Thursday, October 8, 2015

Star Trek TOS (Season 3c)

Season 3b—Top Episodes

Trek winds down without ever reaching the strengths of the second half of season one, but for the most part without being a bad as reputation has it… well almost.

Episode 17: “That Which Survives”

Summary: The ship encounters a planet with a unique and deadly security system. The computer fashions women specifically designed to kill each intruder with a simple touch.

Struggle: The story is a bit silly, but the final line is particularly silly.


The episode is focused on minor aspects of the premise, such as the beauty of the woman and the way the men react to the danger, rather than exploring the xenophobia of the people who created the security system.

Episode 18: “Lights of Zetar”

Summary: Strange lights torment the crew and even kill everyone on the station Memory Alpha. They are intelligences seeking bodies to inhabit, and McCoy’s love interest is compatible.

Struggle: The story is resolved so easily, it almost fails to constitute a plot.


The show seems interested in giving someone other than Kirk a love interest, but McCoy is so taken it is hard to believe that he will have forgotten her by the next episode. Such is the weakness of these episodic shows.

Episode 19: “Requiem for Methuselah”

Summary: Yet another “all powerful” being is encountered. This time it is an immortal human who has lived out several lifetimes as famous people from history. He has created a female cyborg, and hopes to make her human by having her fall in love with Kirk.

Struggle: At this point it strains believability to think of all the godlike people in this secular humanist fantasy world.


It is a curious thought that love could make a robot truly human. However, the show reaches its run-time just as the change is achieved. The crisis that the robot faces—reconciling romantic love with love for a father figure—feels like it is forced. And, indeed it is.

Episode 20: “The Way to Eden”

Summary: A group of hippies tries to take the show hostage into the 1960s.

Struggle: That this show is so of its time.


This episode feels like so many other entries into 1960s television. It could have just as well been “Gilligan’s Island” or “The Beverly Hillbillies.” It touches on imagery of Genesis and paradise, but doesn’t really explore them in any meaningful way.

Episode 21: “The Cloud Minders”

Summary: The ship must repair societal relations on a mining planet in order to get an ore it needs to save another planet.

Struggle: The issues raised in this episode are passed over without much struggle. This show is supposed to comment on societal ills, not gloss over them.


In the neat little world of this story, the societal divides and oppression of the well-off over the impoverished is blamed on a gas. If only our problems were so clear-cut. Then again, as complex as they are, they are similar. If only it were as easy as locking the most powerful world leaders into a situation where they could not get enough clean water, food, and education to rise above the poverty-line.

Episode 22: “The Savage Curtain”

Summary: The latest in a long line of omnipotent beings subjects Kirk and Spock to an ill-advised experiment to test whether good or evil is stronger. The problem is that they force a methodology that benefits the side of evil, and then complain that good and evil are too similar.

Struggle: The rock alien is pretty good for its day, but the selection of “historical figures” feels dated.


Good and evil can hardly be measured when they are forced to engage in a violent contest. Then again, many conflicts in our history are felt to be good forced to meet evil on its own terms.

Episode 23: “All Our Yesterdays”

Summary: Inhabitants of a dying planet have escaped destruction by fleeing into their past. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are accidentally sent there as well.

Struggle: There is no reason to believe that Spock would act so out of character.


Why didn’t anybody use the time-travel option to change/save their current time/situation?

Episode 24: “Turnabout Intruder”

Summary: A woman from Kirk’s past switches bodies with him. The whole of the episode is a suspense to see if Kirk will regain his body.

Struggle: The silliness of the whole situation, and the acting towards the end.


A fairly simplistic take on things, but it is still a fun study on the know-ability of truth.

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