Utterly Star Trek Review

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Star Trek 3.21 (The Cloud Minders)

Ed Long(Midro)
Garth Pillsbury (Prisoner)
Fred Williamson(Anka)
Kirk Raymone (Cloud Guard #1)
Charlene Polite (Vanna)
Diana Ewing(Droxine)
Jeff Corey(Plasus)
Harv Selsby (Guard)
Jimmy Fields (Cloud Guard #2)

Writer: Margaret Armen, Oliver Crawford, David Gerrold

This episode, like the recent ones that precede it, is not very good at all.  With the recent ones that I have looked at, I can honestly say that they were bad ideas produced badly.  The Cloud Minders is even more irritating than that – it is a good idea wasted.

The Troglytes mine Zenite for the people in the city above, Stratos.  There is an enormous difference in the ways people are treated – the people who live in Stratos live in wealth, whereas the miners do all the work.  The people in the city treat them as inferior creatures, whereas actually they are the same.  So what we are looking at is a story about ethics.  There are Troglyte activists at work in the city, and when one is caught (trying to kill Kirk, as she sees the Enterprise as an extension of what is happening on their world) she is tortured to find out if there are any more Troglytes in the city.

By the way, the Enterprise needs the Zenite to cure a disease on another world, something that seems to be going on a lot in this season – indeed only two stories ago.

Anyhow, Kirk manages to piss off the leader of Stratos, and so, desperate to secure the Zenite, decides to side with the Troglytes, and offers them filter masks that will remove the toxins from the mines that retard the Troglytes mentally.  But they don’t believe that the masks will do what he says they will do, so the rebels make him dig in the mines.

This could have been an intelligent story.  Bits are good.  Something you would now normally take for granted in modern shows look great in this – like the clouds moving in the background of the cloud city.  And the suicide (where a Troglyte jumps from the city) is also okay.  But I find it difficult to beleive in either of the cultures shown here – the city dwellers are too stupid to be so advanced, and the woman Kirk rescues from the cloud city (including shooting a guard) fails to beleive that he has her best interests at heart.

So, another crappy episode.  Only three to go!

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 52
Score: 4/10


May 22, 2008 Posted by | disease/sickness, torture | | 1 Comment

Star Trek 3.14 (Whom Gods Destroy)

Steve Ihnat(Garth of Izar)
Yvonne Craig (Marta)
Gary Downey(Tellarite)
Keye Luke (Donald Cory)

Writer: Lee Erwin, Jerry Sohl

Since I have been writing this blog, I have been categorising the episodes by the “Trek Cliches” that they contain.  With some episodes they contain none that I have used so far (which means I have to try and think of a new one).  Then there are episodes that contain cliches that I have seen before.

Then, there are episodes that contain so many it is almost funny.  Such is this episode.  Interestingly, this was the second episode that the BBC never showed (well, not until 1994) due to the torture scenes.

The premise is simple: the lunatics take over the asylum, including a former Starfleet Captain, Garth.  He is able to shape shift, so when Kirk beams down he initially disguises himself as Cory, the Doctor in charge of the asylum.  And so we get something that is rather similar to Plato’s Stepchildrena few episodes ago – the only difference is that the people in charge are literally insane.  (The point of this particular asylum, by the way, is to completely eliminate mental illness.  They don’t seem to have quite managed this yet!!)

Garth takes on Kirk’s appearance and tries to beam back up to the Enterprise, but luckily Kirk has put in a code the person beaming up has to respond correctly to.  Garth pretends that he was just checking that Scotty was following his instructions, then tries to get the correct response out of Kirk.  He goes quite far to do this, including torturing Cory, then Kirk himself.

When the torture doesn’t work, Garth disguises himself as Spock to trick Kirk into giving up the code, which, of course, fails.  He then does something far nastier – one of his fellow inmates (one of them green women) is driven outside (into the toxic atmosphere of the planet).  As Kirk watches her choke (someone he was snogging not that long ago) Garth tells Kirk that he has planted an explosive in her necklace, he then blows her up.  It is a genuinely nasty moment in an otherwise average episode.

The episode ends on a bit of a tired cliche when Garth changed himself into Kirk and good old Spock has to work out which is the actual Kirk, they then fight and you cannot tell which is which so Spock is unable to shoot.

It’s not a bad episode, but it is very slow and very similar to other episodes that we have already seen in the run.

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 46
Score: 6/10

May 13, 2008 Posted by | andorians, disease/sickness, doubles or duplicates, mad captains, prisons/penal colonies, shape shifters, tellarites, torture | | Leave a comment

Star Trek 3.12 (The Empath)

Kathryn Hays (Gem)
Alan Bergmann(Lal)
Davis Roberts(Dr. Ozaba)
Jason Wingreen(Dr. Linke)
Willard Sage(Thann)

Writer: Joyce Muskat

This is a really odd episode.  Almost from the outset, it really doesn’t feel like an episode of Star Trek.  As usual, the story concentrates on the main three characters, and we see very little of the others.  Also, almost all of the episode is set on a planet, not the Enterprise.

The plot is simple: a sun is going nova (or something like that) and there is am observation station on a nearby planet, but they are out of touch.  Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down to investigate and find nobidy at the station.  Then they are all beamed in some way to this big empty space, where they meet a mute empath that McCoy names Gem.  They find the bodies of the observation team, and try to escape.  They fail, and Kirk is tortured.  Gem has the ability to absorb peoples injuries – first they vanish, then appear on Gem, then fade altogether.

Then they torture McCoy (as he hypo’s the others) and he almost dies – 70 percent of his organs fail or some such nonsense.

It all turns out that this is a test for Gem, to see if she is willing to give her life for others, and if she does save McCoy at the risk of her own life, the Vians will save her race from the supernova (there are several races apparently about to be killed by this event, and the Vians can only save one, so they design these elaborate tests to decide which to save.  On the other hand, if they hadn’t spent all that time pissing around with these stupid tests, perhaps there would have been time to save more than one race.  The Vians are rather like the Talosians from The Menagerie both in looks and the way they go about things).  Anyhow, Gem does save McCoy, and also survives herself).

This looks and feels strange.  The Vians underground base has a black background so you are never sure how large the space they are in are meant to be – indeed they do seem very large, it is only during the sequence where they try to escape that they see the sides of the place, it is a rocky underground cavern, or so it seems.

It is wishy washy, inconseqential twaddle.  It seems to go on and on and on forever.  The ending is nonsense.  Another absolutely god awful mess.  Avoid.

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 46
Score: 1/10

May 9, 2008 Posted by | torture | | 1 Comment