Tag Archives: star trek

Tomorrow is Yesterday (TOS)

Photo by Sharefaith on Pexels.com

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.

Photo by Tony Schnagl on Pexels.com

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.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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.

Photo by Jimmy Chan on Pexels.com

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Arena (TOS)

Photo by Egor Kamelev on Pexels.com

In this episode Captain Kirk fights a lizard man.

I am being flippant in that opening sentence but that is only because I do not have a lot to say about this episode. Don’t misread that. This is not a bad episode it is just that because much of it is action there isn’t much to say.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way. The Gorn costume doesn’t look the best. However given the limitations of the time I think they did a damn good job. And honestly, relatively speaking, it is about as good as the CGI Gorn we would later get in Enterprise. Given the story, the Gorn had to look more alien than just a human in strange clothes. Nevertheless I don’t think he needed to make quite so many noises while fighting.

Photo by Mikhail Volkov on Pexels.com

The Enterprise arrives at Cestus III. The crew are excited to take advantage of the famed hospitality of the base’s Commodore. Well not Spock. He would never stoop to expressing an emotion as base as excitement!

When they materialise on the planet they discover the base has been destroyed. I am forced to wonder why the damage was not spotted as soon as they entered orbit.

I am nitpicking again. It is a useful crutch because it is either this or think about the real world. Who wants that?

Kirk concludes that the messages that brought them here were faked. Soon the landing party comes under fire.

The battle is done well. You really feel as though the crew are in danger. Pretty soon one of the redshirts dies. That is not exactly news.

Before that though we get a rather odd line from Spock. He has picked up the Gorn (we don’t know their name yet) on his tricorder and describes them as non-human. Er Spock you aren’t human either. Nothing wrong with not being human it just seems like a strange thing for him to say.

Kirk orders the landing part beamed. Sulu is unable to do that as the Enterprise has come under fire.

This is the first time that an inability to beam through shields has been mentioned. It will continue to be an important detail throughout the francize. Except when the writers decide they don’t want it to be true this week.

Kirk is a bit of a micromanager when it comes to the battle. Since he has left Sulu in command you would think he would trust him to defend the Enterprise.

Eventually the landing party are beamed up. The Enterprise heads off in pursuit of the Gorn. Kirk concludes that the plan must have been to lure the Enterprise to Cestus III, destroy it, and thus leave the Federation open to invasion. Kirk decides that the only option is to make sure the Gorn ship never gets home. Doing this will leave the enemy in ignorance as to their strength and hopeful stop a potential invasion.

Photo by Rick Josey on Pexels.com

In terms of Star Trek this seems like very militant thinking. Honestly though it is hard to argue with Kirk’s way of thinking. The Gorn are shown to be potential as powerful, or maybe more powerful, than Starfleet.

The pursuit leads them to another star system. Both ships are immobilised and hailed by the inhabitance of this system.

We are the Metrons. You are one of two crafts which have come into our space on a mission of violence. This is not permissible. Yet we have analysed you and have learned that your violent tendencies are inherent. So be it. We will control them. We will resolve your conflict in the way most suited to your limited mentalities.

It is a common in Star Trek to impose impose their will on other races. I can’t help but think that if the Metrons are so much more advanced can’t they think of a better way of doing things than a death match?

Apparently not – also I could have done without Uhura screaming when Kirk was taken.

Photo by Andre Moura on Pexels.com

Kirk defeats the Gorn captain by means of a diamond firing bamboo canon – well it is not bamboo considering this is not Earth. Then we get to the crux of the story. Kirk refuses to kill. The Gorn attacked Cestus III because they saw the colony as an invasion. As such their actions were comparable to Kirk’s determination to destroy their ship.

The Metrons state that neither the Gorn ship nor the Enterprise will be destroyed. Yet they do go on to offer to destroy the Gorn. Knowing this kind of story that was probably just another layer to the test.

The meaning of this story episode is fairy obvious. Kirk’s actions show that there is hope for humans. However there is a whiff of human superiority to the story.

I have never like this aspect of science fiction. The idea that humans are better than other races. I think that this episode would have worked much better if the Gorn had also realised that the Federation need not be an enemy.

The Enterprise is flung 500 parsecs from where they were. Kirk orders them back to Cestus III.

The last few lines of the episode nicely rounds off the story. Kirk recounts his conversation with the Metoron. Who told him that there is hope for humans – although it might take a few thousand years for them to prove they are civilised.

End of 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

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Squire of Gothos – TOS.

Photo by Hristo Fidanov on Pexels.com

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.

Photo by Walid Ahmad on Pexels.com

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.

Photo by Julio Perez on Pexels.com

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.

Photo by Dmitrii Fursov on Pexels.com

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!

Photo by Lukas Hartmann on Pexels.com

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.’

Photo by Gareth Davies on Pexels.com

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.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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.

Photo by Mikey Dabro on Pexels.com

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!

Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com

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


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Shore Leave – TOS a Review

Photo by Manuela Adler on Pexels.com

It has been a long time since I wrote one of these. I am going to put it down to my thoughts being a jumbled mess. I have several drafts but I have now decided to go with a simple plan. Sit at my Freewrite – write for 15 minutes and then edit and post. Will it work? Who can say.

Photo by JUSTIN on Pexels.com

Shore Leave is not one of my favourite episodes. That said it is not actually bad. This is a show where the ship would one day be taken over by a group of children. The children were controlled by an alien, played by a lawyer, and dressed in a shower curtain but still. In that company everything else is excellent.

The problem here is that the story has little intrigue. It feels like a lot of running around until the Caretaker appears and explains what is happening.

I do like the teaser. McCoy spotting the White Rabbit and Alice is a great WTF moment – it effectively sets up the mystery and the episode demands to be watched.

I like how Spock manoeuvres Kirk into going down to the planet.

I picked this up from Dr. McCoy’s log. We have a crewmember who’s showing signs of stress and fatigue. Reaction time down nine to twelve percent, associational reading norm minus three.

That’s much too low a rating.

He’s becoming irritable and quarrelsome, yet he refuses to take rest and rehabilitation. Now, he has that right, but we’ve found —

A crewman’s right ends where the safety of the ship begins. That man will go ashore on my orders. What’s his name?

James Kirk. Enjoy yourself, Captain. It’s an interesting planet. You’ll find it very pleasant. Very much like your Earth. Scouts have detected no animals, artefacts or force fields of any kind. Only peace, sunshine and good air. You’ll have no problems.

Spock and Kirk – Shore Leave (Star Trek: The Original Series)

The ending presents an interesting idea. The race that built this place are highly advanced but they still play. In my opinion little is done with this. I would like to see less of the tiger and fighter planes and more of the exploration of this idea.

Photo by Flickr on Pexels.com

Obviously showing an alien factory would have been prohibitively expensive and what we are left with is a story that doesn’t give us much of an insight into any of the characters.

Kirk gets into a fight, gets his shirt ripped, and meets one of his former lovers – or a facsimile of her anyway. If they added in talking a computer to death that would be the Kirk set. I do have to concede that those clichés were not as established at this point.

Yeoman Barrows continues the TOS strange approach to women – at least in my book. This is a woman who has joined the military (Starfleet is a military I don’t care what Roddenberry or Captain Picard says) and wishes to explore space – and yet she still has the fantasy of a princess and a knight in shinning armour.

I am not saying that these things are completely antithetical. It is perfectly possible to like things that don’t feel like they go together. However having watched all of TOS they certainly like to find ways to get the female characters into fancy (and sometimes impractical) dresses.

Sulu finds a gun on this planet and immediately starts firing it – which doesn’t seem like the best idea.

I like that this shore leave is taking place on a random planet rather than just a Federation port. I nice idea that shows the vastness of space and gives a real feeling of being out in the unknown. (Even if it doesn’t completely make sense. Finding an M class planet when you need one is an amazing stroke of luck.) Well that is 15 minutes and that is all I have to say. See you next 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.

Leave a comment

Filed under science fiction, star trek, writing

The Menagerie (Part 2) Review

Photo by Jimmy Chan from Pexels

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

Photo by Thiago Schlemper from Pexels

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)

Photo by Oussama Elhaidi from Pexels

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

Photo by Lisa from Pexels

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Menagerie (Part 1) Review

Photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels

As I go through these reviews it is my hope that each one will be better than the one before. As such I am going to take a different approach this time. I will assume that you have seen the episode in question and instead just talk in general about it.

Photo by Julissa Helmuth from Pexels

Today we might be inclined to think of this episode as a clip show. However it is not a traditional clip show. The clips, from the first pilot, had not been seen before. Oh and by ‘traditional clip show’ I mean shit – you can see Shades of Grey for an example of that – no…not that Shades of Grey!

Photo by Julissa Helmuth from Pexels

We are introduced to Captain Christopher Pike who is confined to iron lung/wheelchair and can only communicate by beeping! You have probably seen this parodied somewhere – it was done on Futurama on at least two occasions. Unfortunately this part of the story doesn’t make any sense.

Photo by Rahul from Pexels

If Pike can only beep then shouldn’t he be able to use Morse code? Even if, for some reason, it wasn’t there are other options. This was shown in an episode of The Simpsons and also in SG-1.

I could give you the Stargate SG-1 example but for some reason I feel like using The Simpson’s! In Treehouse of Horror XXII – Homer can only communicate by farting. Lisa recites the alphabet to him and he farts when he gets to the right letter. This would be easily doable for Pike – the basic method not the farting.

And yes I did just say the Simpsons did it better. Farting beats beeping.

Yet in the story they act as though the only way would be to question Pike in a Twenty Questions sort of way. All he needs to ‘say’ is that Spock is planning to take him to Talos IV. I realise that I am analysing this in a world where predictive text has been a reality for some time but even so it is hard to believe that the writers wouldn’t have spotted this.


McCoy and Kirk discuss the message that the Enterprise supposedly received diverting them to the star base. The evidence points to Spock faking a message. McCoy doesn’t believe it.

Me, yes I could run off half-cock, given a good reason. So could you, but not Spock. It’s impossible.

McCoy (Star Trek: The Original Series: The Menagerie: Part 1)

I like that McCoy stands up for Spock here. They frequently have an adversarial relationship but clearly McCoy understands Spock.

Of course McCoy is wrong in this instance!

Then we get a scene which makes very little sense to me. Mendez shows Kirk the file on Talos IV. At this point in the story the Enterprise has yet to be hijacked by Spock so why is it considered significant? The only thing I can come up with is that there is evidence of some conspiracy going on and this file is a classified one that Spock and Pike know about. And the base must be relatively close to this world. It is flimsy but that is all I have got.

Photo by Dom J from Pexels

Perhaps even more bizarre the document is signed by Spock as Half-Vulcan – as if that was his rank. I also have no idea why.

Pike is beamed suddenly from his room and the Enterprise breaks orbit

Photo by Chris J Mitchell from Pexels

We are also given a nugget of information that visiting Talos IV is the only death penalty left in Federation law. I am not sure if it was called the Federation at this point (they seemed to go through a few names) but it is the one I am going with. It is this threat of death that drives the narrative but that two doesn’t really work.

I am against capital punishment anyway, and a discussion of it is beyond the scope of this review, but if you are going to have it why have it for visiting some random planet and not for a serial killer?


Kirk and Mendez go after the stolen Enterprise in a shuttle.

These ‘shuttles’, they are a formidable craft?

Master Bra’tac (Stargate SG-1: The Serpents Lair)

Apparently Starbase 11 has no ships. For some reason in Trek there being no ships available is a common trope. In this case the reason, out of universe, is that the shuttle can’t catch the Enterprise so it forces Spock to reverse course and pick it up – or let Kirk die but Spock won’t go that far. There is no sensible in universe reason that I can see.


Spock has himself confined to quarters – creating confusion for the security men since it was Spock who ordered them to the bridge in the first place!

Spock has also locked the Enterprise on course for Talos IV in such a way that the crew cannot disengage it.

Losing control of the ship, either completely or being unable to stop one particular function, happens a lot in Star Trek. Here it is perfectly justified as Spock is the XO and a computer expert. In season three hippies take over the ship but lets not dwell on that at the moment.


Kirk calls a hearing for Spock which Spock quickly gets turned in to a general court martial. Spock waives his right to council and presents his evidence – clips from The Cage – also known as the historical documents!

If you don’t get that reference go and watch Galaxy Quest right this second!

Photo by Philippe Donn from Pexels

We see the Enterprise as it was 13 years before and it receives a distress signal from Talos IV – an M class world.


I have no idea what the first episode I ever saw of Star Trek was but it was almost certainly in TNG – and I had seen DS9 before this episode – so it is quite a fun fact for me that M class was something established right from the start.

Actually I tell a lie. I have this vague memory of my parents watching The Devil in the Dark when I was very little. My early memories are third person – and I have the memory of a small me, carrying my duck that I took everywhere and still own, seeing the episode on the tiny TV we used to have and leaving the room. I don’t even know if it is a real memory. However discounting that the first episode I intentionally watched would have been TNG.

So we are introduced to Dr Boyce, in the past, who brings Captain Pike a martini – then we get something odd to say the least…

Tasty alcoholic beverage in a hotel

Pike considers retiring…

Or I’d, I’d go into business on Regulus or on the Orion Colony.

You, an Orion trader, dealing in animal women slaves?

Pike and Boyce (Star Trek: The Original Series: The Menagerie)

Yes Pike considers becoming a slave trader – kind of messes up the perfect future bit doesn’t it? I really have no idea what is going on here!

Commodore Mendez tries to end the proceedings, believing the images to be fake, but Kirk and Pike vote to continue.

So we pick up with the landing party of 13 years ago as they beam down to Talos IV.

The party find the encampment with a group of old men, the scientists from the ship who’s distress signal they picked up, and in the group there is one woman – Vina.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

While the men are all odd Vina is only 18. Pike immediately takes a liking to her. Meanwhile Doctor Boyce reports that the condition of the survivors is too good for the conditions they have been living in. One of the scientists says there is a reason for this and Vina can show him.


Vina leads Pike away from the group and he is soon taken captive by the Talosians.

I like the Talosian makeup. It is basic, it was the 60s after all, but it gets across very well that these are very intelligent alien beings. We see them speak in the next episode and that too makes them creepy.

The episode comes to an end with it being revealed that these transmissions have been coming from Talos IV. Mendez is ordered to take command of the Enterprise, and to stop it from reaching the plant. Kirk orders Spock locked up.

The mystery in this episode is well built up. We know the character of Spock by now and that he must have a good reason for doing what he is doing but we still don’t have an explanation of why.

As I said there are a number of logical hiccups in this story, mainly the beeping Pike, but overall I like this story. I am not sure why the beeping was necessary. Surely Pike being paralysed and speaking through a computer would still have got the point across – but that might just be the opinion of a guy born two decades after this episode aired.

This was the only two part episode for TOS and I will try to be back with the next part soon. I am still finding my way with doing these reviews.

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Corbomite Maneuver (TOS) Review

Photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels

The episode starts with the Enterprise encountering an unknown object – a spinning colourful cube that blocks their path. On the bridge, in addition Spock, Sulu, and Uhura, is Lieutenant Bailey. Bailey is shown to be very green and is less prepared to deal with the stresses of the unknown than the other characters. He provides an excellent counterpoint to the calmness displayed by the others.

Raising my voice back there doesn’t mean I was scared or couldn’t do my job. It means I happen to have a human thing called an adrenaline gland.

Hmm. It does sound most inconvenient, however. Have you considered having it removed?

Very funny.

You try to cross brains with Spock, he’ll cut you to pieces every time.

Bailey, Spock and Sulu. (Star Trek: The Original Series: The Corbomite Maneuver)

Spock is my favourite character from TOS and it is moments like this that are the reason why.

Kirk, who has been in sickbay for his physical, comes up to the bridge. The department heads report to Kirk. The cube doesn’t respond to attempts at communication and the crew can’t identify what its power source is or how it operates.

Bailey is in favour of simply firing on the cube. If it was the Borg that would be the right call but it is not that type of cube and Kirk wounderfully responds with.

I’ll keep that in mind, Mr. Bailey, when this becomes a democracy.

Kirk (Star Trek: The Original Series: The Corbomite Maneuver)

This is the first episode of the series that feels Star Treky (if I can use that word) they are encountering the unknown and it has no connection to Earth in any way. Technically Miri would be the same but that world was a duplicate of Earth – for some reason.

Photo by Miriam Espacio from Pexels

We flash forward by eighteen hours. During this time the crew has been trying further analysis of the probe. Spock’s conclusion is that it is either a buoy or fly paper.

Photo by Thierry Fillieul from Pexels

Fly paper seems rather anachronistic, especially for Spock, but that is just nitpicking. The point is well taken though that they are being held in this place for some reason. Kirk decides it is time for action. Rather than opening fire, as Bailey assumes, he intends to pull away from it.

The Enterprise is unable to pull away and Kirk is forced to order the destruction of the cube.

Photo by Chris F from Pexels

Kirk and McCoy share a drink, in the former’s quarters, while discussing the morale of the crew. Meanwhile Spock is leading battle drills as the crew was rather sluggish with responding to the threat of the cube.

Photo by Kai Pilger from Pexels

Yeoman Rand comes in with Kirk’s lunch, salad on McCoy’s orders, and Kirk expresses discontent at having a female Yeoman – which is odd considering we never see a male yeoman. For Star Trek’s frequent protestations of equality it does have a lot of problematic elements.

Kirk is soon summoned back to the bridge as the Enterprise comes into contact with the spherical Fesarius. First a cube and now a sphere – in hindsight it is hard not to think of the Borg isn’t it?

The Fesarius looks gorgeous in the remastering. They did an excellent job of updating the effects while maintaining the asphetics of the 1960s.

Reading goes of my scale, Captain. Must be a mile in diameter.

Spock (Star Trek: The Original Series: The Corbomite Maneuver)

A rather odd statement considering the Enterprise scans planets almost every week.

Everyone is mesmerised by the ship. So much so that Sulu has to operate Baliey’s console for him when Kirk orders reduced magnification.

Photo by Tyler Tornberg from Pexels

Kirk opens communications and the Enterprise receives a response from Commander Balok – accusing the crew of trespassing – and declaring the crew savage – this happens a lot in Star Trek!


He also says that for this the ship will be destroyed – this happens a lot too – aliens in Trek are very judgemental.

McCoy comes up to the bridge and informs Kirk that the message was heard all over the ship. Kirk tries to reassure his crew – it doesn’t work on Bailey who loses it – if he ever had it.

Incidentally this is one of the only pictures that came up when I searched for crazy. So Bailey is relieved of duty.

Kirk tries again to explain the Enterprise’s actions, in destroying the probe, were simply for self preservation. Balok continues the countdown.


Kirk hits on the idea of bluffing their adversary. He says that the Enterprise contains a substance called ‘corbomite’ and that if Balok makes good on his threat his ship too will be destroyed.

Baliey returns to the bridge and resumes his post – just in time for Sulu’s ten second countdown. Balok doesn’t fire.

Kirk’s bluff has worked, after a fashion, Balok asks for proof of the Corbomite device – which Kirk has to deny of course.

A small ship emerges from the Fesarius and begins towing the Enterprise. Now the First Federation plans to maroon the crew on one of their planets and destroy the Enterprise.

Photo by Frans Van Heerden from Pexels

Kirk gambles that the tractor beam must be a big strain on a ship so small. He give orders to pull away from the small ship. The plan works and the Enterprise breaks free of the small ship. Balock sends a distress signal that is too weak for the flag ship to have received – Kirk decides to render aid.


This action is why I feel this episode is very Star Trek after all that has happened Kirk is still prepared to help out a potential enemy.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that this behaviour is also typical of the military as we know it. When the Bismark was sunk in World War 2 the survivors were rescued by the Royal Navy.

I have tried to find a specific clip of this to put here but have been unsuccessful. I am now starting to wonder if I imagined it! The clip was a news reel from the time. It talks about the rescue of the enemy sailors and says something about the public questioning why we would help enemies – and concludes with the 1940s equivalent of ‘That’s not how we roll in the Royal Navy’ – it is a concept I have heard before that once the ship is no longer a threat the crew should be rescued – they have served their country and that demands respect.

That was rather long winded way of saying something rather simple… Star Trek often talks about humans being better than today… but it seems to ignore the good qualities we have already and seems to exaggerate how bad we are now and how good they are.

Photo by Irene Lasus from Pexels

So Kirk leads a landing party over to the ship. On arrival they see a dummy – it is this that they have been communicating with. Then we meet the real Balok – he appears to be a child (Clint Howard was only 7 when he played the part) but presumably that is just a human perception of an alien.

Balok welcomes them and offers them a drink. He explains that this has all been a test to see how they react to threats and to someone in need. He asks for someone to stay with him for company and an exchange of information. Baliey volunteers for that and the episode ends with the landing party being taken on a tour of Balok’s ship.

This is the best episode of the series so far. It has many of the elements that make Trek the show it is. It is just a shame we never hear of the First Federation again. It makes me wonder what they were up to during the Dominion War and, in general, beyond this episode.

My only criticism is that we don’t get to find out more. It would have been nice to have trimmed down the testing portion of the story and spent a bit of time learning about Balok’s people. Still what we got is a most enjoyable 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 a Patreon page. I hope you will consider supporting this blog: https://www.patreon.com/unstableorbit

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

I am in the process of moving. Saying that I am counting my chickens (it is not all confirmed yet) but I wanted to get a head start so I am putting stuff in bags. Once again I am becoming aware just how much stuff I have accumulated and I am a bit annoyed at my past self.

…your living areas are bursting with useless junk. Then you die, your relatives sell everything, and start the cycle all over again.

Odo (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Q-Less)

None, or virtually none, of the accumulated stuff would be worth anything which makes getting rid of stuff a bit easier. I have books, CDs and DVDs and many of them will be able to go.

You might be wondering why I am keeping some of this stuff. I wonder the same thing sometimes. So why don’t I get rid of it all and rely on streaming services? One word: change.

Passion of the Nerd’s Videos are wonderful!

Buffy is the most extreme example of which I am aware. I am keeping my Buffy dvds because I don’t want to not have the best version of the show. The Friends DVDs have the full version – last time I looked on Netflix they were the shorter broadcast version.

This can also effect music, although less directly, owing to the various versions of the song – and often the same artist has many versions. This means having to give very specific instructions: Okay, Google. Play: Deep Space Nice Opening Credits season 4-7. For example.

That is not to say that all remastering is bad. I don’t own these but the remastered Star Trek: The Original Series is outstanding. They did an excellent job and managed to keep the spirit of the show. The episode The Doomsday Machine in particular looks amazing. To my eyes the special efforts blend well with the live action. It still has a 60s feel. The Blu-ray, I’m given to understand, has the option of playing the old or new version. This is the perfect compromise between old and new. Actually it is better than a compromise. A compromise means not getting all that you want – normally a fact of life – in this instance a thing not required.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Star Wars. Star Wars has been changed many times. Some changes make sense, such as a tidying up of the images and improving things like the Death Star explosion, but in other places unnecessary CGI has been added, and some scenes are worse off for them. To me the best example is Vader’s turn at the end of Jedi. The silence of it perfectly communicates what he is going through. We don’t need him to say anything. Now he says: ‘Nooo’.

At this juncture someone usual mentions that the film makers made it they can change it. And so they can – no argument. The problem is when a decision is taken that there is one true version. If Blu-rays were released of the original trilogy with just a bit of a clean up but otherwise untouched they would sell so well. You know they would. In closing I just want to say: ‘Han shot first!’

I also want to say that this post is the very definition of a first world problem. I know this. I know it is unimportant. Given the heaviness of the news recently I wanted something light for this week.

Places are coming out of lock down now. So I hope you are all doing well as we begin to get back to the new normal.

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Dagger of the Mind (TOS) Review.

Dagger of the Mind is the tenth episode of Star Trek: The Original Series. Captain Kirk and Doctor Helen Noel visit Tantalus penal colony and discover a dangerous mind altering device.

Photo by David Cassolato from Pexels

The title of this episode comes from Macbeth – you can see more information from the episode link above but here is the relevant passage:

Is this a dagger which I see before me
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight? Or art thou but
A dagger of the mind, a false creation
Proceeding from the heat-oppressèd brain?

This would not be the only Star Trek episode to draw inspiration from the works of Shakespeare – there is The Conscience of the King, in a few episodes time, Requiem for Methuselah in the third season, and of course Picard, over on TNG, is also a great admirer of his works.

You’re here to learn about the human condition, and there is no better way of doing that than by embracing Shakespeare.

Captain Picard (Star Trek TNG: The Defector)

The episode opens in the transporter room. The Enterprise is beaming down supplies to the Tantalus penal colony.

The name Tantalus comes from Greek mythology. Tantalus was a king made to stand in fresh water that would recede every time he attempted to take a drink. It is where we get our word tantalise.

This seems like an odd choice for a rehabilitation colony as it suggests that the rehabilitation is always something out of reach and never attainable. Perhaps it is a suggestion that the struggle itself is worth it?

From a lore perspective this scene is interesting as it establishes you can’t beam through shields.

Photo by Nicolette Attree from Pexels

The Enterprise receives some cargo from the colony – and when the transporter operator’s back is turned a man climbs out, knocks him out, and as danger music plays the teaser ends. This is a very effective cliff hanger and, unlike the previous episode, it does pay off.

Photo by Marius Venter from Pexels

Security alert. Condition 3. All sections go to alert condition 3. We may have an intruder aboard.

Uhura (Star Trek TOS: Dagger of the Mind.)

The Enterprise is alerted to the problem, goes to full alert, and the intruder, Van Gelder, is spotted. The crewman spotting him calls it in immediately. Which is great – I am sure we are all aware of the trope of characters not doing that!

It is all for nothing though as the intruder is still able to get a phaser and get to the bridge.

Photo by Tae Fuller from Pexels

Yes that is the wrong type of bridge but a play on words still works!

I mention the security effort to apprehend the intruder because security is something Star Fleet kind of sucks at – which is often a narrative necessity. Here I feel it works a little better and we are only ten episodes in so it is not so much of a cliche yet – although five of the preceding episodes have had a security failure of one sort or another.

Martin Péchy

A question… – shouldn’t the security guard on the bridge be faceting the turbo lift?

Well he doesn’t and is quickly jumped from behind with ease – I take back what I said – Starfleet security sucks.

My name is…Van Gelder. I want asylum.
At Gunpoint?

Van Gelder and Captain Kirk (Star Trek TOS: Dagger of the Mind)

Van Gelder is clearly terrified of going back to Tantalus. He is subdued by some Kirk-fu and a Vulcan nerve pinch and taken to sickbay.


There are a couple of intersting exchanges I want to comment on before we contiue.

Have you ever been to a penal colony since they started following (Dr. Admas’) theories?
A cage is a cage, Jim.
You’re behind the times, Bones. They’re more like resort colonies now.

Kirk and McCoy (Star Trek TOS: Dagger of the Mind)

I find this interesting because of the Norwegian attitude to crime and punishment. They have the attitude of turning criminals into good neighbours rather than it being purely punishment.

Enjoy the video – there are a number of others on YouTube

Norway seems to be doing now what Star Trek is saying is a new idea. That by no means is a criticism of the episode – you can’t always predict the future.

We disposed of emotion, Doctor. Where there is no emotion there is no motive for violence.

Spock (Star Trek TOS: Dagger of the Mind)

I disagree with this statement. Vulcans may not have emotions but they are still biological beings with a survival instinct. This can lead to violence. If your group lacks something another group has – we do see next season that Vulcans fight over their mates – there is the possibility for violence without emotion. I think Spock has a tendency to feel superior to humans and that sometimes that is unwarranted – that may, after all, be the point.


McCoy can’t identify what is wrong with Van Gelder and wants to study the case. Kirk tells him it is not their problem.

You smart, button-pushing brass hat. Wash your hands of it. Is that your system? You’re both quite sure of yourselves aren’t you? Quite expert. Take him back. Let someone else worry about him.

Van Gelder to Kirk and McCoy (Star Trek TOS: Dagger of the Mind)

Spock discovers that Van Gelder is not a patient but a member of staff.

Dr. Adams says that Van Gelder was testing an experimental procedure on himself and something went wrong. However McCoy has his doubts and since he logs that Kirk is required to investigate the penal colony.

This episode does a good job in building up the mystery. I unfortunately don’t remember the first time I saw the episode – so this is only coming from this re-watch – but we start with a stowaway, we find out he is a member of staff and not a patient, and then there is a question mark as to how this happened to him.

Photo by Jeff Denlea from Pexels

We are introduced to Doctor Helen Neol. She and Kirk have some history having met at a Christmas party – although how long ago that was we can’t know.

Mr. Spock, you tell McCoy that she’d better check out as the best assistant I ever had.

Kirk (Star Trek TOS: Dagger of the Mind)

I am not sure why this plot point was necessary but it seems to be a common feature of Trek that female characters must have a romantic link – as the they have in many of the previous episodes.

Photo by Julio Perez from Pexels

So they beam down to the planet and a scary elevator quickly finds Kirk and Noel holding each other. That seems to happen a lot too! I don’t mean the scary elevator I mean women being scared and wanting to hold Kirk.

On the planet’s surface they meet Doctor Adams. Kirk follows regulations and is about to hand over his weapon but Adams tells him that that isn’t necessary – which leads me to two questions: Why did Kirk bring it if he knew this regulation? Why did Adams let him keep it since he is up to no good?

Adams offers the landing party a drink. (Is it still a landing party if it is just two people?) And Kirk decides there is nothing wrong with drinking on duty. I suppose it could be argued that he wants to keep Adams on side.

One of the advantages of being a captain, Doctor, is being able to ask for advice without necessarily having to take it.

Kirk (Star Trek TOS: Dagger of the Mind)

Kirk and Noel arrive at the Neural Neutralizer Room. Dr. Adams claims that it is a failed experiment but as the conversation goes on we find that this is the room where Van Gelder had his accident. The device is quickly shown to be evil as, when Kirk and company leave, the patient in the room is told he will experience great pain if he tries to recall any of the conversation that occurred between Adams, Noel and, Kirk.


Meanwhile, on the Enterprise, Spock and McCoy are continuing their investigation. Spock calls Kirk and makes sure he can speak freely. Dr Adams leaves the room and Spock makes his report.

Van Gelder is Extremely agitated, Captain, and warns that you are in danger.

Spock (Star Trek TOS: Dagger of the Mind)

Noel believes there is no cause for concern and Kirk decides that the two of them will stay on the surface over night. This seems like a rather strange decision as, with the transporters, being on the ship is functionally the same.

Photo by Lorenza Ragno from Pexels

Spock decides that the best solution to the puzzle is to perform a mind meld. This is the first appearance of the mind meld in the the Trek universe.

(Dr. Adams), can reshape any mind he chooses. He used (the neural neutraliser) to erase our memories. Put his own thoughts there. He was surprised it took so much power.

Van Gelder during the mind meld (Star Trek TOS: Dagger of the Mind)

The mind meld scene is very effective. It introduce us to another aspect of Spock’s people, it is just a little creepy, and it gets out the necessary information for the story. We find out that Adams is using the device to manipulate people’s minds and mould them into something new.

Photo by Rajesh TP from Pexels

Meanwhile, on the planet, Kirk and Noel slip away to investigate the neural neutraliser. They test the machine and Noel plants the suggestion that Kirk is hungry – and Kirk feels hungry!

Yes I am making Kirk being hungry into a cliffhanger!

To make doubly sure that the device is indeed working Kirk asks for a more unusual suggestion.

At the Christmas party…we met. We danced. You talked about the stars. I suggest now that it happened in a different way. You swept me off my feet and carried me to your cabin.

Helen Noel (Star Trek TOS: Dagger of the Mind)

I am honestly not sure why this connection between them needed to be here. It is certainly a pretty big coincidence that they had this, admittedly small, connection. It could just be McCoy having fun with Kirk – that is always possible. So we get a brief scene of a romantic encounter – at least what could be shown in the 1960s.


The jig is soon up and Dr. Adams and his lackey step up to the controls. He reinforces what Noel was saying that Kirk is in love with her. Then he orders Kirk to drop his phaser – the phaser that Kirk was prepared to surrender to him at the beginning. In the chair though Kirk is powerless to resit and drops the weapon. When it comes to his communicator Kirk tries to call for help but is unable to do so and collapses on the floor.

Photo by Anthony Macajone from Pexels

The next part is a little disappointing. Kirk awakens in his room with Noel taking care for him. He briefly expresses his neural neutraliser induced feelings for her but is able to shake it off very quickly. I think they could have spent a little longer on this to further show the effect it was having.

They open a vent on the well leading to the ducts, which are huge because they are in TV land, and Kirk orders Noel to go through and cut the power.

Megavoltage. Touch the wrong line and you’re dead.

Kirk (Star Trek TOS: Dagger of the Mind)

And as Noel crawls into the duct all I can think of is: ‘This sounds like a Crystal Maze game from hell’.

Meanwhile the guards come to take Kirk back to the chair.

Photo by Fitusm Assefa from Pexels

Kirk is in intense pain because of the chair but manages to resit and Noel shuts off the power.

Photo by Josh Sorenson from Pexels

The guards enter the power room looking for Noel. It is not entirely clear, at least not to me, if Kirk gave up the information or if the guards made an educated guess.

With the power off Kirk is able to get free. The unfortunate Adams is left in the room with the neural neutraliser and when power is restored he is left in there with no one at the controls.

Noel defends herself and is and is forced to kill a guard, kicking him into the live electricity. Doing this brings down the shield meaning Spock can beam down to the surface.

Cute Little Ship

Spock finds Kirk kissing Noel, it is Kirk after all, and by this point McCoy and the security personal have beamed down.

They find Adams and McCoy declares him dead. Which is his thing. According to Google he declares someone dead in twenty-five percent of the episodes.

Adams mind has been emptied by his own device.

Can you imagine a mind emptied by that thing? Without even a tormentor for company.

Kirk (Star Trek TOS: Dagger of the Mind)

As the episode comes to an end Van Gelder is restored to health. The neural neutraliser equipment has been destroyed.

It is hard to believe that a man could die of loneliness.
Not when you’ve sat in that room.

McCoy and Kirk (Star Trek TOS: Dagger of the Mind)

And the Enterprise heads off to its next mission.

Overall I find this to be a good episode. It starts well as we slowly learn what is happening on the planet and Kirk and Noel are also a good team. My problem is in the pay off as it is never explained why Adams is doing this. Nevertheless it is an enjoyable outing.

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Star Trek: The Original Series – Miri – a review.


Disclaimer: This review is for an episode about a deadly disease but it has no connection to the current pandemic. It has just been in draft for – well for far too long.

In this episode we visit a science fiction staple of a post apocalyptic world – given what has been shown in the media lately (This was in reference to the WW III talk at the start of the year) we might be living in a post apocalyptic world by next Tuesday.


This episode has a fantastic teaser. Unfortunately it seems to be a teaser for another episode. The Enterprise discovers a duplicate of planet Earth in deep space. However after the teaser this plot point is discarded and we just have the story.

This is like doing a private eye show and having the client who hires the detective be big foot and, after the initial surprise that a Sasquatch wants to hire a detective, it’s completely forgotten the rest of the episode.

SFdebris (Miri – review)

I think that SFdebris’ summation of this really says it all. It is a mystery to me why this plot point was put into the episode. Obviously budgetary, and technological issues too, prevented TOS from having truly alien aliens. I understand that an it is simply a fact that aliens have to look completely human. However the planet can look any way they want.


It’s dead.

Doctor McCoy (Star Trek: The Original Series: Miri)

Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Rand and two red shirts beam down to the planet. Surprisingly, and this is a bit of a spoiler, the red shirts survive this mission – I guess they must have had heart attacks at the shock sometime after they returned to the ship.

The landing party encounter a young man. Although adult in size he has the mind of a child and starts sobbing over his broken tricycle. The man quickly has a seizure and dies.

Interestingly, and I don’t know why, McCoy refers to the man as ‘it’. What McCoy does discover is that the metabolic rate of the man is very high as if he aged decades in just a few moments.


The landing party enter one of the buildings where they meet the titular Miri (Kim Darby). Kirk shows a complete lack of awareness of himself. Miri is terrified of them. And rather than giving her some space, and backing off, he continues to walk towards her… while holding a gun!

Photo by Moose Photos from Pexels

Now we can argue that she probably didn’t know it was a gun but even so.

I wonder what happened to her – that she should be so terrified of us.

Doctor McCoy (Star Trek: The Original Series: Miri)

Miri starts to open up to the landing party. They find out that there was a plague on this world. The strange thing about it is that only the adults were effected and the children were left to fend for themselves.

Meanwhile Spock leads the guards to try and discover any other signs of life. They hear children chanting but can see no sign of them. I find this scene to be very effective. It is just children chanting but it manages to be chilling.

Children, Captain, lots of them. We couldn’t begin to get close to them. They just to scurry away. Like animals.

Mr Spock (Star Trek: The Original Series: Miri)


Well Kirk is Kirk and is able to charm any woman, because it was the 1960s, and so soon it is quite clear Miri has taken a liking to Kirk.

As he takes her hand she notices that Kirk has the first signs of the disease…and cliffhanger.

Photo by Marius Venter from Pexels

We come back from the commercial break, I only note that as episodes are built around them, to a captain’s log. Each member of the landing party is showing signs of the condition – with the exception of Spock of course but what did you expect?

Photo by Rodolfo Clix from Pexels

They find a laboratory covered in cobwebs, so this planet has spiders too, and begin to look for a cure to the condition.

Aboard the Enterprise we are told that some crewmen have volunteered to beam down to assist. Kirk says no to this despite the fact that with the transporter and has-mats it could be done completely safely. However Trek never likes to use has-mats or space suits.


Intermediate experimentation report project on life prolongation.

Captain Kirk (Reading from a file) (Star Trek: The Original Series: Miri)

With the discovery of this file the landing party start to piece together what happened on this planet. I will tell you now ahead of time – they tried to make people live longer and ended up killing everyone!


This seems to happen all the time in science fiction people make an effort to do something wonderful and every body dies!

Luckily the Enterprise has 23rd century technology and therefore has a much better chance of solving the dilemma – also character shields.

As they piece it together though they discover a flaw in their assumptions. If all the adults died then how are there still people on this planet?

How do they keep the line going?

Doctor McCoy (Star Trek: The Original Series: Miri)

They find out that the life prolongation project did work. Miri is actually over three hundred years old. Unfortunately there was a slight snafu – the process may extend life but it kills with the onset of puberty. And as the landing party are all much older than children they are, to use a technical term, fucked.


They talk to the other Grups with these little boxes. Now, if they didn’t have those little boxes, they’d be all alone, huh?

Jahn (Star Trek: The Original Series: Miri)

The other children, believing the landing party to be dangerous, decide to take action – they distract the landing party and steal the communicators.

One thing Star Trek didn’t predict – people’s obsessions with their phones!

It is curious to me that this is as big a problem as it is. When the Enterprise realised they couldn’t communicate with the landing party couldn’t they have beamed down more? Of course taking that option would undermine the ending. However should it be undermined?

Photo by Chokniti Khongchum from Pexels

Let me explain. Not having the communicators means they can’t be sure that the cure is a cure and it could be a ‘beaker full of death’ (Language that is far too flowery for Spock.) And so McCoy takes a chance with it. Except we know McCoy isn’t dying!

Photo by Renato Danyi from Pexels

Yes. This is a bit of a ridiculous thing to point out but sometimes that is the point of a review. Obviously the cure works and the day is saved.


Kirk is able to convince the children that they can be trusted. They come back with him to the lab where the blemishes on McCoy’s skin slowly fade away.

The Enterprise leaves a team on the planet with more personal being sent to help this world recover.

Concluding Thoughts.

It is difficult to know what to say about this one. The story is interesting on construction but the misleading teaser is disappointing. Still this is an enjoyable outing.

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized