The Unholy Inception of ShatnerKhan II

Today I was on a videoconference with the Board of Directors of the ShatnerKhan Corporation.  These august gentlemen and I began the initial planning of this great enterprise.  I must tell you, just knowing that ShatnerKhan II would happen despite the COVID-19 Plague was indeed exciting.  It would be like a shining beacon in the inky blackness of cultural hiatus that this quarantine has engendered.  It would bring hope and purpose to a weary nation.  It might even save countless lives by giving these poor souls the will to throw off the deadly clutches of this sinovirus.  “Ad astra per aspera.”

So, it was kind of fun talking about something so frivolous and light hearted.  No life and death diseases, no do or die elections just the foibles of that demigod of bad acting William Shatner.  We committed ourselves to a much more organized effort.  As you might remember ShatnerKhan I was an impromptu gathering with almost no planning, preparation or notice.  And most importantly not nearly enough time was spent on the menu for the event.  For as I’ve often stated ShatnerKhan is mostly an excuse to eat highly indigestible but exquisitely delicious and altogether splendiferous food.  So, I extracted this promise that the first thing to be fixed was the menu.  I am a reasonable man and will not prevent whatever personal favorites the Board requests.  All I ask is that dill pickles, corned beef, pastrami, pumpernickel bread, potato salad and good brown mustard are lavishly provided.  There was talk of all kinds of delicacies but we’ll see what they decide on.  I know that sausage and peppers, eggplant parmigiana and panko coated drumsticks were mentioned but I also know that Chinese food was listed at one point.  Well, at such an intellectually challenging event the sages need to keep up their strength somehow.

Moving onto the agenda we discussed how best to avoid burnout from the sheer volume of Shatneriana that was available for review.  It was decided that we would extract the quintessence of Shatner goodness from each historical record and in this way reduce the time needed to review it.  This will require great amounts of preparatory work.  And it will also require much greater technical skill than is currently at the disposal of the Board.  For I must confess that when it comes to digital expertise, we are blithering idiots.  But this aspect I’ve taken on myself to explore.  But the idea is to have a live stream that will capture us bloviating on the various scenes we are critiquing.  Of course, to maintain anonymity we will be masked.  I suggested Shatner masks.  I understand that the mask that the Michael Myers character wore in Halloween was actually based in some way on William Shatner’s face.  Whether this is true or not I have also been tasked to look into the masks and other props needed for the event.  It was suggested that I find a three-dimensional chess board and a Vulcan lyre like the ones that Spock employed during various episodes of the original series.  While I’m at it why don’t I look for Shatner’s missing hairline?  But I digress.

There was a discussion about inviting the great man himself to this great homage to his name.  But we were reminded that he’s eighty-nine and also fabulously wealthy.  But we may invite him anyway.  My guess is he won’t be too pleased by our take on his career and talents.  But who knows?  I thought maybe we should contact Kevin Pollack.  After all he’s fairly famously for imitating Shatner.  As you can see, bull was flung pretty freely at this meeting but it was quite stimulating talking about the event.  As far as timing the earliest it would be held is midsummer.  But based on the current crisis it might also be closer to September.  When asked by the Board if the readers of Orion’s Cold Fire could be a source for ideas for the gathering, I said I thought it very well might be.  I know of at least one reader who has shown enthusiasm for the idea and I think there is the potential for a collaborative effort where local groups could participate in the live streaming and eat equally indigestible, delicious and splendiferous food.  Of course, they’ll have to provide their own masks and food but the spirit of bright camaraderie will more than pay for the foodstuffs needed.

So, I’m throwing it out to the audience.  If you have any ideas practical or ridiculous that should be brought to the attention of the Board and if you have interest in remote link up during such an absurd venture leave a comment or send an e-mail and I’ll make sure you’re kept in the loop when any actual information is available.

Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 1 Episode 27 – The Alternative Factor

I want to start by stating, unequivocally, that this episode is easily the worst episode so far in the series.  It’s as if they forgot to order a story and then just had one of the stage hands write it at the last minute.  It’s really that bad.

The Enterprise is near an uninhabited planet when suddenly a huge surge of energy followed by a “winking out of mass from the nearby planet tells Spock that some sort of rift in time-space has occurred.  And after it occurs the sensors pick up a life form on the planet and Spock and Kirk beam down to find out what it is.

They find a man running around on some desert mountains screaming about a monster that has killed off his world.  He falls off the cliff and is brought back to the Enterprise to receive medical attention and to be questioned on the strange phenomena associated with his presence.

When he comes to the man whose name is Lazarus tells Kirk that he is chasing after a monster in the likeness of a man that destroyed his world.  He goes on and on about it and acts pretty crazy.  Kirk agrees to go down to the planet with Lazarus and search for the monster.  While on the planet Lazarus claims to see the monster and goes running into the hills looking for him.   While this is going on some really cheesy special effects occur that are supposed to reflect the meeting up of two universes; one matter and one anti-matter.  Basically, an image of the trifid nebula is shown superimposed over a negative image of Lazarus fighting with someone.  It’s remarkably bad.  Eventually Lazarus shows up again and warns Kirk of a large rock falling down the mountain and then Lazarus falls down the mountain again.  Remarkably he survives again and once again is dragged back to the Enterprise to be patched up and interrogated.

When Lazarus hears that the Enterprise has dilithium crystals he demands to be given some of them to allow him to recharge his ship and find his enemy.  After being refused we see Lazarus stealing the crystals in the engineering department. When Kirk locates Lazarus, he denies that he stole the crystals and claims the monster stole them.  In the next scene Lazarus starts a fire in engineering as a diversion and steals more crystals then beams down to the planet.

Now Kirk is really ticked off so he beams down to the planet and finds Lazarus installing the crystals in his ship but just as Kirk reached the open ship he is transported into the other universe.  There he meets the monster.  It’s an identical version of Lazarus except he isn’t a raving lunatic.  This anti-matter version of Lazarus explains that he stole the first dilithium crystals and he plans to trap Lazarus in an interdimensional chamber that connects the universes but once they are there together, he intends to seal off both exits and remain trapped with his insane twin for “all time.”  By doing this he will save both universes from being destroyed by the matter/anti-matter annihilation that would occur if the two Lazari met in one universe.

Kirk agrees to the plan and goes back to the crazy Lazarus and after a truly pathetic excuse for a wrestling match throws Lazarus through the portal.  They go back to the Enterprise and Spock declares that everything is back to normal and both universes are safe.  Kirk ends off by saying, “yes for you and me, but what of Lazarus, what of Lazarus?  Imagine being trapped for all eternity with a madman at your throat.”

What can I say?  The plot stinks, the dialog stinks and it looks like they shot the whole thing in a couple of hours.  The best part of the episode is when Kirk speaks to the sane Lazarus and he explains in two minutes what the whole mish mash of a show is supposed to mean.  If only he could have met up with him at the beginning of the show, we could have skipped the whole thing and saved forty minutes that could have been better spent cleaning the dust off my computer monitor.  As for the Shatner mockery let’s say the “what of Lazarus” thing and the wrestling match were pretty mockable the best I can do for this whole thing is 2 // 6.  It should be avoided by all except Star Trek aficionados.

 

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Ex Machina – A Science Fiction Movie Review

This British production follows the story of Caleb Smith, a programmer working for Blue Book which is a Google-like company headed by a reclusive genius named Nathan Bateman.  Nathan has summoned Caleb to perform a Turing test on his female robot Ava.  A Turing test is the concept of an artificial intelligence passing itself off as human to an observer.  Ava has a human face, hands and feet attached to a body that is mostly mechanical.  Caleb quickly becomes emotionally attached to the robot and loses all objectivity for his job.  Nathan is a volatile, domineering personality who quickly bursts out into rage when anything goes against his plans.  Caleb slowly becomes convinced that Nathan is a kind of monster.

The story takes place in the claustrophobic “home” that Nathan has built in a remote mountain estate that can only be reached by helicopter.  We quickly see that nothing is at it seems.  Nathan is not trying to get Caleb’s opinion on Ava, he’s studying their interaction.  In this story we see that each of the corners of the triangle is manipulating the other two.  Caleb slowly finds out the dark details of Nathan’s project to produce artificial humans and I guess we’re supposed to sympathize with Ava and despise Nathan.  But it’s a funny thing.  By the end of the movie I feel the opposite.  Maybe it’s because I’m so tired of Alexa, my GPS and all the other annoying female artificial voices now filling our world.  I was rooting for Nathan.  I wanted him to shut down Ava and build a male robot that would just do its job and not complain.  After all, in the world we live in 99.999% of humanity are just wage slaves who toil away for the better part of our waking lives.

I was relieved to discover that there at least wouldn’t be any robot human sex scenes but there was some nudity involving an ancillary character.  Camera Girl chided me for watching robot sex movies.  Well this was worse than that.  It was sort of a robot revenge chick flick.  Female empowerment movies are really not my bag.  And female robot empowerment movies even less so.  I’m giving this thing a thumbs down.  If you are less sensitive about this sort of thing you might enjoy this movie but although some facets of the movie were interesting all in all I’d give it a pass.

 

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Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 1 Episode 26 – Errand of Mercy

Kirk and Spock beam down to the planet Organia to attempt to convince the inhabitants that they need to permit the Federation to

Defend their planet against the Klingons.  The Enterprise destroys an attacking Klingon ship but Kirk gives Sulu orders to retreat and bring the Federation fleet if a Klingon fleet appears.  And that is exactly what happens.  Now Kirk and Spock are trapped on the planet as a Klingon army occupies the town.  The Organians are completely non-violent and completely unconcerned by Kirk’s dire description of what life under a Klingon occupation would entail.  But they are anxious to protect Kirk and Spock and disguise them to prevent them being killed as Federation agents.

The Klingon Commander attempts to intimidate the Organians but is aggravated by their placid and agreeable manner.  It becomes apparent that both Kirk and Kor despise the Organians for their passivity and what they think is lack of courage.  Kirk and Spock begin guerrilla operations against the Klingons but they are quickly discovered and the Organians reveal their identities to forestall the Klingons using their mind sifter on the two officers to learn the truth.  Apparently, the mind sifter would also destroy their minds in the process of reading them.  Kor brings Kirk into his office and congratulates Kirk for his legendary exploits as the Enterprise’s captain.  He gives Kirk the chance to reveal information on the Star Fleet’s location.  But does not begrudge Kirk his resistance but merely tells him that he and Spock will be destroyed the following day under the action of the mind sifter.

While Kirk and Spock anticipate their fate suddenly the head Organian, Ayelborne, opens their cell door and offers them escape.  Confused but with no other choice they follow him.  After another futile attempt at convincing the Organians to resist the occupation, Kirk and Spock return to the Klingon headquarters with the plan of kidnapping Kor to force the Klingons to stop the mass killings until the Federation fleet can arrive.

When they break in on Kor in his office he seems unafraid and he reveals that his office contains a surveillance camera and immediately four Klingons enter with weapons drawn.  Kirk and Spock aim at the Klingons but simultaneously both the Klingons and the Federation officers fling their weapons away as if they were red hot.  Immediately following, we shift the scene to the Enterprise bridge where Sulu is preparing to give orders for the Federation fleet to fire on the Klingon fleet.  But simultaneously all the crew jump out of their seats as if they were in pain.

The Organians enter the office and reveal to both sides that they are not backward villagers but highly advanced beings who have outgrown the need for material bodies.  These advanced beings inform the Klingons and Kirk and Spock that they will not permit the war.  The Organians announce that on both Klingon and Earth an image of himself is announcing to both sides that they will not be permitted to go to war.  Both Kirk and Kor are highly incensed that the Organians would dare to interfere with their war.  Finally, Kor laments to Kirk that it is a pity it was prevented because it would have been a glorious war.

Back on the Enterprise Kirk feels embarrassed at how bloodthirsty he acted in front of the Organians.  Spock defends him saying that there is no shame in being less advanced than a race with a million years more evolution than humans possess.

This episode’s story is simple but reasonably well done.  Also, the dialog between Kirk and Spock has several funny exchanges.  When Kirk asks Spock how likely they are to succeed in their attempt to kidnap Kor, Spock replies that it is hard to be precise but he calculated the odds as 7,429.7 to 1.  Kirk reflected for a second and asks if he didn’t think that was close enough and Spock replies that he always endeavors to be precise.   On the merits I’ll give it a 7.

On the Shatner mockery scale there is much to enjoy here beyond the usual shoulder rolls and grunting.  When Kirk is explaining to the Organians the danger of being conquered by the Klingons, Shatner’s inflection is almost identical to the way it was parodied so wonderfully by Kevin Polack in his classic imitation of Shatner.  For that reason, I give this episode a 7 // 8.

Kung Fu Hustle – A Movie Review

I’m not normally a martial arts movie afficionado but an old friend was staying at “The Compound” and he took advantage of a Netflix account to watch quite a few of them.  One of those films was a movie from 2004 called Kung Fu Hustle and because of the fantasy aspects of the film I decided I could stretch a definition and do a review here.

First of all, this movie is in Chinese with subtitles.  As far as a genre I guess you could call it a martial arts fantasy comedy.  So, if any of those categories aren’t for you then you should skip this movie.  Stephen Chow is the producer, director, writer and star.

It is 1930’s Shanghai.  Chow plays Sing, a young man who has become disillusioned with the world because of his attempt as a child to defend a poor mute girl named Fong from some bullies.  He tried  using the Buddhist Palm fighting style that he had learned by reading a pamphlet that he bought from a beggar.  But he was beaten badly and because of this experience when he grows up he decides to turn to a life of crime.  He attempts to shake down some poor people by telling them he is part of the dreaded Axe Gang that rules the city through violence and terror.  When the peasants beat him up instead, he signals for the real Axe Gang and an epic battle ensues between the scores of Axe gangsters and the poor people of Pig Sty Alley.  As it turns out three of the peasants are coincidentally kung fu masters.  Behind their leadership the peasants defeat the gang.

Now Sum, the leader of the gang captures Sing and promises to kill him after the gang war is completed for causing such a terrible rout of his men.  But by some mysterious skill Sing escapes.  Meanwhile Sum hires two magical harp players.  Apparently, their music generates flying knives and using these they kill the three kung fu masters.  Now we meet up with two of the comic characters of Pig Sty Alley, the Landlord and his shrewish wife.  They also turn out to be kung fu masters and they avenge the slain men and defeat the harpists.

Meanwhile Sum decides that Sing can be a valuable tool because of his abilities as an escape artist.  He hires him to free a man called the Beast from an insane asylum.  He does this and, of course, the Beast is a kung fu master and a dangerous lunatic.  He attacks the Landlord and Landlady and fights them to a draw.  Sum orders Sing to help the Beast kill the husband and wife but Sing has a change of heart and attacks the Beast.  The Beast pummels the young man to a pulp and the Landlord flees with his wife and Sing’s unconscious body.

Somehow the tremendous beating triggers some kind of magical transformation in Sing and he not only completely regenerates but acquires the skills of, you guessed it, a Buddhist Palm kung fu master!  He squares off against the entire Axe Gang and the Beast.  After a titanic battle that involves flying through the sky and invisible forces that can knock down buildings, he defeats the Beast who then begs to be allowed to be Sing’s pupil.  Finally, in the last scene Sing meets up with Fong who is now an ice cream seller and I guess they live happily ever after.

You’ll probably say this is a ridiculous plot and it is.  But the action scenes are very well done, the comedy is funny and the story keeps your attention.  The martial arts scenes are somewhat reminiscent of the choreographed fight scenes in the Matrix.  If you aren’t completely opposed to a movie in this genre then I’d highly recommend you give this one a look.

Looper – A Science Fiction Movie Review

Looper is a 2012 time-travel film noir starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis both as a character named Joe.  The premise of the movie is that in the year 2074, time travel has been invented but it is illegal.  It is used by criminals to dispose of people by sending them thirty years into the past where killers called loopers execute them in exchange for bars of silver.  The kicker is that thirty years later the loopers are sent back into the past to be executed by their younger selves.  This is called closing the loop and once the looper kills his older-self he is retired with a golden payday and heads off to enjoy his money in peace for thirty years.  I know, this is a seriously goofy plot device.

Young Joe is a lost soul with a drug habit and little else.  At one point he attempts to help his friend Seth, a fellow looper, whose older-self escapes killing.  He hides Seth in his apartment.  But when their boss Abe, played by Jeff Daniels, tells Joe that the choice is betraying Seth or losing half of his silver stash, Joe gives up Seth who is killed in a fiendishly painful way.

And of course, a similar thing happens to Joe.  His older-self shows up to be killed but eludes Joe and thus it becomes a three-way search with Young Joe looking for his older-self and the gang looking for both of them.  Into the middle of this is thrown a young woman named Sara, played by Emily Blunt, and her young son Cid.  Young Joe shows up at her farmhouse because he has information that Old Joe is planning to kill the boy.  Old Joe has information that leads him to believe that the boy will grow up to be a ruthless killer that will lead to the death of Old Joe’s wife.  I won’t give away the ending because it’s well done and if you decide to see the movie it would spoil it.

From the point of view of science fiction, the plot has got more holes in it than swiss cheese.  Using time travel to get rid of bodies?  That’s the best use they could come up with?  This story is really a character driven noir.  Joe, in both of his manifestations, is a damaged human being who late in the game discovers his humanity.  The improbable plot allows his characters to exhibit the best and worst traits in their personalities and his interaction with Sara and Cid allows him to finally look beyond his harried, meaningless existence and do something right.

By the illogic of the scenario, this movie may not appeal to somescience fiction fans with higher expectations for time travel story consistency.  But as a story it has merits.  Gordon-Levitt is his usual sympathetic persona.  Interestingly they used makeup  to try to make him look a little bit more like Bruce Willis.  It is a little distracting, but not much.  Bruce Willis is, of course, Bruce Willis and is most himself when he is pouring automatic weapons fire into his surroundings which he does with great abandon.  But he does okay.  The supporting cast is good and the few special effects are good enough.  I’ll recommend this movie.  It’s not great but it’s good.

Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 1 Episode 23 – A Taste of Armageddon

In this episode the Enterprise is on a diplomatic mission to a star system with an advanced civilization.  But when they attempt to communicate with the planet they are warned off.  Ambassador Fox, the head of the mission, orders Kirk to make contact and of course Kirk and Spock head down to the surface leaving Scotty in charge.  When they reach the surface, they are met by a typically beautiful woman named Mea 3 (played by a young and petty Barbara Babcock who later on was Grace Gardiner on the 1980s NBC show, Hill Street Blues).  While the planetary leader Anan 7 is explaining to Kirk about a 500-year-long war that is still going on, an attack takes place between the planet they are on and their enemies on the third planet from their sun.  But when Kirk speaks to the Enterprise, they tell him that their sensors show that no attack occurred.  Spock figures out that the attack is just a computer simulation that is played between the strategic computers on the two planets.  Anan 7 confirms this and explains that whatever the calculated damage turns out to be those located in the affected areas are declared casualties and have a day to report to a disintegration chamber.  Anan 7 explains to Kirk that by allowing a million self-inflicted casualties every year both sides sustain their infrastructure and thereby ensure that the war will go on indefinitely.

Unfortunately, in the latest “attack” both Mea 3 and the Enterprise are virtual victims.  Anan 7 arrests Kirk and Spock and orders them to send their entire crew to the planet to be disintegrated.  When they refuse Anan 7 uses a voice simulator to impersonate Kirk and tell Scotty to send the entire crew down to the planet.  Scotty, of course, figures it out and puts the ship on a war footing and raises the shields.  The planet’s offensive weapons are brough to bear on the enterprise but the deflector shields hold.  Meanwhile the imbecilic Ambassador Fox contacts the planet and believes Anan 7 when he says it was all a misunderstanding.  Fox orders Scotty to drop the shields but he refuses.  Ambassador Fox beams down to the planet to conclude a treaty and is immediately marched off to the disintegration chamber.  But luckily for him Kirk and Spock escape from captivity and rescue him and Mea 3.

Now Kirk puts his plan into effect.  He destroys the disintegration chambers and finishes by blowing up the computers that report casualties with the enemy.  Anan 7 is in despair and tells Kirk that the enemy will stage an actual nuclear attack.  Kirk informs him that two worlds that have kept a gutless fake war going for 500 years will be so frightened by actual war that they’ll both negotiate a peace rather than get their hands dirty.  Ambassador Fox volunteers to assist them in the negotiation.

I like this episode.  Anan 7 is such a sniveling cowardly bureaucrat that every time he calls Kirk a barbarian you can’t help but like Kirk more.  Kirk shows resolve and ingenuity.  Scotty also displays courage and grit when he disobeys the chain of command and refuses to lower the shields at the order of that other idiotic bureaucrat Ambassador Fox.  This is a solid 8 episode.  Kirk does some brawling and tumbling around but he’s not particularly comical so there isn’t a high Shatner mockery score.  Let’s call this an 8 // 2.

Shatner Moves On

William Shatner Refuses To Reprise His Role As Captain Kirk, ‘Star Trek’ Icon Says Character Is “Played Out”

Say it ain’t so!  Well, my real question is, “Was anybody actually asking?”  Actually, eventually they would.  The desperation in Hollywood will require even the deceased Star Trek actors to appear in later movies as digital zombies, kinda like poor Fred Astaire dancing with a broom in some vacuum cleaner advertisement.  But Shatner is right.  He’s outgrown Star Trek.  He’s ready for Hamlet.  Well, maybe Falstaff.  He’s old and fat enough for it.  But I kid, I kid.  Shatner is one of the legends of early television and deserves all the attention and mockery we give him.

 

Hat tip to one of the Shat’s biggest fans for passing this along.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 1 Episode 22 – Space Seed

I have previously reviewed this episode as part of ShatnerKahn I.  But I think it is desirable to provide a standard treatment for all the Star Trek episodes so I will follow the usual procedure here.

The Enterprise encounters a derelict space ship drifting slowly through space and identifies it as an old Earth vessel from the 1990s.  Upon scanning it they find signs of life and board it.  They discover the crew to be in suspended animation.  Upon rescuing the leader from his sleep they discover that the crew are eugenically produced supermen who were forced to flee Earth after their dictatorships were overthrown.

Their Leader Khan Noonien Singh, played by the inimitable Ricardo Montalban, dissembles his intentions and seduces crewmember Lt. Marla Mcgivers into assisting him in capturing the Enterprise in order to aid his people in finding and conquering an Earth colony for their new home.  The supermen quickly overwhelm the crew and Khan puts Kirk in a vacuum chamber and threatens to suffocate him if one of the crew does not assist him in his plan.  We get a view of Kirk gasping like an out of water goldfish which will earn this episode a very healthy Shatner mockery score.  But McGivers repents of her mutiny and saves Kirk from the death trap.  With the assistance of Mr. Spock Kirk is able to use knockout gas to subdue the mutineers.  But Khan escapes to the engine room and is causing an engine overload that would destroy the whole ship when Kirk arrives for their showdown.  Khan starts by prying Kirk’s phaser out of his hand and then bending it into a curve with his bare hands.  And here Khan makes his famous taunt.  He says, “Captain, I have five times your strength!” in his unique Ricardo Montalban enunciation.  Khan proceeds to toss Kirk around the engine room like a rag doll while Kirk attempts some pretty rudimentary martial arts moves.  I’m not 100% sure but I believe there was a stunt double for Shatner in some of the acrobatics.  But naturally Kirk fights dirty.  He grabs a metal rod and starts hammering Khan in the head and back until he passes out.

In the final scene Kirk convenes a court and dismisses all charges against the supermen if they will agree to exile on a deserted and inhospitable planet.  When asked if he accepts the offer Khan asks Kirk if he knows his Milton.  Kirk nods in understanding.  Then Kirk gives Mcgivers a choice; go into exile with Khan or stand trial for mutiny.  She eagerly accepts exile.

Scotty pleads shameful ignorance as a Scot for not knowing the Milton reference and Kirk explains that in Paradise Lost, Lucifer declares that he would rather reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.  The show ends up with Spock and Kirk wondering what they would find if they were able to come back in a hundred years and see what fruit had grown “from the seed” they were now sowing.

This is one of the quintessential Star Trek episodes.  Kirk is out macho-ed by Khan.  Spock gets to act appalled by the humans’ clear admiration for Khan’s obviously authoritarian methods, to which charge Kirk admits and explains humans have a primitive streak that allows them to admire an enemy for his strength.  In these days of #metoo Khan would never be allowed to rough up McGivers as he does to dominate her into helping him.  Of course, he also plays with her hair quite a bit so he is a romantic too.  One of the ludicrous things about the episode is Kirk giving Khan access to the ship technical manuals.  These allow Khan to capture the ship.  I mean come on!  What part of superman is hard to understand?  Couldn’t he have just given him a game of free-cell to keep him from getting bored?

Kirk’s fight with Khan is also classic.  His shirt manages not to get shredded but he has several awkward and lame looking judo holds that helps qualify this episode for a decent Shatner mockery score.  And above all there is Montalban.  He struts and brags and mocks Kirk for being inferior in all ways.  It’s quite entertaining.

Let’s give this a 9 for the episode and a 7 for Shatner mockery.  9  //  7.  Well done Ricardo.

Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 1 Episode 20 – Court Martial

Kirk is on trial for the wrongful death of one of his officers.  Lt. Commander Finney, the records officer, was in an ion pod (whatever that is) during an ion storm and according to the Enterprise’s computer telemetry Kirk jettisoned the pod prematurely before a red alert was declared.  The court martial featured one of Kirk’s old girlfriends as the prosecutor and Elisha Cook Jr. as his defense attorney.  We see a video clip of Kirk jettisoning the pod before the red alert status occurs.  This evidence seems to seal Kirk’s fate.  After this scene we hear Kirk telling Spock that at least Spock’s next captain might not be able to beat Spock at chess.  After hearing this Spock raises an eyebrow.

In the next scene we see Spock in his cabin playing chess against the computer.  McCoy enters and berates Spock for his unfeeling frivolous actions while Kirk’s career is in jeopardy.  Spock explains that he has just beaten the computer five times in a row.  Even McCoy recognizes that this is an impossibility.  They rush down to the trial and Kirk’s lawyer reconvenes the trial on the Enterprise where we learn that Finney is not dead but hidden on the Enterprise and is responsible for faking the accusatory video evidence against Kirk.  In a climactic scene Kirk fights Finney and after a vicious shirt tearing fight defeats Finney and saves the Enterprise from crashing by pulling loose a couple of electrical cables.

As silly as this episode sounds it was actually fun.  Seeing Shatner calmly shrug off the cold shoulder he was getting from his peers at the star base where the trial was taking place was interesting.  And Elisha Cook Jr. was amusing as the eccentric lawyer who preferred paper books to computer files.  The courtroom drama was fairly entertaining.  All in all, I’d say it was a 7.

 

The Shatner mockery index was low.  It really didn’t break a 4.

7 // 4