Monday, July 6, 2015

Short Treks Season 3.7

“That Which Survives”
Air Date: January 24, 1969
Mom Title: “I am for Kirk”

In case some of you remember back when everyone got their own rap song in the Eighties, this is the episode the Neural Paralyzers sampled most of the dialogue from for “Spock Rap.”

While not the end scriptwriter (she pulled her name off it), D.C. Fontana’s eye for continuity is visible as the story creator for this one. 
References to Doctor M’Benga, the Horta’s home world of Janus VI, and Sulu’s botany knowledge are highlights.

Chekov must have been sick this week as Sulu takes his place providing Russian history lessons. 
He also takes first watch for the landing party, even though he’s panicked about being stranded again.  That’s why he’s command material.

Man, the poor Redshirt in the engineering room wasn’t even part of the landing party and he didn’t survive. The stereotypes are really running full bore by this point.

We have another high tech computer from thousands of years ago that uses the “boing” sounding long range transporter and jacks the Enterprise up to Warp 14.1.

Kirk doesn’t destroy this computer because it has a sexy female visage.  Given his reaction to Losira, it’s a good thing Landru wasn’t a woman, or the whole crew would have ended up “of the body.”

Lee Meriwether was the second one to show up in Trek.  Too bad they didn’t get Eartha Kitt to play a Klingon for the Catwoman hat trick!

For season three, this is a rare outing with satisfying drama both on the Enterprise and planet side.  Spock in command once more goes to being overly logical, managing to reach annoying levels.  As usual, Uhura is the first one to check on him when he falls.

You have to wonder if Spock acts like he’s forgotten all his previous contact with humans intentionally to lighten the mood and keep the crew from worrying about their lost Captain.  Note in contrast to the “logic before all” front he’s showing, he makes the “human” decision to not eject Scotty.

By the way, Scotty is awesome yet again, citing the “feel” of the ship being wrong.  There’s no fudging with the Enterprise without her Chief Engineer immediately knowing. 
Scotty predates the Third Doctor by a year in saving the day by reversing the polarity

Spock also adds to the diversity of the bridge crew specifically requesting Lieutenant Rahda at the helm.  She seems more reserved than the usual swashbuckling helmsman, but still anticipates Spock’s commands in the same way Sulu does for Kirk.

Because the entire Enterprise crew is awesome.

“Lights of Zetar”
Air Date: January 31, 1969
Mom Title: “Scotty’s Girl with Rainbow Eyes”

The second of the weird writer series, which were coincidentally the final two episodes I saw when I was old enough to remember them.  This story of people being used as puppets is written by none other than Shari Lewis (and her husband.) 
She even intended to play Mira herself originally. It’s a shame she didn’t, I would have loved to see Mr. Spock meet Lamb Chop.

Let’s hear it for the Chief Engineer’s predictive abilities again.  Scotty finds out saying, “We have all the time in the world,” to a loved one can put a whammy on a relationship almost a full year before 007 did.

Another area is foretold as well.  Memory Alpha is the storage location for all the information in the Federation…and it has no back up and no shields for the planet.  Star Trek predicted “The Cloud” years before the internet was in full swing.

James Doohan loses a couple points of engineering credit for not liking the script because he thought a seasoned, old tech head like Scotty wouldn’t go all goofy over a young pretty face.  He clearly has never worked in a real engineering department where the male staff routinely makes fools of themselves whenever a new female intern is hired.  Despite his misgivings, he plays the part most accurately.  The power of names in Trek is invoked again: everyone else calls her “the girl,” Scotty calls her “Mira.”

This time the Andorian and Tellarite we get to see aren’t crazy, they’re dead.  They should have quit while they were ahead.

Lieutenant Kyle’s here, yay!  We haven’t seen him for a while. He must have come to say good bye to the original series as we won’t see him here again.

This one is definitely connected to the Intergalactic invasion plot. Energy based aliens are once again seeking bodies to inhabit.  Their training to make the humans more docile is working.  Kirk is much more reluctant to shoot at them than he was other, similar beings they encountered in earlier outings.  Maybe the crew couldn’t see the pattern the Andromedans were acting in due to them erasing memories.  It’s the only explanation for this exchange when Sulu announces the lights are traveling at Warp 2.6:

Captain Kirk - “Check that. No natural phenomena can move faster than the speed of light.”
 Mr. Spock – “It is definitely doing so, Captain. Therefore it cannot be a phenomenon of nature.”

Considering how many alien clouds, energy things, and space monsters the crew has seen with warp capabilities previously, you’d think they’d recall one of them.

The day is saved by using the atmospheric chamber Khan trapped the Captain in.  That was two seasons ago, I wonder why they didn’t use that set more if it was just laying around.

Let’s think about that solution for a minute.  Shortly after they stole Memory Alpha’s entire knowledge repository and inhabited the mind of the daughter of the Chief Engineer of Starfleet beings made of pure energy are destroyed…with air pressure?

Oh yeah, they’re definitely dead, not silently slipping off to supply the rest of the alien invasion force with their newly acquired information.

Spock gets in a great zinger in the perpetual banter war.  When Doctor McCoy says work would be a better therapy for Mira than medical treatment, Spock’s one word reply has Bones looking like he has received the gravest and most profane of insults:


Almost forgot- Sulu in command, woo!

“Requiem for Methuselah”
February 14, 1969
Mom Title: “Flint”

You’d think with the number of history buffs on the Enterprise, someone would have picked up on that “Kapec” reference. 
Especially when Spock spends most of his time showing he has more knowledge of the arts than either of his human crew mates.  There is much hidden emotional depth to that Vulcan.

We know the extra galactic invaders make advanced androids, choose humans for training, and can make them immortal.  Therefore Flint must be one of the first humans they selected, and has been tasked with creating realistic robot bodies for them.  Note that there is a Rayna series and they are tied to the planet like the Companion was. 
Plus we’ve seen these beings capture and manipulate the Enterprise before.

James Daley does a great job with Flint.  He comes off as an exceedingly cool guy, but who can be outrageously dangerous to cross.  He also plays the weight of centuries of existence better than anyone I’ve seen outside of Matt Smith.

Flint has some pretty nifty tech at his disposal.

Nomad’s head, fresh from being part of a cloaking device, shows up as a robot again. Maybe the probe from the machine world he merged with hailed from an Andromedan android planet. This time the head is upside-down, used as the body, and glued under a colander.  Maybe his mission was altered again to find intelligent life, and make it macaroni.

Flint also has a flat screen TV. The predictive ability of Trek wobbles a bit though, as it has no remote control.

With the spectacularly poor biological safety protocols they’ve shown us week in and week out, it’s a wonder there aren’t more episodes like this one, based around a ship wide epidemic.  McCoy has stocks of uppers and downers for the entire crew, but not cures for known diseases.

This “unbottle” episode is all the Big Three. We don’t ever get to see inside the Enterprise with the exception of a still shot when they’re frozen and Shatner is foreshadowing his Third Rock role as the Big Giant Head. 

The whole crew is at risk of dying without the rytalin, but Kirk Spock and Bones take a moment to have some Brandy, based solely on, “It’s really good.”  Maybe the rumors about them acting like they were above the rest of the crew applied to the characters too?

The Three work as well together as always.  The Captain actively encourages the other two to bicker, because he knows that’s how they figure things out. 

A couple of romance notes to finish off:

Why can Spock play the harpsichord?
Because Uhura taught him after being instilled with the information by Trelane.

Kirk suspects Rayna is an illusion at first, while McCoy goes straight into smoothie mode as befitting a southern gentleman.

You old dog you.

Of course, it’s Kirk who forms a stronger connection with the gal of the week.  Then he becomes devastated when he discovers she’s a robot. (Or maybe when he discovers the android can’t leave the planet, he never had problems necking with robots before.)

McCoy gives one of his patented speeches about the greatness of human love, but Spock’s actions once more show he has at least an equal understanding.

The Captain appears more broken up than he was over any other woman he met.   Even the legendary Edith Keeler didn’t elicit a level of visible depression where his best friend felt the need to alter his mind.

I’m pretty sure there was more to Spock’s, “Forget” than he vocalized.

Such as:

“Forget the left over effects of the Platonians forcing you to kiss against your will locking your lips into overdrive.”


“Forget that the loss of Miramanee has compelled you to over compensate and jump on every woman we meet.”

Or more likely:

“Forget that you have a fetish for robotic women…it's embarrassing.”

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