Monthly Archives: September 2018

The Enemy Within

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The Enemy Within is the first Star Trek episode to include a transporter malfunction. This would become a staple of the Trek universe. In this story Captain Kirk is split into two halves his good and bad sides. This story requires a hefty suspension of disbelief.  It also requires Shatner to over act so he is right at home.

That might be a bit of a cheep shot but Shatner does have a well earned reputation for over acting. In this episode as evil Kirk he has to yell ‘I’m Captain Kirk.’

As well as the dilemma of Kirk being split in two there is also the problem of the landing party being stranded on the planet. Watching this now the obvious question is why not use the shuttle? There is only the out of universe explanation that they didn’t yet have a shuttle to use. Even so they could have rescued them off screen and done so without need of a new set.

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I have seen this episode before but not for a long time. This time I found myself identifying with Kirk’s predicament as he sees the other him – the savage him.

I feel that way sometimes of having a part of my being that I can’t, or don’t want to, face a lot of the time. For me it is not about evil and good – rather it is happiness and sadness.

I have days when all the weight of life feels too much. I feel a sense of hopelessness. In those moments all my life goals feel far away and there seem to be no possibilities for change. Then, sometimes, I feel happy without specific stimulus. In those moments everything does seem possible – although still far far away.

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So when Kirk sees this mirror of himself – this violent man. I believe I can almost understand. When I am in a state of being alright the great sadness is alien to me and I cannot imagine how it feels. It makes it hard to seek help because it is like describing a sunny day in the park to an eyeless fish in the deepest depths of the ocean.

Star Trek is well known for these types of stories. It often uses science fiction to try and explore an aspect of humanity. That aspect could be internal and emotional or external and dealing with important issues.

We have another incident of violence against woman. Evil Kirk assaults Yeoman Rand.  This is made even worse considering what happened to Grace Lee Whitney in her real life. That scene made for uncomfortable viewing and Spock’s last line of the episode, where he suggests, obliquely,  that Rand might have liked it is disgusting. It is stuff like this that makes me unsure of TOS as a whole. The 1960s seem so alien to me a lot of the time. We have a long way to go in treating all people with proper respect but I think we have come a long way too.

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I am going to come up against heavy topics a lot in this show it seems. The past really is another world.

In conclusion though this was a good story. It explore the concepts of the two sides of humanity quite well. I do wonder if they would have been better off removing the landing party plot to focus more on the main plot. We do get a nice moment with Spock where he talks about the two sides of his being and how he has to balance them.

We are only a few episodes into TOS but I will be back with the next episode which is: Mudd’s Women – which is also fairly anti-women. I am sensing a theme here. I am so looking forward to reviewing my favourite TOS episodes. We have a little way to go yet.

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I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

I now have a Patreon page. I hope you will consider supporting this blog: https://www.patreon.com/unstableorbit

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The Naked Time

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The Naked Time is one of the most well known episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series. Mainly it is known for Sulu running through the halls of the Enterprise topless with a sword – because who wouldn’t want to do that?

This is an episode that I am not complexly sure how to judge.  It is a very silly and perhaps that is the whole point.

A lot of TV shows have an episode with alternate versions of the characters. This is brought about by magic, memory wiping, another universe, or maybe just using the actors to tell a story in the past. JAG did this in one episode. My Googling failed me on this one. Basically the main cast are playing new characters. I think it was set in the 1940s but I am not sure.

The most obvious one for TOS is Mirror, Mirror but The Naked Time is another. This episode is about the crew getting drunk and the ship being in danger because of it.

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When I look back at TOS now Spock is my favourite character. I think Nimoy did an excellent job in bringing the character to life. The scene where he tries to come to terms with his emotions is well acted and shot. He too has been effected by the condition present on the Enterprise and is ill equipped to handle the emotions he is feeling. As the series goes on Spock gets some of the best lines in the show.

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When I first watched TOS Scotty was my favourite character. And this episode has that classic of Mr Scott – telling Kirk how impossible something is before making it happen ‘I can’t change the laws of physics.’

The skill of Mr Scott is particularly funny in The Enterprise Incident where he hooks up a Romulan cloaking device in about five minutes. As pointed out by SFDEBRIS it takes longer to hook up a games console to a TV it was designed for than it takes for Scotty to hook up a complex piece of alien technology. That however is just what makes Scotty such a great engineer. In this episode Scotty has to restart the engines which have been completely shut down by a drunk Irishman.

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From this episode and Up the Long Ladder Star Trek didn’t really portray Irish people well did it? At least until we get to a certain Chief of Operations of course.

At the end of the episode the Enterprise is facing destruction. Which for Star Trek doesn’t really narrow it down. In the original series the ship was taken over, or out of Kirk’s control, rather a lot.

It is a tense scene. We know that everything is going to work out. The writers are not going to blow the Enterprise up over some random planet because of incompetence are they? At least not until Generations!

Yet here, just for a fleeting second, you can almost believe it could happen. And what is even better they do this without too much technobabble. Then at the end of the episode the Enterprise, as a result of the engine restart, is sent back in time. Which I am so glad that that ability didn’t become over used in the franchise – oh wait.

This episode is not particularly deep or clever but it is entertaining. It does have to be said though that this situation, like so many other episodes, could have been avoided if they simply practised basic safety. Like maybe having an actual environmental suit and an officer who keeps his bloody gloves on.

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I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

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Paper

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Note books are a weakness of mine. I often go into Paperchase in town just to have a look at what they are offering.

There is something magical about a pen and paper that just does not exist with a computer. I may be a bit Giles like when it comes to books. While I wouldn’t want to give up on my various computing devices I know what he means when he he talks about books being smelly.  There is something singularly wonderful about paper.

I have spent a long while trying to find the perfect app to help with my productivity. The answer all along was a note book.

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In a note book you don’t have to worry about formats, like not being able to put the date into DD/MM/YYYY for example, instead you just write. It is freeing. Even for someone, like me, who’s handwriting looks like it was done by a spider who fell into an inkwell and the marks on the page were the result of its death throes.

Which is why for anything long I am continuing with some piece of technology. My morning pages will always be on a computing device. Otherwise if I ever looked back at it it would be like trying to decipher some hidden code!

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I would never attempt to write a novel long hand. Have you ever read The Woman in White? It is an excellent novel, one which I should read again soon, but to me it is even more amazing that it was written long hand. That must have been an incredible strain on the hands. I remember how bad it could be during exams. I can’t imagine how long it would have taken to write a novel of that size long hand.

I don’t think that paper will ever truly disappear. Even if we are living on Mars I think many people will still want to pick up a pen and write – or sit in a chair and read. You can’t curl up and read in quite the same way with an ereader.

I want to close though in asking you a question. What is something low tech that you appreciate?

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I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

 

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