Air Order: 10
Star Date: 4978.5
Original Air Date: November 10, 1973
Check it out, friends: according to Netflix, this show is "exciting", but should only be viewed by tweens. Interesting how the prejudice that prevailed when the show came out has continued on 40+ years later, despite the fact that animation is now considered to be for adults as well.
Kirk's Log, 4978.5: "So this incident took place like, eight months before the last, but looks like I forgot to file those logs away with Starfleet. Oopsie. Anyway, we're orbiting this planet called Motherlode, and we're pretty sure that Harcourt Fenton Mudd is down there now."
We cut down to the surface of Motherlode, and of course Harry Mudd is there, peddling his bullshit wares to the miners. (Role is reprised by Roger C. Carmel, who played Mudd in the live-action series.) You remember the first time we saw him, right? Dude talked about how space miners, way out in the middle of nowhere, made good money mining, but had nothing to spend it on, so this was the place to be and the people to deal with when you want to sell snake oil.
Kirk and Spock beam down to catch the show. Turns out, Mudd is not selling space fruit snacks that make you more attractive, but it's so close as to almost be the same damn thing. No, he's selling love potion crystals. (He calls them crystals, but refers to them several times using liquid terms, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt here, and say that these crystals are like Gushers fruit snacks, and are liquid-filled. You break the crystal shell and rub the liquid on your skin.) The crowd thinks he's full of crap, and they're angry that he would try to sell them worthless shit for 300 credits a pop, but then some blonde chicky appears on stage and begs him to return to the ship with her.
"I broke a crystal, and touched this girl, and now she wants me," he says to the crowd. He notices Kirk and Spock in the crowd. "Did you guys want to buy some crystals, too?"
"Nope," says Kirk. "We're playing Space Police today, and we're here to collect you for fraud and other illegal shit."
The look on Kirk's face here is fabulous as he listens to Mudd's spiel.
"Yeah, too bad this planet is independent, and doesn't recognize Federation law," Mudd replies.
"Mind your own beeswax," says one of the miners. He appears to be angry with Mudd, and wary of his selling tactics, yet he's barking at Kirk and Spock.
"Okay, then," says Spock. He aims his phaser at the blonde and fires, and I have no idea what setting that is, but the blonde disappears, and the whole thing is revealed to be an illusional hoax. Some kind of alien Gila monster waddles away in place of the blonde.
Kirk says they can't arrest Mudd here on Motherlode because of the law thing, but he can go with them voluntarily, something he takes advantage of when the crowd gets pissed off about the lizard thing and starts throwing rocks at him.
They beam up to the ship.
Up in the transporter room, Mudd tells Kirk that he cost him his ship, all of his belongings, and his love crystals.
"I'll sue your ass!" he yells.
"Fine, go ahead," says Kirk. "I have zero fucks to give for your dumb crystals."
A few minutes later, Kirk is in the brig with Spock, Christine, and Mudd.
Christine tells Mudd to suck it up, because he only got bruised from that stoning he received.
"How the hell'd you get off that planet with the clones?" demands Kirk.
Seems Mudd stole a ship, flew to a new planet and, upon encountering the populace, fucking sold them Starfleet Academy. No wonder this guy wears baggy pants. How the hell else would his giant balls fit in there?
So, using his Academy money, he flew to yet another planet, where he found the love crystals, and sold them to those people, who promptly got sick. Mudd then skedaddled, because what the else are you gonna do when something you sold makes the populace of a planet ill?
They leave, and Spock asks Christine to do a medical write-up for his arrest report. She agrees and tries to flirt with him by saying that he was super-clever in trapping Mudd.
*sigh* I really don't ship them, and frankly, I'm annoyed that we keep having to encounter it. Rather than root for them t get together, I end pitying Christine. I guess we're supposed to feel bad for her because we know that, as a Vulcan, he's unlikely to return her feelings. But I feel bad for her because I think they'd be a shitty couple.
Spock shoots her down by saying that she's exaggerating, and instructs her not do so in her report. I suppose that sounds cold, but he's right: he didn't really do jack.
Once Spock walks away, Mudd comes to the forcefield to mess with her in his weird, suggestive way. He lays it on thick, saying that Spock is bangin' but emotionless. Then he waxes poetic about Christine's nursing skills and how feminine she is, blah, blah, blah. Then he's all, "I want to say thank you, and give you a gift."
And guess what he offers her? Yeah, a fucking love crystal, the creeper.
So let's put this into perspective: a cop arrests a con artist and asks another cop with a lower rank to do a write-up on the perp. The perp then offers the lower-ranking officer a gift for a job well done. That lower-ranking officer isn't really going to take that crystal meth, right? RIGHT?
She tells him to blow it out his ass, and he tells her to think about it.
He tries to convince Christine to take his stupid drugs, saying how cool it would be for Spock to be in love with her. He explains that she rubs it in her skin, then touches Spock, and he'll be totally hers for the taking, because this liquid crystal thing cause love between males and females, but only friendship between members of the same sex. So, specifically heteronormative love crystals. Okey-dokey. Then he appeals to her as a scientist:
"You can totes take it and run your own "experiment." Pretty cool, huh?"
Sadly, that's the bullshit line she buys, and she drops the forcefield just long enough to accept the crystal from him.
Dammit, Christine. Haven't you studied up on your twentieth-century American drug campaigns?
|McGruff the Crime Dog wants to know how you can be that fucking naive.|
On the bridge, a decision is made to check out an uncharted M-class planet. The E goes into orbit. The scans show no intelligent life on the desert planet, and it sounds like the sort of thing they might want to explore.
Back in the brig, Christine says she will run lab test on the crystal, and report back to him with the results, like Mudd gives any shits about science.
"You should just take it the way it was meant to be taken. You know, break the crystal and rub it on your skin. Then, when Spock is in love with you, you guys should buy pacifiers and glow sticks, and track down a rave. Best time ever," he suggests. He calls her M'Dear and Darlin' a lot. It's not creepy at all.
So she stupidly breaks the thing in her hand, immediately starts to feel woozy, and is caught in the corridor by Mudd. There's some real quick animation here, where you see him take something from the random belt that she's wearing that she's never worn before and will never wear again.
But she starts to feel better immediately, and scolds him for being out in the corridor. He dutifully steps behind the forcefield again and suggests that she go look for Spock. When she walks away, he uses her stolen phaser to turn off the forcefield. How, we never find out. Interesting how a defense weapon has so far during this episode been used to change a girl back into a Gila monster, and turn off the forcefield in the ship's brig. Somehow, the lowly phaser has become a Sonic Screwdriver.
Mudd then makes for the nearest computer console, and after doing some fancy typing, inserts her pilfered ID badge, which is spit out a moment later with her clearance information and name, but his photo.
Just a heads' up, you guys: identity theft in the future is super easy, so make sure your ID badges are laminated and shit.
Christine takes Spock her report like a normal person, but then proceeds to sit in his lap. The WTF look on his face is accurate: what the fuck, Christine? Mudd said you just needed to touch him, not give him a lap dance. Just place your hand on his arm or something.
Spock gives her the benefit of the doubt by asking if she's injured, like she tripped and fell.
She gives an awkward "Um, no, sorry," and when he thanks and dismisses her, she asks if he'd rather she stayed. Spock replies that her assistance is not needed, and she stalks off to kick the ass of Mudd.
|His face kind of says it all here.|
Christine feels stupid, and is certain that she got screwed over by Mudd. But when she arrives at the brig to tell him off, she finds him gone. For whatever reason, she checks her belt thing, and finds her ID and phaser missing.
We cut to a new scene, one where Mudd inserts Christine's ID into a slot, and the door into the shuttle bay opens for him. Then we get this terrifying image:
Spock is adding Christine's medical report to his arrest paperwork, and he refers to it as "Nurse Chapel's sweet summary." Then he smiles and starts telling the empty room about how lovely she is, and I settle in for another lousy episode where an altered Spock acts out of character, but it's okay because he was under the influence of some kind of something or other, and drugs immediately make you a new person the instant they hit your system.
So Mudd is sneaking around the shuttle bay when he gets a karate chop to the neck and hits the deck.
Fuck yeah! Christine is channeling Number One! Go, girl!
But then she reveals that she's pissed off at him for giving her crappy product. Okay, if customer satisfaction-driven rage is all you're gonna give me, then I guess I'll take it. But come up with something better next time, Star Trek.
So this show typically has a bunch of short cut-scenes (sometimes 15 seconds or less) interspersed with longer ones to show how things are happening in real time. I typically group them together so that I'm not writing one sentence descriptions over and over again, but the tiny cut-scenes in this episode are pretty epic, so I've been tossing in a few as they've played out in the script.
Spock enters the bridge and looks around. We see the bridge from his point of view and hear his voice as he's speaking so we can see the reactions he gets.
"Captain... doctor... I wish to report a, ummmm... a number of very... strange, um... emotions."
Bones, who is sitting at a console near the turbo lift, turns and gives him a look. "What?"
We don't see Kirk's reaction, but his voice has the same "The hell?" quality to it as Bones.
Back in the shuttle bay, Christine has her phaser trained on Mudd, who is trying to cover his ass by saying that the coldness of Vulcans may take a moment to melt through, and maybe her potion just needed more time to work. But Christine is embarrassed, and has no time for his shit. She's calm enough to be sensible, and informs him that her phaser is only set on stun, and it sounds like her plan is to take him back to the brig rather than stomp on his face with her Starfleet-issued high-heeled boots. he tries to offer her more drugs, saying that the one he gave her was possibly defective. She knocks them from his hand, where they burst against an air vent grate... and get sucked into the system. Because of course they do. She sets off the alarm. There's a scuffle. He grabs her wrist, and she... faints?
Come on, Star Trek: are you shitting me with this? I'll go ahead and buy that the karate chop to the neck will knock someone out, but he's grabbed her by the wrist twice now, and she's fainted. I mean, attacking pressure points can get you those results, but he's just grabbed her wrist. Are people in the future so delicate that you can take them out that easily? How the hell do they make more humans if they keep fainting like that?
Anyway, Mudd plans to use her as a hostage.
Up on the bridge, the officers are trying to determine why they've gone to red alert, and Spock conveniently notices some CC footage of the shuttle bay, where Mudd is disappearing into a shuttle with Christine's unconscious body. Spock refers to Christine as "my love." All of the others look at him like, "what did he just say?" and Arax actually lets out a low whistle.
He talks about how he loves her, and wants to hold her in his arms and protect her, but there's a struggle in his voice. he buys that he cares for her, but cannot figure out why.
Somehow, the shuttle is allowed to leave. A cut scene of the cockpit shows an alert Christine sitting in the passenger seat while Mudd pilots the ship and tells her that he plans to drop her off on the planet and then leave when they go to rescue her. Hey, Christine - how about taking the shuttle back from him? You're not gonna struggle? Like, at all? No more Number One? Alrighty, then.
On the bridge, Spock has decided to beam down to the planet to rescue Christine. Kirk & Co are weirded out by Spock's love confessionals, but he declares that he will accompany his first officer to help. Bones starts to protest because Spock is not himself, but Kirk shrugs it off.
Um, I'm seeing a plot hole here concerning timing. Mudd is flying the shuttle to the surface in order to drop off Christine, in the hopes of being able to take off again while the crew is busy getting their nurse back. But it takes time to fly a shuttle to the surface, and even though he's had a head start, Kirk and Spock are planning to just beam there. Kirk and Spock could actually arrive first, ensure that Christine is safe, and send the E after Mudd. They could possibly all beam back before the E goes after the shuttle. I know beaming in this century is clunky and not as precise, so the odds of them being able to beam onto or off of the shuttle are not that great. But Mudd's timing issues are kind of paramount to his escape, so he's taking a big risk here.
After the boys leave, M'Ress and Scotty briefly discuss how weird it is that Spock claims to be in love with Christine. Then she sniffs the air, and we see something wafting from the air vent. There's an odd camera sweep around the bridge for no discernible reason (I guess maybe they wanted us to be afraid for the bridge crew who are left?), and we get some random
Dramatic music! Commercial break!
Kirk's Log, supplemental: "Rehash."
Kirk and Spock are down in the transporter room when Bones comes in to report that a search team found some of Mudd's crystals in the shuttle bay, and that several had been broken against the vent. Kirk says it's a good thing that Mudd only sells crap that doesn't work, and Bones replies that he isn't so certain anymore that the crystals are useless, because a bunch of crew members are acting like Spock. Spock is actually pretty antsy to get down there, angry at the thought of Mudd "harm[ing] a hair on her pretty head." Kirk asks Bones to make a report about the crystals, then he and Spock beam down.
On the bridge, Scotty makes jokes about Spock's condition. M'Ress decides that she'd like to hook up with that.
Surface-side, Mudd tells Christine that he plans to get her set up here on the planet before taking off. Exactly how long does he think she's going to be there? We get a sweep across the landscape, and of course that giant rock formation opens one eye, because why wouldn't it?
After Kirk and Spock beam down, we get a tiny cut scene that shows the liquid crystal steam wafting into the transporter room. Then we get another tiny scene that shows the bridge crew kicking it at their stations. Arax plays some kind of green guitar while Scotty lounges in the captain's chair with his feet up over the arm rest.
Down on the surface, we get the most Spirk scene ever: Spock slips in some snow or loose dirt or something, and Kirk catches him and hauls him back up.
"Thanks, Jim! You're a good friend."
"No problem, buddy. I feel the same way about you!"
While most of the fandom is yelling "Just kiss already!" it's not going to happen, because those crystals are all heteronormative, remember? They're just really good friends.
So that rock formation wakes up, and it's pissed that there's no more coffee because it's roommate forgot to go to the store yesterday to buy more, so it smashes the empty shuttlecraft. Two tiny dudes come rushing forward to two other tiny creatures, and three of the creatures fire weapons at the rock guy. And the alarm on his phone didn't go off, so he's probably late for work, and now he'll have to explain this shit to his boss. Really? Why can't he catch a damn break? No coffee, tiny things in his bed, and now they're trying to harm him? WTH?
Spock grabs Christine, and calls her darling, much to her surprise. Kirk attempts to call for a beam-up, but remember that tiny cut scene where the crystal steam wafted into the transporter room? Yeah, now the female and male officers are dancing. And this dancing bit includes some of the worst animation I've ever seen. It's like they drew a pair of connected torsos, glued it to popsicle sticks, and just moved it around behind the console. I'm sure they save money on animation by not having them move beyond the console, but it's seriously awful.
Anyway, no one is paying attention to Kirk's call because they're all too busy with each other. The ship has been disabled by lurve.
Now the rock guy's roommate has woken up and is pissed off about all the yelling and lack of coffee, and our human characters duck behind another rock formation that is hopefully just rocks. Only now we have another problem, in that Kirk is all jealous of Spock and Christine, and he yells at them to keep their hands to themselves. Okay, seriously: if Kirk and Spock are just really good friends, and Kirk does not want Christine, then why is he flipping the hell out that Spock can't keep his hands off of her?
It's fine, you know? There's nothing between Kirk and Spock. They're just super, super platonic.
Spock realizes that their anger at one another is only furthering the effect of the crystals, and he and Kirk both try to remain calm. in the meantime, Mudd is excited because he didn't think those dumb crystals actually worked, and he's now calculating how much he can charge for them in the future.
We get a weird cut scene here where Bones tells some brunette Red about how he's saved everyone on the ship at one point in time or another, and that if the Enterprise had a heart, he'd save that too. Then he says "Now, let's talk about your heart."
Smooth, Bones. Smooth like Tumblr.
Meanwhile, Kirk cannot raise anyone on the ship, and he suggests that they distract the cranky rock guys.
Spock replies (verbatim), "That is an outstandingly stupid idea."
Kirk asks Mudd if he has any more crystals left, and Mudd says he has two, though he's loathe to give them up, because he can make a nice profit off them. Then he sort of comes to his senses and realizes that he's not getting out of there alive with those damn crystals.
Up top, the bridge crew all have hangovers.
Scotty complains that he feels like shit, despite not having had anything to drink. M'Ress tells him to STFU. Oops, honeymoon's over. Christine manages to get through, and
Christine M'Ress picks up the call for emergency beam-up.
|This overhead shot cracks me up. Arax can cross one leg over the other two, |
cross his arms in defiance, and hold his chin in his hand at the same time.
So Kirk's plan is to throw crystals into the rock guys' mouths, and I dunno, make them fall in love, or something? And then what? Christine already made contact with the E. They can be beamed up now. Plus, I have to wonder about the chemical content of those crystals. One works on your average humanoid, but these monster things are like skyscrapers. Seems like you'd need several hundred crystals at least (if not more) to have any kind of reaction. I mean, it looks like ten or so crystals got aerosolized and affected the whole ship, but we're talking about 450 people. I think these beasties weigh more than that.
Kirk has Mudd and Spock fire their phasers at the rock guys for some reason (distraction, I guess?), then he throws the crystals into their mouths.
Look, you guys! Kirk is Jesus! He did the loaves and fishes thing, and magically made two crystals into a dozen!
This is where this episode moves into inexplicable territory: I think the rock guys love Kirk, because they could destroy him but don't? The first time I watched this I thought he meant for the rock guys to fall in love with one another, but someone on IMDB says that they were supposed to fall in love with Kirk. Seeing as how only opposite sex pairs can fall in love with these stupid things, does that make the monsters female? What if they have no gender at all? Did Kirk flip up their skirts to check before embarking on this plan?
The rock guys fight one another, which is apparently a big enough distraction that the group can beam away from there. Why they haven't at this point is beyond me. We are, in fact, never given a reason as to why they were not beamed up as soon as Christine called the E and requested an emergency beam-up. The only thing that I can think of is that the writers needed some reason for the crystals to be gone completely, and the best way to accomplish that combined with Kirk "saving them all" was to have him go through with that little plan to alter the emotional state of the rock guys using the crystals.
Upstairs, Mudd is back in the brig while Christine records his confession. Spock comes in and asks if she needs help. He seems to be back to his old self. Christine tells him to fuck right off.
Spock exposits that the love potion crystals came at the high price of a few minutes of love, followed by several hours of animosity.
Mudd asks Spock if he thinks that Mudd will get rehabilitation therapy again, and Spock says he's pretty sure it'll happen. Mudd sounds so blase about it, you can tell that he's done it a bunch of times, and it hasn't worked at all. Chronic offender. Lovely.
"That's alright," he sighs. "I just hate to leave you all. All my... loved ones." And then he chuckles as the E pulls out of orbit.
This episode was a mixed bag. It had some weird plot holes (the crystals work as airborne, rubbing into your skin, and consumed by mouth?) and some stuff added to tie up loose ends in a way that wasn't necessary (why weren't they beamed up immediately?). But it had some good parts, too. We're 89 episodes in, and this is only the second Christine-centric story we've had. Both revolved around her love life, which is lame, but she's such an under-utilized character that I guess I can't complain too much. Plus, she took shit from nobody this episode. She was actually a bad-ass.
My second Command Gold Star for this episode is awarded to the writer that decided that Spock should remain himself while altered. Most of the time, Spock-on-something is treated by the writers as a sideshow freak. His personality is changed, and he's trotted out for everyone to laugh and point at, both friend and audience. Here, while his friends are slightly baffled and amused at the thought of him being in love, the writers merely treat the situation as they did Sarek and Amanda. You know Sarek cares for his wife, but he still acts like a Vulcan. This Spock-in-love is slightly confused, but behaves more like the Spock-in-love from "The Enterprise Incident". As a result, I'm more willing to believe it.
Art History Fact of the Day!
Mannerism is an art style practiced most notably by an Italian painter named Parmigianino in the 1500's. The style is known for it's elongated human forms, not to the point of grotesqueness, but certainly to the point that the viewer is aware that such anatomy is not of the norm.
This Art History moment is brought to you by Christine's giraffe neck
and Bones' body, which appears to be about seven or eight feet tall when standing and way too big for his head.
I grabbed another box of those Tazo pitcher teas, this time Iced Blushberry Black. The box says it has raspberry, huckleberry and strawberry. I didn't taste the strawberry specifically, but it starts out with a punch of fruity-berry flavor and ends with the slightly bitter black tea taste, which works nicely together. It was delightful in both iced tea and tea-sicle versions, and is definitely on my favorites list. 10/10, will drink again.
|Mo enjoys the sun.|