Friday, May 3, 2013

Miri: TOS Season 1 Episode 8

Sorry for the late update. Lately I have been busier during the first half of the week than the last half, so I'm going to start pushing these posts live on Sunday instead of Wednesday.

Plot Synopsis

The episode opens with the enterprise getting an "Earth style" distress signal, but there are no colonies or vessels out this far. They get to the planet and the topography is exactly like Earth (it shows Africa and North America). Kirk says "Not our Earth, another Earth. It seems impossible, but there it is." It seems like a really weird choice to me. Why not just say it is a planet with an Earth-like atmosphere? Unless I missed it, they never explained why this planet is so much like Earth. For practical reasons, aliens basically look like humans and it's no big deal, why not just do the same thing and say this planet looks like Earth?

They beam down to the planet and realize the similarities to Earth continue, Kirk estimates that it is equivalent to approximately early 1900's Earth, Spock says he thinks it looks more like the 1960s, except the level of general decay suggests that there have been about 300 years of natural deterioration of anything human made. Again, to suggest that this is happening in this alternate Earth's equivalent decade as when they are filming seems like a peculiar choice. Especially with the decay it could have been any time. Perhaps they are trying to shine a light on the fact that everything looks like Earth and this is just a smirk at the audience.

Anyway, it appears that the planet is deserted, Spock points out that the distress signal is likely automated, but it is too soon to know for sure that there are no people remaining. As they are looking through a pile of junk Bones moves a tricycle and a somewhat disfigured guy runs out of a nearby building. He complains that it is broken and they say they will fix it, then he dies. 

They then search for additional people and come across Miri hiding in a closet. She is very afraid at first, but they eventually convince her that they are not going to hurt her. We soon learn that all of the grown ups (grups) got sick and died, and it seems they went somewhat insane and violent in the end (which is why Miri was so afraid of them at first). It turns out that 300 years ago the people of this planet were creating viruses intended to prolong life, it worked on children (making them age about a month  for every 100 years of real time passing) but it killed any adult. It is guessed that some hormone change in puberty is what makes the virus act differently in adults. Unfortunately, the away team is infected

The away team determines that they have about 7 days to find a cure, so they set up a lab and Bones and Spock work together finding a cure. In addition to the work they were doing on the planet, people on the enterprise were using the computer to help them solve the puzzle, but the kids on the planet distracted them and stole their communicators. Why would they do this? Miri's jealousy! She was very taken by Kirk, and he somewhat took advantage of this to get information from her. But when Janice showed some affection for Kirk, Miri riled up the kids and while they were taking Janice captive they also stole the communicators. All because Kirk was toying with the emotions of a young girl.

What he was saying made this scene creepy
While Kirk is rescuing Janice and convincing the kids that they will eventually grow up and die from the disease as well, Spock and Bones continue working on the cure. They have something that seems like it will work, but without the computer they can't know for sure. Spock says that it could be a vaccine or "death in a beaker". Bones figured they will die anyway if they don't take it so they might as well give it a shot (I'm with him). He takes the medicine and the scabs simply disappear before our eyes. A very star trek style effect, but really stupid looking in this case. Why not peel off the scab to show healthy skin underneath, having them disappear is just silly.

Anyway, now they have cured the disease and are free to beam back up to the enterprise. The episode ends on an amusing little interaction, Janice tells Kirk that Miri really loved him. Kirk responds that he never gets involved with older women.

Unnecessary Shirt Ripping

I don't know why this cracks me up so much, but Kirk's shirt get ripped again in a way that didn't seem necessary at all.

Episode Themes

Insufficient information: I really like the dilemma near the end where they potentially have a cure, but they don't know if it is instead deadly. Logically it is easy, you either take the medicine and potentially die, or don't take the medicine and surely die. But that doesn't mean it would be easy to up-end that thing.

Dangerous Technological Advancement: Obviously the people of this planet tried to extend their lives with Technology and they wound up dying because of it. This is a theme I typically enjoy.


We see more Spock and McCoy sniping at each other, but it has definitely turned into friendly banter rather than what appeared to be disdain the first time this came up. When they first were discovering that they were infected with the disease they discovered that Spock was immune, the following conversation took place
Kirk: Why is Spock immune?
Bones: They must not have an appetite for green blood.
Spock: Being a red blooded human has obvious disadvantages
Janice says she's always trying to get Kirk to look at her legs. She is distraught that he legs are now covered in scabs. This incident is what sets Miri off.



Overall I quite enjoyed this episode


  1. There is a considerable degree of horror to "Miri," and we see it from the beginning, particularly with the two onlies-turned-grups. It's on several levels as well and not limited simply to what happens to the onlies as they age. When Dr. McCoy tells the tricycle owner we want to help, his immediate and angry reply is "LIAR!!!" and we have to ask why would he disbelieve someone who is in no way belligerent.

    Later when Louise attacks Captain Kirk, Miri observes to him that Louise was only a bit older than she. Miri can't take what has happened to her friend and extrapolate. "Sometimes it happens," she says repeatedly, as if trying to comfort herself with the mistaken idea that it won't happen to her. Kirk was clearly correct in saying that there was no adult interpretation, that these were incredibly old children, headed for a fatal collision with puberty and could not see it coming.

    I'm not a big fan of horror as a genre, but from where I sit, there it is.

    As for Kirk "toying with her emotions," I suspect it is less that than taking a scared young woman and trying to let her know that 1) she has value and 2) maybe there's a reason not to be scared. He has to indulge in some tough love when confronting Miri with her own infection, but he supports her throughout, and I think that's notable, as is the quality of acting from both Darby and Shatner.

    1. You are probably right about Kirk and just trying to make Miri feel better. Certainly when he asked her to tidy up (I think he had her sweep or something) he was just trying to give her some busy work so she wouldn't feel useless. I think it was all colored a bit for me when he first told her she was pretty, it gave me the heebie jeebies

  2. If I had a nickel for every time Kirk or a member of his crew got a ripped shirt ...

    1. Especially when it's for no good reason. Hilarious!