Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by dodge, Aug 29, 2016.
And by both episodes recycling music cues from "The Doomsday Machine."
By Any Other Name recycles Kirk does it Again from The Doomsday Machine which I think is an excellent piece of music!
Yes! Good catch! Something was going on there; Shatner is clearly cracking up over the situation too. It's a cute moment in an episode that is not among my S2 faves. Verrrrrrrrrry slow and with some uncharacteristically clunky dialogue.
I missed that scene. Kyle in a red shirt (which he wore for virtually most of his appearances in the series) and yet he's in a gold tunic later on too! Maybe Kirk promoted him during the episode as an acting ensign and later on he was back in his red shirt for his only appearance in the third season, The Lights of Zetar!
"A Private Little War", Episode 48, February 2nd
Tonight's Episode: War is brewing on The Planet of Bad Wigs!
Somebody dodged doing a review for our previous episode....
"A Private Little War"
Originally aired February 2, 1968
What was going on the week the episode aired.
It must have been a theme night on NBC...prior to this episode, they aired "A Gun for Jai," which involved a shady character giving rifles to Tarzan's boy partner and a native tribe, much to the Lord of the Jungle's disapproval.
Experiencing this in immersive 50th anniversary context helps me to appreciate just how much this episode was in tune with the zeitgeist, coming as it did at the beginning of the Tet Offensive, which is believed to be the turning point in mainstream America's view of the war.
The Vietnam allegory mingles with biblical allegory, complete with Nona as Eve and a phaser as the forbidden fruit; she also ends up becoming something of a martyr for her cause. And talk about slipping stuff past the censors...Nona casting her healing spell on Kirk is practically the diner scene in When Harry Met Sally.
The people of Neural may not be far removed from tribal Earth cultures, but it's a nice change of pace at this point to see an alien world that's trying to be an alien world, and not a planet of hats.
With Spock laid up, McCoy becomes Jim's action buddy. For a doctor, not a _______, he sure knows a lot about ancient firearms all of the sudden. Meanwhile, Spock essentially serves as comic relief in spite of his condition, between the stuff with Chapel and M'benga and the moment of levity that he brings to an otherwise grim climax.
There's some irony in the side that's being armed by the Klingons knowing less about phasers than their rivals...the villagers are completely ignorant of what Nona is offering them. And it's odd that an episode that's all about giving people firearms concludes with everyone throwing down their rifles and engaging in a brawl.
Excellent episode. Good commentary on the Vietnam War. Interesting to see the Kirk and McCoy relationship without Spock in there. I like there argument about the "20th century brush wars". McCoy saying that it "went on year after bloody year"always gets to me. Why was Chapel so snarky after Spock said he was fine. Interesting funny scene. I like Tyree and Nona as well. Good conflict.
It may just be stuck in the mail.
Or the dog mugato ate it.
So, did you guys hear about this Vietnam thing? I think this episode is based on that...
I've always thought that the problem with A Private Little War is that if you take away the "this is Vietnam" angle, I don't think the episode really sells that arming the other side is a viable option, let alone the only option available. I mean what happens next? The Enterprise moves on and the Klingons give their side slightly better guns? If they really wanted to drive the point home, the Enterprise and the Klingons would have to be stuck there orbiting the planet for the next decade or so, slowly dispensing upgrades...
I can appreciate that Star Trek took a stance on how much the situation sucks, but I can't help but think that what's missing here is at least a glimmer of optimism. We've moved on from "We can admit that we're killers, but we're not going to kill today. That's all it takes." to basically "These people aren't killers, but we have no choice but force them to kill each other."
Instead of the usual "This sucks! But we can do better!", this is just a "This sucks!" episode, and in that sense it certainly describes what was going on in Vietnam, but it doesn't offer any critique of it.
I'd still rather have a pastrami sandwich than a squiggly root thing...
It's bound to be required reading after the Gorn incident.
I wonder how many old Chekov wigs ended up on the villagers heads.
This is always lauded as the "Hey, it's a TV show that talked about Vietnam!" But it's never addressed that the stance that the show takes is "arming our allies and being involved is the only viable option". It's so necessary that it even overrides the Prime Directive.
This is hardly the case that all they are saying is give peace a chance!
The captain must be from the Mirror Universe.
I always assumed that this was one of those cases where there'd be some Starfleet/Federation follow-up, but it wasn't within the scope of the series for the Enterprise itself to stay there long-term. Also, one could argue that the real point was getting the Hill People to want to fight back...after that, they could arguably keep up with Klingon upgrades, if only by raiding and stealing the tech.
I have no problem with Trek occasionally going there for a change. One thing that TOS was consistent about was that Edens couldn't last. Often they were false, imposed Edens that Kirk and crew willingly upended. In this case, the civilization in question still has the opportunity to become like Trek's Earth...but now they'll have to go through the same sort of shit as we did to get there.
I was always under the impression that this was the Prime Directive at work, at least as it was enforced in Kirk's era. Once a a rival spacefaring culture starts interfering with the natural development of a planet, the Federation isn't going to ignore it, they're going to counter it.
Which is quite appropriate for the time. They're not on the same page as the counterculture was. Why would they be, the people making the show were the establishment. But the show's treatment of the issue was indicative of the mainstream shift in attitude toward the war that was just around the corner. That a show like this was starting to make noise about the war at all was something at the time.
For the straight dope, see
Writing 'A Private Little War,' Star Trek's Allegory for the American War in Vietnam, by Michael Kmet (TBBS’ own @Harvey).
Now if only that guy would finish the damned thing!
So they ditched a return appearance by Kor for fear of small universe syndrome, but that the planet just so happens to be one that a young lieutenant Kirk once visited is fine...
Hey, APLW may be a down beat Vietnam allegory, but its got two Mugatos phasered into oblivion!
The mugato symbolizes the untamed wildlife, so phasering the mugato represents napalming the jungle.
Or they just wanted a monster in it...
Tyree bludgeoning a villager to death with a rock and an attempted gang rape apparently snuck by too!
Spoils of war no less!
"Return to Tomorrow", Episode 49, February 9th
Tonight's Episode: Kirk, Spock and Dr. Pulaski get replaced by shiny balls of energy.
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