The Warp Project

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.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Message Received from Deep in Space

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

6 July 2010

We have been pulled into a previously uncharted worm hole. We are in uncharted space, and are unable to return the way we came. We are sending this message through the worm hole back to Earth. We do not know how long it will take for you on Earth to receive it.

We want you to know, we are making our way back to you. We want you to know Space Vessel The Warp Project and its crew are determined to return. As we make our way back, we are charting never before seen amazing things.

p.s. Please feed the dog.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Star Trek Comedy

Eddie Izzard on Classic Star Trek

Eddie Izzard, Unrepeatable, 1994

Friday, May 7, 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


TOS: Episode 49: Return to Tomorrow

Sulu finally returns to our Star Trek screen after a lengthy hiatus for the sake of filming Green Berets. Poor Spock, however, looks swollen eyed and tired, as he has for several episodes. Sitting where Chekov has been for the entirety of season two, there is now a never before seen officer.

The Enterprise approaches an apparently now-dead planet, unsure of why or how the planet has reached its current state. Upon questioning the reasons for the planet’s state, a massive, echoing voice-over speaks to the ship’s crew. The voice invites the crew to orbit the planet, stating that all of their questions will be answered. We discover that the voice is contacting the crew’s thoughts directly, rather than speaking through any kind of mechanical communication device. Further, we discover that not only is the planet devoid of any life of the sort Star Fleet has contacted before, the voice is also, apparently, without any such life form. That is, there is certainly something communicating, but it does not seem to have bodily life.

Episode Summary

Kirk speaks about the confusion present in their current situation. A voice tells the crew that something has survived, even as the planet was destroyed over a half million years before. As Kirk reflects on the situation, Spock locates an energy source more than several miles within in the planet’s surface. The voice notifies Kirk that the voice-energy source will assist in their being able to transport to deep within the planet. Kirk, McCoy, Spock, and a couple of previously unseen red shirts gather together to prepare for transport. Scotty and McCoy protest, but Spock and Kirk assert that it will be safe. We discover that a new lieutenant doctor, who Kirk is clearly designed to find attractive, has reported for duty to within the planet, even without knowing who ordered the transport.

When the away team beams down, however, the two male security officers have been left behind on board the Enterprise. Only the new doctor, and our three primary officers find themselves miles within the planet. The readings of the crews scanners determine that the chamber was constructed a half million years ago, just as the planet was destroyed. Investigating the chamber, they discover an orb containing only energy. The thought-creature tells the crew that he had once been contained within a body much like humanoids, but that his race nearly destroyed itself by thinking of themselves as gods.

Kirk asks what help the creature would like, and immediately Kirk is overcome and begins to speak with the voice of the thought-creature. McCoy is angered but Spock convinces him that nothing can be done since the body is still Kirk’s. The new thought-Kirk is passionately entranced with the sensations life within the body. The new creature announces that the woman doctor, and Spock will be needed so that the two other thought-creatures still living can also be preserved via their bodies.

The thought-creature tells us that his species seeded the universe, developing the races that are now known to them as humans, Vulcans, etc. Notice how this storyline resembles one of the major episodes of The Next Generation. In that episode we meet a different ancient species that claims to have seeded the various species of humanoids now around the universe.

The thought-creature returns control of Kirk’s body to Kirk’s own thoughts, and then notifies our officers that the thought-creatures wish for temporary use of the bodies of Kirk, Spock, and the new woman doctor. The entire crew must agree to the process, or the thought-creatures will simply release them to continue travel around space. The thought-creatures wish to inhabit the humanoid bodies to borrow them for a while, and in so doing build mechanical humanoid bodies for the thought-creatures to then inhabit. Kirk offers a brilliantly passionate speech to remind his crew that though the procedure will be risky, it is worth the potential gains that could be had. “Risk,” he says. “Risk is our business. That’s what this starship is all about. That’s why we’re aboard her.”

Love in Humanoid Bodies is Really Hot, and Thought-Spock Wants Some

The entire crew agrees, and so the three thought-creatures’ receptacles are beamed aboard the Enterprise, where they inhabit our officers’ bodies. Thought-Spock wakes to discover himself quite attracted to Nurse Chapel. He immediately compliments her beauty, to which she swoons, having always been attracted to Nurse Chapel. Thought-Kirk and the thought-woman doctor discover a return to passionate life together long enough to kiss, but then begin to collapse again due to an incompatibility between the powerful thought creatures and the human creatures. The thought-Spock goes off to construct a formula that will preserve the bodies while the thought-creatures use them. We discover, however, that the thought-Spock creates a formula that will not actually work for the Kirk body. Thought-Spock wishes for the thought-creature to die, and believes that by killing Kirk’s body he will succeed.

The thought-creatures go on to produce android robots within which to house their own minds. Thought-Spock works on convincing Thought-doctor that she could simply keep her humanoid body, rather than move into an android body. In the meantime, Kirk’s body decreases in health, and he collapses. McCoy rushes in to help Kirk but scans show he is dead.

In Kirk’s body dying the thought-creature that had inhabited it is now apparently deceased. Kirk’s consciousness, however, is still housed within the receptacle that had previously belonged to the thought-creature. The thought-doctor decides she wants to keep her doctor’s body, and so tries to bribe McCoy into letting her keep the doctor body. However, she realizes that the temptation of such behavior is too great, and chooses against stealing the body of the doctor.

Okay, look. Dear jesus. The plot gets complicated here. A thought creature transfers here. Then it moves there. Spock almost dies because he is injected. But then it was a ruse. And the bad thought creature disappears. And then the good thought-creatures that love each other make out like mad wooly animals on the bridge of the Enterprise before they escape into oblivion. They realize they cannot stay in a human world, and so release themselves from human reality. In their last moment together they inhabit the bodies of the Captain and the new doctor and then embrace ina passionate kiss. While kissing they release themselves into oblivion so that Kirk and the doctor “come to” while embracing like mad, wooly animals with a deep commitment to each other. The episode ends with kitchy, happy-making allusions to their enjoyment of the situation buried under professional veneers appropriate to their stations.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


TOS: Episode 38: A Private Little War

McCoy gathers samples of organic compounds upon a distant planet where Kirk and Spock search for inhabitants. In the midst of their investigation they discover the prints of the Mogatoo, a violent creature that stands as the only threat on the planet.

Suddenly, a noise is heard. Spock and Kirk run to investigate just in time to discover that the inhabitants they are looking for are not the primitive bow-and-arrow types they’d previously expected. Instead, it turns out somehow the villagers have gained technologies beyond their own natural development.

One set of villagers have acquired guns, while the other set still fight with bow-and-arrow. Observing the interaction of fighting groups, Kirk realizes that in the group with less effective weaponry is his friend from previous planetary visits. Unwilling to let his friend be ambushed, Kirk throws a rock to distract the men with guns. He and Spock are forced to run in order to return to McCoy and lead the gun toting fighters away. In the midst of their escape Spock is shot. He collapses and the away team beams aboard. While McCoy treats Spock, Uhura calls in a message that a Klingon vessel has been spotted. The ship goes to yellow alert. Kirk, worrying about his friend, deals with the Klingon threat by keeping the Enterprise out of view, then returns to sickbay to visit Spock. We discover that Spock has suffered organ damage, without the availability of replacement organs. Whether Spock will survive is up to his own bodily ability to recover.

Aboard the Enterprise is a doctor that had served in the Vulcan war (the first we've heard of such a historical event in Star Trek history). As a result, McCoy is able to leave Spock in the other doctor’s care so that Kirk and McCoy can return to the planet to contact Kirk’s friend from the previous visit. In the midst of travel to the village, a Mogatoo attacks, and Kirk is hurt. The Mogatoo, we discover, besides being a large white fluff ball creature, also turns out to have poisonous fangs. Our Captain is hurt, and as a result gets to deliver a brilliantly shaking performance of the after effects of poison. Another pleasant after effect comes in the first McCoy voice over Star Trek has ever offered.

The Magatoo

Episode Summary

As the episode progresses, we meet Kirk’s friend, and his wife who is said to be able to cure the effects of the Mogatoo poison. We discover that the wife is not only a healer, but also power hungry. She walks into the cave Kirk is being kept in to discover McCoy using his phaser to warm rocks. Seeing the power of the phaser she becomes hungry for the use of them to claim power over the planet.

Meanwhile, aboard the Enterprise, Nurse Chapel worries over her love Spock. In the midst of holding his hand she discovers that Spock is not actually dying, but instead is simply concentrating that he appears unconscious. His concentration is reflective of how Vulcans heal.

Back on the planet the wife of Kirk’s friend performs an overly eroticized sex dance above Kirk’s naked body as an activity of healing him from the poison. She then collapses across him and he wakes to discover the dark-haired, ethnic beauty beside him, and what looks like a clump of shit upon his shoulder—an apparently healing root remedy. McCoy inspects the wound to discover that the sex dance plus shit ball have healed it and in fact any trace of there ever having been a wound. After Kirk recovers we discover that the sex dance the woman performed was effectively a soul-spirit marriage ceremony and as a result Kirk belongs to the woman. According to her, however, it is not merely a social commitment that binds them, but in fact his very soul has been mixed with hers and now he can refuse her no wish.

Upon meeting the woman that has cured him, Kirk is obviously confused. His earth believes demand that the woman belongs to his friend. But he is strangely compelled by her. Further, against the traditions of earth women (which clearly do not usurp political leadership), the wife acts as though she should be able to help make political demands too. Though the men go off to meet on their own, the wife breaks into the meeting and demands phaser like power for the sake of dominance. Kirk resists her demands, however. Kirk’s friend demands that he will not kill anyone, though his wife demands that he must gain weapons to kill the others. When Kirk continues to refuse to give phasers to them, the woman threatens to leave her husband. In the midst of the drama, Kirk’s friend’s wig becomes incredibly messed up, going from an enormous dirty blond look alike mass of soft-drip ice cream, to a rat’s nest atop his head.

Kirk’s friend guides Kirk and McCoy into the village. We discover along the way that the villagers used to be peaceful people, but then began making guns and using them to kill hill people’s men, and steal hill people’s women. In the midst of their investigations, we find too that the guns, though now produced by the villagers themselves were actually delivered originally by Klingons that began trading them for their own advantages. It turns out the hill people took to the use of guns as an easier, faster means of gaining what they desire. Kirk and McCoy are discovered, however, and must run from the villagers.

Meanwhile, back on board the Enterprise we discover Spock gaining consciousness. Nurse Chapel at his side, Spock demands that she begin slapping him to help him regain consciousness. As a result we are granted a dramatic scene of Nurse Chapel slapping Spock across the face repeatedly until he finally comes to and turns cold to her affections again.

Back on the planet’s surface, Kirk has escaped the village with his friend, McCoy, and a gun. Kirk goes on to teach the hill people how to use the gun. McCoy confronts Kirk, threatening him with the claim that the woman really did use her magic to mislead Kirk, now providing guns to the people. Kirk refuses the idea though, and instead looks for the wife to use her to convince his friend that he must fight. Going to visit the woman, she uses a strong aphrodesiac herb on Kirk. Kirk fights the herb, but begins to succumb to its sexual implications just as his friend walks into the wooded area with the gun. Though the friend raises the gun at first, he stops himself and drops it, running away into the woods just as a Mogatoo approaches and goes after Kirk and the magical woman. The Mogatoo begins to attack the woman, but while she writhes on the ground trying to escape, Kirk pulls out his phaser and kills the Mogatoo. The woman knocks Kirk out with a rock, and then steals his phaser, running away with it. As she runs away villagers approach. She approaches offering the phaser as a new weapon to gain power for the hill people. The villagers attack her, threatening rape. In the midst of the attack she takes a knife, but then is stabbed by it again. She does not know how to use the phaser, and in the midst of her treatchery is killed. The friend is forced to fight, against his own vows, as he sees his wife killed. The hill people succeed in fighting off the villagers, but the woman is dead, and Kirk’s friend is psychologically scarred.

In the face of his wife’s death, Kirk’s friend demands more guns so that he may war with those that have killed his partner. The future fate of the planet is sealed. A beautiful garden of Eden is forever changed with the face of war as a result of the betrayal of a mythical woman. No sexist overtones here. No. No. Just the retelling of a Classical Story.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Star Trek: TOS: The Immunity Syndrome: aka., OH MY GOD SPACE GIANT AMOEBA!!!

TOS: Episode 47: The Immunity Syndrome

Our episode begins with an exhausted crew on its way to a planet for rest. In fact, the makeup technicians for our Star Trek franchise has done an exquisite job at making radical bags under the officers’ eyes, and bleaking out the skin quality of everyone as well.

As the Enterprise makes its way to their rest, they are instead called upon by a Starbase to investigate the state of the Intrepid, a Vulcan starship. Shortly after the call, Spock receives a painful psychic flash through which he becomes certain that the entire Intrepid and the star system it was traveling through has died. McCoy, of course, is skeptical and Spock is ordered for tests to sickbay. Who, after all, could know any psychic knowledge of entire star systems?

Spock departs with McCoy, and then our crew discovers they will not be taking a rest after all. Star Fleet has contacted our captain. James T. Kirk is forced to reroute to a near by star system to investigate what turns out to be a fully dead star, and the eradication of the Intrepid crew.


Episode Summary

In the late 60’s, and throughout the 70’s, for those of you that didn’t know, discussions of the phenomenon ESP were hot in the United States. In this mild, popularized way the idea of having extra-sensory knowledge of events yet to come echoed out of fortune telling tents at public fairs, and into conversation as a phenomenon sometimes possible, experienced by members of the general public. Scientific studies to test how realistic such ideas might be were launched.

I remember my mother and her friends talking about it frequently, and as a young child there seemed, to me, the implication that it might really be possible. My mom isn’t one to easily go for slipshod ideas of the paranormal, but she had some inclinations to consider the possibility that some people really might know upcoming events in advance of their occurrence, and without direct physical evidence that would lead to such expectations.

In “The Immunity Syndrome” we see Spock enacting such possibilities. We have never before received any indications from the Star Trek universe that Vulcans may have ESP type abilities, even if they can mind-meld. Sharing direct encounter with another’s mind depends on physical contact for our beloved Spock. At the destruction of the Intrepid, however, Spock is nowhere near physical contact and yet feels the destruction of fellow members of his people.

During McCoy’s examination of Spock we discover that Spock has a deep understanding of how things happen to Vulcans, and so could feel the death screams of the 400 Vulcans aboard the Intrepid. Spock’s experience of feeling his fellow Vulcans leads to a harsh, and direct critique of human history.

We are told that the human heart has little ability to empathize with its neighbor, and as a result has little qualms with killing them, or with allowing many, from a distance, to die. Vulcans, on the other hand, have a great depth of feeling for the loss of their fellow kind.

As Spock returns to the bridge, he begins scanning areas of space surrounding the former location of the Intrepid. In so doing he discovers a dark cloud in space through which nothing can be seen. Further, the dark cloud happens to be in direct line with the projected line of travel for the now missing Intrepid ship. As the Enterprise launches a scanning probe into the dark cloud an incredible sound is heard throughout the bridge. Uhura then almost faints, and McCoy calls up to announce that half the ship’s crew did faint. McCoy is now forced to give them stimulants. Spock, however, is unable to provide any speculation or fact on the dark cloud. The crew is exhausted, and the computer has no information on the dark cloud phenomenon. The cloud is beyond all previous Star Fleet experience. The only thing that can be sorted out is that it is very possible that the dark cloud is what killed the solar system at the beginning of the episode.

Kirk decides the only thing to do is to travel the areas surrounding the dark cloud, and even to penetrate the cloud itself. In penetrating the dark area an incredible sound is released, causing the bridge officers to suffer strongly. However, once the ship is fully inside the cloud, the sound stops, and vision of all the stars that had once been present are now apparently gone. Still Spock has no information. In Engineering Scotty notifies the Captain that the ship lost a significant portion of power. McCoy lets us know too that 2/3 of the personnel is effected either via actual collapse, or exhaustion approaching it.

Frustrated, Kirk starts demanding his officers to answer questions though they have no information on what the crew or ship are suffering. Finally, Spock is able to explain that the ship has entered a strange area of space incompatible with the ship’s processes, and too with their bodily functions. McCoy demands that Kirk leave the area of space in order to focus on their possibility of survival. Kirk responds, however, that they have no mission to survive, they have a mission to investigate unknown phenomenon. The ship’s computers reveal that the ship’s crew is slowly dying. Still Kirk persists further, further into the zone of darkness.

The crew’s health is decreasing. The ship is functioning exactly backwards of how it is supposed to. They realize that the zone in space the Enterprise is within is drawing all their power, whether mechanical or biological. Finally, Spock announces that the zone the ship is within is a negative energy field but surrounding something else that is the source of the power drain. The zone would seem to only be an effect, rather than the cause of the problem. Kirk asks all to continue their research, and for Scotty to focus on getting the ship out of the zone of darkness.

Spock discusses the fate of the Intrepid with Kirk and reveals that working against their survival was a lack of collective memory of being conquered. Vulcan was never taken by another species, and as a result cannot conceive of the idea of being overcome by an external force. Spock claims, therefore, that the Intrepid died in astonishment, unable to logically face what was taking them over. The implication here is, of course, that humans have a greater capacity for facing the possibility of defeat in the face of a stronger enemy, and so then too to overcome it, simply because of a repeated history of being conquered.

The crew channels all available power into an attempt to escape the zone, but their attempt is ineffective. In exerting so much power the unknown power-sucking object reveals itself to the Enterprise. Spock cannot say what the object is, but he can confirm that the incredible, Technicolor fish-looking object is certainly the thing taking all their power. They launch another probe, this time succeeding in coming to know more about the power drain. They discover that the space object is not only absolutely enormous, but also living, filled with protoplasm, and covered in space debris. McCoy further studies the probe information and realizes that the several thousand mile wide protoplasm filled organism is actually a single-celled living organism, simpler than an amoeba.

McCoy, Spock, and Kirk begin an argument over the idea of entering the single cell, and each presents an argument for why he must be the one that goes inside the enormous cell to study it. Kirk agrees that someone must enter the cell, but he struggles over who will be the one. “Both are right, both are capable, and which of my friends do I condemn to death?”

In the meantime, the ship’s power levels reduce to below 50-percent. Spock is chosen to be the one to board the shuttle and enter the giant amoeba. In facing that he has not been chosen to board the shuttle, McCoy throws a fit, believing Spock to be in competition with him. He refuses to acknowledge Spock’s dignity to his face, but immediately upon the launch of the shuttle that will take Spock into the belly of protoplasm, McCoy reveals his emotional strain and care for the situation by wishing Spock luck, though Spock himself never hears it.

We watch as Spock slowly slowly enters the alien cell, sure never to return. Upon entering the alien, Spock is tossed about but is able to continue his tests, though apparently without enough power to return from the alien life form. Spock explores the murky pink ribbon-filled insides of the organism. Inside he discovers that the cell is apparently ready to split into two, and thereby reproduce. Immediately after sharing this information contact is lost with Spock. However, information from the shuttle deep inside the alien body begins to transmit. Spock is still alive.

On board the Enterprise, McCoy and Kirk understand that they must destroy the organism before it reproduces. On board the shuttle, Spock is looking more and more haggard, but he manages to send a low level message to the ship providing them with information about the cell body. The message makes clear that Spock knew how to destroy the cell, but the message stops before the information is delivered. It would seem that Spock has died.

Discussing their grief, Kirk and McCoy realize they can serve as antibodies to the cellular activity. With this in mind, Kirk decides to go ahead and enter the cell itself. Though it would seem a death sentence, the Enterprise is entering what would seem the end of their lives anyway, and so the risk seems worthwhile.

McCoy keeps sensing Spock’s presence, reliving the earlier references to ESP. Though McCoy is skeptical that his green-blooded colleague could really be alive, he keeps feeling as though he must be.

The ship enters the giant cell, and discovers only minimal damage from impact, though ship’s power is greatly reduced. Now inside the cell, Kirk announces they will release anti-matter into the protoplasm of the cell. They will shoot an anti-matter probe directly into the nucleus of the cell.

The episode flashes again to the shuttle where we see that Spock is still alive, as McCoy has sensed. Aboard the shuttle Spock is recording his final will and testament through which he bequeaths his highest accommodation to the entire Enterprise crew. Similarly, Kirk announces his recognitions of his officer staff, and highest accommodation to Spock.

The crew now plans to launch an antimatter probe directly into the nucleus. But then, to survive, the ship must release itself from cell membrane. In reversing itself the ship encounters the shuttle and Kirk demands a tractor beam on the shuttle, even though it will risk the ship’s escape. Spock demands the ship relinquish its attempt, but Kirk refuses. Still inside the cellular membrane, though near its outer limits, the probe explodes. The ship’s crew believes it will die, but after much camera and set shaking, complete with dramatic head waving by Captain Kirk, the stars have returned. The monstrous cell is dead. Spock is alive. And he and McCoy are back to giving each other hell.

Our crew, finally, is on its way to a nice period of rest, but not before Kirk flirts excessively with his short skirted crew members that he might gain his rest with.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Star Trek: The Original Series: A Piece of the Action; aka Kirk Goes Crazy Acting the Gangster and Takes Spock With Him

TOS: Episode 46: A Piece of the Action

Strangely, our episode opens with the discovery that the Star Fleet exploration vessel, the U.S.S. Horizon, has been missing for a hundred years. It's last known point of contact was a planet now being visited by our own U.S.S. Enterprise. However, it's a planet that has not been seen by Star Fleet since the Horizon’s departure, that is, over 100 years ago. The situation is confusing to even our trusty bridge crew, but Kirk promises to explain as he beams down with both McCoy and Spock.

It turns out the planet's population has evolved in an altered manner since the visit of the Horizon. Further, materials left behind by the Horizon have effectively contaminated the otherwise expected cultural trajectory of the planet and it is now our away teams job to "de-contaminate" their culture of the Horizon's untoward influences by determining the artifact left behind as cause of the unanticipated change. Apparently, before the Horizon's visit the planet was a pre-industrial civilization not yet ready to develop technological advances on their own. Spock, McCoy, and Kirk beam down not knowing what they may find, and so too not knowing what could possibly be the source of contamination they must correct. Our officers find themselves ready to study the since changed culture, only to discover a very Chicago gangster looking, utterly humanoid, earth-like city state. Our crew is greeted by zoot suit wearing, machine gun wielding dominators.

Gangsters approach our Captain and their lead man, equipped with enormous tommy gun croons, “I wanna see you turn to stone. Put your hands over your head.” And so it begins.

Kirk and Spock really playing the part

The Let’s Pretend We Can Travel Back in Time Star Trek Drinking Game

Since this episode doesn’t appear to be sci-fi anyway (it’s just another revisiting of the U.S. recent past with a lot of brilliant over acting by our beloved William Shatner) let’s not bother reviewing the socio-political commentary. Let’s get straight to the business.

Drink whenever:
  1. Spock asks a question that pisses off “the boys.”
  2. There’s a drive by shooting.
  3. McCoy gets called "blue eyes."
  4. Kirk is dumbfounded by the conditions of the situation (careful you'll be blind drunk quick on this one).
  5. Someone refers to the boss.
  6. You ask yourself, “Wait a minute, how do these people on a distant planet look just exactly like humans?”
  7. A weapon gets referred to as "a chopper."
  8. Someone mentions “Kracko.”
  9. You ask yourself how one book written in 1992 left behind by the Horizon has become the bible of an entire world.
  10. You realize women are dealt with as only decorative.
  11. Spock remarks on the horrifying circumstances being, “Interesting.”
  12. You realize, “Wait, this isn’t sci-fi.”
  13. You recognize that Kirk is simply incapable of lying, and you’re irritated by the obviousness of it.
  14. The away team is sent to "the warehouse."
  15. Scotty acts confused.
  16. The life of the Captain is threatened (again, plain tar loaded drunk).
  17. The crew acts completely incapable of dealing with the violent tendencies of this alternate culture.
  18. You think, wait a minute. “What the hell? The writers think that a Chicago Mob culture on a distant planet is going to offer Americans of the early 1970’s a lesson on allowing the bible to dominate their entire culture?”
  19. You realize your thought from drinking point 18 really is the writers' entire goal with this episode.
  20. Kirk pulls on challenges of masculinity to get what he wants.
  21. Kirk talks total nonsense (very drunk by now).
  22. Kirk demands Spock to participate in nonsense.
  23. Spock uses his Vulcan pinch.
  24. Kirk proves he is barely able to breathe.
  25. As Kirk gets pushed into the backseat of an old black car you suddenly think of the Matrix and wonder if he’ll have a giant metal bug pulled out of his abdomen.
  26. McCoy and Spock get all cute and smart-man flirty with each other (this won't happen enough to get you drunk, but it will make the episode for you).
  27. Spock utilizes the earth-like radio system to contact Uhura.
  28. Krako turns out to be far less mob-like leader than you expected or hoped for.
  29. Someone plays either darts or pool.
  30. You realize Krako is actually a well-known actor.
  31. You think, “Boy, Kirk’s shirt doesn’t really fit that well.”
  32. One of the decorative women turns out to be wearing macramé ruffles while rubbing Kirk’s back.
  33. You think, “Boy, the way these guys are talking must make their throat hurt quite a bit. I bet he wants some water. Do mobsters really talk that way?”
  34. McCoy says, “Wow.”
  35. Spock references logic and the idea of a moral inversion in the same sentence.
  36. The crew is confused by slang such as “the bag,” “heaters,” “spring,” or “palee.”
  37. Spock is suckered into going along with a proven liar.
  38. Spock uses the word “Indigenous.”
  39. Kirk acts like he has ingenuity.
  40. Kirk engages in a fight scene that turns out to not make any sense.
  41. A woman is chewing gun (super dooper big time drunk from this one).
  42. Someone calls Spock a dummy.
  43. Spock uses grammatical analysis to try and reason with a gangster.
  44. Kirk plays tough guy (call ahead before the episode starts to have a friend check on you and take you to the emergency room to have your stomach pumped from this one).
  45. Kirk and Spock play dress up.
  46. Spock gives Kirk driving lessons.
  47. A kid appears on screen.
  48. Kirk plays daddy.
  49. Really bad special effects appear on the screen in flashing red lights.
  50. Spock and Kirk get tricked.
  51. You start to suspect this whole episode was written just so that Shatner could play some old acting dream mob part, kind of like how Brett Spiner gets to play Sherlock all the time on The Next Generation.
  52. Kirk gets a little too into his gangster part (you're having your stomach pumped now).
  53. Spock goes along with Kirk as he’s able, though it’s clearly a strain for him.
  54. You realize Kirk is wearing a Panama and wonder if he and Carmen San Diego would get along.
  55. Kirk and Spock beat people up.
  56. Scotty tries to smartly use local slang and says the wrong thing.
  57. Kirk and Spock leave their guns behind and yet find them in exactly the same place when they return.
  58. Spock starts playing gangster too and goes so far as to talk funny while doing it.
  59. The Enterprise uses the transporter to beam an Indigenous person to a new location.
  60. Kirk gets fancy with the communication device.
  61. The Enterprise stuns everybody from space.
  62. Spock and McCoy brood.
  63. Kirk turns logic back on Spock.
  64. You realize Star Trek really is just incredibly cheesy.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Shatner, The Man, Has a Birthday

Today is an intensely special day. William Shatner has a birthday. It is today. Today is the day. March 22. Let us pay homage and celebrate.

Shatner performing Elton John's "Rocket Man" at the 1978 Science Fiction awards

Shatner's World of Warcraft Commercial

Shatner's Famous Self-Determined Pronunciations, example: "Sabotage"

Shatner interviews Rush Limbaugh on _Raw Nerve_, December 2009

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Star Trek: The Gamesters of Triskelion; aka., "Baby, Kiss Me in that Silver Swimsuit"

TOS: Episode 45: The Gamesters of Triskelion

Our episode opens with an incredible closeup of an actual planet. The imagery is so realistic, you've gotta appreciate these special effects. Also, our crew has finally figured out how to show a ship in space without it looking like a toy dangling bobbly-bobbly on a string against a fake backdrop. Nice space moves, Enterprise!

Kirk Bargaining with Brains,
Or, Those That We Will Come To Discover As a Warning Against Our Focusing too Much on Intellectual Pursuits Without Compassion

Episode Summary
The planet our crew is exploring is uninhabited, but with automated exploration facilities. Sulu continues to be away for the filming of The Green Berets.

Our crew has taken up the habit, finally, of leaving a reasonable leader aboard the ship as others travel on away mission. With that in mind, Spock has been left aboard the Enterprise, along with Scotty. In the meantime, Kirk, Chekov, and Uhura have beamed down to inspect the automated research stations of the planet, but just as they board the transportation platform, they are instead suddenly moved in a quick flash from the Enterprise to a distant planet. It is clear they have not vaporized, and then rematerialized as would usually happen with the transportation device. Instead, they have been captured and space-moved somehow. Scotty has no record of where they have departed to. And on the planet our away team realizes they are not on the planet they'd expected to travel to. Further, their equipment--communication device, and phasers--do not work. Quickly following their arrival, humanoids in crazy costumes appear to fight our crew, and we discover Uhura has added a belt to her very short skirt.

After our team is defeated in combat, a vampire looking man appears to explain that our away team has been brought to the planet in order to be trained for the sake of unseen phantom leaders. We are told they are on the planet Triskelion, and are to spend the rest of their lives there being trained.

Back on board the Enterprise Scotty and Spock are unable to locate evidence of the away team, or to where they moved.

On the planet's surface Kirk attempts an escape. Immediately following the vampire man's eyes illuminate revealing his connection to "collars of obedience" placed about their necks. The three Star Fleet officers collapse onto the floor screaming in pain as the collars trigger horrible stimulation.

Unfortunately, Star Trek has become far too comfortable with showing violence against women. In the midst of their confinement, Uhura is selected to apparently mate with another humanoid creature. She fights him off, however, screaming, and after much struggle the humanoid male leaves, though he reprimands her for her refusal.

Shortly following, Spock somehow discovers a discrepency within a hydrogen cloud that miraculously indicates to him he should be searching for his crewmates in another galaxy.

Interestingly enough, back on the planet's surface, Chekov is paired with a humoid that shows mixed gender characteristics. He is unable to determine if his fellow captive should be regarded as man or woman, though ze are of a different species entirely, and so struggles with how to speak to zim. Chekov finds himself intimidated by the situation.

Kirk, on the other hand, is paired with a green haired woman in a silver swimsuit. He uses his masculine allurements to try and persuade her to give him information about the situation, though she repeatedly refuses. Still, Kirk knows he will teach her his masculine ways.

Kirk's Green Haired Woman, Waiting to Learn From Him

The Enterprise follows the hydrogen cloud evidence, which leads them to almost 12 light years away. The rest of the crew begins to suspect Spock must be crazy because the area of space they arrive at appears to be empty.

Back on the planet's surface, our away team becomes subject to extensive punishment and torture training. Kirk steps in to keep Uhura from being beaten, and as a result is whipped repeatedly. He fights back, however, and succeeds in hurting the humanoid that beats him. His behavior gains the favor of their punishers. For the first time our crew hears the voices of their captors. They speak as phantom voices bidding on "the new comers." Further, the voices place bets on the outcomes of our away team as well.

Kirk continues to work on gaining information from the woman he has been paired with. However, her entire life has been spent within this planet system, and as a result she simply takes her situation for granted, as if it is natural and normal. She has lived her entire existence trained into the ways of her captive situation. Kirk lures her into thinking further on her situation though by triggering her physical desires. The feelings and thoughts confuse her.

"Love is the most important thing on earth," Kirk tells her. He tells her about how on earth men and women choose each other and make each other happy. His talk scares her and he stops pushing her to develop romantic feelings. But as a result she agrees to speak the state of the providers, causing her collar to trigger serious pain for her. Kirk begs his captors to stop. As a result, he is able to bring her closely to him in near naked embrace as he kisses her. She is moved. It turns out his affection with the woman leads to the captors' amusement, and they decide to not punish his disobedience as a result.

Oh Kirk! Your kisses really do have special powers. Kirk's explanation of love "on his planet" only deepens the nobility we are supposed to see in him. Though he explains that humans value love above all other personal fulfillments, we know that he has chosen against it for the sake of his pursuit of knowledge and leadership throughout the galaxy. In this way, we are meant to believe in Kirk's willingness to sacrifice his own interests for the sake of the greater good; he apparently foregos his own desires for relationship instead turns to his commitment to Star Fleet. A true company man.

Back onboard the Enterprise, Scotty and McCoy are trying to demand that Spock is crazy for taking them away several light years from the original planet. Spock, however, explains that he is certain that a highly concentrated beam of light caught the missing crew members and took them away to a distant star system. They all agree that they will look in the new system, and then return to the original planet if no further evidence is found.

In the meantime, Kirk uses his masculine prowess to further confuse the woman he has continually made out, and then to knock her unconscious. Our crew then escapes from their quarters and are punished via their collars as a result.

The Enterprise arrives at a planet that shows humanoid life forms. Spock scans the planet and discovers a power source to which he will beam down along with McCoy. They leave Scotty in command. Before the pair is able to actually beam down the captor voices are suddenly heard aboard the Enterprise as well. The ship is captured, and its powers are taken from its crew.

Kirk convinces his captors, however, to let him see them. We discover that the creatures that hold them are in the shape of mere brains. They claim that they had previously been humanoids as well but evolved into limited physical abilities with pure mental capacity. Realizing that the brains are interested primarily in betting, Kirk challenges the brains to a wager. He will fight three other captors. If Kirk wins, his entire crew will be released, and the other captors will be released and trained. If Kirk dies, his people will become captives for the brains.

The brains appear, we realize, as a warning to us to not focus too heavily on the development of intellectual ability without the balance of compassion. If Roddenberry were alive today, I would beg him to write a new Star Trek series that showcases a warning to not forego the development of sound reasoning by instead turning to instant self-fulfillment and reactive decision making. We could use an update on this lesson of balance, it would seem.

During the fight we get to witness various alien life forms that have appeared in passing in previous episodes. In the midst of the fight Kirk is put against the woman he has been busy kissing. They discover that neither is able to kill the other. However, she surrenders, thereby causing Kirk to win his wager with the brains, and so allowing all the captives to be released. The woman has lived her entire life as a captive, and now discovers that she is free to choose what she will. However, she does not yet know how to choose for herself. So, one last time Kirk shows her. He takes her in embrace and kisses her before beaming away. The woman is left behind on the planet, with her non-binary trans-gender friend, and the vampire, crying for the thoughts that now trouble her.