Thursday, September 10, 2015

Star Trek TOS (Season 3b)

Season 3b—Season 3d

At this point in the series, the end is noticeably near. Some of the stories want to have something to say, but things are getting repetitive and simplistic.

Episode 9 “The Tholian Web” 

In this episode, the away team dons some stylish space suits to check out a derelict ship that phases out of their dimension. Kirk remains trapped in that other dimension—presumed dead—while Spock must deal with an alien race that is very slowly weaving an energy web around the Enterprise. McCoy and Spock have to overcome their differences to save Kirk and their own skins.

Episode 10 “Plato’s Stepchildren” 

This silly episode is known for one thing: the first interracial kiss on broadcast television. The fact that the couple (Kirk and Uhura) were not acting on their own diminishes the impact for a lot of people.

Episode 11 “Wink of an Eye” 

The ship encounters a civilization that operates so fast, they are invisible. For some unexplained reason, they must trap others and speed them up to mate with them or their race will die out. Kirk is thusly trapped and Spock must, once again, save him.

Episode 12 “The Empath” 

In a dying solar system, Kirk, Spock and McCoy are trapped and experimented upon by some aliens. (The makeup and design in this episode is top notch.) As it turns out, they are not the object of the tests. A fellow prisoner, who is an Empath, is the one being tested. She must demonstrate a willingness to sacrifice her own life to save another, to prove her species’ worthiness to be the one species saved in that solar system. Sounds profound, but ends up being a silly idea. Perhaps had it been developed more it might have worked better. As it is, the sacrifice is meaningless and does not contribute to her peoples’ salvation in any logical way.

Episode 13 “Elaan of Troyius” 

This episode is all about a spoiled brat of a princess and how she needs to be put in her place. It would have been a great storyline is it wasn’t so awash in sexism. And, we get another interracial kiss that once again isn’t entirely voluntary.

Episode 14 “Whom the Gods Destroy” 

This episode is a better one of this run, if one allows for the 1960’s over-theatricality. Visiting the last insane asylum in the galaxy with a cure that will close it down, Kirk and McCoy are taken prisoner by an inmate who can assume other people’s form. However, for the first time in the whole series, Kirk and Scotty had a code word in force before Kirk could be beamed back up to the ship, so the inmate can’t escape the asylum. Spock employs some of his Vulcan logic to figure out which Kirk is the real Kirk, but the easy answer would have been to simply stun them both.

Episode 15 “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” 

In one of the most preachy episodes of Trek, that is so over the top corny it almost comes back around to cool, racism gets skewered. The crew encounter two men, one white on the right side and black on the left while the other is reversed, who hate each other. There people have been locked in an age-long fight over the fact that one kind is better than the other. In the end their fighting dooms their planet while the crew is perplexed by their hatred.

Episode 16 “Mark of Gideon” 

Another attempt at a message show, that falls flat. This is Trek saying once again that humanity needs sickness, struggle, and death. The philosophy of Trek cannot fathom a perfection that would not be terrifying. In this case it has led to a horrible overpopulation.

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