Warp Speed to Nonsense

Warp Speed to Nonsense

Monday, September 28, 2015

ST:TAS Season Two, Episode One: The Pirates of Orion

"The Pirates of Orion"
Air Order: 17
Star Date: 5683.1
Original Air Date: September 7, 1974

Whoa, a second season. Yeah, sort of? It looks like animated shows are done as sixteen weeks rather than twenty-four. So that rinky sixteen episodes that we got for season one actually counts as a whole season. The ratings sucked, because the show was a bit too cerebral for your average Saturday morning watcher, even though Gene Rod claimed that it was family fare. So why that second season? Because the show won a Daytime Emmy (the first award for the Star Trek franchise), and the network decided to "reward" them with six more episodes (not a full season, but whatever, I guess). Interestingly, this is the only show made by Filmation that got more than one season.
Either way, sixteen episodes seems like too few to cover a season overview, and season two is only six episodes long, so it makes more sense to me to do one series overview after the last episode in the animated series.


Kirk's Log 6331.4: "On our way to dedicate a new science academy on Deneb V. We had an illness on board for a bit, but Bones took care of it, and says we're good to go."

So they're on course, and Spock reports that everything is great. Kirk makes some small talk with him, but then Spock's face screws up, and he collapses on floor. Kirk calls sick bay on emergency. 

Down in sick bay, Bones says that Spock has that illness that everybody else had, and that while it isn't anything much to humans with their iron-based blood, it's fatal in Vulcans. Apparently, the infection gets in your bloodstream and encases the cells so they can't carry oxygen.
"So Spock suffocates," says Kirk.
"Yup," says Bones.

He says there's a medicine Spock can take that will cure him. It's called strobolin, and it only grows on certain planets. Kirk checks the computer, and it says that the nearest planet that grows strobolin is four days away at max warp. But Bones says that Spock will die in three, because of course he will. Not enough drama in Spock being sick. He must be fatally ill, and the medicine must be just a little bit too far away.
Then Bones comes up with a brilliant idea that hasn't really been proposed on this show before now: they can cut their travel time to the strobolin by quite a bit if another ship gets it and they rendezvous with it.
It's a good thing Bones came up with this plan, because I was starting to lose faith in him. Here he was, treating a bunch of crew members for this illness, and in his research and treatment of the illness, never once did he find out that Vulcans are killed by it? Because it seems like that kind of info should be filed away with that illness.
"Choriocytosis: Ain't no thang in yo' regular-type humans, but it'll kill yo' Vulcans stone-dead."
Also, once other crew members had contracted this disease, however light in Terrans, why did they not go to the trouble to procure the strobolin "just in case"? Not everyone reacts to illness the same. Earlier, they refer to it as being "no longer even as serious as pneumonia." Dude, people still die from pneumonia. People still die from the fucking flu! 
C'mon, Bones. You couldn't get the meds and maybe inoculate the first officer against it? How about warning him? "Hey, head's up, Spock - got a Vulcan-fatal disease onboard, so maybe buy yourself some medical masks"?

Kirk's Log, supplemental: "Called in some favors, and we're getting the meds from the SS Huron, who is getting them from the Potemkin, who is near the right planet."

Kirk and Bones are in the briefing room talking about Spock's symptoms, and what to expect while they're waiting for the meds to show up. Then this scene goes wrong.
First, there's a knock on the door.
Read that again.
Someone is knocking on a door that's designed to slide open when you approach it. By rights, when you step close enough to knock on the door, there shouldn't be a need, because the thing has already slid open to admit you. What if it's locked? Good point. Sometimes they are locked. In which case, they have chimes. they have door bells.
When Kirk calls "Come," guess who walks in?
It's the fatally ill Spock, who has been summoned there by Kirk. Um, why is he not in sick bay? And why could Kirk and Bones not have talked to him there?
Anyway, trooper as ever, Spock is glad to hear that their rendezvous with the Huron to collect his life-saving meds is not going to affect their timetable in getting to the ribbon-cutting ceremony or whatever shit they're going to on Deneb V.
Then Kirk is all, "I've cut your duty hours in half."
Ex-squeeze me? He's still on duty? What the fuck kind of plague ship is this?
Yeah, I know the guy is dedicated to his job, and if he's feeling up to the tasks at hand, then he wants to be able to do his job as usual. I also know that Bones gave him a shot of some kind of weaker med that keeps the illness at bay for two days. But in the meantime, dude is walking around the ship, possibly contagious, and maybe fainting at his station.
If he wants to keep working, quarantine his green ass in a sick bay bed and have his station transferred to that bed.
God, no wonder you guys had an outbreak of this shit.

So we get our first look at the SS Huron (SS stands for "space ship," I guess?), which is a freighter. I know these are not built for speed or anything, but still: why the hell are they so clunky and weird-looking? Also, while we're at it, why is a freighter a part of this chain at all? I can't imagine their top speed being spectacular, but they need these like yesterday, right? There was really nobody else in the sector who could do a drug run for the Enterprise?

Anyway, we get a small scene with the crew of the Huron, which probably has more than three people onboard, but because we never get to see an expanded view of the bridge or anyone else, it's easy to assume that this is it. 

Through bridge chat, we find out that the freighter is two hours away from the rendezvous point, and that they typically haul dilithium. A ship appears on their sensors, and they wonder if it's the E arriving early.

We switch back to the E bridge. Bones calls to say that it's time for Spock to get another shot, and when Kirk turns to Spock to relay the message, Bones has mysteriously appeared next to the captain's chair. When we come back to Kirk again, Bones has disappeared.
Check it out: this cheap-ass show has decided to cut corners by re-using footage from that first scene, where Spock faints. All they did was switch the vulcan's positioning in the second shot. Minus points to you, Budget, for blatant continuity errors. You only get praise when your clever tricks work.

So Kirk tells Spock that it's time for his meds, and Spock gives Kirk this super-stoned look.
"I'm conserving energy," he says, trying to cover up the fact that he's completely out of it.
Nobody buys it. Dude is a walking petri dish, and needs to be in his quarters or sick bay, but they're keeping him up front where he can wipes his germs on everything.

And back to the Huron, where we can finally see the ship that's on the sensors. The Huron's crew hope they'll reach the E before the mysterious ship reaches them. Dramatic music! No commercial break!

Down in sick bay, Bones is preparing the hypospray, and we get a nice Spockoy joke:
Bones: "This won't hurt a bit, Spock."
Spock: "An unnecessary assurance, Doctor, in addition to being untrue."
Bones: "That's the last time I waste my bedside manner on a Vulcan."
Man, I really miss Spockoy, you guys.
Bones makes him lie still while he and Christine watch this thing that I swear to god is a heart monitor. The thing actually freaking flat-lines, and I go, "Oh, God, did Spock just die?"
Nope. Apparently, that thing that is really, actually a heart monitor is really, actually just some machine that tells you when medicine has been absorbed or something.
They send him back to work, and as soon as he's out of earshot, Christine says, "The medicine has stopped working."
"Yes it has," replies Bones."
Gonna repeat that: the medicine they have been giving Spock, which has been keeping his raging infection in check, has stopped working. And they sent him back to work.
The next day, Bones receives some space mail from the Intergalactic Center for Disease Control, asking him what the fuck he thinks he's doing.

We get another brief scene on the Huron, where the crew tries and fails to communicate with the aliens. They admit that they have a full cargo hold of dilithium. Finally, a message for them comes through that they need to surrender and give the aliens their cargo, or they'll die. The Huron captain O'Shea orders his crew to make an emergency call to the Enterprise.

Uhura gets the message, but isn't able to rouse the Huron to answer. Spock reports that the Huron had not yet made it to the rendezvous point... then he faints, because what the hell else is he going to do? Dude is dying. Why is he at his station? He's taken to sick bay and all that happens, is that he repeats what we already know: the drug he was giving Spock has stopped working, and now they need the real thing.
Then he delivers a weird line: "Blasted human. Why can't you have red blood like a normal human?"
Because he's Vulcan, you idiot.

They reach the Huron, and the engines are dead. Life support is minimal. Kirk takes an away team over to check things out, because they still can't make contact with the Huron's crew. Dude, check it out: an away team that includes Uhura and Christine! The last time that happened was on "The Lorelei Signal". Neither of these women ever get to go on away missions, but that's actually pretty weird - Uhura, as communications officer, probably communicates better than Kirk and everyone else on that ship; and who the hell doesn't need a nurse on an away mission? Bones is often selected instead of her, but why? Tactically, it makes more sense to send your nurse rather than your head doctor.

Everybody gets a job, and does them. Scotty reports that there's nothing in the cargo hold. Uhura says that the Huron's communications are down, but they can take the log tapes back to the E and play them there. Christine reports that O'Shea needs surgery right away, but should be fine quickly.
Bones laments that, without the meds, Spock will die. Kirk has 20 hours left in which to get it.

Kirk's Log 6335.6: "The Huron is space junk now, and O'Shea has no idea who attacked his ship."

Arax looks at the Huron's tapes, and plugs the alien ship into the database. It's unknown, but conveniently, it leaves a nice radioactive trail in its wake, so they can follow it.

Kirk goes down to sick bay to check on Spock. Bones is thinking of putting him on a respirator. he Hamlets a bit about the frustrations of being a doctor, unable to cure his patient, and being "only as good as our drugs and technology make us." Kirk gives him a loud bro hug to bolster him.

Later on the bridge, it is discovered that the trail ends in the middle of an asteroid belt, and that the asteroids are made of some volatile material that explodes when the asteroids come into contact with each other or anything else, including star ships. They fly E in and encounter the ship. Arax says he recognizes the markings, which is surprising, considering that the database could not figure out where that ship was from.
"It's an Orion," he says.
Bet you didn't pronounce that in your head the way he said it.
Here on Earth, that word is pronounced "Oh-RYE-yun."
In every other episode of Star Trek, it's pronounced "Oh-RYE-yun."
In this episode only, everyone onboard the Enterprise pronounces it "OR-ee-ahn."
Go ahead, say it out loud. It sounds weird because that is not how your brain recognizes that pattern of words phonetically. And there's no explanation given for this odd new way of saying it. I thought at first that maybe it was spelled differently in the script, and the people who run the closed captioning had simply chosen to spell it this way. But then I remembered that the word Orion is in the title. It's on the title card for this episode.
WTF, Star Trek?

Anyway, Sulu checks out the alien weapons being fired at them and reports back that the OR-ee-ahn's shit is weak. Uhura reports that the OR-ee-ahns are calling, and the call goes on the viewscreen.
Oh, my holy hell.
They look like Ninja Turtle villains.

And this is where some shit goes down.
The OR-ee-ahns tell Kirk that they're from a neutral planet and only fired phasers at them because they weren't sure that the E was "non-hostile." Kirk loses his shit.
"Bitch, what do you mean neutral?" And he launches into some rants that includes quoting treaties and Starfleet regulations and basically calling them liars.
"Y'all, we don't have any Federation cargo," returns the guy who must be the captain, due to his having the most impressive hat.
Kirk cuts the transmission to ask Sulu to scan their ship. Sulu finds the dilithium, but says the medicine is too small an amount to pick up if it's there.
Uhura turns the sound back on, and Kirk tries to make a deal.
"Okay, Captain Not Shredder, you probs have this medicine we need. I'll make a shady side deal with you if I can have it. You can keep the dilithium that you stole, plus I'll give you more as payment for the medicine, PLUS I won't tell Starfleet or the Federation that you assholes robbed the Huron."
"Um... maybe?" says the captain. "Our planet can remain neutral and we won't get in trouble? I want time to think." And he cuts the transmission.
For a pirate, this guy is surprisingly concerned about his planet's neutrality in the eyes of the people he's robbing.


While the OR-ee-ahns are considering, Kirk calls sick bay to learn that Spock has less than an hour. In case you were wondering, Spock's failing health is part of this week's Disable the Ship. Having less than an hour before Spock "blows up" adds to the drama, doncha know?
The OR-ee-ahns call back to say that they don't trust Kirk, and they want to meet face-to-face to exchange the meds. they don't even want the extra dilithium. The captain suggests that they meet on the nearest asteroid.
Kirk had a conference with Bones and Scotty. Why Scotty, I don't really know. I guess he's just the next most-senior officer.
"It's a trap!" says Admiral Bones when hearing about the face-to-face exchange.
"Yeah, but we got no choice," says Kirk. "Gonna leave the comm line open so you guys can hear everything, and I want Scotty to keep the transporter focused on me."

We skip back to OR-ee-ahn ship, where the lieutenant tells the captain that they are out-gunned for sure. The captain replies that he doesn't trust Kirk to not tattle on them to Starfleet. Again, these a-holes a really concerned about their planet's neutrality.They reach the conclusion that the only way to ensure that Kirk will keep his trap shut is to destroy the E, and the only way their weak-ass weapons can do that is to destroy themselves. The lieutenant suggests that they rig a bomb on the surface of the asteroid when the two captains beam down to exchange the meds. The captain will set off the bomb, the asteroid will blow, and everyone will die. he wants to see the look on Kirk's face when he is told that he and his crew are going to die, because this guy is some kind of kamikaze douchebag.
Dramatic music! Commercial break!
Awesome establishing shot of two ships in an asteroid field!

So another fifteen minutes is wasted because the captain insists that they beam down at a certain time. Normally, this is fine, but again, remember that Spock is our ship-disabler this time, and we want to inject him with medicine right in the split-second before he dies.
They beam down and Kirk scans the medicine to find that it's the stuff they need.
But then Captain Bring-Down announces that he's actually going to blow them all to hell because of that fucking neutrality that he can't let go of.
"What the hell?" demands Kirk, on behalf of the audience, who just is really not getting why neutrality is worth dying for.
"Unsuccessful OR-ee-ahn missions end in suicide," the captain explains.
And the audience finally goes "Ohhhhhhh..."
Because seriously, "give me neutrality, or give me death"? That shit is stupid.
The E bridge crew, who has been eaves-dropping this whole time, has noticed that the scans say there's dilithium on the surface, and by listening to the convo, they have heard that it's part of a bomb.
Kirk dives for the OR-ee-ahn, and we get this fabulous super-hero-and-villain-comic-book-fight stance.

Scotty has the transporter tech beam the dilithium crystals out of the OR-ee-ahn's backpack, then Kirk grabs him again, and calls for a transport. Kirk and the OR-ee-ahn captain materialize on the transporter pad. I have to guess that at this time, Kirk handed the medicine off to someone from sick bay, who rushed it to Spock's bedside, because we immediately cut to Kirk on the bridge with the OR-ee-ahn. The OR-ee-ahn tries to take a cyanide capsule or something similar, but he is prevented from doing this. Kirk calls the other ship and tells the captain to inform his guys to not blow up their ship.
"You're standing trial," say Kirk in his harshest voice. "And we're gonna end your little game of piracy and neutrality." Odder word pairings were never spoken.
Defeated, the OR-ee-ahn captain tells his people to stand down.

Kirk's Log 6336.2: "Awww, yeeaahh. Kicked some ass, took some names. Guys in my brig, towing their ship. Back on schedule for the ribbon-cutting thing, and my boyfriend is better."

Down in sick bay, Spock is looking like himself, and he and Bones are arguing over whose physiology is better.
"Things are back to normal," says Kirk.
"He's as stubborn as ever," grumps Bones.
Then Kirk makes this face that I'm thinking is supposed to be amusement, but looks more like game-show host meets skeevy pick-up artist.
And Bones laughs, and they fly off to Deneb V.

Trivia and Stuff:

 A few weeks ago, the crew of the Ariel was featured, and their insignia appeared to be the same as the Enterprise, so I wondered if they had moved forward on the idea that every crew member of every Starfleet ship would get the same insignia, something they had done with the films and beyond. Noop. Turns out, the Ariel insignia is similar, but doesn't read well on the small screen.

The crew of the Ariel

Huron, center row left, Ariel next to it on the right

Anyway, there's your lesson for the day in "Recognizing Starfleet Insignia." Hope that it was as thrilling for you as it was for me.

I never was able to figure out why the weird pronunciation of Orion occurred. The only answer I was able to find (and it's a lame one) is that most Star Trek scripts contained a guide on how to correctly pronounce certain words, and this script lacked that guide. I'll say that again: our group of very smart actors had never heard the word Orion before, even though they're said that word correctly in half a dozen other episodes. Also, if there was no guide, I would expect this to happen with one actor only. According to the sources I've checked thus far, only the first few episodes were recorded with the whole gang present. The remaining episodes had the actors come in separately to record their lines. So in order for everyone to say that name wrong each time, the first person had to eff up that name every time, and each following actor would have to be instructed to say it that way as well.

So here's a weirdness that I have trouble wrapping my head a round: because of the odd pronunciation, I don't even consider these guys to be the male counterparts to the dancing girls we've seen. Seriously. Same race, supposedly. The girls weren't referenced at all, but they both come from Orion (again, supposedly) and they're both green. Does anybody else feel like this was some kind of blind date? 
"You're single, and you're single, so it must be a good match!"
"Well, you're green, and you're green, so you must be the same race!"

Does not compute.


I finally up and consumed that other Tea Forte pyramid that Roomie brought home all those weeks ago. This one was clearly marked as "Sunrise Breakfast," and because my tea consumption does not care what time it is, I drank it at night.
Much like the mispronunciation of the word Orion, when I went looking for this tea online, it had disappeared, and the information remained a mystery. Tea Forte's website does not list it anywhere, and search results yielded nothing. I'm actually fairly sad about this, as the tea was really good, and I would recommend it to others.
It's a black ceylon base with floral notes, though not in an overpowering way.
I guess the best I can say is, both of the flavors of Tea Forte teas that I've had have been very good, so I feel like I can recommend the brand as a whole... even if the tea I had today is no longer available.

My Chewie mug has a Groot problem

1 comment:

  1. Only Filmation show to get more than one season? That can't be right. Both He-Man and She-Ra got several seasons.