Date: February 15, 2020
Episode # and Episode Name: 4 – “Albatross”, 5 – “How Sharper Than A Serpent’s Tooth” *, and 6 – “The Counter-Clock Incident”
*Amazon lists this as “How, Shaper Than A Serpent’s Tooth”, but I’m sure it’s a typo.
Setting the Stage: I watched these episodes yesterday, but was too tired to write about them all, so you get the rest today. Husband is out on a “bro date” with our friend Will (happy birthday Will!!!), so I’ve got the house to myself. All of the fur children are sleeping, so it’s just me and Lindsey Stirling today.
Quick Summary with my Impressions: “Albatross” starts off as most of the episodes do, with Spock, McCoy, and Kirk on planet doing what they do. Just before they leave, however, McCoy is served with a warrant for murder! Apparently 19 years ago, after a mass inoculation, there was a plague on the planet and the inhabitants blame McCoy as he performed the inoculation. Kirk traps one of the aliens, Demos, who “sneaks” onto the ship. They arrive on a nearby planet with some of the “survivors” of the plague. They find one survivor who claims McCoy saved his life. The problem becomes grave, however, when he and everyone else on the ship (sans Spock) start turning blue. Spock goes down to get McCoy and they rush around trying to figure out how to cure this disease. They figure out the aurora is causing the color symptoms but there’s no known antidote to the actual disease. Spock explains about the survivor they found who had been saved which allows McCoy to save the day!
Now this is my kind of medical mystery! You see this all the time on modern medical dramas where there are multiple things going on and they aren’t always related, which causes confusion for the doctors. Though we have a condensed format and everything had to be done in a rushed way, I think the story line worked well. Doctors still have to be held accountable for their actions, inoculations can be bad, and sometimes we vilify someone because we want to assign blame. While this might not be the most awesome Trek episode that ever lived, it was certainly one I enjoyed for what it was. That earns this episode a good old fashioned 7&7. I’m sure McCoy would approve.
“How Sharper Than A Serpent’s Tooth” has the Enterprise is tracking a mysterious probe of unknown origin. At first, the ship has a projection of a being that looks (to me) like MetaKnight and then it looks like a Chinese Dragon that you might see during a Lunar New Year celebration, but it really looks like a serpent.
Instead of Sulu at the helm, there’s a Mr. Walking-Bear. He thinks he knows who this being resembles and it calls itself Kukulkan and thinks it is a god (haven’t we seen this in “Adonais”?). Some of the crew then disappears in a flash of light, including McCoy, Sulu, Kirk, and Walking-Bear. Those who were beamed off the ship explore Mayan-looking ruins while Spock tries to figure out how to free the Enterprise as it is now stuck. They explore the city and try to figure out its meaning. Kukulkan doesn’t understand why they don’t hate him, and Kirk is confused because he wants to explain their mission is peaceful. Looks like we have another collector of alien species, a la “The Cage” and “Eye of the Beholder”. Spock figures out how to get the Enterprise free, so Kirk and McCoy free the Capellan power-cat in order to create a distraction. Kirk is able to explain that they are no longer children and they need to be set free.
Oh thankless children, I know a thing or two about that. Not only are there my fur children at home but as an academic advisor to college “children”, I deal with my fair share of thankless children. It’s very rewarding albeit stressful at times. I digress, let’s chat about this episode. On one hand, it’s reusing SEVERAL tropes that we have already seen in previous Trek episodes. On the other hand, we have some cool cultures to explore that are very diverse from ones we have in the past. I hate that Mr. Walking-Bear was created and used only in this one episode, but I am glad they didn’t just have Sulu to explain some of the Asian-style items we see in this episode. While I give points for diversity, inclusion, and forward thinking, I have to take some points away for not having a very original plot. Oh, but there are dragons – so that makes this episode level 8 Charizard (since we’re sticking with the Pokemon theme here).
“The Counter-Clock Incident” has the Enterprise shuttling its first captain, now a Commodore of mandatory retirement age, and his wife (former Chief Medical Officer) to their retirement ceremony. Why is she referred to as “Mrs. April” if she was a doctor? It should be “Commodore and Dr. April” please and thank you. Anyway, there’s a ship coming up at warp 36, whoa. The woman on the screen is talking backwards, weird. Kirk’s plan isn’t going, well, according to plan, so he’s got to poke at the controls because clearly Sulu isn’t up to the task. However, they don’t explode and everyone is super confused. Once they’ve gone through the supernova, all of the controls are reversed as is everything else, like aging. Oh, it’s the Benjamin Button problem.
They all try to recreate what happened to bring them there. It just might work. Everyone is slowly turning into children and the Commodore takes command of the ship. They go through the novae and we have success. The Commodore and his wife contemplate not going through the transporter, but decide life has been fulfilling. The crew, however, does in order to return to their adult status.
This is another episode that suffers from the condensed time of the show, but works great with the animated format. It was easy to show the characters aging in reverse, much easier than live action. However, everything happened so damn quickly. We have this mirrored universe, which is explored for all of 5 seconds and I wanted to know more about it, dammit! We also have Spock tell us the odds of finding the exact thing happening in both places are astronomical (no pun intended) and then we just happen to figure it out in 10 seconds, okay that’s believable (so much sarcasm, by the way). Then there’s all this panic about growing younger, but we only see that for 3 seconds, and it’s all reversed off screen! For a “season and series finale”, this would have been better as a longer episode. Unfortunately there are too many issues here, so that earns this episode 4 bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits – but with floppy bacon.
That’s the end to The Animated Series, but not our adventures with the crew. Tomorrow begins the movies! Check out the The Watch Order on the menu to see what is up next. I’m going mostly in chronological order, so I won’t be watching the 2009 movies until much later in this project. I also updated the Rankings.