Date: February 12, 2020
Episode # and Episode Name: 10 – “Mudd’s Passion”, 11 – “The Time Trap”, 12 – “The Terratin Incident”, and 13 – “The Ambergris Element”
Setting the Stage: I watched these episodes via Amazon Prime through the CBS All Access 7-day trial, starting around 6:30 pm. The first episode was watched in the kitchen while making pizza, the second episode was watched while eating said pizza, and the last two episodes saw all four cats in the living room with us! Professor Zoom was asleep on the couch, Tempura was on husband’s lap, Thor was on my lap, Loki was sitting next to me, and Jazz was over on the other chair. It’s a Valentine’s Day miracle! Tonight’s musical accompaniment is some instrumental music from Sublime and Tool.
Quick Summary with my Impressions: “Mudd’s Passion” is the third time we’ve encountered Harry Mudd, and he’s even more of a slime in animated format. He’s selling a love potion, very similar to what he was doing the first time we met him, in non-Federation territory and quickly gives himself up once he’s found out to be a fraud. As Chapel is chatting with him, he tricks her into taking some of the substance to lure Spock to her and he steals her ID badge in the meantime. She thinks it doesn’t work, but Spock has a delayed reaction and expresses intense love and feeling for her. The substance also gets into the ship’s system and everyone starts feeling a litter amorous toward each other. After it begins to wear off, the crew experiences hangover-like symptoms and then feelings of hatred toward those they loved just a few hours prior. Mudd makes off with Chapel to the surface of the plant, to which Spock and Kirk follow, but they are attacked by giant rock monsters. They call for a beam-up but it’s delayed due to the drugged crew. Once the effects begin to wear off, they are all beamed back up to the ship and hopefully this is the last time we’ll see Mudd.
I am sooooooo disappointed with this episode. In “Plato’s Stepchildren” Chapel is so adamant that she wants Spock, but not with him being forced to do it. So what the hell happened Christine? Mudd is just not that charismatic and what did you think Spock would do when he came out of the influence of the drug? I mean it’s drugging someone to take advantage of them no matter how you slice it. Also, THIS IS A CHILDREN’S CARTOON… what the what were they thinking? This episode get a big fat ZERO, because there was nothing remotely okay about this episode.
“The Time Trap” has the Enterprise looking into disappearing ships within the Delta Triangle. Wait, didn’t we just have a “Bermuda Triangle” like episode just a few episodes ago? A Klingon ship attacks, the Enterprise shoots back, and the other ship disappears! Two more Klingon ships arrive and won’t concede that their comrades just up and disappeared. Kirk maneuvers to the exact spot to also “disappear” and they find themselves in a time pocket, along with the Klingon ship. They run into others who have formed a sort of council and are sentenced to 100 years for being violent toward each other – will they EVER learn to be civil toward each other like the Organians wanted? Anyway, they decide to work together (even thought the Klingons plan sabotage) and make their way out of the time pocket relatively unscathed.
I liked this episode but wish it had been a bit longer as the shortened format made the story move a bit fast. The ships disappear, have the universe’s shortest trial, decide to work together, the “bad guys” try to blow up “the good guys”, the sabotage is found out at the very last second, and everyone goes home and nothing has really changed. I would have liked if needing to work together helped change their mind about each other, but maybe that will happen later. I also wish we could have gotten to see more about the society that had been created by those who were trapped in the pocket of time, as it was an interesting concept that didn’t really get explored. Overall, this episode earns the 6th son of a 6th son.
“The Terratin Incident” has Uhura getting a strange signal and a mysterious message. All of a sudden everyone onboard is glowing, they’ve been exposed to radiation after explosions on the planet they are near. The crew realizes they’re all shrinking, well all organic matter is shrinking. They try to figure out what to do but either keep getting hurt or are unable to operate the ship. Kirk beams down and then back up, and he’s regular size again. We come to find out the inhabitants of the planet grew so small the only way they could communicate was to make the Enterprise their size, but the planet is about to explode – oh no! Kirk saves the day and the inhabitants are getting a new planet, hooray!
All I got from this episode is a strong “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” vibe. I mean Chapel gets stuck in the fish tank yelling “help”, the random people stranded on the planet being all tiny, and everyone freaking out about shrinking was all just very “meh”. There was some good humor and it was an interesting problem to be solved, at the last minute of course, but nothing spectacular happened this episode. I’m getting the impression that these episodes will continue to be hit-or-miss as we go, though there are not that many left between this and the next, super short, season. This episode earns itself a very straight 5 foot tall ladder.
“The Ambergris Element” has the Enterprise looking into a planet that’s all covered in water, as another Federation planet might be heading that way. As Spock and Kirk are exploring, they are attacked by a creature and then go missing for 5 days! They are found but now only able to breathe under water as they were “saved” by some of the younger inhabitants of the aliens who live under the water. Most of the aliens believe Spock and Kirk to be spies, but a few help them to get back to their ship and have the use of their lungs back. After some sea-shenanigans and interaction with the monster who attacked them in the beginning, Spock and Kirk are cured. They are also able to learn things to help out the other planet as well as having helped improve relations with the aliens on their current planet.
This plot felt like it had so much potential and just fell a little flat. I find myself wanting a bit more time with the story. It’s funny that in Season 3 of The Original Series I complained that they were clearly just trying to fill the 50 minutes, and now I’m complaining that they are trying to fit too much story into 24 minutes. I guess there’s just no pleasing me… shrugs. Anyway, it’s clear you can’t do an underwater episode in any other medium (with the technology at the time) so I guess I was expecting a little more than aliens who are mistrusting of land dwellers. I’m also super unclear how Spock and Kirk were saved, who saved them, and why McCoy had to be super dramatic about changing them back. Sad Aquaman is sad and gives this episode 5 cuttlefish swimming in circles.