Monday, June 1, 2015

Short Treks Season 3.2

“The Paradise Syndrome”
Air Date: October 4, 1968
Mom Title: “Kirk Marries an Indian”

Why do all the expanded universe musings list Edith Keeler as Kirk’s lost, one true love?  Jim dated her once or twice over a long weekend. He was MARRIED to Miramanee for a couple of months, and expecting a child.

Granted, Sabrina Scharf is not Joan Collins…or a real American Indian, but never mind that now. The point is she should be more than a footnote.

It looks like the Andromedans have set up another colony of humans and programmed them to base a religion on a high end computer that encourages passivity.  They’re definitely trying to pave the way for an easy take over.

By this point, the crew has seen enough “exactly like Earth” planets that it no longer surprises them or requires referencing parallel development theories.

The Big Three beam down to a Prime Directive covered planet in full uniform…again.   Considering how willing Bones and Spock are to violate it to save the Captain at the climax of the story, it may have been easier to use the “double capacity” capability of the Enterprise (demonstrated in “Journey to Babel”) to beam the whole tribe on board and take them to a less moon-sized-asteroid collision prone planet.

You can tell Spock is the logical one.  He’s the only officer, when faced with a half hour to save the planet from an extinction level space rock, to think, “It’s pretty, let’s look around,” might be a poor allocation of time.

Once more Spock proves his methods, while not as impressive or dynamic as the Captain’s, are effective. He pushes himself to the maximum point based on logical need.  He relaxes with his music, because logical or no, he’s still incredibly cool.

The First Officer pushes the Enterprise the same way he does himself.   Yes, the ship is hitting Warp 9 again. Luckily, the confrontation over the Romulan cloaking device happened first, allowing it to retain its awesomeness before crazy speeds become common place this season.

It still doesn’t make Scotty any happier as he runs around tweaking everything to no avail until the engines fry and he calls them, “"My bairns. My poor bairns."
For those of you who didn’t obsess over this show for a large portion of their life and look up stuff like this, “bairn” is a Scottish word for “child.”

Notice every other crew member who has been sucked into peaceful and happy societies ended up fitting in well and enjoying their time. 
Captain Kirk makes himself a god, and incites a lynch mob.  Old habits die hard I guess. Perhaps this was because he had a highly selective form of amnesia. After all, he forgot his name, but still remembered his lifeguard training.

Poor Miramanee …
Federation Medical science and McCoy’s ingenuity have cured unknown plagues, impalements, 120° below zero frostbite, and parasitic compromises of the entire nervous system.  

Rocks however, are beyond their abilities to cope with.

Looks like the Federation has something in common with the Galactic Empire.

Just ask those few Stormtroopers who survived the Battle of Endor.

“And the Children Shall Lead”
Air Date: October 11, 1968
Mom Title: “Melvin Belli the Friendly Angel”

This one walks a tightrope between stupid and terrifying.

The overall idea is goofy, Melvin Belli is ridiculous and bluffing a non-corporeal monster with blowing yourself up doesn’t make much sense.

On the other hand its a return to first season like EC Comic Horror. The kids are creepy as hell, and seeing them playing amidst a mass suicide of their families is the darkest opening of any episode.

There’s talk of an “ancient race” some faux religion used to control humans, and children being augmented with illusion generating and mind control powers.  Looks like the Angel is another rogue Andromedan passing through.

There are some character moments between the weirdness.  Seeing what each fears provides insights.  However, I’m confused about Uhura.  Was the mirror itself an illusion? It isn’t there in other episodes, but she doesn’t seem surprised to see it.  Maybe it’s a flip out.

Kirk and Spock using friendship with the other as an anchor to fight off the mirages highlights their connection.

The Captain is worried about the children most of the way through.
Until one sits in his chair. 

Yeah…don’t do that.

He becomes completely harsh after that slight, only switching back to full compassion mode when the shiny lawyer gets all poxy and vanishes.

The technology holds up to its usual schizoid levels of inconstancy.

Since the kids’ powers are illusion and mind based and not actually altering the machinery, shouldn’t there be some safeguard preventing beaming crewmen into open space?

The most bizarre is the food synthesizer.

First of all, don’t these kids live in the future? 
Why are they surprised by a computer that makes ice cream?

That’s nothing compared to the weirdness of the method the food is ordered.

There are individual “flavor cards” for each selection.

OK, I’ll buy that, I guess.  Maybe all the buttons are for fine tuning, or toppings or something.

However, when one boy orders “chocolate-pistachio-peach” Nurse Chapel looks through the small selection in her hands and quickly gives the kid a single card!

Is she psychic? 
Is that flavor combo the Neapolitan of the twenty third century?
Is Chapel just screwing with the kids and the machines are voice activated like everything else on the ship?

We may never know.

Between all the weird chants and half obscene arm gestures Star Trek shows it can still squeeze in the occasional Topic Sentence worthy life lesson.

“Without followers, evil cannot spread.”

“Is There in Truth No Beauty”
Air Date: October 18, 1968
Mom Title: “Intelligent Kaleidoscope in the Box”

A woman who looks remarkably like the mystery officer who convinced the Captain to switch bodies with non-corporeal, sphere contained individuals shows up with an energy being in a box…


I believe we have some evidence of Extra Galactic Invaders without physical form messing with the crew’s minds to further their agenda.


With all the energy creatures the Enterprise has met, they’ve never considered contacting the Medusans for advice, or even mentioning there are Federation members who are energy beings.

Why does an energy being need to travel in a ship?

Why is a box of sentient crazy left in an unguarded room?

Miranda just happens to be bringing along the designer of the Enterprise.  Now the Andromedans have accessed the minds of Zefram Cochrane and Larry Marvik.

It might appear that Kirk was hitting on her, but she led him on as a distraction to allow Marvik to get to the Kollos, and then to the engines.  Afterwards he conveniently “dies from insanity.” Um…or maybe he and his knowledge had passed their usefulness to Kollos and Miranda.

There’s an entire planet of telepaths with emotional control in the Federation, are none of them blind? (Then again, due to that Vulcan, nifty, extra eyelid, maybe not.)

If Miranda trained on Vulcan would she really be that paranoid, egotistical and vindictive?  Those are much closer to how we’ve seen the bodiless aliens act…unless she trained under T’pring.

No, I’m sorry, but once again this is the beings without form trying to perfect techniques of taking over bodies, breaking through the galactic barrier, and achieving excessive speeds. (Warp 9.5 this time, those poor bairns.)

When merged with Kollos, Spock spouts Byron to an appreciative Uhura. There are several subtle reactions in this one showing they still hold a special place for each other. Since I’m mentioning this, there’s also some more growth is his mentoring of Chekov.  The show’s character relationship strengths manages to hold on as budgets and creativity start to dwindle.

Spock also smiles in a familiar way when “Kollos” takes him over. Since “Thalassa” is back, maybe it’s really Henoch again, and he left the visor up on purpose to keep Spock from remembering.

And how does Kirk convince Miranda to help Spock?
By unleashing those Negative emotions the Talosians couldn’t understand, the Organians found distasteful, and Redjac absorbed.

Here’s the key proof from the scene where they toast each other–

Antarean Brandy and Romulan Ale may be strong, and Diana Muldaur may be pretty,
But Kirk says this:

“At the risk of sounding prejudiced, gentlemen, here's to beauty.
 To Miranda Jones, the loveliest human ever to grace a starship.”

Bones and Scotty stand and agree instead of stating the obvious after serving with a crew seemingly handpicked to look fantastic in mini dresses and go-go boots:
“JIM!  Have you ever LOOKED at the women on this ship?”

While quieter, Spock is not immune.

At the reveal of her “Daredevil” dress, the normally controlled Science Officer practically gropes a handful of bazoom.

“My compliments” indeed, Mr. Vulcan man.

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