Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What Are Little Girls Made Of? TOS Season 1 Episode 7

Plot Synopsis

We start the episode in orbit of the planet "Exo-III" where a brilliant scientist Roger Corby was apparently on the surface. He had gone missing a while ago and they think he is here. It is difficult to imagine he has survived on this planet, as the surface temperature stays below 100 degrees, but they guess that he perhaps stays underground. They get a transmission from Corby that only Kirk and his Fiancee Christine (who is a nurse on this Enterprise) should beam down. They comply, but when they beam down Corby isn't right there and Kirk thinks things are suspicious so he calls down a few security guys as well. It doesn't take long for these security personnel to be killed, one by a really scary looking guy

We finally meet up with Corby and he is acting very strangely. He certainly shows no compassion for the security who just died, and he refuses to let Kirk contact his ship. He's made some important scientific discoveries and he is afraid that they will be lost if they are not properly handled. He says
Do you realize the number of discoveres that have been lost because of superstition? Of ignorance, of a layman's inability to comprehend?
I certainly don't want shortsightedness to inhibit scientific discoveries (stem cell research comes to mind), but we really don't know what he's up to yet.

But we soon learn that Corby has been making androids based on the technology from the ancient race from this planet. Corby shows his servant android (pictured above) to everyone, but we soon learn that everyone down on the planet with Corby is an android, and ultimately Corby himself is revealed to be an android too. He was dying and transferred his mind into the android body, but he insists he is still himself.

But he's not himself any more. His emotions have been taken away, or at least changed significantly. He claims that everyone should be transferred to an android body, it would remove jealousy, greed, hate. Kirk retorts that it would also remove love and tenderness. Christine argues that he had no compassion for the people he is hurting and he is not acting like himself. He insists that he has constructed a perfect being, all of the benefits of humanity without the flaws. But it is clear that he doesn't even believe what he is saying and ultimately kills himself along with the hot servant android

Interesting Themes
  • What makes us human?
Obviously a major point of this episode was the question of what makes us human. Is it our flesh? What if we could transfer our brains into android bodies? Would we still be human? It took the position that even if we transfer our memories we lose something in the transfer. I would argue that it should be possible to make a better android and transfer mechanism to remove this, but it is still a really interesting topic, at what point would you not be human any more?
  • Is there a point when technology has gone too far?
The race that lived on the planet previously got wiped out by their own creations. At some point they tried to shut the android down, they rebelled and killed their creators. It reminds me of I Robot.
  • Programming consciousness is too complicated to really control
The hot girl android was supposed to be a simple machine to take commands, and yet it wound up having some emotions and acted unpredictably in the end. Even if we could make machines like this, should we? We would have to acknowledge that controlling them might not be possible.



I enjoyed this episode, but something is keeping me from giving it a higher score. I guess I would have liked to have seen some of those themes explored a little more deeply. It was certainly good fun, and a bit step up from last week.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mudd's Women: TOS Season 1 Episode 6

Plot Synopsis

This episode starts with the enterprise chasing an unknown ship. It wasn't responding to any transmissions and tried to get away. It fled into the asteroid belt of whatever solar system it was in at the time, with so many asteroids in one place one eventually hit and destroyed the ship, the enterprise crew had trouble beaming them out in time and even used up most of their lithium crystals to do it. Two things here, why lithium instead of dilithium? I'm curious to see if this is something they later change and say that the ships were always powered by dilithium, or if the switch from lithium to dilithium is an upgrade at some point. Second, asteroid belts don't work that way! They might be close together on a map of the solar system, but they are really far apart at the scale of a starship.

Anyway, they beam off the people on the ship, who were Mudd and 3 beautiful women. The women had a very strong effect on all of the men on the ship, they want these women and can be very easily manipulated. We knew something was up pretty quick when Mudd quietly told the women to make sure they wouldn't get a medical scan, but the stopped himself and just said that it was sure not to happen, the expectations was that even if it comes up, they would have no trouble distracting the doctor and convincing him not to do it.

The crew really wants to find out what is up, and they interrogate Mudd and find out who he is. With the use of a lie detector they find out he is a criminal and keep him confined to his quarters, the women however are permitted to wander around. No problem, the girls should be able to take over the ship in no time, the problem is the one who was supposed to take control of Kirk couldn't go through with it. But Mudd is a resourceful man, he found out that the ship was heading to a mining planet to get some replacement crystals. He made contact on his own and told them about the women that they could potentially have for wives. This will make a quick acquisition of new lithium crystals difficult.

So they barely get to the planet, they even have to put themselves in a decaying orbit, it was the best they could do. They have a limited amount of time, and although Kirk tries to be tough, he really had no choice but to let the girls and Mudd go down to the planet to be with the miners. But in the meantime we have learned what is up with the girl's beauty. It turns out that they have been taking some illegal drug that makes them beautiful, and I guess gives them power over men (unless the power is simply a direct result of their beauty, I wasn't clear on that).

On the planet one of the girls (the same one that didn't want to betray Kirk) wasn't interested in the miners anymore, and didn't take her drug. She became plain looking and then the beauty drugs are revealed to the man she was meant to marry. He was pissed about it, but before he can say much the woman says he's not really looking for a wife, but for "this" and she grabs the drug and takes it. She becomes beautiful quickly. The miner complains that she is only beautiful because of the drug, and Kirk reveals that he had replaced the drug with a placebo. She's beautiful again be she has confidence, it was in her the whole time. Can I vomit now? Anyway, the two of them are happy and the enterprise gets its crystals.


McCoy and Spock: I've been talking about their interaction a bunch lately. In the past I have said that they seem to hate each other. At the end of this episode they snipe at each other a little bit but it seems to be more in fun than previously. Perhaps the actors are hitting a stride.

Enterprise: While not exactly a character, it is a fact about the ship so I figured I'd put it here. We learn in this episode that the enterprise runs on lithium crystals as I mentioned above.



I thought this episode was only okay, I was debating between a 5 and 6. The asteroid thing and the annoying ending with the "it was just your confidence" pushes it down to a 5 for me. What do you think?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Enemy Within: TOS Season 1 Episode 5

Plot Synopsis

While down on a planet a crewman hurts himself and has to beam back up to the ship for some medical attention. He was covered in what appeared to be dirt, but it turned out to be some mysterious substance that screwed up the transporter. Kirk beamed up shortly afterwards and Scotty (who had beamed him up) walked off with him leaving the transporter room unmanned. While no one was there to see, an evil Kirk materialized on the transporter pad

Of course nobody realized there were two Kirk's at this point and mischief can easily be had. Evil Kirk went to sickbay and insisted on getting some booze from Bones. He then headed off to Yeoman Janice's quarters and waited for her to finish her shift. When she came in he attacked her and tried to rape her. She defended herself quite well and scratched his face, at one point they were close to the door, which opened, and someone outside was able to see what was going on and helped her. Evil Kirk then proceeded to beat the crap out of that guy. This scene was intense.

Meanwhile, good Kirk was coming across confusing situations where people were claiming he did things he hadn't done and been places he hadn't been. Then Scotty shows Kirk and Spock the dog who had beamed up and was doubled, one very docile and the other aggressive. We then see a scene where Janice is explaining what had happened to Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. Kirk obviously denies that any of this took place, and uses the fact that his face isn't scratched as evidence. Janice was very obviously traumatized and confused that Kirk would do this to her, it was a really powerful scene to watch, and excellent performance. My only real issue was that they should have been able to piece things together at that point, they shouldn't have been so hard on Janice. It actually made me wonder if the duplicated dog scene was supposed to have taken place after this scene.

But they did eventually put the pieces together, partly due to the corroboration of the crewman whose ass was kicked by evil Kirk. They soon realized that good Kirk was also having problems. Without his dark side he was a poor leader and was unable to make decisions. They realized they would need to capture evil Kirk alive and find a way to merge them back together. After some hijinks they are able to capture evil Kirk and it is just down to getting them put back together with the transporter. They try first with the dog, but it doesn't work and the dog dies. They think Kirk could survive a similar trip, but they can't be sure until they do some lengthy study of the dog. Ultimately, Kirk decides to take the chance and try the trip sooner rather than later and he is obviously okay.

Why was he so eager to do this now rather than wait? There was a side plot running through the episode that a team still on the planet needs to get back up to the ship before it gets too cold during the planet's nighttime. (-140 degrees if I recall correctly) Obviously once they realized the transporter was doubling it was out of commission. I don't really understand why they couldn't send down a shuttle craft, maybe they haven't decided that the Enterprise has shuttles yet. Also, they were also just hanging out in the cold, you would think they would find a cave, or at least sit in some sort of tent for a little bit of protection. Not that this would solve the problem, and it probably was easier to get the point across this way, but it still made me laugh


Yeoman Janice: She was amazing in this episode. When she was attacked she was very strong in the moment and was able to fend off her attacker. Later on she was very vulnerable emotionally and showed that she felt very betrayed by Kirk. Great stuff.

McCoy and Spock: In the comments of previous episodes, Troubleshooter has mentioned that Spock and McCoy sometimes represent logic and emotion respectively. With this in mind, I couldn't help but notice that they seemed to epitomize those things in this one shot

Also, I would argue that they still seem to hate each other. Even when he is agreeing with McCoy, Spock can't just say that, he has to say "For once, I agree with you"

Spock: Apparently they haven't worked out the details yet about what he is. At one point in the episode he mentioned that he is half human and half alien. You would think he would have said half Vulcan.


I just had one, it was from Dr. McCoy. When the dog came back on the transporter pad and was dead, he delivered the line
He's dead Jim
This is one of those simple lines that gets repeated over and over. I'm guessing McCoy says it many times in the series as it is something people seem to reference quite a lot. This was either the first instance, or I just didn't notice it before.



I liked this episode quite a lot. I was deciding between putting it at 7 or 8, I  think Janice's performance pushes it up to 8 for me.

How would you rate it?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Naked Time: TOS Season 1 Episode 4

Plot Synopsis

The Enterprise is orbiting Psy 2000, a planet which is about to die. They are there to pick up a science team that was there to observe the planet near the end of it's life, unfortunately when they get there they find the team dead under mysterious circumstances. The environmental system settings are all out of whack, and the engineer died sitting in his chair, frozen, like he didn't care what was happening. Spock and crewman Joe Tormolen beam down in environmental suits to investigate, and apparently Tormolen is an idiot because he took off his glove while he was down there and was infected with something.

When they get back to the ship they are checked out by sickbay and the contagion is not seen, at the end we find out that it looks like water to the scanners or something. Anyway, if you are infected you feel like you are drunk, one of the things that happens is you sweat a lot which is apparently why the science team on the planet had changed the environmental setting to such low temperatures. The pathogen is also spread through skin to skin contact via sweat. But whatever, the whole point here is to get a bunch of drunk people running around the enterprise and for hilarity to ensue. We get random crewmen challenging Spock on the bridge

We get a shirtless Sulu challenging random people to fencing.

Another (or the same?) crewman takes manages to lock himself alone in engineering and take over the ship remotely.

Wait a minute, that could be a problem. Remember the planet that was going to explode? Yeah that could be a problem. It could go at any minute and we need to be able to run away at a moments notice, but he has transferred all control from the bridge. This seems like a pretty serious security problem to me! Anyway, with a backdrop of more and more craziness on the ship, Scotty manages to get back into Engineering and take control back. But the low level crewman has completely powered down the engines and it will take a half hour to warm them back up again. The planet is going to blow up in less than that much time.

It turns out that there is a way to pump matter and anti-matter into the engines cold, but no one has ever tried it before. Spock to the rescue! He gets the mixture just right and they get away just in time, but it turns out that they have discovered how to time-travel! Spock says that they can now go anywhere they want at any time. How much you wanna bet they use it to go to mid-twentieth century Earth? Seriously though, the implications here should be pretty huge, from now on in this series and in future series time travel should always be an option. I wonder if they deal with that at all? What might be neat would be if they use it willy-nilly for a while and discover problems inherent in it. Who knows, maybe they won't even share their findings with star fleet. By the way, if you know how this works out please don't tell me. I'd like to find out naturally as it comes up.

Unnecessary shirt ripping

I don't know why this cracked me up so much, but when Bones gave Kirk the cure, he ripped his shirt in a way that seemed totally unnecessary to me. In the last episode Kirk also had his shirt ripped too. It almost seems like they are just looking for ways to show off.

Notable Quotes

When Spock had just gotten to the planet and he had told Kirk that everyone was dead, Kirk asked what had caused it. Spock replied with a super intense tone and said
I don't know captain. It's like nothing we've dealt with before!
It might have been all about the delivery, but it sure made me laugh while I was watching it. Perhaps along the same lines, when Sulu was running around the ship challenging people to fence he said
I'm sweating like a bridegroom
Is that an old saying I've just never heard of or just a weird quirk of this character? Either way I love it. One final quote, which was actually an interaction between Bones and Spock. Spock was fine but Bones had to dig into him a bit
Bones: You're blood pressure is practically nonexistent, assuming you call that green stuff in your veins blood
Spock: The readings are perfectly normal for me doctor, thank you. As for my anatomy being different from yours, I am delighted.
Whoa, do Bones and Spock hate each other? Which brings me to my next section


Bones and Spock hate each other! They didn't seem to be playfully jabbing at each other like long time pals, they really seemed to be going at it. I'll have to see if this keeps up.

I guess we learned that Sulu likes to fence.

Also Spock told us that his mother was human on a world full of unemotional Vulcans. I'm pretty sure this is the first time we learn this. In episode zero he said one of his ancestors was human, but of course it is not uncommon for things to change between the pilot and the normal run of a show.

Connection to The Next Generation

The second episode of the next generation did a version of this episode called The Naked Now. In that episode, Riker even makes a reference to the person who died fully clothed in their shower at the beginning of this episode. Even though I haven't seen that TNG episode in years I remember that reference from Riker,  I have never seen the episode it was referencing until today, so that was kind of neat. I wonder if this episode was always a favorite of Roddenberry's, or perhaps of the writers of TNG. It's interesting that they did a version of it so near the beginning of that show's run.

Great Stuff I don't know how to Categorize

There was a scene with some younger people playing 3D checkers next to a 3D chess board. Awesome



Let me know how you would rate it