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Old May 12 2013, 09:45 PM   #7
Re: "The Alternative Factor" - Why is it so universally hated?

...It's all the sadder to see so many other TOS episodes feature comparable illogic without the excuse of a drunken actor ruining the production timetable.

"Science" is awkward, unrealistic and contradictory in most of the Trek episodes that attempt to use it as a plot element. "Jeopardy" in turn is often cast in a ridiculous light - that is, what for the villains is a matter of life and death or more is presented to the audience as inane bickering any adult such as our heroes would quickly put an end to; in this sense, the universe-ending jeopardy here isn't particularly special.

The flow of scenes in "Alternative Factor" is inexcusably clumsy, though, and undermines the use of all-new Enterprise sets and location shoots, unique visuals and large custom-built props - a rare combination for any TOS episode. We get new insight into the ship's inner functioning, except it's inconsistent due to left-out technodialogue and illogical cuts. We have the perfect excuse for a suspicious guest character to "wander" (he's capable of winking in and out of the universe) and to be an "obstructionist" (he is genuinely confused when our heroes interrogate him, as he only ever experiences half the interrogation), but this is totally fumbled when the audience isn't allowed to see the key scenes to this mystery or even to hear our heroes' exposition in full.

Give the episode two days more work and you could have a mystery adventure on par with "Wolf in the Fold" at the very least. Give it four and you could have a real gem...

Timo Saloniemi
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