Star Trek TOS Re-Watch

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Commander Troi, Oct 8, 2021.

  1. Farscape One

    Farscape One Vice Admiral Admiral

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    "CATSPAW" always has a special place for me because Halloween is my favorite holiday, and it really IS a solid episode.
     
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  2. Commander Troi

    Commander Troi Geek Grrl Moderator

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    Thanks! I knew there was another one.
     
  3. Quantum21

    Quantum21 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    How much was Bloch rewritten in this one I wonder.

    Not a favorite.

     
  4. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    People say this, but Halloween is NOT a holiday. No one gets the day off. It’s just a date on the calendar.
     
  5. mb22

    mb22 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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  6. Tallguy

    Tallguy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Of course not. All Hallows' Day proper is the holy day.
     
  7. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It is, for me, the start of the "holiday season."

    The only time of year I suffer through that episode.
     
  8. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In case you haven't seen it, check out this beautiful Halloween carol by Elle Cordova:
     
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  9. Farscape One

    Farscape One Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There isn't any one holiday where people don't work.

    Many people work during Thanksgiving (done this myself many times) and Christmas. Yes, many people are off, but they are still holidays but there are still people working.

    So yes, Halloween IS a holiday because it is celebrated. Far more than, say, Arbor Day. Or Presidents Day.
     
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  10. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Okay moving on in production number order:

    Plato's Stepchildren ***

    Unpopular opinion: I like this one. Yeah, yeah, there's tons of humiliation and a few sketchy performance choices, but it's never, ever dull, has wonderful guest stars and a great (and final) full score by Alexander Courage. How fitting that the composer who wrote the first Star Trek score gets to do the final full series score.

    The first new person we meet is Alexander, wonderfully played with great skill and dignity by Michael Dunn. You like him immediately and feel for him every damned time he's abused. Kirk takes an immediate shine to him and the chemistry between Dunn and Shatner is strong. I love every interaction they have as Kirk treats Alexander with more respect than he's ever gotten in his life.

    The sequence where Parmen is tossing stuff around with his mind in his fever, throwing psychic punches and then strangling Alexander is really exciting and very well done. In fact, all of the levitation bits are very convincing with truly invisible (if a little wobbly) wires.

    The cast really sells the idea of being controlled by psychic forces. Shatner literally throws himself into it, but even De Kelley does a great job. Dunn throws himself over an ottoman, no little stunt double here, and he just owns this episode.

    Shatner gets flack for the second act humiliation scene but I bought it. He screams beautifully and his "horse like" imitation could have been any alien animal. Nimoy gets to sing a bit and then shows us an incredibly well performed (and written) scene of Spock dealing with the fallout of his emotional abuse. It's an awful sequence to sit through and Parmen's capper of "how can you let this go on?" hits hard because it really gets just this side of unbearable before we go to commercial.

    Then "the women!" are brought into it. I wish their dialog was better written, but this is what we've got. This is probably the weakest point of the episode for me. The "kiss" is BS (compare Kirk and Uhura to Spock and Chapel) but fans love to run with it. Honestly the one point I really don't like is Kirk, newly powered, shoves Alexander back and forth in the tug of war with Parmen. I would rather Kirk have tossed something at him and then stopped Alexander from cutting Parmen. However, Kirk makes it up to him in a beautifully sweet ending as he fulfills his promise to take Alexander away from Parmen and the others.

    Liam Sullivan and Barbara Babcock excel as Parmen and Philana. The sets are impressively decorated and shot and the music is perfect. This episode also has three important Alexander's: Alexander the character, Alexander Courage and director David Alexander.

    I get why people don't like it. There's not really much plot. It's a lot of torture and humiliation in service of the old chestnut "power corrupts" - one Star Trek did as far back as the second pilot and a few times since. Yet, I got into the characters, the performances and the production. I found it fast paced and often exciting. It's never boring and it doesn't look or sound cheap. But, as I said, it's an unpopular opinion and my reviews are full of them.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2024
  11. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed!
     
  12. nightwind1

    nightwind1 Commodore Commodore

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    Elle and Toni are fantastic!
     
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  13. Quantum21

    Quantum21 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Plato's Stepchildren:

    One qualification on my opinion: I probably haven't watched this since the 80s.

    Is utterly distasteful a good summary?

    Another literal interpretation of the God trope and parallel worlds theory that allows them to reuse Paramount costumes and set dressings. By this time it's already tiresome.

    The psi torture (in both senses) drags on far too long. It's another case in season 3 where you can't tell the difference when the message ends and indulgence begins. It's confusing if you're younger...we want to believe they're saying this is awful while they're being gratuitous and winking at us at the same time.

    This is an episode you never show to a prospective fan.

    I'd rather watch Shades of Gray and Code of Honor from TNG 3 times in a row than this episode.

    A generous 1 out of 10

     
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  14. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    My issue with Plato's stepchildren is that the women are like sacks of spuds. Juice them up too and and let them in on the action. Instead, they are just weighed by gigantic false eyelashes.
     
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  15. Commander Troi

    Commander Troi Geek Grrl Moderator

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    It's a holiday for some of us. :)
     
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  16. Farscape One

    Farscape One Vice Admiral Admiral

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    We reach.
     
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  17. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I think my biggest pushback is the humiliation aspect, something I hate more than most things in a show, as well as the fact that Parmen is not engaging. He's just...a jerk. That's not an interesting character.

    Glad you liked it but yeah it's not for me.
     
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  18. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think Plato's happened the way it did because NBC, or possibly Paramount or Star Trek itself, wanted a story with salacious scenes for the network promo. Put some sleazy stuff in the promo, and hope for a ratings boost.

    Network promos throughout history have always picked out anything in a TV episode that looks sexy and risqué, and I'm sure some of those moments are outright filmed with the promo in mind. With feature films, I've heard of some absurd action moment being shot, and the director explains "We need it for the trailer." Same kind of thing.
     
  19. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I've heard that I just...oof, can't with that. I'm skeptical of most media promotion anyway, but stuff like that just irritates me. Just beyond stupid.
     
  20. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Ha, I told you it was an unpopular opinion.

    Moving on:

    Wink of an Eye **

    For a show about people moving really fast, this one feels really slow. This is a gimmick episode, nothing more. Someone said "hey wouldn't it be cool if...?" and then wrote an episode based on Kirk walking around a ship full of frozen crewmembers. What would have made a solid 4th season Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea makes for slipshod Star Trek. I could almost feel Bob Justman penning the first draft of his resignation.

    No thought was put into how time works between Kirk's crew and Deela's people. Kirk fires his phaser in accelerated time and nobody on the bridge notices. Nobody sees latent images when one of them is standing still or sitting and working. Friction doesn't kill Scalosians. The doors are conveniently left open (from a missing scene I understand). Kirk leaves the bridge...somehow. The turbolift isn't going SUPERFAST.

    They don't say that time is moving at a different rate, but it seems like it. Kirk does a LOT in the time it takes for Scotty to take a step.

    Our people are kinda stupid too. Here:

    KIRK: Lieutenant Uhura, does the location of the distress call correspond with this area exactly?
    UHURA: Yes, sir. I am still receiving visual contact. I can see them, but I can't see you.
    KIRK: Check co-ordinates. Is it the same area?
    UHURA: Co-ordinates correspond, Captain.
    KIRK: Well, apart from the landing party, there's no one here. There are no Scalosians.
    UHURA: The distress call is very strong, Captain. They are pleading for immediate assistance.
    KIRK: Check circuits for malfunctions. Kirk out.


    Malfunctions? How about something simpler? No you have to wait for Spock to think of it after they beamed back:

    SPOCK: It is logical to assume that this distress call was pre-recorded. What we received was evidently a delayed taped message.
    UHURA: That would explain our continuing to receive it while our sensors only picked up the landing party, sir.


    Ya think?! Wouldn't that be your first guess? Sure, the sensors registered "something" that Scotty couldn't figure out but they didn't peg it as life signs. And that repurposed shor from The Empath is poorly chosen. Why not just do a log voiceover while se see clips of the Enterprise in orbit instead of Scotty's hair being different and him saying something under the log?

    The phrasing is weird in some spots. McCoy sees Compton accelerate. Now if that happened, I'd simply say "Compton disappeared!" Or "he vanished!" Instead we get

    McCOY: "I was looking at him. I was looking right at him, and he. And he just wasn't there!"

    and

    KIRK: The fact remains, when we beamed down there we couldn't find these people. They were there, now they're not.

    It all feels like a first draft script sent before the cameras.

    Deela is doofy. Kathie Browne does what she can, she's a great casting choice, but she buys into Kirk's absurdly obvious sudden change of heart, which - ta daaaaa - is a ruse.

    Rael is the only one taking their situation seriously. He knew Kirk was trouble and he should have just scratched Kirk and forced Deela to take her pick of the remaining 300 men on the ship.

    This is one of the few times Kirk sleeps with a woman simply to sleep with her. Usually, it's to get out of a jam or the upper hand, but his plan would have worked with necking, heavy petting and talking about the stars.

    And McCoy and Spock come up with an antidote, but don't tell Deela. They send her on her way and then Kirk drinks it! Spock is like "fuck it, fix it yourself." The Enterprise happily warps out of orbit, leaving them behind and probably telling Starfleet at that moment to quarantine the area.

    I dunno, I get Plato's Stepchilden is overindulgent in the torture and humiliation, but it holds up as a story, even if one doesn't like it. This one is a mess. Interesting camera shots don't help this one. This gets ** for Shatner's spirited performance, some fun flirty bits and that really nice look Kirk gives Spock when he sees him in accelerated time. I should mark off a * for Spock's pun at the end, but I'll give the guy a break.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2024
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