January 9, 2020: 2 Episodes (25 – 26)

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series

SeasonEpisode #,and Episode Name: Season 1, Episode 25, “This Side of Paradise” and Episode 26, “The Devil in the Dark”

Setting the Stage: I started at 8:30 pm on January 9, 2020, still watching via Netflix, so I’m using their viewing order. Professor Zoom and Tempura were present for both episodes. My husband watched the first episode and then decided he was tired and went to bed like the old man he is.

Today at lunch, work mom and I had a great discussion about Uhura. Not only is she a woman of color and total badass, but she knows how to respect the chain of command. When the ambassador in “A Taste of Armageddon” orders her to do something, she only does so after Scotty gives her a nod. In “Space Seed” she absolutely refuses to cooperate, even after she’s been physically assaulted. She may not have a lot of lines in every episode, and she might be wearing a ridiculously short skirt, but she is simply fantastic. Here’s to you Lieutenant! 

Quick Summary with my reactions: “This Side of Paradise” starts with the landing party thinking their heading to an abandoned settlement, but instead find a medical mystery, strange plants, and a sassy McCoy. We also finally see a woman from Spock’s past! That’s right, Kirk is so damn confused it’s adorable. The plants have spores that take over the entire landing party and eventually the entire crew of the Enterprise, except Kirk. Kirk is the last man standing when it comes to the mystery spores and figures out that strong emotions are necessary, so he verbally spars with Spock until he gives into his baser emotions and attacks Kirk. They concoct a plan and help the folks down below get settled elsewhere.

from yahoo.com

“The Devil in the Dark” opens with the crew of a planet and some dude getting owned by an unknown entity. After the Enterprise arrives, the creature steals a part of the reactor that powers the planet and Scotty has to pull a “MacGyver” in order to give everyone some more time to figure out what is going on. Spock wants to try to save the life of the creature and Kirk is adamant it’s a killer and no more human life will be wasted. The creature corners Kirk and the two men reserve roles as Kirk wants to know more. Spock eventually does some Vulcan mind magic and we find out the creature is a mother who is wicked pissed the humans have been killing her eggs. McCoy pulls a “MacGyver” moment as well so he can heal the mother, Spock communicates with her, and Kirk helps negotiate a way for the humans and the creatures to cohabitate.

from mentalfloss.com

My Impressions: “This Side of Paradise” is a cute, interesting adventure of the week. A mystery that needs to be solved and it’s all up to Kirk because everyone else went bonkers. We get to see Spock play the leading man, which was quite interesting. I also think it’s the longest I’ve heard Uhura speak at once! I find it interesting that the stunt doubles are clearly visible in the Spock vs. Kirk fight, but that’s what happens when you remaster shit from the 60s. I really enjoyed this episode, except for McCoy’s bad (and weird) Southern accent and whatever he was drinking was NOT a mint julep.

“The Devil in the Dark” proves that Kirk should almost always listen to Spock because he knows what’s up. I love that we find a “mama bear” who goes into rage mode when the stupid humans destroy instead of trying to understand their surroundings. It’s another episode that still has grains of truth that are applicable today as Australia is burning and our climate is whacked out. I genuinely enjoyed this mystery that needed to be solved. These two episodes were good ones to watch and both kept me interested in the ending. It also gives us one of my new favorite exchanges between Kirk and Spock.

from pintrest.com

January 8, 2020: 3 Episodes

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series

SeasonEpisode #,and Episode Name: Season 1, Episode 22, “The Return of the Archons”, Episode 23, “Space Seed”, and Episode 24, “A Taste of Armageddon”

Setting the Stage: I started at 7:00 pm on January 8, 2020, still watching via Netflix, so I’m using their viewing order. Professor Zoom and Tempura were present for all three episodes. My husband really wanted to watch “Space Seed”, so he joined in for that. We had finally finished Season 5 of Babylon 5 earlier in the evening (only a few movies and Crusade is left) – my first run through of that series as well. I get to pick the next TV Series we watch together, I’m thinking Scrubs since he’s never seen that. We’ve been heavy in science fiction and I think we’ll need some humor in our future.

Quick Summary with my reactions: “The Return of the Archons” opens with Sulu and O’Neil wearing weird outfits. They’re chased down by dudes in cloaks, Sulu is attacked and then beamed up. He’s acting strange… and where’s O’Neil? Wait, is Spock wearing drag? Oh he’s hiding his ears, but for a moment he totally looked like a Russian grandmother. The people in town are weird, then the clock strikes 6 pm, “the red hour”, and everyone freaks out. The landing party makes it to safety, and one of the old men in the room reminds me of one of the scientists in “The Cage”. At 6 am, the chaos stops,but the weird dudes in capes are back. This Landru guy takes over people, and some of the party, until we meet the third guy who is immune to Landru as he “changes” Spock and Kirk because he believes them to be the fulfillment of prophecy. Kirk decides that Landru must “die”, once he realizes that it’s a computer and “the man behind the curtain”. Kirk badgers the machine until it implodes and they leave a sociologist behind to help rehabilitate the society.

from tumbler.com
from monomakhos.com

“Space Seed” opens with the Enterprise encountering an old ship just chilling in space, so it goes on full alert. The Eugenics War apparently happened in the 1990s and was the last world war, and this is where the ship likely comes from. Kirk, McCoy, Scotty, and Lt. McGivers beam down to the abandoned ship and find 73 people in stasis, one of those wakes up; the infamous (to even non Star Trek folks like me) Khan. Looks like we’ve found the Slytherin of the Star Trek group! Turns out Khan is hell bent on taking over the world, and the universe, but first… the Enterprise. Kirk and Spock escape from Khan’s control and flood Khan’s location with gas. A fight ensues, we have to prove Kirk is a manly man after all, and he somehow overpowers Khan. Kirk chooses to strand Khan and crew on a planet, along with McGivers.

from tumblr.com

“A Taste of Armageddon” starts with an ambassador and Kirk butting heads over a diplomatic mission, as the planet they are approaching has a “do not approach” order. Turns out this planet is at war with a neighbor, but the war is virtual and the “casualties” are sent to a disintegration chamber in order to avoid physical damage to the planet. Scotty is left in control of the Enterprise and he knows whats up and doesn’t give one iota of a fuck when the ambassador tries to get him to back down. He really is one of the smart ones on the ship, and now we see why he’s fourth in command. There’s also some more Vulcan mind magic, and some more manly man Kirk fight scenes before Kirk is finally in control of the situation. He gives the planet an option – war or peace? They choose peace and Kirk and crew leave the mess they just made, or maybe they helped clean up?

My Impressions: In “The Return of the Archons” I wonder how they knew to beam down in local outfits? At first I had the impression that it was a weird cult, but then we find out that it’s a Matrix-like society that’s been taken over by the machines. I really liked that Kirk explained how freedom needed to be earned and then tried to help the planet be rehabilitated, but what the people really needed was a butt-ton of therapy. That’s just my professional opinion, but I did go to counseling school so there’s that.

“Space Seed” had the very best McCoy line, I use in the image above. He doesn’t take shit from Khan, and Khan approves. I’m not sure it makes up for McCoy’s other bad behavior to Spock and some of the female characters he has encountered, but it’s a pretty badass attitude. I was also super glad a non-White actor was used as the “superior specimen”. One thing I don’t understand is why the historian fell so damn hard for Khan. I mean I get the whole “man out of time” thing would be appealing to a historian, but get a grip girl! Apparently this is the only time I’ll see Khan until the second movie – which I find interesting given how I’d heard of Khan even though I’ve never watched Star Trek. Up until now, it’s been “adventure of the week”, and having just finished Babylon 5 with it’s whole series story arc, it’ll be interesting to see how some of these events play out in the grand scheme, or if they don’t matter at all.

“A Taste of Armageddon” has an intriguing premise of war without the actual physical damage, but having folks report to be killed is essentially enforced suicide and that’s not great. I don’t understand how they keep their population up enough to kill as many people as they have been for the last 500 years, somehow the math is not working out at all. I liked seeing Spock do his thing. My favorite line was when he says “I don’t approve but I do understand”. It shows that he understands the logic behind it but still thinks it’s a shitty practice and won’t go along with it. Just because something is logical does not mean it’s the best course of action.

January 7, 2020: 3 Episodes

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series

SeasonEpisode #,and Episode Name: Season 1, Episode 19, “Arena”, Episode 20, “Tomorrow is Yesterday”, and Episode 21, “Court Martial”

Setting the Stage: I started at 7:00 pm on January 7, 2020, still watching via Netflix, so I’m using their viewing order. Professor Zoom and my husband were present for all three episodes. Tempura and Thor joined us for the last one, until it was food time.

Husband and I had a discussion and I feel I may have been too hasty with placing Spock in Slytherin, he might just be a Ravenclaw. I see a lot of myself in Spock, I am very logic-oriented. I’m also super ambitious, so I may have been blind on this one. Kirk, as we both agree, is 8000% a Gryffindor, and McCoy is likely the resident Hufflepuff, albeit a mean-spirited one. What are your thoughts on Star Trek characters in Hogwarts Houses?

Quick Summary with my reactions: “Arena” begins with a message from a commodore, on the planet below. Kirk and crew beam down to find out the place has been destroyed. Both the Enterprise and the crew down below have come under attack. Sulu decides to leave, but is able to come back and pick up the crew. Kirk decides to pursue the attacking ship, but another alien group decides to trap the captains of each ship into a duel to the death. Their logic is the two ships were going to duke it out anyway. Why is the Gorn captain wearing a pizza apron? I think Kirk just pissed it off by throwing a rock, and then he gets captured in the trap the Gorn made. He escapes and then starts to make his own weapon. At the last minute, Kirk doesn’t kill the Gorn and the other aliens decide that maybe the humans are advanced afterall, and everyone goes their own way. Crisis averted.

from animalspot.net

“Tomorrow Is Yesterday” begins with something happening to the Enterprise and suddenly the crew finds themselves in the late 1960s. They beam a “Captain Christopher”, from the current time, up to the Enterprise and debate returning him, until they realize his son is important to space discovery. They need to try to get back to their own time and also make sure there is no evidence of them in the 1960s. Christopher gets beamed back down after they go back in time, so they can then go back forward in time. This is why I hate time travel, screw you Flash!

from whatculture.com

In “Court Martial”, Kirk is back in his weird green shirt and the daughter of the man killed during an ion storm accuses Kirk of being a murderer. This is just as it is pointed out that Kirk has lied and might need a court martial, whoa! Kirk and the Commodore get into it and Kirk doesn’t want any special treatment, he knows what he did and it wasn’t wrong. Kirk’s lawyer doesn’t like computers, this will be important. But wait, we have a visual that Kirk pressed the wrong button – but Kirk claims that is not how it happened! Spock determines that there’s been some trickery with the computer after an offhand comment about chess, and McCoy does this cool trick with heartbeats on board. It was stupid, but interesting. We then find out that the man who was dead, is NOT, and he’s hiding on the ship… escandalo! Kirk gets off scot free and gets to kiss the girl.

My Impressions: “Arena” felt very much like a parent who was giving their children the chance to “fight it out”, which was a very similar premise to the last episode (see my review of “The Squire of Gothos“). It was interesting to meet a new race (the Gorn) and to see a different side of Kirk. I thoroughly enjoyed Kirk realizing that Spock was right and there’s always more than one side to a story, it isn’t always about war. With what is going on in the world today, it is a good reminder that people often forget.

I absolutely hate time travel. I mean I love it, but everyone does it differently and it doesn’t always make sense. In “Tomorrow is Yesterday” we have random time travel, then purposeful time travel, and then mixing in the beaming technology which makes for a lot of “um yeah, because we said so”. I know that I’m watching this through the lens of someone who didn’t watch Star Trek first, but that’s where my perspective is interesting. How many references did this one episode cause in future shows, movies, novels? 

My first thought when watching “Court Martial” was, “Oh great, lawyers.” This episode had a lot of problems. We had ethical issues, procedural issues, and even story issues. The female lawyer absolutely is in the wrong giving any advice, the defense lawyer makes some pretty thing arguments, and the court allows Kirk to go after the crewman on his own… it was a mess! This was a very “meh” episode for me. I do, however, agree with the defense attorney on one issue: books. I love the way a book feels in my hand. Physical books are a pain in the ass, they take up a lot of space and they can be damaged over time, but they are still the medium I continue to prefer. Just don’t tell the other computer science nerds!

January 6, 2020: 3 Episodes

Ooooh, we’re halfway there (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDK9QqIzhwk) as we’re now into the second half of Season 1 and we’re not even a week into this challenge.

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series

SeasonEpisode #,and Episode Name: Season 1, Episode 16, “Shore Leave”, Episode 17, “The Galileo Seven”, and Episode 18, “The Squire of Gothos”

Setting the Stage: I started at 7:30 pm on January 6, 2020, still watching via Netflix, so I’m using their viewing order. Professor Zoom, my husband, and Tempura kept me company for the first two episodes and I was left alone to enjoy the last one.

Quick Summary with my reactions: “Shore Leave” opens with the first patch of grass we’ve seen in space. McCoy mentions “Alice in Wonderland” and as Sulu is occupied, Alice and the White Rabbit appear. I saw through Spock’s deception right away, but Kirk walked right into it – which really shows how badly he needs a break. Apparently, if you mention something, or think about it while on the planet, it appears. Kirk becomes a gooey mess when the mysterious Ruth appears. McCoy is being weird with the new Yeoman, it’s super creepy. Strange things are afoot, McCoy gets stabbed, and Angela is hurt as well. Kirk gets a very long fight sequence and the crew meets the caretaker of the planet who explains that everything is temporary and fictional. Kirk calls the crew down to take their shore leave, McCoy is claimed by the Yeoman, and Kirk goes off to be with Ruth. A very strange episode.

from memegenerator.net

“The Galileo Seven” opens with seven of the crew to go investigate the quasars, but then things happen and they get stuck on one of the planets. There’s a commissioner on board the Enterprise that keeps urging Kirk to end the search for the missing crew and deliver the much needed medicine to another planet. Spock determines at least three will need to stay so the rest can get back on board, but one of the crew winds up dead. Spock and Scotty work on getting the ship back in working order, but the rest of the crew is focused on the crewman that died. HOLY FUCK there are giants, though we don’t get a very good look at them. Scotty has an idea! Another of the party dies, Spock is confused about why his logical choices are not working, and then he has an idea. Next thing we know, the survivors are off spinning around the planet! Beamed up at the last minute, Kirk saves the day and everyone gives Spock shit for being emotional… which he, of course, denies.

“The Squire of Gothos” begins like any other episode until Sulu and Kirk disappear… things just got interesting. McCoy and two others find a weird house, along with a weird man, and Sulu and Kirk reappear. Who the hell is this guy, he’s clearly disturbed from being alone on this planet for too long. He makes a lot of cringe-worthy remarks (I know, it’s from the 60s, but still). At one point, Kirk mentions men and women, at which Trelane gets excited, but then Spock warps the crew back to the ship. As they prepare to leave, Trelane appears on the Enterprise and then many members of the bridge are sent back to the planet. There’s a very big “you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry” vibe coming from Trelane. There’s going to be a duel, and Kirk purposely aims at the mirror. While the Enterprise circles Gothos, Kirk gets pissed and beams back down to confront Trelane. When he gets beaten, he becomes a child and then gets chastised by his parents, who are strange, green beams of light.

from cheezburger.com

My Impressions: “Shore Leave” had the most racist music whenever Finnegan was on screen. That poor tiger had a chain around their neck, but thankfully was not in too many scenes. I have no idea what was going on with McCoy and the new Yeoman. Everytime she was looking at him like he was her piece of meat, I was yelling “girl, get a grip!” I wasn’t too impressed with this episode, especially because everyone was just like okay we’re going to party now and Kirk just went off to go do whatever Kirk does.

Something I noticed in “The Galileo Seven”, as well as the previous episode, is Spock continually uses “gentleman” when addressing the group, even if a female Yeoman is in the group. I wonder if that’s a 60s thing or because the Yeoman’s are not part of the command staff? Just something I’ve been noticing as I pay more attention to speech and pronouns. This episode is great for highlighting the difference between the Vulcan way and Human way of thinking. For me, I’m absolutely Team Vulcan. I mean, Spock is totally a Slytherin (and he’s in good company). This was also very opposite of “the Kirk show” that we have seen in a few previous episodes, and I liked that we got to see how both the ship and a landing party try to fix a problem from opposite ends. I know the leads of the show are going to get the most air time, but I need more Scotty and Sulu in my life.

Trelane in “The Squire of Gothos” makes the most distasteful and stereotypical comments at the women and non-White crew members. At first we’re lead to believe he’s just a megalomaniac, but then we find out he’s just a child? And just like that a switch is flipped and he talks like a child? I’m not buying the transformation that quickly. It totally makes sense if you look back at how the episode unfolds, but it’s simply ridiculous. A very fun episode, despite some of the dialogue.

January 5, 2020: 4 Episodes

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series

SeasonEpisode #,and Episode Name: Season 1, Episodes 12 and 13, “The Menagerie: Parts 1 and 2”, Episode 14, “The Conscience of the King”, and Episode 15, “Balance of Terror”

Setting the Stage: I started at 4:30 pm on January 5, 2020, still watching via Netflix, so I’m using their viewing order. Professor Zoom kept me company today while the husband was in and out running some errands we had forgotten to complete.

Quick Summary with my reactions: “The Menagerie” opens with Kirk, Spock, and McCoy beaming down – but why? We find out Pike is in bad shape, Spock is planning something, and it’s even more clear to me that Kirk’s been wearing eye makeup probably the whole time. McCoy is adamant that Spock couldn’t be disloyal and Kirk is all atwitter with who the hell is interfering with his ship. Spock steals the Enterprise AND Pike and then submits himself for arrest? What’s going on with Talos 4 – wait are we rewatching the pilot? You can find my reactions to that here, since it was just a few days ago. Part 1 ends with Spock being ordered into lockup. I’m reminded at how much I love Number One. I also get to relive “THE WOMEN!!!” line by Spock. It is heartbreaking when the screen is blank and all three vote guilty. But then, it was all a deception! The Commodore was never there and there’s no court martial. Another plot twist I didn’t see coming. A mostly happy ending for Pike, but no consequestions for Spock.

from therpf.com

“The Conscience of the King” made me think “Oh good, they still have theater in space.” The guy Kirk is with thinks there’s a war criminal on the loose, and then the guy winds up dead. Spock gives some great eyebrow, I mean have you seen them? His eyebrows have better acting skills than some of the red shirts. Clearly Kirk chats up the daughter in the acting troupe to try and get to the father, who turns out to be the bad guy everyone thought he was, the infamous Kodos. Riley’s parents died at the hand of Kodos, so he wants to shoot the father, but then you find out the daughter is the one who’s been killing the witnesses that could identify him. It’s another plot twist, and another heartbreaking ending as the daughter accidentally kills the father and then goes mad, or maybe she was always mad?

“Balance of Terror” opens with Kirk about to perform a marriage ceremony and I’m instantly questioning the name of this episode, but first war with the Romulans! There might be spies on the ship, and the Romulans absolutely have a Vulcan in their midst… escandalo! Apparently, my husband explains that the other ship is actually all just Romulans and that the Vulcans and Romulans are related. Looks like the Enterprise is about to be hit by… red smoke, a red beam? The Enterprise starts shooting at… open space? Oh, the Romulan ship can disappear… nifty. After the Romulan ship blows itself up, Spock is sassy about saving the life of the navigator, and then we receive the news that homeboy who was going to get married was our only casualty. That’s just cold!

from popbuzz.com

My Impressions: I was most excited, when I found out the Commodore’s name, to see if I would find out if Jose ever got his peppers. Unfortunately, that’s still a mystery. As this two-part episode brings back the pilot in a different light, I am reminded at how much I liked Number One, how much of a fantastic bad ass she was and how I truly wish they had found a way to keep her. Having recently seen the pilot (11 episodes ago), I was much more interested in seeing where the story went, which I had an idea once I saw what happened to Pike. I was a little thrown off by how feverently McCoy dismisses that Spock could ever deliberately disobey an order, given their past interactions and McCoy’s general snarkiness. Even though I just watched the pilot a mere four days ago, I noticed some things this time around that I didn’t before. Now I understand why folks do a rewatch. I enjoyed the parts they kept of “The Cage”, but if I choose to ever do a rewatch I don’t know that I’ll watch the Pilot as most of the elements are in here. I do think I would try the production order, however, to see if the story makes more sense when watched in a different way. Let’s make it through this first run through, though.

I don’t have a lot to say about “TCOTK”. I find it all too convenient that the last two survivors who could be witnesses at identifying this Kodos guy are both on the Enterprise, but that’s TV. I was, however, truly shocked that the daughter was the one killing the witnesses all along. It was some instant karma that she goes to kill Kirk and kills her father instead, but still sad.

In “Balance of Terror” I am very happy that Kirk takes a big stand against bigotry, so very progressive during the 60s. It’s also another moment that aged well and still resonates in the “now” because people are scared of things that are different. The guy who is all leery of Spock was just fine with him before we knew what the Romulans looked like. Shows us that looks can absolutely be deceiving. I am a big fan of the game Munchkin, and there’s a card called “In Space, No One Can Hear You Cheat” (it’s part of the Star Munchkin universe). I tell you that story to explain why I am absolutely confused by how the Romulans can hear things in space. That scene also reminds me of the change scene from “Down Periscope”, provided here for your viewing pleasure: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cveFKerkadA. Anyway, I’m a little pissed they made the groom the ONLY casualty. I mean, at least kill another few red shirts or something.