Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Joel_Kirk, May 16, 2012.
Shore leave is needed for crew, so McCoy and Sulu (and other teams) scout an M-Class (i.e. Earth-like) planet for such. However, things are put on hold when McCoy literally sees Alice - from Alice and Wonderland - chasing a white rabbit.
“Women are fragile and need protecting and saving, and age ‘ain’t nothin’ but a number’ when it comes to romance - older male and younger female.”
All the women are ‘behind’ a man - literally and metaphorically - in some aspects. Women in this episode are either hanging on the arm of a man and/or walking around unarmed. Yes, the women are all attractive and available or jealous when they don’t get attention. For example, Tonia Barrows gets jealous when she sees McCoy walking with two women who are part of the planet’s creations.
Interestingly, when a female has a fantasy of a man, it’s flawed. When Barrows dreams of Don Juan, he takes advantage of her rather than sweeps her off her feet. She then needs to be saved by McCoy, whom she immediately falls for and plays ‘make-believe’ with - she a princess and he her knight in shining armor, which actually causes the planet to create an actual knight to hassle the couple. Tonia Barrows is possibly in her mid-to-late 20s and McCoy is in his forties. Now, nothing wrong with that age difference, speaking from experience, but we do see more of the older male/younger or much younger female than the reverse.
Plot Holes/Plot Issues:
This was a straightforward episode.
Scotty is gone again! Indeed, while Scotty is absent - probably vacationing on Risa, or some pleasure planet - we have a guest crewmember named Esteban Rodriguez, who looks like a Latin version of the Enterprise Engineer.
Ruth, a fantasy creation of Kirk’s based on a girl he knew from the past, is similar to women we’ve seen before or will see in the series. She’s blonde and possibly in her late teens/early twenties like Lenore in ‘The Conscience of the King’ and like Rayna in the later ‘Requiem for Methuselah.’ Like Lenore, Ruth gets and keeps Kirk's attention almost too well. At various points in the episode, Kirk doesn't pay attention to verbal reports from McCoy or Esteban. And, towards the end of the episode, Kirk states he may stay a day or two with the Ruth he’s envisioned.
Angela Martine seems to have found another beau. Yet, you’d think she’d be in mourning since Robert Tomlinson’s only been gone for a few episodes! However, why she added the name 'Teller' is questionable since the man she is currently seeing - not married to - has the surname ‘Esteban.’
The Kirk/Spock dynamic is interesting in this episode. One instance has Spock grinning slightly after giving Kirk orders for the captain to take shore leave. Another prior instance takes place on the bridge, where Kirk thinks it is Spock - not Yeoman Barrows - who is helping him with a kink in his back. (Pretty bold for that era adding some homoeroticness or bisexuality that supports the Kirk/Spock slash, but the episode kinda brushes that under the rug with Kirk being mesmerized by the visual memory of Ruth. Of course, the homoeroticness could have been unconsciously added or unintended).
Sulu and samurai is interesting. America has a standard to brush over race or the discussion of race when it comes to Asians, and I wondered if it was Uhura we saw who came face-to-face with an African warrior, would there be people crying racism similar to the way you had some - mainly white Trek fans - cry racism over the TNG episode ‘Code of Honor’ primarily because the guest cast was primarily black? Despite the question of why Sulu was thinking of a samurai at the time - which could be due to anything since thoughts usually turn up without any reason - he doesn’t come off as a stereotype; he’s into firearms - a stereotypically male hobby - and he’s just as capable as the other males. Not too mention, he gets one of the female - white female - creations to hang on his arm towards the end of the episode. (Note: This is something you wouldn’t have seen, especially during that era, if it was a black male character instead of Sulu).
This was written by Theodore Sturgeon who would go on to write Amok Time. While it was a good idea of a planet that uses memories or thoughts as a source of amusement for the planet-goers, the execution of the tale, as aforementioned, seems to favor the males.
Now, about McCoy and that white rabbit we see in the beginning: Due to budgetary reasons, we can give the out-universe explanation that it was obviously a man in a suit. However, in-universe we can probably say that was what McCoy was thinking of: a man in a rabbit suit being followed by a young girl, or what looks like a man in a rabbit suit being chased by a young girl in a scene from ‘Alice in Wonderland.’
Lastly, Finnegan is portrayed as over-the-top annoyance and energy. So, we can feel why Kirk wants to beat him up. Of course, this is based on Kirk's memory, so this annoyance is probably exaggerated. Interestingly, Spock is shown watching the Kirk/Finnegan fight even though at one point Kirk was knocked unconscious. Also, Kirk’s tunic tears during the set of bouts, yet Finnegan's does not. (I’ve noticed in TOS episodes that even when a fist-fight fight shouldn’t really lead to any shirts actually tearing, somehow Kirk’s tunic always tears while his opponent’s tunic or top remains intact - this has happened in ‘Where No Man Has Gone Before’ and, if I remember correctly, ‘Court Martial’).
I digress, though.
Score: 3.6 out of 5
The Squire of Gothos
Take a good look at Ruth--that is not the face of someone in her "late teens / early twenties." More like mid-to late twenties.
Ruth was an emotional distraction from Kirk's past. With Lenore, he was acting as a means to an end.
Helping a friend with a physical issue has no inherent or suggested homoeroticism. Men who spot each other in gyms often help a friend stretch a muscle, etc., as an act of plain support, not some imagined trace of bisexuality, etc. The Shore Leave scene is no different.
Your point is well taken, as it is a reminder that asians were seen as "safe minorities," even in the post-WW2, post Korean war American filmed media (including the "Red Chinese" stereotypes spread around during the height of the Cold War). On the opposite end, you would not see an African American male in the same position as many in 1960s America--despite the message of the Civil Rights movement (never universally loved / trusted in that decade) found the idea of romance or basic sexual presence of a black male to be offensive, while others thought of African Americans as sub-human. A black male in Sulu's position would have been cutting room floor material at best--more than likely, it would not have found its way before cameras at all.
In "The Man Trap," it seemed perfectly right and appropriate for the salt vampire to appear to Uhura in the guise of a handsome black man who spoke her native Swahili. As for the aforementioned controversial TNG episode, I haven't seen it.
I wonder if that also explains Finnegan's phony stage-Irish accent?
To me, she looks about thirty. Shirley Bonne, the actress who played Ruth, was 32 at the time and looked her age.
According to TMOST, Kirk was involved with Ruth while he was still a midshipman at the Academy. I'm sure there's fanfic about young cadet Kirk's romance with this "older woman."
Re: Bruce Mars. Along with "Shore Leave" being filmed the week of his 31st birthday, he had auditioned for Bailey in "The Corbomite Maneuver". Finnegan might have been his consolation prize for them liking his work. He also briefly shows up in "Assignment: Earth".
Maybe. However, I've worked with high school students, and a few could pass for mid-to-late twenties if it weren't for their mannerisms that was a dead giveaway of their true age.
However, like scotpens brought out, the actress does look to be her age. So Kirk is probably thinking about how she may look to him at that present time.
Well, I think Lenore was an emotional distraction as well, albeit not from the past. And, both held Jim's attention very well.
I'll have to spot him when I come across "Assignment: Earth"...
I think people who cry racism over the Sulu samurai thing are looking for trouble. Sulu also thought about guns as well. If it happened all the time then maybe people would have cause to complain. Scotty fantasised a clayborn or something in Day of the Dove, is that racism?
The Barrows thing was completely ridiculous though. Maybe, maybe I can accept there stay thoughts about Don Juan and even a princess dress. But putting the outfit on in the middle of a crisis. Barrows should have rolled her eyes in embarrassment and told McCoy to put on the dress himself if he was so interested.
The sword Scotty found in the armory was a basket-hilt claymore, a type of longsword common among Scottish gentry between two and five hundred years ago. The entity may have pulled the design from Scotty's memory, but he didn't imagine it up. It was just there when he went looking, and found it.
That would have been better for the Barrows character, I think.
The Squire of Gothos
The crew of the Enterprise come across an omnipotent being calling himself Trelane who has made one of the uninhabitable planets (in what was thought to be an uninhabitable system) his own. He initially kidnaps Kirk and Sulu as his guests, before removing a larger group from the Enterprise. It turns out that Trelane is literally a child in a man’s body when he finds out the crew doesn’t take to being unwilling guests or playthings.
‘With great power comes great responsibility.’
Like Charlie Evans from the previous ‘Charlie X,’ Trelane uses his power to get back at people who disgruntle him or to do his bidding; like Charlie, he is an immature child and is not used to being told ‘no.’ Trelane also has similarities to the Billy Mumy character from “The Twilight Zone” episode, ‘It’s a Good Life.’ And, of course, there are similarities to TNG’s Q.
PLOT ISSUES/PLOT HOLES:
A very straightforward episode.
William Campbell, not William Shatner, is the one that is over-the-top in this episode. As aforementioned, this is due to the Trelane character being depicted as an immature child.
This immaturity ties into his lack of being up-to-date about Earth history. For example, he has a very chauvinistic attitude towards Yeoman Teresa Ross and Uhura. He even makes a racial comment to Uhura - saying that Kirk might have won her in a raid - which gets a look of dismissal from the lovely communications officer.
When Trelane brings a few of the Enterprise officers to his planet, he seems to only set a dining table for the men, leaving the two women - Uhura and Ross - to either dance with him or play the piano.
Furthermore, Trelane seems to focus on the Napoleonic era. This fascination on his part figure in the decor in his home on the planet he has named Gothos, as well as the clothing he wears. This is similar to the Andorian Shran from ENT (and possibly other Andorians, if I remember correctly) who only see the Earth through a narrow lens. The Andorians only see humans as Caucasians, referring to said humans as ‘pinksins,’ ignoring all other shades and peoples of the planet. Now, while we never got a concrete explanation on the ignorance of the Andorians, we can gather that Trelane’s ignorance comes from his age.
I was trying to judge Trelane’s age in Earth years since he does seem interested in opposite sex despite his lack of life experience. Maybe around 15 Earth years of age?
The comical sound of bells and whistles, as Kirk destroys the mirror which seems to harness some of Trelane’s power, was a bit cheesy. However, it goes in line with the planetside ‘playset’ that Trelane has set up.
In regards to Teresa Ross, she doesn't do much in the episode except look lovely. I believe we initially see her passing out coffee to the crew; a stereotypical gesture. As aforementioned, she is one of two females transported to Gothos, with Uhura being the other. She is the ‘damsel’ that Trelane dances with, until Kirk finds a way to temporarily escape back to the Enterprise.
Uhura, on the other hand, gets an off-hand racial remark from Trelane before she finds that she suddenly knows how to play the piano with Trelane's help. As Sulu is one of the landing party members, one would think that Trelane would make a reference to Imperial Japan. He doesn’t. Again, race in Trek is brought up when a black character is present. (As probably stated in other reviews, this is actually something that turns up frequently in American media even today).
We see Lt. Leslie returning in this episode, at the Engineering console on the bridge wearing a red tunic. Later on in the episode, we see what seems to be the back of Leslie’s head in the transporter room when Kirk beams up from Gothos; a crewperson with curly hair, also in red. And in the next immediate scene, we see Leslie - who has been put in temporary command - rising up in the captain chair as Kirk steps onto the bridge! (To be fair, since we see the back of the head, we can assume it’s a crewperson we haven’t seen before. Regardless, it’s always cool to see Lt. Leslie (or his twin in yellow) present in some capacity on the Enterprise).
Another officer that would be recurring is Lt. DeSalle, and he’s really annoyed with Trelane. Annoyed so much, that he is held back a couple of times by Sulu from pummeling - or trying to pummel - the omnipotent child.
Lastly, a salt vampire from ‘The Man Trap’ is seen in Trelane’s temporary abode. We can probably assume, in-universe, that the creature upset Trelane in some way and became a stuffed trophy. Or, Trelane came across the creature during one of his adventures and decided to replicate it temporarily. (Judging by what we know of Trelane, I think it was former).
3.6 out of 5.
I enjoy your reviews, Joel, but in this one you seem so focused on skin color you seem to miss that Trelane insults nearly everybody. He quotes French to DeSalle, German to Jaeger, openly dislikes Spock for being an alien and wants him punished for impertinence, and addresses Sulu as "Honorable sir," bowing low. To which Sulu mutters to McCoy, "Is he kidding?"
Thank you for enjoying the reviews, Melakon.... I also enjoy the comments.
As I probably stated previously in another posts, these reviews helps me in my own writings. The same questions I ask about plot in the reviews, I'm asking in my current project - a paranormal story about Rumpelstiltskin. (Not too mention, my friends who do reads for me also ask questions to help me get my story in the right direction).
Indeed, I do focus on skin color. One of my research interests in college was the racial standards of Asians and black people in America. An essay talking about the supposed first interracial kiss in Star Trek was allowed by two different instructors (i.e. I was allowed to write the same essay for two different classes).
Even in my current story, the Rumpelstiltskin one, I'm pointing the skin color of my characters. In many stories today, the skin color isn't pointed out unless the character is non-white. So, that is something I'm trying to balance out.
So, yeah, skin color/racial dynamics will probably turn up in other reviews. However, that doesn't mean I won't welcome alternative points of view such as your own. This is a forum where we should be able to exchange ideas and have some interesting conversations.
Back to Trelane: Yeah, he did insult everyone, but it seemed like he focused on nationality with the men - even though he did the exaggerated bow with Sulu - and not exactly skin color as he did with Uhura. If it wasn't established that she was African in the series, she could have been from France or Germany....or even a part of Asia, etc. He pegged her as a prize based on her skin color and even her gender.
I saw that too. He mocked everyone with a sterotype, but she was singled out as "property". Could it have been based on the era he was supposedly observing? Many places slavery was perfectly legal, and many of the slaves were African or of African decent.
I think that provides an interesting contrast to "Lincoln's" reaction to Uhura in Savage Curtain, but I don't want to jump ahead too much on you, Joel.
I enjoy reading your reviews and posts also.
You make some good points, Marsden. And, I agree with you.
Also, thank you for your support and comments.
The Enterprise is scheduled to meet up with Commodore Travers on Cestus III, an isolated Federation colony. Unfortunately, Kirk’s landing party beams down to find the colony destroyed by an unknown race. Pursuing the attackers in space leads the Enterprise into an area space where omnipotent beings calling themselves the Metrons put Kirk and the other captain - a reptilian called a Gorn - on a planet to settle their differences in a fight to the death.
‘Know when to take the responsible high road, rather than the vengeful low road.’
We can even hark back - note: I used the word 'hark' - to the ideology from ‘The Squire of Gothos’ which was ‘with great power comes great responsibility.'
Kirk is able to get the revenge he wanted for Cestus III; he is given the ‘power’ by the Metrons. However, he decides to let the Gorn and his crew live; he takes the more diplomatic approach.
PLOT HOLES/PLOT ISSUES:
Very straightforward episode.
This episode, or rather the Metron, was parodied. Angry Video Game Nerd (aka James Rolfe) did an episode on older games based on the Star Trek franchise. In that episode he meets a Metron, but the meeting ends on a more darker (albeit funny) note:
Kirk and crew really show a humane, reasonable side in this episode. McCoy, who I thought was going to give Spock a hard time when Kirk was abducted by the Metrons, actually uses his head rather than his mouth; he makes the bright assumption that the Gorn were probably protecting their area of space when they attacked Cestus III. And, as aforementioned, Kirk doesn’t want to kill the Gorn after he has won the battle against said reptilian, when earlier in the episode he wanted revenge for the Cestus III massacre.
There are similarities with the later episode ‘Errand of Mercy.’ The Metrons ‘interfere’ because two warring factions enter their space: The Federation (represented by Kirk) and the Gorn. The major difference is, one is given the upper-hand to destroy the other; Kirk is allowed to have the Gorns destroyed after besting the alien captain in ground combat. In the later ‘Errand of Mercy’...the Organians don’t want any fighting at all, they want everyone to get along, to the regret of both parties - the Federation and the Klingons.
The Metrons, or Metron, believe that it will take around a thousand years until humans will be on their level of thinking. While their evolved nature is debatable since they have two faction fighting for the demise of another group, one could assume that overall the Metrons are generally peaceful and reasonable. They were impressed with Kirk’s decision after all.
I also wondered what Q might think? IDW, the current comic publisher for Star Trek is, as of this review, having a story where Kirk meets Q, although it is Kirk from the J.J. Abrams films. Nevertheless, we may get an idea of how the omnipotent being may view one version of the Enterprise captain.
Females in this episode are a bit iffy. Uhura screams when Kirk is suddenly taken, and, Lt. Harold, the primary survivor of the Cestus III massacre has to point out that the Gorn ‘killed women and children’ - the weaker beings? - when we don’t know if there were women in charge on the colony who probably would have scoffed at being looked at as lesser than the male colonists who couldn’t take the heat because they weren’t men.
The ‘redshirt’ trope turns up in this episode, but it is also challenged. We see actor Jerry Ayres as a security guard named O’Herlihy who dies. (Jerry Ayres would return in ‘Obsession’ as another doomed security guard). We have also Lang - a goldshirt - who dies. However, a blueshirt named Kelowitz makes it out.
In Star Trek it seems not only redshirts, but goldshirts are the ones who face danger. This can be attributed to the fact that those who wear red are usually those in security - a tough job as we know - and in Engineering dealing with hardware that can get iffy when a ship is under attack. Those who wear gold are in command or operations; bridge officers. The ‘blueshirts’ are usually not in the midst of danger as much. Of course, we have seen exceptions such as McCoy (even though he has main character immunity) and Lt. Karen Tracy from the later ‘Wolf in the Fold’). And, while we have previously seen doomed redshirts (e.g. doomed redshirts in 'What are little girls made of?') we’ve previously seen doomed yellowshirts (e.g. Gaetano and Latimer, from ‘Galileo 7’).
A few recurring characters turn up in this episode. One is the navigator, Mr. DePaul, portrayed by actor Sean Kenney, almost a dead ringer of Jeffrey Hunter. Kenney portrayed the crippled Pike in ‘The Menagerie,’ and would also return in the later ‘A Taste of Armageddon.’ (I believe Sean Kenney is currently a professional photographer). Another returning character is Eddie Paskey’s Lt. Leslie who is posted at the Engineering console.
We find out a few warp factors that a ship should stay under for safety. For example, when Kirk is in pursuit of the Gorn vessel, he initially orders warp 7 which is said to be dangerous at prolonged settings. He then eventually orders warp 8, where the camera placement allows us to see the surprised looks of the bridge crew.
Fredric Brown’s short story would be adapted for “The Outer Limits” (the 1960s one, and the one I prefer) for the episode, ‘Fun and Games.' I also recall seeing this short story in a copy of an old Starlog magazine. (I was too young to read and enjoy it, but I was aware it was adapted into a Star Trek episode).
This episode is also referred to in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Captain Sisko makes a reference to the Cestus III battle in 'Trials and Tribble-ations,' when he and Jadzia Dax debate whether or not to interact with Kirk and Spock while pursuing the Klingon Arne Darvin in the 23rd Century. Sisko makes a passing comment that he wants to ask Kirk ‘about the Gorn on Cestus III.’
3.75 out of 5. What brings it down is the Gorn suit, which dates the material. The remastering tries to ‘update’ the suit the best way they can by adding effects where the Gorn ‘blinks.’ I also think they added more to the Gorn’s speech patterns; a seething sound as the Gorn speaks which seems to be what is used in the game Star Trek Online.
Next up, one of the best (if not the best) Star Trek episode ever made: ’The Alternative Factor’
Regarding Trelane's "taken in one of your raids of conquest" remark regarding Uhura, I thought Nichelle Nichols' response was a golden moment, understated, yet perfectly encapsulating the absurdity of the premise.
The Alternative Factor
The Enterprise explores an area of space affected by a magnetic phenomenon. Starfleet Command, aware of this phenomenon, orders the Enterprise to remain in the area if the phenomenon turns out to be an alien attack of some kind. While there doesn’t seem to be a fleet invasion, there is a man named Lazarus who seems to be involved in the freak magnetic phenomenon.
‘Sometimes we’re our own worst enemy.’
Like Kirk in ‘The Enemy Within,’ Lazarus has two sides of a personality that are at odds with one another. Yet, they both need one another.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a personality (i.e. each version of Lazarus) that takes the initiative to come to a common ground. Both are survivors of a world long gone, and both don’t seem to remember what started the war, how that world was destroyed, or even who they are.
PLOT HOLES/PLOT ISSUES:
Oh, my goodness. Where do we start?
We get no background on either Lazarus character. One is said to be a ‘destroyer of worlds,’ a ‘beast.’ However, we don’t get any explanation on this. The other is described as ‘calm,’ and one who should be trusted. And, we see both Lazarus characters either stealing dilithium crystals, attacking Enterprise crewmembers, or sabotaging the Enterprise. Furthermore, we never get a clear explanation of the void that we frequently see in the course of the episode when both Lazarus characters collide – they don’t seem to really ‘fight’ – with one another.
The Enterprise crew isn’t shown to be very bright. Lazarus – both versions – is allowed to roam the ship freely even though it is obvious that he is dangerous! He should be either in a brig, confined to quarters with competent security officers, or in sickbay.
Lazarus doesn’t really show any smarts when he attacks Lt. Masters and her subordinate. She is calling the bridge over intercom where people can obviously hear the goings on in her area.
Starfleet Command’s involvement muddles up the story. The fact that they think it’s an alien attack brings up questions as to why they think so? What hints gave Starfleet Command that this may be an alien attack? That story plot point seems to – for lack of a better term – collide with the Lazarus plot; it seems like two different storylines going on.
As aforementioned, I thought that Lazarus appearing three times on ledges and falling each time was overkill. That would probably explain his name, partly, since he falls from heights that would kill or seriously maim any other man.
Lazarus is the over-the-top character in this episode, not Kirk. While Shatner’s Kirk isn’t as smart as he should be, the character puts together pieces of the Lazarus puzzle, and acts like a commander concerned with the situation that this unexplained phenomenon may be a harbinger to an attack.
Lt. Leslie returns in this episode. He is sitting at helm this time around and has some dialogue.
Lt. Charlene Masters is a cool character is a very poor episode. She is ‘in charge’ and has normal interactions with the white members of the crew – which, to my knowledge, didn’t get any network nonsense or controversy since her white male subordinate is pretty friendly with her. (Whether or not the friendly interactions were professional or romantic, it’s definitely surprising that another world war wasn’t started!) I should add: It was cool seeing ‘two’ black women onscreen in the same episode. But, alas, why did her character have to guest in such a bad episode!
I want to give a nod to the beard of Lazarus. Like Korax’s beard in the later ‘Trouble with Tribbles,’ I found myself chuckling at the prominence. It’s almost as if the beard should have had its own credit.
2.8 out of 5. While I thought ‘The Menagerie’ was a good idea badly executed and held together by the acting and good nature of the episode, ‘The Alternative Factor’ is just bad; an episode a Trek fan can gloss over without missing anything.
Tomorrow is Yesterday
KILL! KILL! KILL! KILL! KILL!
Apparently there was supposed to be a romance subplot between Lazarus and Masters, but when MacLachlan was cast, those scenes were deleted despite pressure (from NBC?) to recast.
Source is questionable, per Harvey and Maurice.
That's what Marc Cushman claims, anyway.
I haven't seen a shred of evidence supporting this theory, though.
Separate names with a comma.