Star Trek

Star Trek

Friday, February 27, 2015

Goodbye, Leonard

Was waiting for Georgie to post and confirm that it wasn't a hoax, and he has, and it's not a hoax, just a bad, bad day. We lost a good guy today, Trek fans.


Goodbye, Leonard. You have been, and always shall be, our friend. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Season 3, Episode 68 "Wink of An Eye"

"Wink of An Eye"
Production Order: 68
Air Order: 66
Stardate: 5710.5
Original Air Date: November 29, 1968

Oh, Star Trek. Just when I'm pretty sure I want to unfriend you, you suck me right back in with a ridiculous plot and terrible costume choices. Let's be social media acquaintances with a three-like-per-month minimum.
Speaking of which, I made a Tumblr. It's stayinalivejim and you can follow it if you want. Or not. I'm not here to make your social media choices for you.

*******

See Chekov in his chair on the right? Walter Koenig didn't actually
shoot any scenes for this episode. Wherever he appears in  "The
Wink of an Eye," it's stock footage. Also, check out that fabulous
matte painting behind the Scalosians. I think it's a re-use from a starbase?


Scotty-as-captain Log: 5710.5: "We got a distress call from a city on the planet of Scalos. Kirk, Spock, McCoy and some random Reds beamed down to check it out. The thing is, there's no one actually in the city where they beamed down."

Kirk calls Uhura to ask if they beamed down to the correct coordinates, and she confirms that they did. He's baffled, as the city is deserted. Bones takes some scans and says that there are no animals or people. Kirk bats at a buzzing insect. Behind them, a Red takes a water sample. (Shouldn't a science officer be doing that? Oh, wait. He'll probably be dying later. Never mind. As you were, Reddy.)
Spock approaches to give his report.
"Wherever these people are, they're hella smart. They left behind all kinds of awesome cultural stuff. I can see traces of them living here recently, but there are also places that have been abandoned."

Check out this yummy three-tiered fountain with the bronze Scalosian
statue on top. Don't know where they got the money for this, but it
was worth it.

Behind Bones, the Red has finished his sample-taking, and proceeds to wash his hands in the fountain, then wipe his mouth. I facepalm. Okay, I don't science for real very often, but even I know that that was a dumb move. You don't wash your hands in a substance that you're sampling. Never send a Red to do a Blue's job, kids. It results in shoddy science like this.
Sure enough, there's that insect buzzing sound, and the Red vanishes. Bones kind of loses his shit like Reds don't just randomly disappear every day.
Dramatic music! Credits break!

This is an interesting special effect: they traced the dude's outline,
filled it with an abstract pattern, then vanished it.

Kirk strolls onto the bridge to relieve Scotty. Seems as though there have been some malfunctions happening all over the ship. Little ones that have been corrected quickly or have just corrected themselves. Kirk and Spock re-watch the distress call with Uhura. A blond Scalosian dude explains that their people have been disappearing, that they were once a population of nine hundred-thousand but they're now down to five, and that they've taken refuge in the city. Uhura says that the distress message was pre-recorded and is probably set to broadcast to passing ships. Sulu reports that his station has now ceased to function, and Kirk tells Scotty to get his ass in gear fixing things. Bones pages Kirk to sick bay because Kirk ordered him to have the away team checked out. Kirk tries to worm his way out of it, but Bones reminds him that it was his idea to check them over.
In sick bay, Christine's pre-requisite two lines are used to tell Kirk that someone got into the medicine cabinet and put stuff back in the wrong place. Bones begins his examination, and says that everyone else has checked out fine, and he still has no answers as to why Compton (the sample-taking Red) vanished. Kirk hears the insect buzzing noise and wonders if he is hallucinating. He then says that maybe something followed them onboard when they beamed up. 



Spock tries to call him on the PA in sick bay, but it's garbled. Uhura breaks in to say that the comm system is messed up. Kirk tells her to alert the crew to use hand-held comms and to arm themselves. He then asks Spock to repeat his message. Spock says that he has detected something alien in life support. Kirk agrees to meet him there.
Spock and two Reds catch Kirk coming out of sick bay, and Spock hands Kirk a phaser. Spock scans the area and says he is picking up traces of alien life, but he can't pinpoint where. The Reds run into a force field and get knocked back. They set the phasers for stun, and all four fire at it. It's supposedly gone, but those Reds get knocked back again, where Kirk and Spock seem to be allowed to move forward.

Could be wrong, but I think they filmed sparklers for this effect.
It's cool.

Kirk and Spock enter Environmental Engineering (they zoomed in on the name plate as the boys passed), and are shocked to see -- I dunno, what? I see one of those standard Star Trek cardboard box computer units, with some silver exhaust tubing and another little computer box on top. I'm briefly confused as to why we're getting dramatic music and surprise from the boys. I guess the little box and tubing are alien installations added to the life support machine. Spock says the installation seems incomplete. They attempt to touch the box and get electrical shocks. Then they try to shoot it with phasers, but their weapons vanish. They are physically pushed back against the wall by something invisible. They hear the insect buzzing again. Kirk yells at thin air.
"Who are you? Get off my ship!"
Now our boys do something stupid. You know the experiments that have been done where scientists attach some kind of electrodes to some small mammal, and then they offer that mammal something awesome like a treat, but then the scientists fry their nads every time that mammal reaches for the treat, and eventually their nads explode or something because they just keep going for the treat anyway? This is like that. Spock and Kirk reach for the alien attachment again, and are shocked again. I mean, come the fuck on. I expect this out of Kirk. Kirk is a dumb mammal. But Vulcans are supposed to be smarter than this. Go to your room, Spock. 

Back on the bridge, Spock talks to the computer. They now have Majel Barrett using a super-fakey "computer voice" instead of the smoother one she was using earlier when she would answer back as the computer. I don't like this new stilted voice. It's annoying. Anyway, the computer confirms that the E has been invaded, and that the invaders' ultimate goal is to control the Enterprise, but it doesn't seem to have enough information yet to form more conclusions about the situation.


It tells them that they are not in a position to resist the take-over at this stage, and recommends negotiation.
"Psshh, yeah right," says Kirk. "I don't negotiate."
"Well then, what the hell are we doing?" asks Spock.
"Dunno," he replies. "I'll pull something out of my ass that will totally work. Don't worry."
He grabs a cup of coffee from the tray of a passing yeoman then flops in his chair to form a plan. But he can hear the insect buzzing again, and the camera tilts at funny angles as the rest of the bridge crew slows way, way down around him, and finally stops.
And now there's a girl on the bridge.


Kirk walks up to her and starts to ask what the hell is going on, but she plants a giant smacker on him instead.
"The fuck?" he demands. "Who are you?"
"Deela, the enemy," she replies.
Oh, good. That clears things up. Always nice when your enemy identifies herself right off the bat.

Me, I'm an enemy of her outfit. Once again, we're treated to what can only be described as "female character on Star Trek." It's the traditional all-or-nothing combo, a bathing suit that's open on the right side, but turns into a full-bodied costume on the left. A sort of skirt-cape thing covers her bare ass in the back, and the whole thing is made from a fabric that appears to be illustrating cell mitosis. She's wearing a brooch at her collar that seems to be made from pony beads and oven-baked plastic. Hair is big and fake but okay. Make-up is long, dark lashes and mod nude lipstick: okay. But costume is standard TOS fair: weird as hell.

When we come back from commercial break, she admits that he was correct in guessing that he beamed her aboard when they returned to the ship. He asks her what she's done to his crew, and she replies that she hasn't done anything to them. They're moving at a normal rate of speed, and she has changed him to move at an accelerated speed. Now he sounds like an insect to them as well. She says that she is the queen of her people, who are on the ship making some changes, and that she is going to make Kirk her king. He asks what will happen to his ship.
"They'll notice that you're gone," she says. "Because now you move so quickly that they can't see you anymore. You can't ever go back to being with them, but they'll move on and so will you."
Kirk pulls his phaser on her, which is interesting, because it vanished in the life support room. She just laughs, but she can out-move the phaser's line of fire. When he tries to stun her, she steps out of the way.



Okay, Star Trek, you're doing iffy science again. Kirk and Deela and her underlings all move at the same accelerated pace, which is faster than "the wink of an eye." Phaser fire moves at the speed of light. Are you really trying to convince me that Deela and her cohorts move quicker than light? How the hell does that even work? But throughout this episode, Kirk will use equipment that works just fine for crew members, and it'll move at the same pace for him as well. Like the lift doors. They move at the same pace whether he or Spock is stepping from them. Also, seriously, he just shot a phaser on the bridge. You're telling me that no one is going to notice that?

Deela reveals that she also has a weapon like his, which moves at her pace (which is still the speed of light). She manages to shoot the phaser from his hand. Then she pretty much tells him to suck it up, because "they always react like this at first, and then they learn to like it." He pushes around her and gets on the lift. She pushes the brooch thing and tells someone that Kirk is on his way to see him. So the ugly brooch is a comm device.
We return to normal speed, and Uhura gasps that Kirk is gone. Sulu agrees with her story that Kirk was kicking it in his chair drinking his coffee when he disappeared. Spock decides that the coffee is the culprit.
Kirk goes back to the life support room and runs past those two security Reds who were barred from entering Environmental Engineering with himself and Spock. Why are they still there? Were they assigned to stand guard just outside the "force field"? Because they look like they did when Kirk and Spock first entered that room: surprised because they couldn't get around the "force field." 
Kirk encounters Compton, the Red who disappeared next to the fountain. Compton has been left to guard the door, I guess. He tells Kirk that he's not allowed in, that he fought the speeding up thing until he met this super-awesome girl, and now he's on their side. He has a Scalosian weapon. Kirk fakes him out by agreeing to back off, then he does this round-house kick thing and knocks Compton out.



Kirk runs into Environmental Engineering, and he's immediately dropped by a Scalosian weapon being fired by some guys in more ridiculous Star Trek couture. Compton recovers and stumbles in.
"WTH?" he demands. "That was my captain!"
He runs at the Scalosians, but then one steps forward and there's a brief tussle. Compton falls to the ground with a small-ish cut on his neck.
"Ooh, damn," says a Scalosian to the others. "Dead man walking." He turns to the girl and tells her that he'll buy her a new one later.

After Dorothy left Oz, the Tin Man joined a cabaret in an iffy
neighborhood in the Emerald City. It was the sort of place with
a $2 all-you-can-eat buffet and sketchy bathrooms.


Back on the bridge, Spock examines everyone's coffee. Scotty and Sulu are freaked out that they might disappear after having coffee too. Spock decides to take it to the lab, and leaves Scotty in charge. 
Down in EE, Kirk is sprawled on the floor, while Deela talks about how sad it is when "one is damaged." The guy with the short blond hair, Rael, is annoyed with her for forming an attachment to Kirk. She tells him not to be jealous, and that she'd like to keep Kirk for a long time.
Kirk wakes up and demands an explanation. He is invited to check out the mostly-operational add-on to the life support machine, but he is warned not to touch it. Guess what he does? I swear to Zod, this guy should be smacked with a rolled-up newspaper. He then grabs it and hangs on for dear life. Bad Kirk! No!
Deela pulls his hands off the machine and chides him like the child he is. He then spots Compton on the floor, very old and very dead.
"When you got into the fight in the corridor, you scratched him," lies Rael. "When people like you are sped up to the same level as people like us, you become susceptible to cell damage. Then you age rapidly and die."


Kirk storms out, and Deela gets all up in Rael's face for lying about who damaged Compton. She says that she likes Kirk and the human race. She touches her brooch, and somehow information comes to her that we can't hear, but now she says that he has gone to the med lab to try to talk to Spock. Maybe it's telepathy that she knows that. Maybe she planted something on Kirk that allows her to read his thoughts. Maybe other Scalosians overheard him in the corridor talking to himself about his plans, then contacted her, and it's broadcast into her ear or brain or something. Maybe it's just a quick, easy way for her to know where he's gone, and the writers can claim that it's the future, or she's an alien, as to why she magically had that information. Rael kisses her. She smiles and tells him not to be jelly before she saunters out.

Deela finds Kirk in the med lab. Spock, Bones and Christine are working there in their own time, which means that they are standing still here. Kirk makes a sort of captain's log in a recording device, telling his crew or whoever hears it that the Scalosians have taken over the ship and installed a machine that cannot be uninstalled. He thinks it is putting the ship into a deep freeze, but he doesn't know why. He also says that both he and Compton were taken, and that it seems like after being sped up, that newcomers become docile and go along with the Scalosians, but then he explains what happened to Compton. He recites all of this with Super-Deluxe Dramatic Pauses. Deela then explains that  these things are happening because the water on Scalos became polluted and sped everyone up there. It also made them sterile (towards each other, anyway) and killed the children, so now they trap passing ships, speed up a few of the crew members to their own speed, and take those people as breeding studs. They're deep-freezing the Enterprise so that they can "save them for later." Yaaaay, sex slaves.
He tries to convince her that, if they let the E go, then their scientists will figure out a way to fix the situation and move them back into regular time, but she says that they tried, and those people died. Don't worry, lady. This is the USS Mary Sue, and even though everyone else who has tried it previously has died, we'll do it with no problems.


Rael calls Deela on her Easy-Bake Oven brooch, and we hear him to tell her to go to the transporter room with Kirk so they can beam down. But Kirk has put the tape he recorded into the computer next to Spock, and slipped out. Even though she's supposedly queen, and he's just the chief science officer, he orders her to go after him. I'm pretty sure that Deela is not so much royalty as full of shit.
She finds him in the transporter room, where he just barely has the time to remove a part from the transporter before hopping up again. She tries to transport him to no avail, then she calls Rael to report a malfunction. He accuses Kirk of sabotage, but she insists that he didn't have time. 

In slow time, Spock and Bones hear the buzzing sound in the med lab. Spock says that he has been hearing it since they came back on board, that he knows what it is, and that he is now going to the bridge.

Deela and Kirk are now in his quarters. He's clearly decided that it would be best to just seduce her like always, so he's playing nice. At one point, he tries to kiss her, but she cottons on that he was going for her weapon.
"Oh, well," he fake-laments. "You caught me."
They make out some more. She notes that he ships Kirkerprise.

Spock returns to the bridge to re-watch the distress call. He speeds up the recording until there is no picture, and the sound becomes the insect buzzing noise. Then he compares it against footage from the away team, and the sound is heard there as well.
Again, Star Trek: who took this video? Did you set up a tripod to record your away mission? Was it that other Red that we've never heard or seen again?


Down in the lab, Bones has found the tape that Kirk made. He puts it in and gets that whine, then takes it to Spock. On the bridge, they watch what turns out to be a tape, which is actually just footage of Kirk talking to that recording device, and Deela supplementing information off-screen.
Star Trek: WHERE THE HELL IS THE CAMERA?
Spock asks Scotty to go down to the transporter room.
Scotty does, and he's shown as being frozen in the doorway. The Scalosians walk around him. Rael is angry because he's found where Kirk has removed a piece from the underside of the transporter. He tries to call Deela several times, but she is not answering.
Why is she not answering? Because she's brushing her hair while Kirk re-zips his boots. Now, there are a number of reasons why Kirk could be re-zipping his boots while sitting on the bed in his quarters while a girl brushes her hair. Maybe she wanted to try his boots on. Maybe she asked how high the quality was on Starfleet-issued socks. Maybe he had a space rock in his boots. Maybe... no, No, that's it. There is no other way for you to explain to your space-enthusiastic kid that Kirk did not take off his boots to have ball-slappy sex with Deela. 


Rael busts in (I guess Kirk forgot to hang a tie on the doorknob), and he tries to attack Kirk with what I can only guess is a bobbing pool thermometer. Kirk defends himself with a pillow, then a chair. Surprisingly, they cut to commercial then, in the middle of the fight, which I haven't seen on this show before. When we return, Rael appears ready to bash Kirk's face in with that thermometer, but Deela zaps him in the back with her weapon.



Subdued, he starts a lovers' spat, and she barks at him that she's allowed to like her selected sex slave if she wants to, despite how he feels. She tells him to get the hell back to work and fix the transporter. Once he leaves, Deela apologizes to Kirk for Rael's behavior, and he decides that it's best to play dumb and obedient.
"That's awesome that you're onboard with all of this, even if I did like you better when you hated it. Rael and I were in love before, and your real personality reminds me of him." A sex slave owner with a type. Okay.
She calls Rael on her Dollar Store comm to tell him that Kirk is totally down with being her consort. I'm sure Rael is thrilled.

We go back to the med lab, where the Blue Brigade has found out what to add to the Scalosian water to make it like Kirk's coffee. It's untested, but Spock takes a swig anyway. It elicits a raised eyebrow and the word "stimulating," and I can't help but wonder if these two things comprise his O face.


There's the buzzing sound, and he notes that Bones and Christine have frozen. He walks away. As soon as he is out of frame, the buzzing stops and Christine grabs Bones' arm. "He's gone!"

Down in the transporter room, Rael has finished the repairs and beams down the other Scalosians. Scotty is still standing in the open doorway. He lets Deela know that she can beam down at any point, and that he is going to EE to turn on the freezing device. She apologizes for being a giant bitch about her sex slave. He says it's kind of okay.
Kirk and Deela go down to the transporter room, but Kirk manages to snake her weapon away from her and escape. She warns Rael that he's loose and armed. That's actually a great description for Kirk - "loose and armed."
Anyway, Kirk encounters Spock in the corridor outside of EE, and gives him the briefest of smiles before they set to work defending themselves from Rael's gunfire. Rael takes a hit and collapses because apparently, he's a Stormtrooper. Another shot, and the freezing device melts. This shit is too easy, but I suppose they only have five minutes left to wrap this up, so we'll let it slide. Deela runs in and goes to Rael.
"You tricked me. You were clever," she tells Kirk.
I can't believe she fell for that crap.
"What are you going to do with us?" she asks.
"I could put you in suspended animation," he muses. Then he asks what she thinks he should do with them.
"You could leave us alone," she suggests. "But I think you'll tattle on us to Starfleet, who will quarantine the area so we can't trap passing ships anymore. So then we'll die, which will solve both of our problems."
Kirk considers this. "Yeah, I'm okay with that."



In the transporter room, Deela says she is concerned about them.
"Bitch, worry about your own damn business," says Spock.
She tries to convince Kirk to come with her, as he can't get back to his own speed. Kirk glances at Spock, who looks away. This is apparently code for "My giant brain has figured out in a few hours what their fairly advanced society has missed for years."
"No thanks," says Kirk. "You're cute and all, but I'm in love with my ship and I'm having a torrid emotional affair with my first officer."
Spock beams down Deela and Rael, then presents Kirk with a little vial of yellow liquid.
"We didn't have time to test this first, so I guess you're guinea-pigging."
Kirk throws it back, and starts to move more slowly as the buzzing noise comes up. He pops into reality just as Jimmy Doohan finally, finally walks through the door to the transporter room. (I didn't show it, but dude has been standing mid-step with his foot raised this whole time. That's dedication, yo.) Kirk and Scotty rush to the bridge.

Kirk's Log 5710.9: "We didn't discuss it at all, but Spock has stayed behind in accelerated speed to carry out repairs so we can get underway sooner."

The lights on the bridge flash, and everyone reports that things are being fixed very quickly. Spock pops back into existence and returns to his station.
The Scalosians are on the viewscreen, most likely live this time. They don't actually say anything, but they look super pissed off. Uhura apologizes and says she must have turned the recording back on, but Kirk says that it's not a recording.


He says "Goodbye, Deela," and the E leaves orbit, and Kirk is smiling because his science officer figured out how to get them back to normal speed, but he didn't bother to give it to the Scalosians because... I dunno, skewed Prime Directive?



Also, if it's not a recording, and just a live shot of Deela & Co, then does that mean that they have been "fixed"? How else can we see them unless they've slowed down or everyone else has sped up? Is that why they don't talk? So we're left wondering whether or not it's a recording or a live feed?
This episode has all kinds of problems. Supposedly, the Scalosians are so sped up that no one can see them, yet they are able to use machinery and other tech just fine. They should be living several days to one of the Enterprise's, yet this all seems to take place in one time frame. Scotty spends the last half of the episode trying to put his foot down in the transporter room, but in that same amount of time, Spock and Bones figure out what is going on and develop a drinkable cure. Even if he stopped to boink Deela and fight with Rael, they still should have left the ship long before our boys in blue figured out how to fix everything.
I also want to know why there are still five Scalosians. Do they have more someplace else on the planet that weren't showing up on scans? Because it sounds like they've been doing this siren distress call thing for a while, and they seem pretty practiced at it, which means they've done this before. Sooo, they're stealing random ships' crews, supposedly pairing them off for mating, and then what? Does it work? Presumably it does, or they wouldn't keep trying. Where are all of the half-alien kids? The other ships that were being held in stasis? It's an interesting idea, but the plot has more holes in it than your average block of Swiss cheese.

Death Toll:
Red deaths this episode: 1
Red deaths this season: 4
Gold deaths this episode: 0
Gold deaths this season: 0
Blue deaths this episode: 0
Blue deaths this season: 0
Total crew deaths this season: 4
Total crew deaths thus far: 46




*******

I've been trying to drink more water lately, which is not my thing, because it doesn't taste like anything. Like I know it's good for me, and vital to my well-being and all that jazz, but it's bland. I like the flavored ones, but not the ones that are just watery juice. The actual water with flavors, like lime and grapefruit and crap. They're usually carbonated. I also really like black cherry so I decided to try this one. Why was the Arrowhead Black Cherry Sparkling Water on sale? Because it tastes like cough syrup. It's not thick like cough syrup, but it tastes just like red Nyquil. "Hey, friends! Do you want the nasty taste of cough medicine without the benefits of it soothing your throat and stopping your cough? Drink this!"
No. No thank you.







Dear Tanner,

You started out in an abusive home, and when your first mom moved out, she took you with her, and found you a good foster home with two moms who loved you very much. Though that first mom didn't return, she had left you in good hands. You were kind to people and other dogs, enjoyed the outdoors and water play, and were kind enough to stop barking when told to shut your yap. You put up, and made friends, with the other dog in the family, who is an asshole. You were unfazed by two cats, and when your moms opened a cat rescue, you remained unfazed by twenty cats. When you got sick, your moms were determined to make your last weeks good ones. You'll be missed by your human friends, your cat friends, and that other asshole dog.

Good boy, Tanner. Good boy.




Happy Birthday, Majel Barrett





You were Number One, Christine Chapel, Lwaxanna Troi, and the voice of
the computer throughout the franchise, yet I still wish you'd gotten
more screen time.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

"That" Kiss

So, if you've read my review of "Plato's Stepchildren," you'll know that my overall reaction to it was to stand at arm's length, hitting it with a large stick, while screaming, "Kill it with fire!" You've also noticed that that particular episode contains within it one of the most famous kisses of all time, that between Captain Kirk - a white dude - and Lieutenant Uhura, a black lady. I found out some interesting stuff about that kiss, but none of it made it into the review because I was so completely turned off by the scene in which the kiss takes place. I'm frankly baffled by the fact that all anyone does is remark about one kiss, and they disregard that scene. Was that kiss really more important than the fact that Kirk and Spock were being forced against their will to rape their coworkers for someone else's amusement? Am I just confused because I really have no fucks to give if two people sharing a kiss are of different races, but it was really that important back then?
I've often thought about how Star Trek unwittingly became time capsules for the time periods in which they were filmed. Hair, costume, attitudes: they all seem to reflect the decade in which they were created. It's possible that at the time, interracial kissing was a bigger deal than forced rape, so that was what the focus became for that episode. Here, viewing it now, interracial relationships are NBD, but while we are embroiled in discussions about rape and consent, my 2015 brain has chosen to ignore the kiss and focus on the fact that Kirk is being forced to force himself on Uhura.

Food for thought, I guess.

Anyway, about that kiss...


It was the first interracial kiss on television.


Technically, "interracial" means any combination of two different races. Sooo, there were actually two instances of white/Asian kisses on television in 1966, a good two years before this episode aired. And nobody gave a shit.

So it was the first black/white kiss on television, right?


Star Trek was beaten to the punch by at least a year when Sammy Davis Jr kissed Nancy Sinatra on "Movin' With Nancy."


How about "it's the first time that Kirk kisses someone of his own species who is a different color"?


On television, anyway. We can't account for what Kirk does off-camera. Nor would I want to.

So who cared?
Supposedly, both the Sammy Davis Jr kiss and this one caused an uproar. But the only mail that they got at Star Trek was positive, with the closest exception being one guy who wrote,  "I am totally opposed to the mixing of the races. However, any time a red-blooded American boy like Captain Kirk gets a beautiful dame in his arms that looks like Uhura, he ain't gonna fight it."
Technically, he was fighting it, sir. But your point is well taken.

One TV critic kind of wrote it off, saying that Kirk was being forced to do it because of Abusive Boyfriend, which he was. Both he and Spock apologized sincerely to Uhura and Christine for the actions that they were about to take.
The network was so concerned about viewers in the Deep South complaining that they insisted that the scene be shot twice, once with the kiss, and once without. But The Shat effed up the "without" scene, crossing his eyes at the camera, and the episode went out with the kiss intact. Now, I don't know if Bill screwed it up because he wanted to be part of that (supposedly) groundbreaking kiss, or because he was actually all for equality, but the fact that he intentionally ruined the shot delights me. There's another story, in which the network suggested that the couples be swapped, and Spock the alien kiss Uhura to make it less racy, but The Shat objected, saying that if anyone was gonna be a part of that kiss, it would be him. This seems to support the latter theory, but again, it doesn't trump the visual of Bill crossing his eyes at the camera.

I have no idea what the context is for this quote, but it works for my purposes,
so I don't care.

He Said, She Said
According to William Shatner, none of the kisses were real in the multiple takes they did of this scene. According to Nichelle Nichols, all of them were.
Make of that what you will.



Now run forth and kiss whomever you'd like, because 40+ years later, nobody cares, and those that do are full of shit.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Season 3, Episode 67 "Plato's Stepchildren"


"Plato's Stepchildren"
Production Order: 67
Air Order: 65
Stardate: 5784.2
Original Air Date: November 22, 1968


Hey, friends. If you have, say, rape or abuse triggers, I'm gonna suggest that you not watch this episode. Cuz I don't really have those, and even I found this episode un-fucking-pleasant to watch.

*******



Kirk's Log 5784.2: "Responding to some distress calls from an unknown planet, which is weird because scans shows no life here. But it does have rich deposits of kironide or something or other that Spock says is important. I dunno. Science. He and I and Bones are beaming down because it's too hard to answer their distress calls from the bridge first to determine what might be in store for us planet-side. Plus, it's more fun to just beam down to an unknown planet. Maybe there's something there that will eat us. Maybe it's covered with beautiful women. Being a space captain is awesome!"

They beam down to the surface, which is actually covered in columns and statues, and we're clearly on a Greco-Roman planet (again). A booming voice and a tall shadow demands to know if they came from the Enterprise. Kirk answers in the affirmative, and the shadow gets smaller as the person moves forward until we see that he's actually a little person. He says that he's Alexander, and that he's entertaining and a good loser. That can't bode well. Dude is friendly, but why does he want them to know that he loses well?


He says they're Platonians, and they were native to the Sandarian system until their sun went nova, and they relocated here. Their founder was all into Plato, and their current philosopher-king Parmen says they're like "Plato's children," though Alexander says he thinks of them more like "Plato's stepchildren." He says that they're wanted somewhere, then he stiffens and sorts of hops away, like he's being pulled by something invisible. They follow him into a room with a dais, where a guy in a fancy toga is lying on a couch. A woman in green asks which of our boys is the doctor, and Bones answers that he is.
He goes to Mr Toga and asks how his leg got gross and infected. Toga replied that he scratched it and things just got out of hand. Bones goes to give him a hypo to ease the pain, but the hypo floats out of his hand, and Toga asks where it needs to go.
"Arm," mutters Bones, and the hypo is given in the arm.
Can I give a quick fist-bump to whatever prop person put together Bones' hypo kit? It's awesome, with little vials of colored water to indicate different medicines.


We flash over to the chick in the green toga, Philana, and Alexander. Think you've seen this woman before? Congratulations, you have. That's Barbara Babcock. She was Mea 3 in "A Taste of Armageddon", did a bunch of uncredited voice work for TOS, and has been in pretty much everything since the late fifties.
"This sucks," Alexander tells Philana. "They came here to help, and you intend to kill them."
She tells him that he talks too much, and gives him a death stare, and he bites his own hand. The dramatic music leads us into the theme song.


Just a quick note because I always seem to talk about this, and won't have time later: none of the costumes on this episode suck. A+ costume team. No one looks ridiculous. Hair is excellent as well, and good job to the set guys. It's a bitch to paint marble, and they painted a lot of it. The furniture is all awesome as well.
Okay, back to it.

Kirk's Log 5784.3: "So after their sun went nova, these people actually ended up in ancient Greece. But after Plato died, they moved here, and continued to live as the ancient Greeks."

This is the voice-over that we get while we watch Alexander play some kind of game with another Platonian. It looks like a large-scale chess game, but the board and pieces are different. Alexander has to heft the heavy pieces into place while the other guy directs them to float into place with his mind.
Meanwhile, Bones is telling Parmen, the Toga guy, that he will have to think about how to cure him, but in the meantime, to please let him run his own hypos, okay?
Bones tells Kirk and Spock that Parmen's illness is different from what he's seen before, and that he'll have to compare and contrast it with things that he knows. Philana gives them a run-down on things: there was some dabbling in eugenics on Sandara all those millenia ago, and they are the product of it. There are only 38 of them. When they arrived on Plutonius, they developed psychokinetic powers. They're actually all like, 2300 years old. The problem is, not doing anything because they're lazy shits has made them susceptible to everything under the sun, so now Parmen is dying from a scratch.
Right on cue, Parmen starts moaning and thrashing about on his couch. Stuff goes flying around the room. Spock remarks that it's a physical manifestation of his delirium.
Guess what, friends? It Disables the Ship. They're locked in orbit and suffering through nasty turbulence.
But look! Look who's on the bridge! Another black woman! And she's wearing blue! Blue on the bridge means she's probably science! And she appears to have a full stripe on her cuff, which makes her rank Lieutenant. YUSSSSS.


Star Trek marketing: "Look, kids! We're flying through space! Whee!"
Star Trek subtext: "White or black, male or female, you too can do science. Everyone is equal in the future."
The only problem with making such a cool little subtextual statement is that it happens to have come attached to this episode, which is skeevy, and not so much appropriate for kids.

Anyway. We swing back to the throne room or whatever it is, and Parmen is still flipping out. Bones tries to give him a hypo to sleep, but Parmen is making Bones jerk and fly up against the wall. He's also making Alexander choke himself on the other side of the room. Kirk throws himself in front of Alexander, hoping to shield him, but it doesn't really work. Philana grabs Parmen and holds him long enough for Bones to rush forward and hypo him. Alexander is saved from death by self-asphyxiation. Kirk wants to leave, but Bones wants to stay until Parmen's fever has broken, so Kirk agrees. Alexander shows them to their room.
Grateful that they helped him, he offers to get them whatever they need. Kirk asks if there are other Platonians like him.
Alexander is immediately guarded. "What do you mean, like me?"
Yeah, Kirk. What the hell are you asking about?



"People without psychokinesis," says Kirk, and both Alexander and I relax.
"Naw, just me," he says cheerfully. "They call me a 'throwback.' I was brought here to be the court jester, to get them stuff, and not do anything right." Um, why is this dude okay with being crapped on for being small and not having powers? He asks if there are people in Kirk's world who are small and have no powers.
Kirk smiles. "Dude, we are all different sizes, and nobody has powers."
Alexander smiles back. But then he stiffens up and sort of dances out of the room again, saying that "somebody wants me." And now we understand that these a-holes are psychically calling him, physically forcing him to come at their beck and call.
"I wanna GTFO," says Spock. "This place is creepy as hell."
Bones rushes in to say that the meds he mixed have worked, and that Parmen's powers have lead him to heal at a super rate.
"Awesome," says Kirk, and he calls for a beam-up.
"Sorry," says Scotty. "Everything is frozen, for no reason. And we can't get a hold of Starfleet."
"Call me when we're good to go," answers Kirk.

Alexander is entertaining Parmen when Kirk strolls in. He starts to give Parmen the due respect and all, but Parmen interrupts him.
"Philosopher-kings have no need for titles."
Um, you just gave yourself one?
"Let my ship go," says Kirk.
"Bite me," says Parmen. He floats Kirk's phaser out of his hand and immediately starts making Kirk slap himself across the face. I want so badly to make a "stop hitting yourself" joke here, but in this episode, Kirk isn't being the giant douchecanoe he usually is. He treats Alexander nicely, and ...well, shit goes down later that reminds me that I don't completely hate Kirk all the time.


The boys are all in their room later, Kirk trying to contact an unresponsive Enterprise. Spock surmises that Parmen intends to keep them. They suddenly stand straight up and do that same sort of forced-danced that Alexander often does. They find themselves in the throne room, where Parmen and Philana are waiting. Philana says they have thank you gifts for our boys. Kirk gets Pericles' shield. Spock gets a harp. Bones gets some scrolls written by Hippocrates himself.
"These are nice," says Kirk, who trusts this guy as far as he can throw him. "Has my ship been released?"
"Not yet," says Parmen. "So... hey, sorry. I lost my temper earlier. I'm sure that happens to you sometimes, only when it happens to me, other stuff goes down."
Creeper. He sounds like a batterer. "Hey, baby. Sometimes I hit you, but it's only because I'm so passionate."
"Yeah... thanks for the gifts," says Kirk. "Gonna go now."
"Um, Dr McCoy stays," says Parmen. "We thought we didn't need a doctor, but I guess we do."
"No thanks," says Bones. "I already have a job."
Parmen is pretty insistent. He goes from zero to asshole in six seconds, and now Bones can't move.
"We'll persuade you," says Parmen, and he forces Bones to stand next to him on the dais.
Then he forces Kirk and Spock to drop their gifts and put on laurels. Then they dance to Alexander's drum-beating and recite rhymes from Through the Looking Glass.


Kirk ends up being tortured on the floor, then Spock is forced to get up and dance the flamenco around his head. That bitch Philana is totally enjoying all of this.


Spock collapses on the floor and begins laughing hysterically.
"The hell?" says Bones. "You can't just unlock all of a Vulcan's emotions. That'll seriously screw him up."
Parmen says that Spock shouldn't die laughing, so he forces him to cry instead.
"Asshole!" yells Alexander.
Parmen forces Alexander to climb on Kirk's back and ride him around the room like a horse. "You're a total d-bag for allowing your friends to be tortured like this," he tells Bones.
I'm instituting a name change. From now on, Parmen will now be known as Abusive Boyfriend.


Back in their rooms later, Spock is sitting in quiet contemplation while Bones and Kirk talk quietly. Bones says that Spock must sort of "cure" himself. He then tells Spock directly that the release of emotions is a healthy thing. Spock replies by saying (truthfully) that a healthy release of emotions, while good for that person, are often not good for those around them. He's concerned that he now feels enough hatred toward Abusive Boyfriend and his wife (Sadistic Bitch) that he might be a danger to others. Spock then crushes a cup in his bare hands. Bones tells Kirk that he will stay on Platonius so the others can leave.
"No way," says Kirk. "They won't let us go free. They know we'll come back for you with Starfleet in tow. So they'll say that they'll let us go once you agree to stay, then they'll blow up the ship or something."
"He's right," says Alexander. "They've been telling me for years that I'm shit that they scraped off their shoes, and this whole time I've been saying "thank you sir, may I have another?" Now they're treating you the same way. You can't stay here and let that happen to you too." Alexander is getting worked up. "It's not me! I'm not shit, they are!"
He smashes a vase and grabs a sharp pottery shard. "I'll cut 'em all! I only have to get each one once, then they'll die of infection!"


Kirk manages to talk him down, and Alexander says this is the first time someone has been nice to him. He says he'll help them in any way he can. Spock asks how long they had been on Platonius before the others developed their powers. Alexander says about six months, and admits that they had only brought three or four months' worth of supplies with them.
"So they probably got it from eating the native food," says Spock.
Bones scans Alexander and says the difference between his blood and Abusive Boyfriend's blood is that AB has a build-up of kironide in the pituitary glands, which regulates growth. The same thing that made Alexander small also kept him from getting the powers when he ate the same food as the others.
"So that sucks," says Alexander.
'Can you give us shots of kironide to build it up in our bloodstream so we can get the powers, too?" Kirk asks Bones.
"Well, yeah," says Bones. "But there's more of them than us. What if they like, combine powers to become MegaZord?"
"They can't," says Alexander. "They tried to combine powers forever ago, and it fucked up all of the shit. Everybody's powers operate on a different frequency."
"Cool," says Kirk. "Let's do double the amount in Abusive Boyfriend's system. Also, let's give some to Alexander. He could take over AB's spot and run the whole place." 
"Fuck that!" yells Alexander, backing away. "I don't want those creepy powers. I don't wanna be like that. Just say that if this works out, you'll get me the hell away from here."
Kirk is about to agree when the air shimmers on the other side of the chamber, and Uhura and Christine appear.
"The hell?" asks Kirk.
The women silently turn and walk away.
"Guess we weren't entertaining enough," he replies.

I never noticed until now what a height difference there was between
Majel Barrett and Nichelle Nichols. Also, please take note of the fact that,
even though they have very different figures, they both look killer
in those ridiculous tunics.

Uhura and Christine walk into a dimly-lit room in new clothes. Uhura's dress looks kind of like jammies, but she still rocks it. Christine looks good, too. Remember earlier when I said that all of the costumes on this episode are awesome? Not taking it back, but... here come our boys.


 When I watched this the first time, I laughed so hard I almost choked. Like, on nothing. Nice gams, gentlemen. And welcome back, Shirtless Kirk. It's been a little while.
Kirk and Spock try to see if their new powers have kicked in by trying to lift a plate of fruit nearby with their minds. Nothing doing. There's the sound of clapping and laughter coming from somewhere, and a wall is removed to real that Abusive Boyfriend, Sadistic Bitch, and all of their friends have taken seats behind the wall to watch. Abusive Boyfriend stands up and says that today they are welcoming a new person into their community, and he gestures at Bones, who is sitting next to him.
Bones grumbles his dissent, and Abusive Boyfriend says that he is ruining the festive mood of the ladies, so now they should have a serenade.
Alexander is made to play the harp while Spock sings to Uhura and Christine a pretty, flourish-y, romantic-sounding song about... a drunken one-night stand. There's a thinly-veiled allusion to stolen virginity and cum-guzzling. Lovely.


Then Christine and Uhura are made to lay on couches, and the boys are made to go back and forth between them, the a-holes behind the wall laughing and calling them fickle. Then they pair off, Kirk with Uhura, and Spock with Christine.
Alexander looks like he wants to cry. Christine begs Spock to make them stop.
"For so long I've wanted to be close to you," she says. "Now all I want to do is crawl away and die."
He apologizes earnestly, saying that he doesn't have the power to stop what's happening.
This is killing me to watch this, you guys.


Spock and Christine kiss, shaking from the effort of trying to stop the action, while two of the Platonians make icky remarks about them. They continue to make out while the focus shifts to Uhura and Kirk. Uhura tells him that she is thinking back to all of the times on the ship when she was afraid of what was happening, but then she would look over at Kirk in his chair and see that he had things under control, and she would take strength from that. He tells her not to be afraid. They kiss. He scowls over her head at the Platonians. 


Sadistic Bitch is treating this like her own private booth at the back of the video store. Clearly, she's a Watcher of the highest caliber. She tells Abusive Boyfriend to "get on with it." AB is running this show, remember? Everything is going according to his script, and I guess he knows what Sadistic Bitch likes. And Sadistic Bitch wants him to bring on the hard-core fucking.


Abusive Boyfriend chides her for being impatient, and cites Bones' patience for the "piece de resistance." Yes, you're right. Bones is being patient while he waits to watch his friends be forcibly raped. Is it possible to reach through the screen and punch these people? They fucking deserve it.

Weapons come out. A red hot poker for Spock and a whip for Kirk. Oh, I see. We're going to do some kind of gladiator-Pon Farr thing beforehand. Charming.

Look how excited Sadistic Bitch is. She just loves her some
sexual violence.

And then... they fucking turn back toward the girls.

WHAT THE FUCK KIND OF FIFTY SHADES OF BULLSHIT IS THIS?!

Kirk manages to turn back to the Assholians and yell at them that they're all dead inside. Abusive Boyfriend turns his powers up full blast to make Kirk turn around and crack that whip right near Uhura's face. You can see the embers falling off the poker that Spock is brandishing at Christine. Sadistic Bitch is eating it up. Bones is yelling at Abusive Boyfriend to stop, that he'll agree to pretty much anything at this point if AB lets them go. Nobody notices that Alexander has a knife, until just before he tries to stab Abusive Boyfriend. Sadistic Bitch stops him, and then calmly points it out. Abusive Boyfriend decides that Alexander should stab himself instead.


Sadistic Bitch is now fascinated by this instead. Rape, torture, forcing one to commit seppuku, it's all good. She'll get off on most anything, apparently. But then -- the knife is slowly moved sideways, away from Alexander's chest. Abusive Boyfriend is stunned.
"Who did that?' he demands.
Kirk drops his whip and laughs. "Ha! Fuck you, Abusive Boyfriend! Fuck you sideways with a katana! I have powers now, and I did that!"
I'd complain about the convenience of Kirk and Spock gaining their powers just in the nick of time (like always), but I'm so fucking done with this episode and this scene specifically that I no longer give a shit. Alexander is not bleeding out. Uhura does not have whip marks on her face and Christine will not have burn scars on her body.
"I have twice your powers, Abusive Boyfriend!" crows Kirk.
AB makes Alexander hop off the bench and run at Kirk with the knife. Kirk makes Alexander run back to AB. Okay, knock it off, Kirk. I'm really not cool with you playing with Alexander like this, even if it is to get back at Abusive Boyfriend. But there's the knife at Alexander's chest, and he's realizing that Kirk does have better powers than he does, and he starts begging for mercy. But Kirk spins Alexander around.
Alexander protests about not being able to make his kill shot.
"Dude, you didn't want to be like Abusive Boyfriend," Kirk reminds him. Alexander drops the knife.
Kirk makes AB climb over the wall.


"Sooo... heh. You guys knew that I was going to kill you and destroy your ship," says Abusive Boyfriend. "...how come you saved me?"
"Because we're not fucking assholes like you," answers Kirk. "But hey, you can't live in a vacuum anymore. We're sending Starfleet in to check you out."
"Oh, um... that's not necessary," fumbles Abusive Boyfriend. "You're totally safe, and also, I think that lately we're become freakish with our powers, and lazy and also unkind and stuff. We're gonna change."
"Your breath smells like manure," says Kirk.
"Yes," agrees Spock. "I too believe that you are full of shit."
"Beeteedubs, we know how to get the same powers as you, and in higher doses," Kirk reminds him. "Try anything and we'll be back on your ass so fast. now get the hell out of my way."
He calls Alexander over to him and then flips open his comm. "Scotty, I have a little surprise for you. Beam us up."
And I'm so glad that this episode is over that I'm not even going to bitch that he smiles at Alexander right when he says "little surprise."


And then they fly the fuck away from there because oh my God.



So I usually watch each episode all the way through once before re-watching while I write and take screencaps. This way, I can get a better feeling for the episode "overall," think about how the episode fits in with the series and canon, and compare and contrast it to see if it's similar or not to other episodes. Certain episodes fall into my "can I just not?" category, where I've done my initial watching, and have filed the episode away as one that I would rather not see again. Two that come to mind are "Space Seed" (creepy) and "City on the Edge of Forever" (feels trip). One viewing for any episode that falls into this category is more than enough. I feel this way about this episode.
Khan Noonien Singh ogled me at the bus stop. Parmen approached me on the street and licked my arm. In both cases, my skin crawled.
They actually banned this episode initially in the UK, not for the interracial kiss, but for the sadistic violence that Parmen shows to the crew of the Enterprise.
I gave myself several days between viewings to digest the content and really think about it, but no. Upon returning to the DVD, I found that I was loathe to fire it up again, this time having to proceed slowly through each scene, a bit at a time, getting just the right screencapture and creating just the right description and reaction. It takes roughly 4-5 hours to do each review, and because other stuff is going on at the same time, I usually just reserve all of Sunday to get the thing done because I'm also checking facts and pushing cats off my keyboard, and dealing with other on-going projects and convincing other people not to hold long conversations with me while I'm typing. A whole Sunday of "Plato's Stepchildren." *shudder* Not to mention the fact that this past weekend was the one where "Fifty Shades of Grey" came out, and my Facebook feed was full of arguments about BDSM, abuse disguised as romance, and terrible fanfic. I'm gonna have to shower for a week to get this creeper vibe off of my skin. Then I'm gonna watch a shit-ton of cute kitty videos, because kitty videos are good for what ails ya.

Death Toll:
Red deaths this episode: 0
Red deaths this season: 3
Gold deaths this episode: 0
Gold deaths this season: 0
Blue deaths this episode: 0
Blue deaths this season: 0
Total crew deaths this season: 3
Total crew deaths thus far: 45

Can I count myself? I died a little inside watching this.

This episode is shockingly similar to: Space Seed, for manipulative, controlling assholes; "Where No Man Has Gone Before" for assholes who have creepy super-human powers that they use for evil; "Who Mourns For Adonais?" and "Bread and Circuses" for alien civilizations based on Greco-Roman models.

*******

I can't always recall which teas I've reviewed, and which ones just taste really similar to some that I've had before. That being said, the Apple Cinnamon Spice tea by Celestial Seasonings that I drank this week gave me tastebud deja vu. Namely, this tea tastes like liquid Red Hots, and I swear I've had tea like that before. Maybe it was another cinnamon tea. I don't know. But anyway, this one tasted like liquid Red Hots, which is not really my thing. Gonna be honest: was expecting something closer to apple cider, and when it wasn't, I was a bit disappointed. Yeah, I know: if you want some fricking cider, then make cider and not tea. But when you call something Cinnamon Apple Spice, you expect some apple, right? So, yeah. If you like cinnamon, this is the tea for you. If you like more apple flavor, make some cider, I guess. 








You're working on a sewing project? Awesome, I'll help!
You don't need my help? That's crap, yes you do. No, I'm
not moving. This is my pattern now.
TOUCH ME AND
I'LL BITE YOU, BITCH!