"The Alternative Factor" - Why is it so universally hated?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Caligula, May 12, 2013.

  1. Botany Bay

    Botany Bay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I've always felt a there are a few more aspects to this shambles of an episode that we've never found out.

    Perhaps it was the last minute wholesale script changes that had Barrymore heading for the nearest bar.

    For those unaware, Lazarus was set to have a Khan/McGivers style relationship with Masters, but for reasons still unknown, this aspect was excised at the last minute in favour of a scene where Kirk and Spock talk about absolutely nothing for ten minutes in the briefing room, and the infamous multiple cliff dives.

    Would love to dig around in those UCLA archives to find out more - Harvey, get back there and do some digging for us :lol:
     
  2. AtoZ

    AtoZ Commander Red Shirt

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    Wrong. :barf:


    It was foolishness, plain and simple. Another thing, it doesn't so much as "bother" me as it looks ridiculous to the casual fan, and very much it underlines many of the negative things people say and think about Star Trek without giving it a chance on its best foot. It perpetuates that negative misconception, similar to the one about Japanese food being simply "raw fish".

    Further, Unlike The Alternative Factor, it comes across as a lazy effort - falling back into the Roman/Greek sets and props already previously overused in the series. The whole interracial kiss is the only thing they had worth hanging a hat on, and even then....
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Yes, it was foolishness, but that was the point -- the Platonians were a decadent culture who got their jollies by forcing people to humiliate themselves with absurd antics. They see it as comedy and fun, but they're violating people in order to make it happen, and that makes it sadistic and cruel. It's that dark, horrific undercurrent beneath the low comedy that makes it potent.
     
  4. mos6507

    mos6507 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This is topic drift, but what I like about Plato's Stepchildren is that it is, like you say, a parable about bullying, a topic that is of particular relevance today with school shootings and the like. That society did in fact operate like immature and amoral children.

    Also, I found it poignant that the midget, in the end, who was lowest on the pecking order, was the one to finally realize how abusive his society was, and turned around and fought back and won.

    It reminds me of Sally Kellerman's final redemption at the end of Where No Man has Gone Before.
     
  5. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    About the only problem I had with this episode is that it is impossible, at any given moment (until the very end, when we find ourselves in the antimatter universe) to tell which Lazarus we are looking at. They both act equally nutso.

    That being said, I rather like the literary resolution to this episode. I think it might have been a SNW story:

    Somehow the Lazari are both freed from the antimatter 'corridor' and their endless combat. Each Lazarus is deposited onto his universe's version of Bajor, where they start new lives.
     
  6. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, I think we all understood that. But we didn't need to see Kirk and Spock forced to perform degrading antics for 45 goddamn minutes. "Plato's Stepchildren" was another example of barely 30 minutes' worth of story padded out to a full hour.
     
  7. erastus25

    erastus25 Commodore Commodore

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    To add to all the points others have made: TAF is really fucking confusing. Half the time you can't tell which Lazarus is which and the plot is clearly just slapped together.
     
  8. Caligula

    Caligula Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, "Plato's Stepchildren" is absolute trash. "And the Children Shall Lead" would be another example of an episode I find painful to watch. Just deplorable on every level. "The Alternative Factor," for all its flaws, is still an episode I can get behind. I don't even consider it the weakest Season 1 episode. That dishonor goes to "Operation: Annihilate!" and its fake vomit monsters on strings.
     
  9. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Which is not "in accord" with Solow's account. Leaving after a morning of shooting isn't the same as "the morning he was scheduled to begin work."
    Yep.
     
  10. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

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    [sarcasm]Thanks for the reminder![/sarcasm]

    Re: The Alternative Factor: the one saving grace is the one-shot role of Lt. Masters (the lovely Janet MacLachlan), portrayed as capable and assertive in a way not seen in Uhura, Rand or Chapel in that season. She would have made a fine addition to the regular cast. Big missed opportunity.

    EDIT: another saving grace was the 2nd act exchange between Kirk and Spock. Requests for accurate science be damned there, because they play the estimated threat so seriously/well, that it is a memorable scene of strong effect. They could have been discussing the weather, and the exchange would still work.
     
  11. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Hey, I liked the flying fake vomit. At least they were a credibly "alien" lifeform and not a celebrity lawyer wearing a shower curtain.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I always called them "flying pancakes."
     
  13. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    My sisters and I called them "hotcakes" (With an "Eva Gabor" accent)
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    When my sister and I were kids, we referred to "The Galileo Seven"'s giant anthropoids as "gorilly-monsters."
     
  15. BoredShipCapt'n

    BoredShipCapt'n Commodore Commodore

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    My college roommate called them "flying pizzas."

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh..... bitter dregs.
     
  16. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If those things were pizzas, they must have been made by a drunken pizza chef.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. BoredShipCapt'n

    BoredShipCapt'n Commodore Commodore

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    Well, my roommate wasn't very bright.... Otherwise he could have annihilated them.
     
  18. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    "HERB: ...the morning he was scheduled to begin work, November 16, 1966, John Drew Barrymore disappeared, ignoring his role, his moral obligation, and his contract."

    It is in accord. You can't disappear unless you have first appeared. Brown's "after lunch" phrasing might be incorrect, but both accounts indicate that Barrymore reported to the studio that morning. Both accounts might be wrong, of course; I wasn't there.
     
  19. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Too easy.

    disappear |ˌdisəˈpi(ə)r|
    verb
    • (of a person) go missing or (in coded political language) be killed : the family disappeared after being taken into custody.

    But I'm done arguing with you, because you're more interested in being "right" than being correct.
     
  20. Ovation

    Ovation Vice Admiral Admiral

    This episode is what an Ed Woods directed episode would have been like.