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.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Shore Leave: TOS Season 1 Episode 15

Plot Synopsis

We start this episode with Kirk getting a massage from a Yeomen. They quickly reflect on how stressed everyone on board is because of all of the crazy stuff this ship has had to deal with. Everyone could use some shore leave, and we are in luck, they have found an uninhabited planet with earth-like vegetation which is perfect. A few people are sent down first to scout before letting the entire crew down. Bones is in this group and he sees a white rabbit with a pocket watch run by with Alice chasing behind.

Kirk comes down to the planet thinking that this is possibly a joke that Bones is playing on him, but soon he sees man sized rabbit tracks and realizes something really weird is going on. They cancel shore leave for everyone else still on the ship and investigate things further to try to figure out what is really going on. It turns out that things that people have been thinking about (an old friend, a tiger, a flock of birds, a samurai, etc) manifest and interact with them in the natural way.

At some point Spock calls down and says that there is some kind of energy field draining their power, it is interfering with communication somehow. At that time Kirk was talking to what appears to be an old girlfriend. He is clearly very smitten and doesn't want to leave and says that they don't currently have a good enough reason to leave. I must say the whole thing reminded me of an anglerfish, it certainly appears to be a trap of some kind and Kirk is too mesmerized to run away while he still can. Shortly thereafter Spock realizes that they have a short period of time left to act and beamed down while he still could.

Meanwhile Bones is with the Yeoman who had previously conjured up a change of clothes to a medieval princess looking thing. She conjured up a knight that was going to attack them. Bones refused to believe it was real and asserted that it couldn't hurt him, so he got run through and killed (I imagine this could have been a very dramatic scene had I not known he does indeed live on). Kirk and Spock come upon the scene and investigate. It turns out that the knight's armor was just filled up with a dummy, furthermore all of the stuff on the planet (everything they've been conjuring in addition to the plant life and so forth) all have the exact same cellular structure, it's all manufactured somehow.

Shortly thereafter they realize they while they have been talking both the knight and Dr. McCoy's body have disappeared, and then a guy shows up who says he's the caretaker of this planet. Also, McCoy shows up again, he says they have an amazing facility (I guess underground) where he was able to get patched up, and he has apparently figured out the trick to manifesting his fantasy because he came in tow with 2 beautiful women he remembers from some Cabaret. The caretaker says his race has built this planet as an amusement park where your fantasies can come true. You can relive memories or create any situation you want and enjoy yourself.  The people who run this planet didn't realize that the crew didn't know what they were doing. Kirk tries to ask him more details about their race, but he simply says that they aren't ready to know, but invites everyone down to the planet to have a good shore leave. Kirk says that everyone is going to have a great time.

Why the power drain?

My biggest issue with this episode is the power drain. When it was revealed that something was draining their power, interrupting communications and interfering with transporters, it really looked like they were in some kind of a trap. I'm pretty sure that was the whole point of it, provide some tension and try to lead you down the wrong path. This was of course heightened when bones was killed. But it turned out it was just a misunderstanding, but then why the power drain on the ship? It was never explained and doesn't really make a lot of sense. I was thinking that perhaps someone wanted the communication to be cut off, but certainly once they realized something was up and it wasn't fun anymore, they would change their mind, or at least other people there would want to have communication and it would counteract it. It kinda reminds me of the Corbomite maneuver, in trying to throw in a twist they made things not quite make sense.

Which Yeoman?

I really liked Yeoman Janices character, and was alarmed at the beginning when there was a different Yeoman doing what it would seem she should be doing. I checked wikipedia, and it looks like she's off the show, bummer! It seems that the reason she left are not completely clear, wikipedia gives a run down of them.

Budget running low?

As I was watching this episode, I was wondering if their effects budget was running low. There were not really any special effects here, the whole episode was pretty much just them running around some park. I've seen in commentaries of other shows that they sometimes do this to recoup the cost of really expensive episodes. Not that this is a bad thing necessarily, Data's day is one of those episodes, and it is among my favorites. I'm pretty sure the friends episode where no one is ready is one of those as well, and that is also a great episode.

Getting Kirk to the planet

At the beginning of the episode Kirk was not planning on taking shore leave with everyone else. There was an amusing interaction between him and Spock that convinced him to go. It was one of those things where you knew exactly where it was leading right from the start, but it didn't make it any less great to see play out.

Spock: Captain, there was something I did come to discuss

Kirk: Yes Mr. Spock, what is it?

Spock: I picked this up from Dr. McCoy's log. We have a crew member aboard showing signs of stress and fatigue, reaction time down 9-12%, associational rating norm -3

Kirk: That's much too low a rating

Spock: He's becoming irritable and quarrelsome, yet he refuses to take rest and rehabilitation, now he has that right, but we've found...

Kirk (interrupting): The crewman's right ends where the safety of the ship begins. That man will go to shore on my orders, what's his name?

Spock: James Kirk *smirk* Enjoy yourself captain.

Shore leave for Spock?

Early on in the episode, Spock declares that everyone in the crew needs shore leave, except for him of course. He says
On my planet, to rest is to rest, to cease using energy. To me it is quite illogical to run up and down on green grass using energy instead of saving it.
More ripped shirts

I don't know why this cracks me up so much, but it seems that at every opportunity Shatner rips his shirt and exposes his manly chest.

We also have a ripped shirt from the new Yeoman, and perhaps a continuity error, it seems to me that when she puts her uniform back on later the rip is on the wrong side, unless she put it on backwards or something



I was debating whether to give it a 6 or a 7 I guess I'll split the difference. It was a bit of fun, and kinda goofy, but it didn't seem terribly well thought out to me, and it lacked a bit of punch I would say.

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.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Balance of Terror: TOS Season 1 Episode 14

Plot Synopsis

We start this episode with a wedding on board where Kirk is officiating, but we get interrupted by a distress call of a ship under attack near the Romulan neutral zone. We soon learn that there was a bloody war between humans and Romulans about 100 years ago. They never made proper contact, we don't even know what they look like, but we eventually were able to negotiate a neutral zone. Either side venturing into the neutral zone would be an act of war. The Romulans are supposedly very good tacticians and relish war, so Kirk is reluctant to provoke them. Any act that could be interpreted as aggressive by the Enterprise could give the Romulans an excuse to go to war. Although we are also reminded that this is speculation as our real knowledge of them is limited.

Somehow they get a video feed from the Romulan ship. I wasn't completely clear how this happened, but I think it was from passive scanning, it was supposed to be a video feed from one part of the Romulan ship to another and the Enterprise picked up the signal (please correct me if I'm wrong). It turns out that the Romulans look a lot like Spock! There was one guy on the bridge that was very suspicious of Spock, even accusing him of being a spy under his breath (and later more forcefully I think, damn, I really need to write these the same day I watch the episode). Anyway, Kirk announces that he implicitly trusts Spock to address the potential thoughts everyone is having (or maybe the explicit accusation thrown around). Spock of course isn't phased by this, and uses the information to guess that the Romulans and Vulcans must have a common ancestor and uses the information to guess at their demeanor. Spock says that the Vulcans were very savage before they found logic and is assuming the Romulans have a streak of brutality.

This is also the first time the crew of the Enterprise had ever seen a cloaked ship. Spock mentioned that the Federation had tried this type of thing, but the power requirements made it impossible. He notes that the Romulans must have found a way to get around them, but they know that power will be a limiting factor for the Romulans. 

Although they can't see the ship, they can detect some signal from it, Kirk decides to follow it, but instead of plotting an intercept course he matches their movements perfectly so that they will appear as a sensor echo. Given the power requirements of the cloak, they figure that even their sensors will not be at full strength, and won't necessarily want to use up power doing full scans. There is a comet up ahead and Kirk figures that once they go through the tail it will give them a target and they can blow them up. As the Romulan ship goes gets to the comet Kirk runs around to the other side and gets ready to fire. But on the Romulan ship the "sensor echo" goes away. The Romulan commander figures out exactly what happened and changed course to avoid Kirk's assault. We have now seen that both Kirk and this Romulan commander are great tacticians.

There are some pretty interesting skirmishes, but ultimately Kirk wins. With the Romulan ship crippled he hails them and offers assistance. The Romulan acknowledges how similar they are and ponders that in another world they could be friends, but it can't happen here. He sets off his ship's self-destruct so the Enterprise can't take their technology. I guess this makes a lot of sense since they have a (potentially experimental) cloaking device.

Alien Races

We get to meet the Romulans in this episode, pretty cool. I'm not sure how much they had planned on these guys being a recurring enemy or not. Perhaps they had just thought it would be a good one-off enemy and they liked them and used later, or perhaps they had intended from this point to use them long term. Either way, it's neat to see where they started from


It was also really cool to see the cloaking device make its debut. As I mentioned above, they talked about how it takes a ton of power, which is a limiting factor. Here, the enterprise was able to detect some signal from it, I guess we can chalk that up to it being an early model. My memory is that in TNG a properly working cloaking device will mask all signals. Also, it is established  in this episode that they can't fire while cloaked, it takes too much power and must be turned off to power up weapons. 

Unique and Non-unique

There was a great little speech from Bones about how there are so many people out there like us (hence we are not unique), and yet there is only one exactly like us (hence we are unique). I love stuff like this
In this galaxy, there's a mathematical probability of three million earth type planets. And in all the universe, three million, million galaxies like this. And in all of that, perhaps more, only one of each of us.
Spock Describes the Romulan mindset 

Spock: If the Romulans are an offshoot of my Vulcan blood, and I think this likely, then attack becomes even more imperative

Bones: War is never imperative Mr. Spock

Spock: It is for them Doctor. Vulcan, like Earth, had its aggressive, colonizing period. Savage even by Earth standards. And if the Romulans retained this marshal philosophy, then weakness is something we dare not show



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.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Conscience of the King: TOS Season 1 Episode 13

Plot Synopsis

The Enterprise is called to a planet by Thomas (an old friend of Kirk's) who says he found a new way to make synthetic food. It turns out that he had just wanted to get Kirk there so he could see the lead actor in a play which is being put on by a travelling group of actors. Thomas thinks it is someone from their past, Kodos the executioner. He was originally thought that he had died 20 years ago, but the body was never found. Thomas is pretty sure that it is his, but he wants Kirk's opinion too. Kirk compares the two pictures, he seems thinks it is him, but he's not totally sure and he doesn't want to wrongly accuse somebody of something so terrible. It also turns out that the actor has no history before Kodos supposedly died, and it matches up almost to the day.

Thomas winds up killed, and Kirk arranges to take the acting company onto the Enterprise rather than having them use their normal transportation. It turns out that there are only 9 people who could identify Kodos, and all but 2 are dead, both are on the Enterprise, one is Kirk and the other is some low level officer. Someone tries to kill the low level officer with poison but he pulls through. It's not completely clear that it is attempted murder, it could have been an accident because of the type of poison used (it was lubricant they use in engineering or something, it could have reasonably been accidentally dropped in his drink), but that seems pretty unlikely. And of course the viewers know it was attempted murder

Eventually Kirk actually decides to confront Kodos and they have an interesting back and forth. Kirk has his read a sentence and they can analyze if it is really him. They can't get a complete answer, but it certainly seems like it is him. Later on, the crewman who is recovering overhears that the actor might be Kodos and he heads over to the play to kill Kodos as revenge, but Kirk is able to stop him but they make enough noise that the actors realize what is going on and there is a confrontation. It turns out that Kodos' daughter has been killing the other witnesses, Kodos is completely distraught over this. She did it to protect him, but he didn't want any more bloodshed in his name. Finally, she tries to kill Kirk and Kodos jumps in front of Kirk and takes this hit.


There's a funny conversation between McCoy and Spock. 

McCoy: Would you care for a drink Mr. Spock?

Spock: My father's race was spared the dubious benefits of alcohol

McCoy: Oh, now I know why they were conquered

In addition to simply being an amusing conversation, we learn that Vulcan was conquered at some point.

Crime and Punishment

There was a really great scene with McCoy, Spock and Kirk. Spock and McCoy are confronting Kirk about why he brought Kodos on board and why he hasn't accused him yet.

Spock: Almost certainly an attempt will be made on your life, why do you invite death

Kirk: I'm not, I'm interested in Justice.

McCoy: Are you? Are you sure it's not vengeance?

Kirk: No, I'm not sure, I wish I was.

...(skip a few lines)...

McCoy: What if you do decide he's Kodos? What then? Carry his head through the corridors? That won't bring back the dead Jim

Kirk: No, but they may rest easier.

This scene was fantastic, and I thought it brought a few things into focus. Why hasn't Kirk just accused the guy? There certainly seems to be plenty of evidence. Kirk says he's not sure, he needs more to know that this guy is actually Kodos. But why? It seems that Kirk might not turn him over to the courts for normal prosecution, perhaps he is going to take matters into his own hands. If that's the case he will need a crazy amount of evidence, he certainly doesn't want to kill an innocent person. If he's certain it's Kodos perhaps he will take the vengeance route rather than justice. And best of all, when he's confronted with this he admits that it is a possibility and he's not even sure what he will do. That last line seemed to be him justifying to himself that vengeance is a reasonable path.

Sheer Brutality or Tough Leadership?

Another very interesting thing that was brought up in this episode is what Kodos did twenty years ago. It seems that he was the leader of a colony and their food supply was nearly gone. They had 8000 people, but only enough food to feed 4000 of them before their resupply would get there. He decided to kill half of the people so the other half would live. Tragically, the resupply ships arrived ahead of schedule and the deaths were completely unnecessary. It would seem that he is a brutal monster.

But is it that simple? Suppose the supply ships had not been early. In that case, the 4000 people would have survived and the other 4000 who were killed would have died a painless death. If Kodos had not acted all 8000 people would have died a slow painful death. Without the surprising rescue, what he did would be brutal for sure, and yet necessary for the safety of the maximum number of people possible. (note: this is a little hard to say for sure with food, but I've seen this story play out with oxygen elsewhere, it's a bit more clear cut then, but the moral difficulty is the same) Not that what he did was necessarily the best solution, but to do nothing and let everyone die is obviously not the best answer either.

Of course, we also have the way he enacted this plan. There was some reference to the fact that he used some form of Eugenics. Kodos personally decided who lived and died. Certainly there are certain things you need to be careful of in such a plan, you need to make sure you keep enough people alive with all of the skills necessary to run the colony, but having one guy just pick and choose is obviously a problem.

Future Technology From the Past

One final thing I want to add here, there was a scene where they were comparing the voice output of the actor with the old voice output from Kodos, it was of course two big pieces of paper and they were checking the differences. I just love to see old visions of the future.



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.