the medical lab, where she encounters Coleman.
"The transference is weak," she complains. "How do I make it permanent?"
"You have to kill Kirk," Coleman answers.
"I can't," whines Kirk. She talks Coleman into doing the dirty work by saying they could both be exposed as murderers.
Coleman agrees and loads a double-lethal portion of some kind of something in a hypospray, while handing Kirk a phaser.

They go up to the brig ana announce that they're moving everyone into separate spaces to prevent more mutiny-type activities from taking place. Lester is let out first, and he immediately struggles with Coleman.
"Kill him!" shrieks Kirk, who is standing behind Lester and could easily take care of that job.
Instead, Kirk is thrown against the wall, and rolls across the surface of it, making funny faces. Janice Lester's transference ghost thing floats out in front of Kirk's face, and we go through that series of flashbacks again.
Suddenly, Lester is crying and screaming, "I've lost to the captain! I've lost to James Kirk! I want you dead! I'll never be the captain!" She wrestles with Kirk for a moment, then falls sobbing into the arms of Coleman, who declares his love for her.
Bones is fairly certain that he's getting too old for this shit.

Coleman says he'd like to take care of her, and he and bones walk Lester back to sick bay.
"I didn't want to hurt her," Kirk says to Scotty and Spock. "Her life could have been as rich as any woman's... if only..."
If only what? What the fuck does that mean? If only she wasn't raging against a sexist organization? If only she wasn't ambitious? If only she hadn't lost her marbles? If only she had dated your lame ass?
Kirk, Scotty and Spock get on the lift, and so ends Star Trek.

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

This episode is shockingly similar to "The Enemy Within" and a bit like "Mirror, Mirror", where we get evil or slightly-off versions of Kirk.

This is the way the series ends
This is the way the series ends
This is the way the series ends
Not with a bang but... not necessarily with a whimper, either.
As a series finale, this episode doesn't work. As a season finale, it doesn't work, either. It just doesn't have enough oomph. BUT -- it works okay as a mediocre middle-of-the-season episode. There are three kinds of Star Trek episodes (awesome, okay, and crap), and while most of them fall into the category of okay, the season/series finale really should have fallen into the awesome slot. While they might not have known ahead of time that it would be the series finale, they did know that it would the season finale, and I feel like other episodes were much stronger and should have been made as the finale. And maybe our friends at Star Trek had too many irons in the fire to plan very far out, but it seems to me that the best plan of action would be to take all of the approved episodes and put them order in terms of strength. Bookend your season with stronger episodes so that people will want to stay and watch, and then remember how good it was. I know that these episodes were often filmed and shown in different orders, and I'm pretty sure that was the fault of post-production, but these last three episodes were filmed and shown in the same order, which means that this episode was maybe selected as the final episode. It's okay as science-fiction goes, and has elements of classic Star Trek, but isn't strong enough to be the finale.

Edit: Turns out this episode wasn't actually intended to be the last. Reader Robyn sussed out what my IMDB hunts did not: production of the last episodes ground to a halt as the budget was first severely limited, then cut completely. This makes sense, as we only got 24 episodes this season, rather than the standard 26.


So Lipton has come out with these canned teas that are "sparkling," and when I saw that a pizza joint was selling all of the flavors out of the cooler for cheap last week, I grabbed one of each. I started with the raspberry. Here's the basic low-down on this tea: it tastes just like their raspberry tea. Really. I mean, all they've done is carbonate their raspberry tea. So if you like their raspberry tea, you'll like this. I guess the carbonation makes it a bit lighter, but if you opened it and let it go flat, it wouldn't taste any different.

Why do these cats think that using my wrist as a pillow makes it easier for me to type? 

1 comment:

  1. I thought the actress did a good job. I didn't like Janice Lester, but her actress was pretty good, both as Kirk and Janice. Shatner's Janice-as-Kirk was a bit over the top in that Shatnerian way (why is Shatnerian a word my spellcheck doesn't try to correct? Is it already in the common vernacular?!) and sometimes I felt like I was watching a crazy Kirk instead of Janice in his body. Which could've been because Janice really did her homework, rather than because of Shatner. But the performance felt like "Kirk to the max" at times and that's okay, because it was hilarious.