An on-going series of Star Trek: The Original Series episode reviews
Hi! I’m Sue. Every surface of my home is currently covered in cosplay, and I am an Anomaly.
Despite my belief that summer is calmer, this past week has been super busy, and I haven’t had much of a chance to fit TOS into my schedule. But “few” is better than “none”, so here’s a short little update.
1×06 Mudd’s Women
Summary: The crew rescues Harry Mudd and his “cargo” from their severely damaged ship, damaging the Enterprise in the process. While Spock and Scotty try to figure out how to get supplies make repairs in time, Mudd leverages his “possessions” to get what he wants from Kirk.
Thoughts: Ugh. It took me three tries to get through this episode. I just… no. This pirate-cowboy hybrid with the mail-order brides who are actually ugly, but on a drug that makes them beautiful so that they can (you guessed it) completely control/distract the men around them with how attractive they are. There are so many reasons that I love the work of Gene Roddenberry, but this is not one of them. “The Venus Drug! Reinforcing hetero-normative gender stereotypes!” At the end of the episode, Kirk delivers the line, “You either believe in yourself or you don’t,” implying that it’s self-confidence that makes you beautiful. Sure, but the women still seem to be physically transformed by their “self-confidence” Venus drug placebo. I’d rather look to Spock’s line earlier in the episode, when speaking about the burnt out lithium crystal, as the moral of this story: “Even burned and cracked, they’re beautiful.”
1×07 What Are Little Girls Made Of?
Summary: The Enterprise is on a search mission for a missing scientist. There’s been no contact with him for years, but he’s suddenly answering hails. But, of course, things are not as they seam.
Thoughts: I have such an appreciation for Majel Barrett, but that blonde wig is not awesome. Also, if Christine Chapel gave up a career in bio-research, she is clearly brilliant. Why is she a nurse, and not a doctor? She may not have an MD, but you’d expect a PhD at the very least. I found this episode a bit confusing, mostly because the android plot line kept bringing my brain around to Data’s story. If the “Old Ones” on Exo III had created these androids centuries ago – with realistic skin tone, physical warmth, artificial organs, and even emotions – how is Noonian Soong is credited with all of these breakthroughs in cybernetics? As far as I can tell, these androids (and the android duplicator) are never brought up again in the Star Trek cannon, which seems odd to me. With all the Data-centric stories in TNG, you’d think there would be a callback.
Summary: The Enterprise arrives at a planet that look remarkably like Earth. Due to a virus created by scientists looking to delay human aging, the inhabitants are all children. But when adults – such as Kirk, Spock, and McCoy (or the growing “children” on the planet) – contract the virus, the results are quite different.
Thoughts: This is a pet peeve of mine, but why are children always portrayed as dumb? Supposedly, these kids have been alive for hundreds of years. Sure, this virus has slowed their physical development, but that doesn’t mean that it has slowed their intellectual development. And yet, they behave like cartoon cavemen. Bonk bonk! Kids are not dumb! I was actually rather impressed with the story though – even now, medical science is thinking about “good” viruses to combat illnesses, and we know of several viruses that have different affects of children and adults. So while I think the basic plot of this actually held up pretty well, the execution was unfortunate.
Overall thoughts so far: I am actually quite impressed with the depth of the women characters. It is much more that I expected from a 1966 television series, and more than some 2014 series give to their women. I feel like I know more about who Uhura and Chapel are as people (outside of their starship duties) at this point than I do about Bones. And I am all in whenever Spock and McCoy snark at each other. I would watch 48 minutes of only their banter and be happy about it.
One more week down, and I feel like I’ve barely made a dent. But I’ll keep going, and maybe my schedule this next week will be more forgiving.