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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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The Menagerie (Part 1) Review

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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

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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!

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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.

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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

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The Corbomite Maneuver (TOS) Review

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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

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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!

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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.

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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?

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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?

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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!

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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

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Two Things Not Connected


This post is coming to you late because I fell asleep! I was tired this afternoon and decided to take a twenty minute nap. That ended up being a one hour and forty minute nap. As my mum might say: ‘You must have needed it.’ – I guess it just shows that I don’t get enough sleep in the week. Here I am now though to ramble at you for a few minutes. Can you ramble at someone? Is that a contradiction? I do not know. Here is a cat for no reason.

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I want to talk about two things today. They don’t have anything to do with each other; which is why this post is going to be rambley – is that a word? – it is now. I want to talk about Picard and Brexit.

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First there is Picard, the new Star Trek series, which, after two episodes, I’m still not sure about. I don’t hate it but there is something off about it and I can’t quite put my finger on what that is. It is not even a case of expectation versus reality. I am not sure what I was expecting.

Here is the trailer.

There is an old saying: ‘You can’t go home again’. Perhaps this is the problem – it is different. I think there is more to it than that and I would like to think I am not that shallow.

One of the best final episodes of any TV show ever.

I grew up on TNG and DS9. I was seven when TNG ended and six when DS9 started. Those are the shows I remember the most from the original five live action shows. DS9 is especially important to me as I was able to watch it as it came out. I remember fondly the cliffhanger from Call to Arms with the Federation Fleet filling the screen. It was so cool to see this wall of ships.

Star Trek: Picard is such a different animal to its predecessors. Star Trek has always been about the ensemble but this show is focusing on just one character. Picard is one of my favourite characters but I still see this as a problem.

Also a problem is the name of the show. The way it is structured I am not sure what else it could be called but making it just about him is a mistake.

Come on! Without my crew I’m not a commander, huh?

Jason Nesmith (Galaxy Quest)

I would have started in space with the crew assembled and told this part of the story in flashback. Perhaps calling it Star Trek: Dunkirk – that would be a good name for a ship given what was said in the opening episode.

We are two episodes in and still not in space. DS9 was, essentially, a ground based show too but we got a full cast of characters from the beginning. Then again Picard is not episodic so I should just be patient and wait to see what happens.

Final words… Picard is a good show. I am not sure it is a good Star Trek show. How it all comes together remains to be seen. I look forward to finding out. I thought about writing a review of the episodes so far but I don’t think I could do that justice. Sometimes you need to see the whole picture to know if it was worth it.

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The other thing I want to talk about is Brexit. The UK has now left the EU and I am not happy about it. I know – I know – I was in the minority when it comes to EU membership. That doesn’t mean I have to like it. There is the small matter of the leave campaign lying to the people which, for reasons I don’t understand, never mattered in the government’s plans. I am not even sure how to put all my thoughts on this subject in order.

I want to travel and have been putting it off for almost a decade. I figured one day I would meet someone and the two of us would go together. The meeting someone didn’t pan out so, next month, I am going to The Netherlands. It will be the first time I have ever travelled abroad by myself – incidentally the prospect is rather scary.

Leaving the EU won’t effect me much this time around, I will have to join the queue for non-EU counties, but as time goes on travelling may get more difficult. I hope I am wrong about that. 

Nevertheless I plan to go abroad as much as possible. There is a huge world to explore and The Netherlands seems a good place to start. I can fly from my local air port and, from what I hear, Dutch public transport is pretty good so getting about won’t be difficult. (Public transport is one of many things we need to learn about in the UK.)

It is funny thinking about Brexit. All this time and I still don’t understand. I can see no upside to leaving but leave we have. On the one hand I hope the doom and gloom proves to be false. On the other hand if this does all go belly up I, and other remainers, can laugh and say: ‘I told you so.’

Well hasn’t this been a ramble? It is funny but some weeks I don’t know what to say and other weeks I write an essay!

I hope you have a wonderful week ahead of you. 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.

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

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Seven Things About: What Are Little Girls Made Of? (TOS)

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It has been a long time since I did a Trek review here so here we go – Episode 8 of Star Trek: The Original Series – seven things I have noticed


…two expeditions have failed to find (Dr Korby).

Captain Kirk (TOS: What are Little Girls Made of?)

Yes I am starting off with picking some nits. Dr Korby stopped sending messages, two expeditions failed to find him, and the Enterprise finds him in two minutes. Perhaps that should have been a sign of something being very much amiss. Still it makes for a nice short and effective teaser.

When it comes to TOS I am seeing it through the lenses of someone born twenty-one years after it was first seen. As such I often feel like I am not the target audience. As it turns out there is a good reason why Korby hasn’t been communicating but I would like to have seen a bit more suspicion.


It isn’t my custom to send an away team of one.

Captain Janway (Voyager: Hunters)

Dr Korby requests that Kirk beam down alone. This too should have been a sign of there being something wrong. Starfleet has some pretty silly regulations but you would think even they wound’t let a Captain beam down to an unknown situation without escort. Then again you would think a typical landing party won’t consist of the two senior most officers and the CMO – incidentally Dr McCoy doesn’t appear in this episode.


I’m the guy…who dies to prove the situation is serious.

Guy (Galaxy Quest)

In this episode we get two red shit deaths. This was where it all began. There were deaths before this but this was the first time red shirted security people had died. And did you know red was actually the safest colour? This video explains.

I still wouldn’t wear red!


So that is how the solids experience intimacy.

The Female Changling (DS9: Favour the Bold)

When Kirk and Chapel arrive on the planet they are met by Andrea. Andrea is wearing a costume so skimpy that she is, putting it as delicately as I can, likely to fall out of it if she turns too quickly. Naturally Chapel is not too pleased to discover that her husband has been spending time with a young attractive woman. Korby decides to put her mind at ease but does it in a very strange way. He tells her that Andrea is just a machine and talks about the impossibility of loving her – she only responds to orders.


The implication being that sex cannot exist without love. As assurances go this is like claiming you couldn’t eat the ice cream because you didn’t have a spoon. It also seems to be stating that Andrea is not a sapient being which begs the question, this is where it gets a little blue, if Korby had slept with her would that be cheating or an advanced form of masturbation?


The 1960s really must have been a different time. Meanwhile in the modern world a man is admitted to hospital with an injury involving a stuck kethup bottle. He claims he was up a ladder and landed on it butt first. A claim the doctor might have humoured him over – assuming the man could explain why he put a condom on a ketchup bottle. Given this information, for which I apologise, I think that a human and an anatomically correct android is not so far fetched. And by the way this episode has been reviewed by SFdebris – I happen to agree with him:


I like the Yellow Ones

Thor (Stargate SG-1: Small Victories)

This one has nothing to do with anything but when Chapel and Kirk are served dinner on the planet it is coloured cubes in gravy. This is something I have seen in other franchises; SG-1 as mentioned above. For some reason there is this idea that food as we know it would fundamentally change and be reduced to coloured cubes.

I also find it odd that Kirk stays on the planet. With the transporter they are five minutes away and surely there would be some regulation about this. Over the course of TOS there are some rather silly regulations that are shown – such as bureaucrats and flag officers with no command experiences having the right to take charge and nearly getting everyone killed. A lot of episodes would be far shorter if characters had a bit more common sense. When Ruk, as Kirk, says they will be staying on the planet what if Spock had questioned that?


Spinning is so much cooler than not spinning. I’m the General I want it to spin.

General Hammond (Stargate SG-1: 200)

When a robot of Kirk is made he is placed on a spinning platform. This scene looks very silly but perhaps it is being used to disorientate the viewer. When watching TOS the effects are always going to look dated. It is quite amazing how much special effects have come on since that time. And the less said about the phallic shaped rock at the end of the episode the better. As I said in number four the 60s really were a different time. Maybe no one in the production team noticed. Maybe none of them had the chutzpah to point it out.


Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.

The Emperor (Star Wars: Return of the Jedi)

Well there had to be a sinister plot around here somewhere! Yes Korby plans to create android duplicates to take over the galaxy. (Cue evil laugh)

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Why does everyone want power?

Any excuse to share this.

It is a common theme of TV shows and films isn’t it? The person who wants to take over the world. It sound like far too much paperwork if you ask me! Usually these people have vast resources, and thus they can do a great deal anyway, and it is very rare that the reason for wanted to take over is valid. That said Korby at least wants to take over for the betterment of mankind. Although couldn’t he do that with the points I made in back at number 4?

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No. I am not suggesting he take over the world with sex robots but Korby could sell them for a variety of purposes. Despite later information to the contrary money does exist in TOS. So Korby could start a business and he would be very rich very fast. It is more of a long game than just replacing key figures but surely more effective.

Aren’t you doing exactly what you hate most in Humans: killing with no more concern than when you turn off a light?

I am not a computer. Test me. Ask me to solve any… Equate… Transmit… Christine! Christine, let me prove myself!…

Don’t you see Roger? Everything you’ve done has proved it isn’t you.”

I AM Roger Korby!

Kirk, Korby, and Chapel (Star Trek: The Original Series: What are Little Girls Made of?)

Korby is revealed to be an android too and shortly afterwards he vaporises himself and Andrea. Doing this ends the threat and the galaxy is safe.

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This episode review has been in draft for a long time. The truth is that I don’t really have many thoughts on it. In fact while watching TOS it felt to me like there was a bit of a hump to get over before getting into a string of really good episodes.


I struggle with TOS. When I think of where I would place it in a ranking of all the Trek series I don’t know where to put it. I think I now know the reason for my confusion…

Watching TOS is live visiting an elderly relative. That sounds weird but here me out because I have thought this through…

Visiting grandma is usually fun. You play games, have chocolate, watch television, perhaps help her with her housework, and have a nice conversation. However sometimes Grandma will say something wrong. Well not wrong exactly but something that indicates the generational gap. She might describe a black person as ‘coloured’ for instance. And it is not because she harbours any racism necessarily she is just using the language in the way she grew up with it. (Incidentally I wonder what words of mine my nephew will cringe at in thirty or forty years.) And so we cringe inwardly and move on.

Watching TOS is like that for me. It has some great episodes and ideas but some of the ideas and the lines haven’t aged well at all. Kirk can be a bit creepy at times, mind you so can Riker but we’ll get to that much later, and so I have to remind myself when it was made.

I feel that TOS hasn’t aged too well. When I first saw it it must have been at least twenty years old. TNG is now over thirty and it feels like it has aged far better. Although TNG still has its moments of cringe.

What are Little Girls Made Of? is an interesting episode but in my view it is also unremarkable. There are lots of better episodes which we will get too soon – next up is: Miri.

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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What about our many Fans?

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We seem to live in a creative lull at the moment. That is not to say that we don’t have great TV and films to watch but consider this question: How many films and TV shows can you think of released in the last few years that have no connection to anything that has gone before? Maybe I am just out of touch but what I see is a saturation of reboots, remakes, prequels, sequels, adaptations, and based on real events.

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Star Trek: Discovery is technically a prequel and not a reboot. However so much has been changed and retconned it might as well be a new show. My question is why isn’t it a new show? Answer: Money.

Dollar signs! Money! I didn’t build this ship to usher in a new era for humanity. You think I wanna go to the stars? I don’t even like to fly. I take trains. I built this ship so that I could retire to some tropical island filled with …naked women. That’s Zefram Cochrane. That’s his vision. 

Zefram Cochrane (Star Trek: First Contact)

I look at any work of fiction from a writing and creative standpoint. I am however aware that they are also a business. If a series is being created, and millions spent on it, then it will need to have views. In order to have viewers they need to make it as accessible as possible. And a connection to something that has gone before is as easy a way as any. However I think that that attitude is in danger of alienating the established fans. That is certainly how I feel when looking at Star Trek: Discovery.

…it… it wasn’t our world anymore. They made it theirs.

Willow (Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Prophecy Girl)

The problem with science-fiction is the speed at which technology marches on. Discovery needs to look superior to today’s technology while looking interior to a 1960’s version of the future. This is, of course, impossible.

…well mostly.

I still think Enterprise had many issues but the look of the show, particularly the internal sets, was well done. It really gave the feel of a ship that was more advanced than today but still less advanced than the 1701. There are, naturally, a few compromises but it is never going to be completely cohesive.

Discovery doesn’t seem to have the same care and attention. Having touch screen controls makes sense but the series didn’t need holograms to work. I like continuity and a cohesive universe. In my view if a writer doesn’t want to be concerned with continuity why not begin again… well I have the answer to that above… Discovery has given me an appreciation of Enterprise as now I see the good and can ignore the facepalmingly bad.


Well ignore might be too strong a word.

Many people are enjoying Star Trek: Discovery and that is wonderful. I truly mean that but it is not for me. One of my friends who likes it said you have to forget about the other shows. Again why not make something new?

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In other news the BBC is adapting His Dark Materials.

Doesn’t it look good?

And I can’t wait! I know that this contradicts all I have been saying above. I am not against books and TV shows based on other things. I would just like to see lots of new things coming out along side them. Said the man who hasn’t been to the cinema in ages and will probably next see Star Wars: Episode IX.

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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The Enemy Within

adult anger angry angry face

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

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

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

man person people emotions

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

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

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

oval brown framed mirror

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

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

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

fitness power man person

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

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

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


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

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

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