Tag Archives: Star Trek: The Original Series

Tomorrow is Yesterday (TOS)

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The episode starts at a present day, in this case in the 1960s, detecting an unknown object. As the teaser ends we see that that object is the Enterprise. We are off to a strong start that is a good teaser.

Given that the Enterprise is nearly 300 meters long, not to mention not remotely aerodynamic, it should really raise a few more eyebrows. Nevertheless a fighter is sent up to investigate.

When we see the Enterprise Kirk informs us how this happened but it is also revealed that they do not yet know when (sic) they are. Incidentally I am not going to bother telling you the technobabble. The result is more important than the babble.

It isn’t long before they detect the fighter. They are lucky the pilot didn’t notice the English letters on the hull.

Kirk orders a tractor beam to hold the fighter in place. Unfortunately the beam is too strong and the craft is destroyed.

I like this scene very much. Firstly they acknowledge that the fighter’s weapons could still be a threat. Secondly to Kirk the tractor beam is harmless but to the old fighter, so much less advanced, it is an effective weapon.

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Before the fighter is destroyed they beam the pilot aboard. His name is Captain John Christopher. It is noted that Kirk is speaking English.

I would like to take a detour for a moment.

Language in science fiction is always a bit problematic and, broadly speaking there a three approaches:

The most basic is that characters simply learn each other’s languages. This is how Babylon 5 handles things. There is some technological assistance used too. In one episode Sheridan mentions that it took hours to translate a particular alien’s language during first contact.

Star Trek has the universal translator. This device is basically magic. Not as much in TOS but later it is able to translate from the first word an alien says.

Then there are other shows that ignore the language issue completely. This is done in Stargate SG-1. Everyone is able to speak English as soon as they meet people from Earth. However in one episode in particular it is observed by Jonas Quinn that he would be ‘very surprised’ if a woman from 50 million years ago understood English. What is hilarious about that statement is that Jonas himself should not have been able to speak English when the team first met him.

I mention this here because while Kirk does speak English he would speak a future version of English – you only have to have studied Shakespeare to know how much language changes. I know that is the most nitpicking statement I could make but I just don’t have much to say about this episode.

We get a brief moment of Captain Christopher noticing a female crewman. I tried to google the history of women in the American armed forces but, to be honest, it seems a tad confusing. It looks like women were permitting in the US Navy in the 1940s but were not on combat ships till much later. It doesn’t really matter for the purpose of this episode but I find Captain Christopher’s double take interesting.

I am not sure why Kirk thinks it is a good idea to show this man from the past around the ship! Then again I am not a Starfleet officer so what the hell do I know! Maybe Kirk has realised what Spock soon tells him – that they cannot send Captain Christopher back because of his knowledge of the future.

This doesn’t seem like a solid reason. Yes he has seen the Enterprise but that doesn’t translate into being able to build a transporter or something else. He could start writing a science fiction TV show though.

Interestingly in this episode Kirk refers to the Enterprise as belonging to the United Earth Space Probe Agency. To the best of my knowledge this is the only time that is mentioned. It seems a bit of an odd name for manned missions.

In a rather, to my mind, interesting bit of world building we find out that the Enterprise computer now has a personality. And it might even have some level of sentience. The computer calls Kirk ‘Dear’ The reason given is that the computer was overhaled by a planet dominated by women.

Then we get the main dilemma of the episode. Spock discovers that Captain Christopher is going to have a son and because of his significant role in history the Captain has to be returned.

We also find out that Scotty has repaired the ship. Of course they have nowhere to go in the 1960s. How will the Enterprise get back to is own time?

In the meantime they need to reduce the amount of harm done to the timeline. The air force has records of the Enterprise. Kirk and Sulu beam down to destroy those records.

I like that when they get to Earth Sulu is interested in something as mundane as a notice board. It is a nice way to illustrate how different Earth of the past is.

I do however have to question why they beamed into a corridor and not directly into the room they wanted.

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While the landing party is down on Earth we get a nice scene in the transporter room. Spock and McCoy are present and waiting for the landing party to return.

McCoy is worried about the landing party. Spock is calm. Which is a Tuesday on the Enterprise. The scene ends with McCoy pestering Spock that he should be working on his time warp calculations. Spock responds: ‘I am’.

As someone who struggles with basic maths this is so impressive. Although trying to live up to be like Spock is a pretty tall order.

Kirk and Sulu are discovered. Spock signals at that moment and the Air Force man is accidentally beamed aboard. It is okay though the music tells us that this is a funny situation not a dangerous one.

The Air force Man is practically frozen in place. Is Spock really that scary? I kid of cause. After all the Air Force man has probably never seen Star Trek!

The episode is good at building up the problems. We have the inciting incident of the Enterprise being stuck in the past, then Captain Christopher, and now not only do we have a second invited guest but the landing party is stuck on Earth.

(Incidentally it is a shame they didn’t know to pick up a couple of whales.)

More air force people arrive. Kirk puts up a good fight, because Kirk, but he is subdued meanwhile Sulu is able to make it back to the ship with the tapes.

I liked that during Kirk’s interrogation he tells the truth – at least in a manner of speaking.

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FELLINI: I am going to lock you up for two hundred years.
KIRK: That ought to be just about right.

Fellini and Kirk (Star Trek: TOS – Tomorrow is yesterday)

As I said previously this is yet another indication that the original series is set in the 22nd century.

A rescue mission is put together consisting of Spock, Sulu, and Captain Christopher. Christopher accompanied them as he knows the layout of the base.

At least that is the theory. Captain Christopher wants to remain and manages to get the drop on the landing party. Kirk informs him that he will go home but in their way. This is not enough for the Captain but fortunately Spock was prepared for this and is able to nerve pinch him.

Then we come to then end of the episode. To the best of my knowledge this is the only time in Star Trek that time travel is employed in this manner. The Enterprise is able to travel back in time and beam their two guests back to before they were beamed up. Therefore there is no worry about contamination of the timeline because it never happened.

Wibbly wooberly timey wimy is the only explanation.

After travelling back in time, and returning their visitors, the Enterprise is then shot forward in time. The usual Trek stuff happens the shaking of the ship and what not. Then the Enterprise returns to its own time.

I am not really rating these episodes out of ten. When I get to the end of TOS I am planning to rank all the episodes from best to worst. So where does this episode lie? It is average. It is not an episode I would recommend if someone asked me about the best of Trek but it is also by no means bad.

The episode is entertaining, it has some good humour, and it holds your interest. However for me it doesn’t have that extra oomph that makes it great.

That is all for this review.

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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The Squire of Gothos – TOS.

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This is one of the best episodes of TOS. I always enjoy watching it.

The Enterprise is passing through a ‘Star desert’. A vast area of nothing. Well the thing about space is that it is already mostly nothing. There are no stars, aside from the sun obviously, for around four light years – would that be considered a ‘star desert’? I don’t know I am a writer not an astrophysicist.

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Kirk and McCoy talk about deserts with an air of romanticism. Spock doesn’t understand this – despite the fact he comes from a desert world! I know. I Know. We hadn’t seen his home world yet.

It is established here that they are 900 light years from Earth. That will be important later. For now let’s get on with the story.

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As if by magic a planet appears. (You have to imagine that sentence like a Mr. Benn narration) Spock notes that it is inconceivable that the planet has gone unnoticed all this time. (Please imagine that word in the voice of Wallace Shawn!)(If you don’t know which of those words I mean go and watch The Princess Bride!)

When the planet appears Kirk and Sulu disappear. Starfleet officers are always being abducted. I always find myself wondering if this kind of stuff happens to all ships – or is the Enterprise just cursed!

A search of the planet shows there is only one small area capable of supporting human life. Spock authorises a landing party.

I made mention last time that planets in Star Trek are always conveniently available. In this episode it makes sense because Trelane wants to meet the crew. However I do question why the writers even bother with the idea that the planet is dangerous when the budget can’t run to EVA suits.

The landing party discover a castle. Inside they find a harpsichord, a salt vampire, and Kirk and Sulu frozen like waxworks. Suddenly the door shuts and a man appears from nowhere playing the harpsichord. This is Trelane. He is played wonderfully by William Campbell who would go on to play Koloth.

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Trelane has been observing Earth through a telescope. This gives us a bit of a problem. There is a bust of Napoleon in the room. Napoleon was in power from 1799 to 1804 – so that would mean that TOS was set in 2699 – which it is not.

My understanding is that Stardates were invented to hide when it was set. This would forestall questions of when a particular technology might have been invented. In a roundabout way, this episode gives us a date. Later episodes hint at TOS being in the 2160s-2190s!

DeSalle raises his weapon. There is always one! Trelane hasn’t done much that could be considered threatening yet. He did kidnap Kirk and Sulu but given the Starfleet ethos shooting him, even in this era, seems a bit premature. Trelane takes the weapon and is gleeful at its power. He also vaporises the salt vampire. It is not like it is an extinct species or anything!

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He welcomes them to Gothos and explains how he created this place by rearranging matter on the planet. Starfleet doesn’t have that technology yet, no matter what Discovery says!

Kirk sees no reason to stay but Trelane thrusts him into the true atmosphere of the planet. After a few seconds of coughing Kirk is brought back and told to behave.

What we have here is (apparently) the standard godlike beings. They appear throughout Star Trek and always seem to want to either experiment on us or to test us. Don’t they have anything better to do? To be fair we are only a few episodes in so it is not a cliché just yet.

Trelane is obsessed with war. He has the banners from various countries on his wall and and speaks of armies marching under them. Sounds almost Klingon doesn’t it?

Ba dum tish

Back on the ship Spock and Scotty figure out how to get the landing party back. There is a beep on Kirk’s communicator and they are beamed away.

Trelane is unhappy with Spock, appears on the bridge, and asks if the natives of Vulcan are ‘predatory’. Spock responds with ‘Not generally but there have been exceptions.’

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World building in TOS is interesting. I don’t think they were trying to build a cohesive universe so lines like that are thrown out. However given what we find out later this could refer to the Romulans. Although now that I think about it Spock only surmised a connection between the two races.

Back in the drawing room Trelane meets Uhura. He refers to her as a ‘Nubian prize’ and assumes she is from a conquered people. Oddly Kirk doesn’t argue with that – probably because he has had enough at this point. Also for Kirk, the idea of Uhura being anything other than a free human would seem ridicules.

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Now that Spock is here they have a much better chance of getting out of this. Saving their asses each week is almost always his job!

After some discussion they conclude that Trelane must have a device helping him. This feels like a bit of a leap of logic. After all Gary Mitchel had superpowers without any obvious external force behind it.

I should say I am looking at this episode 55 years after it was made. I am used to powerful beings in science fiction. I have seen all kinds of god like beings from Q, to the Nox, to Susan Ivanova. So maybe I am more willing to accept a being of power. Kirk’s solution to this problem is to challenge Trelane to a duel. Why? Because Kirk. If it were Sisko he would have punched Trelane in the face! Picard would have quoted Shakespeare. In any event the crew conclude that the mirror is the sauce of his power. This based on little more than the fact that he never goes too far from it.

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Captain’s Log, stardate 2126.1. Delayed report. The whole bridge crew are the unwilling guests of the creature who calls himself Trelane. We are weaponless, powerless, and our only hope of escape with the Enterprise lies in playing his games. I’ve decided to make my move with the field of honour game, and everything depends on my one chance with the ancient duelling pistol.

This log entry feels rather incongruous. It is written as if the events haven’t happened yet.

Kirk’s plan is to shoot the mirror. This is rather silly. Firstly they do not know that the mirror is important, and if it is will a facsimile of a duelling pistol have any effect? Aside from the fact that it works it seems like a big risk.

With the mirror disabled they beam back to the ship but fail to warp away from the planet. Kirk beams back down to the planet for the final showdown with Trelane.

He finds Trelane dressed as a judge and is ready to execute Kirk. However Kirk is able to talk Trelane into a duel. It is amazing how often Starfleet officers get into hand-to-hand combat.

Then we get the reveal. Trelane isn’t a great and powerful being. Trelane is a child.

Two glowing lights appear in the sky. These are Trelane’s parents and they are dissatisfied with the way he is treating his ‘pets’. He is taken away and his parents promise he will be punished. They apologise to Kirk.

Oh and by the way nobody died this week!

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Back on the Enterprise we get a bizarre coda. Teasing Spock. That isn’t the bizarre part. That happens so much. Kirk sees nothing wrong in undermining the first officer in front of the crew. No the strange part is the anachronisms in what Kirk says.

Mischievous planks, Captain?
Yes. Dipping little girls’ curles in inkwells. Stealing apples from the neighbours’ trees.

Spock and Kirk

According to Wikipedia ink wells were obsolete at the beginning of the 20th century! I remember old desks in school used for our exams – some of them had inkwells. Where they around 50 years old! I wonder if they’re still using them for exams.

This feels like someone from today suggesting that a co-worker might have been involved in a prank involving a quill!

Overall this is a most enjoyable episode. It does have a deus ex machina ending becaue the parents were unknown before they appeared. However in this instance I think it works as a twist and not a copout. All things considered this is a most excellent episode.

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 have signed up to Buy Me a Coffee. If you like what you see please consider supporting my Blog: buymeacoff.ee/SDuKYJBkJm


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The Galileo Seven – TOS a Review

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One thing that comes up for me again and again while watching TOS is the general disrespect Spock receives. He is the executive officer of the ship and yet the crew do not treat him as they should.

Before that though we are introduced to Galactic High Commissioner Ferris – he will be our obstinate bureaucrat for the episode. For those that don’t not know the obstinate bureaucrat is it is a character who seems to exist purely for the purposes of standing in the way of the other characters.

In this case Kirk has stopped to investigate Murasaki 312 – and the commissioner is here to remind him of the ticking clock of the episode. The Enterprise has a deadline – the delivery of medical supplies. So rather than warping away, making their deliver, and coming back Kirk decides to stop for a scientific study.

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A shuttle with seven people on board is drawn into the phenomenon and before you can say whoopsie doodle the shuttle loses contact with the Enterprise and crashes.

It is difficult to see this episode on its own. A shuttle crashing becomes a staple of Trek later on. In Star Trek: Voyager so many were lost. However this episode is the first shuttle crash.

I find myself agreeing with the High Commissioner. Kirk shouldn’t have sent out the shuttle party with such a small amount of time available.

Nevertheless the stakes are well established. Much of the Enterprise’s equipment will not function meaning that they will have to come within visual range of their people.

Made me think of this immediately!

The shuttle crew find a planet to set down. In Star Trek there is always a convenient planet! And not just a planet but one with a breathable atmosphere.

We immediately set up the theme for the episode. Spock is logical.

Also McCoy is emotional since we are stating the obvious.

Spock tries the communication system. Scotty questions this as the system is unlikely to work.

 I expect nothing, Mister Scott. It is merely logical to try all the alternatives.

Spock (Star Trek: TOS: The Galileo Seven)

Meanwhile on the Enterprise another shuttle is launched as the transporters don’t work. This is not so good. Because, unfortunately, the shuttles are not exactly a formidable craft. Sorry, Master Bra’tak.

The Galileo doesn’t have enough fuel to reach escape velocity. They are 500 pounds over weight. Which is 226 kilograms. I don’t know why Starfleet is using pounds!

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Since the shuttle has very little in excess weight the only option maybe for someone, or several someones, to stay behind. Either that or start running around the planet to lose weight!

To Spock the idea that someone may have to stay is treated as a logical reality of their situation. The crew respond calling Spock heartless.

The thing is these are military personal. I know Starfleet is not supposed to be a military but if it looks like a duck… so shouldn’t the idea of sacrifice have entered there minds? Do they not cover that in Starfleet training?

Spock is logical which means he would choose himself to die if that was the best chance for all the others.

If any minor damage was overlooked, it was when they put his head together.

Not his head, Mister Boma, his heart. His heart.

Boma and McCoy (Star Trek: TOS: The Galileo Seven)

The the inevitable happens. Someone dies. I bet you didn’t see that coming did you? To be fair that particular trope hadn’t really become so much of a cliché yet – also the dead guy wasn’t in red.

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Here is where I do want to levy some criticism at Spock. His obliviousness. When he sees that Latimer has been killed by one of the natives he focuses on the weapon used rather than the fact that someone is dead.

While Spock may not experience emotion he should surely understand them. To be clear I am not saying this is bad writing. On the contrary a character having a flaw is very welcome indeed.

There is a brief scene on the Enterprise but all that happens is we find out they are having no luck and Ferris reminds Kirk of the ticking clock.

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On the planet the landing party are arguing. Mr Boma wants to have a service for Latimer. Spock feels it is a waste of time. On this one I have to side with Spock.

They are in a dangerous situation here. The focus needs to be on the still living crew members. I am reminded of Q Who from TNG. Eighteen crewmembers are killed in that episode and Geordi has to remind Ensign Gomez that right now the shields need to be their focus and they can grieve later.

Right now getting off this rock is there top priority. If they don’t get off this rock in a timely fashion they are all going to die. A service for Latimer can be done later. This would be different if there was no hurry but there is a hurry and they have other priorities. The humans support a violent response.

I am frequently appalled by the low regard you Earthmen have for life

Spock (Star Trek: TOS: The Galileo Seven)

This is a rather odd statement given that they do have stun weapons. However it could be argued that since they know so little about these people that maybe it would be difficult to judge what setting to use. Gaetano and Boma’s insubordination is grating. It is not so much what they are saying as how they are saying it. I have been watching Stargate SG-1 recently and there are times when Carter or O’Neill disagree with orders but, on the whole, they are able to express their displeasure in constructive ways.

Meanwhile Scotty has a plan. Who else where you expecting to get them out of this mess? He will drain the phasers to use as a power sauce. The problem is that they are also their only defence against the natives but with no other choice that plan is a go.

And then… another one bites the dust…

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Gaetano is presumed dead. And then confirmed dead. Spock picks up his body to return to the shuttle.

I think here he is showing a sign of beginning to understand. Taking the body back is illogical but he knows that it is what the humans will want.

Spock’s plan relies on his interpretation of what the natives will do. He predicts that the natives will be scared off by their superior fire power. Instead they attack.

They were perfectly predictable to anyone with feeling. You might as well admit it, Mister Spock, your precious logic brought them down on us.

Doctor McCoy (Star Trek: TOS: The Galileo Seven)

The landing party continue to argue. This seems to be a constant theme of TOS – yelling at each other in times of crisis. Spock is different. He experiences the world in a way foreign to others. I am reminded of a line from Blake’s 7.

I have never understood why it should be necessary to become irrational in order to prove that you care, or, indeed, why it should be necessary to prove it at all.

Avon (Blake’s 7: Duel)

That is a very Spock line. I think it explains perfectly the way Spock sees things.

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Spock does care about the crew. However, as I said before, he will do what is best for the most people. As he will say later it is the needs of the many that are important. Spock would pull the lever in the trolley problem.

In regards to the the argument about the service of the dead. Spock is right. Such a thing is a luxury that they do not have time for. It wouldn’t exactly be good if they all died because they were having a funeral?

I do like that McCoy and Scotty eventually call Mr Boma out on his attitude.

Meanwhile, on the Enterprise, one of the search parties returns to the ship with one dead. And the Enterprise is forced to leave. Kirk being Kirk he does this as slow as possible to give the shuttle crew every last second.

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The shuttle manages to lift off. Since they cannot maintain the orbit for long, nor live on the planet, Spock detonates their fuel – this is essentially like sending up a flair.

The Enterprise sees it, obviously, and the survivors are rescued.

The episode ends with making fun of Spock for the, in the minds of the humans, emotional decision. In other words it is very light-hearted. Only three men are dead?

In conclusion I am not completely sure what to make of this episode. It certainly has its moments and the logic versus emotion is interesting. However I could have done without the ticking clock element to the story. I really don’t feel it adds anything – and it is rather silly that Kirk sends his people into danger with so little time.

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 have signed up to Buy Me a Coffee. If you like what you see please consider supporting my Blog: buymeacoff.ee/SDuKYJBkJm

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Balance of Terror – TOS a Review

This is one of the best episodes of Star Trek. It is also important to the Star Trek universe as it is the introduction of the Romulans to the series.


The great strength of this episode is that the Romulans are complex. It would have been very easy to have had than as simple villains. That is not what we get though. The Romulan commander does not want a war but he is a man of duty and will fulfil his mission because of that.

We see the Commander and Kirk’s respect for each other. The Commander telling Kirk that under different circumstances they could have been friends is wonderful and very powerful.


Naturally this episode is an allegory for a battle between a submarine and a surface ship. This works well with one exception. I refer to the silent scene. Yes there is a scene where both crews are working quietly so as to not be heard – in space?

I don’t really mind this as it is a small part of the episode. It is also possible that the sensors could detect vibrations – that’s all I’ve got.


Bigotry is an important part of the episode. When Spock reveals that the Romulans look like Vulcans Stiles is immediately suspicious.

Given that Star Trek tends to say that humans are above such concepts it is an interesting addition. I did start to write a longwinded passage on this – but lets keep things simple. Bigotry is bad. Maybe not that simple. I don’t think that overcoming negative emotions is that simple.

In DS9 Captain Sisko (as a Commander) says that it is easy to be a saint in paradise. This line pretty much sums up DS9 but it is important for this episode too. Sometimes we don’t experience the dark side of our nature until we are tested.

Stiles is admonished by Kirk, and rightfully so, and told to remember that the war is over. A very important lesson. Without learning that a new war can start taking revenge on the grandchildren for what their grandparents did.


It is rather silly that the Romulan war was fought without visual communication. However it is necessary to the plot. Given the secretive nature of the Romulans it does fit it just seems unlikely. That however is coming from a 21st century perspective.


The interactions between the Romulan officers and crew is well done. The Centurion and the Commander talk about other campaigns they have fought together. I find myself wondering who they were fighting. It is never said and I doubt that it was ever worked out. My guess is the Breen. Although they weren’t invented till TNG.


The neutral zone doesn’t make a lot of sense. In fact boarders in three dimensions are problematic at best. Again for the same of the story, any story, things have to slide.


The episode ends poignant. There will be no new war but the Enterprise lost a member of the crew. Unlike other episode the death of this redshirt (he wears gold so I am being figurative) matters.

Over all this is a fantastic episode. It deals with its heavy themes well and we are left with a classic episode.

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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The Conscience of the King (TOS) (Review)

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The episode starts with a dagger being dramatically raised. Kirk is watching a production of Macbeth. Star Trek references Shakespeare on many occasions – and here is where it started. I have a complicated relationship with Shakespeare – I really want to like his plays but half the the time I understand where Blackadder was coming from when he decks the bard!

Maybe I am just an uncultured so-and-so.

Captain Kirk is watching the play with Dr Thomas Leighton. Leighton is convinced that the man playing Macbeth, Anton Karidian, is Kodos the Executioner. We have no context for who that is but we have a possible secret identify and with this, and a name like Kodos the Executioner, the episode demands to be watched.

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After the credits we learn that Leighton has a disfigurement. Half his face is covered in what looks to be a stiff fabric. I am unclear what it is supposed to be. My guess is it is some sort of bandage or reconstructive surgery – this is a 1960s show it isn’t going to look perfect. Kodos is implied to have done this to him.

Here is the summery from Memory Alpha:

Kodos is notorious because he seized control of the doomed Earth Colony Tarsus IV in 2246 and ordered the execution of half its population of 8,000. Of the 4,000 survivors, only nine, including the young Kirk and Leighton, ever saw the face of the revolutionary governor.

Here is where we get into a bit of problem. Kirk is able to compare Kodos to Karidian via photograph. The whole plot hinges on so few people being able to identify him but this scene shows that anyone could do it. I am willing to overlook this though. The rest of the episode is well done and little plot holes are understandable. That said the plot could have been adjusted to them being witness and not corroborating identity. These days we would talk about DNA too but that kind of testing wasn’t around in the 1960s. (At least that is what I can glean from a 30 second Googling!)

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Kirk attends a cocktail party at Leighton’s home and we meet Anton Karidian’s daughter, Lenore, who is named after a fabric softener for some reason.

Kirk talks to her because…well he is Kirk… but also he wishes to use her to learn about her father. The two of them go for a walk, almost kiss, and discover a dead body. These are all normal events in the life of Captain Kirk.

The body is that of Leighton. This begins to convince Kirk, and Leighton’s wife, that there might be something to his suspicions.

Kirk arranges for the Astral Queen to not pick up the Karidian players. This has the effect he hoped for – it manoeuvres Lenore into requesting a lift which Kirk grants.

Meanwhile Kirk discovers out that Lieutenant Kevin Riley was also one of the people able to identify Kodos. Kirk has Riley sent back to engineering. This is apparently a demotion. Kirk’s reasoning seems to be that if Riley is on the lower decks he is safe from Karidian (Kodos).

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Spock begins to have suspicions and so goes to see McCoy. This may not be the best idea. McCoy is drinking in sickbay – it is possibly the middle of the day and he might be on duty. Spock doesn’t say anything about it. There is also a weird line in this scene referring to Vulcan having been conquered – it is an evolving show so who can say – but McCoy could also be drunk and Spock doesn’t care enough to correct him.

More weird 1960s references to women comes into play when McCoy refers to Lenore as ‘a pretty exciting creature’ – Spock dismisses Lenore as the cause of Kirk’s odd behaviour. And Spock is right. Kirk would not risk his command for something that trivial.

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Meanwhile Kirk is with Lenore on the observation deck to share some weird dialogue.

Worlds may change, galaxies disintegrate, but a woman always remains a woman.

Captain Kirk (Star Trek: The Original Series – The Conscience of the King)

Lenore also compares the power of the Enterprise to Kirk himself – since she uses the word throbbing in that qustion I would rather not think about it.

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Someone attempts to poison Riley. Fortunately he was listing to Uhura sing over the com so he is rushed to sickbay. Spock and McCoy go to confront Kirk about Kodos.

I don’t like anyone meddling in my private affairs, not even my second in command.

Captain Kirk (Star Trek: The Original Series: The Conscious of the King)

What I like about this scene is that McCoy comes to Spock’s defence. The trio is what makes TOS work. Spock is logical, McCoy is emotional and Kirk has to find his way between the two extremes.

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An awkward scene break and it is just Spock and Kirk. They hear the low hum of a phaser on overload. They find it behind the plastic of the red alert light. Kirk sends it down a disposal shoot, the ship shakes, but no serious damage is sustained.

Enough is enough for Kirk. He goes to confront Koridian to make absolutely certain that he is Kodos. He takes with him a copy of the speech Kodos gave before the executions.

The revolution is successful, but survival depends on drastic measures. Your continued existence represents a threat to the well-being of society. (stops looking at the paper) Your lives means slow death to the more valued members of the colony. Therefore I have no alternative but to sentence you to death. Your execution is so ordered. Signed, Kodos, governor of Tarsus Four.

Koridian (Kodos) (Star Trek: The original Series: The Conscious of the King)

Koridian hardly glancing at the paper convinces Kirk he is Kodos.

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So we come to the final curtain. Please forgive the cliché but in this case there is a literal curtain. The performance is going ahead.

Meanwhile McCoy shows us why dictating a log might not be the best idea. He mentions Kodos within earshot of Riley – who takes a phaser and heads for the theatre.

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Kirk convinces Riley to return to the sickbay. What is strange about this ending is that there still seems to be doubt whether or not Kordian is Kodos – even though we saw photographic evidence at the start of the show and Spock said as much – frankly if Spock is certain that is surely good enough for an arrest.

And here we get the big reveal. It isn’t Koridian who has been killing the nine witnesses but Lenore. She grabs a phaser from one of the guards and fires at Kirk. Koridian gets in the way and she kills him instead.

We can argue stun settings but Koridian may have had a heart condition for all we know. I have been watching Bones lately and one thing that comes up again and again is how easy death can happen – even if a weapon is supposed to be non-lethal.

One final quote from Hamlet, curtesy of Lenore over her father’s body, and we get to the end of the episode.

Lenore remembers nothing and is institutionalised. Kirk refuses to answer the question of whether or not he really cared for her.

The Enterprise heads off for its next assignment.

This is one of the best episodes of the original series. As mentioned the plot does have a bit of a hole in it but that is a small quibble as the rest of it is so well done. We get a good look into Kirk’s character as he tries to balance his need for vengeance and his need for justice.

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

To help with the quotes used in this review I used: http://www.chakoteya.net/StarTrek/

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The Menagerie (Part 2) Review

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Overall this is a satisfying conclusion to the story. It is enjoyable and intriguing but is not without its problems. Let me show you what I mean.

Number One: Recap

The recap is handled via a Captain’s log. I like this style and feel it works better than the style used in later iterations. Not only do we get the recap but we also get an insight into Kirk’s thoughts on the situation. It works very well.

Number Two: Clunky Exposition

Because of the need to include the clips, and set up for them, it can feel a bit over done. There are points in the episode where Spock is asked a direct question but he will only say they need to watch the transmission. Things would be simpler if he just explained – but that would gut the mystery. I understand fiction has rules and it can’t always follow logic – which I am sure annoys Spock to no end.

Number Three: The Telosians

In his cell Pike meets with the Telosians. The alien makeup is wonderfully done and the voice without lip movements gives them a very alien quality.

The Telosians analyse Pike and speak of an experiment a good hook for the audience. Aliens experimenting on us is probably one of the most basic of science devices. Here though not only do we wish to know what the experiment is but also why Spock would wish to bring pike back to these people.

Number Four: The Crew that Never Was

We cut to a briefing room scene as the senior staff discuss the problem. Despite the fact that there are two free chairs Colt chooses to stand – maybe enlisted folk don’t get chairs.

Spock is quite different in these scenes. He speaks in a more colloquially style and clearly has emotions – I am not going to attempt an explanation as to why that would be. This is before the character was pinned down in to what we all know today – I am a stickler for continuity but even I am not bothered by every little change or thing that doesn’t quite make sense.

Doctor Boyce comes across a fatherly type. In another reality, where this cast remained, he would probably have been the mentor and the one who has seen it all.

Lieutenant Tyler is the young hot-headed officer. He advocates for using the ship’s power to rescue Pike. Although this is ultimately the plan that is gone with it is telling about his character that he cuts straight to the idea that action must be taken.

Number One is the ship’s executive officer. I like this character. She clearly has the respect of the crew and makes the necessary decision quickly. Up until Discovery, which I haven’t seen, this was her only appearance and it would have been so interesting to see where she went as a character. It should be noted that much of her demeanour was transferred to Mr Spock.

Number Five: The First Illusion

Pike faces off against a Kalar. This illusion comes from his memories of a mission from two weeks prior. Only this time he has Vina to protect.

I appreciate the continuity shown in this episode – or rather the continuity shown in The Cage. Despite being written as a pilot the crew have been on other missions and have a history together.

Naturally Pike defeats the Kalar and he and Vina end up back in his cell – where she immediately embraces him.

Number Six: Any Woman You Ever Imagined

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Vina seems to want Pike to believe that she isn’t real – that she is just an another illusion. Pike is naturally only interested in finding a way out of the cell and the limitations of the Telosian abilities.

Vina explains that war made the surface of their world barren, they came underground and developed their mental abilities – so Pike, and the other specimens, are there for entertainment. The Telosians create an illusion and they watch his reaction.

A similar idea was put forward in the Stargate SG-1 episode:

I mean, imagine if you were locked in a room for a thousand years with only a VCR, a TV and five movies. How long could you watch those five movies until you were bored silly? What you wouldn’t give for just four more.

Daniel Jackson: (Stargate SG-1: The Game Keeper)

There is more to it than that though. The Telosians want more humans – so the question becomes where are they going to get, in the words of the episode, an Earth woman?

Number Seven: Big Space Gun

Where would science fiction be without a big gun? They do seem to show up all the time. Well in this instance the landing party attempts to blast through the door to the underground environment. They are unsuccessful. As Doctor Boyce reiterates they can’t be sure of anything on this world.

Number Eight: Dinner Time

The Telosians feed Pike. The “food” is a liquid but can appear as any food. I have seen this idea elsewhere in science fiction and have always rather liked it. How great would it be to have nourishing food but feel as though you are eating something fried and crispy. (He said making Homer Simpson noises)

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Pike is not inclined to be co-operative. When he suggests starving as an alternative the Telosian creates a hellish environment to punish him. The scene does give important information about the limitations of the Telosians – they can’t, for example, put irresistible hunger into a person’s mind.

Number Nine: Two Conversations in One

Pike and the Keeper have a conversation – to be more accurate they talk to each other about separate things which eventually becomes one.

Pike wants to find weaknesses in the Telosians and the Telosian want him to be attracted to Vina. The upshot of the scene is that Pike discovers that primitive thoughts put up a block that can’t be read and the keeper is pleased that Pike seems to be starting to show sighs of affection for Vina – suggesting that he should be the one punished as he is the one not co-operating.

Number Ten: In the Park

For the next illusion Pike and Vina are in a park – probably somewhere on Earth. We get more of the tragic background of Vina. She has been alone on this world for 18 years. She has tried to block out the Telosians with primitive emotions but has found she can’t keep it up for long. They have, in someways, broken her. ‘They own me.’ she says.

I do not think the Telosians are evil. They are doing all that they are doing to help their race and for Vina I think they have tried to make life comfortable for her – of course the desperation of the species doesn’t excuse the tourture.

Number Eleven: She’s…she’s green.

If there is one scene that is most famous from this episode, and maybe Star Trek as a whole, it is this one. The Green Orion slave girl. As described by Mendez no human male can resist them. (Apparently gay women are immune and gay men are susceptible. I know 60s gunna 60s.)

The purpose of this illusion is that it is something Pike could never have. As a Starfleet officer (No Starfleet yet but for simplicity I will say it.) he has to be proper and respectable – this is presented as the opposite of that.

Two things that come to mind though. Firstly Pike did take about having a life like this at the beginning and two one of the men watching with him is in a Starfleet uniform so doesn’t that make for a contradiction.

Incidentally the music in this scene is very effective.

Pike can’t take his eyes off Vina. As Kirk observes he is starting to weaken.

Number Twelve: THE WOMEN!

A landing party prepares to beam down but as Spock dramatically says only Yeoman Colt and Number One end up beaming down. The good news is they brought guns. The bad news is they don’t seem to work.

Number Thirteen: A Computer

Number One and Colt are there to provide Pike with a choice of mates. VIna is not impressed with either of them. She calls Colt stupid, in so many words, and compares Number One to a computer. Given that Majel Barret would go on to voice the computer it is a wonderfully ironic line.

Number Fourteen: Colt is Horny and Number One is Intelligent

Sorry to be so blunt but that is essentially what the Keeper says. Which shows how horrible it would be to be in the presence of a telepath!

Number Fifteen: Misshapen Heads

Given the anti-racism message of Star Trek hearing racist words spoken by one of our heroes is not easy. However I don’t think that Pike actually harbours racist thoughts. It is a tactic in order to block out the telepathy.

Number Sixteen: The Truth

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It is night time in the cell. A door opens at the back and a Telosian comes through to try and take the guns. However if the guns were useless why would they care?

Pike wraps his hands around the neck of the Telosian – they quickly transform into a… creature of some sort… trying to scare Pike and the others. Pike has had enough at this point and knows what he is seeing isn’t real. The Telosian stops the illusion – but threatens to destroy the Enterprise.

Surrender your weapons, or die where you stand!
Oh, if I had a nickel.

Garan & O’Neill (Stargate SG-1: It’s Good to be King)

Yes the Enterprise is always under threat of being destroyed – and taken over – by advanced aliens, conmen, robots, children and hippies!

Yeah I love this show but it is so silly at times.

Pike gambles that the Telosians won’t kill the crew of the Enterprise and figures out that the guns do work and them not working was another illusion.

Number Seventeen: Guilty

This is what I was talking about before – the images suddenly stop. While they are stopped Spock is found guilty of the crimes of which he is accused.

Number Eighteen: On the Surface

Pike, Number One, Colt and Vina emerge onto the surface of the planet. They immediately see that the big space gun did indeed blast through.

Pike agrees to stay with Vina but Number One has other ideas. She sets the gun to explode – preferring to kill all of them rather than allow Pike and Vina to leave as slaves.

We had not believed this possible. The customs and history of your race show a unique hatred of captivity. Even when it’s pleasant and benevolent, you prefer death. This makes you too violent and dangerous a species for our needs.

The Magistrate (Star Trek: The Original Series: The Menagerie)

I feel the need to call BS at this point. I find it hard to believe that any sapient species would enjoy captivity. Of course it is silly to make this point here as the diversity of the Star Trek universe had not yet been established.

Also it is pointed out how humans are uniquely adaptable – humans always right that about humans!

Number Nineteen: I Can’t Go With You

In the closing of the episode we find that Vina’s real body is actually damaged. Her appearance has been an illusion this whole time. Unfortunately the episode misses the mark a little here. Rather than it being stated that she can’t go to the Enterprise because she would be in constant pain what is focused on is her beauty. It is as if she can’t go because of how she looks. I read it though that she is in pain and even the technology of the Enterprise can’t give her as comfortable a life as she can have on this world.

Number Twenty: He Has an Illusion and You Have Reality.

Read that way it makes for a nice conclusion. Pike’s situation is a mirror to hers. Which would you rather? A fantasy world where you can live out anything you can imagine or being stuck in am ion long totally immobilised?

Number Twenty-One: There is no Commordor

Yes as the episode comes to an end it is revealed that the Commodore himself was an illusion. This is a part of the episode I do not like. The Enterprise was traveling for days and for the Telosians to be able to project quite so far seems to make than bit too powerful – just my opinion.

Number Twenty-Two: Conclusion

As stated in number twenty Pike beams down to the planet. Somehow Spock is able to get him to the transporter room in about five seconds!

Naturally the consequences of Spock’s actions are forgotten and there will be no death penalty. Obviously I do not want Spock to die but this whole plot point seems so silly. He would still be court martialled for illegally taking the ship.

I like this episode. The final creepy smile from the Keeper is marvellous.

Captain Pike has an illusion, and you have reality. May you find your way as pleasant

The Keeper (Star Trek: The Original Series: The Menagerie Part 2)

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

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Best Sci-Fi Characters of All Time

This will be my last post before Christmas. I don’t want to talk about Christmas.

The other day the BFI uploaded its picks for ‘The Best Sci-Fi Characters of All Time.‘ At the top of the list was The Doctor.  This to me is no great surprise. Doctor Who is probably the most versatile science fiction that exists. You can tell any story you can imagine in that universe.

What did surprise me was that Kerr Avon was number 4. This is not because I don’t like the character but rather because I’ve always thought as Blake’s 7 to be a little obscure.

For Star Trek Mr Spock was the highest ranked at number 10. Spock is certainly the most iconic of all Star Trek characters. For me he was always more interesting a character than Kirk. When watching TOS I always wonder why Spock isn’t in charge.

Babylon 5 was well represented too with: G’Kar, Londo Mollari, Susan Ivanova, Captain John Sheridan, Delenn (twice), Alfred Bester, Commander Jeffrey Sinclair, Lyta Alexander, and Michael Garibaldi.

For Stargate SG-1 we have the whole team with the exception of Cameron Mitchell, which I can understand, and Teal’c which I can’t.

So who would my top ten be? Well I’m going to limit myself to names on their list…

  1. The Doctor
  2. Ambassador G’kar
  3. Captain Benjamin Sisko
  4. Ambassador Spock
  5. Captain Picard
  6. Ambassador Londo Mollari
  7. Brigadier General Jack O’Neill
  8. Ambassador Delenn
  9. Colonel Samantha Carter
  10. Admiral William Adama

There are many others I could mention. I may put together my own list of 100 names.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Best of the Season.

See you on the other side.

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