The Vietnam war analogy here could not be clearer. Mainly because Kirk takes the little time out two-thirds of the way through the mission to make it painfully clear through a direct reference. But that said it’s a pretty sophisticated analogy for the time (1968 in this case). Kirk is pretty clearly stuck with no good options – arm his side, violating the prime directive and causing an escalating war, or do nothing and cede the planet to the Klingons and leave his side to die.
I found the whole ‘women are seductive and will manipulate you’ side plot an unwanted distraction by comparison, clearly an example of Star Trek’s relatively unevolved attitude towards women (oh, and another example of the midriff rule in action).
48 down, 689 to go. Now 14 episodes behind, or 415 minutes (depending on how you’re counting).
Another slow developing episode, which turns out to really be about McCoy and Spock’s relationship. This is the first time that the real complexities have been clear, and it seems like this is an important building block in the relationship that can be seen in the Star Trek films. The competition between McCoy and Spock to volunteer for the suicide mission is great, and McCoy’s emotions as he follows Spock on the mission are quite believable.
47 down, 690 to go.
So here’s my problem with this episode – there couldn’t be a clearer example of the importance of strictly adhering to the non-interference Prime Directive. The damage that can be done to a culture by even relatively innocuous material (OK, fine, maybe the extent of the mimicry is a little unbelievable) is extensive. But does this influence Kirk in his later decisions? I bet not…
But the episode is tremendous fun, and Spock does look great in a suit. Shatner Also clearly had a fantastic time chewing the scenery when posing as a gangster.
46 down, 691 to go.
Whoops, that was a little bit of a hiatus. Sorry! Between holidays, work and weddings (OK, and Mass Effect 2) no time for Star Trek until today. So I’m now 18 episodes behind. Better get a move on…
Gamesters is a nice episode a little bit undermined by not really having enough content to fill the whole episode. Having three immortal brains force Kirk to fight for sport was nice, but more could have been done – maybe force him to fight Chekhov, for instance. The highlight was actually the cutaway scenes, with Spock defending his decisions against McCoy and Scotty. That section really highlighted Spock’s relationships outside of Kirk, and gave the episode something a bit different.
45 down, 692 to go.
A beloved Star Trek classic. Does it hold up?
I think so. It’s mainly an episode played for laughs, but the laughs are pretty good ones. The story rolls along nice and quickly, and there are some nice character moments for Mr Scott.
(One of he surprising things from watching all this Star Trek is how big a part Scotty has. By stereotype he does little other than say ‘the engines cannae take it’, but he’s gotten quite a few substantial plot lines so far).
The tribbles aren’t exactly the greatest special effect ever – they really needed Graeme Garden from the Goodies to show them how to bring a small ball of fur to life.
And I’m not sure Mr Scott’s beaming the tribbles onto the Klingon ship was much better than sending them into space – the Klingons, after all, are going to hunt down and kill every single one of them.
One thing I am getting sick of: the ‘Russians invented everything’ joke from Chekhov. It just makes him seem like an idiot.
44 down, 693 to go.
The inevitable ‘Jack the Ripper’ episode.
I thought it all went pretty well, really. The usual problems with mystery episodes like this is that you know the regular cast member is innocent. But they did a good job here in making Scotty look not just plausible as a suspect, but positively guilty.
Things went off the rails a little bit in the final act, once the identity of the killer is known and McCoy is injecting everyone with happy juice to prevent fear and anger. It just wasn’t as interesting as what had gone before in the episode.
43 down, 694 to go.