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Old June 27 2012, 01:03 AM   #18
Joel_Kirk
Commodore
 
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Location: Northern California...
Where No Man Has Gone Before....

Story
The Enterprise comes across a buoy from the SS Valiant, discovering an incident involving crewmembers attaining high ESP (Extra-Sensory Perception) levels after venturing through an alien cloud. After the Enterprise comes across that same cloud, two members of Kirk’s crew who have high ESP levels, including friend Gary Mitchell, change for the worse.

Theme(s)
Power Corrupts, friendship; the good of the many outweigh the need of the one; the awesomeness of Gary Lockwood.

Questionable Plot Points/Plot Holes
Somewhat minor, but it was interesting how the two people affected by the cloud were coincidentally both on the bridge, and the other 9(?) unseen people not on said bridge, died.

Miscellaneous
Some other nitpicks I have not necessarily plot holes, but may be related to plot points. It was a bit confusing, for me, how the Valiant, ESP, and the energy/alien cloud thingy tied together, but I got the gist for the overall story. Also, everyone thought that they had Mitchell under watch on Delta Vega, but Lee Kelso (who comes off as a cooler, competent, non-accented version of “Trip” Tucker) should have kept on his toes while corresponding with the Enterprise while on his communicator. Furthermore, it was a nice touch to have Kirk still recovering, with gauze over his right hand at the episode’s finale. Overall this was a straightforward story, more action-oriented than the previous episode, The Cage, with the Kirk-led crew a bit more “alive” in their interactions than Pike’s crew.

The crew, at this point, is slowly but surely getting mixed racially, at least for a 1960s program, but still needing strong females. As we will see in upcoming episodes, the crew (and background extras) would become racially mixed; of course, it will continually be debated on how much screen time and depth those (non-traditionally white) characters would get, but for now, we have Alden, who is the “black” character in charge of communications and is shown taking part in repairs; Sulu is present, but doesn’t really have any lines as I recall, just on hand as a department head. There is also an Asian male (who has no speaking lines), in scenes in the transporter room. As for the females, Liz Dehner, arguably, is a strong female character, noting a smart remark from Gary Mitchell...but eventually killed off; Yeoman Smith’s role is just to stand next on the bridge and look pretty. Lt. Uhura would later, occasionally, take on the reigns of a sexy, strong female (primarily in Mirror, Mirror)...but also utter “I’m scared” at some points in the series.

Spock is going through changes physically, as he is worked in as a lead character. He still "yells" his orders and actions, and has prominent upswept eyebrows; both his yelling and eyebrows, would be toned down in later episodes....

The awesomeness of Gary Lockwood is awesome. His onscreen characters, unfortunately, seem to have issues whenever he is in space. For example, affected by an alien cloud that gives him delusions of grandeur (as Gary Mitchell), and attacked by a monotone computer on the way to Jupiter (as Frank Poole). Aside from the unfortunate occurrences, Gary Lockwood as Gary Mitchell gives us a brief, likable character (somewhat like Jeffrey Hunter’s Christopher Pike). Mitchell uses slang we’re familiar with, like “man,” and introduces a new word term like “nova,” a word that comes off to be synonymous with “awesome” or “cool” or “out of sight” (i.e. damn, she was so “nova). Indeed, Gary Lockwood, is a cool actor I would like to meet and possibly work with someday.

This particular episode is part of the first season, which I feel is the strongest of the classic Trek series. The only nitpicky, light, moment is Gary Mitchell having Kirk “pray that he will die quickly” and Shatner giving his possessed, dramatic performance which will be seen in different forms later on over the course of the series. Here, I think it is passable, since majority of the episode, Shatner is pretty serious and you do get the weight of the problem that hangs over him for this episode. You had some individuals – still do probably - who tend to base the classic series on the 3rd season and bypass the gems of the first season. As aforementioned, the Enterprise feels alive, as crewmembers fill the corridors, something seen less later on in the series. In sum, this is still an early episode with a hint of things to come: The friendship between Kirk and Spock, Spock and his battles with logic, Uhura, and her Starfleet skirt and boots uniform, McCoy, Chekov, and Sulu at the helm.

This episode was an improvement over The Cage, but there were stronger episodes to come. Therefore, my score is: 3.25 out of 5.

Next up
The Carbonite Maneuver*
(“Put Captain Kirk in the cargo hold…”)



*(Yes, of course, it's The "Corbomite" Maneuver!)
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