Star Trek

Star Trek

Monday, October 12, 2015

ST:TS Season Two, Episode Two "Bem"

"Bem"
Air Order: 18
Star Date: 7403.6
Original Air Date: September 14, 1974

So last week I was "sick" in that my mouth hurt so bad that I wanted to kick a puppy in the times between being medicated. I was not having any of Kirk's shit, but more than that, I couldn't stand the thought of spending hours with Bem again. I'm gonna go ahead and spoil this for you right now: Bem is the Jar-Jar Binks of Star Trek. Only where Jar-Jar was dumber than a bag of rocks, Bem is smug as fuck. Like more smug than when the Enterprise encounters some smart alien race and they tell Kirk that humans are stupid, and smug Spock smugly agrees. Seriously. Try to watch this episode without shaking your viewing device in frustration. I dare you.

*******



Kirk's Log 7403.6: "We're doing our thing out in space, but now we have this observer dude with us, Ari Bn Bem. He's from the planet Pandro. Right now, we're gonna do a check-out-and-check-in mission for Starfleet on this planet called Delta Theta III, which has primitive people living there."

There's a brief scene in the conference room where Kirk tells the away team that they're mostly there to plant monitoring devices and then GTFO. They don't want to do anything risky, and if anything goes wrong, they need to beam up right away. They agree, and head to the transporter room.

Bem is surprisingly at the transporter controls. He and Kirk get into an argument.
"Um, hey, Bem," says Kirk. "You wanna tell me what you're doing here?"
"This one has decided to accompany the away mission," replies Bem. 
That's how he talks. First person, but never "I, me, mine." He refers to himself as "this one." It gets old quickly.
"Yeah, no," says Kirk. "You were supposed to be observing us, and you've been hanging out in your quarters for the last six missions. Now you wanna come on this hella dangerous mission? Naw, bro. You stay here."
But Bem manages to talk him into it, and when Scotty steps forward to set the coordinates, Bem says he already did it. Dude has been fucking with the transporter equipment. Scotty confirms that coordinates have been set, and he decides that it's good enough, so they all hop on the pads and some Red works the transporter.



So they materialize on a cliff face. Or rather Scotty, Sulu and Bem do. Kirk and Spock materialize in thin air, and fall into the water below. So friends: who was the asshole here? Bem for setting those shitty coordinates, or Scotty for approving them? Gonna say both, cuz while I like Scotty, he had one job here.

Somehow, even though Kirk and Spock have materialized in the
same spots, Scotty, Sulu and Bem have all switched places.

So Bem hops in the water and immediately offers to help them. And - are you paying attention? - while he's offering assistance, this motherfucker splits in two, and his legs pickpocket Kirk and Spock. Do you know how stupid I feel typing that sentence? I wish I was shitting you, but I can tell you with certainty that this is bullshit.

Bem's legs have arms and hands. He has hands in his pants at all times.
I'm having a hard time not making alien masturbation jokes.

Out of the water, Kirk lectures Bem about not dicking around with the transporter. Uhura calls to say that Arax has found something like a stasis field off to the west of where they are. They discuss whether it's the primitives, or something more technologically advanced, or just some kind of environmental thing. They decide to check it out.
While walking, Bem says he senses someone else nearby, and Kirk says they need to avoid the natives, but then Bem turns and runs the fuck off.
Sigh.
So Kirk tells Scotty and Sulu to stay put with the equipment while he and Spock run after their errant observer. Babysitting. They are babysitting this dumb alien, and the motherfucker runs off like some shitty kid in a supermarket.
Bem runs ahead, and when he hits some brier, what does he do? He breaks into pieces. Again. And his parts float through the foliage.


He pulls himself together on the other side, so that when Kirk and Spock arrive at the brier, they can see him whole again and running away.
"The fuck?" asks Kirk. "I don't know how he got there, but we have to go around."
They do, and guess what they find on the other side?


Bem has been taken hostages by the natives, who are like, pink Gorns or something.
"Looks like a food-gathering party," says Spock.
"And the food they've gathered... is Bem!"
Dramatic music and commercial break!
... but who gives a shit? That guy was annoying and robbed you outright. Leave him the hell behind. Say he unwisely went on an away mission and ran away and got himself killed. Are the diplomatic proceedings with this guy's race so important that you'd really put up with this crap?

Upstairs, Uhura calls Scotty to let the away party know that the stasis field thing is expanding. Scotty reports that Bem took the fuck off, and that Kirk and Spock ran after him. Uhura says she can't raise either men. (Hint: it's because that bag of dicks and his detachable legs replaced their comms and phasers with non-working units.) She says that she's going to have to beam Scotty and Sulu back.
"No way," says Scotty. "We can find them."
"Bitch, did I stutter?" she asks. "Those weren't the orders given, and in case you forgot, I'm sitting in the big chair this week, so you and Sulu are coming back."
Scotty gives in because he knows it's futile to argue with the Ship Goddess.
She beams them back.


Meanwhile, Kirk is trying to raise the E through comms that don't work because that asshole Bem swapped them out for dummies. Spock examines those and the phasers and declares them to be excellent, non-working copies.
"The hell?" asks Kirk. "We've had these on us since we beamed down."
"We could go get Scotty," suggests Spock.
"Naw, those natives are hauling off Bem, and we have to follow them so we can rescue him, even though he's a giant dickasaurus who sabotaged this mission by running off into the forest."
So they follow the natives, which is good, because Scotty isn't there, anyway.

They stop outside the natives' settlement to check it out. Bem is in this primitive little wooden cage in the center of town.


Kirk and Spock wait until nightfall to go break Bem out. But the little dillhole tells them that they're fucking up all of the shit, that he got himself kidnapped on purpose to observe the locals.
"That's bullshit," says Kirk.
It is bullshit. Dude spent six previous missions hanging out in his quarters, then picks a dangerous observation mission to join the away team, sabotages it, and gets himself kidnapped. Because he says he's observing the natives. 
I thought you were supposed to be observing the Enterprise, you douchecanoe.
So Kirk and Spock get caught springing Bem, because he decided to argue with them, and now everyone has his very own primitive cage.
The conversation that follows is the most meta discussion that has ever occurred on this show.


"I assume that's a rhetorical question, Captain, not requiring an answer," responds Spock.
"I was just expressing my curiosity at our ability to get into the kind of situations," Kirk muses.
"Fate, Captain. Fate."
Yeah, no. Generally, it's because Kirk barreled into something without checking first. But sure, go with fate if it makes you feel better.
Kirk then suggests that Spock try to get them out of this mess using the Vulcan nerve pinch.
"I'm just a Vulcan," he replies. "I have limits."
Okay, so once again, a character (usually Kirk) suggests that the magical alien Spock can fix something with his alien powers. And so far in the animated series, the writers have responded by having Spock do something miraculous and magical. But here, he shuts that shit down: he isn't going to sprout some power that he's never had before and will never have again.
Thank you, episode. That doesn't make up for you forcing us to spend 25 minutes with Bem, but if we could work it in more that Spock isn't some kind of Vulcan wizard, that would make me a much happier viewer.


Kirk tells Bem that it doesn't look like they'll be able to rescue him, and Bem responds by being a bigger dickwad than before.
"You're a shitty captain. Starfleet said you were the best. My people are going to be pissed off."
"Bitch, you got us into this!" Kirk yells. "You took off, you didn't listen to orders, and I'm pretty fucking sure that you replaced our tech with fakes!"
"Fuck yeah, I did," says Bem. "You rely on those too much."
"I could fix this shit if I had them!" Kirk argues.
"Calm your tits," replies Bem. "I have them." He pulls the real comms and phasers out of his pocket.
"If you had them," growls Kirk, "why didn't you fucking use them? We could have gotten out of this mess!"
"I don't like violence," says Bem smugly. "But if you guys want to demean yourselves, then go for it."
And his fucking legs deliver the comms and phasers to Kirk.


"Dude," says Spock. "That guy is a colony creature."
Again, Kirk is pissed off. "If you could do that, why didn't you escape?"
"Why would I deprive you of the opportunity to rescue me and prove your value to my people?" asks Bem.
THIS ASSHOLE THINKS THAT THIS IS OKAY.
"Bitch, that is not okay!" yells Kirk. "You can't just randomly test people like that on dangerous planets inhabited by primitive people! So arresting you when we get back to the E!"
And he phasers his way out of the cage.


Upstairs, Arax has been scanning for Kirk and Spock, but can't find them. Uhura says that the weird stasis field anomaly thing has now expanded to cover the whole northern continent, and no scanning that they do will be able to get through that mess.

Downstairs, Kirk and Spock have determined that they aren't getting out of here without being seen, so they set phasers to stun just in case. The natives notice them out of the cages, and there's a pause before anyone does anything.
There there are some flashing lights and the disembodied voice of Nichelle Nichols says, "Dude, no violence."


So everyone is frozen in stasis, and the voice tells them that they are not going to inflict violence on her "children." She asks who they are, and Kirk introduces them. (This is actually the first time that he says that his middle name is Tiberius. I guess it was established in the Star Trek writer's guide several seasons earlier, but not mentioned until now.) She asks what they're doing there.
"We're checking this planet out, to classify it," he replies.
This pisses her off. "The fuck? You can't classify my planet! I'm taking your weapons!"
The phasers disappear.


They're surrounded by natives.
"At times like these," says Kirk, "I think I should have been a librarian."
"The job of librarian is no less challenging," replies Spock.
As someone who has been a librarian, I would like to offer Mr Spock a high-five.
The natives grab Kirk and Spock by the arms, and that little shit Bem grins. I have to remind myself that I need my laptop for other things, and that punching the screen is not an appropriate way for me to express what a nasty little motherfucker this guy is.


Upstairs, Scotty asks Arax if he's found Kirk and Spock yet.
Arax responds with a wordy reply that sounds heavily military-based and would not be out of order in keeping with Starfleet lingo.
"What'd he say?" asks Uhura.
"I think he said maybe," Scotty replies.
It's actually a pretty good joke.
Scotty issues the command to put together an away team with phaser rifles.


Back on the farm, our heroes and their accompanying dickpunch are back in the wooden cages.
"You fucked up all the shit again," Bem tells Kirk. "You're an idiot."
"Yeah, well, you're a dickpunch," Kirk replies. "And I only came back here to rescue you because I wanted to keep the diplomatic lines open with Pandro. I don't actually like you."
"Meh, Pandro doesn't give a shit about me," Bem responds. "But they do care that you fucked up all the shit."
And he disassembles like some kind of grotesque living Lego minifig, and walks right out of the cage again.


"Bye, Felicia." And he takes off.

"Maybe we can contact that disembodied voice and talk it into letting us go," suggests Spock.
Kirk gets out his communicator, which is weird, considering the fact that I'm pretty sure that he could just yell into space for her, and she'd talk to him. They didn't need communicators before.
It doesn't work. Spock suggests connecting the two communicators to boost the signal, and he tries again.
This time he raises her.
"So, hey, we're gonna leave and not come back. We didn't know this planet was under your protection. Our bad. Cool?"


"Yeah, cool," replies the voice.
She unlocks the stasis field anomaly-thing, and he calls Uhura, asking for an away team to beam down with tricorders set to scan for Pandronian lifesigns.
They beam down and let Kirk and Spock out.
"Look for that asshole Bem," Kirk tells the Reds. "He's probably in three parts."
"Say fucking what?" asks Scotty.
"Yeah, also, don't hurt the natives. We have to get Bem and go."


So the natives have Bem, and they don't really want to let him go. The Reds have to shoot their phasers at them to get them to release Bem.
"Um, I fucked up all of the shit," says Bem quietly. "I feel kind of dumb."
"Agreed!" says Kirk. "You did indeed fuck up all the shit, and on a planet that we're declaring as Prime Directive protected."
The voice and lights come back.
"The hell? You said you were leaving. I'm pretty pissed off that you're still here."
"Yeah, we're going," says Kirk. "We couldn't leave this asshole behind, because he's our responsibility, and because he'd continue to fuck up all of your shit."
"Good," says the voice. "GTFO."
"I feel like shit," says Bem. "I was supposed to judge you guys, but it turns out I was the one who sucked ass here. I should disassemble, and not be joined together anymore."
"Um, are you suggesting suicide, kind of?" asks Kirk.
"No, don't," says the voice. "If you fuck up all of the shit, then kill yourself, then you won't learn from your mistake."


"I shouldn't be punished?" he asks.
"Nope," she replies. "Punishment is for lesser beings. Now seriously, get the hell out of here. You're talking about stuff that my children are not ready to hear, and you're going to further fuck up their development."

Back on the E, Kirk instructs Sulu to take them out of orbit, and that they should classify this planet as quarantined. Spock thinks it's interesting that a higher intelligence is guiding another race into development, like a god. I don't know why he's in such awe. It's not like they haven't seen this before. It is, in fact, almost exactly like "The Apple".
The voice contacts Uhura, and she puts it on the PA: "Go in peace."
"Cool," says Kirk, and they leave.





So I managed to make it all the way to the end of this episode twice without punching my screen, which is excellent. At least Bem actually admits to being a giant asshole at the end, though it really doesn't make up for the fact that I had to sit through most of an episode of his smug bullshit. 
You know what's crazy? They had considered this story for season one of the live-action show. I don't know if the colony creature aspect existed in the script then, but I have no idea how they'd even attempt disassembling on camera. My guess is that that part was added when they were like, "We can do anything with animation, so lets make a guy who can take himself apart, and float in different directions!" Honestly, in order to prove that the writers for this show were on drugs, all I would need were stills from this episode and the one where they meet the devil.
I kind of hope that Bem returned to Pandro, and they laughed in his face. "You were arrested by the starship captain that you were supposed to be observing? No, some random disembodied voice does not have jurisdiction here, and we're disassembling you. Bye, Felicia."

*******

So my friend is doing this "Snacktober" thing, and I thought I'd get in on it. I'm not as dedicated to it as he is, but I figured I could add in one just to be fun. I saw one of those "secret Starbucks menu" articles about butterbeer frappuccinos, and I was curious, so I went in and asked for one. they aren't trained to make those, so you have to give them the recipe. It has a frappuccino base, toffee nut syrup, caramel syrup, whipped cream, and more caramel on top, so if you don't like sweet drinks, it's to be avoided. if you do, try one - it's excellent!
I think the recipe is different if you want a hot one. Googling should bring it up.








"What nip? I wasn't playing with nip!"

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