Monday, August 3, 2015

Short Treks Season Animated 1.2

“The Lorelei Signal”
Air Date: September 29, 1973
Mom Title: “Women Take Command of the Enterprise”

Looks like we’ve landed on a better organized version of the “Spock’s Brain” world; with left over ancient alien tech placing the women in charge.  Instead of home growing their Morgs on this Doctor Seuss looking world in the Taurean system, the space sirens steal them from passing ships.  They’ve been able to do this for generations because the Enterprise is apparently the only craft to ever enter their system with any women on it.  Then again, since the men will be dead in four years, and the Sirens capture new men every twenty seven years, maybe there’s more going on here than atrocious math skills?

This episode gets a great deal of credit for being the only time Lieutenant Uhura is unquestionably in command.  However, just like most of the animated series, the women don’t come off all that well.

Uhura proves she is fit for “the chair” by having her very first action be logging followed by beaming down phasers blazing, but she never actually gets to sit in “the chair.” 

Spock’s musical ability helps them gain access to the computer chamber, and the Vulcan science officer is still the one who solves this week’s problems after the armed ladies beam down.

McCoy helps too because of his never ending collection of stimulants.

The male crewmembers are rescued, and the Sirens vow to change their ways, basically because they get convinced that becoming someone’s little wife is preferable to immortality.

Oh yeah, fantastic episode for empowering women.

Then again, writer Margaret Armen gave us Shahna, Miramanee and Droxine in the Original series.  None of those made any great strides for feminism.  She’d go on to turn the captain into a fish, which isn’t really a great stride for anyone.

Amazingly, the transporter can cure aging. Too bad they didn’t know that when they were orbiting Gamma Hydra IV.

“More Tribbles, More Troubles”
Air Date: October 6, 1973
Mom Title:  “They’re Baaaaa-aack”

We’re back on Station K-7 in a tale written by David Gerrold and Stanley Adams is back as Cyrano Jones.  Granted the Klingon reactions would have been much funnier if Michel Pataki and William Campbell returned. (Particularly Koloth’s ending, “Don’t do that again…ever.”) 
Also, the Tribbles probably shouldn’t have been pink, and neither should the Klingons for that matter.  Casting changes and color blind directors aside, it’s still a triumphant return to one of the great Trek comedies.

How about that? This is where the Klingon stasis beam in Star Fleet Battles comes from.  All the more reason to accept this series as cannon.

Wow, after everything they went through, the Quadrotriticale didn’t work, leading to the delivery of (what else?) Quintotriticale.  They certainly can’t afford to lose the grain again. The limited animation forces a lack of facial expressions and aside glances, which make this episode seem a little more serious at times than its predecessor.  They do, however, do the extra mile and give Kirk a facial reaction to Scotty’s concluding Tribble pun.  Gerrold’s knack for running gags also runs true to form.

Still no sign of the Organians in this conflict with the Klingons.  Clearly, the invasion plan has progressed enough to remove their need to fool everyone.

It’s obvious that turning the story originally intended to be a season four follow up to the season two classic into a shorter cartoon left some holes in the narrative.

If Cyrano managed to escape Station K-7 in the middle of his 17.9 year sentence to steal a glommer from a Klingon lab, why did he return?

More importantly, if everyone was OK with brining a Tribble predator on to eat the little fuzzballs, why not save the time and effort?  Set phasers for “vaporize” and apart from figuring out how to cleanse the joint of the stench of burning fur, it would have been clean in no time.

Starfleet safety protocols are unchanged. A little jostling of the Enterprise knocks over the sealed containers of valuable grain causing them to spill their contents all over the deck. We pack Mayonnaise more securely than that with current technology.

McCoy’s genius gets underplayed in the comedy of giant piñata Tribbles this time out, which is unfortunate.  Bones invented the “safe tribble!”  Any time a tribble is seen after this point, the fact that it isn’t burying the location in its progeny is due to the good Doctor’s medical knowledge.

Remember folks, Have your Tribbles spayed or neutered.

“The Survivor”
Air Date: October 20, 1973
Mom Title: “Shapeshifter Fiancée”

Wait, traders are allowed passage through the Romulan neutral zone?  I think Starfleet Academy programmed the Kobayashi Maru simulation on the wrong side of the Federation.  Especially since we see here that even in animation, it’s cheaper for the Romulans to fly Klingon ships.

Yes, cheap animation can be a problem.  Unless the alien brought a friend who remains at large, Scotty is somehow on the bridge while he’s making repairs in engineering.

It’s delayed a few years from “Way to Eden,” but McCoy’s daughter Joanna’s existence is established here.

Another stellar showing for women in the cartoon:  Not only do they point out that Anne is weak, but knowing this, they leave her to guard the alien pretending to be her fiancée repeatedly so she can demonstrate her weakness.

At least we get the addition of another female crew member, Lieutenant M’ress…who serves the same role as Uhura in communications, and is a purring cat-woman.  Never mind.

True to form for Trek duplicate stories, the other two of the Big Three instantly recognize the Fake McCoy for what he is.

That Winston is a heck of a shape shifter isn’t he?  He turned into an energy shield!  Or perhaps his true form isn’t a crazy flailing jellyfish thing, but a non-corporeal space cloud being.  Yes, the Andromedan’s have captured another member of Starfleet.

“The Infinite Vulcan”
Air Date: October 20, 1973
Mom Title: “Giant Spock”

Since this episode was written by Walter Koenig, Chekov’s buddy Sulu gets to accompany the Big Three for the beam down to the plant based planet.  Sulu’s botany background shows up lends a logical explanation to this choice, and the author lends his reversed first name to the walking “Retlaw” plant.

The bad guy is a clone of yet another survivor from Kahn’s time, coming from the same background.  Oddly, no one is concerned that he’s left alone with a giant, somewhat altered Mr. Spock on a planet of expansionist plants with a Dalek like view of the universe.

Then again, this isn’t an episode to look for consistency in.  The crew is flummoxed to see sentient plant life after encountering sentient gas clouds, rocks and balls of light. However, running into a giant human is treated as, “no biggie.”

There are some connections to familiar territory. Scotty at the conn means a viable technical solution is found.  It’s the only other time we see the Enterprise phasers set for stun. (Sadly doing nothing.) Sweetly, Spock returns to himself due to the sound of Uhura’s voice.

Bones’s penchant for having massive stocks of unusual items is also seen again. We learn he’s got the stores to produce copious amounts of weed killer. Maybe that’s why they weren’t worried about who or what was being left behind.   With all life forms on the planet being plant based, McCoy’s spray probably eliminated everything living there.

No comments: