The Original Series (TOS) Season 2 Guest Reviews
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main TOS listing
"Amok Time", what a great episode. I first watched this episode a few years ago in syndication one late night when I was free. It was absolutely wonderful. The acting was the best of TOS, Spock's especially. His reactions where absolutely perfect for the situation.
I also enjoyed the music. The guitar riff was something new for Star Trek. The episode centers around Spock going through pon farr, or the urge to mate. They travel back to Vulcan, where Captain Kirk faces off against Spock. This was a big deal because Spock and Kirk are the best of friends. They wouldn't fight, and showing this shows exactly how irrational and illogical Spock was, and it explains to the audience just how powerful the pon farr is.
The audience also sees Vulcan for the first time. It is a rocky world without many cities. Or at least, not many cities that can be seen. In this episode we also see a lot of Vulcan culture, which is very cool.
- Remarkable music: Spock's Guitar Riff
- Remarkable quote: "Jim!!"
Rating: 10 (James Tiberius Kirk)
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main TOS listing
Watch out! Star Trek goes sexual! And for once, it's not Kirk getting all the action.
This episode is one of the best (and most popular) of TOS. I've always thought that the approach to Spock's madness was very well done, and well acted. Nevertheless, it also has some unintentionally funny moments.
- Remarkable dialogue: "There's nothing to get upset about, Spock. It happens to the birds and the bees." - "The birds and the bee are not Vulcans!" -Kirk and Spock
- Silly quote: "Vulcan biology? You mean, the biology of Vulcans?" -Kirk
- Remarkable quotes:
- "Live long and prosper" -Spock
- "I think I'm going to be spacesick." -Chekov
- Remarkably bad prop: Spock beats up his computer with his fist, but it smashes apart like clay or paper.
Rating: 8 (David Borgos)
The Doomsday Machine
Stardate 4202.9: The Enterprise receives a distress call from the USS Constellation. When the Enterprise reaches system L-374, they discover the crippled Constellation with her captain, Commodore Matt Decker, as its sole survivor. Decker tells Kirk that his ship was attacked by a "planet killer". Decker explains that he beamed his crew down to the third planet of the system. The entire crew was killed when the planet killer destroyed the planet. Decker then beams over to the Enterprise while Kirk and Scotty remain on the Constellation. Decker then assumes command of the Enterprise when Spock refuses to prevent the planet killer from proceeding to Rigel. His attempt to destroy the planet killer fails and the Enterprise barely escapes with the help of the crippled Constellation. Spock then relieves Decker of command under the authority of Kirk. Dejected, Decker then hijacks a shuttlecraft and flies it into the maw of the planet killer. Decker is killed instantly. The plan failed but it inspires Kirk to fly the Constellation into the planet killer himself. Scotty rigs a thirty second delay to the impulse engines which will overload when the timer reaches zero. Kirk then proceeds to fly the Constellation into the maw of the planet killer and then engages the thirty second timer. Kirk then asks to be transported back to the Enterprise, but the transporter is not functioning. Scotty manages to repair the transporter and Kirk beams aboard just before the impulse engines explode. The explosion destroys the planet killer.
"The Doomsday Machine" is by far the best Original Series episode ever made. The script was well written, featuring many memorable quotes. The storyline is also beautifully written. William Windom does a fantastic job portraying Commodore Matt Decker. The special effects are a little weak, as they all were in the 1960s, but they are fun to look at. This episode has a lot of action in it, which is why I think it's the best. But another thing that makes this episode truly fantastic is it shows a Starfleet officer suffering from a severe mental breakdown and strong delusions (Decker). I highly suggest this episode to EVERYONE.
- Funny miscue: The Constellation appears barely damaged, even though almost all its systems are shot. I guess the special effects team did the best they could with a Constitution Class model and a soldering iron.
- Famous quote: "It's miles long, with a maw that could swallow a dozen starships." -Matt Decker on the planet killer
- Famous dialogue: Decker: "They say there's no devil, Jim, but there is, right out of hell I saw it." Kirk: "Matt, where's your crew?" Decker: "On the third planet." Kirk: "There is no third planet." Decker says sobbingly: "Don't you think I know that? There was, but not anymore! They called me, they begged me for help, four hundred of them! I couldn't, I..I couldn't!"
Rating: 10 (Nathaniel Scripa)
The Doomsday Machine
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main TOS listing
This was probably the first Star Trek thing I ever saw, and it made quite an impression on a blank-minded 3 year-old at the time. Even today this remains my favorite Star Trek episode. But looking at it from the series perspective? We get treated to a full model rather than a blinking light effect, we get several suspense scenes and a fight scene that Kirk is actually not involved in (I bet nobody saw that coming). The Constellation always looked smaller than the Enterprise (I later found out it was an AMT model damaged with a soldering iron) and even in the Remastered this doesn't seem to be corrected. Other than that I didn't find anything wrong with it.
- Nitpicking: Though it would have been useless, why didn't Decker try firing torpedoes? Many sources say they are x times as powerful as phasers and Decker, as a commodore, should have known that.
- Remarkable quote: "He gave his life in attempt to save others, not the worst way to go." (Kirk to Spock about Decker)
- Remarkable scene: The Constellation flying into the Planet-Killer, a great suspenseful scene.
- Remarkable ship: The Planet-Killer, probably one of the most basic yet most complicated designs yet (basic as in a paper-mâché cone spray painted blue, complicated as in all the technobabble going with it).
Rating: 9 (Hanzou)
Stardate not given: While trying to persuade the Hawkins to allow Starfleet to mine dilithium on their homeworld, an ion storm causes the transporter to cross time and space, sending Kirk, McCoy, Scotty, and Uhura to a parallel universe (and their mirror counterparts to their own universe). In this dimension, the ISS Enterprise (representing the ruthless Terran Empire) has threatened the Hawkins to let them mine their dilithium or the ship will open fire. Even though the Halkans' time to consider has expired, Kirk (undercover as his mirror counterpart) extends that time limit, shocking his bridge crew. Mirror Spock becomes suspicious of Kirk. Mirror Chekov and his private henchmen try to kill Kirk in a corridor, but Kirk fights back and sentences Chekov to the agony booth. You know what, just go look at EAS's summary, this is taking too long.
The Mirror Universe is one of my favorite plot lines in the entire Trek franchise. It is a perfect allegory for Humanity's dark side, and how society could be drastically different if that dark side is allowed to flourish.
I've always wondered what Imperial Earth would be like in this universe. Would is be like ancient Rome, with giant pillars and villas, and an ordered society, or would it be a run-down, individualistic disaster area where people do whatever they please at the cost of others, like something out of A Clockwork Orange.
I've also read David Mack's novel The Sorrows of Empire, which tells of Mirror Spock's rise to leadership after the events of the original episode. I highly recommend it.
- Remarkable non-Trek quote: "It is impossible to overlook the extent to which civilization is built upon a renunciation of instinct." -Sigmund Freud
- Remarkable quote: "What is it you want, Spock? Money? Power? I can get you power, Spock! I can get that for you!!" -Mirror Kirk to Spock, "In every revolution, there is one man with a vision." -Kirk to Mirror Spock
- Remarkable Treknology: The agoniser; the agony booth; the Tantalus field
- Remarkable acting: Throughout the episode, Kirk's portrayal of his mirror counterpart is highly unlike the actual character. Mirror Kirk is vicious, courageous, and fearless, while our Kirk is calm and remote. No wonder Mirror Spock was suspicious!
- Remarkable scene: The fight between the regular crewmembers, Spock, and Sulu in sickbay.
- Remarkable fact: The closing scene with Kirk and Marlena on the bridge would later be used as the closing scene in DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations", with Marlena being replaced with Captain Sisko.
Rating: 10 (David B.)
Bread and Circuses
Stardate not given: OK so we know the Story, the Enterprise gets a distress call from the SS Beagle with someone Kirk knew from the Academy who flunked out. When they finally meet we find that some of the crew has assimilated with the "Roman" society, the rest went to the games to die as Barbarians. The Proconsul wants to coerce Kirk to get more Enterprise crewmen down to participate in the games, the Proconsul (who seems quite up on the Prime Directive and other Star Fleet Regulations) seems to have Kirk in a legal bind, knowing he can't interfere with this culture and order the Enterprise to effect a rescue or torch the planet surface, he's trying to get Kirk to just order then men down there because sooner or later, they will come just like the Beagle's crew did.
I have never understood this episode:
I will submit that because of Merik himself and the guards who train their guns on Kirk when given a communicator (knowing he can transport) that this planet is already contaminated to a degree. These guys don't bat an eye over advanced technology like communicators and beaming, the guards serve regardless and unfazed. I thank Kirk could've have given them another General Order 24 as in "A Taste of Armageddon". This society would have been far less capable of defending itself then Eminiar 7 and given up.
Which brings another point. The Proconsul is aware of the Beagle and its technology and all he is concerned about is bringing more bodies in the gladiator games. The Beagle carried lots of advanced technology (like Phasers) that could have made the Proconsul a very rich and powerful man. What he couldn't get from the Beagle he could have more then acquired from the Enterprise. Unlike in "A Piece Of The Action" where Kirk tried to put ideas in the head of Jojo Kracko's men in "A Piece of the Action" that "having a phaser could make a man a pretty big boss himself". These guys were totally uninterested in acquiring more power, (or even telling the Senate "Hey there are Aliens here and the Proconsul is hiding them!"), they just care about getting more victims for their games - apparently no one cares where the bodies come from just as long as they are there. Scotty could've (for example) interrupted the video feed and exploded a torpedo high above the city and would have had everybody panicked, including the Emperor and the Senate - whom I'm sure don't know about the "Aliens" among them. Kirk could have threatened to wipe out the Empire and no one from the Federation would be wiser - I'm sure the Proconsul would have bent.
But as I first watched this when it first came out in 1968 and again today I am still bothered by the banter when McCoy as they are both trapped in jail decides he's going to trap Spock and try to poke holes in his logic following him around the cell trying to get him to break then seeming to be glad when he sees Spock crack and going for Spock's jugular. "Do you know why you're not afraid to die, Spock? You're more afraid of living. Each day you stay alive is just one more day you might slip and let your human half peek out. That's it, isn't it? Insecurity. Why, you wouldn't know what to do with a genuine, warm, decent feeling." - The same as the uncalled for harassment in the "Galileo 7". When the rest of the crew is thinking survival he rather come close to badgering Spock for being in command. Both those and other incidents are uncalled for and have given me a bad taste on the McCoy character.
- Remarkable dialog: The humor of Spock and McCoy came out in the games when Spock's opponent says "Fight you pointy eared freak!" and McCoy (while getting his shield pounded with a sword) yells back "You tell him Buster!.."
- Remarkable facts:
- The Roman Police wasn't bothered by Spock's ears, automatically assuming he was a Barbarian. They've seen Barbarians that look like him? Might a biological study seem more in order like "Patterns of Force"
- It appears the "Roman Empire" doesn't dominate the whole planet. With the reference to Barbarians perhaps beyond the borders and the Enterprise being a ship out to sea.
- Remarkable quote: "You bring this network's ratings down, Flavius, and we'll do a special on you!" I am beginning to think this episode may be more about the greediness of network television then the parallel to the Roman society.
Rating: 2 (Erik)
Patterns of Force
Stardate 2530.4: The Enterprise goes to the planet Ekos in search of scientist John Gill. Kirk and Spock are surprised to see Nazis on the planet when they beam down. They find that Gill is the planet's führer! Kirk and Spock now must find Gill and get him to end this planet's Nazi regime. They then steal some Nazi uniforms, but are quickly discovered and imprisoned. Kirk and Spock then manage to escape and get the heavily drugged Gill to tell the people that he has been manipulated and that the must stop a planned invasion of a nearby planet. Gill is then assassinated but the crisis is already over.
This is one of the only times I actually disagree with Bernd. I find this episode to be quite entertaining. Yes, it may be distasteful and share a similar plot as other episodes, but the plot of fixing a violation of the Prime Directive never gets old. The idea of Nazis existing in another part of the galaxy is a bit odd, but it still makes for a good episode. This is one of my favorite TOS episodes. So watch it, and see what you think.
Rating: 8 (Nathaniel Scripa)