Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 20 – The Way to Eden

It goes without saying that I will mock the “space hippies” episode mercilessly.  The plot is that Dr. Sevrin, a bald-headed space hippie with c-shaped ears and his five disciples are looking for the planet Eden where all proper space hippies should live.  He steals a star cruiser but the Enterprise catches him and his merry band.  Sevrin has space plague so he needs to be isolated.  But the disciples help him to escape and he uses ultrasonics to disable the crew and the hippies steal a shuttle craft to land on Eden.  But the plant life is full of acid and poison and so the hippies burn their feet.  When Kirk and company come to rescue the losers, they find one of the hippies named Adam dead through eating an apple (how ironic).  And when Kirk tells Sevrin that he is being rescued he follows Adam in eating a poisoned apple and dies.  It’s a ridiculous plot but the details are even worse.

The hippies are always protesting against the military authority that Kirk represents.  They call him “Herbert” which Spock explains is an uncomplimentary comparison to a character who was a small-minded bureaucrat.  Kirk takes offense when told this.  That I found funny.  Adam and one of the girls are some kind of pathetic rock music duet.  They sing a few songs that are very awful to hear.  And another one of the girls is an old girlfriend of Chekov.  So, we have to listen to the ex-lovers bickering over their lost love.  And finally, Adam strikes up a friendship with Spock based on their mutual love of music.  This forces us to listen to Spock and one of the girls playing a duet on space harps or something.  And during this shindig we see random crew members rocking out by spastically moving their arms and legs in time to the beat.

But the worst thing of all is just seeing these rejects.  Adam is some kind of pop-eyed freak dressed in a tie-dyed loin cloth and go-go boots who spouts synthetic hipster lingo.  One of the half-undressed girls is way too out of shape to be showing so much skin.  And the third male hippie has nylon purple hair and is wearing what looks like a dress.

I feel if they wanted to do this episode correctly, they should have hired the fake rock and roll group the Monkees to appear on the show painted green or something.  That at least would have shown the right attitude toward bad music of the time.

Just for the sake of fairness, Adam did say one witty thing in the show.  After having his physical examination, he recited:

“I’m gonna crack my knuckles and jump for joy

I got a clean bill of health from Doc McCoy.”

With that deathless couplet I’ll end this review by kindly rating it a  5 // 4.

Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 19 – Requiem for Methuselah

The Enterprise is infested with Rigellian Fever which is like COVID only dangerous.  Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down to planetoid blah, blah, blah to get unobtanium which will cure the fever.  There they meet the robot guard of the planetoid’s owner, Mr. Flint.  After some posturing Flint agrees to help McCoy make a serum from the mineral.

In his home, Flint has rare masterpieces of art by Leonardo da Vinci and Johannes Brahms.  And it turns out he actually is those two men and many other like Alexander the Great, Solomon and perhaps the greatest of all, Donald Trump.  He was a Mesopotamian soldier from around 4,000 B.C. and after being stabbed through the heart he discovered that he was immortal.  And he has a mate named Rayna who wears the form fitting silvery dress that is the true mark of an android woman, which they determine she is.  Of course, Kirk falls in love with Rayna and Flint and Kirk do battle over her.  But when she has to choose between these two manly men her circuits burn out and she dies.  When they return to the ship to save the crew with the cure, McCoy reveals that he has determined that Flint’s immortality was voided when he left Earth and he will die after the rest of a normal life.

This is a very unique episode.  The concept of the immortal human who has been so many famous men is brilliant.  What they do with this concept is not so brilliant.  Having Kirk go through all his typical libido exercises is embarrassing.  But we do get to reach the heights of the Shatner Mockery Index.  I think the best examples of this are:

  • When Flint shrinks the Enterprise to a model about a foot long, Kirk stares into the bridge viewport and we see his huge head looking anguished in the bridge screen.
  • When Kirk first declares his love for Rayna, he makes all the spastic Kirk faces he’s so famous for.
  • When Rayna declares herself independent of Flint’s orders, Kirk starts crowing about how she’s “human down to the last blood cell!”

It’s probably only my subjective enjoyment of the concept of a science fiction story with a man that has lived through all of our history and been so many famous men that saves this episode from my scorn.  Objectively it has many of the same weaknesses that the season three episodes suffer from.  But I’m fond of it for the reason I’ve stated.  So, I’ll mark it as a 7  //  9.

Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 18 – The Lights of Zetar

With these incredibly bad episodes it’s hard to marshal the will to even write the summary of the plot.  After all they took almost no effort in writing the damn thing.  Why should I have to waste time repeating it?  Well, c’est la vie.

Scotty is in love with a Lt. Mira Romaine who is on a mission with the Enterprise to visit “Memory Alpha” which is the equivalent of Wikipedia.  But a giant cosmic plastic bag full of Christmas lights attacks the Enterprise and invades Romaine’s brain.  Then the bag of lights goes to Memory Alpha and erases the memory and kills the nerds working there.  Then it comes back to get Romaine on the Enterprise.  When it enters into Romaine’s body Kirk has her put into the hyperbaric chamber and apparently forty or fifty atmospheres of pressure destroys this enormously powerful bag of lights without killing Romaine.  Finally, there is a laugh filled moment when Spock, McCoy and Scotty all agree that Romaine is well enough to go back to work.  Kirk yucks it up over this unanimity and exclaims, “Can I stand the strain?”

Whoever wrote this thing must have spent fifteen minutes thinking it up.  This must have been after they knew the show was doomed and they were just killing time until they started looking for new jobs.  Scotty drooling and pawing at the girl is creepy and off-putting.  It somewhat reminds me of the behavior of Gollum when he gets his hands on the One Ring.  There was a scene when the bag of lights was taking over Romaine and she started making a gargling noise.  It reminded me of the sound one of my dogs makes when he is about to throw up.  It was the high point of the episode.

The dialogue is vapid.  The plot is non-existent.  I’ll be kind and give it a 2 // 2.

Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 17 – That Which Survives

Here is one of the flimsiest episodes in the series.  Kirk, McCoy, Sulu and a red shirt transport down to a planet that seems to have been artificially constructed.  But as they are being transported a woman appears and kills the crewman operating the transporter.  Then she “transports” the Enterprise almost a thousand light years away from the planet.

Back on the planet the woman reappears and kills the red shirt just by placing her hand on him.  Then she goes back to the Enterprise and sabotages the engines so that they will explode through excessive speed.  Back on the planet she attacks Sulu but before she can kill him Kirk gets between her and Sulu.  Apparently, she can kill only one victim at a time.  To others her touch is harmless.

Scotty has to climb into an access shaft to get at the antimatter feed stream with a magnetic probe.  He complains about the magnetic force feeling like ants crawling over his body but Spock chides him to stop making subjective remarks and get the job done.  With no time left and after being told to “reverse the polarity” of his magnetic probe by Spock, Scotty “fixes” the antimatter stream and the Enterprise is good as new.

Back on the planet the woman whose name we learn is Losira returns looking for Kirk this time.  McCoy and Sulu act as blockers preventing Losira from touching Kirk.  When she is prevented from doing her job, she contracts to a line then collapses down to a point and disappears.  Next the landing party find a hidden cave where there is a computer shaped like a cube that is the source of Losira.  But now there are three Losiras and each one is selected for one of the three landing party members.  Just when it seems our heroes are doomed Spock and a red shirt beam down into the cave.  Kirk shouts for them to destroy the cube.  The cube being hit by a phaser, the Losiras disappear and a message starts playing explaining that Losira was the last of a group of guardians who were tasked with guarding this new world for her people.  But both these new people and the guardians succumbed to a virus that they accidentally produced when the created the planet.  The Losira they saw was just a computer construct to protect the planet from intruders.  McCoy says something about Losira being beautiful.  Spock says beauty doesn’t last.  Kirk says beauty survives.  Whatever.

This is one of the least meaningful plots ever used on this show.  To me it seems completely contrived and pointless.  The only amusing dimension is the bickering between Spock and Scotty.  With Scotty in a panic over the problems he encounters trying to repair the overloading engines Spock constantly chides him to dispense with emotion and keeps up a veritable countdown on the moment of destruction for the ship which Scotty finds maddening.  And this little scene is amusing.

Losira is played by Lee Meriwether who was an attractive young woman who played one of the Catwomen on the 1960s Batman show.  But her part in this drama is extremely limited by the simplistic plot.

So how do I rate this mostly pointless episode?  I’ll give it a 5 // 3.

Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 16 – The Mark of Gideon

In the previous episode (Let That Be Your Last Battlefield) we were given the sermon on racism.  In this one we get the sermon for abortion.

The Enterprise is trying to get a diplomatic mission permission to land on Gideon, a planet that we are told has no disease and extraordinary long life for its inhabitants.  Kirk is transported down but when he arrives, he thinks he’s still on the Enterprise.  But it is a duplicate ship built on Gideon’s surface.  There he finds the only other inhabitant is a space hippie named Odona.  Her hair is pulled up in a pony tail that looks painfully tight.  She is wearing some kind of space hippie clothes with filmy cloth over some kind of bikini.  Kirk is supposed to be aroused by her tight pony tail and hippie clothes and of course he is.  So, he kisses her and she catches whatever hideous venereal diseases that Kirk has contracted over his long career of copulating with alien women.  This condition begins quickly to kill Odona.

Meanwhile the Gideonites tell Spock that Kirk never reached Gideon and Spock and the Gideon ambassador Hodin bandy words for what seems hours.  Spock appeals to Starfleet command to allow him to play hardball with the Gideonites.  But Starfleet shuts him down.  So, Spock disobeys orders and has himself beamed down to the coordinates where the captain was sent.

He finds the captain and the dying girl.  We learn that the Gideonites want to keep Captain Kirk indefinitely to use as a vector to infect their people with the fatal disease that Kirk is a carrier of, in a desperate attempt to cure their horribly overcrowded population crisis.  We are shown crowds of people dressed in unitards standing cheek to jowl jostling each other to get space.  And Odona is supposed to die of the disease to inspire young people to follow her example.  But Kirk and Spock beam her back to the Enterprise where McCoy saves her life and thereby allows her to act as the vector to help kill off the majority of people on her planet.  And with a final goodbye to Kirk, she beams down to commit semi-genocide on her people.

Honestly, what can I say?  The lesson we are to learn is unless we quickly institute abortion on demand we will end up overpopulated to a standing room only condition or be forced to use plagues to kill off our children.  Was there anything worth watching in this episode?  Well, the scene where Spock is trying to get a straight answer out of the ambassador as to Captain Kirk’s location is slightly amusing.  It involves Ohura, McCoy and Scotty badgering Spock to abandon diplomacy and take a hard line.  I think I might have cracked a smile during it.

This isn’t as bad as the racism sermon but it’s pretty stupid.  I’ll give it a 3   //   3.

Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 15 – Let That Be Your Last Battlefield

I think this episode can be summed up with one phrase, “Frank Gorshin with his face painted black on one side and white on the other.”  I think that alone provides enough insight into just how low the bar was now set for scripts.  So, there is a planet blah, blah, blah where some of the people are black on the right side and white on the left side and the rest of the people have the colors reversed.  And one group is the elite and the other group is oppressed as a lesser race.  Gee I wonder where the writer came up with that idea?

Oh, it’s pointless to go through this thing.  In synopsis, Kirk is trying to referee two of these zebra people.  One is a lawman trying to extradite his fugitive back to their planet for punishment.  He uses his magical brain powers to force the ship to go where he wants it.  Kirk holds him off temporarily by using the destruct sequence.  But the alien lawman then deactivates the sequence.  Finally, they get to the world and everyone is dead.  They killed each other off to the last striped individual.  Now get an even stupider sequence.  We are subjected to Spock narrating the two striped boobs chasing each other through the ship, “He has passed rec room 3.  He’s drinking from water fountain H42B.  He’s taking a bathroom break at urinal U13.5.”  And both runners look like they’ve been sprinting for a week instead of just jogging in a relatively small ship.

Frank Gorshin and his prey transport off the Enterprise and continue their pursuit on their dead world.  Uhura and Kirk mumble some inanities about all the two men have left is their hate.

I object to this episode because it lacks sensitivity toward penguins and zebras which are both species that are black and white.  Wouldn’t it have been better if the men were half blue and half green?  Although aren’t there some parrots that are blue and green?  Oh, what’s an anti-racist to do?

This episode sucks.  I give it a 0 // 0.  And that’s even though I liked the destruct sequence bit.  The rest of it was actually in the negative rating range.

Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 14 – Whom Gods Destroy

Oy!  Well, we’re back to season three material.  Kirk and Spock bring medicine to an insane asylum under a dome on a planet with a poison atmosphere.  But it turns out that the director is really one of the patients.  A former star ship captain named Captain Garth has shifted shape to look like the director and takes Kirk and Spock captive.  He attempts to get onto the Enterprise by assuming Kirk’s form but he doesn’t know the password that Kirk gave to Scotty before he left the ship.

So, Garth tortures Kirk.  When that doesn’t work, he tries to tempt Kirk with a scantily clad woman that possesses all the characteristics valued by the superficial male.  This woman is played by Yvonne Craig who was Batgirl back in the 1960s.  But Kirk resists.  Then Spock frees Kirk and they contact the Enterprise but this time it’s Spock who is Captain Garth in disguise.  But Kirk figures out the trick and refuses to give the password.  Finally, the real Spock shows up and after a Kirk-on-Kirk hand-to-hand fight he stuns the fake Kirk and ends this boring tale.

Analyzing this feeble tale breaks into three components.  First there is the theatrical value.  This is less than negligible.  Second is the Shatner mockery index.  This is actually quite high.  Between the Kirk facial expressions during the torture and the psychotic breakdown that Garth has while in Kirk’s form there is plenty to enjoy.  The third component let us call miscellaneous effects.  Ms. Craig performs a spirited and sultry dance of lusty debauchery which is at least something.

But rolling all three of these components together still can’t salvage this poor mess.

I’ll call it 4 // 6.

Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 13 – Elaan of Troyius

Finally!  Something bearable.

In this episode the Enterprise is conveying a royal bride from her own planet to a neighboring planet where she will wed the neighboring planet’s king.  But the inhabitants of the two planets hate each other viscerally.  The ambassador who is supposed to tutor the princess in the manners of her new home is stabbed by her for his trouble.

So, Captain Kirk decides to take over the job.  But when she throws a knife at him, he decides that coddling her is a mistake and so he threatens to spank her.  She starts to cry and he gallantly wipes the tear away.  But unknown to Kirk the women of her planet have a biochemical agent in their tears that ensnares the man contacted with them to a permanent state of love with that woman.  So, of course, Kirk starts pawing her and slobbering over her which she encourages.

Meanwhile a Klingon ship is waiting for word from a member of the princess’s entourage on the Enterprise.  He sabotages the dilithium crystals and informs the Klingons.  The sabotage is an act of jealousy because of the princess’s upcoming marriage.  The Klingons order the helpless Enterprise to surrender.  The plan is to destroy the wedding and thereby discredit the Federation in the eyes of the planets in the system and leave it open to Klingon hegemony.

Luckily the princess has a wedding gift of a necklace made of dilithium crystals (the reason for the Klingons’ interest in the system).  She gives it to Kirk who has Scotty and Spock install them in the matter-antimatter engines just in time to save the Enterprise from destruction and damage the Klingon ship enough to send it limping away.

The princess and Kirk sadly part ways as she beams down for her wedding.  In the final scene McCoy arrives excitedly on the bridge and tells Spock that he has isolated a cure for the love potion.  Spock informs McCoy that he is too late.  Apparently, the Enterprise already has an unbreakable lock on Kirk’s heart that has allowed him to get over the princess.    McCoy replies that he doesn’t think there is an antidote for Kirk’s love for the Enterprise.  And Spock seems to agree.

So, that’s the plot.  Very hokey, very silly.  But surprisingly funny.  Kirk’s annoyance with the arrogance of the princess and his decision to treat her as a spoiled brat are entertaining.  And the show ends off with a space battle between the Enterprise and a Klingon war ship so the episode is well into the acceptable range of Star Trek episodes.  And once Kirk has been infected by the princess’s tears, Shatner does indeed ham it up with his patented facial expressions of confusion and emotional turmoil.  It reminds me of the expression some people have when they’re trying to remember where they left their car keys or maybe are suffering from gas.

I’m so glad this episode didn’t suck quite as bad as the last few.  I was losing the will to live.

I’ll give this a  7  // 6.

Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 12 – The Empath

This episode involves aliens torturing the Enterprise landing party.  And I feel as if I were being tortured just by having to watch the episode.

Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down to planet blah, blah, blah to evacuate scientists that were observing a star that is about to nova.  The scientists have been abducted and almost immediately so are the landing party.  They find a pretty girl with way too much make-up and a sensible short hair style, the sort to be found on women playing nurses on soap opera series.  She is a mute and it turns out she is a “total empath” which McCoy explains means she can heal other’s injuries by transferring them to herself and then healing herself.

The aliens, called Vians, that have captured Kirk and company have already tortured the scientists to death and placed their dead bodies in clear cylinders so that Kirk and company can see their tortured expressions and become outraged.  Now they start torturing the landing party starting with Kirk.  This involves taking off Kirk’s shirt and suspending him with manacles and chains by his wrists and then beating him.  We can’t see what they are hitting him with.  But I imagine it’s either an energy weapon or a sack full of oranges.

The empath that McCoy has nicknamed Gem heals Kirk’s injuries.  Next the Vians tell Kirk he must choose whether their final victim will be Spock or McCoy.  McCoy tricks Kirk and Spock by sedating them with his hypodermic needle.  The Vians beat him with the sack full of oranges to the brink of death and then Spock and Kirk witness Gem hesitantly trying to heal McCoy.  We find out all of this is a test to see if Gem’s people are worthy of being saved from the nova by the Vians.  If she possesses the “instinct” to sacrifice her own life to save another then she passes and her people will be saved.  After some diffidence over whether her efforts were sufficient the Vians end the test and save McCoy.  Then they scoop up Gem and leave.  The episode ends with the landing party back on the bridge and trading witticisms about “Gem” being a pearl of great price.

As you can probably tell by the summary this is a weak episode.  A shirtless Shatner suspended by the wrists and writhing in pain has some comic value no doubt.  But this is very thin gruel.  The Vians are funny looking with their bony skulls and silver dishdashas but other than a slight amount of sympathy for the dying McCoy what are we looking at here?  Season three strikes again.

I’ll give it a 5 // 5.

Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 11 – Wink of an Eye

I know this is hardly an earth-shattering revelation but watching this episode has crystalized a theory about Star Trek third season episodes.  The basic idea is that the producer must read the script and depending on just how bad it is he decides how close to naked his female guest star has to be to distract the viewers from the awfulness of the plot.  In the case of “Wink of an Eye,” even full-frontal nudity would not have been enough.  The femme fatale in this episode is an alien named Deela from planet blah, blah, blah.  She must be wearing a bikini with some gauzy tie-dyed scarf draped over most of her bathing suit.  She and her fellow aliens have sent out the obligatory distress signal which lures the Enterprise to send out Kirk and McCoy with some rando red shirt who almost immediately vanishes in the wink of an eye.  There are no people to find but they hear a buzzing that they assume is insects.  Returning to the ship the buzzing follows them and strange things start happening.  Some kind of HVAC hosing is attached into the Enterprise’s life support system and a force field keeps the crew from tampering with the modifications.

Eventually the aliens dope kirk’s coffee and suddenly the crew of the Enterprise slows down almost to statues and suddenly he can see Deela.  The big surprise is that the aliens move at such a hyper fast speed that they cannot be seen by normal humans.  And their speech is so rapid it sounds like mosquitos buzzing.  Deela tells Kirk that she is the queen and Kirk will be her love slave so that she can produce children.  Her race became accelerated by a release of radiation on her planet.  The whole species is down to five individuals, two women and three men.  And the men are sterile so they need to capture men to use as fathers for the next generation.  After putting the moves on Kirk, he escapes and tries to interfere with the HVAC hoses but is zapped by one of the eunuch aliens who are sore at Kirk for being virile enough to mate with Deela.

Kirk in desperation leaves a recording explaining what is going on and of course Spock has already figured out that the buzzing is rapid speech.  He slows down Kirk’s recording and orders McCoy to make an antidote for the accelerator drug and once that’s been done, he drinks the rest of Kirk’s coffee and becomes hyper-Spock.  He joins Kirk and they turn the tables on Deela by stealing her hyper-blaster.  They send Deela and company back to planet blah, blah, blah and drive off in the Enterprise with Kirk looking lustfully at a photo of Deela on the bridge main viewing screen.

This is awful stuff.  Whereas the idea of the accelerated creatures is kind of interesting the way it’s handled is pathetic.  At one point Kirk fires his phaser at Deela and she just slowly moves out of the way to avoid the slow beam of light.  Apparently, she moves faster than the speed of light.  This show must have been written by idiots for idiots.

And how exactly can five people maintain a society?  They call Deela the queen but what kind of monarchy can rule over four subjects?  She’s more like an annoying neighbor with delusions of grandeur.  At one point Kirk pretends that he has gone along with Deela’s plan and placidly talks about not offending her and doing the right thing.  It’s really kind of creepy and made the episode even more unpleasant to watch.

This episode sucked.  It only gets a few Shatner mockery points and Deela’s costume doesn’t warrant much credit either.

I rate this a 2  //  3.