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Star Trek Blind! -- The Original Series

Issun

Could be a fren
He actually is Opie's little brother IRL, too. Clint Howard has a storied history of cool bit parts.
 

Isrieri

My father told me this would happen
ep 28 – "The Alternative Factor" (★★★)

Now this is how you do a mystery! I was utterly absorbed speculating what the hell was going on with Lazarus. Doppelganger? Was he being possessed? An alternate dimension? Does he come from a mirror universe? Phasing in and out of time? Was he just completely nuts? Is there a crack in spacetime or something? Turns out its all of it at once! Not a spectacular episode but some good performances and some proper trippy special effects.

To save the universe, they lock up Lazarus within the corridor he opened between the two dimensions. This entire episode we've watched the man suffer as he's painfully tugged back and forth between the two realities, the strain on his mind so great it drove one half of him mad. Now he's stuck there with that alter ego unable to escape and (I presume) unable to be killed. "Is it really such a high price to pay to save two universes?" Readers, there is an answer to that question. You know what it is.

One of the big themes that keeps cropping up is how the needs the many outweigh the needs of the few. However with each episode they don't make it a braindead reaffirmation of that ideal but each one examines it in their own way; more than one with a critical eye.

ep 29 – "The City on the Edge of Forever" (★★★★★)

"MURDERERS!!! ASSASSINS!!!"

This episode has no right to be as good as it is. Any other writer this would have been a heavy handed affair. Now I love how over-the-top and unsubtle star trek enjoys being, but it goes to show you how you can take a good concept (as many of these episodes are) and elevate it to something special by setting using some of the hokeyness to instill it with gravitas.

Its a simple what-if. We've all heard it, possibly all sick of it. If you could go back in time, would you kill Hitler? Murder one man to save millions? "Of course I would! Oh if I only had the chance, just give me the chance I'll see it done!" They always say that as though its a moral failing if you would even dare think otherwise. But when would you go back? How would the world change, without the rippling affects of that war? Its easy when you're faced with killing a monster: what about a kind, innocent woman? Someone who has tried to do nothing but her absolute best, only to be killed in her prime and utterly arbitrarily. A tragic and undeserving fate, but one that must occur lest the future be plunged into darkness. As the episode makes clear, meddling with the past is inadvisable: Remember it, so that you may make the right choices in the future. That's where your decisions will matter. I can't help but be reminded once again of Kodos the Executioner.

Everyone has the potential to bring as much suffering as joy to the world, but the implication that there are good people alive now that enrich it far more being dead disturbs me. I suppose that's the price of free will. Kirk's been able to pull magic out of his hat for almost every no-win scenario. Not this time.

ep 30 – "Operation: Annihilate!" (★★★)




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SEASON 1 COMPLETE!
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Favorite Episodes

The Conscience of the King
The Galileo Seven
The Enemy Within
Space Seed
This Side of Paradise
 

Issun

Could be a fren
City on the Edge of Forever is generally considered to be the best episode of the original series. It tops almost every serious list.
 

Isrieri

My father told me this would happen
City on the Edge of Forever is generally considered to be the best episode of the original series. It tops almost every serious list.
Hmm. Yeah, I think I'm confident enough to contest that!

I haven't seen all the episodes of course but even in the first season both Conscience of the King and Galileo Seven are just as good (better in my book). With the latter its all about Spock and everyone aboard the enterprise learning the importance of being able to rely on each other and in realizing that superior talent or ability cannot render you totally independent. I think its the best takeaway of the season that's most especially relevant today.

Conscience I enjoyed as a drama first, but it also emphasizes the gravity of the choices we make better than any other episode. I didn't talk about it much and its still hard to put into words but Kodos' decision to execute half of the people on the world he governed to avoid a famine was one that he made in the moment and based on his own ideals, what he believed was right and wrong. Its easy to chuck him under the bus because eugenics were part of those beliefs, if not in the very next episode Spock had not been prepared to make a very similar choice; abandoning a crewman on the asteroid so the shuttlecraft would have the weight to exit the atmosphere. The whole away team shot this down obviously, and Spock was in the wrong to be so quick, but the key point I keep gravitating to is that he also reached that conclusion as a vulcan, from his vulcan ideals. Spock didn't go through with it and likely learned a lesson from the mission, and we like Spock so its easy to forgive him. Kodos having gone through with his horrible decision shows why its so vital to consider the lives of others carefully, and why being a leader isn't a job to just give anyone who meets the preliminary qualifications. I love the episode because Kirk & the other survivors of the massacre don't vilify Kodos just because he's a murderer, but also because he failed the people he was meant to be responsible for and that more than anything is the real injustice Kirk seeks to correct. That is the real conceit of the episode: Kodos is the antithesis of everything that Kirk came to believe in, and what star trek stands for.

The underlying message is that a leader of anything, a starship, a colony, a federation, has a duty to the people which, correct me if I'm wrong, is a relatively young idea in world history and one that some people in power clearly still don't agree with in their heart of hearts.
 

Büge

Arm Candy
(she/her)
Hmm. Yeah, I think I'm confident enough to contest that!

I haven't seen all the episodes of course but even in the first season both Conscience of the King and Galileo Seven are just as good (better in my book). With the latter its all about Spock and everyone aboard the enterprise learning the importance of being able to rely on each other and in realizing that superior talent or ability cannot render you totally independent. I think its the best takeaway of the season that's most especially relevant today.

Conscience I enjoyed as a drama first, but it also emphasizes the gravity of the choices we make better than any other episode. I didn't talk about it much and its still hard to put into words but Kodos' decision to execute half of the people on the world he governed to avoid a famine was one that he made in the moment and based on his own ideals, what he believed was right and wrong. Its easy to chuck him under the bus because eugenics were part of those beliefs, if not in the very next episode Spock had not been prepared to make a very similar choice; abandoning a crewman on the asteroid so the shuttlecraft would have the weight to exit the atmosphere. The whole away team shot this down obviously, and Spock was in the wrong to be so quick, but the key point I keep gravitating to is that he also reached that conclusion as a vulcan, from his vulcan ideals. Spock didn't go through with it and likely learned a lesson from the mission, and we like Spock so its easy to forgive him. Kodos having gone through with his horrible decision shows why its so vital to consider the lives of others carefully, and why being a leader isn't a job to just give anyone who meets the preliminary qualifications. I love the episode because Kirk & the other survivors of the massacre don't vilify Kodos just because he's a murderer, but also because he failed the people he was meant to be responsible for and that more than anything is the real injustice Kirk seeks to correct. That is the real conceit of the episode: Kodos is the antithesis of everything that Kirk came to believe in, and what star trek stands for.

The underlying message is that a leader of anything, a starship, a colony, a federation, has a duty to the people which, correct me if I'm wrong, is a relatively young idea in world history and one that some people in power clearly still don't agree with in their heart of hearts.
Thank you! Conscience of the King is my favourite episode of TOS for all those reasons and more. Does Kirk have the right to pass sentence on a man who could be Kodos? A man who is so old and senile, that even if he were Kodos, he may not even remember? Kirk can't even be objective about it, because, on the one hand, Kirk was there on Tarsus IV to witness the atrocity, but on the other, he's starting to have feelings for Lenore. It's an episode that really gives Shatner a chance to use his Shakespearean training.
 

Isrieri

My father told me this would happen
ep31 – "Amok Time" (★★★★)

Chekov's first appearance! I was wondering when he was gonna show up. They also added some vocals to the title theme which I don't like.

So here's another one of those episodes that's been completely ingrained in pop culture and I can see why: Its a good blend of character drama and complete hokey-ness. Spock's been getting emotional and is clearly distressed about something, but he's mum on the subject. Once Kirk & McCoy find out its because the Vulcan mating season is approaching, they speed Spock off to Vulcan so that he can proceed with his long-arranged marriage to the vulcan T'pring. Ancient Vulcan traditions happen, and Kirk is forced to duel with Spock.

The fight itself is glorious cheese, and if you go look it up right now its impossible to take seriously but again I have to give star trek credit where it's due: They appropriately use the episode runtime to build up significant tension and drama surrounding Spock's mysterious emotional outbursts. Its genuinely shocking to see him chuck a bowl against a wall. There is real drama in the fight if you're willing to chuck your chips in the pile.

Because the status quo must be maintained, T'pring turned out to be a shrewd, calculating manipulator that's as cold as ice... but she's also a vulcan so it makes sense. Spock ain't even mad that he's been used (again, vulcan) but you can tell the senselessness of the whole thing got under his skin. I hope Mr. Nimoy had a good time with this one!

ep32 – "Who Mourns for Adonais?" (★★)

Pretty stupid episode right here, but I like stupid sometimes! The gods of Greece, the Olympians? They were space aliens all along??!?! Why naturally, what else could they have been?

Old Star Trek is pretty fond of their preachy omnipotent cosmic space beings. Such appearances usually coincide with the lesser episodes but nevertheless I tried my best to take this one in stride. I abandoned that once I realized Apollo had no nipples: They must have painted over them because it was too lewd. There's not really a whole lot to say about this one: Chekov got a couple of good quips in and Uhura got to be the hero and fix up the busted communications array but that's about it. You know how this episode is gonna go. Safe to skip unless you're in the mood for a laugh.

Apollo was waiting for humanity on Olympus for 5000 years to create starships and come find his home, so that he could drag them down off their ship and 'reward' them by re-installing them into a facsimile of Greek culture? From 5000 years ago. Like, in the episode all the other gods left – its just Apollo that remains on the planet. Even the plot knows this is dumb.

It was hard to rate this. My attention wavered off about halfway through which is one star territory but I wasn't shifting in my seat wanting it to be over either.

ep33 – "The Changeling" (★★★★)

WELSHY!! nooooooooo!!! Wait, Scotty gets brought back to life by the probe? The one that just killed him?! He was just phoenix-downed by a random probe floating in space?!? WHAT. WHAT.

This is a pretty interesting idea! A probe from the late 20th century has been floating in deep space for centuries, then smashes into an alien probe of different programming. By your powers combined, I AM CAPTAIN DALEK! Hijinks ensue. Its a lot like a horror episode with a killer robot onboard that rather than outrunning or outwitting, the crew is trying to hoodwink. The probe Nomad was created by one Dr. Roykirk, but after the crash part of it's memory was corrupted and it thinks Kirk created it! This is the only reason it doesn't try to kill the whole crew. Its a fascinating concept that a primitive autonomous AI could have slowly improved itself over the centuries and essentially become a super-powered entity in it's own right. The episode itself has some pretty exciting moments to boot.

"Mr. Singh, come here a moment... This unit will see to your needs, Nomad."
"...SIR?!"
 

Exposition Owl

Hoot, indeed!
(he/him/his)
My wife and I watched Space Seed a while back, and that episode had her spitting mad. She trained as a historian, so she was initially excited to see that the Enterprise had an onboard historian, and a female one at that! When said historian turned out to be a nostalgic damsel longing for the days when men were “real men,” though, and when the episode all but explicitly framed the study of history as an anachronism in the Glorious Perfect Future, she swore off TOS forever.
 

Purple

(She/Her)
ep33 – "The Changeling" (★★★★)

WELSHY!! nooooooooo!!! Wait, Scotty gets brought back to life by the probe? The one that just killed him?! He was just phoenix-downed by a random probe floating in space?!? WHAT. WHAT.

This is a pretty interesting idea! A probe from the late 20th century has been floating in deep space for centuries, then smashes into an alien probe of different programming. By your powers combined, I AM CAPTAIN DALEK! Hijinks ensue. Its a lot like a horror episode with a killer robot onboard that rather than outrunning or outwitting, the crew is trying to hoodwink. The probe Nomad was created by one Dr. Roykirk, but after the crash part of it's memory was corrupted and it thinks Kirk created it! This is the only reason it doesn't try to kill the whole crew. Its a fascinating concept that a primitive autonomous AI could have slowly improved itself over the centuries and essentially become a super-powered entity in it's own right. The episode itself has some pretty exciting moments to boot.

"Mr. Singh, come here a moment... This unit will see to your needs, Nomad."
"...SIR?!"
I will never get over the fact that sure, Scotty just gets to come back to life, but Uhura gets mind wiped and they just kinda shrug, teach her enough to do her job, and stick her back in the chair. That's dark as all hell.
 
I will never get over the fact that sure, Scotty just gets to come back to life, but Uhura gets mind wiped and they just kinda shrug, teach her enough to do her job, and stick her back in the chair. That's dark as all hell.
It's only dark as hell if you apply real world, present-day logic onto the episode. But I guarantee the writers of the episode were like...



Bruh, in the future like... they'll probably be able to teach people so efficiently that...



...you can get a whole education in an afternoon! The future is gonna be so crazy!
 

Isrieri

My father told me this would happen
I will never get over the fact that sure, Scotty just gets to come back to life, but Uhura gets mind wiped and they just kinda shrug, teach her enough to do her job, and stick her back in the chair. That's dark as all hell.
Oh snap! I actually had a lot to say about this but it slipped my mind while I was writing my thoughts. It didn't read dark to me so much as it was loony. Its weird enought that an alien space probe can just clean out your entire knowledge of everything (I'm assuming that it didn't tamper with her memory, as if it had Uhura almost certainly couldn't have re-educated herself) but on top of that the crew having to just suddenly deal with the consequences of that action. Its not like the future is so bright they'll have super-learning but rather "uhhhh we have no idea how to actually help Uhura, uhhhh this is unprecedented, lets just uhhhh start at the beginning I suppose."

The Changeling is nuts! Kind of captures the essence of bumping elbows with a brand new lifeform with abilities and moral codes completely different from your own!


ep34 – "Mirror, Mirror" (★★★★★)

I'm hard pressed to think of how an episode is gonna dethrone this as my favorite of the season. This didn't feel like an episode of a tv show and more like a short film. The tension is stretched tight as a drum, and I could feel it thrumming the whole runtime. For the first time it feels like there is genuine danger that the crew might not be able to surmount. Everyone in the cast got to stretch their legs and showcase the talents of their actors and characters. The whole thing was masterful: Star Trek at the top of it's game.

Seeing the members of the bridge crew and how they can use their natural talents in the service of cruelty and greed is a pretty good reminder of what I took away from City on the Edge of Forever. The good and evil that befalls us all seems so helplessly arbitrary sometimes, but I'm also considering how this episode sort of makes a case for why that's so. The course of history is equally subject to this arbitrary nature: Its a mirror universe the away team enters, but its just as easily an alternate timeline of an Earth that didn't embrace it's ideals. The fact that the flow of time and the events of our lives are so arbitrary is why we must fight to preserve what we believe in to try and make the world we wish to see. Because if an evil enterprise can exist, so can a good one.

When Kirk & co step off the transporter, and the camera zooms in on Bearded Spock and the music sting kicks in, that might be the most genuine dramatic moment of star trek yet. Spock is almost exactly the same as he is in the normal universe, so the beard was necessary from a story standpoint but its also one of the best examples of (insert narrative device) ever: One glance, that's all you need. Instant understanding.

ep35 – "The Apple" (★★★)

"A Garden of Eden.... with landmines." well that about sums it all up.

I've mentioned before my favorite star trek stories are those of political intrigue, or interesting what-ifs that allow the actors to showcase their talents or develop the characters further. This isn't that; its what would be a prime directive episode in TNG but of course this is TOS. Prime Directive?! What kind of communist propaganda is that?!?

Kirk & co beam down to a planet with teeming flora & universal weather patterns. Almost seems too good to be true. The inhabitants live in simple huts and appear to be hunter-gatherers, but nonetheless welcome the away team without any bothersome questions like "Who are you?" The village has no children, and the people don't seem to understand the concept of love as mating is forbidden by their deity Vaal (sidenote: any deity powered by AA batteries is probably a bad guy).

"You are welcome. Our homes are open to you." The natives start making flower bracelets for everyone.
"Erhh thank you... It uh, does something for you, Mr. Spock?" asks Kirk.
"Indeed it does, Captain. It makes me uncomfortable." Good on ya, Mr. Spock.

I do like the dialogue between McCoy & Spock as they observe the natives making offerings to Vaal. Spock highlights it as a textbook example of reciprocity, the people offer food to the god and the god makes living easy. McCoy's not having any of that: He sees this society as people living in chains as a hopelessly static existence. Spock's quick to point out that humans are always pretty quick to ascribe their own human values to non-human cultures, and that you have to look at any new alien encounters through it's own lens: Their society may not have changed in thousands of years but that's probably because what they're doing works just fine for them. This invites an interesting debate – maybe we ought not be meddling with cultures that we don't entirely understand for this very dissonance in history and values.

....Wait, there IS a prime directive? Spock just calls it the "noninterference directive" but... No no nope nuh-uh I don't buy it. There's no way they have one of those. Strike that from the record.

ep36 – "The Doomsday Machine" (★★★★★)

There's a moment here that I thought I saw, and would have been amazing were it true: When the vulnerable enterprise is attacked and the crew goes flying, I thought Decker made a move for the helm controls: Even as distraught as he was, still trying desperately to command the situation. That didn't actually happen he just got tossed like everybody else. Missed opportunity!

This was incredible! Damn we've already got a contender. A planet killing machine from another galaxy (I'm gonna call it the space whale) has been blowing up entire solar systems. The enterprise runs across the derelict of the Constellation with the entire crew disappeared save for the utterly spent Commodore Decker. It isn't long before the whale returns and threatens to destroy the enterprise on its unrelenting genocidal warpath.

The commodore comes off as though he's supposed to be the villain of the episode because he wrenches command of the enterprise from Spock in order to combat the whale, but I don't see it that way at all. In fact all of these authority figures I've sympathized with to some degree. Its not like they're wrong its that they're blinded BY their authority and unable to see the sensible route right in front of them. Authority = Responsibility in star trek, and responsibility is a heavy burden. Decker lost his entire crew to the whale, and what's more he lost them after desperately trying to save them by beaming them down to the only planet he could. Only for all 400 to be turned to dust. For Decker it must feel as though he personally executed them. He's visibly distraught and wracked with guilt, and although his take-over of the enterprise was wrong I don't think of him as the bad guy. The show likes to poke fun at Spock for his reliance on logic and overly analytical nature, while praising humanity's foibles and irrationality as some of the largest sources of it's strength. Other times it champions logic over passion and the perils of emotion. There's a push and pull that goes both ways and this episode is an excellent example of both in conflict, highlighted when Spock tries to talk Decker down.

"Its heading for the Rigel colony! Millions of people will die, it must be destroyed!"
"You tried to destroy it once, Commodore. The result was a wrecked ship and a dead crew."
"........."

The beat of silence between the two hangs there for a good three or four seconds.

Spock is of course correct – the commodore's place now is in sickbay, and they can do nothing to overpower the space whale alone. Decker is being pushed by his guilt and sense of responsibility to exert his authority to try and DO something; rectify his mistake. Save the lives he could not before despite the impossibility. However by flaunting the commodore's failure in his face Spock eliminated any chance at getting Decker to back down. Truly Kirk & Decker are much alike. Its a complex dynamic; just great stuff. Balance of Terror wishes it was this good.

A small detail I didn't notice until now: The typical starfleet uniform has the classic insignia of the stylized starship, but on Decker's uniform, it appears to be something else. What's up with that?
 
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Isrieri

My father told me this would happen
My wife and I watched Space Seed a while back, and that episode had her spitting mad. She trained as a historian, so she was initially excited to see that the Enterprise had an onboard historian, and a female one at that! When said historian turned out to be a nostalgic damsel longing for the days when men were “real men,” though, and when the episode all but explicitly framed the study of history as an anachronism in the Glorious Perfect Future, she swore off TOS forever.
I've been calling it 60s syndrome (that old mindset where women are treated like they're a different species) and its all over TOS. I've noticed the show likes to have female crewman in specialist roles like scientist or historian or criminal psychologist, and whenever she has a history with, or catches Kirk's eye in some fashion, its a signal she'll be important to the plot but as to whether she'll accomplish something by her own agency is hit or miss. All of these episodic characters do perform actions that are of great consequence to the story, but it depends on the episode how much of their own agency is taken into account: McGivers for instance first joins up with Khan then frees Kirk when he's dying in the airlock. I choose to read those actions as her wanting to escape from a sterile dead-end job working as a historian where no one appreciates the value of your work or the passion for your career. But what almost certainly was meant is that Khan manipulated her with his super-human charms and it was just too powerful! *swoon* Other times like in Dagger of the Mind the psychologist goes on a mission to rescue Kirk; successfully sabotaging the machine with Spock arriving in the nick of time to help her out of a scrape.

But I digress. Yes! Its annoying when even today people love to hold up the present day as the paragon of social & scientific advancement and how much further we've come along from the times of our provincial ancestors. 100 years from now we won't have the luxury of telegraphs and black & white photos capturing our present: Our stupidity is logged for all time.
 
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Exposition Owl

Hoot, indeed!
(he/him/his)
But I digress. Yes! Its annoying when even today people love to hold up the present day as the paragon of social & scientific advancement and how much further we've come along from the times of our provincial ancestors. 100 years from now we won't have the luxury of telegraphs and black & white photos capturing our present: Our stupidity is logged for all time.
Well said. I think this is why, although I cut my Trek teeth on TNG and I still love it dearly, DS9 is my favorite Trek series. It’s the one that does the most to call into question Roddenberry’s glib assurances that humanity in the future has “evolved” into a kinder, gentler species—after all, evolution doesn’t work that way! There’s also the fact that even secondary female characters on DS9 get far more development and inner life than Dr. Crushed or Troi do on TNG.
 

Isrieri

My father told me this would happen
ep37 – "Catspaw" (★★)

GHOSTS. IN. SPAAAAACE.

You'd think that this would be at least mildly interesting with the gothic castle and strange alien duo with hidden motives but nothing happens. Lots of posturing and threats and diatribes and a giant cat, but nothing of any consequence.

HOWEVER. What this episode does give us is Lt. DeSalle. The most uncharismatic crewman they coulda got to sit in the captain's chair. The majority of the higher ranking officers are down on the away mission, so only engineering lieutenant DeSalle, the poor sap, was left to command the vessel. I will say one thing to his credit: He may not show any enthusiasm for the captain's chair or have any traits that might endear him to the bridge crew whatsoever, but he's efficient, professional, and doggedly persistent! Its men like him that lets you swaggering captains & first officers rest easy at night!

I looked it up and believe it or not readers he's actually appeared in some of the previous episodes. I see much of myself in Mr. DeSalle: I also enjoy making people jump because they didn't know I was standing there the whole time.

Alacrity : noun
1) "Cheerful readiness, promptness, or willingness."
2) "Liveliness; briskness."

ep38 – "I, Mudd" (★★★★★)

"What." I hear you saying, your brows scrunched in disgust. "Isrieri, you saw this episode you know this is asinine schlock what contemptible reason could you possibly have for rating this drivel higher than Amok Time?"

Well its fun. This is a fun episode! This might be the most fun episode in the entire series thus-far. Color me as surprised as you are. When I saw the title I rolled my eyes and went "not this guy again!" I don't dislike Harry Mudd as a character: He's a sleazy con-artist with a vivacious love for life, and an equal disdain for confinement! But he's certainly not someone I wanted to reappear considering how much his demeanor clashes with the typical mood of star trek.

Much like with This Side of Paradise the first half seems like its going to be a stinker, but then it does a hard-about and makes this an episode about humanity's inherent contradictions. Some alien androids (from adroit Andromeda) have captured the entire enterprise crew at Harry Mudd's urging and are intending to keep them on their planet to serve the crew and their every whim. Why? To study humanity! And so Mudd can escape their doting grip. So its up to Kirk & co to outwit the androids... with the power of

A C T I N G !!!

I'm not gonna let some scantily-clad android babes distract me from lauding this as being even better than The Naked Time. Unless that sentence really irks you, I highly recommend this episode for a re-watch; essential viewing!

Readers I want it on the record. Even in this episode where no one dies... there is a body count.
*WEEooOOooOOooOOO~*
 

Büge

Arm Candy
(she/her)
I wish we'd gotten more live-action Mudd episodes. Roger C. Carmel is a joy to watch.
 

Mightyblue

aggro table, shmaggro table
(He/Him/His)
A small detail I didn't notice until now: The typical starfleet uniform has the classic insignia of the stylized starship, but on Decker's uniform, it appears to be something else. What's up with that?
iirc it's because Starfleet hadn't settled on a universal shorthand uniform insignia yet, and instead had unique badges per ship (to fit in with modern naval traditions). The exploits of the Enterprise were so legendary that Starfleet eventually settled on making the Enterprise's insignia the fleet standard.

It's all post-facto stuff, yeah, like a lot of things from TOS that've been retconned back and forth over the intevening decades, but that's the story I was told repeatedly.
 

Purple

(She/Her)
....Wait, there IS a prime directive? Spock just calls it the "noninterference directive" but... No no nope nuh-uh I don't buy it. There's no way they have one of those. Strike that from the record.
The Prime Directive, as this object of like... dogmatic obsession at times, was more or less an invention of Next Generation. The original series plays with the concept here and there, but it really comes across less like there's a specific written code and more like there's a big banner hanging in the cafeteria at Starfleet HQ that says "Don't be colonialist." As kind of a suggestion. That people have a real hard time following.
 

Isrieri

My father told me this would happen
ep39 – "Metamorphosis" (★★★★)

I like this episode a lot. It made me feel conflicting things.

The crew's been confined to a small planetoid by a strange gaseous alien composed of electrical currents. It brought down their shuttlecraft and is keeping them confined there to try and alleviate the loneliness of the human that lives here with it. Human? And not just any human the famous Zefram Cochrane! What a Zapp Rowsdower name that is.

Cochrane had crashed on the planet over one hundred years ago, and has developed a strange relationship with the being who he calls the Companion. It cares for him, keeping him youthful and well fed, and he has the ability to bond with and telepathically (or rather, empathically) communicate with the cloud. The cloud seems to have some strange need for Cochrane that isn't made clear, until we learn that it seems to have great love and affection for him. The cloud itself seems to have little understanding of it's attraction to him.

Cochrane upon learning this feels disgusted, and I would be too! Before, it was an alien intelligence that was mysterious, but benevolent. In learning that what it felt was love, perhaps even some sexual kind, he feels justified revulsion at being kept and used as the Companion's personal pet. Even if it was genuine love Cochrane himself had no say in the matter and little knowledge of what was going on: He says himself that communicating with the alien exhausts him and despite not thinking much of it before (150 years is a lot of time to take things for granted) the added context to those experiences shakes the trusting relationship between him and the Companion. An entire lifetime is being called into question here. I thought he was well justified to be upset but Kirk & co looked at him like he was making a big deal out of nothing. It loves you! That's a happy thing! Spock calls his attitude "parochial!" Meanwhile I'm sitting here like "WHAT. THE. HELL. GUYS."

The crew has an important passenger. A high-ranking diplomat who contracted a deadly and fast-acting illness who they must treat before she can return to broker a peace agreement between two nations. As her condition worsens and she falls into delirium she finds herself similarly confused as to why Cochrane would reject love so keenly felt. You can easily turn up your nose and chalk this up to 60s syndrome (there's ample evidence) but I prefer to look at it more charitably as it invites a more interesting reading. This is a woman who has found herself cut off from many relationships because of her cold demeanor and the nature of her professional work. She has a successful career but pushes others away from her. She endures loneliness just like Cochrane had been for so much longer. Now that he's discovered those days were not spent in a strange symbiotic captivity, but that there was caring beneath the surface, Nancy finds that a wonderful thing and doesn't see why would he reject it and not rather rejoice that there was someone who cared for him so much? I feel the episode is trying to use Nancy to give the Companion's motives context: This alien doesn't have a body and likely may have some kind of feelings but utterly baffling to us. Maybe it never felt anything until meeting Cochrane and was both delighted and confounded by what took place within it. The Companion's situation also contextualizes Nancy's own struggles. Being on her deathbed and bearing witness to the relationship of the pair, she also is looking at her own life and examining what is important to her.

Once Kirk is able to use their universal translator to speak with the Companion and help it understand the situation, the Companion merges with Nancy saving her life in the only way it had the power to do. The two merging seem to create a new being with all the memories and experiences of the other, and in so doing the Companion gains new context for all the years they've lived in, just as Cochrane had. I think this is beautiful: Its an episode about understanding and human fulfillment. How mutual understanding between two foreign mindsets opens the potential to gain much more than that in the process.

Parochial : adjective
1) Relating to a church parish
2) Having a limited or narrow outlook or scope; provincial

ep40 – "Journey to Babel" (★★★★★)

Ahhhh I get it. Babel. A neutral planet where multiple foreign diplomats meet. Gotcha gotcha.

I've outlined in the OP that 5 stars is "Riveting" and here is an episode that deserves the adjective. I love the central conceit here. Again that axiom rears it's ugly head: The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. I presume that's a vulcan sentiment. Well I've seen enough to know that it just isn't that simple. Even if the practical thing, the realistic thing, is to let Spock's father Sarek die, isn't Sarek's live worth saving? If there's even the smallest possibility, doesn't Spock owe him that chance? Sarek would argue his life isn't worth it and obviously so, but he's a vulcan he would say that wouldn't he? Most importantly, how does he know?

The hardest decisions to make are the ones which all seem like the morally right choice. The vulcan philosophy seems to be tailored to get rid of these ethical questions by answering them analytically but in reality they're just ignoring them – they still must be faced. Its popular to say these questions regarding the value of life are unanswerable questions but they have answers. We just desperately don't want to be wrong.

"Perhaps you should abandon logic. Focus instead on motivations: On passion, and gain. Those are reasons for murder." spoken like a true Andorian I suppose. Also spoken like someone who committed no murders. I heard that and I said "Either they had nothing to do with this plot, or they're some right clever bastards." The diplomatic incidents and plot to cause a civil conflict was a good B plot, but was ultimately the backdrop against the true dilemma: Your father's life, or the well-being of millions? Your personal love, or your duty? Is it right to sacrifice for the good of all even if the sacrifice itself is unjust? I think like everything else in life context is everything. Bless Kirk & McCoy. They were the true heroes this time.

This episode contains one of the greatest smash cuts of all time: We go from McCoy, Spock, and Spock's mother making the difficult decision to perform a risky operation on Sarek, then WHAM Kirk's fighting a blue alien with a knife! Kirk performs a pretty stylish jumpick at a wall. Totally missed the Andorian – he was already on the ground before he leapt. Showed that wall what-for though! Never change, Kirk!
 

Isrieri

My father told me this would happen
ep41 – "Friday's Child" (★★)

The thing for which the Klingons are most well known: Their martial and unforgiving culture, wasn't really too apparent in Errand of Mercy. I feel like TOS wants to stress the fact that they're a treacherous dictatorship as their primary cultural trait. Its a sticking point in this episode. The Klingons and Federation are trying to establish relations with a neutral world, the Capellans, a warlike species that values honor and strength. Sound familiar? Not a bad premise, an episode about cultural differences and the back & forth between Kirk and the Klingon representative. With the Klingons emphasizing their similarities and the Federation urging the Capellans to not be duped into becoming a vassal of the Klingon Empire.

BUT FUCK ALL THAT.

You need to see this episode for the EPIC PILLOW TOSS OF DESTINY! That guard never saw it coming; BLINDSIDED! One-hit K.O!

"Mr. Sulu, begin a scanner sweep. Full intensity." says Scotty.
"It should be on our screens by now!" says Chekov.
"At best, a freighter might travel at Warp 2..." posits Sulu.
"....I'm well aware of a freighter's maximum speed, Mr. Sulu" says Scotty.
" :( "

After that you're done. The rest is either padding or various flavors of dumb.

ep42 – "The Deadly Years" (★)

The enterprise crew is struck with an affliction that causes them to rapidly age.
Its exactly what you'd expect: A snoozefest.

You can readily skip this one. It is an exercise in annoyance. I held out long enough to see what the commodore would do – he decides that getting the starship to Starbase 10 is of the utmost importance and will trek across the Neutral Zone to do it. When the romulan ships (of course) decloak and open fire he's taken completely by surprise because, get this, he's never commanded a starship before.

>:/
 

Büge

Arm Candy
(she/her)
Friday's Child was the Christmas episode. Note the similarities to the nativity, e.g. a woman gives birth to a baby that represents peace to the world.

The child also grew up to be a Starfleet Admiral in the novels.
 

Isrieri

My father told me this would happen
Friday's Child was the Christmas episode. Note the similarities to the nativity, e.g. a woman gives birth to a baby that represents peace to the world.

The child also grew up to be a Starfleet Admiral in the novels.
That’s the Xmas episode? 😆

I don’t recollect the part where Balthasar slaps Mary in the face!
 

Isrieri

My father told me this would happen
ep43 – "Obsession" (★★★)

Its the attack of the space vampire! Wait, ANOTHER ONE?!

What I said before about Kirk & Commodore Decker being much alike has borne fruit: Here is Kirk's own space whale, that he is determined to exterminate with a vengeance, before more innocents die. Its an interesting episode with a good setup, but I don't have much else to say about it. Its about as average as these episodes get. A new ensign named Garrovik is the guest star who does a decent job. I love when Garrovik karate chops Kirk to try and "save" him from the vampire. All it did was annoy him.

ep44 – "Wolf in the Fold" (★★★)

Oi wait a mi-*spits out popcorn* URRGH! Hold on! *ahem* That guy! This character of Hengist, he's played by John Fiedler! I'd recognize that voice anywhere! I did NOT expect that! I wonder why they cast him? He usually plays such mild-mannered characters.
Hmm.
Hmmmm.
HRRRRRRRRRMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.


Scotty's been framed! Kirk, Bones, and Mr. Scott make a pit stop at the planet Argelius for some R&R, only for the woman Scotty was with to be brutally murdered! More and more women are killed in Scotty's presence, but only for him to report sudden bouts of amnesia before the murders occur. What could possibly be happening?! Good performance from Scotty: Mr. Doohan has always been excellent in the role but here the horror and injustice of the situation nearly brings him to the verge of tears. However, because the murders took place under Argelian jurisdiction Scotty has to undergo...



A rather familiar court procedure.


This episode is marvelous fun. It goes on tangents, man. A peaceful planet of (according to Bones anyway) hedonistic lovers, foggy nights, brutal murder, sunny palaces, spiritual senances, a computer-run court, and a mad cackling enterprise. This is the sort of thing I was hoping Catspaw would be.

It irritates me that there's a throwaway line of Scotty having an annoyance with women because of one woman who botched something down in engineering, when Scotty's been shown to not have such a distate, and only so there might be SOME cause for doubt when the murderer is demonstrated to also have a hatred of women. Its crap writing. The ending makes up for it, of course.
 
It irritates me that there's a throwaway line of Scotty having an annoyance with women because of one woman who botched something down in engineering, when Scotty's been shown to not have such a distate
Which I think goes to show you 1) how disconnected writers rooms can be, especially for a show 2) from the 60s where they just didn't think these kinds of things out and weren't so worried about making sure every little detail followed a series bible to the T. People writing for shows in the 60s probably couldn't imagine a future where you could stream whatever episode of whatever show you wanted on command with no commercials and the ability to pause and rewind live, nevermind everybody being able to instantly discuss and share their nitpicks instantaneously across the entire globe together. That's been a low key big game changer for how shows/movies get made since that level of scrutiny just didn't exist and thus didn't inform/pressure show makers to hold themselves to higher standards.
 

Isrieri

My father told me this would happen
ep45 – "The Trouble With Tribbles" (★★★★★)

Where do I even start? There's so much to get into. Imagine that the roles were reversed here: Imagine that you're on this space station and you hear that the Klingons are just obsessed over these giant cockroaches they pet and dote over. You'd not only be revolted, you'd think these Klingons were right miserable cockroach loving bastards!

I really enjoy that the Federation minister of agriculture is the antagonist of the episode. The poor Klingons might have a saboteur in the fold but that doesn't have anything to do with this starship captain. He's literally just here on shore leave. "Klingon recreation is our own business, not yours." are the words of a boy who doesn't want you to find his Sports Illustrated calendar under the bed. In this case Klingon recreation is starting bar fights. Its really refreshing to just have a brand new location that lets us look into regular life in the federation and shake up the status quo. Its an extremely light-hearted tone but it goes further: Its like an inverse, topsy-turvy episode. The "serious" element, the political drama over Sherman's Planet, isn't even backdrop its just outright ignored.

Almost everything I love about this is not the dialogue or the story. Its all in the camerawork, editing, and body language. You can watch this on mute and be just as entertained. The dialogue is excellent mind you, don't mute it ("Storage containers storage containers? What what?"). There are so many charming moments that flit by so fast, blink and you'll miss them. One of my favorite things to do is to point out funny extras in scenes and there's a guy in the back of the barfight who's just grinning his ass off. Of course, I can't refrain from mentioning the tribble avalanche: I picture stagehands up above the set pelting little tribbles down at Shatner having the time of their lives.

This is an episode that reduced me to hyperventilation.

ep46 – "The Gamesters of Triskelion" (★★★)

TRANSCENDING HISTORY AND THE WORLD
A TALE OF SOULS AND SWORDS, ETERNALLY RETOLD.


What the frickfrack are Quatloos?! They're brains, I don't see how any kind of bartering benefits them. Sure, the whole reason they make these wagers is in order to find some kind of stimulation. Anything is more entertainment than just sitting there and being a brain all day. That they need some sort of thing to bet with seems like a sign that they're not really that advanced. AND YET they were able to zap Kirk, Uhura, and Chekov off their ship from light years away to be enslaved on their planet. With that kind of power why don't they just.... I dunno. This whole plot falls apart the moment you try to expend any thought on it. Ironic.

Kirk & co are whisked away to become thralls for the Providers of the planet Triskelion, fighting in gladiatorial matches for the amusement of their overlords. I like the way Kirk gets them out of this scrape. He boasts of humanity's own prowess for gambling and luck, and makes a bet against the Triskelions. One of the thralls named Shana hits it off with Kirk a little bit, and at one point Kirk knocks her out for some reason that I'm sure tied into the plot but I wasn't paying attention. I suppose at this point Kirk is officially a homme fatale. Whatever he's got, he knows how to use it to get what he wants.

One of the overseer aliens, Galt, walks a bit funny in his long cloak. I get the impression that he's meant to appear gliding smoothly over the terrain and the actor's trying, but the illusion falls short.

"Mr. Scott, beam us up!"
 

Mightyblue

aggro table, shmaggro table
(He/Him/His)
Quatloos became sort of a self-referential meaningless currency in the sci-fi genre as a whole for a long while, as an aside.
 

Issun

Could be a fren
Fun fact: The head Klingon in Tribbles also played J.C. in classic MST3K film Side Hackers.
 

Isrieri

My father told me this would happen
ep47 – "A Piece of the Action" (★★★★)

Hunh? What? Wha-wh-heh-whaaa-ahahahahahaha aha HAAHAHAHAHAHA. Alright I think I found one dumber than the Gorn episode. Gee, I wonder if this might be why starfleet drafted a (alleged) noninterference directive. I think as far as viewer engagement this is only 3 stars, but comedy alone nudges this up to 4. They all have weapons! All of them! When the big boss sicks his men on Kirk even his secretary pulls out a revolver! Its so stupid! SO STHUPID!

This is a good episode for Kirk shenanigans. I wish I had the time and patience to make gifs because there's some choice moments in this one. Spock nerve-pinches one of the guards to Krako's place and his eyes are sayin' "Ah christ wit dis shit again." All I gotta say is Kirk gets to bust out his 1920s accent and it is utterly delightful. Spock tries but you can tell he's supremely uncomfortable. McCoy is mostly confused throughout.

I wondered about this during the previous episode but I'm gonna bring it up here: McCoy sure gets to hang out on the bridge a lot. He's a medical doctor and seeing that the enterprise is an exploration vessel that gets into scrapes on the regular its appropriate that the captain ought to have some sort of working relationship with the ship physician. However that doesn't necessarily mean that McCoy has the technical knowledge to operate anything on the bridge – indeed whenever he is up there its to complain at someone, usually Spock. This isn't a nitpick! I think its another good way to show the deep friendship between Kirk & McCoy without spelling it out.

ep48 – "The Immunity Syndrome" (★★★★)

Barely two minutes into the episode, the show throws out a shock chord at Spock's horrified face when he feels the death of the starship Intrepid. Readers, I'd like to point out that each time this has happened (but particularly during close-ups) has been a wonderful experience: I'm one-hundred percent on board and do a little backflip of faux-shock in my chair each time. I really wish those would come back in style.

The enterprise is ordered on an emergency mission into a solar system that seems to have vanished from the starmaps, and populations of billions disappeared overnight. A great black hole in space appears, and Kirk with trepidation orders the ship beyond it's boundary and into the unknown...

This is a really well done plot but its the character interactions and most of all the structure & pacing, that sell it. Bones & Spock have always had a somewhat odd relationship, teetering between mutual respect of your fellow's talent and conflicting notions of what a proper man (or vulcan) should be. I had some high school friends I butt heads over religion at lunchtime and the discussions could go at length, so I understand the dynamic here. I love how the episode eases you into things bit by bit, your own questions and discomfort mirroring that of the crew's. It leaves the nature of the anomaly a complete secret until they spring it on you all at once. We've got it all here: Excellent mystery and build up, fleshing out of characters, scenes of tension, and an engaging premise. There IS a dearth of Kirk shenanigans and ham however, so I guess it doesn't have everything.

"Shut up, Spock! We're rescuing you!"
 
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