Monday, March 2, 2015

Short Treks Season 1.8 and a Tribute

I'm not going to say the things I'm supposed to about Leonard Nimoy.

I know I should acknowledge that his career and life were far more than a single role. That this man excelled as an actor in other parts, a director,  photographer writer, poet, even a singer. Based on interviews I've read with others, its easy to add quality family man and friend to that list.

But those aren't the way he affected my life.

Since close to ten years before I found Doctor Who, and even a few years before Star Wars existed, I was a Star Trek fan.  Though I was raised on Disney films, the first time I cried in a theater was Star Trek II.

I do own all three original series colored t-shirts, there's one I wear far more than others.

I've been running projects for more than a decade, and need to think of myself as in Command.
Combining college with my career, I've been in Engineering twenty five years.

The inspiration I need to lead a team is less connected to making confident decisions, and pulling spectacular bluffs to get the results I want, and more connected to keeping my emotions in check, and logically planning out what needs to be done.  Not to mention pretending not to understand the obvious in order to get others to see that their viewpoint isn't the only one.

My interest in Engineering wasn't similar to Scotty's love of engines, but from the satisfaction of solving problems, learning about new ideas, and figuring things out scientifically.

From the time I was running around in my blue pajamas and cardboard ears over forty years ago the Sciences color is my main choice.

Mr Spock has been, and ever shall be my favorite character, and the reason for that has always been the performance, interpretations, contributions, and never fully hidden emotions Leonard Nimoy brought to the character, from his first appearance sitting in his best friend's chair to his final ones, reminding the old fans that the new kids on the Enterprise will be OK, and the new fans that there were those who brought the awesome to Star Trek well before they were born.

I'm also supposed to deal with the loss, which is obviously far worse for those closer to the man himself by acceptance, no matter what belief system I use.  
"He's earned going to a better place now."
"Due to his creative impulses, the world is a richer and more interesting place now that he's lived."
"He had a long run, during which the lives of those he touched will be better for it."

Those all may be true, but I can't follow Spock's example and keep my emotions in check.  I cannot keep myself from being angry that he missed the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek by mere months.  I can't help but feel he was robbed of all the gratitude, accolades and out pourings of warmth from all the people like myself that the character he helped shape and develop while performing that would have come along with all the celebrations.

There's only one week left in the Season 1 Short Treks. My original plan was to break up the postings to allow the final ones to go up during the Fiftieth Anniversary Year.  However, I can think of no better way to celebrate the man I've been a fan of my entire life than to continue to highlight the role that brought so much joy to me, and many others for all these years. Therefore, I will continue the remaining seasons of Short Treks straight through as a salute.

A Toast: 
Here's to you Leonard Nimoy, Rest in Peace.

Thank you for bringing us Spock.

Over a lifetime where in your career, your artistic pursuits and your interactions with others, you Lived Long, and Prospered.

and Now, back to the regularly scheduled continuation of watching the first season of Star Trek.

Click Here For Short Treks Index

“Errand of Mercy”
Air Date: March 23, 1967
Mom Title: “Klingons and Organians”

The magic moments in the background for our heavily interracial couple is definitely gone after the tree climbing incident.  Uhura’s warm smile for Spock is gone, and she turns away, instead of mooning over him, at the end.

On the plus side, Sulu takes the con for the first time. Someone please tell me why we couldn’t have a Captain Sulu of the Excelsior series, instead of some of the other ones?

However not much is done with Sulu's moment.  For this episode again, and sadly becoming more frequently as time passes, we have a character focus that was a novelty early on. Star Trek moves away from ensemble pieces into a tale that focuses almost exclusively on Kirk and Spock.

Our intrepid duo explores an undeveloped planet with green goats, in case we thought they beamed down to a Renaissance Faire instead of Organia.

It’s not that much of a stretch… maybe they were holding that kind of festival. It would explain why a race of complete pacifists with no corporeal forms has a dungeon.

Kirk’s reaction to them is completely expected, as he meets yet another world of complacent, happy, yet unambitious people that the Captain feels the need to fix.  Kirk’s universe is firmly divided into “sheep” and “wolves.”  There is no room in his head or heart for other alternatives.

While an important plot device, the Organians aren’t the key important introduction here, however.


And what an introduction!

Yes, they do dress in a more spangles and gold-lamé than Elvis, which is unusual for military conquest minded, evil fascists.  Face it; every decade has some fashion mistakes they’d like to forget.

In this, their first appearance, facial hair is not the standard.  In fact, only two of them have it.  While one is a junior officer, the other sets the standard.

John Colicos as Kor establishes the template for what is a true Klingon through his sheer awesomeness for all to follow.  The Fu Man Chu mustache and little beard, the crazy eyebrows, the warrior above all else culture - he’s the source.  Quite impressive for what is essentially a bureaucrat.  He’s not a ship’s captain; he’s basically a Zorro nemesis style alcalde.

He’s also dang shrewd. 
The Planetary Governor immediately picks up Kirk is not what he claims to be.

I don’t mean seeing through the Federation officer’s disguises.  Between color coding themselves gold and blue, Spock calling him, “Captain” and planning subterfuge spitting distance from a gang of Klingons, a senile orangutan could have uncovered their secret.

What I do mean is that Kor recognizes a kindred spirit in Kirk.  He is thrilled to meet a likeminded individual and instantly seeks an alliance when he believes Kirk to only be Baroner: a local merchant with a stick up his butt about being pushed.

Jim doesn’t catch on to how similar they are until he’s worked himself up into a foaming lather near the end. 

Of course, he also didn’t consider there would be monitoring on the leader of a hostile takeover force, and missed that the primitive stagnant Organians had automatic doors…

And telepathy.

You’d think Spock would have caught that one.

Maybe the Organians were messing with their minds.  Or the bridge crew was tired.

It’s obvious by the conclusion, that Ayelborne and company are just as disgusted by both the Klingons and Federation as Kor so eloquently put he (and Kirk) was by them.  Considering they react nearly identically to being prevented from starting a war, the Organians prediction that they would end up as an alliance was an obvious one.

Heck, if the Organians were less powerful, Kirk and Kor would have likely teamed up against them and won.

Because as another great Klingon said under similar circumstances, “Only a fool fights in a burning house.”

The Organians could have faked being beaten by the combined forces of the Federation and Klingons proving how well they worked together and sparking an alliance that would remove the need for their imposed peace treaty.

Which they were very lax in enforcing in future episodes. 


The Organian’s have the same interstellar range as the Talosians,  but can affect matter, not just cause illusions, making them more powerful.


A) The Organians were lying and everything they did was illusion based.
B) The Talosians were lying and were capable of affecting matter.

Then again, there’s also:

C)  They’re both lying and the Organians and the Talosians are one and the same.

They both seem to have a distaste and lack of understanding for negative emotions.
The same emotions the Enterprise is constantly shoved into situations where something amplifies, removes, feeds on or in some other way focuses on.

Many of the other non-corporeal aliens behave the same way, and a good number of them mention extra galactic origins.

I’ll continue to monitor these developments, but it’s starting to look like an insanely powerful race from another galaxy is poking and prodding at Captain Kirk and his crew.

Whether their goal is to help evolve the races of the Federation to the next level of consciousness, or to simply probe for weaknesses as a precursor to a large scale invasion are both equally likely at this junction.

The Alternative Factor”
Air Date: March 30, 1967
Mom Title: “Pair of Lazarus”

Another straight science fiction story, how nice.

Or it would be nice, if it made a smidgen of sense.

Back on the Vasquez Rocks and/or Lone Ranger Ranch, Kirk, Spock and a gang of still surprisingly safe Redshirts beam down to explore this week’s weird phenomenon, and find Lazarus, who’s a pretty weird phenomenon by himself.  I guess back then they used stupid facial hair for aliens instead of stupid nose appliances.

McCoy isn’t part of the landing party, but provides his allocation of Big Threeness on the ship later on.

Coincidentally the exact same security men are on duty when they beam back down later on, having nothing to do with cost savings based on nonlinear filming order, I’m sure.

The week’s weird phenomenon is a substantial part of not making a smidgen of sense.  The entire galaxy flashed back and forth between universes, yet somehow its “centered” on the Enterprise.  Doesn’t that mean the galaxy bent?

Strangely, the remastered version sticks with the cheesy original negative flashing effect, even though all the Starship scenes get enhanced.

Sadly, sometimes even the greats stumble.  Or at least wander about with excessive padding.

Speaking of wandering about, I guess the security protocols haven’t been improved since Lazarus is allowed to wander around the ship’s corridors unsupervised. Good call dismissing the need for security restraints on the unknown, alien, already shown to be unstable prisoner there, Bones.  

If I wanted to be a typical snarky Star Trek fan, I could point out that the presence of a Good and Evil Lazarus may be a hint that there are similarly good and evil universes out there for them to come from. Ha Ha.

However, that would overlook a rather important bit of the characters.

There isn’t a “Good Lazarus” and an “Evil Lazarus.”

There is a “Loud Crazy Paranoid” Lazarus,
and a “Quiet Crazy Paranoid” Lazarus.

The fact that the Enterprise crew thinks they should help either one of them is disturbing.

Interesting Technical Note:

A drawer full of banana plugs right next to a critical access panel can frag the entire Enterprise power grid. 
Maybe they should have put that drawer somewhere else.

Spock and Uhura continue to be coldly professional to each other. 


longbow said...

I still tear up at the end of Khan.

Jeff McGinley said...

So do the rest of us. And now it's going to be far worse.

thanx for sharing

Unknown said...

So well always!

Brian said...

I could not have put it better! Thanks Jeff! Personally, I've rediscovered the Trek fan in me after re-watching the entire Original Series. Hearing about Nimoy's death really hit harder than it might have had I not had this resurgence of interest in the show. I've been working my way through the entire gamut of Star Trek TV/Movies in release order since this past winter started (I'm skipping Animated, for now). After getting all the way through Voyage Home I'm about 9 episodes into TNG. The entire universe of Trek is such great fodder for storytelling (good and bad).

Jeff McGinley said...

Renae, many thanx, as always.

Brian. I know what you mean, it would have hurt normally, but hitting right when I was just finishing season two made it worse. I tried all the later series before but am thinking of giving Enterprise a shot when I'm done with the classics.

Don't knock the Animated series, it had the original voices of the main seven, plus Chapel, minus Chekov, and he wrote one.

Thanx again.