TOS: S1E26: “Errand of Mercy”

In which we meet the gold lamé-wearing Klingons, tensions mount and threaten to turn a cold war hot, and energy beings are always incomperably terrible at maximizing their own utility function.

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TOS: S1E25: “The Devil in the Dark”

In which McCoy is an X and not a Y, the true source of 24th century post-scarcity is revealed, and I valiantly resist making AC/DC jokes.

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TOS: S1E24: “This Side of Paradise”

In which Spock loves, McCoy drinks a mint julep, and good old human anger is once again the cure to all mental control effects.

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TOS: S1E23: “A Taste of Armageddon”

In which Starfleet’s Ambassadorial staff are a bunch of morons, lots of things are brought up that are best forgotten, and Kirk is surprisingly rationalist  – multiplying, even if he won’t shut up. Continue reading

TOS: S1E22: “Space Seed”

In which we learn of the Eugenics war, McCoy’s unwillingness to report being attacked by a patient, and the answer to the age-old question: Khan Noonien Singh? Not a note in the whole episode.

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TOS: S1E21: “The Return of the Archons”

In which Sulu wears a hat, cults are roundly denounced, and Kirk shouts a surprisingly sophisticated thesis on the difference between what a society thinks it wants and what’s actually good for it.

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TOS: S1E20: “Court Martial”

In which we examine the continuous relevance of books in an increasingly computerized age, particularly in legal matters where intent is everything: A Time To Kirk, The Devil’s AdvoKirk, and To Kirk A Mockingbird.

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TOS: S1E19: “Tomorrow Is Yesterday”

In which I open a bottle of BenRiach 12-year, Kiirk gets pornographic malware, and we see the least coherent theory of time travel ever.

Something something flying saucer section... ehh, fuck it.

Something something flying saucer section… ehh, fuck it.

We’re opening on a US Airforce base. Since all of those were destroyed in the Eugenics Wars, we can presume this is either one of those ‘duplicated earth’ episodes or this is the payoff from the time travel method we discovered in “The Naked Time.” The Air Force appears to have discovered the Enterprise on their radar. And it appears to be teetering back and forth through the sky like it’s drunk.

I never noticed that in the opening credits there appears to be a hurricane covering most of the northern hemisphere of a desert world. What’s up with that?

The Enterprise seems to have been caught near a “black star” or more probably a black hole and done another slingshot maneuver like in “The Naked Time” (Ha! Called it!) to wind up, in Kirk’s words “here, wherever we are.” Helpfully, as soon as the ship is in good shape Kirk orders starfleet command notified so they can update their maps. Presumably therefore, in the 23rd century they have yet to master sensors that operate at high warp. But when they call Starfleet, all they get is the evening news about the first manned trip to the moon. Extremely topical.

It’s worth noting at this point that anything the Enterprise does that affects the past will be altered by any events which alter Kirk’s life. I’m looking at you, JJ Abrams-universe.

The Temporal Prime Directive doesn’t exist yet, though, so Kirk has the pilot of a US Air Force jet beamed aboard. I suppose it’s better than accidentally

Unless the Air Force has standing-cockpit planes I'm not aware of...

Unless the Air Force has standing-cockpit planes I’m not aware of…

killing someone by tearing their fighter jet to pieces, but still. And the Transporter can apparently reconfigure his bone structure in the matter stream. This is an indicator of some of the next-level transporter magic we’re going to be seeing down the road. Kirk is trying to be all gentle and understanding and the fighter pilot is justifiably terrified and responding as if he expects to be taken prisoner.

On the lift ride to the bridge, Captain James Kirk gets to explain some details about the Federation to the pilot, Captain John Cristopher. There are 12 Constitution-class ships in the fleet and Starfleet is apparently called the United Earth Space Probe Agency. This is not as punchy and I can see why they changed it. There’s a cute moment as they step off the lift, Captain Christopher roundly denouncing the existence of ‘little green men’ and Spock agreeing. We have to remember that Captain Christopher is from a world still waiting to see if the two ‘winners’ of World War II are going to destroy each other. The idea of a United Earth and military service for aliens is exactly the kind of jarring, hopeful note that Star Trek is about. Checkov hasn’t shown up yet, but Uhura and Sulu are prominent bridge officers to constantly remind the viewer that this is a multiethnic crew that represents all of Earth, and beyond.

Spock gives Kirk a brief lesson on temporal paradox, they all meet up in his

"I'm sorry, gentlemen I... thought I closed my porn before I... showed up for duty this morning."

“I’m sorry, gentlemen I… thought I closed my porn before I… showed up for duty this morning.”

quarters, and the Computer starts talking sexy at Kirk in front of company. I’m not even joking. He’s making a log entry and it responds “Computed and recorded, dear” in Majel Barret’s sultriest tones. We can presume this is some kind of malfuction either due to the damage, the time warp, or some sort of high-level ARPA electronic warfare. As a veteran of Next Generation, though, I have to wonder if the computer just gained sentience. Kirk, however, is having none of it.

"I swear, I don't go to these websites."

“I swear, I don’t go to these websites.”

"It would be improper to accuse my captain of spanking it while on duty in front of a temporal native. Therefore I will roll my eyes at you, sir."

“It would be improper to accuse my captain of spanking it while on duty in front of a temporal native. Therefore I will roll my eyes at you, sir.”

Nope, I was wrong. Apparently, the last time the Enterprise was in for maintinance, the engineers didn’t think the computer had enough of a personality. Since their entire engineering team was female and Kirk probably tried to bone half of them, this is clearly some form of elaborate revenge. But in the midst of this levity, Kirk breaks the news to Captain Christopher that they can’t let him go home. Not that they have anywhere to go, either. CUE DRAMATIC HORNS AND COMMERCIAL BREA- oh wait, Netflix. Carry on.

Oh well. Good thing they have to return him because he has another son who’ll be instrumental in the space program. I guess they’ll have to send him back, either sworn to secrecy or as a conspirator, and remove all evidence of their presence. Looks like conspirator is going to be the order of the day, so that’s nice and heartwarming, at least. Almost makes up for Kirk and Sulu getting caught erasing the evidence and accidentally kidnapping an MP. This is rapidly turning into one of those plans where they kidnap everyone who notices that they’re kidnapping people. Hey, I saw a clip from this epiosode this morning in a music video I remember from years ago. It’s just a feel-good video.

Trust me, these screen shots are not doing the episode justice.

Trust me, these screen shots are not doing the episode justice.

This episode has some of the best looks so far. It’s a comedy of errors and whatever else he is, The Shat is very expressive. They’re really getting into the stride of it by this point – over the last five episodes we’ve had a good mix of heavy episodes and silly ones, with most of the teething problems sorted out except McCoy’s obstinate refusal to be anything like a rational person. This interrogation scene makes me really want to skip ahead to Star Trek IVThe Voyage Home but I will be good and get through it all. For you, dear reader. All for you.

This episode also marks the first time we see anything resembling a replicator. Presumably it was installed when the Enterprise got the pornographic desktop app installed, because up until now food has only come from the galley and has mostly been gelatinous protein cubes.  Now they can make chicken soup in the transporter room. However, it looks like they need to use removable memory cards to load in the replicator pattern.

I’m not sure I follow Spock’s logic that the same thing that sent you back in time will also send you forward, but I guess that’s why he’s the Vulcan and I’m not. As they make a course for home, Captain Christopher, waiting to be transported back to Earth before the entire episode happened, gets to be the first man past Mercury.

New desktop background.

New desktop background.

 

TOS: S1E18: “Arena”

In which the Enterprise doesn’t bother to use sensors and nearly loses the entire command staff, we see 23rd century defensive weaponry, and what the hell, I’m watching Star Trek not MacGyver.

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TOS: S1E17: “The Squire of Gothos”

In which an uninhabitable planet has a castle, the crew taunt a child by taking away his green plastic army men, and we get a real sense of who Kirk was as a child.  Continue reading