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Review: Star Trek ‘The Enemy Within’

9 Nov

The Enemy Within

The Enterprise crew literally sees double when the transporter malfunctions and beams Kirk onboard with his evil doppelganger. Scotty rushes to fix the transporter in time to save Kirk and crewmates stranded on the frigid surface of the planet below. -From Netflix

Written By Richard Matheson

Directed By Leo Penn

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Review: Star Trek ‘The Naked Time’

31 Oct

 

Star Trek: The Naked Time

The crew is infected with a mysterious disease that removes people’s emotional inhibitions to a dangerous degree.

 

As a modern television viewer, you begin to have certain expectations going into a television series. My favorite shows, and the ones I obsess over and watch continuously, all feature certain traits. They focus on character development, continued storylines, and honesty within each character. As a modern viewer watching a show from the 60’s, I disregarded all these things. I figure television hadn’t evolved to that kind of storytelling yet. The Naked Time proved me wrong.  Being only 5 episodes into the series, I may make this proclamation alot, but I am going to say it anyways. This is my favorite Star Trek episode. It delves deeply into the characters psyches and shows us sides of them I didn’t think they had. Most compelling of all, with Spock.

In The Naked Time a certain virus has come aboard the ship that is undetectable. It causes its victims to behave as though they were drugged, unleashing hidden desires and releases inhibitions. The results range from the outlandish to the profound. Sulu becomes a space pirate, thrusting his sword around the ship and attempting to duel everyone he meets. The first 30 minutes of this entire episode are filled with hillarious moments such as these. The original victim is an ensign named Joey, and at a standoff in a mess hall, confidently stabs himself with a butter knife and ends up dying. Lt. Riley picks it up from him and reverts back to a mad irishman. He locks himself in the controls room and takes over the ships intercom, declaring himself captain and that everyone shall receive extra ice cream tonight. He then proceeds to sing old Irish country songs which haunt the rest of the episode.

But the humor wears off when Spock catches the virus.  In a scene more compelling and touching than I thought this show capable of, Nurse Chapel declares her deep love for Spock. The human Spock, and the Vulcan Spock. Here, her love comes off as real and affectionate, and it is clear that while Spock has just come down with the virus, he is truly overcome with emotion. He apologizes to her, and leaves the room visually distraught, which leads to an emotional breakdown in a private room.  Alone, Spock struggles between his human and Vulcan side. The drug releasing emotions he has spent a lifetime suppressing comes out of him, and he weeps. Spock openly crys.  The breakdown almost borders on the camp, but the scene is so convincingly acted by Nimoy that it works.

Love

It is interesting to note that according to Shatner’s memoirs, the scene where Spock breaks down into tears was originally supposed to have been a simple sight gag of a crewman painting a mustache on Spock. Nimoy desired a deeper scene for Spock and created the poignant interplay between Spock’s human and alien halves himself. As the production day was winding down, there was time for only a single take, which Nimoy did unscripted.

Later on, Kirk enters the room and as the ship is minutes away from destruction, trys to snap Spock out of his breakdown, for some reason trying to do so by slapping him over, and over, and over. He slaps him like 7 times. Spock tells Kirk he is upset he couldn’t tell his mother he loved her, and that he is upset that he is ashamed when he feels friendship for Kirk. This one episode shows more depth in Spock’s relationship to Kirk and the world than any other combination of episodes I’ve seen before.

Kirk then contracts the virus from Spock and delivers the most Shatnery breakdown one could hope for.  He contemplates his failings, namely his dedication to his ship. “I give, she takes. She won’t permit me my life. I’ve got to live hers.” He says. Its not quite as profound a moment as with Spock, but Kirk isn’t a profound character. He is a man with limited intellegence comparative but who is so badass it doesn’t matter. We don’t need him to dwell on deeply rooted issues of Freudian behaviors. we need him to be captain Kirk, the man who saves the day and kicks ass no matter what.  The scene ends with Kirk saying, “Never lose you. Never” showing that above all else, Kirk is the Captain. Grade: A+

 

Bonus:

-This episode also contained a very important future plot development. They discover time travel! The process involved mixing matter and anti-matter before the temperatures reached optimal level. Something along those lines. I will never try to delve to deeply into the science of Star Trek, but feel free to do so in the comments section.

-The Next Generation had a sequel episode, “The Naked Now” also written by John D F Black

Few more quotes:

“I have a beautiful Yeoman! Ever noticed her Mr. Spock? You’re allowed to notice her! The captain’s not permitted!” – Kirk

“I can’t change the laws of physics. I’ve got ot have thirty minutes!” – Scottie

“You know what Joe’s mistake was? He wasn’t born an Irishman.”

“Im sweating like a bridegroom”  –Sulu

“Your blood pressure is practically nonexistent, assuming you call that green stuff in your veins blood.” –Bones talking to Spock

“It’s like nothing we have dealt with before”

-Spock

Review: Star Trek ‘Where No Man Has Gone Before’

25 Oct

Synopsis: When the Enterprise attempts to penetrate a space barrier, it is damaged and creates a potentially worse problem. Two crew members, including Kirk’s best friend, gain psionic powers that are growing at a geometric rate. That leaves Captain Kirk with the difficult choice of either marooning them or killing before they get so powerful that they lose their humanity and become truly dangerous. -via IMDB

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Review: Star Trek “Charlie X”

24 Oct

The face of God

Episode 3: Charlie X
Synopsis: Charlie, a powerful teenage psychic, beams aboard. Although Charlie wants to be liked, he uses his powers to attack others. Kirk bravely confronts him and finds help from a most unexpected visitor, who reveals the secret behind Charlie’s powers.

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Review: Star Trek “Man Trap”

21 Oct

😉

Star Trek Episode 2: The Man Trap

Synopsis: The Enterprise crew is stalked by a shape-shifting creature that fatally drains the salt out of humans for its survival. When the monster is unintentionally brought aboard, McCoy makes a heartbreaking decision to ensure his shipmates’ survival. (VIA NETFLIX)

I have decided to include a brief synopsis before each review to avoid having to summarize while trying to analysis. However, I must start by saying the above synopsis is greatly lacking. Really it should go, Kirk and Bones beam down to a planet where a scientist and his wife have been living alone for years. The woman in question also happens to be “that one woman in Dr. McCoy’s past” as Kirk so succinctly tells us. Then basically the above synopsis is correct. The woman turns out to be a shape-shifting salt whore.

The first episode aired with the new cast, the episode is a bit hit and miss. There are some great scenes, including Kirk and Bones arguing over protocol, and Uhura being seduced by a large black man (the shapeshifter in disguise) with eyes so intense I’m surprised white people of the 60’s didn’t shriek at their televisions in horror. Sulu has some good moments, although it is clear his role has yet to be plotted out in the show. He is shown with Yeoman Rand in an arboretum. The best part of the scene is a plant that is supposed to be alive, that is clearly just a hand puppet. It even has five fingers.

Pictured: Not a Hand

The hand/plant shrieks in horror when the disguised shapeshifter enters the room, causing the shapeshifter to flee.

The main problem with Man Trap is its imbalance. Hopefully this is just because the show is just starting, trying to find its footing. But one of my goals in watching this series is to try and find what is it about this series that spawned a generation of sequels and obsession.  It has 45 years since the show premiered, and Star Trek is still in the cultural discourse, and it is perhaps more stronger than ever. But for whatever it is today, it all came from this series, and something in this series made it the cultural phenomenon it is today. What it is? I’m not sure. The Man Trap didn’t give me a clue.

Greatest Moments:

-The opening scene has Kirk saying, “Ship’s surgeon McCoy and myself are now beaming down to the planet’s surface. You then see a third man with them. It doesn’t take a Trekkie to know that guy is not making it back to the ship.

-Bone’s pet name apparently was Plum.
-PLUM!

-Interesting scene with Uhura  flirting with Spock:
“Tell me how your planet Vulcan looks on a lazy evening when the moon is full.”
“Vulcan has no moon, Miss Uhura.”
“I’m not surprised, Mister Spock.”

Sulu quote of the Day:

“May the Great Bird of the Galaxy bless your planet.”

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