Utterly Star Trek Review

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Star Trek: The Next Generation 1.12 (Datalore)

Brent Spiner (Lore)
Biff Yeager (Lt. Cmdr. Argyle)

Writers: Maurice Hurley, Robert Lewin, Gene Roddenberry

As they are passing, the Enterprise visits Omicron Theta, the planet where Data was found.  They visit the exact spot where Data was found, and Geordi sees something the original people who discovered Data never saw – an entrance into a base.  There, they find a laboratory and another android like Data.  They beam the components up to the Enterprise, and put the android together.  He is Lore, the android made before Data.  His behaviour is a little strange, but when Lore deactivates Data and swaps places with him he contacts the crystalline entity that killed the colonists.  Wesley realises that there has been a swap (although as usual people don’t listen to him straight away) and eventually (just as the entity starts attacking the Enterprise) Wesley convinces Beverly that he is right, they find Data, reactivate him, and stop Lore.  He is beamed into space.

This episode is a bit of a cliche – the moment that we saw Lore it was obvious that at some point they would swap places.  But Spiner plays boths parts so well he is a joy to watch.  There are many scenes that are just the two of them together, and they are really interesting to watch.  The episode is a little predictable, but the performance more than makes up for it.

And once again we have an episode where Wesley Crusher has worked out what has happened ahead of everyone else, and nobody takes him seriously.

This also features the second and final appearance by Chief Engineer Argyle.  We see at last one more Chief before Geordi takes over Engineering.

The only bit of this episode that is bloody stupid is the assertion that Data cannot speak using contractions (can’t instead of cannot etc) but Lore can.  Talk about creating a rod for your own back!  Data has on occasion used contractions in the past, and he will again, but for f**ks sakes, in the one episode where it is vital you don’t balls it up, what is the first thing Data says when asked if he is okay just as they have beamed Lore off the ship?  He says “I’m fine.”   Aaaaaargh!  Cretins!  Is this some subtle message telling us that actually Lore is the one that has survived?  Sadly, it is nothing that clever, just a silly cock up in the script department (or possible in Spiner’s performance, though I somehow doubt that).  A stupid end to an otherwise okay episode.

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 1
Score: 7.5/10


June 20, 2008 Posted by | androids, chief engineer argyle, doubles or duplicates, family members, lore, space creatures | | 1 Comment

Star Trek 3.19 (Requiem for Methuselah)

James Daly (Flint)
Louise Sorel(Rayna Kapec)

Writer: Jerome Bixby

Yes, we have another piss poor episode as this once great series lurches onwards towards its tragic cancellation.  The premise seems to be okay – the deadly Rigellian Fever is rampant aboard the Enterprise – three crew are already dead, most are infected and things are looking grim.  Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down to a planet where an unprocessed mineral (Ryetalyn) can be made into a cure, the problem is that the planet is occupied by Flint – and old chap, and Rayner, a girl he claims to have adopted.

Straight off, this episode pisses me off.  The crew are dying, and Flint clearly finds the “relationship” between Rayna and Kirk annoying.  Spock points this out to Kirk – Flint stands in the way of them and the cure but Kirk cannot resist trying to take her away from Flint, even though there is a strong chance it will cost the lives of everyone on the Enterprise.  For Gods sake stop thinking with your libido, man!  Rayner turns out to be an android made for Flint by himself – the reason for this is he is immortal.  (In a nice crossover, the story he tells of the way he didn’t die from an injury sounds exactly what we see in the Highlander films).  It turns out he was Brahms, and Moses, and a lot of other people from history.

He also has very advanced science – in a scene reminiscent of the scene that pissed me off from Catspaw in season two, he shrinks the Enterprise down and sticks it on a table.  And with all of this shit going on, he still tries to take Rayner away from Flint – this time by arguing that she is as human as any real human and thus has the same right to choose.  YOUR WHOLE CREW IS SITTING THERE IN A SHRUNKEN ENTERPRISE DYING IN FRONT OF YOU YOU UTTER TIT.  FORGET HER.

Then, at the end, as Kirk mourns her, Spock erases the pain from his mind with a mind meld.  Without permission.  Aren’t there rules about that sort of thing?

Drivel.  Utter drivel.  Still, not that many to go now!

Crew Deaths: 3
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 52
Score: 2/10

May 20, 2008 Posted by | androids, disease/sickness, doubles or duplicates, historical characters, immortals, mind meld, people from the past | | 6 Comments

Star Trek 2.20 (Return to Tomorrow)

Diana Muldaur(Dr. Anne Mulhall)
Cindy Lou (Nurse)

This is an intriguing idea.  The crew find three ancient conciousnesses from a race that died a quarter of a million years ago, they wish to borrow three bodies (worryingly this includes Kirk and Spock, as well as Doctor Anne Mulhall, played by Diana Muldaur, who later became The Next Generation’s Doctor Pulaski) and build themselves some robot bodies.

Once they have taken over the bodies (which the crew allow them to do freely, but not without a deal of debate, as the technological advances they might get could be massively beneficial) things seem to be going okay.  Spock is smiling and compliments Nurse Chapel on her looks, which is a nice moment.  The problem is that the presence of the new minds speeds up the bodies metabolism to a dangerous rate (apart from in Spock, who can stand it with his Vulcan physique) so the aliens go back into their holding spheres until the being in Spocks body can create a drug that will enable them to inhabit the bodies with no ill effects.

And they do start to build the robot bodies, however the creature in Spock is unhappy with the thought of going into a mechanical body, and sabotages Kirks dose of the drug and conspires to kill him so that he can keep the body he is in.  Even the creature inside Doctor Mulhall is unhappy with the idea, however she is unaware of what Spock is up to.   However when it comes to the crunch, when the first robot body is ready, she doesn’t want to go into it and decides to keep the human body.  However, eventually her conscience gets the better of her.

I actually really like this one.  For once, not all of the aliens are bad guys – two are a bit misguided, but actually end up doing the right thing.  Having not seen this episode for a while, and not really remembering it, I assumed at first that all three were going to be bad, so it was nice that this well written episode exceeded my expectations of it.

And there were some great performances, especially from Nimoy, who is clearly relishing the opportunity to show some emotion.  There has been a run of dodgy episodes, but it is worth them for the gems such as this one.

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 40
Score: 7.5/10

April 16, 2008 Posted by | androids, mind control | | Leave a comment

Star Trek 2.8 (I, Mudd)

Roger C. Carmel (Harcourt Fenton “Harry” Mudd)
Richard Tatro (Norman)
Alyce Andrece (Alice #1 through 250)

Rhae Andrece (Alice #251 through 500)
Kay Elliot (Stella Mudd)
Mike Howden (Lt. Rowe)
Michael Zaslow (Ensign Jordan)
Writer: Stephen Kandel, David Gerrold
Oh dear. After a run of decent episodes (apart from Catspaw) we get this utter drivel.
The episode is a sequel to last season’s Mudds Women and sees the return of Harcourt Fenton Mudd (Harry to his friends). He has become trapped on a planet run only by robots, and he uses one of them to infiltrate the Enterprise and divert it to the planet. Then, the robots take over the Enterprise and beams down all the crew. Just as Harry is about to leave, the robots turn on him and he has to stay as well.
The rest of the episode sees the crew attempting to confuse the robots and they eventually get back to the ship.
There is one moment that I quite liked. It is suggested early on that Uhura finds the idea of becoming immortal in the form of an android to be quite seductive, which I thought was out of character for her, so when it is later revealed as a trick I was relieved. The background cast often get a shoddy deal and their characterisation is often not up to much, and had Uhura really decided she wanted to be an android it would have made this shoddy affair just about bearable.
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 33
Score: 4/10

March 27, 2008 Posted by | androids, doubles or duplicates, harry mudd | | Leave a comment

Star Trek 1.15 (Shore Leave)

First Aired: December 29, 1966

Emily Banks (Yeoman Tonia Barrows)
Oliver McGowan (Caretaker)
Perry Lopez (Lt. Esteban Rodriguez)
Bruce Mars (Finnegan)
Barbara Baldavin (Specialist Mary Teller)
Marcia Brown (Alice in Wonderland)
Sebastian Tom (Samurai)
Shirley Bonne (Ruth)
Writer: Theodore Sturgeon
The first thing I noticed was that Kirks’ Yeoman was not Janice Rand. I know she only featured up to a certain point in the first series, so it is possible that we won’t see her again (until the movies, of course!) Of course, they were shot in a different order to the one in which they were transmitted, so it is possible that we will see her again.
Kirk says “erm” in the middle of announcing the stardate. I suspect that it was at attempt to show that Kirk was in need of a break, but it just sounds like Shatner fluffed his line and they couldn’t be bothered to go for a retake.
There is lots of outside filming in this episode, and it really stands out. There have been others (such as Miri) but it’s nice to see actual countryside and not a crappy soundstage.
I was impressed that the tiger was actually there with them – when I first saw it I assumed that it was a stock footage shot, but later you get to see it in shot with Kirk and Spock (only with a bloody big chain round its neck!)
This is a famously silly episode, but it is quite fun. There really isn’t enough plot to fill the full fifty minutes, and the long fight at the end (in which, yes, Kirk gets his shirt ripped) just seems like it’s there to fill time. A couple of crewmembers die, including McCoy, however they all get bought back to life by the end, so this episode scores zero there!
So, nice use of locations, some good comic moments, but ultimately over long and a bit silly.
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 20
Score: 6

August 8, 2007 Posted by | androids, exes, super beings | | Leave a comment

Star Trek 1.7 (What are little girls made of?)

First Aired: October 20, 1966

Michael Strong (Dr. Roger Korby)
Sherry Jackson (Andrea)
Ted Cassidy (Ruk)
Harry Basch (Dr. Brown)
Budd Albright (Rayburn)
Writer: Robert Bloch
This episode has good points as well as bad. The most frustrating thing is that we already have themes repeated from earlier in the series – and bearing in mind that this is episode seven…
In this episode, we get to see another Kirk lookalike, just as we did in the episode before last. Okay, this one is a robot (or android or whatever) and we have already seen similarities between other episodes. Perhaps they should have looked at showing the episodes in a different order – I am watching them as the DVD presents them, which is in transmission order not production order.
The good: Ruk is massive, it really does look like he can easily throw Shatner around. Sherry Jackson, the actress who plays Andrea, is rather lovely – normally the sixties look doesn’t do much for me, but she looks fantastic. It is also nice that one of the background regulars – in this case Christine Chapel – has a large part to play in the episode. And the effects when there are two Kirks are pretty good for the time. The food they eat in the meal about halfway through the episode looks like a current brand of dried dog food. (I list that as a good as it made me laugh!)
The end became a little melodramatic. The twist, that Christine’s ex was a robot, was somewhat obvious, and the idea that all the robots destroyed the race that made them is not new. In fact, I am sure it will be repeated at some point soon!
So, okay, but not great.
Crew Deaths: 2
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 19
Score: 5/10

July 29, 2007 Posted by | androids, doubles or duplicates, exes | | 3 Comments