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.















Wednesday, October 21, 2015

ST:TAS Season Two, Episode Three "The Practical Joker"

"The Practical Joker"
Air Order: 19
Star Date: 3183.3
Original Air Date: September 21, 1974


Hey friends, just in case you're paying attention, yes: this episode does take place more than one hundred years before the previous episode. Doesn't our ships' crew look fabulous for being more than 100 years old?



*******

Kirk's Log 3183.3: "Doing this asteroid survey thing and feeling like hot shit because we're ahead of schedule."

As everyone knows, anytime you've ahead of schedule on anything, something will come along to fuck up all of the shit, and you'll end up late.
For instance, Romulans in Klingon cruisers.


So the Romulans start firing, and Spock guesses that they were waiting behind the asteroid to ambush the E.
"Let's fight back!" says Scotty.
"Naw," says Kirk. "We're outnumbered. Let's just walk away."
Wait, Mr Shoot First and Ask Questions Later wants to walk away? Is it Opposite Day or something?
So they fly in the other direction, and the Roms chase them, and Uhura opens a channel.
"What the hell?" Kirk asks the commander.
"You're in our space," the commander replies.
"We're nowhere near your space!" says Kirk. He threatens to file a complaint in the same sort of voice that bitchy entitled soccer moms use when they ask to speak to your manager.
"Yeah, you forgot that trespassing into our space is punishable by death, huh?" And the commander signs off to fire again.


Scotty says the shields can't take more hits at close range, and Sulu reports some kind of weird anomaly up ahead.
"Not on the sensors," says Spock. No equipment can figure out what that thing is.
"Cool, let's fly into it," says Kirk. "We can lose them that way."
Wow. Really? Getting into a fire fight with the Romulans isn't worth it, but flying your expensive ship and it's 500 crew members into some mysterious space goo is perfectly safe?
Kirk is the kind of guy who will sniff the milk when you offer him the carton and say "Smell this."


Half-way through the cloud-thing, Kirk remembers to ask Spock what their chances are of coming out the other side. Not before. Half-way through. They do come out the other side, and Sulu says that the Romulans wisely turned away and decided not to fly in after the E, so Kirk has effectively lost them. 
I'm not giving him credit for that. That was a dumb move.
They decide to pause there in space for repairs.

Later, the senior crew members are in the briefing room, sharing a meal, and for once, the food is not those weird little colored squares of Jell-o, or whatever the hell those were. It's actual food. 


They talk about repairs, and toast themselves for being awesome. Sulu spills water down the front of himself, and I vow not to make a cum joke. Please feel free to make your own, though.


As turns out, they all spill water down their fronts. Kirk proposes that they have a practical joker on board.
"So what?" asked Bones. "We did that back at the Academy, with trick glasses."
 And Sulu chimes in:

STAHP IT, STAR TREK.

Scotty says it might be problem with the food replicator. Kirk tries to take a bite of his food, and the fork bends away from his mouth. They laugh.

Kirk's Log, supplemental: "Everybody's getting punked. Even Spock."

So Spock finds some new piece of equipment at his station, and instead of one large eyepiece like usual, this one has two eyepieces, like binoculars. You know what's going to happen. Much like Kirk saying, "Let's just fly through that random pea soup in space," Spock decides to put his eyes to the eye-holes of this mysterious equipment. Sometimes, I wonder why any of these people are still alive.


Everyone laughs at Panda Spock, and I guess that scene was not so much a scene on its own as it was a break in Kirk's supplemental log. I kind of like that. Normally we just get some voice over with an exterior shot of the ship for log entries.

More Kirk Log: "It's not as funny now."

Arax and M'ress are eating in the mess hall and invite Scotty to join them. He is busy working, and thanks them, planning to grab a grilled cheese on rye and head back to work. The replicator then drops a crap-ton of food on him, and I'm left to think about how fucking awesome a grilled cheese on rye sounds.


M'Ress and Arax laugh, but Scotty is pissed off, and he ends up blaming them for it, claiming that he's going to report them. The replicator tosses a cream pie in his face.

Kirk's Log continues, saying that everyone is now on edge.

An irate Kirk stomps onto the bridge, yelling about pulling clean uniforms out of the laundry chute and finding this on the back:


I'm sure you can imagine the barking laugh I let out at seeing that for the first time. (I was sitting in the stands at an indoor pool, too. It ricocheted off the walls.)
 A raucous laughter issues from the PA system, but Kirk just thinks it's one of the bridge crew. He's alerted to the fact that fog is seeping in under the door to the lifts, and he and Spock go through the door. I guess that there's another door on the other side of the lift, because they walk through the lift and into the corridor. A scan says the fog is real, and Kirk slips, ending up in Spock's arms. There's a nice little moment for all you Spirk shippers out there. It even comes complete with an Austin Powers-type pick-up line:

"Oh no, I fell over! Oh no, I fell over again!"

They hear the laughter through the PA again and surmise that the practical joker is actually the ship herself.

On another deck, Sulu, Bones and Uhura are taking their down-time together, and enter what is marked as the "rec room." As soon as the door closes, Spock calls a general alert. But they don't hear him because THEY'RE IN THE FUCKING HOLODECK, YOU GUYS! First appearance of holoeck, y'all! They don't call it that, but you know that's totally what it is. The room started out plain and empty with a podium in the center, and Sulu programmed it for the beach.


They decide to take a walk through the woods, and the scene changes to a wooded area. M'Ress pages them over the PA, but the call isn't broadcast in the holodeck.
Uhura remarks that it's nice that they can hang out without having to worry about pranks, and they hear that laughter again. Bones decides that it's just an audio tape rewinding. But further along, a deep-ass hole is being covered up by branches and leaves.
Dramatic music! Commercial break!

So they're walking through the forest, and Bones makes his second "just what the doctor ordered" remark in three minutes. Then they fall in the hole, and I wonder if he'll say this isn't what the doctor ordered. Bones starts yelling at the laughing computer, and she twists his words into unclever puns.


On the bridge, Kirk and Spock ask the computer where Sulu, Uhura and Bones are, and she gives them cheeky answers. Kirk asks Scotty to shut down all of the computer's logic functions.

On the holodeck, Sulu and Uhura help Bones out of the pit. I really like that Uhura is shown helping her fellow crew member rather than just standing to the side watching Sulu do it. She may be wearing the world's shortest skirt and a pair of what is essentially go-go boots, but she's perfectly capable of helping a friend. You go, TAS.


Bones makes a vague threat against the computer, who declares that she'll cool him off, and the holodeck switches over to a snow storm. Sulu is concerned that they won't be able to see the exit in all the snow.

Down in the computer room, Scotty tries to shut down certain parts of the computer. The Enterprise retaliates by turning off the gravity. Scotty hits the ceiling, as does the bridge crew.

Arax looks awesome in zero-g. Also, pretty sure that's Scotty on the left.


On the bridge, Spock suggests that the E is trying to protect herself, and that if Scotty leaves the computer room, the E will turn the gravity back on. Kirk suggests this to Scotty, who crawls along the ceiling and into the corridor. He falls to the floor.
Spock, in normal gravity, suggests that something in that mysterious cloud they flew through altered the E, and now she is having the equivalent of a nervous break-down.
"How do we fix it?" asks Kirk.
"Fuck if I know," replies Spock. "Do I look like a mechanical Freud?"

Down in the holodeck, our intrepid trio are freezing their asses off without a solution. Uhura reminds them that they're still just in a room, so if they walk far enough, they should hit a wall. This is smart thinking, and they start walking through the snow.


A search party has discovered that Sulu, Uhura and Bones are trapped in the holodeck, and the door is jammed. They report to Kirk, who calls Scotty for Ops assistance, and they all start laughing. Spock determines that the ship is mixing their air with laughing gas, which apparently sucks for Vulcans. The trio in the holodeck trudge through the snow, laughing their asses off about how they're going to die.
Dramatic music! Commercial break!

Kirk's Log, supplemental: "Spock managed to get the air thing fixed before passing out. Three cheers for the Magic Vulcan!"

So they've determined that they only have six hours of breathable air left. Seems kind of late in the game for a Disable the Ship plot, but whatever. Six hours of breathable air left, six minutes left to wrap up this episode. I guess the writers set their own timer against themselves to come up with a solution. Though if you're like me, you knew instantly how the plot had to be concluded.

Scotty and his Ops Reds have given up trying to use electronic devices to get the door to the holodeck open, and are now utilizing crowbars. The E has decided that she's tired of snow, and switched our trio over to something more interesting.


It's all good, though. In another moment, the doors of the holodeck are pried open, freeing them. But after almost freezing to death, they're sent back to their stations on the bridge. I hope they called their unions after this mission. That's some straight bullshit.
The computer takes over the helm, and directs them back to the Neutral Zone.
Of course the Romulans are waiting for them.
But then the E stops and poops out this grey thing from the shuttle bay doors.
"The hell?" asks Kirk.


The grey thing morphs into another Enterprise. It looks like they're just flying in tandem, some space apart, but I guess it's meant to be seen as the new Enterprise is three times larger as the original. Oddly, the original looks like CGI here.


The Romulan ships back off a bit, and the bridge crew discuss what might be happening. Spock suggests that the E is getting revenge on the Romulans for firing on her earlier. 
Bones reminds them that the Roms will fire on the fake E, destroy it, and still have the upper hand.
But Kirk says that the Roms are all honor-bound and will find being tricked a worse fate than death.

We get a cool shot from inside the Romulan ship at this point. When they aren't able to contact it through subspace radio, they fire on it. It deflates like a balloon, and we hear the computer laughing. Maybe the laughter is also being broadcast over the PA of the Romulan ships. It's certainly heard when the fake Enterprise deflates, and I guess no one told the E that in space, no one can hear you chuckle.


The Romulans chase the remaining Enterprise.
Kirk decides to trick the computer into thinking that he's terrified of flying back through that intergalactic sludge.


Of course the E finds this fascinating, and flies herself right through the cloud again.
This time, the Klingons follow. We get another shot from inside their ship, only this time, we see it from inside the cloud. It reminds me of the opening scene from "The Magicks of Megas-Tu". All of the drugs were done on this show.


Back on the E, the computer's new personality is shutting down, and helm control is back. Flying back through the cloud somehow reversed the whole thing, even though Spock originally described the issue with the computer being "subatomic particles attacking the ship like bacteria attacking living matter." I guess flying through the cloud again just reverses that. 
Uhura says she hears something over the radio, and puts it on over the PA. It's the Klingon ships, yelling at one another to control the food dispensers. Much like both tribble episodes (here and here), Kirk has decided that, rather than help the Romulans, he'll just let them deal with it themselves, and the bridge crew laughs, and they fly off into space.


This episode was okay. We got some nice moments, like with that Spirk ship moment in the corridor, and when Sulu and Uhura help Bones out of the pit, and later, when he's tired of walking through the snow and they encourage him.
But there were a few unexplained things as well. For instance, how big was the cloud-thing? Was it so big that the Romulans could not have flown around it, and gotten at the Enterprise that way? Was following it their only course of action? While we're talking about the Romulans, what was up with that subplot? How did they know the Enterprise would be at that exact spot at that exact time? Did they infiltrate some information saying that the E was investigating space phenomena in the area? Kirk himself said they were three days ahead of schedule, and he had no idea that he'd be there at that time. How did the Roms know they'd be there? What's more, why were they there in the first place? Both the Romulans and the Enterprise claimed that each one was in their space. If the Romulans were right, why was the E in Rom space? Seems like a pretty big mistake to make, sending the E into Rom territory, especially if the punishment is death. It seems far more likely that the Roms were in Federation territory, but if that's the case, we never find out why.
The plot hole vendor apparently had lots of product to push this week.


A last thing concerning the holodeck, something which I've thought of often, and which is suggested here, but not explained: how does the holodeck work? I mean, I know the main logistics, but if Uhura is correct, and you simply walk far enough, you will hit a wall. I have never seen anyone run into the wall of the holodeck. I know that from the point of perspective, when you journey through the scene presented to you by the computer, the scene will change as you move and present you with different scenery, ie, walking down the street. But if Uhura is correct, you should actually, physically walk forward through the holodeck room and hit that wall eventually. The room is not infinite. I tried looking up the specs and technology for the holodeck, but this one piece of information seems to be missing, like some weird technological plot hole.


*******

So I have this theory, and even though I've had it for a while, I know others have had it, too. It's the theory of _______ Spice. Most of the time, the produce in question is pumpkin, but it can work for many different fruits or veggies. The theory is... that food item doesn't actually taste like pumpkin, or the other produce mentioned. It just tastes like the spice palette used. So pumpkin spice, apple spice and durian spice will all taste similar, because they don't really go out of their way to include that taste of produce. While apple spice is less likely to taste only like the spice palette used, I have encountered some apple spice items that just taste like a combo of cinnamon and cloves and nothing else.
The tea I had this week was like that. I had a mug of Tazo Organic Peach Cobbler, and did not expect it to fall into the realm of (Blank) Spice Theory, but it did. You know what peach tastes like. You probably know what peach cobbler tastes like. This tasted like neither. The box claims that it's made of "black teas with peach notes, apple and cinnamon, and other natural flavors." Wait, did it say apple and cinnamon? It did. And guess what this tea tastes most like? Apple and cinnamon. Any "peach notes" involved were gone with the wind, and while there was some apple, it mostly just tasted like a spice palette. Don't get me wrong, it was good. But it does not taste like peach or cobblers.








Uhura and Bratty


Monday, October 19, 2015

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!"