Star Trek

Star Trek

Monday, October 26, 2015

ST:TAS Season Two, Episode Four "Albatross"

"Albatross"
Air Order: 20
Star Date: 5275.6
Original Air Date: September 28, 1974





Kirk's Log 5275.6: "We're down on Dramia, delivering medical supplies."

McSpirk, as I guess the OT3 is properly called, is down on the surface. So there's some exchange of diplomatic pleasantries, and "we hope to improve relations with you" and crap, and our intrepid trio is about to leave, when the Dramians pull out a plot twist: they have a warrant for Bones' arrest.
"The hell you say?" asks a confused Kirk.
Spock reads the warrant, and replies that Bones inoculated a Dramian planet, Dramia II, nineteen years earlier, and after he left, a plague wiped out the population. They blame Bones. The Supreme Prefect (whose name sounds like specialty taco at a fast food joint) says that everything has been cleared through the Federation, and they're all good to go to take Bones into custody.


Kirk calls Scotty to check in and let him know what's going down. Scotty offers to beam down with some Reds and fuck up the Dramian's shit, but Kirk declines, as the Dramians have a legit legal complaint. He and Spock will check it out.
They're allowed in to Bones' containment field cell-thingy to talk to him. I thought it was just a dark spot over the bench, but they can turn the dark thing on and off, indicating that it's a force field of some kind. The entire space is pretty much just that bench and nothing else.
Anyway, Kirk is outraged over the arrest, but Bones seems resigned to his fate. Without more info, he can't be certain if he caused the plague or not. Spock suggests that Bones leaving after inoculation, and the start of the plague, is simply a coincidence, but Bones is not convinced. Kirk decides that he's going to some sleuthing before the trial, and he and Spock leave. The guard, who clearly believes in guilty-until-proven-innocent, dickishly tells Bones that he will be convicted before his friends finish their investigation.


On the E, Spock digs around in the computer for info about the plague. It takes a moment because good records are not available from almost twenty years earlier. Mostly, the Dramian records concern space stuff - anomalies, auroras, that kind of thing. He finally finds the plague stuff. Apparently, the victims' skin changes color, followed by debilitation, then death. But guess who is immune? That's right - magical Vulcans!

Downstairs, Bones' guard reports to the commander, Demos, that Kirk is planning to go to Dramia II to check things out. Demos decides to follow them.

Kirk's Log 5275.8: "Going to Dramia II. We're outside of communications range with Starfleet, so I'm acting under my own authority. Pfft, as though I'd ask first. It's better to beg forgiveness than ask permission."

Uhura notices Demos' ship in their vicinity, and asks Kirk if he wants her to open a channel. He says yes, then thinks better of it, deciding to just ignore Demos and pretend that the Dramain isn't even there. He's pretty sure that Demos thinks he's being super-sneaky, and that Demos won't attack him because of that.
"We accidentally left the hangar doors open," he muses.
"No, we didn't," Uhura replies.

I love this shot. It's an unusual angle, but Uhura looks graceful
and well-drawn.

Kirk has Sulu open the hangar door. It's obvious that he wants to trick the commander into thinking that he's some kind of Dramian ninja, and that he'll be able to catch Demos doing something he shouldn't, but it's clumsily handled here. Firstly, Demos watches from his own cockpit as the hangar doors open. If it was to be believed that Kirk "carelessly" left those open, they would not have opened right in front of him. Secondly, Demos is not at all suspicious of the hangar doors opening just as he approaches the E. If you were trying to sneak in somewhere, wouldn't you be suspicious if the people inside - people you yourself were already suspicious of - opened the door while you were standing there? And he flies his ship in without waiting for something to come out. If the E had opened the doors to let something out, or to take something in, would not Demos have had to wait for that thing to enter and exit? You don't have to be a Mon Calamari to know when it's a trap. Yet Demos flies his scout ship into the back of the strange vessel anyway.
Obvious Trap is Obvious.


Which becomes far more obvious when Demos steps into the ship proper and is met by Kirk and Spock. They have a sarcastic argument about Demos being on board and Kirk conducting investigations in space that does not belong to him. Demos threatens to go to Starfleet and report Kirk.



"Oh, man," laments Kirk. "How can you do that, with your ship impounded?"
"Bitch, you're a stowaway," Spock points out.
"I've been tricked!" shouts Demos.
What're you, new? Damn, Demos.
And Kirk smiles at him like a giant jackass.


See, if I were Demos, then I'd be pissed off firstly that I had been taken in in such a stupid, obvious way, and then again because Kirk smiled at me like that.
Um, dramatic music and commercial break for some reason?

Kirk's Log 5275.9: "Going to Dramia II. Everything fine so far. Encountered an aurora, but Sulu says it's cool to fly through, so that's awesome."


Kirk, Spock, and Demos beam down to the surface of Dramia II. I guess Kirk has decided that they can all go and gather information together, even though they impounded Demos' ship, and he's technically a stowaway on theirs.
Dramia II is a planet-wide ghost town.
"Not the most enchanting place I've been to," says Kirk, which is kind of dickish.
Demos' response is a bit jarring. "Plagues seldom leave fields of flowers, Captain."
Damn. Kind of heavy for Saturday morning, Demos. I mean, I get it, but still.


There's a rustling nearby, and a Scooby-Doo-type shadow of a Dramian, and Demos tells Kirk and Spock that "they don't like outsiders." Spock points out that Demos is Dramian and not an outsider, but Demos replies that the difference is between the living and the "walking dead."
Sorry, what?
Kirk decides to chase the shadowy figure, which darts into a cave. Both Spock and Demos advise against him following the other Dramian through the narrow opening.
"Whatever,"says Kirk. "I have to save Bones."
Don't lie, Kirk. You're just using Bones as an excuse to do what you wanted to do, which is chase some shadowy figure into a dangerous situation.
The other Dramian jumps on Kirk from above, and they wrestle for a minute before Demos and Spock separate them.



"How did that dude survive the plague?" asks Kirk. "I thought you said it wiped out the population."
"It did," says Demos. "Some people were away at the time and came back to find their friends and family dead. They decided to stay here and live with their grief."

Fuuuuuuuuck.
Are you kidding me, Star Trek? First Bones is arrested because he inoculated some people nearly twenty years ago, then it caused a plague that killed everyone, and finally we find out a select few relatives of the dead people are essentially living in this wasteland and isolation, because they can't get over their grief. Shit, dude. This is pretty freaking heavy. Not Edith Keeler- heavy, but this is the kind of downer feeling that Gene Rod was probably hoping we would get with stuff like "The Omega Glory" and "The Paradise Syndrome".

Yet another shadowy figure appears, and tells them that there was one survivor, and that it's him. He says he's Kol-tai, and I dare you tell me that he doesn't look like a Scooby-Doo villain before de-masking.

Seriously, You can absolutely see this guy getting accidentally
tied up in a net or something, and the Mystery gang surrounds him.
The mask comes off, and the gang gasps and says in amazement,
"Old Man So-and-So?!" and he monologues about his crappy plan
that didn't work out, and he would have gotten away with it, too,
if it wasn't for those shitty kids and their stoner dog.

He says he recalls everyone getting the plague, then turning blue, then green, then red, before dying. Spock confirms that this is what the computer files said as well.
"Do you remember Dr McCoy?" Kirk asks Kol-tai.
"Totes," says Kol-tai. "That dude saved my life. He treated me for Saurian virus."
Demos tries to make some derogatory remark about Bones, but Kol-ai reacts with a burn about how guys who save lives don't cause death as well. That's not totally true, but close enough. Suck it, Demos.

Kol-tai beams up with Kirk, Spock, and Demos.


They head back to Dramia, flying through that aurora again. Kirk has already established with Spock and Christine that Kol-tai is in good health. But then a few minutes later Spock calls Kirk back to say that Kol-tai is turning blue, and obviously has the plague. Kirk orders a quarantine for Kol-tai, stating emphatically that they have to save Kol-tai not only for his own sake, but so that he can testify at Bones' trial. But then Spock and Demos point out that Kirk has the plague as well.


Suddenly, everyone on board is blue, with the exception of the Magical Vulcan. Kirk tells Spock to take command, then collapses.
Dramatic music! Commercial break!

Spock's Log 5276.4: "So everybody has that dumb plague but me. I've put General Order 6 in place, which means that if everyone on board dies within 24 hours, the ship will self-destruct to keep people on the outside from getting the disease."

Sulu is sent to sick bay. Uhura collapses at her station. Kirk stumbles onto the bridge and tells Kirk that they need to get to Bones so he can make an antidote. Spock calls the Taco Supreme of Dramia.


"Hey, so, everybody on board the E has the plague, including Demos, and a dude who is a witness for Dr McCoy," explains Spock. "We need you to release him temporarily so he can find a cure, fix Demos and the witness, and then move forward with the trial."
"Yeah, screw you guys," says the Taco Supreme. "You're super lying about having a witness, and we're totally not letting him go."
He signs off.
Kirk turns green.
"Well, shit," says Spock. "Guess I'm just gonna go spring him myself."
Spock beams down and just walks into the detention center like he owns the place, pinching the douchey guard and turning off the force field.
"The hell?" asks Bones.


They bicker for a few moments about the illegalities of jailbreaks, and Bones calls Spock and Kirk crazy.
"Bitch, shut up so I can tell you that everyone on board the E is dying of the plague and only you can help," butts in Spock. "Also, if you come back with me, you will possibly also catch the plague."
Bones agrees to leave with him.

Green Kirk beams them onboard, and they both go straight to work. Spock reports to Bones over the comm that he can't find anything in the computer about an illness where people change color.
Hey, kids! Have you figured out the mystery of the color-change plague yet? Did you, like me, figure it out before they got to Dramia? Yeah.
So Kirk was all, "Hey Bones, we flew through that aurora twice. Maybe we're changing color because of that, even though it makes no fucking sense?"
"Oh, yeah!" says Bones. And he asks Spock to run those symptoms through the computer again, sans color-change.


"Hot dog, we have a wiener," replies Spock. "The auroras caused the color-change, and had nothing to do with the illness. There's no antidote for the plague, but do you remember that guy Kol-tai? He should actually be in the bed next to Kirk. have a reunion with that guy, because you cured him of Saurian virus, and it gave him an immunity to the plague."
"Oh, yeah! There was an aurora nineteen years ago, too! And I have tons of Saurian virus hypos on hand!" Of course he does.
Everybody gets a shot of Saurian virus antibodies.



Kirk turns a normal color.
People get out of beds, and Kol-tai exclaims that Bones did it again.
Demos thanks Bones in the nastiest, most sarcastic tone ever. Ungrateful jackass.


Kirk's Log 5276.8: "So those assholes on Dramia came around real quick once Bones cured Demos, and now they're honoring him instead of letting him rot in jail."

So the Taco Supreme thanks Bones for finding a cure and stuff about what they're now calling the "aural plague".
"We can graciously forget about your jailbreak," says the Taco Supreme.
"Cool," says Kirk. "And we'll forget about how your dickhead commander stowing away on my ship."

If this is such a happy occasion, why does Kirk look like he's going to
punch the Taco Supreme?


Our boys beam up, and Kirk is excited to GTFO. Bones wants to get back to his medical duties.
Spock suggests that, while he's been in jail, Bones has been neglecting said duties, and should really get back to "passing out vitamins to the crew."
"Dude, fuck you," says Bones. "I just cured a plague!"
Actual Spock response: "Hippocrates would not have approved of such lame excuses." 
Dude, Spockoy is my favorite. 
Kirk laughs because Spockoy is his favorite, too.




This episode is kind of heavy. Bones curing a plague is no biggie, because how often does Bones cure some mystery illness thing? I can think of at least three right now: "Miri""The Naked Time", and "The Deadly Years". But then we added in his arrest for causing said plague, and things get a bit downer from there. Bones is kept in this tiny space that's actually just a darkened spot on the floor around a bench. It's like reverse-light or something. They're casting him in a pool of darkness. WTF kind of psychological bullshit is that? So then the E goes to Dramia II to find answers, and it's of course a disaster area, but then Demos makes that remark about plagues and fields of flowers, and I'm wondering if whoever wrote this had just finished reading "There Is No News From Auschwitz", which is a great essay, but holy crap, is this stuff heavy. 
Then Demos reveals that people who were away at the time of their loved ones' deaths returned and decided to stay... like, in the ruins of the cities, running wild, and losing their minds.
Damn.
But then once we leave Dramia II, we go back to a regular Star trek episode, where Kirk is in some kind of trouble, and the E is disabled because no one is available to run it besides Spock, and Bones saves a bunch of people in the nick of time. There was a nice Spockoy moment a the end, and Kirk laughs, because Star Trek likes to end on a high note if possible.
I don't know what to say about this episode. It's all over the place.

*******

So sometimes when I read a review of a tea to see what others thought, if it's a fruity tea, they'll write that they use tea to lose weight, because the fruity tea is kind of sweet, and they drink said tea instead of reaching for a sweet snack. And I laugh to myself, because there's no way in hell I'd trade cake for tea. I'll have cake with tea, but not instead of.
This one might actually work for that. Tazo's Baked Apple Cinnamon doesn't specify what else it's supposed to be besides just a baked apple with cinnamon, but it reminds me of the sort of filling you might find in a really good pastry. Will I trade this for desserts? Hell no. There's half a Boston Cream Pie in my fridge. Will I drink it again? Hell yes. It's kind of heavy on the cinnamon, but not in an unpleasant way. It's good. If you're into that apple-cinnamon taste, you'll probably dig this. Also, it's a rooibos-base, so it's caffeine-free. Just right for a late-night cuppa.















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