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.

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