Monday, June 15, 2015

Short Treks Season 3.4

“For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky”
Air Date: November 8, 1968
Mom Title: “Bones is Dying”

The longest title of any episode and it gets worked smoothly, directly into the dialogue.  At least there’s some creativity this season. 

Another computer based religion is breeding for pacifism using obedience instruments like Vaal, the Eyemorgs and the Providers.  The Fabrini writing looks like that on the obelisk and they even used the same footage of the asteroid aiming for Mirimanee’s world. 
Plus it’s another race on an exodus from ten thousand years ago.  Sorry, but I find believing in a giant extra galactic invasion conspiracy cushions the blow of them running out of ideas.  That and previously figuring out how to read the obelisk makes Spock suddenly understanding a brand new ancient language make more sense.

McCoy has contracted a typical “plot” disease.  It’s rare, fatal, has no known cure, fatigue like symptoms and is non-contagious. 

Of course he gets better, but not before falling for the high priestess du jour.  Kirk may have his ladies’ man rep, and Spock has epic romances, but Bones does quite well for himself over the seasons.

You old dog you.

The Big Three have a few moments in this one.  Spock immediately reacts when he sees evidence of McCoy’s condition with restrained but obvious emotion.  When they are in true danger of breaking up, Kirk flies into a series of threats and rants.  All Spock says is Bones’s choice is, “illogical,” but accepts it.  Spock always is the softie when it comes to letting people be happy with their loves.

However, using the “Jim moment” theory- if you want to understand the people that really care about the good doctor:  Natira only calls him, “McCoy.”  Jim calls him “Bones.”

The crew plays Satan once more in yet another culture, bestowing upon them knowledge instead of faith.  Religion gets another lashing via a group of people running on blind belief based on a book they haven’t read and having their entire system run on fear of punishment.  It would be heavy commentary if it wasn’t

A) A rehash of stuff they’ve done before
B) Completely ineffective as Natira says, “This is my universe,” and rejects their knowledge.

Kirk shows that he is a true friend by displaying happiness at Bones’s decision to stay on the Enterprise, and more importantly arranging an interplanetary booty call for the Doctor once Yonada gets home.

“The Tholian Web”
Air Date: November 15, 1968
Mom Title: “Vanishing Kirk”

Another bright spot in the final season, using the previously successful  “double bottle” formula. Basically this one is a ghost story. 
First a haunted, vanishing ship, followed by visions of the spirit of Captain Kirk. 

The aliens in the title are almost an after thought to force the ship to remain stuck allowing the character study to continue.

Safety protocols have gotten marginally better. They all beam over in protective suits, showing they learned something from “The Omega Glory.”  Of course it’s still the Big Three heading off in to the unknown. (And Chekov, because they need someone to be the first to freak out again)
The security team is to be sent AFTER the department heads.  Maybe they’re reading the manual backwards.

Also, you’d think with the Starship winking in and out of existence on all their scanners like that, using a shuttle would be a better way to head over.

Scotty’s in charge again during the exploration, and we get to see a fine example of how engineers run projects.  That is, he runs off the bridge to fix the transporter himself.

This story is similar to “Blink” in Doctor Who.  It shows the influence of Captain Kirk, particularly on the Big Three, by his absence.  They are so well connected that the Captain’s recorded message has an active conversation with the other two, including the knowledge that McCoy would demand its playing due to impatience with Spock’s slower, more logical methods.  Kirk’s function is to remind them of the strengths they draw from each other.

McCoy and Spock’s drink together (Scotty once more going off to attempt to “enhance the drink) and solidarity at keeping the secret from Jim at the end shows an increased bond in the two scientific members of the Big Three following this adventure.
  Character growth – a sure sign that the wheels haven’t totally come off the series.

There’s some from other episodes as well for Spock. He demonstrates a better understanding of human’s need for funerals than he did in “The Galileo Seven.”  He also continues to show almost paternal concern for his protégé, Chekov.

Uhura gets some decent material this time out as well.  For one, we get to see she has by far the coolest and most elegant quarters on the ship.  Her skills of observation are brought to the forefront again; as she’s the only one who notices Chekov is angry instead of scared.  Unlike the (many) episodes where everyone goes nuts, Nichelle Nichols excellently portrays someone who is dealing with evidence that makes them doubt their sanity, but inherently knows they aren’t crazy, wavering between concern and relief.

Notice Uhura demands to talk to Mr. Spock, because she knows he’ll believe her. 

Considering the minor amount of screen time it gets, their bond is a thread throughout the whole series.

“Plato’s Stepchildren”
Air Date: November 22, 1968
Mom Title: “Famous Kirk Uhura Kiss”

An almost exclusively Big Three story as we return to the “stupid yet terrifying” realm. This one sits much further away from the terrifying side though.

The biggest deal about this story is the groundbreaking, first scripted interracial kiss on TV and all of the controversy and complaints it generated. That’s kind of ironic considering the main message of the episode comes through in Kirk explaining: 
“Alexander, where I come from, size, shape, or color makes no difference, and nobody has the power.”

To cover up reusing ideas again, let’s tie this in to the galaactic invasion conspiracy.  They escaped a nova millennium ago by means of travelling huge distances.  Perhaps they came from Andromeda, and passing through the galactic barrier heightened their powers?  Was Apollo one of them?  You’d think one of the Big Three would have remembered meeting Ancient Greeks before?

And how do Ancient Greeks know about Lewis Carroll and Flamenco Dancing?  Considering the way they acted, they’re probably a planet of immature Trelanes, copying what they saw through a telescope and making up the rest. Since Spock had a better understanding of Plato than those who supposedly studied under him, I’m going with that theory.

The actions are bizarre, but there’s a couple of salvageable moments. 
Leonard Nimoy sings (showcasing a voice that will be on several albums).  Uhura, who knows him better, is more visibly pained at this than Chapel, who has a crush on him. 
William Shatner must have filmed this “horsey ride” scene with Alexander before his well known equestrian passion began. The noise he makes isn’t one that ever came from a horse.

These may just be the most shallow, evil, cowardly and cruel beings the Enterprise has ever run into. I have no idea why they weren’t just vaporized from the space once they beamed out with Doctor Loveless.   Parmen tried to bluff Kirk that they’d changed, but you can’t bluff the master.

Even Spock hits them with:
“That would be highly uncharacteristic. We must expect, Parmen, that the moment we leave here, your fear would be gone and you would again be as sadistic and as arrogant as your twenty five hundred years have made you.”

Which is the Vulcan equivalent of, “Horse Hockey!”

Knowing how to recreate the powers won’t protect every ship passing by.  I’m pretty sure the entire federation isn’t injecting themselves to be telekinetic just in case.

That brings up probably the MOST ENORMOUS PLOT HOLE in all of Star Trek. 
Doctor McCoy has created supreme mental powers in a syringe, and they’re going to tell everyone in the Federation about it for when they pass by this planet.  Yet we never hear about is again.  Shouldn’t there be a swarm of Gary Mitchells showing up in Starfleet pretty quickly.  Also, shouldn’t every episode after this have taken only five minutes to resolve.  The more mature “Organians” and other energy beings must have disciplined these wayward Platonian children and wiped the Enterprise crew’s memory.

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