Star Trek

Star Trek

Monday, June 30, 2014

Season 2, Episode 46 "The Gamesters of Triskelion"

"The Gamesters of Triskelion"
Production Number: 46
Air Order: 45
Stardate: 3211.7
Original Air Date: January 5, 1968



There are these scientists, probably guys who watched this show as kids, who are working on transporters. Like "Beam me up" transporters. They can transport stuff like, 10 feet. I'm torn. While I really don't want the kind of shoddy workmanship that leads to soul-splitting, Mirror Universe, desert-you-on-the-planet's-surface transporter fuck-ups, I'd also really like this guy to hurry the hell up. Imagine never missing an appointment again. Or being able to get your immunizations, then being instantly zapped to an exotic destination. Me, I'd like to be able to skip the nine-hour round trip involved with family functions (especially since the drive back this time included a two-hour delay due to road construction). I could save money on not having to buy two tanks of pricey-ass gas, and I wouldn't have to spend hours on the freeway, reading alternating billboards that proclaim Jeebus to be the answer, then proclaiming pot to be the answer. (I feel like both cannot be the answer. You have to pick one, like a blue pill/ red pill kind of thing where both of the pills are blue.)
Keep plugging away, transporter scientists. I'd like to go to Catal Huyuk someday, and I'll bet the flight sucks.

Beam me up, yo

*******



Kirk's Log 3211.7: "We're orbiting an uninhabited planetoid with electronic gizmos on the surface. Gonna take Chekov and Uhura downstairs to monitor things."

Again, I question why the freaking captain must go on this goofy routine check of electronic gizmos, but I guess as captain Kirk gets his pick of any number of fascinating, important routine checks.
"Mind the store," he tells Spock as the three leave the bridge. Dude, I love it when Kirk uses ridiculous human colloquialisms and Spock just nods like it's no biggie.  Just another day at the office for him, where every cubicle holds a dorky human.
So Kirk, Uhura and Chekov hop on the transporter pad, and Scotty preps to beam them down, but they disappear... and the sound effects guys select a "boi-oi-oi-oing" noise to accompany their journey to... somewhere.



Kirk makes note of the weird sky color (copper patina, I guess?), and the three suns, and declares that they are not on the surface of Gamma II, the planet they were orbiting.
Upstairs, somewhere else, Scotty is losing his shit. He comms Spock on the bridge to tell him that the away team disappeared, and gets a facetious answer in reply.
"No, dipshit," says Scotty. "I didn't beam them anywhere. They disappeared off the pad, and the cheesiest sound effect ever occurred."

Downstairs, across the universe, Kirk attempts to raise the E and is unsuccessful. A group of mismatched people come out of the rocks and surround them, brandishing weapons. Phasers are less than useless, and Kirk orders his away team to use hand-to-hand combat. Uhura, like a bad-ass, tries to take on two chicks at once. Unfortunately, she's outmatched, as is Chekov, who got stuck with some pro-wrestler. Kirk, ever undefeated, manages to gain the upper hand and dispense with his guy, but then he's knocked on his ass by a green-haired female. Dramatic music! Commercial break!



Kirk's Log 3211.8: "Here's a recap of all the shit that just happened while you were getting a Coke out of the fridge, because you didn't realize that your show had already started."

Another dude appears with a boi-oi-oing, this one in a vampire cape. His face texture is strange, almost like someone had painted his skin with Elmer's School Glue. Or hard-water deposits. Hard-Water Deposits welcomes Kirk and Co, and tells them that they will be important additions. He introduces himself as Galt, the Master Thrall of Triskelion. No idea what that is, though. He doesn't even give them his business card.



For the record, which ever way you try to pronounce the word Triskelion in your head, it's never going to be correct. I had myself convinced that it was most definitely Tris-kuh-LEE-un, or possibly Tris-kuh-LY-un, but it's actually Tri-SKELL-yun. I don't know why that matters. It doesn't. Forget it.
Galt and the others take Kirk, Uhura and Chekov to some kind of dungeon, where they're manacled to the wall. Collars are put on them, and Galt tells them that they were selected and transported to Triskelion to be thralls (I think he means slaves).



Upstairs, in a galaxy far, far away, Scotty and Spock are trying to determine where the others have gone. There is nothing wrong with their equipment, and there are no life signs on  Gamma II. Bones, because he lacks someone to heal or something, slips back into his role as Head Bitch in Charge of Whining That No One is Looking For Kirk. Spock replies that their best option is to keep looking and hope for the best.
Bones sneers at him that hope is a human failing.  Spock agrees and replies that after living with humans, some contamination is to be expected. Scotty looks like he's holding in a laugh at the use of the word "contamination." I'm sure most people on this ship are used to watching Spock troll Bones.



Kirk, Uhura and Chekov are shown to their sleeping quarters, which have bars and their names printed on them. They come off as horse stalls. Kirk makes a half-movement, and the three attempt to make a break for it, but their collars glow, and they fall over in agony.



We find out in the next shot that Galt the Armless Wonder has been consuming the Spice, just like that dick in episode one. When his eyes clear, he tells them that was dumb, and that their shock collars should keep them in line. Frankly, where the fuck did Kirk think they were going, anyway? None of them knows this planet at all, and they have no means of escape. Anyone else would have gone along with Galt, gathering information for an escape plan. But oh, no. There's Kirk, leaping without giving so much as one thought to looking first. Dumbass.



There's a brief scene where Spock and Bones give each other some grief, but it's not important to the plot, so we'll move on.
One of the other thralls, a guy named Lars, goes to Uhura's cage with a tray of food and tells her that he's her drill thrall. Let's look at Lars, who is part of this week's evidence that the costume department is on drugs. Firstly, dude looks like Christopher Walken in drag. I know that's not the costume department's design, but it's the case nonetheless. That pompadour is a bit Johnny Bravo. His jerkin is actually an okay design, and I would be down with it if he wasn't wearing short-shorts.

The hell it's not.
Lars enters Uhura's cage, and you hear her protest and their shadows on the wall showing her struggling against him. Holy shit, is he raping her? We cut back to Kirk, yelling for Uhura. It's a super-dramatic cut just before commercial, where Kirk is shown reaching toward the camera and yelling "Lieutenant!"
I know that Kirk is responsible for her, and that if Uhura is getting raped that they can't show that on tv, but dammit, why must everything be about Kirk? Might as well re-name it The Kirk Show, starring Kirk, Kirk's Old Friends, and All The Rest.



When we return from commercial, Lars is exiting the pen, telling Uhura that she is not allowed to refuse selection, and she appears to be just fine. So dude went in to give her food, and tell her that he was going to train her, and it seems like he grabbed  her, and both she and Kirk over-reacted.
Kirk's drill thrall, the green-haired girl, shows up with his tray, but she just sits in a chair and glowers at him.

Spock's Log 3259.2: "Recap, recap. Peeps have been missing for two hours. We don't know where they went or how to find them."

A gold sitting at the science station finds an ion cloud, and when they ask the computer about it, the computer returns with "hell if I know." And it doesn't. Nothing in it's known universe matches that shit. For some reason - I guess to save money on extras - the gold who was running the science station is now the navigator.

Chekov's drill thrall comes in, and it's the yellow girl. Her name is Tamoon, and she's clearly sweet on Chekov, but he's obviously repulsed by her. She's cute enough, but they gave her super-masculine attributes, and they seem to have dubbed her voice over with that of a feminine-sounding guy. I guess the point is that they wanted Tamoon to be masculine, and this is turn-off for Chekov? He's kind of a dick to her. She's actually really nice to him.
Let's move on to her costume, shall we?
Tamoon is goldenrod, with orange and white hair. She's matched her make-up to her collar-color, which is blue. But more than this is the fact that she's wearing a romper. I just got into a mini-debate on Facebook the other day about rompers. I feel like most one-piece outfits only look good on certain kinds of people, and look ridiculous and ill-fitting on most others. It is not my favorite look. Tamoon is wearing a pink-and-orange romper that's not the end of the world, which is to say that it fits her alright, and the silver accents are okay. The thing that puts her outfit over the top (for me, at least), are her matching pink booties, and the fact that that romper is paired with the yellow skin and orange hair. It bears the mark of Star Trek Ridiculousness. "Super-yellow skin and orange hair mean alien, yes?"



Kikr's drill thrall is the green-haired female, Shahna. He wolfs down food and asks questions. She tells him that Galt controls the collars for punishment and obedience purposes, and that the Providers will buy Kirk for their teams when he has been properly trained up. The color you get on your collar indicates who bought you. Shahna admits that she was born here into slavery, and that her mother was killed in a freestyle match. Kirk tells her that she is beautiful, and I roll my eyes. Shahna asks what beautiful is, and there go the eyes again. He shows her her reflection in a chafing dish lid, and tells her that that is what beautiful looks like. Seriously, Star Trek, I'm getting eye strain here. They're interrupted by a red alert announcing the training time, and I heave a sigh of relief that this shit is over.



I hate to keep dropping the narrative to talk about costumes, but Shahna's is the worst, and a clear illustration of some of the weird shit that Star Trek churns out while trying to answer the question, "How do we make a human look like an alien?" Eventually, they'll reach the conclusion that the best answer is forehead ridges (Klingons) or funny-shaped ears (Vulcan/Romulan/Ferengi) or fucking with the bridge of the nose (Bajorans and countless others). But those are later shows, and here, it's a weird skin or hair color and not enough costume. Shahna is wearing strips of tin foil, a boob sling, matching knee-high boots and gloves. Her hair is not only large, but badly-dyed green, and that color clashes horribly with her skin tone. It looks even worse with her mod make-up. Shahna is the epitome of Star Trek Cheese, and it won't stop with her costume. They've already laid the ground-work here with that "What is beautiful?" crap.

Scene: Bones yells at Spock again.

Galt stops the training when he brings in another thrall (this one dressed in cheetah-print boxer shorts and a long sleeveless tunic) that he says was slow to obey a command. As part of training, Galt tells Uhura to attack him with her weapon. Uhura tells Galt to fuck off and die. Galt responds by trying to have Uhura tied up for punishment instead, but Kirk interrupts by insisting that he is responsible for his crew members, and he will take it. So they tie him up and Kroog, the final thrall in the group, gets ready to whip him.
Let's look at Kroog. His costume does not suck. He's huge, has tusks, and wears a fur covering and boots. He's got a neanderthal look about him that I buy, and he's got a face only... fuck it, I bet his own mother slapped him when he came out. Kroog is a well-done alien.



There's a break, and when we return, Kroog is trying to whip a constantly-moving Kirk, who does a voice-over recap supplemental log, just in case you fell asleep sometime in the last 20 minutes.
They get a rest period, and Kirk sits down next to Shahna. Like the wizened old gym rat who mentors the young rebellious boxer, she gives him a swig of some kind of restorative drink, and tells him that Kroog's left eye is weak.
Back in the ring, Kirk manages to wrangle out of his ties, and uses the thong to strangle Kroog from behind. A disembodied voice interrupts. The unseen providers start a bidding war for Kirk, Uhura and Chekov. When Kirk yells that they are free people and belong to no one, they start wagering on whether or not Kirk will be trainable, and if all three will have to be destroyed due to unbroken spirits. Galt goes to our crew members, and his eyes go Excessive Spice Consumption. The plastic markers on their collars turn the color designated by their owner, and bahahahaha! They're all Reds now. *snort* How's that shit feel, Kirk?



Episode-padding scene of Spock sort of accusing Scotty's transporters of malfunctioning. Scotty tells Spock to suck it.
And now for the scene in this episode that I hate the most: Shahna and shirtless Kirk are jogging through the landscape in some ruins. Slightly out-of-shape Kirk begs for a rest, and he asks about the Providers. She replies that she doesn't really know anything about them, but that their bodies are not like thrall bodies. He tries to talk to her about stars, but she isn't interested. Then he tells her that they are slaves, and should be free. Having been raised on Triskelion, she doesn't know what the hell he's talking about. So how does he try to talk to her about freedom? By bringing up love. No, they're not fucking with us. This is where they're headed. Kirk finds out that Shahna doesn't know about love, so he's going to set out to show her all about it. With his penis. How often does he pull this shit? He tells her that love is the most important thing on Earth. I think most politicians would disagree, Kirk.



Shahna ends the conversation by telling Kirk that she doesn't think they should be talking about this, and he asks about the Providers again. She volunteers a bit of information, but then her collar glows red, and she's obviously being tortured. Kirk yells at the sky for the Providers to stop,  that it's his fault. The Providers break in to tell Kirk that they find him interesting, and they eventually leave Shahna alone. Kirk scoops her off the ground, and she goes grateful damsel on him, and they make out. You know, Shahna used to be a bad-ass, but then she took a Kirk to the mouth.
Then Galt shows up to cock-block him and send them back to the horse stables.



Scene: Spock is following a feeling that the beam that caught Kirk and Co is in another system, and is headed there. McCoy and Scotty think the others are trapped on Gamma II. They compromise: they'll check out Spock's hunch, but will also return to search Gamma II. I can't decide if these scenes are here to illustrate that the E is actually looking for the others; if the writers have added them in to give us a reprieve of the thrall story and Kirk's Quest for Space Nookie; or if the Space Nookie story wasn't long enough, and they're padding out the episode. These scenes seem unnecessary. Of course the E is looking for them - why wouldn't they?

Spock shuts them down by suggesting that they mutiny against him
in order to get what they want.

Kirk, still shirtless, is in his stable when Shahna brings food. She's weirded out by him now, but he forces a kiss on her. When she relaxes into it, he slugs her, then apologizes to her unconscious form. I hate you so much right now, Kirk. Fuck you.
He grabs the door key off of her, and lets Chekov out. The ensign has tied up Tamoon in his stable. So he and Kirk chose to go with the dick move, and exploit the feelings of the women training them. They let out Uhura, and it turns out that she's the only one who wasn't an asshole in her escape plan: she complained about the food to Lars, who went to report her. Kirk surmises that, if they can get their phasers back, they can use those to short out the collar. I hope the phaser is set on Fucking Obliterate when you use it on yours, Kirk. They only make it as far as the arena when Galt appears. His Spice eyes light up their collars, and they writhe in pain.



Upstairs, the E has entered orbit around Triskelion. Spock and Bones have decided to beam down to look amongst the humanoid life-forms that they detect, but they are blocked from leaving the bridge. The disembodied voices of the Providers welcomes them. The voices are heard on the planet's surface as well, so Kirk hears them talking to Spock. For whatever reason, he can talk to Spock on the ship as well. He explains that The Providers transport people from other galaxies to this planet, to train and fight for the Providers' amusement. He accuses them of not showing themselves.
The Providers decide that Kirk seeing them would be okay, and *boi-oi-oing!* he is standing (still fucking shirtless) in a cave with three colored brains. And hey, they're on the same planet as those lithium mines that were invading the space of the Horta. Good times.




Kirk sees the painting and surmises that this is the power source of the beam, hidden underground. The brains tell him that they once had bodies, but have evolved into a simpler shape, because of their superior smartitude. Now they're bored, so their only way of entertaining themselves is to kidnap other people, train them to fight, and bet on the outcome. Kirk decides to trick them by offering to have himself, Chekov and Uhura fight an equal number of thralls. The stakes are, if he and the others win, everyone goes free, and the Providers will educate the thralls and teach them to govern themselves. If they lose, he'll give the Providers the entire crew of the E. Okay, seriously? Those lives aren't yours to give, asshole. You seem pretty cocky about this, wagering everyone in the vicinity. The brains agree, but switch it up so that Kirk will fight three thralls on his own.

Blue is the sexiest brain.


Boi-oi-oi-oing. Kirk is back in the arena, to fight Lars, Kroog, and some random Andorian. The rules are that Kirk must stay in the yellow areas, and the thralls must stay in the blue. If you go into the wrong color, you lose a weapon. If a thrall is injured, he is replaced with a new thrall. The fight goes up on the E viewscreen, because why the fuck not? Things start up, and immediately, no one stays completely on their own color. Kirk takes out Kroog with a spear, then the Andorian throws a spear at Kirk, which misses and gets Lars. Kirk wounds the Andorian, so Shahna is sent in. Because Shahna is the only person in the universe who can fight, she knocks Kirk on his ass. But she is unable to make the kill shot, and he ends up taking her to the ground, a knife at her throat. Shahna declares that the thralls surrender. One would think that the brains wouldn't accept this outcome, but because there are only two and a half minutes left before the credits roll on this episode, they do. The E is free, and the thralls as well. The brains will show the thralls how to make a home for themselves.



Kirk apologizes to Shahna, saying that he hopes she'll understand that he didn't lie to her, he was just doing what he had to escape. Of course she doesn't fucking understand. And now that she knows what love is, and how much it sucks ass, the next time someone suggests these kinds of activities, she'll think back to this one asshole who told her about this wonderful thing, and then ripped her heart out. She'll probably wind up in therapy, you douche. She lies and says she understands a bit, but that she would like to go with him. He replies that he can't, mostly because he was using her, and the love thing was a ruse that he doesn't want to keep up. So he kisses her again, and Scotty beams the three up.

Chekov and Uhura look like they don't buy his shit, either.


We're left with a Girl-O-Vision shot of Shahna, looking up to where Kirk beamed from, and she says "Good-bye, Jim Kirk. I will stay here and learn some shit and remember how you fucked me over, even though it's suggested that I will remember you fondly, because that's how bullshitty romantic movies work." A single tear rolls down her cheek, and I vomit copiously at this hackneyed crap.



Congratulations, Gamesters of Triskelion! You win the prize for being the Cheesiest Episode So Far! Let's see why:
-premise of slaves being used to fight for masters' amusement been done before (Bread and Circuses);
-multiple excuses for Kirk to wander around in a ripped shirt/shirtless;
-use of the "boing" sound effect, which is best used in cartoons that are not being asked to be taken     seriously;
-girl does not know what love is, and Kirk takes it upon himself to "educate" her - premise used on a semi-regular basis;
-girl who starts out as a badass turns into a damsel;
-villains turn out to be talking brains;
-costumes kind of typically "Star Trek awful";
-end shot is of single tear running down girl's cheek because fucking Kirk left, rather than girl shaking fist at sky and yelling "good riddance!"

Things that make this episode more watchable:
-Uhura given a larger part than usual;
- ...?


Death Toll:
Red deaths this episode: 0
Red deaths this season: 12
Gold deaths this episode: 0
Gold deaths this season: 6
Blue deaths this episode: 0
Blue deaths this season: 1
Total crew deaths this season: 19
Total crew deaths thus far: 36

Just thralls this time. I feel like I was promised a Red bloodbath, but got a drippy faucet instead. Maybe I should switch to GoT.

*******

This week's tea is the Gold Peak brand, and I've been curious because you can find this brand in Carl's Jr restaurants. Only they're not in the fountains like Fuze or Nestea, they're in a sort of coffee urn with their logo on the front. I wondered if Gold Peak was sending loose leaf tea or even giant bags to CJ's, and having them brew it there. What's more, I wondered if GP brand was actual tea, or just tea flavor. 
I can't find any info if they brew it in-store or not, but it's not tea-flavored. While it doesn't specify the leaf base, it has the slightly bitter after-taste of black leaf, so I'm gonna guess that it's real tea. It's pretty good. I thought maybe they would have it in Hardee's, which is what they call Carl's Jr in some parts of the country, but it wasn't listed on the Hardees menu. Why is this fancy-ish tea even IN fast food restaurants? It's owned by Coke. Anyway, it comes in a bunch of flavors that I've seen in grocery stores, and also on their website (though it only comes in one flavor -unsweetened- if you get it at Carl's Jr).





My grandma is allergic to cats, so she keeps this little faux kitten
on her guest bed. I think it's made from angora. It's so fluffy, I'm
gonna die.



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