Ursaline Bryant(Capt. Tryla Scott)
Michael Berryman(Capt. Rixx)
Ray Reinhardt (Admiral Aaron)
Jonathan Farwell (Capt. Walker Keel)
Ward Costello (Admiral Quinn)
Henry Darrow(Admiral Savar)
Robert Schenkkan(Lt. Cmdr. Dexter Remmick)
The opening fifteen minutes or so of this episode are very good indeed. Without showing anything – just an illicit meeting between four Starship Captains on a rock in the middle of nowhere – you suddenly get a sense of the fact that something Big Deal is happening. The revelation a few minutes later that one of the ships that met up has since been destroyed is quite shocking. The Captain – Walker Keel – was an old friend of Picard and Crusher.
So they go back to Earth – another big deal, since this is the first time this series has visited the home of the Federation (we didn’t even go there in episode one). We meet up with Admiral Quinn from a few episodes ago – and he is clearly different.
The episode goes downhill from this point. There is a fight in which we see someone kicked through some room doors, which collapse. Surely that person should have been in great pain with broken bones rather than going through the door.
And the race that has taken people over is quite creepy – although the stop motion movement of the creature looks rather clunky in these days of CGI, although Remmicks death scene is good. (Incidentally, the BBC cut that actual moment from the episode because they considered it too violent for the time slot. Yet the clip in the final episode of season 2 which shows the moment again was overlooked).
It seems unlikely that such a race could get such a foothold in the Federation, so although there are some genuinely violent and scary moments, you can’t quite help feeling that it would never have happened. Also, the final scene of the episode suggests that there is more to come, which never happens in the run of this show or any of the sequels.
There is a lot of death in this story – the whole crew of the USS Horratio, Remmick, several admirals, yet none of the Enterprise crew die.
So, quite an interesting episode, but possibly a bit overrated by fans.
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 4
William Smithers(Capt. R. M. Merik)
Logan Ramsey (Claudius Marcus)
William Bramley (Policeman)
Jack Perkins (Master of Games)
Lois Jewell (Drusilla)
Oh Lord protect me from another bloody Earth based culture. This time it’s the Romans, only the civilisation never fell, and this planet is a contemporary version (at least, with the 1960s) of what that culture would become. We even find out that ancient Roman times have the same history – Caeser etc, that only changed when the Empire never fell. So at least it’s not based on a book that some berk dropped on an away mission.
So, I am already yawning at the total and utter unoriginality of the concept. Then we find out that their leader is actually Merik, the Captain of a ship that vanished six years ago. It turns out that whilst on the planet Merik met a Roman, who convinced him that no other planets should know about this one. So Merik orders his own people down, and those that could adapt still live in the Roman culture and the others are all dead. Merik orders Kirk to get all of his people to beam down, which of course he resists. I don’t buy Merik and his behaviour, once again we have a StarFleet Captain behaving in a way that is just not realistic.
The one thing I do quite like is the character Claudius Marcus. He has clearly learned about StarFleet from Merik and knows about things like the Prime DIrective, so it is quite a good moment when he talks Kirk through his options and, with some smugness it must be said, discounts them all as against that Directive.
Then Kirk and company end up fighting on a live TV Gladiator fight, and whilst the cliche of the fight is annoying, I like the fact that it is shot on a bad set (that is meantto be a bad set) with canned applause and a live commentary!
Another good moment is the exchange between Spock and McCoy in (yet another) prison cell. It is basically an argument, with McCoy having a go at the fact that Spock has no emotions, yet Spock reveals (in a non emotional way, of course) that he is worried about Kirk (who is not in the cell with them, but shagging some blond beauty).
Whilst the idea behind the episode is a hokey Trek cliche that, frankly, is starting to piss me off, it is managed much better in this show. Good dialogue, some nice ideas and a couple of really good characters rescue it from being a stupid mess like, say, Patterns of Force. There needed to be less episodes based on Earth cultures on this show, but of the few that get away with it, this is one of the better ones.
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 43
Writer: Gene Roddenberry
You know what, I am getting pretty fed up of seeing primitive civilisations, either ones based on earth cultures or not. This time round, the Enterprise comes across an empty ship, the USS Exeter. They beam across and find all the crew are dead, and that they are infected so cannot return to the Enterprise. So they beam down to the surface of the planet, and find the Captain of the Exeter, Ron Tracey, who has realised that something in the planet keeps humans alive a long longer than they would normally – Tracey thinks if McCoy can find out what it is, they will have the Fountain of Youth
As McCoy investigates, he finds out that if the Exeter crew had simply stayed on the surface of the planet they would have built up a natural immunity and survived.
Tracey is mental. There is no way someone would end up behaving like this – they must psychologically profile every captain to make sure there is nothing in his past or behaviour that could make him do this. He won’t let anyone beam back to the Enterprise, and he insists that Kirk supplies him weapons for the war that he is involved in.
Something else odd has happened. I don’t think Scotty is aboard, because Sulu is acting Captain with Kirk not there. This stands out, because he has been in hardly any episodes this season, and now suddenly he is back.
Oh, and then the crap revelation of parallel development. One side is called the Yangs (yankees) and the others something based on the American Indians. When one of the Yangs walks in with a Stars and Stripes and the incidental music goes all “land of the free” the rubbish score I was going to give this episode plummeted. They even have their own constitution which is almost word for word the same as the American one. Oh, and they have a Holy Bible with a picture of Satan which looks almost exactly like Spock. I think I have lost the will to live.
So then Kirk has to fight Ron Tracey. Can you guess who wins?
Utter crap. The worst yet, which is a shame as the first ten minutes were quite promising.
Crew Deaths: 1
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 42