Star Trek

Star Trek

Monday, August 24, 2015

ST:TAS Season One, Episode Twelve: "The Time Trap"

"The Time Trap"
Air Order: 12
Star Date: 5267.2
Original Air Date: November 24, 1973





Kirk's Log 5267.2: "Flying into an area of space known as the Delta Triangle. That's in no way related to the Bermuda Triangle on Earth, even though a whole bunch of ships have mysteriously disappeared in this area over the centuries. It's totally different. Anyway, because Starfleet hates us, they're sending us, the flagship, into the area to find out what's going on. I bet we totally won't get sucked into a black hole or get captured by some scary invisible aliens are anything."

What do we get as our first look at this Delta Triangle? The fireworks screen, which was overlaid in the initial "are we on drugs?" sequence at the beginning of "The Magicks of Megas-Tu". While that's a good use of Budget, I am not confident in this episode, friends. The E absolutely gets sucked into some parallel universe shit right after it encounters those in that episode.
Right off the bat, red alert comes on, and Spock says that the sensors are working properly. He attributes it to being in the Bermuda Delta Triangle.
So Kirk orders that the forward viewscreen go up, and that Sulu shows him what's outside. What's outside? Klingons. 



Now, I lurve me some Klingons. I think they have this awesome, rich culture, and I find them to be funny and (like the later Cardassian race) unapologetically douchey. But half the time I'm looking forward to another Klingon episode, and I get let down because they come off as two-dimensional a-holes. Maybe it's because I love the background that they were given in the films and later shows, and we just haven't gotten there yet, but I feel like I've seen shades of it in "Errand of Mercy". I find myself hoping for that each time, and being let down again. Fingers crossed.

Anyway, Kirk orders deflector shields up, and weapons ready to go, but also hailing frequencies open, which is at least something. No calls are made though, as the Klingons fire and cause no damage. The E fires and also causes no damage, but then the screen goes black like we went to commercial break, and when the show comes back up, we are on the bridge, and Kirk is asking Spock if the Vulcan saw what he just saw. Because the audience didn't get to see jack shit before the screen went blank, Spock exposits that they fired on the Klingons, the phasers bounced off the other ship's deflector shields, and then the Klingon cruiser disappeared.

That bullseye is the phaser hitting the shields, which is indicated
by the orange glow.

Spock says that even though the sensors aren't working right, he still knows somehow that the disappearing wasn't consistent with the cruiser cloaking. The ship was also not destroyed by the phaser. He surmises that the ship disappeared because they're in the intergalactic Bermuda Triangle.
Sulu scans around, and they see that there are two more Klingon cruisers in their immediate area.
Spock says that's clever because the Federation will assume, after they've been destroyed by the Klingons, that the E itself disappeared while looking for the other missing ships.
Uhura says they're getting a call from one of the other ships.
Kirk comes up with an idea: he wants Sulu to gun it back to the place where that cruiser just disappeared, but he also wants to be chatting with the Klingons while he does it. He also wants Uhura
to record the convo and send it back to Starfleet. She clearly thinks this is a terrible idea, and reminds him that it'll take three weeks for the recording to reach the nearest starbase. He shrugs it off, and she does as he asks. I swear to God she rolls her eyes while punching in the correct sequences to make it happen.


So some Klingon named Kuri appears on the viewscreen, and he's voiced by Georgie, which is a nice change.
"Hey, what'd you do with our sister ship, the Klothos?" he demands.
"Bitch, I didn't touch that ship!" replies Kirk. "We fired weapons at it, and it disappeared. Besides, we're in the Bermuda Space Triangle, which should count for something."
 "That's dumb," says Kuri.
"You're dumb," says Kirk.
 He tells Sulu to gun it for that same spot where the Klothos disappeared.


When the E turns and leaves, the Klingons open fire. Kirk ignores them, even though Scotty wants to stop and fight. They head straight for that spot where the Klothos disappeared, and guess what? Red alert goes off, the instruments go haywire, and the E disappears.


They all get gnarly vertigo, and Sulu keels over, out of his chair. When they reappear, the viewscreen shows they're in some kind of spaceship graveyard, only it's ships from all over, from every kind of species imaginable.
Kirk forms this theory in ridiculously quick time that they're in a parallel universe, and that this is where all of those ships have gone to over the years that had disappeared without a trace. Then he says that all of those missing ships had reported crazy instruments and feeling disoriented right before disappearing.
"I agree," says Spock.
They don't see the Klothos anywhere, but they see quite a few more ships. Spock says that his sensors (are they working correctly again?) say that many are centuries old.


Spock is now saying that the sensors are picking up life signs from a cluster of ships nearby, he's guessing that descendants of the original crew members of these ships have survived in the parallel universe.
Meanwhile, the Klothos has found the Enterprise, and is gearing up to fire weapons. The E sees them, and is doing the same, but then all weapons are rendered useless.
And Kirk is beamed off the bridge.
Spock is disturbed enough to frown.
Dramatic music!


Spock's Log, supplemental: "Eloquently-stated rehash about how Kirk has been kidnapped... again."

Kirk appears in a chamber with a horseshoe-shaped table filled with people of all races, many of which we've seen in other episodes. There's an Orion slave girl, either a Vulcan or a Romulan, another Klingon, another human, an Andorian and a Tellarite, a Phylosian, and a Gorn, among others. The captain of the Klothos is also there before the table.
Some dude introduces Devna, the Orion girl, who is the "interpreter of laws." She welcomes them to Elysia, which has existed for 1000 years, and is comprised of 123 races. This is their council. The Klingon captain bitches when they take his gun, but they tell him that violence is strictly prohibited, so he can suck a duck.


Kirk asks if they're in an alternate universe. Devna seems to think that it's easier described as "a pocket in the garment of time." For the record Devna, that description does not make it easier. The Klingon captain then botches about his frozen ship's weapons, and she tells him that some of their people did that, because, you know, violence and shit. The violence consequences are pretty strict.
"Also, if someone under your command commits a violent act, you guys are responsible for them, and the punishment is that we'll freeze your ship for like, one hundred years," says Devna.
The Klingon, who it turns out is supposed to be Kor, bitches that they'll be dead by the time the punishment is lifted.
"It's cool," says Xerius, the Vulcan who runs the council. "We live for a really long time here. Like, centuries."


"So this place seems pretty awesome," says Kirk. "No wonder none of you wanted to leave."
"Who says we didn't want to leave?" asks Xerius. "We've tried, but we're trapped here, and now you are, too."

Now we get a cut scene back to the bridge of the E. Somehow, kirk has been restored to his captain's chair, and he declares rather arrogantly, just two seconds after it's been said, that he's getting out of there.
It's this. This is why I don't like Kirk. Because when someone tells him that he can't do something, that hundreds of people have been trying to do something for centuries, he jumps up and declares that he'll do it the first time. Then he does it. Now, I'm not saying "give up because everyone else has." And I'm certainly not saying that just because a fresh pair of eyes on a problem never does any good. But there's this cliche where a character walks into an ongoing situation, and the other characters explain that they've tried all of the first character's suggestions, to no avail, but that main character is able to just stride forward, waving away all complications encountered, and solve the problem. What's more cliche and specific to this show, is that Kirk will always be that character that just walks in and does it. Everybody else was just whining about how difficult/impossible it was. He's Kirk, dammit, and he'll get this shit done whether it's possible or not.
Come on, man. Be realistic, at least a little. Could Kirk not try a few times and fail? What's the harm in the E returning to regular space having spent what amounts to a month or so in the parallel universe?
"That time warp fucked up our dilithium crystals," says Scotty. "There was a jump to the left, and a step to the right, and now we only have four days of power before it goes."
Ohhhh, that's right. Silly Lady Archon, how could you have forgotten about Disabling the Ship? Now Kirk must do it right the first time, or they'll actually have to get creative with the script-writing.


So what's Kirk's response? To be a complete fucking dick to Spock, barking at him that he had just better come up with the formula to get them out of there, or by science, he'll smack Spock so hard.

Over on the Klothos, Kor is also being a complete fucking dick to his science officer. Apparently, everyone will shortly be taking a trip (bang, zoom!) to the moon.

But in the council chambers, some seer with cat eyes named Magen is telling the council that the E and the Klothos are both trying to figure out how to get the hell out of Dodge. Devna says that everyone who ends up in Elysia has to try to get out before they accept the fact that they're stuck.


In the briefing room, Kirk has another go at Spock.
"Spock, you dipshit, this plan is terrible. I thought you were like, a genius. But this is all you have?"
Spock takes his shit with grace, but I always hold out hope that, at the end of one of these episodes, he's just going to lose his patience with his old friend and use the Vulcan neck pinch to drop his ass in some corridor. I would really be okay with Kirk waking up hours later in a pool of his own drool and carpet indentations on his cheek.
Anyway, they agree that Kor is probably not going to give up on the problem, and they both glance at the briefing table viewscreen. Seems like the animators can't ever get this right: the Klingon cruiser moves backward across the screen, then across a screen that's set at a 90-degree angle to the first, and it appears to be floating off the viewscreen completely. It's actually footage ripped from the next scene. I know you're trying to save money, Budget, but can you not paint out that angled side screen so it at least doesn't show up there? You're ruining the illusion.



So Kor is acting like he has plenty of fuel, and he tries to get back through. He builds up a head of steam, makes a push to get through, disappears for half a second, then reappears and slides backward in space (the aforementioned viewscreen footage). In fact, it's shown to be similar to trying to make it up a hill in one go, but not quite summitting, and sliding back down to the bottom in the process.
"Sucks to be them," says Kirk.
"I have an idea," says Spock.
They call a meeting of the senior officers, and Kirk says that Spock has come up with a plan, but they have to work together with the Klingons, combining the power from both ships to get them through. The others proclaim that this new plan is complex and risky, but Scotty points out that they only have two days left before the dilithium is gone. Spock puts his calculations up on the viewscreen, but it's Common Core, so you really shouldn't try to figure it out. It's okay, you're not smart enough to read Spock's equations or help your kid with his homework.


In the council chambers, Magen is telling Devna and Xerius that Spock and Kirk plan to hook the Terran and Klingon ships together to try to escape.
"Are you going to do anything?" Devna asks Xerius.
"Why should I?" shrugs Xerius. "It's a free alternate universe. They can do what they want, so long as they're not breaking our laws."
"What if they kill themselves trying?" she challenges him.
"I have no fucks to give if that happens," he replies.


Kirk and Spock have beamed over to the Klothos to talk to Kor and his science officer Kaz about making the ship with two backs. They decide that they'll need to combine the crews and share information to make it work. Kor and Kaz agree to the plan.
"Awesome!" says Spock, who suddenly gets real cozy with the Klingons. "I'm so stoked that we get to work together! Terrans and Klingons are BFFs now!"
"The fuck?" asks Kor.
"It's cool," says Spock. "I'm just so jazzed to be workin' with all y'all!"


Kirk and Spock leave, and the Klingons discuss how Spock is clearly cray-cray.
"And seriously," says Kaz. "WTF is wrong with you, cooperating with your enemy?"
"No worries," says Kor. "We're gonna put a bomb on the Enterprise, and ride her out of here. Then, when we're through the time warp, the E will blow up."
Dramatic music! Commercial break!

Kirk's Log 5267.6: "So it's three hours later, even though Scotty said we first had four days, and now we only have two. Time sure flies when you're not paying attention to the stardates! We've finished making the alterations to the ships, and now we only have one days' worth of dilithium, because a day has passed since I spoke that last sentence. This can all be adequately explained by the laws of Wibbley-Wobbley Timey-Wimey."

Kirk is on the bridge when two Reds approach him with a pair of Klingons.
"We arrived late for our shift in guarding the dilithium," says one Red. "These two douchebags were snooping around the engines."
"We were lost," says one Klingon.
"The hell you say," replies the Red. "You were in a fucking restricted area. There are signs everywhere. Learn to read."
"It's cool," says Spock, getting all broseph on the Klingons again. "I'll help you find your way to your work area, then we'll grab some brewskis after your shift."


Bones enters the bridge.
"Spock has lost his shit," he tells Kirk.
Kirk agrees, and Bones points out that their survival in getting back to their own universe depends on the computations of a crazy guy. Kirk takes this into consideration.

Later, he and Spock are in the briefing room.
"So, you've lost your damn mind," says Kirk unsubtly.
"Naw, I've just been keeping tabs on the Klingons," Spock replies. "They were being too cooperative when agreeing to the plan, so I touched Kor and Kaz to get info via osmosis, or however we're explaining this shit. They plan to sabotage the E. And then those dudes that were sneaking around the dilithium crystals, they don't really know anything, but them being in that spot is suspicious."
Here we go again, friends: we're giving Spock magical alien powers because it's the quickest, easiest way to fix the plot hole of "how does the E crew learn of the sabotage ahead of time?" Touching the Klingons briefly on the shoulder sounds like the crappiest explanation for gaining information ever. Couldn't we have Scotty overhear them plotting in the engine room or something? Your solutions have to make sense, Star Trek. Spock is quickly becoming the Enterprise's walking Sonic Screwdriver, and that's just lazy writing.



On the Klingon ship, Kor and Kaz are talking to a female Klingon named Kali. It's Kali's job to take this tiny pill-shaped bomb over to the E and place it in a specific spot in the engine room. The pill is scheduled to go off three minutes after the ships go back through the time barrier, and after the Klothos has separated from the Enterprise. This plan kind of sucks. There's no room for error. What if the engines don't start? What if they have trouble disengaging the ships from one another? Kor stands to blow himself and his ship up with the E.


In the next scene, we're at a going-away party on the E, and the Elysians have been invited. There's no music or any kind of noise, but Devna strikes a pose, and based on Kirk's response to her a moment later, we're supposed to believe that that pose represents the Orion slave girl dance that she just did. I know you're desperately trying to save money Budget, that's seriously awful. You couldn't spring for music? I bet TOS has plenty of it that you could have reused.


While Kirk is chatting up Devna and hoping to get into that burnt orange bikini before hoping through the time warp, Kaz is starting shit with Bones across the room. Apparently, Bones asked Kali to dance, and Kaz went all, "Bitch, that's my woman!"
"She didn't have to say yes!" Bones points out.
But that shit's too late to fly. Kaz shoves Bones, then pulls a weapon on him. Kirk jumps between them. Xerius yells at them to stop. Motherfuckers broke the law.
Kali has used the cover of the fight to slip away and drop that pill in engineering.



So here's how that shit goes down: Kor, Kaz, Kirk and Bones come up before the council. The Klingons started the fight and pulled the weapon, and now Xerius is saying that the punishment being handed down is to freeze the Klothos for 100 years. Idiots. The Klingons started this fight to cause a distraction so that Kali could put that bomb in engineering. But starting a fight in a pacifist colony with imprisonment sentences for such an offense means that they now won't be able to use the Enterprise to escape. They just fucked themselves over. I don't care what species you belong to, that's shitty logic start to finish.
So now Kirk has to beg for leniency on their behalf. He knows on some level that the Klingons are trying to sabotage the E, but without the Klothos, no one is going home. He tells Xerius that by punishing the Klingons this way, he's punishing the E and its crew as well.
"Seriously?" asks Xerius. "You wanna keep hanging out with these d-bags? Fine, do what you want. Frankly, I'm pretty sure you guys are gonna die doing this, anyway."


So the two connected ships start forward toward the place where they entered the Bermuda Space Triangle. Xerius and Devna are watching through a viewscreen as the ships move off, when Magen tells them in a quavery voice that the Klingons plants a bomb on the E and that the ship will be destroyed. Xerius calls Kirk frantically.
"Bomb, bomb, bomb! In the warp control panel in your computer room! Going to explode when you hit warp 8!"
Spock and Scotty race to the computer room and grab the bomb-pill thing, and Spock basically tosses it out an airlock.
They go through the time warp.


The Klothos disengages from the E and flies the fuck away, because they're pretty sure no one board knows about their damn bomb. The bomb manages to go off, and the Klingons are stoked because they're certain that they just got rid of James T Kirk.


But then Kor is all disappointed when he sees that the Enterprise is still in one piece.
Uhura says she's intercepting a message from Kor to his home base, and that Kor is taking credit for getting them out of Elysia.
Bones is spluttering and pissed off about this, but Kirk shrugs it off, and they fly away.


Loose ends not tied up:
-They were either gone for four days or four hours, but because time moves slowly in Elysia, they were probably only gone a few seconds from their regular universe. Where the hell did those other Klingon cruisers go?
- So Kor tried to blow you up, an act of war, but you're just going to ignore that shit?
- Was the E actually lured into that area by the Klingons? Supposedly, the Federation ordered them there to check it out, but might the Klingons have intercepted and shown up at the same time? That's a sizeable coincidence, and it certainly seems as though the Klingons plotted to send the Klothos into the time warp to blame the Enterprise for it and claim that Kirk started the fight by destroying their cruiser.
- Kirk just walks away. Did Kor do the same?
- What about that area of space? Are they going to put buoys with recorded messages out there or something, warning others away from that spot? Or do they figure that people enter there at their own risk, so no need to bother with the warnings?

This episode was a bit on the boring side, and yes, the Klingon bits were kind of a let-down. They keep coming off as these petty whine-bags. Lame. Give me better Klingons, Star Trek. I feel like I'm not asking much here.


*******

So I've had a crappy week last week, and without realizing what was to come, I purchased a box of Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer tea. Truthfully, I was more curious as to what it tasted like than for any emotional reasons, but I found myself with the box at the end of a week that included a traffic ticket, a run to the vet with an injured animal, and an ER visit, so I figured, why not? When you open the box, a giant boxing glove on a spring flies out and punches you in the nose, leaving behind a sticky note that says "PEPPERMINT!!!!!!" 
It also boasts, in the description, inclusion of lemon and ginger. I wouldn't necessarily pair lemon and peppermint, but these are both popular tea flavors, so I went with it. It also talks about a base from eleuthero, an Asian spice, and it has, among other things, licorice, hops, and catnip. Glad I didn't read the box first. I hate both licorice and hops, and drinking catnip tea strikes me as weird.
Anyway, the blend is okay if you enjoy peppermint-lemon combos, but it really wasn't my deal. It didn't really tame my tension, but I feel like I'm more tired that tightly wound, so I guess that's alright. Truthfully, doesn't sitting with a mug of tea generally tame your tension anyway?
It was mostly the Asian herb base that surprised me: I didn't feel less tense, but it certainly left me craving Indian food.










Uhura and Mushu


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