Utterly Star Trek Review

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Star Trek 3.9 (The Tholian Web)

Writer: Judy Burns, Chet Richards

Who said that the third season was full of turkies?  So far, I am finding it about as consistent as the last season, meaning not as good as the first!  However, there are some truly classic episodes.  This is one of them.

The Enterprise investigates the disappearance of the USS Defiant (no, not the one from Deep Space Nine) and finds the ship caught in some kind of dimensional anomaly, the ship seems to be phasing in and out of existence.  A landing party beams aboard, and it seems clear that something drove the crew insane, as the body of the Captain is found being strangled by one of the other bridge crew.  As the ship starts phasing again, most of the landing party managed to be beamed back (only just, since the transporter was playing up).  Kirk remains trapped aboard as the Defiant phases out of existence again.

All does not seem to be lost – the Defiant is due to phase back in in a couple of hours, and Kirk has just enough air for that.  But when a Tholian ship arrives, it upsets the anomaly, so the Defiant does not phase in on schedule.  The Tholians had given the crew the benefit of the doubt, and when the Defiant does not appear they assume that Spock was lying to them and opens fire.  Another Tholian ship arrives, and they start to build a web like energy field around the ship to trap them.  And to make things worse, it seems as though the madness that killed the crew of the Defiant is because of the area of space they are in and it starts to affect the crew of the Enterprise.

Of course, once the time is up and Kirks air supply must have run out, he is declared dead and Spock takes over.  When Uhura sees him in his space suit for a moment, they assume she is going mad as well.

I like this episode.  It is what they later referred to as a “bottle” show – little or no guest cast and filmed on existing sets, but it is really well done.  The Tholian web is fun, although it only works because the Enterprise is disabled – it does take them a while to build it. 

And what is it with Nurse Chapel?  When one of his staff attacks him, McCoy is almost killed and for ages Chapel just stands there and watches!  (Before she finally gets a hypo and knocks out the attacker).  And the cure for the madness that McCoy eventually finds is full of alcohol, and Scotty decides that it might make a good mixer for Whisky! 

Another thing I liked was they didn’t show anything of what was going on from Kirks point of view – the episode is all about what happened to the Enterprise crew, and this was a nice move – it was great that the episode focussed on someone other than Kirk for a change – nothing against him, but it made for a better episode.  This is something that later versions of Trek get good at, but it is unusual for this show.  Oh, and McCoy and Spock pretend that they never watched the tape of Kirk’s last orders to them after they declare him dead.
And we never see the Defiant – they rescue Kirk, but the ship vanishes into the anomaly.
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 45
Score: 8/10
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May 6, 2008 - Posted by | anomaly (spacial/temporal), inside another stafleet ship, post death message, tholians, transporter problems |

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