26 November 2011

Trek Review: Plato's Stepchildren & Wink of an Eye

Plato's Stepchildren

Uhura and Kirk's KissThe Enterprise is called to Platonius for a medical emergency where their leader, Parmen is close to death.

Parmen and his people model their way of life and society on the teachings of Plato. They also possess psychokinetic powers. McCoy is able to treat Parmen and is then asked to stay among the Platonian's.

McCoy refuses the offer but Parmen insists he will not be refused. Taking mind control of Kirk and Spock, Parmen attempts to intimidate and humiliate them to change McCoy's mind.

McCoy volunteers to stay in order to save his friends, to which Kirk refuses. An analysis of the Platonian's reveals that the food they consume gives them their powers. McCoy synthesises some for the landing party in order to repel the Platonians.

Uhura and Chapel are beamed down (against their will) and forced to participate in the evening's festivities where again, Parmen and his people take control of the crew in their very own lifesized puppet show. Parmen forces Kirk and Uhura to kiss and the same for Spock and Chapel.

The telekinetic abilities build inside Kirk and he is able to showdown against Parmen. Eventually winning with greater power and forcing Parmen to reform.

This episode is probably most popular for the fact it features the first interracial kiss screened on US television. It's a bit of a shame it happened in what was another 'weak' episode for the third season. While the actions of the Platonians might seem justified to themselves, it makes you wonder why they never had a physician among them and only needed one now, after 2000 years? The dancing and humiliation of Kirk and Spock was a painful enough scene, only to be repeated when Uhura and Chapel are brought down to the surface. While it was all to firstly persuade McCoy and then to entertain the Platonians, it made for an unpleasant episode.

Overall Rating: 5/10

Wink of an Eye

Deela dodges a phaser beamThe Enterprise responds to a distress call from planet Scalos. Upon beaming down, the landing party finds no evidence of any life on the planet, except an insect buzzing sound. While taking a water sample, one of the landing party vanishes before McCoy's eyes.

Returning to the Enterprise to investigate further, strange things begin to happen, including the medical cabinets in sickbay being rearranged and a strange device appearing in environmental control. It cannot be disconnected or destroyed.

The ship's computer determines that an unknown force is trying to take control of the Enterprise and the crew should negotiate for terms. Kirk takes a sip from his coffee and the world around him slows down - but he has actually been accelerated.

He meets Deela, the Scalosian Queen who has hyper-accelerated Kirk into their timeframe. Kirk attempts to shoot her with a phaser but Deela is able to step aside the firing beam. At environmental control, Kirk meets Compton who was also hyper-accelerated. Compton dies from a minor scuffle shortly after and Kirk logs a report in a medical lab once he realises what is going on.

The Scalosian's are victims of radiation poisoning which hyper-accelerated their culture and made them sterile. In order to procreate, they must abduct other aliens passing by. Meanwhile, Spock realises what the buzzing sounds are and McCoy discovers the report tape that Kirk recorded in the medical bay.

Spock, McCoy and Chapel synthesise a counteracting agent and Spock then drinks the Scalosian water sample to find and assist Kirk. Destroying the device in environmental control, Kirk and Spock transport Deela and the Scalosians back to the planet's surface. The counteracting agent works when Kirk takes it and Spock remains hyper-accelerated to repair the ship before returning to our timeframe.

I thought the idea behind this episode was an interesting one, for the simple concept of a hyper-accelerated race. The only thing I'm not sure on is how Kirk and Spock were finally able to destroy the refrigeration machine when it was protecting itself in earlier scenes of the episode.

In any case it was nice to have an episode show us something different this time around.

Overall Rating: 7/10

19 November 2011

Trek Review: For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky & The Tholian Web

For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky

Fabribi Old ManThe Enterprise comes across a giant generational ship disguising itself as an asteroid on a collision course with Daran V, a planet with a population of 3.724 million.

In the meantime, McCoy finds that he has a rare and terminal illness giving him less than a year to live. Kirk informs Starfleet immediately and asks for a replacement although McCoy insists he can still perform his duties properly.

Kirk, Spock and McCoy investigate the asteroid and are set upon by a 'welcoming party' who attack them. Brought below the surface, the landing party meet priestess Natira who introduces them to their world, Yonada and the Oracle who immobilises the team with an energy beam.

Natira appears to take a liking to McCoy, which Kirk suggests he use to learn more about the civilisation living on Yonada. Natira seeks permission from the Oracle to take McCoy as her husband, which is approved if McCoy were to submit to becoming Fabrini and having the Instrument of Obedience (a pain device) installed.

Eventually, McCoy learns of a book that reveals information about the Yonada. Spock is able to use this information to reprogram the Oracle and correct Yonada's course while discovering a vast medical database that includes a cure for McCoy's illness. Natira has her Instrument of Obedience removed and stays aboard Yonada to lead her people while McCoy returns to the Enterprise.

One of the better episodes of Season Three so far with the story of a generational ship on its way to a new world for its inhabitants. Also a nice episode for McCoy to see a bit more attention and romance for a change.

Overall Rating: 6/10

The Tholian Web

Enterprise trapped in a Tholian webThe Enterprise attempts to rescue the starship Defiant when it is set upon by a Tholian ship and Captain Kirk appears lost forever.

The starship Defiant is discovered in a state of interphase, where it appears but sensors cannot detect it. A landing party from Enterprise head over to find the crew all dead, the result of an apparent mutiny. The crew appear to have suffered insanity before killing each other. The Defiant soon begins to dissolve and the landing party prepare to beam back to Enterprise. All except Kirk make it back.

Spock deduces the Defiant and Kirk have slipped into a parallel universe and interphase occurs when the two universes touch. He calculates when the next interphase should occur but the arrival of a Tholian ship changes everything. The Tholian's ask the Enterprise to withdraw from Tholian territory, but agree to allow them to stay until the Defiant reappears based on Spock's instructions.

At the calculated point, the Defiant does not appear and the Tholian's attack the Enterprise. In sickbay, an officer lashes out and is subdued by hypospray, McCoy determines that the area of space they are in affects the human nervous system. Spock orders for the Tholian ship to be disabled, which in turn sends the Enterprise adrift. Another Tholian ship arrives, connects with the original ship and they begin constructing an energy web around the Enterprise. Spock realises if the web is completed, there will be no escape.

While Spock assumes command, images of Kirk floating through the ship begin appearing to crew members. Realising Kirk is still trapped in interphase, Spock and Scotty calculate the next time he will appear and attempt a rescue, meanwhile McCoy finds a way to counteract the affects of the space around them on the crew. At the next interphase, Kirk is beamed aboard and while repelling a Tholian tractor beam, the Enterprise is propelled out of the Tholian web.

On its own, this is a decent episode - it is made all the more interesting with the follow-up/prequel Enterprise episodes 'In a Mirror, Darkly' which tell us where the Defiant ended up after the events of this episode. It's hard to determine the purpose of the Tholian web except to slowly trap a starship - the Tholian's must have more effective weapons than this. Again, the before mentioned episodes from Enterprise show the Tholian web in action.

The Defiant is the third Constitution class starship the Enterprise encounters with her entire crew dead. The other two include the Constellation and the Exeter and we shouldn't forget the Intrepid which wasn't shown on screen. The fact that McCoy is able to find a way to counteract the effects makes you wonder what the Chief Medical Officer aboard the Defiant was doing - all too often it's only the Enterprise and her crew that can overcome these things - I guess that's why we have a show about their adventures!

My only complaint is that the Enterprise's escape from the web isn't explained too well and just seems to happen. In remastered form, this episode looks great with the new effects for the Defiant and Tholian ships.

Overall Rating: 6.5/10

08 November 2011

Trek Review: Specture of the Gun & Day of the Dove

Spectre of the Gun

Landing Party in TombstoneThe Enterprise is on a mission to establish contact with the Melkotians. The crew come upon a warning buoy telling them to withdraw from Melkotian space. Kirk continues on course and beams down with a landing party on Melkot. There, confronted by a Melkotian they are to be punished for not listening to the warning buoy.

Taking an event from Kirk's mind and recreating it, the landing party find themselves in the old west. Each crew member becomes on of the Clanton's, one of two factions fighting for control of the town of Tombstone. Their enemies are the Earp's and no amount of convincing them the crew are really Kirk, Spock, McCoy etc appear to work.

Things don't go so well for the landing party as Chekov is shot and all of the plans devised by Spock & McCoy don't work - even when they should. Spock realises that nothing they are experiencing is real and it must be in their minds. Facing the Earp's at the O.K. Corral for a shootout, Spock uses a mind-meld on each crew member to convince them the bullets are not real. With this mental discipline in place, they are able to survive the Earp's attack.

With their ammunition gone, Kirk attacks the lead Earp but does not kill him. The crew are returned to the Enterprise, including Chekov who is unharmed. The Melkotian buoy destroys itself and a message from the Melkotians is received, complimenting Kirk for not killing Earp when he had the chance and extending an invitation for the Federation to establish relations.

A fun episode to return to the Wild West, even with partially finished scenery which gets around the budgetary constraints placed on the third season. Chekov gets the girl again in this episode, but dies for it! There are some humourous moments, including some odd acting by the Earp's, maybe that's how it was done in those days - it just seems a little corny by today's standards.

You would have to wonder if after all that effort, are the Melkotians really a race to be associated with the Federation?

Overall Rating: 5/10

Day of the Dove

Entity on Beta XII-AResponding to a distress call the Enterprise investigates Beta XII-A. On the surface the landing party find no colony or debris from any that might have existed until the Enterprise is approached by a Klingon Battlecruiser that mysteriously explodes in orbit.

A Klingon landing party beam down to Kirk's location and their leader, Kang takes claim to the Enterprise for destroying his ship and over 400 crew. Kirk gains the upper hand with a delayed transport that allows him to have a security team on hand when they beam up. Unknowingly, they also bring a strange entity aboard ship that feeds on the anger of people.

Detained, the Klingon's plan to take over the ship, but Kang's wife and science officer, Mara believes that 40 vs 430 will end badly for the Klingons. Suddenly, nearly 400 of the Enterprise crew become trapped, all electronic weapons are turned into swords and other ancient weaponry and the Klingon's are able to make their move.

Spock is eventually able to track the entity aboard the ship, but not before Kang takes control of engineering and the Enterprise is sent hurtling out of the galaxy at high warp. While a battle to the death seems inevitable, Kirk attempts to convince Mara, captured by an influenced Chekov that the entity exists and that both crews need to work together to remove it from the ship.

Using the Original Series' only example of intra-ship beaming, Kirk and Mara beam directly to Engineering to convince Kang. A fight breaks out, but eventually good spirits and happy thoughts banish the entity out of the ship, just before the dilithium crystals were to be depleted.

Good conquers over evil is the obvious message in this episode. It's a good Klingon episode with Kang returning in a later Star Trek series. Some events aren't explained, such as why did the Klingon ship explode on its own (unless it was caused by the entity, but the entity was on the planet) and was there really a colony on Beta XII-A? If so, surely Kirk and crew would know about it? The opening scene is echoed in TNG's Season 3 episode 'The Best of Both Worlds' in some ways.

I'm happy to give a reasonable episode rating for a change,

Overall Rating: 7/10