Star Trek Original Series Season 1 highlights Part II

Star Trek castThis is the long awaited Part II of my look back at highlights of the Season 1 of Star Trek the Original Series.  I posted Part I back in September.  However, thanks to AWESOME-tober-fest, I couldn’t get this one posted until now.

To refresh everyone’s memory, after the awesome JJ Abrams reboot of Star Trek back in May, I wanted to watch the original TV show episodes again. I’d seen a few episodes in reruns, but never really sat down to watch the episodes back to back.  I wanted to see if they are as good as I remember.  And since the first two seasons were recently released on Blu-Ray, I thought it was no time like the present (Season 3 will be released on Blu-Ray December 15).

Last time I looked at three of the best episodes from the first half of Season 1 of the Original Series (Where No Man Has Gone Before, The Enemy Within and The Corbomite Maneuver).  Here are three more episodes from the middle of that season.

ST The Menagerie
The Menagerie (Part I and II) — The first and only 2 part episode in the original series’ 3 year run. This episode makes extensive use of the unaired pilot, The Cage, to tell its story. I imagine Roddenberry walked into the writer’s room and announced, “Dudes, I went on a bender of coke and whores this weekend and totally forgot to write this week’s episode.  Any ideas?”  So the writer’s cobbled together this episode using a minimum of new footage and letting the old pilot pad out the run time.  This episode is okay, but it reminds me of the ’80s sitcom device of the “flashback episode”.  The events of the pilot, within the context of this episode, are said to have happened 13 years prior when Christopher Pike was the Enterprise captain and Spock the science officer.  In the new footage, Spock hijacks Kirk’s Enterprise to bring Capt Pike (now blonde and a paraplegic due to an accident) back to Talos IV, the planet visited in the pilot. Spock gets court martialed while the Enterprise makes the journey and clips from almost the entire episode of The Cage are screened during the court proceedings.  In the older footage, Pike gets trapped on the planet Talos IV and the aliens residing there put him in a type of zoo for observation.  The aliens use holograms to make Pike feel more comfortable by making him believe he’s living a different life, even going so far as to give him a hot chick to mate with.  Pike, not being Kirk, is outraged that the aliens would try to make him comfortable with a cool, imaginary life and then also have the temerity to give him hot women in which to have copious amounts of sex so he sets out to destroy the entire observatory/zoo.  Many, many years later, in the new footage, after having become a quadriplegic, Pike is totally fine with living a fantasy life with lots of hot chicks so works with Spock to break every Federation rule and bring him there, even risking Spock’s career for his own comfort.  After seeing this episode I have no desire to watch the full pilot.  I’ve probably seen 90% of the footage anyway.  And the actor who played Pike in the pilot, Jeffery Hunter, didn’t return for The Menagerie, hence Pike being an invalid, blonde mute (it’s like they didn’t even try to make him look the same) in the new footage.

ST Conscience of the King
The Conscience of the King — A man named Kodos murdered 4000 people on the planet Tarsus IV during a food shortage. After the murders, Kodos was supposedly found burned to death. It is revealed in this episode that Kodos might be still alive and posing as a Shakespearean actor in a traveling theater troupe (where all mass murderers go to hide). Apparently Capt Kirk grew up on Tarsus IV (only for this episode, though, as in other episodes and movies he grew up in Iowa) and therefore is one of only 9 people who can recognize Kodos (the episode makes sure to point this out several times).  Kirk’s friend identifies Kodos but Kirk doesn’t believe him (even after said friend winds up DEAD). So Kirk goes to the ship’s computer and brings up the histories of Kodos and the Shakespearean actor.  Even though only 9 people can identify Kodos, the ship’s computer has a f’n MUG SHOT of Kodos with which Kirk can compare to a head shot of the actor (and Kirk STILL isn’t convinced). Kirk decides to investigate this “actor” further (you think, Jim?). Kirk then decides to seduce the actor’s daughter (all too easy) to get more info about the actor.  After an awkward, sexually subtexted scene between the daughter and Kirk in an observation hallway (see pic above), Kirk confronts the actor (who all but confesses) and runs a voice print analysis on him which confirms the Kodos/actor match.  However, Kirk STILL isn’t convinced (WTF, guy? Even Spock is convinced at this point).  It takes Kodos’ daughter pretty much confessing to the murders for Kirk to finally say, “Yeah, I think it’s him”. The daughter winds up shooting her dad when trying to kill Kirk but not before Kodos puts on a scenery chewing performance that made even Shatner blush.

ST Shore Leave
Shore Leave — Spock and Kirk are talking on the bridge.  Spock mentions to Kirk a few times about how the crew is overworked and stressed and ready for some R&R.  Well, Spock amends, everyone on board needs a break, except him, because he’s awesome, and the rest of the crew is a bunch of emotional weaklings.  During this, Kirk’s new Yeoman, the uber hot Ms Barrows (where’d Rand go?) starts massaging Kirk’s sore back as Kirk gives vaguely sexual directions like “lower, higher, harder”, etc.  It’s pretty awesome.  Meanwhile, Bones, who’s apparently robbing the cradle and dating Ms Barrows (Wha-?!) is exploring a seemingly dead forest planet for a place to let the crew have some R&R.  While walking around aimlessly in the aforementioned forest, Bones sees a comically bad, giant, white rabbit reading a pocket watch claiming to be late for a very important date then disappears into the forest.  After hearing Bones tell him about this craziness, Kirk immediately gets an away team together to investigate (showing once again it doesn’t take much to get Kirk to beam down to a planet).  After reaching the surface the away team also starts seeing images and characters that essentially start trying to kill them.  Sulu finds a handgun and just starts shooting it into the f’n WOODS like it’s no big deal unconcerned that his fellow crew mates are also in the woods, probably littered with bullet holes at this point.  Kirk runs up to him after hearing the gun shots and is like, “WTF, Sulu?!”  Kirk takes the handgun promising to give it back at the end of the day.  While walking around talking to Bones, Kirk sees a bully he knew from the academy named Finnegan (yes, he has an Irish accent) and before even saying a word immediately gets into a 10 minute violent brawl with the bully (as Kirk is known to do).  Other crew members encounter Japanese WWII planes that try to machine gun them to death and Yeoman Barrows (I can’t get her and Bones out of my head) meets Don Juan who tries to rape her (wow, rape…AGAIN).  Bones uses her sudden emotional vulnerability as an opportunity to lay down some creepy, old man “game”.  Kirk meets up with an old girlfriend from the academy, Ruth, somehow loses her then Finnegan shows up again.  Finnegan and Kirk get into another 10 minute Kirk-arific brawl.  This one is even more brutal with Judo chops, hair pulling, and rolling over rocks and dirt.  Finnegan tears Kirk’s uniform off  in the process of kicking ass (Kirk.  Shirtless.  AGAIN.).  For some reason, Finnegan stops kicking Kirk’s ass and some old guy shows up explaining that all the things going on are part of the “amusement park” his people have setup on this planet.  All the characters and situations are manufactured using dummies, robots and some other matter transference blah, blah, blah.  Kirk, still bloody and shirtless from his brawl and not worrying about the fact that all of the “amusements” tried to kill his entire crew, immediately tells Spock to beam down the rest of the crew for a shore leave.  Kirk then goes off with the “lost love”, Ruth, to knock some sweet, robot booty.

And I continue to wonder why this is not considered the greatest television show of all time.

As I finish Season 1, I’ll post some more episodes from the final half of the season. One episode that will be included in the next article will be Arena. Trust me, you want to read that one.

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2 Responses to “Star Trek Original Series Season 1 highlights Part II”

  1. I like the original Star Trek series. Great post!

  2. le grande viper Says:

    yet another great review! almost as good as the adventures with the awesome spock puppet … um, i’m sorry, means “figure” … no? no. “model”. “sculpture”, “awwsome savior of man”. yes, that’s more like it. anyhoo, like i said, great and absoawesomelylutely on-point review.
    servus, mein freund.

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