Posted tagged ‘TOS’

More ‘Devil in the Dark’ Awesomeness

June 19, 2013

This:

StarTrek.com exclusive interview with the Horta

This:

Spock Horta toy

This:

And this (Horta meatloaf):

Horta meatloaf

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1×23 – A Taste of Armageddon

June 11, 2013

Premise: Under the orders of an Ambassador who wants to establish a “treaty port” in the region, The Enterprise visits a planet called Eminiar VII, despite broadcast warnings to stay away. They discover a civilization that has been at war with a neighboring planet for 500 years – but instead of using traditional weapons, the two entities do battle via computer. Citizens who are labeled virtual casualties must report to disintegration machines to be killed. The justification for this method of war is that it prevents the wide-scale destruction that would otherwise end the civilization. A virtual attack ensues and the orbiting Enterprise is classified as destroyed, meaning that all crew must report for suicide by disintegration. Can Kirk and Spock save the crew and help the planet?

12:05 – Council leader Anan 7 has just revealed his planet’s method of war. Kirk is baffled, but Spock is able to understand the logic behind it:

Kirk: “Do you mean to tell me your people just walk into a disintegration machine when they’re told to?”
Anan 7: “We have a high consciousness of duty, Captain.”
Spock: “There is a certain scientific logic about it.”
Anan 7: “I’m glad you approve.”
Spock: “I do not approve. I understand.”

I think the world would be a much better place if more people sought to understand, like Spock does.

I always enjoy seeing how the guards of various civilizations are dressed – they seem to get the most oddball costumes. Check out those hats!

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17:18 – A really fascinating moment here. The landing party (Kirk, Spock, and three red shirts) are being held captive in a locked room, and a guard is standing right outside the door. We hear this interchange between Kirk and Spock:

Kirk: “Are you sure you can do it, Mr. Spock?”
Spock: “Telepathic abilities are inherent in Vulcanians, Captain. It may work, it may not.”
Kirk: “Do your best.”

Spock proceeds to walk over to the door and run his fingers delicately along it, sensing the location of the guard:

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Kirk watches with a look of wonder & admiration:

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Spock somehow gets telepathically inside the guard’s head, causing him to open the door, and Kirk is ready to take him out with a neck chop. Very cool, I had no idea Vulcans had the ability to manipulate people without physical contact! This Spock guy is magical. ❤

20:45 – Yet another Vulcan nerve pinch. I love the way Spock sets this one up – he walks right up to the the guard and says: “Sir, there’s a multi-legged creature crawling on your shoulder.” When the guard looks down at his own shoulder, Spock swoops in with the pinch. An incredibly calm and deft maneuver.

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A nice exchange at the end of the episode, when the crew is safely back on the bridge:

Kirk: “Actual war is a messy business. A very, very messy business. I had a feeling that they would do anything to avoid it, even talk peace.”
Spock: “A feeling is not much to go on.”
Kirk: “Sometimes a feeling, Mr. Spock, is all we humans have to go on.”
Spock: “Captain…you almost make me believe in luck.”
Kirk: “Why, Mr. Spock…you almost make me believe in miracles.”

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I just love the quizzical expressions on Spock’s face!

This is a fascinating episode – one of the best of the first season, I think. It raises interesting questions about war, diplomacy, human nature, and self-sacrifice for the greater good. Was Kirk right to impose his culture’s values on the people of Eminiar? Is mass destruction a necessary component of war? What happens when war becomes a societal safety blanket, a way of life? I think this episode would translate well to a full-length film. It’s also a good Scotty episode, for fans of the Enterprise’s Chief Engineer.

“Death, destruction, disease, horror – that’s what war is all about. That’s what makes it a thing to be avoided. You’ve made it neat and painless – so neat and painless you’ve had no reason to stop it.” – Captain Kirk

1×22 – Space Seed (continued)

June 10, 2013

There are several important scenes near the end of Space Seed, so I needed to append an additional post to cover them! Space Seed is one of those episodes that could be fodder for an entire thesis paper. If you know of anyone who has written a paper on the character of Khan, or on how this episode represents the thinking of the mid-1960s, please let me know!

37:02 – Khan has cut off oxygen to the bridge. Spock and Kirk are still barely hanging on, but everyone else is unconscious. Kirk records what he must believe is his last entry into the Captain’s Log:

Kirk: “Stardate 31.42.8. They have my ship. Discarding their own worthless vessel. Only moments of air left on the bridge, now. Commendations recommended for…Lt. Uhura…Technicians First Class Tooley…and Harrison…..Lt. Spinelli…….and of course Mr. Spock. I take full responsibility for…I take full-” [Keels forward and falls to the ground.]

I think I’ll use this as a monologue if I ever audition for a play. It’s so sad, seeing our brave Captain slowly dying, and knowing what final thoughts are running through his head. In his last conscious moments, he notes commendations for crew members, including Mr. Spock. “OF COURSE Mr. Spock.” 🙂 🙂

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37:57 – Khan has overtaken the Enterprise, captured the senior crew, and placed Captain Kirk in a decompression chamber to be slowly suffocated. He holds Spock, Scotty, Bones, and Uhura hostage. He says to Spock, “If you join me, Mr. Spock, I will save his life.” He then extends the offer to the others – if any one of them joins him, he will let Kirk live. But everyone stays silent and stoic! I’m sure generations of Trek fans have shouted at Spock, “Just tell Khan you’ll join him and then betray him later!!!” But alas, Vulcans cannot lie. As Kirk slowly suffocates, Spock displays no emotion.

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42:40 – Lt. McGivers has released Kirk from the decompression chamber. A guard is bringing Spock in to be the next one killed. Even though Spock thinks Kirk is dead, and Kirk has no idea who’s coming his way, the two manage to perform an excellent tag-team maneuver to disarm the guard (complete with a Vulcan nerve pinch).

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One the guard is disabled, we get this little exchange of words:

Spock: “Surprised to see you, Captain, though pleased.”
Kirk: [gasping] “I’m a little pleased myself.”

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I guess I’m a little disappointed that Kirk’s apparent death (and his survival) didn’t elicit more of a reaction from Spock, but this is still fairly early in the series, and the writers had to cement Spock as a man completely in control of his emotions. Or maybe Spock knew that it just wasn’t logical for Lt. McGivers to let the Captain die, and surmised that she was going to save him.

This episode holds so much weight and significance, but the ending feels rushed. I guess that’s why they brought Khan back for more!!

1×22 – Space Seed

June 8, 2013

Premise: The Enterprise discovers an ancient sleeper ship, the SS Botany Bay, which escaped from Earth’s Eugenics Wars in the late 20th century. All of the passengers are somehow preserved in a coma-like state, preventing them from aging, and allowing them to survive for over 200 years. When the Enterprise crew boards the ship, the leader is awakened, and discovered to be war criminal Khan Noonien Singh. The Enterprise’s historian (Lt. McGivers) becomes infatuated with Khan and helps him reanimate his crew and seize control of the Enterprise.

This is obviously a must-see episode. Khan is quite the villain – I can understand why Roddenberry decided to bring him back.

0:41 – On the bridge, the crew is receiving readings from a nearby ship. Spock states that the origin is unknown and that it “could hardly be an Earth ship, there have been no flights into this sector for years.” However, Uhura picks up a Morse Code signal that indicates it IS an Earth ship after all. Kirk calls Spock out on his assumption:

Kirk: “I thought you said it couldn’t possibly be an Earth vessel.”
Spock: “I don’t understand why it always gives you pleasure to see me proven wrong.”
Kirk: [Smile/smirk] “An emotional, Earth weakness of mine.”

Spock got a bit defensive there! 😉 I always love the quippy rapport between the two.

The description of what was happening on Earth in the mid-1990s is really interesting. My mid-90s teenage years would have been pretty awful if this stuff were true:

  • “A lot of unanswered questions about those years.”
  • “A strange & violent period in Earth’s history.”
  • “The era of your last so-called World War.”
  • “On the verge of a Dark Ages. Whole populations were being bombed out of existence.”
  • “A group of these young supermen did seize power simultaneously in over 40 nations.”
  • “Dozens of petty dictatorships.”

Although this one’s not so bad:

  • “Men were more adventuresome then. Bolder. More colorful.” 😉

14:50 – Unsurprisingly, when you’ve been in a coma for ~300 years, you REALLY need to stretch and flex when you first wake up. Here are some shots of Khan’s hilarious stretches:

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16:00 – Bones is a Badass. Who knew? Shortly after Khan awakens, Doc McCoy comes in to check on him. Khan pretends to be asleep, and then grabs McCoy by the neck and holds a scalpel to his throat. Bones holds steady in the face of Khan’s threats and simply instructs Khan on the best way to kill him: “It would be most effective if you cut the carotid.” His display of bravery disarms the mighty Khan.

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31:15 – Kirk, Spock, Bones, and Scotty are sitting around a table discussing Khan and his past rule on Earth. Spock is surprised that the other three are describing Khan with an air of admiration. I enjoyed this dialogue between the characters – Spock is the odd-Vulcan-out in terms of his sentiments on Khan and the others tease him a little bit:

Kirk: “He was the best of the tyrants, and the most dangerous. They were Supermen, in a sense – stronger, braver, certainly more ambitious, more daring.
Spock: [Confused & concerned] “This romanticism about a ruthless dictator is -”
Kirk: “Spock, we humans have a streak of barbarism in us. Appalling, but there, nevertheless.
Scotty: “There were no massacres under his rule.”
Spock: “And little freedom.”
McCoy: “No wars, until he was attacked.”
Spock: [Baffled] “Gentlemen…”
[Kirk, McCoy, and Scotty all break into laughter.]
Kirk: “Mr. Spock, you misunderstand us. We can be against him and admire him, all at the same time.”
Spock: [Pause] “Illogical.”
Kirk: “Totally.”

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40:00 – Oh God, Kirk is stuck in a washing machine! Get him out!!

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Some comments on the Khans

It was strange and interesting to watch this episode for the first time right after seeing Star Trek: Into Darkness. Of course I had heard of Khan, but I had not seen Space Seed or Wrath of Khan. Thus, Benedict Cumberbatch was my first introduction to the character. Although Cumberbatch was incredible, I can see why lots of fans were dismayed that a white actor was chosen. After watching Space Seed, the two don’t really feel like the same entity, although not just because of race. The TOS version of Khan (played by Ricardo Montalban, a Mexican actor) is more suave, more complex, more human, whereas Cumberbatch’s Khan is cold to the point of seeming robotic. They are both equally evil and creepy, though. I can’t really imagine Cumberbatch’s Khan being a dictator in the 1990s – he seems more keen on infiltrating and destroying than conquering and ruling. I still have a lot to learn about Khan from Star Trek II, so I’ll provide more comments when I get there!

TO BE CONTINUED….I will write more in a second post on Space Seed!

Star Trek: Into Darkness – First Impressions (Spoilers)

May 28, 2013

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I saw Star Trek: Into Darkness the Saturday after its release, at the biggest & best theater in my city, and I am happy to say that I LOVED it. Thank you, J.J. Abrams, for giving me exactly what I wanted! For those of us whose love of Star Trek is based primarily in the Kirk/Spock friendship and Enterprise crew relationships, there was so much to hang our hats on in this film. But beyond the iconic characters, the film was simply an exciting and vibrant space action movie, with plenty of humor and a kick-ass villain. Here are some comments on my favorite/least favorite aspects of the film:

What I loved:

  • The density. I’m amazed at how much content was crammed into two hours. Not a second was wasted, but the pace didn’t feel too rushed, either. For me, this was pure escapist entertainment.
  • Star Trek references, character traits, & inside jokes. Bones’ metaphors! A tribble! Mudd’s ship! Gorn babies! Spock has emotions! I know that some reviewers find these things annoying or unoriginal, but I don’t want to see completely original reboot – I’m happy to see the writers borrow from the great stuff of the past.
  • Chris Pine’s acting. Christ Pine’s lips. Chris Pine’s blue eyes. Chris Pine. Although I am eternally Hot 4 Spock, Chris Pine really impressed me this time around. He got to display just about every human emotion throughout the film, and he did it all convincingly. He seemed to embrace every aspect of his role wholeheartedly. And he is so very pretty to look at.
  • Spock’s pursuit of Khan. I loved the sequence where a distraught Spock chases down Khan through the streets of London and unleashes all of his rage on the villain. Even though this is a distressing moment in the film, I always love seeing Spock’s physical power.
  • All things Scotty. Simon Pegg has incredible comedic timing and brings such heart to the role. I laughed out loud whenever he spoke to his little alien assistant.
  • Who’s the real villain? I enjoyed that back-and-forth ride of uncertainty as Kirk and Spock had to determine which side was in the right – Khan? Admiral Marcus? …Or neither?

What I didn’t love:

  • John Cho as Sulu. I’m not sure that I like Sulu’s character in the reboot films. George Takei’s Sulu seems to be lighthearted and a little bit dorky, with a serious/intense/swashbuckling side. John Cho’s Sulu seems quite steely and too-cool-for-school – almost bored. Hopefully I’ll change my mind with further viewings.
  • Plot holes. I don’t need a seamless plot by any means, but the film did leave me with a fair number of questions: Does Starfleet seriously think it’s a good idea to have all captains and first officers gather in a single, windowed room in times of emergency? How did Carol evade the ship’s security so easily, and why is her accent different from her father’s? Why couldn’t McCoy just use the blood of one of Khan’s friends to save Kirk? How did Khan’s ship survive the torpedo explosions to stay mostly intact and crash into London?
  • The gratuitous shot of Carol Marcus in her underwear. Seriously, she needed to get changed right then and there? I was as baffled as Kirk was.

No, the movie wasn’t perfect in every respect – but what movie is?? Part of what I love about Star Trek: TOS is the cheesy/bad/poorly-written moments, so I might as well embrace those moments in the reboot films as well. I would not change one thing about the new film with respect to the Kirk/Spock relationship. I experienced plenty of that excited, stomach-flipping feeling that I love. Bring on Star Trek #3!!

P.S. I don’t think this exact frame made the film cut, but the image is floating around the internet. I love seeing my heroes in peril – and Spock’s hands on Kirk!

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1×21 – The Return of the Archons

May 27, 2013

Premise: The Enterprise discovers a population controlled by a powerful being called Landru. Most of the citizens walk around slowly and placidly, speaking of peace and tranquility, except during a strange brawl called a “festival.” While investigating, Captain Kirk and his landing party are taken captive and slated to be “absorbed” into Landru’s control. The few rebels who have evaded Landru’s possession think that the Enterprise crew are the Archons, come back to save them. Kirk has to figure out who or what Landru is, in order to save his landing party and his ship.

The best things about this episode are the landing party’s costumes and the humorously archaic special effects. Here’s a taste of both:

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30:55 – Spock attempts to do a mind meld with Dr. McCoy, who has been “absorbed” into Landru. He says that it’s impossible because McCoy is “under extremely powerful control.”

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36:08 – I believe this is the first mention of the Prime Directive!

Kirk: “The plug must be pulled.”
Spock: “Sir -”
Kirk: “Landru must die.”
Spock: “Captain…our Prime Directive of non-interference…”
Kirk: “That refers to a living, growing culture. You think this one is?”

37:40 – Spock punches a guard and looks a little bit surprised at himself. Kirk says to him, “Isn’t that somewhat old-fashioned?” We’ve seen Spock punch people before, but it’s true that he prefers the nerve pinch. Speaking of nerve pinches, Spock uses nerve pinch #6 in this episode at 40:10.

46:53 – Kirk somehow talks Landru’s computer into destroying itself. The machine ran for 6,000 years with at most minor repairs, but then overheats when Kirk challenges its conception of how to create a peaceful, perfect society. Wow! Seeya, Landru!

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48:30 -Back on the bridge:

Spock: “Marvelous.”
Kirk: “What?”
Spock: “Landru, Captain. A marvelous feat of engineering. A computer capable of directing the lives of millions of human beings.”
Kirk: “But only a machine, Mr. Spock. The original Landru programmed it with all his knowledge, but he couldn’t give it his wisdom, his compassion, his understanding, his soul, Mr. Spock.”
Spock: “Predictably, metaphysical. I prefer the concrete, the graphable, the provable.”
Kirk: [Smiling] “You’d make a splendid computer, Mr. Spock.”
Spock: [With sincerity] “That is very kind of you, Captain.”

Haha, it’s cute that Spock takes it as a complement to be called a computer. I am certain that he would make a superior computer to Landru.

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This is a strange,  annoying, and repetitive episode, one of my least favorite of the season. It’s made a bit more worthwhile by seeing Kirk and Spock in some adorable suits. The name “Landru” must be spoken 65 times, with “peace” and “tranquility” not far behind. I still have no idea who/what the Archons are, and I’m really not sure what the purpose/meaning of the 6pm-6am festival was. Despite its flaws, this episode is important in that it contains the first reference to the Prime Directive.

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1×18 – Arena

July 5, 2009

Premise: Kirk and his team beam down to a colony called Cestus III and are alarmed to find it’s been destroyed. The Enterprise attempts to chase down and destroy the alien ship that attacked the colony, but both ships are abruptly disabled when they enter the territory of an alien race called the Metrons. The Metrons pit Captain Kirk in a fight-to-the-death with the captain of the other ship, with the rule that the winner’s ship will be set free and the loser’s ship will be destroyed.

Between the theme song and the 10:30-mark, we get a pretty cool war scene on Cestus III. It’s always fun to see Kirk & Spock rolling in the dirt, ducking behind barriers, and dodging grenades.

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15:45 – Kirk wants to destroy the alien vessel that attacked Cestus III. Spock tries to argue against killing any form of life, but Kirk isn’t in the mood to hear any Vulcan viewpoints:

Spock: “The destruction of the alien vessel will not help that colony, Jim.”
Kirk: “If the aliens go unpunished, they’ll be back – attacking other Federation installations.”
Spock: “I merely suggest that a regard for sentient life–”
Kirk: [Interrupting, snapping at Spock] “There’s no time for that.” [Gets up from his chair and stands next to Spock, speaking in a softer tone] “It’s a matter of policy. Out here we’re the only policemen around. And a crime has been committed. Do I make myself clear?”
Spock: “Very clear, Captain.”
Kirk: “I’m delighted, Mr. Spock.”

Oh, Kirk…. When Spock calls you “Jim,” you’re supposed to listen. Instead, you’re taking out your frustration on your faithful first officer.

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23:10 – Kirk is suddenly whisked away from the bridge by the Metrons, and Uhura lets out a fantastic high-pitched scream! Then we get our first glimpse of the foe that Kirk is going to have to battle:

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Bahahahahahaha. It’s a plastic-headed dragon with disco-ball eyes!!! I like his neck scarf – very fancy. He dressed for the occasion.

37:00 – The Metrons beam a live recording (streaming video?) of Kirk’s battle onto the bridge, so the crew can prepare for Kirk’s death. Everyone sees Kirk limping across some rocks, looking exhausted and disheveled. I’m trying to find an expression of worry on Spock’s face, but he doesn’t really show it. I guess he has to remain brave and calm for his crew. Everyone else looks worried, especially Uhura.

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The funniest thing about this episode is that Kirk manages to create a gun-like weapon out of nothing but potassium nitrate, sulfur, coal, diamonds, and a bamboo-like plant. Amazing!


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