Friday, September 6, 2013

Extended Hiatus

I really have been enjoying doing this blog, but it seems that I simply don't have enough time to keep up with it for the time being. I will probably return at some point, but who knows when and in what form. I might come back and do the same thing I'm doing now, or I might try something different. One idea I've been toying with is watching the episodes with my son when he's old enough and blogging about his reactions to things. Of course that would have to be a few years off if I go that route.

Anyway, thanks for reading.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Return of the Archons: TOS Season 1 Episode 21

Plot Summary

We start with Sulu and O'neil on a planet being chased, O'neil runs off but Sulu waits for transport. Sulu gets hit with some mind-altering attack right before he beams up and is clearly acting strange when we gets back to Enterprise. So Kirk and a handful of other guys beam down to try to figure out what is going on, when they get there everyone seems pleasant and ask if the away team is here for the festival. They say yes as it is good cover, but quickly it turns out that the festival largely consists of chaos in the street.

It seems that most everyone is being mind controlled (are you of the body?), but the away team finds a few guys who are not and seem to want to gain freedom for themselves and everyone. Some guards come to them and ask for them to come see Landrew (who is apparently in charge here), they say 'no' and the guards don't seem to know what to do. Spock takes a weapon from one of them, but it turns out to simply be a pipe, it must just be a focusing object for a powerful weapon being emitted elsewhere. Very interesting indeed.

They also talk to the Enterprise and it turns out that some sustained attack is being levied against the ship. They are having to spend all of their energy on shields, and their orbit is decaying. Their time is severely limited.

The away team finds Landrew and talks to him, ultimately they are knocked out and thrown in jail. They eventually break out of jail and Kirk wants to go to confront Landrew about what is going on. After some argument, they are led to Landrew, who was previously a holographic projection on a wall, they shoot the wall and it is revealed that Landrew is actually a computer. This society is how a computer would view perfection, but people are not free even to think for themselves. They convince the computer that what he has done is not in line with the intention of his programming and the computer self-destructs. Then everyone who was brainwashed is set free. Kirk left some people on the planet to help them rebuild their society.

Is Spock Like a Computer?

When they were in prison, Spock and Kirk had an amusing conversation about how the guards responded to them

Spock: Their reaction to your defiance was remarkably similar to the reaction of a computer when fed insufficient or contradictory data

Kirk: Are you suggesting the law giver's a mere computer?

Spock: Simply that all the facts are not yet in.

I found this hilarious, as Spock is saying that not knowing how to react to insufficient data is computer like, then in his next line he does just that. Spock is acting like a computer in exactly the way he is observing the guards. Even more hilarious, right at the end of the episode Kirk tells Spock he would make a good computer, to which Spock replied "thank you".

Part of why this is so amusing is that Spock is apparently a man who aspires to become a machine, where Data in Next Gen is exactly the opposite. I guess that must have been the point when they were initially writing data, turn the premise on it's head.


This same thing happened last episode, but the Enterprise apparently requires power just to maintain orbit. I don't know why this bugs me so much, but there's no reason for that. If they put themselves in orbit properly they would stay that way without power.

Prime Directive

I think this was the first time they mentioned the prime directive. When they were talking about destroying Landrew Spock mentioned the prime directive of non-interference. I was thinking that they had interfered in the past, but mostly they haven't had contact with primitive societies. I suppose Miri is the only episode where it really seems like it might have applied. They also referred to the prime directive of Landrew, that being to destroy evil.


When they were getting ready to go confront Landrew and the men from the surface were scared to do it Kirk said
It's time you learn freedom is never a gift, it has to be earned.
Damn good line. Although it did occur to me that it isn't really true, even in this situation. For everyone who was currently a zombie of Landrew, freedom would be a gift. Nevertheless, the point still stands, freedom needs to be fought for and earned whenever there is someone trying to take it away.



Sunday, August 4, 2013

Court Martial: TOS Season 1 Episode 20

Plot Synopsis

The Enterprise took some damage from an ion storm and the only fatality was Ben Finney. We quickly learn that Kirk and Finney had a history, early on in his career Kirk filed a report that showed Finney in a bad light and it played a part in his slow career advancement. The allegation was that Kirk had something against Finney and the bad report was maliciously, and that perhaps Finney's recent death was intentional. If charges come against Kirk it will be a court martial, the first time it has happened to a captain of a starship. The admiral Kirk talks to tells him to just slink away and they would sweep it under the rug, but Kirk insists he's innocent and demands the court martial!

So a trial ensues, it turns out that in the ion storm they were in yellow alert. At some point when the danger was particularly high Kirk went to red alert, which told Finney that he had to act quickly, he failed to do that and Kirk had to take action which killed Finney but saved the rest of the ship. The prosecution claims that Kirk took that action before going to red alert, never giving Finney the chance to save himself. Kirk insists that this is not the way it happened, but they had damning evidence, video of Kirk pushing the "jettison pod" button with only the yellow alert light blinking

It seems that all is lost, whether intentional or accidental, this seems to be Kirk's fault. He makes some vague statement to Spock about chess as the court is adjourning. Spock goes and plays chess against the computer and wins several games in a row. This should be impossible as he programmed the computer with his own chess skill, he should be coming to a stalemate. It appears that someone has been messing with the computer. Perhaps Finney isn't even really dead, but just trying to frame Kirk.

They evacuate the ship of almost everyone and then have the computer listen to any noise through the whole ship. It can detect everyone's heartbeat, they filter out everyone that is known to be on the ship and there is one heartbeat remaining. They isolate where he is and Kirk goes to confront him. They fight, but ultimately Finney has sabotaged the ship and is ready to die along with anyone else remaining in the ship, Kirk the reveals that he beamed up Finney's daughter. With this information, Finney tells Kirk how the ship was sabotaged and the damage is able to be undone.


In the scene where the admiral was trying to get Kirk to simply slink away quietly, to just go away and avoid his court martial, the admiral was primarily interested in appearance. He didn't really seem to care about what had happened, in fact, it's quite possible he believed Kirk guilty. But he didn't want a stain on starfleet put there by a captain being put through a court martial, he wanted to sweep the whole thing under the rug. Kirk was interested in justice, he didn't care how it looked, he wanted the truth to come out. Great stuff.


There were two things in this episode that from a scientific standpoint caught my attention. The first was a silly little throw-away line from Spock while he was testifying in court. He was arguing that even though he didn't watch Kirk push those buttons, he knew that Kirk had done things in the right order because he knows the man. He said it is no different from dropping a hammer on a planet with positive gravity, he knows it will fall without looking. I love the idea that there could be a planet without positive gravity. Perhaps there is a planet with some exotic substance where gravity doesn't work in our normal sense. Seems a bit silly, but sometimes science fiction is about exploring silly ideas. I liked it, and again, it was just a throwaway line.

The other thing did really bug me though. Near the end they cut power to the enterprise and in a very short period of time they were going to fall out of orbit. This seems to misunderstand what orbit is. It takes power to put yourself in orbit, but once your there you should stay in orbit without the need for power. Sure, over a long period of time a "stable" orbit can decay, but this was a very short period of time, on the order of hours. A similar thing happened in the recent movie, and that bugged the crap out of me too.

Spock and McCoy

Some more banter between Spock and McCoy that caught my attention. When Spock was playing chess, bones found him and was upset that he was doing that, not realizing he was helping the captain with this action.

Bones: Mr. Spock, you're the most cold blooded man I've ever known
Spock: why, thank you doctor.

Love it!

Ripped Shirt

During the fight near the end between Kirk and Finney, at some point Kirk's shirt gets ripped open. I think Kirk needs to stop getting uniforms made out of tissue paper.

Side note here, my wife say me write down the time stamp here and asked what I was doing. She thought it was hilarious that I am keeping track of this. I don't know why it amuses me so much, but I just can't stop laughing when their shirts get ripped.



Overall an enjoyable episode.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Tomorrow is Yesterday: TOS Season 1 Episode 19

Sorry for missing a week, and being late this week. I don't have time this week to take screenshots, which is a shame because I find that part of it fun, but I watched an episode last night so I figured I'd write a quick post today.

Plot Synopsis

We start in "present day" Earth, the air force sees a UFO that of course winds up being the Enterprise. It turns out that the Enterprise had gotten caught in a gravity well of some particularly powerful star and had to use full power to get away. There was a slingshot effect that wound up sending them back in time. They are a little disoriented at first, but once they get their bearings they realize the air force has scrambled a jet to intercept them. They try to catch it in a tractor beam but it destroys the plane and they have to beam the pilot aboard. (I was distracted at this point, so I may have missed some finer points, but this seems to be the gist of it)

They now have a conundrum, they can't send the pilot back because he knows too much about them and it will alter the past. Nevertheless, they seem to have no qualms about telling him all kinds of stuff, for example, Spock tells him that he will have a son and the son will be important to history. They also spend a lot of time beaming down to the military base and trying to destroy records of their ship in the sky. Ultimately they accomplish this, but wind up with a second person from the base on the ship.

Now they just need to get home, and they need to find a way to return these 2 guys to the surface without screwing up the timeline (further). They can slingshot around the sun and head back to their own time, but before they go forward in time, they will go backward a little as they approach the sun and they can beam those guys down at the moment when they were picked up. Done and done!

Back and Forth

I didn't understand exactly why they would go backward in time a little bit before they went forward. Spock said something about them going backward when they approach the sun. I guess since the slingshot will fling them into the future as they are exiting the gravity of the sun, they were saying that approaching the sun will send them back in time. I'm pretty sure this made no sense at all.


Let's assume the back in time thing makes sense. Wouldn't the guys they beam down still have the memory of what had happened to them. It seemed that they were put right back where they were and their memory of the intermediate events was erased. That didn't really make sense either.



I love time travel stories, but this one didn't really have much going for it. They talked of not changing the past, but then they did a bunch of stuff that would change the past. Plus a lot of time seemed to just be wasted running around on the military base.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Arena: TOS Season 1 Episode 18

Plot Synopsis

The episode starts with a joyous scene, the crew is going to beam down to Cestus 3 and spend some time with the head of the colony there who has notorious hospitality. However, when they get to the surface they see the colony is destroyed, when Kirk calls back up to the Enterprise they are under attack from a mysterious ship so the away team is on their own for a while. 

They run around on the surface of the planet for a bit and the Enterprise fights with the ship, but then the enemy ship leaves and they are able to recover their people. Kirk concludes that this must be an aggressive species and decides to destroy the pursue and destroy the ship, otherwise they will be back to destroy other colonies. Spock takes issue with this, but Kirk will hear none of it, he says
Out here we are the only police men around, and a crime has been committed
As they are pursuing they come somewhat near to a solar system and the enemy ship stops completely. Kirk is happy that he will now be able to catch up, but the Enterprise is also stopped. They get a signal from the solar system that they are an advanced race who doesn't like the violence going on here, they decide that the best thing to do is take the two captains of the ships, let them battle it out and the winner will go free, the loser will be destroyed.

It turns out the enemy is the Gorn, they are extremely strong physically, Kirk throws some rocks at him, and even drops a boulder on him from quite high up, but he is not killed. Kirk then takes a bunch of minerals and puts them into a bamboo shoot to make a cannon of sorts. He nearly kills the Gorn but changes his mind at the last second. Leading up to the final attack by Kirk, the Gorn tells him they killed the colony because it was encroaching on their territory. Upon reflection, Kirk realizes this is a possibility because it is an unexplored area of space.

An angel looking guy shows up, he's from the nearby solar system and is supremely impressed with Kirk for not killing the Gorn. He says they are still half savage, but perhaps in a thousand years or so they can make contact with each other again.

Red Shirt

I don't think this is the first "red shirt" moment, but it was the first that really jumped out at me because it seemed to be quite ridiculous. When they beamed down to the destroyed colony Kirk motioned for the red shirt to look around and he was immediately killed. 

However, moments later both Kirk and Spock were running around with no cover and they were just fine. It looked like they were being attacked with mortars, but nothing like what the red shirt had to endure


This episode was tested out on mythbusters, unfortunately it was busted. There was no way for the bamboo to hold any blast sufficient enough to kill the Gorn. Unfortunately, it also means that I knew what was going to happen in this episode, although I guess I can't complain too much to have a 50 year old show spoiled :)



Solid episode, some iconic stuff in there. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Squire of Gothos: TOS Season 1 Episode 17

Before I get to this episode, a caveat, I didn't watch it under ideal conditions by any means. I was interrupted multiple times and wound up watching it over a few days. I won't be surprised I will have missed some interesting things.

Plot Synopsis

The Enterprise stumbles past a rogue planet (not orbiting a star) that is not in their records. Spock mentions that this is an extremely unlikely occurrence and suggests that something strange must be going on. They were going to make a note of the planet so starfleet could send a science team out at a later date, but then Kirk and Sulu disappeared off of the bridge. Now Spock is in charge and the next order of business is to check out the planet and get their crewmen back.

The planet has an atmosphere that is not ideal for humans, so they beam down with some breathers. But when they get to the surface it turns out the atmosphere is perfect for them. Peculiar indeed. They come in to an old style room and see Kirk and Sulu and a guy named Trelane. Trelane is a very powerful being, but he keeps making strange mistakes. He's apparently been observing earth, but doesn't realize that since he is hundreds of light-years away from earth, his information about us is quite old. He also had a fire with no heat and food/drink with no taste.

At some point the realize that there is a mirror in the room that seems to be a source of his power, they trick him and break the mirror and he is temporarily stripped of some of his power. In this time they are able to communicate with the Enterprise, beam away and run. Of course this isn't the end of the story, Trelane catches up to them and Kirk is brought back down to the planet to a trial. Trelane wants to give Kirk the death penalty because he's so angry, but then he calms down and realizes that the anger was something novel and interesting. He then complains to Kirk
This is becoming quite tiresome, it's also very easy.
Kirk responds with a great speech
That's your problem, everything is easy. It's giving you a bad habit. You're not aware of it, but you have it. You don't think, Trelane, that's your problem. You miss opportunities, like your anger before, and mine right now. You enjoyed it, but you couldn't have accomplished it without me. You know why? Because you're a bumbling, inept fool. Here you have an opportunity to experience some thing really unique and you waste it. You want to commit murder? Go ahead! But where's the sport in a simple hanging?
Kirk then convinces him to hunt him in the forest and only attack him with a sword. His intention seems to be to try to evade long enough for the Enterprise to get away. Trelane chases him and seems to have having a great time, but eventually gets bored and pops some walls into existence so that Kirk can't get away. When he's about to kill him the most hilarious thing happens.

Trelane's parents show up. It turns out he is just a kid from some other powerful race! They scold him, apologize, and let Kirk get away.

Rogue Planet

One thing I thought was really peculiar is the surprise that Spock exhibited about the planet not being in their data banks. I think they were just trying to lay the groundwork that something was odd, but there's no reason we should know about every planet around stars, let alone in the middle of nowhere without a light source. I suppose if it was in familiar federation space there might be something there, but they are on a mission of exploration right? It seems that they would come across new stuff like this all the time. Hell, last week they stumbled across a quasar, certainly it shouldn't be a surprise to find a random rogue planet.

He's Looking in a Mirror!

There was one scene where a security officer tried to sneak up on Trelane but was caught and frozen by him. The problem was, Trelane was looking in a mirror at the time. This seems like the worst possible time to sneak up on someone. I have no further point here, but it cracked me up.

Spock Objects

There was a line from Spock when he was talking to Trelane that I thought was really good. Trelane felt like Spock was challenging him, and Spock said
I object to intellect without discipline, I object to power without constructive purpose
Again, I don't have a deeper point here, just thought it was a great line.



Enjoyable episode for sure. I like the idea of the super-powerful being and figuring out his flaws and what-not. No real flaws in the episode that I saw with the exception of the planet thing, but that was certainly a very minor point.

The Upcoming Weeks

I will most likely miss a week or two. Several people are going to be visiting and I think it will be somewhat of a madhouse. I will probably not be able to sneak away long enough to write one of these. I will try as I find them a lot of fun to put together, but I might disappear for a bit. See you in a few weeks.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Galileo Seven: TOS Season 1 Episode 16

Sorry I missed a week, but in my defense, I do have a good excuse. I am going to try to keep up with them once a week because I have fun writing them, although I might have to streamline it a bit. I'll probably have to do a lot fewer screenshots. It's a shame, because I have a lot of fun going and getting them, but it does take a lot of time.

Plot Synopsis

The Enterprise is on a relief mission of sorts, they need to get some medicine to some people, and they have 5 days to get there. It is only a 3 day journey so they decide to send some people in a shuttle craft to investigate at quasar. Things of course go south and the shuttle lands on a nearby planet. Because of radiation the transporters and sensors are pretty much useless, and now they only have 2 days to mount a proper rescue before they must leave to deliver their medical supplies.

The shuttle crash lands on a planet and Spock is the ranking officer. There is an immediate clash between the other crewmen in the shuttle and Spock over his logical approach to command. This pretty much seems to be the whole point of the episode. He's cold and calculating, for example the other crewmen want to bury a guy who died, but Spock said it's not worth doing because it's dangerous, they are battling the clock and there's no advantage to it. Why is it dangerous? There's some big monster guys on the planet.

Ultimately they are able to lift off of the planet, but they are too late as the Enterprise has already started leaving. Even though they have very limited fuel Spock dumps it and ignites it, dooming them because without the fuel they will fall back to the planet. But this allows the Enterprise to find them and beam them out. Oh yeah, in the meantime they fixed the transporters.

Spock is super Logical!

The way they portray Spock as a 100% logical being was kinda rubbing me the wrong way in this episode. It's not just that he's logical and without emotion, he can't understand emotion and refuses to consider that others might act emotionally. It's hard to imagine him rising to this rank in starfleet without ever learning this lesson.

Transporter Malfunction

I also found this a strange choice. I guess it was one more obstacle to overcome, but they fixed it before they needed it anyway. And there wasn't something interesting or novel about the fix as far as I can tell. It was just "the transporters don't work" and then later "they work now!"

Against the Clock

I know they were trying to create a situation where Kirk would have to leave them behind, but it seemed like an incredibly poor choice to send the shuttle out when they had such a small time window. It was just a quasar, it would be there in a week or whatever. They should have delivered the medicine and come back. I suppose it could have been doing something that is rare and they could witness it, but I don't think that was the case here. Plus, if you are delivering medicine it is silly to plan to get there in exactly the time you need instead of getting there as quickly as possible.

Original Versus Remastered

I thought the quasar graphic was really cool, and I was curious what the original looked like, so I went and looked at the non-remastered version. It's quite a difference. They really did a good job on the new effects.



I'm trying to decide between 6 and 7 here, guess I'll split the difference. It was a fine episode, but there were definitely issues.

Intense Debate Comments

I've decided to remove intense debate and go back to the default blogger comments. Of course, ID holds your comment threads hostage so you will stay with it, but luckily I don't have too many. I have taken screenshots and edited them into the bottom of their posts so they won't be lost.