Warp Speed to Nonsense

Warp Speed to Nonsense

Monday, March 2, 2015

Season 3, Episode 69 "That Which Survives"

"That Which Survives"
Production Order: 69
Air Order: 72
Stardate: Unknown
Original Air Date: January 24, 1969

We start out this week with a planet that our boys cannot classify: it's about the size of Earth's moon, but with a class M atmosphere, and an age of only a few thousand years. The plant life is far too advanced to have evolved over that short a time. Spock is hovering somewhere between stumped and fascinated.
Kirk decides to investigate, and takes Sulu, Bones, and a geologist named D'Amato, and leaves Spock in charge. Frankly, I feel like Kirk should have swapped himself out for Spock, as Spock sciences and Kirk does not, but I can't explain half of this guy's decisions, so I guess it's moot.
Our boys meet D'Amato in the transporter, and everyone is stoked because something "that even Spock can't explain" is pretty cool. They hop on the transporter pad and are in the process of being beamed down when there's a boi-oi-oing sound, and some chick appears.
She shouts, "No, you must not go!" and then turns and gives the Red running the transporter a Vulcan pinch or something. He drops like a sack of potatoes, but it's too late, and even though the away team has seen it happen, they are too far gone to not transport.

When they hit the surface, Kirk tries to call the E to enquire about Wyatt, the Red in the transporter room. But there isn't time, as the ground starts to shake. It... involves more that just the actors stumbling and the camera shaking. The rocks and ground they are standing on are moving like the giant foam props that they are. I want to be nice, because I know the special effects guys are trying, but good Lord is it ever cheesy-looking. The lights are also flashing, and you can see the shadows from the rocks bouncing off "the sky."

Upstairs, the E is shaking as well. Everyone falls out of their chairs. The woman who took Sulu's spot, Rahda, shouts that the planet is gone.
On the surface, the away team has whipped out their scanners. D'Amato says he has a huge power flux registered that has nothing to do with the earthquake, but now it's gone. Sulu reports that the E is missing.
"Well, shit," says Kirk. "We're stranded."
Dramatic music! Commercial break!

When we return, Sulu offers a cheerful suggestion that maybe the E blew up, and it rocked the planet. Kirk shoots it down based on lack of radiation in the area. Bones suggests a meteor strike, and Sulu says it's possible, because there was something similar that happened in Siberia. Kirk interrupts him to snarkily say that if he wanted a Russian history lesson, he'd have chosen Chekov to beam down instead. Dude was just offering possibilities, Kirk. I don't hear you giving up any ideas. He assigns Sulu and D'Amato to look for food and water, which I guess is productive.
Back on the bridge, Spock is assessing the damages, which are minimal. Uhura reports that sick bay called in with a casualty, Lt Wyatt from the transporter room. Suspicious, Spock calls sick bay. You guys - look! It's Dr M'benge from "A Private Little War" !

M'benga says it's too soon to have info about Wyatt, because Dr Sanchez is still conducting the autopsy. We never see Dr Sanchez, but who cares? Latino doctor, y'all! "Dear POC kids, Study hard so you can become space doctors. Love, Star Trek."
Spock says to keep him updated, then asks Scotty to check out the transporter. Rahda says the stars are wrong, and guesstimates that they've been pushed 1000 light years away from the planet where they had beamed down. The Vulcan corrects her by saying that it's actually 990.7 light years. Spock and Scotty argue about what might have pushed them so far away. An exploding star is brought up, but dismissed because an explosion like that would have wiped them out. Scotty is excited because this means that they actually have been pushed that far out, and the away team is most likely still alive. Spock tells him to control himself. M'benga calls to say that Sanchez has found that Wyatt died from "cellular disruption," or "his cells exploded from the inside-out." Spock surmises to Scotty that someone must have entered the transporter room after the away team beamed down. He asks Scotty to give him warp eight in returning to the planet. Scotty promises to sit on the engines and nurse them himself, which is a gross mental image. Spock doesn't get the joke, so he replies that such a thing would be undignified.

Planet-side, the boys have reported back. Sulu says that all of the vegetation is poisonous. Bones says that the closest this planet comes to having life outside of that crappy vegetation is some kind of parasite. D'Amato says there is no water. There's a long, drawn-out conversation about there being no water, and how they need to find it. Really? Are you sure? Cuz those sure as shit look like oceans to me, Star Trek.

So Kirk sends them out to look for water again on this supposedly dry planet. Sulu is out and about scanning when he calls Kirk to report an energy spike that went away quickly, "like a door opening and then closing again." We switch over to D'Amto, who is scanning and minding his own beeswax when that girl shows up. He's startled to see her, because she freaking snuck up on him, and she tells him not to be afraid.
"I'm not afraid of geological anomalies," he says cheekily. Everyone is so sassy this week!

She confirms that he is Lt D'Amato, senior geologist of the starship Enterprise, and then she says that she is "for him." She reaches out for him as spooky music plays. Which switch it back to Bones, who calls Kirk to talk about an energy spike in D'Amato's area, and they use that door analogy again. Kirk tries calling D'Amato, and when no one answers, he pages Bones and Sulu over to D'Amato's section. They go running, and stumble upon D'Amato's body.
Nice! A Red and a Blue! This is shaping up to be a decent episode. Oh, wait. We're supposed to be sad because a character we just met and know nothing about has died mysteriously just before the commercial break.
Dramatic music! Kirk looking apprehensively into the distance with his phaser out!

We return to find Kirk prepping his phaser to blast a grave in the ground. Sulu remarks that it's a terrible way to die, even though we have no idea how D'Amato died. Kirk replies that there are no good ways to die. Sooo, quietly, in your sleep, of old age, surrounded by loved ones? No? Gotta go somehow. Oh, wait. I forgot that James T Kirk is immortal.
Anyway, he blasts a portion of the ground away only to find that the whole planet seems to be covered in some kind of super-dense rock under a few inches of topsoil. No way to bury a guy. He has Sulu take over D'Amato's geological scan and he and Bones decide to pile on rocks on the geologist instead.
Back on the bridge, Rahda tells Spock they will arrive at the planet in eleven and a half hours. He replies back that it's 11.33 hours, and says he wishes she would be more precise. Spock is super-bitchy this episode. Maybe he's going through Pon Farr again. Scotty calls to say that all of the instruments on the E are set correctly, but the ship "feels" wrong. Spock is then bitchy to him as well. He picks up and fiddles with some little blue box that he'll keep on hand throughout the rest of this episode, and which doesn't seem to have any purpose.

The boys on the remaining away team finish the rock pile grave and discuss what might have killed D'Amato and how they could protect themselves. Once again, Sulu makes a suggestion that is shot down. Dude is not allowed to bounce ideas off of anyone, apparently.

Back in engineering, Scotty is still weirded out that the ship feels "off." He asks a Red to check that some part isn't overheating, even though the read-outs say that all is well. The Red protests at first, then does as he's told. I hope you weren't attached to him, because here comes Polly Purple-Pants. She asks how the ship runs, then rattles off his full name and rank. Rather than ask what the hell she's doing in engineering, he gives her a bullshit answer that sounds good. She sees right through it, and correctly tells him what that machine does. Then she's all "I'm for you, Mr Watkins..." and she does that reach thing. He manages to yell to Scotty that there's some woman in engineering who knows all about the ship, but by the time Scotty shows up, Watkins is dead. The chick has hidden herself behind some piping, and then she disappears like old-fashioned video games quit: first, her form squeezes into one vertical black line. Then the line shrinks into a dash and vanishes.

Scotty calls Spock to report that a weird woman just killed Watkins. Spock posts a security alert to all decks to be on the look-out for an intruder.

Planet-side, Kirk, Bones and Sulu are discussing what they've found: the planet only seems to be a few thousand years old, man-made, has no magnetic poles and no life except for plants that didn't have time to evolve. They decide to sleep some and take up again in the morning. Sulu volunteers to take first watch. He sets D'Amato's tricorder to broadcast a distress signal.

Upstairs, M'benga has finished the autopsy on Watkins. "It's the same thing that killed Wyatt - the cellular disruption - but as to what caused it, I can only guess."
"Bitch, I need answers, not guesses," barks Spock.
M'benga quietly writes out a script for Spock for some Vidol.
Spock thinks it was the intruder.
Scotty pretty much writes a summary of this episode with his exposition: "You mean whoever threw the Enterprise a thousand light years away stowed away on the ship from the planet, and has been killing our crewmembers?"
There you go, friends. We could have skipped the first half of this episode and just asked Scotty what was going on.

Downstairs, Polly Purple-Pants turns off the distress signal and approaches Sulu. After she tells him his name and rank, he's smart enough to start asking questions. She admits that she's from the planet, and the she wants to touch him. He recognizes her as being the chick in the transporter room, and he warns her to keep away from him, even going so far as to shoot the ground at her feet.
"Stay back! I don't want to have to shoot a woman!"
Sooo, men okay? Pre-pubescent children of either gender?  Intersex humans? Non-binary aliens? Star Trek, why is it constantly "one step forward, two steps back"? Here, lemme fix that sentence for you: "Stay back! I don't want to have to shoot you!"
But she doesn't stay back, and he shoots her, anyway. It bounces off her chest.

You have no idea how many times I had to watch this scene to
get that animation. Animation is a total bitch to screencapture.

Sulu, backing up, trips over a rock, and her hand brushes his shoulder. He goes down hard, but his calls roust Kirk and Bones who come running.
"What the hell?" Kirk asks Polly as Bones gives Sulu a hypo.
"I need to touch him," she answers. She blinks and shakes her head a little, like a dog coming out of anesthesia.
Kirk steps in front of her, and she puts her hand on his shoulder. There's some dramatic music leading up to it, but then her hand just rests there, and the music drops.
"How come you can touch me without my getting hurt?" he demands. You know somewhere in his mind, Kirk is thinking, "Hot damn! I'm immortal!"
She tells Kirk that she doesn't want to hurt him, that she needs to touch Sulu.
"Are there men on this planet?" Kirk asks.
Dude, do you mean people in general? Why can't you just say "people"? Why do you have to phrase it in such a way that I have to ask if you're being sexist or not?
She says again that she only wants Sulu, then she backs up and disappears in that video-game way.
Kirk muses that maybe this is a ghost planet. Bones says that Sulu is lucky that she didn't get a grip on him, because the place on his shoulder where she brushed him is injured badly. They all agree that Polly is evil, but beautiful.

On the bridge, Spock cancels red alert, as they can't find the alien intruder on the ship.
Uhura wonders how she got off the E.
"Probably the same way that she got on, doi," answers Spock.
"Do you think the chances are that the captain and the others are alive?" she asks.
"That's guessing," barks Spock. "Why the hell is everyone guessing today?"

Rahda reports that they have suddenly increased their warp speed. She tries to fix it, to no avail. Spock calls Scotty, who reports that Polly has fused something or other in the engine, and they have no way to undo it. The engines will blow in fifteen minutes.
"Fourteen point eight-seven," corrects Spock.
"Bitch, why do you care?" Scotty demands. "We're gonna die either way."
Dramatic music! Commercial break!

Spock goes down to engineering. Scotty confirms sabotage. They discuss how to un-Disable the Ship. There's some crawl-way that they could use to access some thing with a magnetic do-hickey to fix the situation. Scotty complains that it will kill whoever does it. Spock volunteers, saying that they're dead men, anyway.
"I guess," says Scotty. "But I'll do it, because I know the ship better than you. And sorry for getting all emotional earlier, saying the ship felt wrong."
"Don't apologize," says Spock. "You were fucking right about that."

Back on the surface, our boys discuss the fact that Kirk was able to get between Polly and Sulu and keep her from killing him. Kirk surmises that each time she shows up looking for one of them specifically, the others can protect that person. Wait, what's that noise? Phaser on overload. Kirk chucks the thing behind some rocks, and they all hit the deck.
"Dude," says Kirk. "She has the power to fuck with weapons, too?"

Scotty climbs into the crawl-way with some tools. This is so cool. I love it when they make these little workspaces. The angles they use to get the shoot are awesome. In this case, they built the crawl-way, filmed it head-on and facing Scotty, and then added blue lightning animation over the top so that it looks vaguely electrified.

Scotty leaves his comm open so he can talk to Spock while he works. Apparently, the crawl-way is something that can be jettisoned in case things blow up. Scotty only has so much time before things go, so Spock has Rahda prep for jettison just in case. I guess it's similar to the pod jettison situation discussed in "Court-Martial".
 Scotty is trying his best, but he only has eight minutes left, and they are currently doing warp twelve.
Planet-side, Polly has come back, this time for Kirk. Dramatic music! Commercial break!

When we return, Kirk is hiding behind a human shield of Bones and Sulu, and he's holding her off by asking more questions. She's Losira (not Polly, keep up), and she's commander of this "station." She doesn't want to kill anyone, because it's wrong, but they invaded the station, and she has to protect it. Scans by Bones come back without life signs, and she doesn't register as an android, either. Kirk asks if there are others, but she says they're "no more." Losira seems confused, and she stumbles backward into the video game disappear.
More scanning reveals more energy spikes, and they use that door opening and closing metaphor again to cleverly announce... that they found a door. A bigger than big rock slides out of place, and there's a door in the side of another, larger rock.
"All of our answers are in there," says Kirk. No, to use Spock's wording, you're guessing, dude. You're just assuming that the answers are in there. Finding a hidden cave with a door won't necessarily reveal anything to you. Ask any archaeologist.
"Also, food and water," he adds. No, I'm not kidding. He actually thinks there will be food and water in the mysterious cave for them. Didn't that happen a few weeks ago on "Spock's Brain"? A cave full of food and tools was used to attract neanderthal-like males?

It sure was, Admiral. It sure wa

Despite the fact that that cave could contain any number of things which are not food or water, Bones and Sulu shrug and follow him, because why the fuck not? There is no food or water out here either, so they might as well accompany Kirk.

We switch back to the Enterprise, and they go through a bunch of scientific mumbo-jumbo to build up anticipation and kill time. Scotty is sweating bullets as he tries to affect repairs on the ship, hoping that he doesn't blow them sky-high or get jettisoned into space. It is finally fixed, and the ship starts backing down from warp fourteen.
"Dude, are you gonna thank me?" Scotty asks Spock.
"Why should I?" Spock reasons, and he continues to yammer on about the logical course of things.
Scotty, glad to be alive and not floating in space somewhere, just kind of laughs to himself about how Spock always seems to get extra-bitchy when his boyfriend is missing.

Kirk, Bones and Sulu walk further into the cave and into a room with a floating, glowing cube. Losira is there, but guess what isn't there? Kirk asks who she is after, and when she doesn't reply, he has them form a circle around her, staying just out of reach. Finally, she says that she is there for him.

He dives behind his human shield, but here come two more Losiras, each one focused in a different guy. Our boys do a sort of human Three Card Monte, switching positions to confuse the Losiras, but how long can that last? Each one is programmed for that dude's cells alone, and she's bound to touch the right guy sooner or later. What's more, each Losira is identical to the others, so you may be dodging one only to find that the one next to her is the one you are trying to avoid, and you've just walked right into her lethal hands.

But what's this? It's First Officer Mary Sue, and a Red, beaming directly into the chamber!
"Shoot the cube!" yells Kirk, and the Red takes out the computer. The Losiras disappear.
"Yay, you saved us, Spock!" says Kirk, ignoring the Red who did the actual shooting and saving.
"We just arrived in the nick of time," says Spock. "We managed to avoid being blown up, and coincidentally showed up right as you were about to die."
"How wonderful and random," exclaims Kirk.
A projection of Losira appears on the wall. She addresses them as "my fellow Kalandans" and says that when they created the outpost they are standing on now, that their technology accidentally created a deadly organism which killed them all. Losira, the last one alive, created the projection to greet her people, as she feels she will be dead by the time they arrive with supplies and resources. She set the defense systems to guard against all lifeforms that were not their own, and she wishes them well for when they arrive and take over. Then she closes her eyes, and the projection stops.

Bones guesses that the illness probably spread throughout their people on other ships, and that she died waiting for a supply ship that was not coming. Then, with nothing else to go on, the computer's defense system used the only image that it had - her recording - as an interactive way to kill intruders. Kirk says the computer used too much of Losira and added in her dislike of killing.
So, once again, Kirk saves the day by convincing the omnipotent computer system that it is wrong in its purpose. or not, Kirk. You didn't do jack shit this time.
They all briefly talk about how cool the culture probably was, and about how Losira was beautiful, then Kirk calls Scotty for a beam-up. The end.

It took me freaking forever to figure out where I had seen Losira, probably because of her ridiculous hair and make-up. I was watching this in a place with no wi-fi, and wasn't able to cheat by looking up her IMDB entry. So I sat wondering throughout the remainder of the episode. The credits rolled. "Losira - Lee Meriwether." Now my brain couldn't recall what else that name was attached to. Fortunately, I was saved by a Sheldon Cooper quote that drifted up out of the back of my mind:
"That makes Halle Berry my fifth favorite Catwoman. There's Julie Newmar, Michelle Pfiffer, Eartha Kitt, Lee Meriwether..."

Catwoman. Star Trek is collecting Catwomen like Pokemon. You know, I don't care for Pokemon, but imagine Ash yelling, "I choose you, Catwoman!" and he throws the Pokeball, and out leaps Julie Newmar. I would watch that shit. Your charmander is going down, sucka.

Anyway, Losira's look:
She's got palazzo pants that are kind of connected in the back to a leash-collar kind of thing. I bet Lee couldn't sit down in that. She'd totally choke to death. The pants come up in the front as well. Then there's this crop-top thing that doesn't connect in the back at all. I bet it's held on with toupee tape or something. The whole thing looks like something worn by ice skaters, only skaters would get the luxury of having their outfits augmented with skin-colored nylon material. This doesn't have that. However - I like the aubergine color of the outfit, as well as the silver accents. 6/10 on outfit.

Hair and make-up are terrifying. We have a Flock of Seagulls up-do that obliterates her ears, and which falls down her neck. Spock eyebrows, two garish shades of eyeshadow that go with nothing she is wearing, outlined in black, cat-eye, and false lashes. Hair and make-up: 3/10. Ugh.

Death Toll:
Red deaths this episode: 2
Red deaths this season: 6
Gold deaths this episode: 0
Gold deaths this season: 0
Blue deaths this episode: 1
Blue deaths this season: 1
Total crew deaths this season: 7
Total crew deaths thus far: 49

This episode was shockingly similar to: "The Man Trap" from season one. In both cases, we have an alien female who stalks the Enterprise crew both on and off the ship, each one hunting them down and using her hands to kill them. Though it isn't specified in either episode whether she'd hunt females or not, the victims are all men. The difference here of course, is that the creature from The Man Trap was hunting for sustenance issues, while Losira was simply protecting her station. The creature from The Man Trap, the last of it's kind, was then killed by the Enterprise crew (jerks that they are), while Losira had been dead for quite some time.
This episode is also similar to the computer-run planet episodes, which are starting to become too numerous to list.
Despite its similarities to other episodes, I kind of liked the plot behind this one. The idea of a planet's defense system being left on after the inhabitants have died is also later explored (a littler differently) in a first season TNG episode. I like the kind of sad finality that the long-dead Losira guards the station because the computer could not figure out how to best visualize the defense system for others. I'm also okay with leaving the Kalandans as as an arcane, extinct species rather than receiving a larger explanation. If I had to rate this one, I'd give it seven or eight out of ten. There's some story overlap, but it's good enough to stand on its own.


So I asked for tea for Christmas, and I wasn't disappointed. I received a sampler set from Adagio Teas, one of their fandom blends. As near as I can tell, you suggest blends to Adagio based on a theme. In this case, a fan suggested flavors for Doctor Eleven, and Adagio put it together. You can get it in small amounts or large, or samplers like this one, which includes two more Doctor blends and three companion blends. Each sample comes in a cool Altoids-like tin with fanart on it, usually made by the person who suggested the blend in the first place. They're awesome to keep afterward and store like things like office or sewing supplies, or any other little tiny thing.
So Eleven: it has an assam black tea base, which I had never heard of before (it's Indian), then they threw in coconut, vanilla, and apple pieces. It's good, but it had a bitter aftertaste that didn't disappear with sugar application. I went online later to find more info about it, and what do all of the reviews warn you of? Overbrewing. It causes bitterness. Good job, Lady Archon. You effed up the tea. Fortunately, I seem to have enough left in the sample to make another small cuppa, so I'll set a timer next time.


  1. I agree, everybody was extra sassy this episode, lol. Poor Sulu and Scotty kept getting flack from Kirk and Spock respectively. I've been following your blog for a bit now, I love your episode reviews/summaries, they're hilarious, so keep up the good work!

  2. I liked that Sulu got to beam down this ep, but unfortunately he kind of seemed like a redshirt stand in who had to say kind of odd, dumb lines. Spock was frickin annoying. I dunno what his problem was, but he sure took it out on the crew. (Confession time: I laughed a lot at your explanation.) He sure stands close to Kirk in those last few screenshots. I'm never sure if he's just that close so they both fit in the shot or if it was supposed to be some subtle character trait that he's often in other's space bubbles.

    I like that the Enterprise picked up Dr. M'Benga sometime after McCoy had to do emergency surgery on the Vulcan ambassador. He just kind of shows up and they never directly state that's the reason, but McCoy fully admits he's not an expert with Vulcans and they probably want someone more capable on hand in case something like that happens again. Also, now M'Benga gets to continue working on them, or at least one, which is probably rare in Starfleet. And a half-Vulcan is probably a medical curiosity as well, something he'd only see a few times in his career. So it's a win-win for both him and the Enterprise. Funny how easy it is to imagine things about such an underdeveloped character.