Monday, July 20, 2015

Short Treks Season 3.9

“All Our Yesterdays”
Air Date: March 14, 1969
Mom Title: “Spock Falls for Mariette Hartley in a Cave”

Down to the wire now folks. The second to last story is Big Three only. We don't even get to see inside the Enterprise.  One communicator call from Scotty is the only indication of where they come from.

It seems fitting that one of Spock’s highlights in the first season was a loss of control fling with a back to nature blonde, and he gets another one as the series draws to a close.

The Enterprise shows up to evacuate Sarpeidon three and a half hours before its sun goes supernova.  Way to plan ahead, Jim.  That Starship has a safe cruising speed of 216 times the speed of light, and they still arrive insanely close to the impending cataclysm.  Someone needs to set their alarm clock earlier. 

Spock’s emotional, romantic break down is overwhelmingly compelling to the point that I always forget about Kirk’s strip to the puritanland.  That part had enough interestingness going for it to have worked as a full episode.   The Captain is still one hundred percent himself. He jumps into a fencing bout while wearing a phaser, and proceeds to “record” a log while trapped in a stone jail cell in the “past.”

The key story is, of course, Spock’s.  Why a native of the desert planet Vulcan is better adapted to cold than a human is a biological question we’ll have to ignore for now.  Doctor McCoy, and we viewers, are treated to what may be the best example of why everyone should be thankful Vulcans normally keep their emotions under complete control.  Once Bones is healed and Spock notices him returning to his normal “Southern Gentleman Smoothie” mode toward his bearskin clad babe, the normally calm Science Officer becomes downright terrifying. 

The only way McCoy is able to get through to him is by presenting the situation completely logically. Granted, he does logically explain it in a most heated and emotional tone, but that’s why we love ya, Bones.

Of course they return home, with Spock having learned what joys could be his without the constant mental influence from his race subduing his feelings, and the powerful restrictions they place on his actions once the connection is reestablished.

 Yes, I do believe this whole thing was an Andromedan set up to teach Spock a lesson, again.

The evidence:

Sarpeidon has no space flight, but has pinpoint controlled time travel technology in only one direction.

The controller for their mini Guardian at the Edge of Forever looks exactly like Gary Seven’s computer.

The easiest way for there to be multiple versions of Mr. Atoz would have been a series of short hops through the Atavachron. 
However, the duplicates are identified as artificial.  In other words, androids that are indistinguishable from humans.

Atoz knows Kirk would be interested in cowboy times.

The Captain ends up in a place where he finds help to escape after being conveniently delayed for a while.

There’s no other viable explanation for why Kirk, or Spock and McCoy didn’t immediately reappear in the library when they all instantly turned around and pushed on the same walls they came back through at the end of the episode, once the teaching was complete.

Either Sarpeidon’s history was an exact duplicate of earth, or whoever built the Atavachron got a good deal on Republic Serial stock footage.

In fact, based on those similarities, and the fact that tossing the entire population back in time would be a fantastic way to accidentally cause the rescue machine to wink out of existence, I don’t think it’s a time machine at all. I think those CD’s (which they still call “tapes,” gotta love the Sixties) create little pocket universes. 
That would still isolate Spock, without the inevitable probability stacking of having civilization vanish or change before the machine is made.  Plus if it was really a time machine, you’d think someone would have steered society towards space ark development.  Based on what we learned from Lazarus and in the Mirror Universe, the “cell adjustment” also makes oodles more sense this way.

Spock must have known this, as he has several time travel options at his disposal, and doesn’t use any to go get her.
(In cannon anyway, for one failed attempt to find her that yielded a surprise, check out Yesterday’s Son by AC Crispin.)

Getting Spock to realize the standard, logical Vulcan path isn’t the only way to view the universe must be important to these beings.

“Turnabout Intruder”
June 3, 1969
Mom Title: “Kirk is a Woman”

Captain Kirk harbors absolutely no suspicions on Camus II that his known to be unhinged ex may be planning a trap for him...I guess he hasn’t been watching this series.

There’s an exchange that gets hotly debated by the fandom and creators from this final episode:

Janice, “Your world of starship captains doesn't admit women. It isn't fair.”
Jim, “No, it isn't.”

This has been used as evidence that women can’t be captains, or Kirk is a misogynist, or Lester is coo-coo and Kirk is humoring her.

I think it’s a previous love interest calling him out on thinking he can’t be a captain, and have a serious, steady girlfriend.  Given the number of “pre-captain” ladies he’s left behind, that was probably the excuse he gave all of them.

There is proof that Captain Kirk still maintains some contact to his body after the transfer.  Janice has kept his obsession, entering the details of her crime into her Captain’s Log.  A “document” we’ve seen used as evidence in the courtroom.

The real Kirk shows even less control of this problem, “recording” a log while trapped in another body, strapped down in sick bay.

Speaking of evidence: 
Known telepaths. 
Founding members of the Federation.
Pathological attachment to the truth. 

Why the fal-tor-pan is information from a mind meld inadmissible in a court of law?
(Y’know aside from, “Because then the show would be over now.”)

Bill Shatner obviously had a blast with this one.  I guess there are some unfortunate implications that his interpretation of a woman is almost identical to “Evil Kirk” with the fabulous knob turned up to eleven. 
But, dang it, it’s just so much fun to watch he should be forgiven.

Sandra Smith does an amazing job of being the only other person (before 2009) to play Captain James T. Kirk.  She displays all the authority, confidence, and bluffing ability that comes with the character. 

Here at the end of the live action series is as good a point at any to bring up one (of many) things I love about this series. 

I’ve always hated “double” stories.  In examples where folks have no reason to suspect a perfect duplicate, the technology/magic shouldn’t exist to create one, and there should be visual tells.  That’s not the issue here, as there are several methods in the Trekverse to create identical copies of someone.  With that knowledge, when someone acts completely out of character, their friends should immediately notice, and that option should be on the table. In most fictional universes, it isn’t.  However, in almost every instance there is a duplicate Kirk, the double cannot fool those in the crew that are closest to him. 
Scotty’s the one who voices it perfectly this time around during the trial.  Then it becomes a matter of figuring out how to fix or find the Captain, rather than a never ending series of gags based on, “Duhhhh…Wonder why Jim’s acting unlike he ever did before?”

Spock shows his mind still isn’t fully back in contact with the logical Vulcans.  When talking about a complete mental transfer, the man who’s been possessed not once, but twice, by beings completely controlling his body states:

“To my knowledge, such total transfer has never been accomplished with complete success anywhere in the galaxy.”

Bones doesn’t come out looking much better in this last adventure.  His emotional test detects no change between Kirk’s current and previous readings.  Wow that machine sucks! A blind tribble who heard a story about Captain Kirk once would be able to tell his levels of emotional stability have plummeted off a cliff in the past week.

Spock, McCoy and Scotty play the internal turmoil of their mutiny as to be expected once they’re convinced.

Chekov and Sulu are more subtle, but also show the crew solidarity.  Chekov, as Spock’s apprentice, runs his own evaluation. That’s why he said General Order Four when talking about the death penalty. Every good Trekkie knows only General Order Seven carries that punishment.

The real unfortunate implications only come after the transfer is reversed.  Then the whole crew treats Janice Lester, guilty of several premeditated murders, and planning several more, as:
“Awwwww, she’s a poor defenseless girl who just needs to be loved.”

It’s a shame Lieutenant Uhura wasn’t around to slap some sense into them.

The remastering team does a gorgeous job on the Enterprise, allowing a fitting farewell to the beautiful lady as the live action series comes to an end with one of the goofier exploits of the proud crew.

Despite the misfires in this final season, there were enough successes to insure the gang would be reunited.

The first time, was as cartoons.

Too bad no one told the animators’ team that Nurse Chapel’s hair had gone completely brunette as the series has progressed.  Then again, that oversight is the least of the chromatic or visual problems that version would have.

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