The Entire Star Trek Universe at High Speed

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Star Trek: TOS: By Any Other Name; or, how Kirk finds himself unsurprisingly playing D&D BDSM with sexy-sexy aliens

The Original Series: Episode 51: By Any Other Name

We open on a cartoon planet with a purple sky. OKAY IT WASN'T REALLY A CARTOON. It just looked that way.

The entire control team of the Enterprise beams to the astroturf planet where Spock discovers small metallic objects but no life forms. (It really was astroturf.) Then, a never before seen red dress crew member discovers two human forms approaching. WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE WOMAN IN THE RED DRESS, I WONDER??? The human forms meet the crew and demand our Captain Kirk hand over control of the Enterprise. Kirk, of course, ga-fahs, and refuses.

The Predictable Moment: Kirk With the Sexy-Sexy Space Alien In His Arms

Who are these mysterious ship-demanding strangers? We have, on the one hand, a woman in a turquoise full body suit that proves to be this episodes incredibly sexy and well made up feminine stranger. She is accompanied by man that, while handsome enough, proves his poor fashion choices through use of an orange full body jumpsuit. It's hard to take his demands for a starship seriously when he's tricked himself into thinking orange looks good with his overly pale outspace sun deprived white skin. But, right in the moment of our deepest doubt, he stuns our away team with the magical freeze ray button found about his waist. That's right, with his belt along he has the power to control our Captain Kirk, our beloved Spock, Doctor McCoy, and the two red shirted security officers that will clearly wind up dead later in the show. What are they to do?

From this moment forward, the orange jumpsuit is in charge.

In short order, we discover the two humanoids are of the Kelvin empire. Never heard of it? Neither has Kirk. The Kelvins hail all the way from our neighboring Andromeda galaxy, having traveled via multi-generational starship from their galaxy to ours in search of habitable planets. Though they look remarkably just like overly sexy, or jumpsuit wearing humans from earth, they are in fact not earthlings, and further do not even actually have humanoid bodies. They've simply transferred their essences into our shape for the sake of our-galaxy convenience. While our Kelvin dominators explain their situation to Kirk and the command crew, the Kelvin crew, that we had not yet seen, take control over the Enterprise. Egads! We've been tricked! There are not only two sexy-sexy Kelvins! There were others too and while distracted with the freeze ray our beloved Enterprise has been confiscated for Kelvin use. The Kelvin leader calmly and emotionlessly explains that they are a dominating force determined to conquer all residents of our galaxy. The Enterprise will be theirs.

While dealing with the conversion process of the Enterprise, our away team is taken into custody. They are to be locked in an outspace cave as hostages to convince the rest of the crew to simply obey Kelvin orders. Locked in their frozen cave holding cell, the two red shirted security officers pace nervously, no doubt preparing for their red-shirt-wearing fate.

In an effort to distract their guard, Spock undergoes a crazy mind-meld explosion trick causing the sexy-sexy guard to rush in, suffer hand-chop knock-out attack from Kirk, and then collapse with sexy convenience into Kirk's arms. Oh Kirk! You're masculinity is so wonderfully consistent. Our beloved hostages rush out of their hostage cell only to be immediately captured, and frozen again. As predicted, the two red shirts are taken aside to be killed as punishment for Kirk's commander misdeeds--he disobeyed the Kelvins. Thus, two essential elements of the Star Trek universe are fulfilled--the red shirts are killed, and Kirk is temporarily dominated.

How can I claim Kirk's domination to be a necessary element of the Star Trek universe, you ask? (Notice: we all just accept that "wearing red shirt==death.") Central to Kirk's character is the expectation of ultimate superiority of any situation. However, the only means for such a definitive quality to be genuinely enacted is for such a figure to face what appearing to be over powering situations. It is through his over coming of circumstances it appeared could never be overcome that our captain is able to prove again and again that he is the ultimate hero--alone in his ability to triumph over anything. Thus, each episode must offer us some challenge that cannot be overcome. In the Kelvin's willingness to kill crew members when challenged, Kirk discovers his weakness and we see the inescapability of his situation. Even if Kirk happens to lose a crewman in almost every episode, most deaths are due to the simple dangers of space. Kirk is willing to face enormous risk, but his first worst fear is in a crewman dying because of his own error. Thus, the Kelvins appear to have won by constraining Kirk via his own allegiance to his crew, thereby exposing the very fact that ultimately the Kelvin's will have to be dominated by Kirk himself. Yay, Kirk! Metaphorical BDSM points all around!

Interestingly, in death the red shirts are turned into geometric dice-like forms that we are told represent their essence. Horrified by the site of his security officers turned into D&D dice Kirk is subdued, and we must wait to discover what the Kelvin's weakness will be.

The Essence of Red Shirt Wearing Security Officers Turns Out To Be D&D Dice

Returned again to the outer space cave holding cell, Spock again works to distract the Kelvin guards. This time he puts himself into a Vulcan trance in which he appears to be dying. As a result, McCoy and Spock are beamed back aboard the Enterprise straight to sick bay. They arrive in sickbay and are left alone there to investigate potential Kelvin weaknesses from on board the ship. Still on the planet, Kirk is unable to reason with the Kelvin jumpsuit wearing leader, and is ultimately beamed back aboard the space ship while the Kelvins begin their return voyage (with Enterprise crew in tow) back to the Andromeda galaxy.

Having gotten to the ship earlier, Spock, McCoy, and Scotty have prepared the only option available to them--explode the ship with the Kelvins and our beloved crew aboard. Will they do it? Will they destroy themselves and therefore stop the Kelvins from their mission? Will they kill themselves? WHAT WILL KIRK DO? OH MY GOD WHAT WILL HE DO?

I'll tell you.

In the moment of greatest crisis--approaching the energy barrier on the edge of our galaxy--Kirk decides to forego the suicide pact and instead leave the galaxy. Thanks to the Kevlins, we take our Star Trek travels further than ever experienced before. We pass the edge of our galaxy for the first time ever. What a moment in Sci-Fi history--leaving our own galaxy to travel between worlds. 300 space travel years in the distance we can see the Andromeda galaxy in all her beauty as we, aboard the Enterprise, travel in starless space.

Reaching the space between galaxies, the Kelvins proceed to turn all non-essential crew members of the Enterprise crew into D&D dice. Will Kirk be stuck playing role games to continue his relationship with crewman like Chekov and Uhura? No! We discover that as long as these di are not crushed, the 'neutralized' crew members can later be restored to human form. So, again Kirk is forced to obey the Kelvin leader lest his crewman remain di forever.

While the only non-neutralized crew members--those considered essential (Scotty, McCoy, Spock, Kirk)--struggle with their situation, one of the Kelvins is lured into tasting food. A simple moment, it would seem. But Kelvins have been living as mostly intellectual beings for millenia. Now in human form they are subject again to human sensation and human emotion. In the pleasures of food, then, we discover the Kelvin's one weakness. Kirk realizes his key to regaining control of the situation. Big Kelvins are vulnerable to food and drink. Pretty Kelvins are weak at the site of flowers and kisses. And dominating leader Kelvins want to control their women. It all makes so much sense! Kirk commands his three essential crew members to find ways to expose the Kelvins to their vulnerable feelings and desires. Scotty gets some Kelvins drunk. McCoy scares some others into thinking they have to have extensive medical treatment. Spock works on faux-counseling the Kelvin leader into recognizing his sexual interests in the sexy-sexy second in command, while also, incidentally, beating the Kelvin's ass at multi-level chess. And Kirk walks around seducing the sexy woman from the beginning of the episode just in time to cause jealousy on the part of the Kelvin leader. The Kelvins begin showing severe irritation, and the sexy Kelvin woman returns what she really wants is the attention of a powerful man.

We thus find ourselves in the midst of one of the more simultaneously charming and offensive moments of Star Trek history--Kirk kisses the sexy Kelvin again and again and again and again... The Kelvin commander walks in just in time to find Kirk making out with the Kelvin sexy second in command, and the leader becomes so irate he attempts to kill Kirk with his bare hands. Very unKelvin indeed! In doing so, the commander realizes he's become too human to fulfill his mission of return to Andromeda. Instead, he wants to spend his days making out, as any good human would, with his sexy counterpart. Finding himself back on top, Kirk extends the hand of Enterprise friendship, the Kelvin woman shifts to making out with the Kelvin commander instead of Kirk, and all is well again in the Star Trek universe.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Star Trek: Patterns of Force; aka. How We See Spock Undressed and Lovely for the First Time and Learn that Nazis Always Do the Same Thing Twice

TOS: Episode 50: Patterns of Force

Again we begin with a mystery. The Enterprise crew has been attempting to contact an Earth historian, Mister John Gill, for over six months without success. It would seem he is missing. However, he had been studying the development of a primitive planetary system when last heard from. Now the crew find themselves within reach of the very planet they hope he resides upon. We witness a touch of hero worship on the part of our heros as both Kirk and Spock carry an affection for Mister Gill's work. Kirk studied him intensively in school, and Spock, too admired Gill's approach to recounting the story of our planet. It seems Gill treated history as a matter of causes and motivations, rather than dates and events, which Spock found fascinating.

Strangely, though there is no response from either of the planets our ship is approaching, a spaceship plots an intercept course for the Enterprise. We discover it is actually an unmanned probe carrying a warhead. Being the superior vessel, the Enterprise crew successfully destroys the warhead, but in doing so discovers it to be an atomic weapon.

We now find ourselves in the grip of an episode hosting TWO, possibly intertwined, mysteries.

The warhead offers this unusual puzzle--how could the technologically primitive planets the crew are approaching have nuclear power long before the anticipated development of their civilizations would project?


1. A Ship Without A Captain or First Mate
Star Fleet databases inform us that the planets below host undeveloped warlike peoples. Further, the nuclear warhead would suggest those warlike people would mean to attack anything approaching. In the face of such clear expectation for violence, Kirk and Spock do the ONLY THING REASONABLE. They remove the two leaders of their galaxy class starship (themselves) from the bridge of that ship by beaming directly into the path of danger on the planet below. How else could they discover WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON ON OUR PLANET OF MYSTERY, and honestly, we couldn't expect them to hand such a task over to just anyone, could we?

2. Civilian Attire
Wonderfully, the situation finds us viewing both our captain and first mate in civilian attire, with Spock's standard knit cap to effectively cover ALL TRACE OF HIS ALIEN COMPONENTS. oh, to be without view of those ears. I love those ears. Still, Spock must fulfill his duty. He dons the cap, and together he and Kirk beam below.

3. Nazis
In case we had any doubt over the severity of danger Kirk and Spock have put themselves in, their landing on the planet surface places them IMMEDIATELY in the path of Nazis. That's right--deep space Nazis. Did you hear me? Deep space, primitive planet, war loving Nazis. Star Trek couldn't be in the midst of coping with the cold war, could they?

Kirk responds to the situation with one statement. "Unbelievable." Unbelievable indeed. This other planet uses Nazi symbols, Nazi leadership patterns, and Nazi practices of elimination of those that are not of the desireable race. Unfortunately, however, we also discover that our missing historian is actually the Nazi leader on our new planet.

4. Naked Chest Whip Lashing
That's right. Kirk and Spock both end up half naked before we are even a quarter of the way into the episode. Captured by the Nazis, our starship leaders find themselves covered in red and green marker stripes as the makeup crew is forced to find a way to imply whiplash cuts administered by the SS guards. After the marker lashing, our men find themselves thrown in jail.

Star Trek has showcased Kirk's bare chest again and again, of course. We have not seen Spock's before, however. All I can say is that my love for him has grown. Spock is lovely.

5. Make Shift Laser Technology
Wonderfully, while preparing a makeshift laser Spock gives us first a lecture on the physics of light transmission, and then a confession on his inability to understand Kirk's use of metaphor.

After making a laser out of almost nothing, our crewmen successfully break themselves out of jail along with a planetary prisoner. The prisoner leads them to a secret hideout of those people being killed off by the Nazis.

6. Spock Embracing Risk
In the midst of the trials our men face Spock realizes that there is an exhiliration mixed into the reality of chancy situations. Though he is skilled at calculating risk, the truth, he realizes, is that one still never knows if one will succeed--it is in that space of chance that feeling can be found. While facing the possibility of being re-captured by Nazis Spock finds himself there in the space of feeling, though he then also confesses he hopes not to dwell there too long.
7. McCoy's Emotionalism
Wonderfully, McCoy finds being required to beam to the planet wearing his own Nazi uniform. Immediately he gushes with classic frustration and emotion yelling about the trouble of his Nazi boot.

McCoy is brought to the planet surface in order to determine if our Mister John Gill is actually drugged, psychotic, or hypnotized. It seems too unbelievable that our dear historian could be the leader of an entire Nazi civilization. We discover Mister Gill has been horribly drugged, though we don't yet know why.

McCoy and Spock work together to first stimulate Gill, and then mindmeld with him. Magically, Spock makes it possible for Gill to respond to questions, though he cannot initiate speech himself.

8. Consequentialism
In the midst of the Nazi pursuit for obliteration Kirk and Spock are forced to consider a horrible choice--either they kill 1000 to save millions, or they refuse to kill anyone and risk losing everyone. Do the sheer numbers of lives saved make any action worth taking? Does the consequence make a choice right?

Kirk, of course, finds another way.
9. Human Limitation
We come to understand through this episode that a person with too much leadership power can't resist the chance to play god, thereby choosing wrongly. Our historian, it turns out, used the wisdom he'd gained from studying human history to attempt to lead an alien people out of strife through the example of another time on Earth. Though he'd originally intended it to be without genocide, the situation comes out of his control and leads towards the murdering of innocents.

Confused by the illogical choices of the lost historian, Spock resolves NOT to become human. McCoy swears Spock misunderstand human history, and Kirk leads us away from the conflict by closing the episode with a forthright demand to leave orbit.

Message Received from Deep in Space 2

Attention ... Attention ... Attention ...

26 October 2010

We believe we have been able to secure transmission to Earth via an abandoned satellite discovered here in the outer reaches of space. We believe you on Earth will receive the transmissions with a month or so lag time from when we send them. But, nonetheless, this is progress.

Please respond.