Production Number: 21
Air Order: 19
Original Air Date: January 26, 1967
|This is why Picard is my captain.|
This week's episode starts off not with an establishing shot of the Enterprise, but of Air Force jets on a base. A dude at a radar screen reports to his CO that something just appeared on the screen - no approach - and the CO calls someone to have it investigated as a UFO. A plane takes off, and we hear the Star Trek theme music as the Enterprise floats across a cloud-filled sky. The effect is kind of crappy and pasted-on-looking, but I'm not gonna fault them for it because it gets the point across and because this show tries a lot of special effects that kinda-sorta work. Points for at least trying.
So I'm sure people tuning in for the first time were confused when they got a pre-credits scene with Air Force officers instead of Starfleet. "WTH? I tuned in to watch Star Trek. What is this, I Dream of Jeannie?" I like it. The story people stepped out of the bridge-shaped box and showed us another side of the story. A Command Gold star for them. It's a bit like Balance of Terror (S1, E9) when we go on board the Romulan ship. I know it's more costly, but I like when we get a break from the same old bridge shots.
Kirk's Log 3113.2: The Enterprise got sucked into the gravitational pull of a black star. They threw the warp engines into reverse and it shot them back in in time to their present location.
Everybody gets up off the floor and does damage control, checking what works and what doesn't. Now taking bets as to how long Scotty claims he'll need to fix the ship, and how it long it actually takes.
Spock reports that they are inside Earth's atmosphere, and have the energy to propel themselves into orbit and remain there. Uhura says that she can't get a hold of Starfleet command, but they are picking up air-to-ground communications. A news reporter talks about the upcoming moon shot.
"That was in the late 1960's!" says Kirk.
"Yep, that's when we are," replies Spock.
That plane catches up to them and the bridge crew can hear his transmissions. Sulu is attempting to limp the ship away from the missile-carrying jet, but not getting there quickly enough. Kirk orders them to tractor the plane in, but the material isn't strong enough, and the jet starts to break down. Kirk has the pilot beamed aboard.
Down in the transporter room, Kirk checks out the pilot like he's a newbie yeoman. He gives Kirk his name, rank and serial number like a good little officer. He is Captain John Christopher.
"Cool!" says Kirk. "I'm a captain, too! Twinsies!"
Because he's never encountered time travel, Kirk invites Christopher to the bridge and tells him all about the ship. He explains that they're part of the United Earth Space Probe Agency. Great. We're back to Yoospa again. Can we please just pick a governing body and stick with it?
|"Wait, you let your women out of the kitchen?"|
Up on the bridge, Spock pulls Kirk aside to say that Christopher's plane is toast, and that by beaming the pilot aboard, he may have fucked up all the shit. It's okay, Kirk. Here's how you tell if you fucked up all the shit: get a picture of yourself and your siblings. Attach it to the neck of your electric guitar. Play Johnny B Good at the high school dance. If no one disappears from your photo, then you have successfully not fucked up all the shit. Also, avoid dating your MILFy mom.
"Good to know," Kirk tells Spock.
Kirk invites Christopher to chat in his office. They've given the pilot some new threads - a command gold uniform. Kirk talks to the computer, and when it responds, it isn't Majel Barrett efficiency. It's all a purry come-hither mess. It calls Kirk "dear".
Spock says that when they last did computer maintenance, it was at a starbase on a planet dominated by women, and it would take three weeks to overhaul it to get rid of Slutty Siri. I'm facepalming, you guys. Uhura on the bridge takes us two steps forward in feminism and equality. This computer program takes us back three or four. At least we get to see Kirk squirm here.
Christopher is thoroughly amused. "Wish I could be here to see how things work out with your girlfriend."
Damn. Dude is on board for 10 minutes and even he ships Kirkerprise.
"Yeah, about that," says Kirk. "You can't go home because you know too much. Sorry if I fucked up all of your shit."
Christopher, who has probably seen "It's A Wonderful Life", points out that if he disappears, things will change.
"No, I Googled you," says Spock. "You don't do anything significant," which is a lousy thing to say to someone.
Christopher points out that he's married with kids. Spock looks mildly interested, but Kirk pages Scotty.
"I can give you engines in four hours," says Scotty, "but where the hell are we gonna go?"
"Ha!" says Christopher. "You douchebags are stuck here too!"
Kirk's Log 3113.7: "Engines being repaired. Nowhere to go. Have a guy on board that we have to keep, but don't want."
Kirk threatens the computer with scrapping and it responds in a pouty voice. I really hope this is the only episode with this crappy side-plot. I know it's for laughs, but it's really not that funny.
Spock pages Kirk, saying he wants to see both captains. But Christopher isn't answering his page. Kirk alerts the Red Shirts. In the meantime, Christopher takes out a Red Shirt in the corridor, steals his phaser, and demands that the dude in the transporter room send him back to Earth. Kirk comes in and knocks him out.
Down in sick bay, Kirk and Bones chat about the implications of having to stay in this time period, and of going Back To The Future with Christopher. Spock enters and announces that he made a mistake, which delights Bones to no end. Seems Christopher is supposed to have a son who hasn't been born yet, who heads some important Saturn mission. Everyone but Spock dreamily imagines spawning males.
So there's a problem: Christopher's plane wreckage went down in Nebraska, and contains recorded information about the Enterprise. They need to get it back from the base. Christopher offers to sketch the layout of the base for them.
Sulu and Kirk beam down to the base, where they break into an office and marvel at an old-ass computer system.
"I've seen one of these in a museum," says Kirk.
Funny, so have I.
They grab some reel-to-reel tapes, but an Air Force officer bursts in. He demands their Batman utility belts and Sulu's purse.
An antsy Bones and Spock try to contact Kirk and Sulu, but the AF officer has the comms. Our boys in blue beam up the signal. And that kids, is how Spock and Bones fucked up all the shit, too.
Kirk's Log 3113.9: "Spock recording. Because there was not quite enough drama in this episode, we beamed up a second person."
Kirk pages Spock and asks that the AFO be kept in the transporter room as damage control. He and Sulu grab more tapes and stuff them into the bag, which was apparently left behind. They sneak into the photo lab and steal the reel of negatives that Christopher took of the Enterprise, but they're given away by some sort of security device. Sulu beams up with the evidence while Kirk starts a fistfight with the officers.
Up top, Spock examines the evidence and tells Scotty to turn on the engines to test his theory of how to get back to the correct time. Bones loses his shit with Spock over the captain, the same way he always does when Kirk idiotically takes off and gets himself trapped.
Downstairs, Kirk is being interrogated by by the AFOs that grabbed him. He kind of gives them the run-around, and they mess with his Away Team stuff.
"For pulling a B&E on the Air Force, I'm gonna lock you up for 200 years!"
And I swear to Zod, Kirk breaks the fourth wall to say dryly, "Yeah, that should just about do it."
In the briefing room, Christopher says he knows where the AFOs probably took Kirk, but he'll only tell them if they take him along. Spock hesitantly agrees, and he, Sulu and Christopher beam down in front of the amazed AFO stow-away. The stow-away is further amazed when the transporter dude orders him up some chicken soup from the replicator.
The boys karate-chop their way into the interrogation room to rescue Kirk, but Christopher pulls a pistol on them as they're preparing to leave. Luckily, Spock anticipated this and takes him down with a Vulcan nerve pinch.
Kirk's Log 3114.1: "Scotty and Spock have a theory as to how to get us the hell out of here."
So all of the science in this episode revolves around the slingshot method. They got into this pickle because the black star pulled them in, and their engine reverse snapped them back in time. Now they propose that getting too close to the sun will send them back in time to before the incident with the tractor beam, where they will drop Christopher and Sargent Stow-Away. Then they will reverse the engines to go forward in time. Somehow, the chronometer will magically keep track of where they are in time, rather than continuing to keep time from the 24th century.
So again, I have zero knowledge of warp engines, but this sounds like a lot of crappola to me. "If we reverse away from the gravitational pull of the sun really fast, it'll allow us to travel in time." Oh, Star Trek. Your saving grace here is that no one has actually figured out how to travel in time. Yet.
The model shots of the ship kind of jerking in space are super fake-looking, but we'll shrug it off again, this time because it seems they hadn't figured out that ships in space don't move like ships on the water... they move like ships under water. Plus, it's kind of amusing when they all rock in unison like that.
They reach the beaming point for Christopher and beam him down at around the time they beamed him up. He simply reports back that the UFO disappeared.
So, I have a problem with the beaming of Sargent Stow-Away. They beam him back to when he's still in the corridor at the base, just as he's about to nab Sulu and Kirk in the computer room. BUT - instead of beaming his essence back into his body, as they appear to do, wouldn't it beam another physical version of him onto the base? He didn't actually beam up until several minutes later, so wouldn't beaming him back early convolute the timeline far more?
They start moving forward again through the decades, apply the brakes about forty years in the past, and magically arrive right when they need to. It's a rough ride, with more of that rocking ship in space nonsense, but they know things are fine when Starfleet hails them.
Places where this episode went right: opening with shots of the air force base, which is a nice break from the regular shots of the Enterprise.
Places where this episode needed work: wonky science concerning space travel and beaming.
This week's tea is "Bengal Spice", an herbal tea by Celestial Seasonings. The package says it has cinnamon, ginger, and cardamon. I was kind of okay with this, because I love ginger and cardamon. I usually swap out the cinnamon called for in fruit-based recipes with ginger and cardamon, because I feel like cinnamon is really over-done, and overpowers the fruit taste. That was kind of the case here as well. It's a bit like liquefied Red Hots, without the bite. If you like cinnamon, this is your cup of Earl Grey. If you don't, back away slowly.
|The tiger on the box is pretty bad-ass, but I've just realized that the |
website says that it's their take on chai. No wonder. I don't
|Roomie and Dubs: "Look, look, look! The White Menace is|
snuggling with the DVD case! You should take a picture, and put it on your blog!"
Ladies and gentlemen, The White Menace.