Star Trek: The Original Series Season 3

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Star Trek: The Original Series

Star Trek: The Original Series Season 2

SPOILERS TOTAL. You've been warned.


301: Spock's Brain 1968 September 20

(First watched 2008-04-18)  "His brain is gone!"

So the man's surviving without his brain.  Is it REALLY necessary to install a remote-control system to make him walk around?


302: The Enterprise Incident

(First watched 2009-04-04)  Pretty flagrant aggressive action on the part of the Federation here.  Kirk and Spock use subterfuge to steal the cloaking device, but it's perfectly clear who did it.  Considering how at odds the Federation and Romulans are, it's surprising this didn't cause some much bigger blowback.


303: The Paradise Syndrome

(First watched 2009-04-08)  Hey, finally the "I am Kirok!" episode.

I guess this is as close as Kirk gets to a "The Inner Light" situation, living another life, though it doesn't last for decades as for Picard.  So really in that regard it's more like a couple Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis episodes I can think of.

Busy episode for Kirk, though.  Becomes a god, medicine man, husband, father-to-be, and widower within the span of one episode.

Was it really such a surprise to Salish that the god Kirok could bleed?  I mean, he eats and breathes and behaves in all other ways like a regular person.  Why not bleed?  Even if he was a god, it would seem he'd taken complete human form in a biological sense.

Spock was talking about the logical choices and all, but he really seemed to blow it by blowing the engines.  They had to waste 2 months crawling around.  Perhaps with full power they could've used those two months to devise an alternate plan, or go get more help, rather than requiring last-minute use of a Preserver device.

Preservers are an interesting concept.  An ancient race that moved life forms around from planet to planet to help things not die off.  McCoy says it helps explain why there are so many humanoids around, but not really; it would only help explain why there are humans around on other worlds, or whatever other duplicates.

And featuring... white people as Native Americans!


304: And the Children Shall Lead

(First watched 2009-04-09)  I like the goofiness of being able to summon a spirite/energy being/whatever by just replaying the summoning ceremony's audio.  I guess we viewers are damned lucky the glowing guy in robes didn't appear for all of us.


305: Is There in Truth No Beauty?

(First watched 2009-04-11)  Hey, Dr. Pulaski!  And she's blind!  Funny how they made such a big deal about how even with an advanced sensor dress, a blind person shouldn't pilot the ship.  A biiit different from the first season of TNG when Geordi and his VISOR helmed the Enterprise-D.

I think maybe TOS and I have a language problem.  Sometimes there's a concept that I think I can grasp, but they explain it in what seems an off way.  For instance, I can buy that there's something weird about the Medusans that can cause many humanoids to go insane upon seeing them... but to just repeatedly call that "ugliness".  Come oooon.

The end confused me a bit.  Kirk seemed to be making accusations without certainty, and I wasn't happy with the lack of resolution.  If she wasn't trying to kill Spock by influencing his mind, he was just being a big asshole.  If she was, it doesn't seem a good idea to just happily send her on her way after she helps him recover.

The Spock/Kollos melding was pretty interesting.  And gives Nimoy one of his few chances to use a very different demeanor with Spock.

Standard Kirk move of the week: When called upon to create a distraction so big that it will distract Dr. Jones from telepathically noticing things... of course Kirk's solution is to try flirting.  Which fails.


306: Spectre of the Gun

(First watched 2009-04-13)  More half-assed logic from Spock that turns out to be absolutely correct.  Their knockout gas doesn't work, and he concludes this means they're in an unreal situation.  OK, that's fair.  But from there he determines that things are only as real as they believe them to be... based on what?  Maybe their alien captors just replaced their knockout mixture with high tech.  Maybe it's a simulation that prevents dangerous toxins from being created, but where bullets are just as real.  With this kind of logic, Spock would end up dead in a Reg Barclay holodeck production.

I've got the benefit of having seen more Star Trek than these characters, but I saw the "it was a test to see if you'd kill" thing coming from a mile away.

I kind of like the way that using building fronts at a skewed angle was both a way to make the sets cheap and easy, and part of an incomplete alien recreation.


307: Day of the Dove

(First watched 2009-04-15)  Another energy being.  This one seems to go about things in a needlessly complicated way.  It needs to feed on hatred, and can manipulate people's perceptions to help get it.  Given that, wouldn't it have been simpler to just use the crew of one ship against itself, rather than needing to bring together a small portion of the Enterprise's crew against Klingons?  And what was with going at extremely high warp?  If the dilithium crystals busted they weren't going to actually reach anyplace, and putting the ship in danger would end the game right quick.


308: For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky 1968 November 8

(First watched 2008-04-29)  Meeting a species for the first time, deciding to stay and marrying one, divorcing one and leaving all on the same day?  Isn't that a bit fast, Bones?

Having no prior symptoms, discovering you've got a rare condition that gives you one year to live, immediately displaying symptoms, and finding/applying a cure all on the same day?  Isn't that a bit fast, Bones?


309: The Tholian Web

(First watched 2009-04-16)  I've seen episodes that follow this up, books, comics... but finally I see the original.  It's interesting, given the title of the episode,  how incidental the Tholians are to the main plot.  They look weird and set up their fancy web, but essentially it just sets a time limit on the Enterprise's attempted rescue activities, as many other things could have.

Kirk's taped message to Spock and McCoy in case of his demise really anticipated their difficulties.  And both of them too embarrassed to admit having watched it.

Kirk floating around through things was kind of goofy, but I guess really no more so than other instances of people being "out of phase" in Star Trek or other sci-fi.


310: Plato's Stepchildren

(First watched 2009-04-21)  Considering what is said about Shatner as an actor on set, I wonder if he found the ridiculous things he had to do in this episode insulting, or gratifying since it put so much attention on him.  This episode just goes on and on with the scene where he's being forced to dance or act like a pony for Alexander and yada yada yada.

In the end, they win by way of learning the secret of giving regular humans powerful telekinesis... never to be heard from in Star Trek again.


311: Wink of an Eye

(First watched 2009-04-22)  Interesting premise executed in an extremely flawed and inconsistent way.  The sped-up people seemed to be going so fast that the regular people were completely still... except when they were sometimes just really slow.  And at those kinds of speeds, the time taken in this episode should've been months?  They show a regular-time scene of Spock and McCoy, but on either side of it there are fast-time scenes with Scott frozen in the same place?  During the time when it's still showing fast-time with Kirk and Spock at the end, it goes to an external shot of the Enterprise which appears to be orbiting at regular speed?

I notice this episode has a pretty obvious "putting on the boots" scene.

Second episode in a row where they come upon some amazing discovery that can give powers (albeit with a dangerous side-effect) to a regular person, never to be heard of in the franchise again.

Also the second episode in a row where some species of small population tries to force people to stay behind for their own benefit.  Really, beyond the kidnapping thing neither of these worlds were so bad--surely if they'd just sent out the space equivalent of Want Ads people would gladly answer.  "Wanted: Doctor to infrequently help a small colony in usually good health."  "Wanted: Anyone biologically compatible and willing to mate at high speed."


312: The Empath

(First watched 2009-04-25)  So the Federation knows a star is going nova soon, and there are multiple inhabited planets orbiting it... and their response is to set up an observation station where they leave two guys?  What the hell.  At least one of the planets had a highly advanced civilization so it's not like there was even a Prime Directive concern in that case.

Though for that matter, maybe that civilization could've saved more of the solar system's inhabitants if they'd spent more time working on evacuation and less time setting up moral tests for species from other planets.

Gem seems a pretty stupid name to pick for the empath, considering their tiny group already had a Jim in it.  That aside, though, she was more interesting than the average Star Trek woman-of-the-week.  No vocal communication made for something completely different, and with all that makeup on (though not quite enough to make her a full-blown Earth mime) she looked like a doll.  I also really like the "Gem music" they use while she's silently emoting, though the fact that they keep reusing it for other women throughout the season cheapens it a bit.


313: Elaan of Troyius

(First watched 2009-04-27)  Again this universe does not seem to match the one that really solidified in the later years.  So this is a solar system that's in... disputed Federation territory, which the Klingons also claim?  With two planets that aren't really in the Federation and have much lower levels of technology?  And the Enterprise is made to act essentially as a carriage for a marriage that's supposed to create peace between two clashing worlds in the system?


314: Whom Gods Destroy

(First watched 2009-04-29)  So there are only a little more than a dozen people in the Federation with an incurable mental illness?  And someone thought it was a good idea to segregate them onto their own planet with just a couple people to watch over them?  And keep them in tiny cells?  And a new wonder drug can take away all of their problems forever?

Garth was interesting to watch swing from in-control delusions of grandeur to lashing out at those around him.

It's nice to see that at least crazy Andorians and Tellarites can get along.


315: Let That Be Your Last Battlefield

(First watched 2009-04-29)  Ahh, the classic example of racial hatred that seems obvious to the participants, but baffling to the outsiders.

So Bele had been chasing Lokai for 50,000 years?  And it only took them a few hours to reach their home planet?  Neither had stopped in in the dozens of millenia to check and see if everyone was dead?

Their planet is from an unexplored area of space, but Kirk knows where it's located?

This is a comment that goes beyond this episode, but what's up with Starfleet officers' self-destruct codes only using the first few letters and numbers.  For something so important, that would greatly increase the chance of somebody getting it even by random chance.  "1 A 2 B", yeah, nobody would think of that, genius.  It's almost as good as the "1 2 3 4 5" combination in Spaceballs.  Relatedly, the ability to shut it off was much less strict than Kirk would've had us believe.  He was all "After counting down to 5, nothing can be done!", but he starts shutting it off after it's already counted to 6, but clearly takes several seconds to actually get to the important stuff about giving a cancellation code.  Not so impossible if you can just stall the computer like that.


316: The Mark of Gideon

(First watched 2009-04-30)  Argh.  So this is a planet of people who have long since all-but-conquered death and have an overpopulation problem... and haven't expanded into space?  They don't even use contraception because they view life as so sacred, but introducing a plague is kosher?  These people who don't leave the planet and have had limited contact with the Federation are able to build a ground-based partially-functional duplicate of the Enterprise so exact that it fools the captain?  It just doesn't make good sense.

So there didn't seem to be anything preventing Spock from communicating with the real Enterprise once he'd beamed down.  Did Kirk not take his communicator down?  Or did he just never try to use it since he had access to the wall/panel communicators built into the "ship"?


317: That Which Survives

(First watched 2009-04-30)  Fascinating.  I thought the scenery looked familiar... but I'd just imagined it.  I read a novel which took place immediately after this episode, so the planet and some of the basics of the situation seemed as if I'd seen them before.

As is often the case, Spock is very precise with his numbers... but in some cases it doesn't seem worth it.  Now, when he chides someone for telling him "and a half" hours instead of .337 or whatever, that's worth a quibble over; 10 minutes could be a lot when they're in an emergency situation.  However, bitching at Scotty for saying 15 minutes instead of 14.87 is stupid, and takes more time than the .13 minute difference.  Hell, he probably could've said 14.88 minutes and been right, too, since he'd have been able to get it out of his mouth a syllable faster.

Kirk also seemed too touchy at Sulu's theories.  I mean, Kirk was saying not to make guesses without evidence... but the Enterprise not being there while extra radiation was seems like evidence to me, and Sulu saying the ship could've been destroyed was a valid possibility.  His bringing up of the Tunguska blast was also interesting, but again Kirk sniped.  At least that time it was with a funny line, though, saying that if he'd wanted Russian history he'd have brought along Chekov.


318: The Lights of Zetar

(First watched 2009-05-01)  So losing Memory Alpha could be a great blow to the galaxy... seriously?  I mean, not that it didn't seem an important place, but surely that wasn't the only place all of that galactic library material was kept?  If Wikipedia's servers exploded today, backups could be brought online in no time.

And at the end they're going to deposit Mira there, just as planned?  Even though now... EVERYONE ELSE THERE IS DEAD?

Co-written by Shari Lewis?


319: Requiem for Methuselah

(First watched 2009-05-02)  So Flint/Leonardo/Methuselah/whoeverelse still works with the distinctive styles and handwriting of his old personae... you would think after centuries his style would've evolved a bit.  Or that historians would've noticed that Brahms and da Vinci had the same handwriting.

And Kirk is supposed to be believable at falling madly in love with an android woman who was completely emotionless for the majority of their several-hour acquaintance?  If anything that just makes Kirk/Spock fanfics seem more plausible.

Kirk's claims to Flint that Earth people had become very peaceful and the Enterprise's weapons were all for defensive purposes... yeah, that probably would've been more convincing if a few minutes earlier he hadn't been threatening Flint with destruction by the ship's phasers to force his cooperation.

So at the end Spock seems to use a fancy Vulcan technique to make Kirk "forget".  While that seems a highly morally questionable thing to do, it is interesting in how it mirrors the important "Remember" bit from Star Trek II and III.

I like the use of the Enterprise model sitting on a table to represent it having been shrunk.


320: The Way to Eden

(First watched 2009-05-02)  Ahh, the "space hippies" episode.  Yeah, this was as annoying as I've heard.

While it makes sense that information on how to run the ship should be found in the computer... it doesn't make sense that with just such information, people who previously had no starship experience should be able to wrest control from the bridge to auxiliary control.

Irina's accent was pretty awful.  It seemed it was supposed to be awful fake Russian, but it often sounded more like awful fake Swedish.


321: The Cloud Minders

(First watched 2009-05-03)  Another case of this not being the way things should work with the 24th century Trek I initially got into.  This planet is a member of the Federation, even though they clearly practice segregation and an upper caste rules over a lower one?  AND there's a death penalty in place for a starship captain mucking about too much with a member world's government?

It is an interesting twist that while we at first think the prejudice on both sides is completely bunk, it turns out that there is something different about the people on the ground thanks to the effects of a gas.  Not a permanent effect, but it appears to be so since most people either spend all their time on the ground or off the ground.

Kirk's attempt to prove this gas theory to the doubters worked... but it doesn't seem to me like it should've.  The one who showed the most obvious change with the gas's effects was Kirk himself, and of course he had the most to gain by making the gas theory appear true.  If I was one of the others, I'd think he was just acting--like Shatner was.

Interesting to see the scantily clad lady of the week fall for Spock for a change.

What was up with the baby bonnets the Stratos guards wore?


322: The Savage Curtain

(First watched 2009-05-04)  Surak!  Smooth-headed Kahless!  Abraham Lincoln?

Surak was smart to wonder if it was a test to see if "good" would attack at all.  After all, something very similar had happened earlier this season in Specter of the Gun.  However, that was not the case.  Instead, the aliens' test was... very stupid.  They wanted to know the differences between good vs evil, but making it a strict forced fight to the death kinda takes away a lot of the possible different approaches each side would take to a situation.

Interesting that not much changed by the end of the episode.  Usually Kirk would launch his diatribe at the aliens and they'd learn their lesson and change their ways.  Instead, this time nobody changed their minds; each side just survived and then went on their way.


323: All Our Yesterdays

(First watched 2009-05-05)  Interesting idea, though sending people on a doomed planet back to the past on a planetary scale seems... problematic.  If they were just adding to the population it would create an impossible loop of more and more people, or changing population growth in such a way to cause people to no longer exist.  So it must be a predestination thing, where everybody is Fry on a grand scale?  The population is descended from itself?

It's also a bit goofy that going back in time causes Spock to become emotional because somehow his brain has changed to the normal philosophy of Vulcans of that era?  However, in a "goofy-ass Star Trek science" way it's not unexpected.  Like how Deanna Troi can revert into a Betazoid spider.

Surely having thousands of walk-through walls that lead to a library at the end of the world scattered throughout history would be the cause of some weird accidents and disappearances?

Kirk claimed to be from an island called Earth.  Was this an obvious reference to the sci-fi movie This Island Earth?


324: Turnabout Intruder

(First watched 2009-05-06)  Ahh, a body switcher.  Funny that Captain Kirk isn't Captain Kirk for most of the last episode.  Though the change in persona could've been handled a bit better by the actors.  Shatner definitely did things that he wouldn't normally have as Kirk, but Lester-as-Kirk still spoke with his style, and Kirk-as-Lester didn't.

I thought this was a pretty good episode for the less important characters (except Uhura who wasn't there), though that role wasn't huge.  But not only Spock and McCoy notice something is wrong with the captain, but eventually Scott, Sulu, and Chekov have to decide that whether or not there's really been a mind transfer, the captain is doing things they won't condone and choose to defy orders.

Lester was obviously crazy... but did I hear right that part of the reason she was so bitter was because women can't become starship captains?  Obviously this is something they didn't hold to in future Star Trek history (NX-02's captain in Enterprise was female)), but it's interesting that with the show being fairly progressive that's evidently something they didn't see happening in the next several hundred years.

I also like that the title of the episode sounds like a case from an Ace Attorney game.


Star Trek: The Motion Picture