TAS - The Lorelei Signal (S1E4)

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by JamesBondJR, Jan 11, 2021.

  1. JamesBondJR

    JamesBondJR Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    So I just watched this episode and immediately did a search for it here, but to my astonishment couldn't find any mentions of it.

    This is the episode where the men of Enterprise get lured down to a planet harbored by women who upholds their immortality by draining the life force of humanoid males every 27 years.

    This is also the episode in which Uhura finally gets command over the Enterprise!

    One of the main reasons I started watching TAS was because of I heard about this episode, and man was it good. Uhura performs eminently as a bad ass captain, (spoiler) who not only manages to save Kirk & co just in time, but even calls for a ship to save the space women from the curse of immortality. (end spoiler)

    Only thing that was a bit wack was that Spock had to have the last word in that he was the one who saved the rest of the men from rapid aging. Albeit, I can't really see anyone else coming up with that particular solution.

    Anyways, I'm a huge Uhura fan, and I was really quite disappointed that they didn't utilize her character more in TOS. I read somewhere that Nichelle Nichols herself really regrets that there wasn't any TOS episode where Uhura took command of Enterprise, which I wholeheartedly agree with.

    It's not really comparable, but what we get in The Lorelei Signal is better than nothing. It's just a shame to think about how easily they could've made an absolute killer TOS episode out of this.
     
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  2. Methuselah Flint

    Methuselah Flint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Indeed. The closest I feel we get is The Omega Glory. Albeit very brief scenes, and Sulu is in command, Uhura appears to be second in command. I don't think she is, but we only see her and Sulu, once Kirk and Co beam down, and Scott is not present.

    (Incidentally, whilst The Savage Curtain may possibly be the only time Sulu is in the comman chair, he appears to be in command in Arena and Errand of Mercy as well.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2021
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  3. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Also, Chapel gets to wear red, if only for one gel...

    It's remarkable, though, that every woman involved in the adventure is a Lieutenant by rank. Should we deduce Uhura is the oldest of them? Or, more specifically, the most senior to the rank? Or is Uhura merely the most ambitious and gets command simply because she takes it?

    Organization-wise, the boss of Communications Dept doesn't sound like a more natural skipper candidate than the boss of Security Dept. OTOH, if departments don't matter, we lose our last hope of pretending that Starfleet allows women to hold a rank higher than Lieutenant at that time; there is no Commander Mulhall there lurking in the shadows and letting the hands-on officers handle the action while the science types watch.

    Not the fault of the writers; it's just an unfortunate but necessary side effect of putting Uhura in command that women of higher rank disappear from the picture.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  4. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    You don't need Spoilers for a nearly 50 year old episode. But if you really want them, highlight the text you want to mark as a Spoiler and click on the + icon at the top of the reply window and select Spoiler which will
    hide the text unless someone clicks on it.
     
  5. JamesBondJR

    JamesBondJR Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    I almost thought so, thanks for clearing that up =]
     
  6. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I've always thought that Nurse Chapel was the oldest woman serving on the Enterprise to be honest! Strange to think she was only in three episodes of season one (if you discount her as number One in The Menagerie) and suddenly has a brown hairdo in both Operation:Annihilate and Turnabout Intruder with both episodes being fifty shows apart!
    JB
     
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  7. mb22

    mb22 Captain Captain

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  8. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Putting a woman in charge only when no men are available was something of a trope. Female viper pilots in BSG only became a thing when the men were incapacitated. It's why Number One was so cool.

    I think Uhura was impliedly in charge at least once (Shore Leave?) when Kirk calls the bridge and Uhura responds rather than the officer of the deck. I like to think she was responding from the Captain's chair.

    That said, I think it was in the Naked Time, Uhura was clearly the most senior officer left on the bridge but someone says 'nobody' was in charge up there. Bit harsh.
     
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  9. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    On the first point, I don't TOS ever implied that Uhura was in command of the ship on any occasion. Nichols said at some point that Uhura was fourth in the line of command or something like that, but I'm sure she was the only one making the show who ever thought that.

    The second thing: are you referring to "The Menagerie Part I" when Hanson says, "Sir, there's nobody up there giving orders. Mr. Spock has the computers running the ship."?

    If Uhura was the most senior lieutenant on the bridge, she could order ensigns to do practice navigation problems or fetch coffee, but the ship itself was not under human command at the time. That's what Hanson was talking about.
     
  10. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think I was thinking more about the Naked Time when Uhura is just about the only command officer still competent on the bridge and she contacts Kirk several times with updates. Purely based on the chain of command, she would be the officer of the deck at those moments.

    And in Shore Leave Uhura contacts the landing party at the end, implying that she's in charge of the bridge.

    Sure, you can make the case that another officer who doesn't speak wasn't in charge, telling her what to do off camera, but there is zero evidence to support that and we know Uhura has command training so the persuasive argument is that she's in charge.
     
  11. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This means that there isn't a single female Lt. Commander or Commander on the Enterprise.
     
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  12. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It was just common sense in those days that fewer women would stay in the Service long enough to climb the ladder. Most people wanted a family when the show was made, and that requires a larger investment of time and bodily effort from the wife than it does from the husband. Childbirth, nursing babies, and raising them was a commitment women made for their families, and of course it cut into the years they could spend at work earning promotions.
     
  13. MAGolding

    MAGolding Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Uhura could not be in command on the bridge when Hansen wss thrre.

    When Spock decides to stop for the shuttlecraft:

    When Kirk and mendez beama board the Enterprsie, Lt. Commander Scott and Lt. Hansen are in the transporter room.

    So Lt. hansen was in operational command of the Enterprise, appointed to that position by the first officer, instead of Lt. Uhura or Lt. Commander Scott, until Hansen formally turned command back to Kirk.

    So Uhura may or may not have been in charge on the bridge in the absence of Kirk, Spock, Scott, and Hansen, but she was not in overall command of the Enteprise during that episode. And the computer was enever counted as the commander of the ship during this episode according toofficial Starfleet protocol, no matter how much actual control it had.
     
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  14. Mytran

    Mytran Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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  15. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I appreciated the humor, if that was the intent of using the 'spoiler' tag.

    At face value, it's possible - albeit far less likely - that someone would never have seen an older episode and might not want spoilers. I've used the flag for both scenarios, albeit not simultaneously...
     
  16. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm a fan of the story; glad you brought it up for a whole discussion!

    Which alone makes for a novel concept. Usually, if anything, they'd suck the life out of another species entirely but in this episode they look for a specific trait. Almost like serial killing, which is not the most direct allegory (and also far more likely to not be an intentional one either!!)

    Long overdue and two TOS episodes (Catspaw, The Deadly Years) have clear and direct opportunities to let #4 in command there actually do so. TDY has a commodore on board, which then gets around the need for Kirk to boldly take the medication and miraculously be cured so he can win the battle (and everyone's reaction to using code 2 was germane) but for Catspaw there is no way around it. :( Some unknown gets the bridge instead.

    Also, this TAS episode does more for me than TDY for use of a similar premise of "rapid aging". It's more high concept and fantasy but it tends to its themes very well, and whose ending isn't a magic potion to undo massive radiation in a handful of minutes - which felt cheap but they milked all the drama out of the episode already, so... (TOS often had a thing in that regard where they'd set up big scenes and then do nothing with it by episode's end.)

    ^^this

    It should have been an hour long as there's a lot more to explore, and the "curse of immortality" goes back to that murder thing in a different sort of way... I should rewatch this one. It's been a long while.

    At least Spock has 3x the lifespan... :)

    That aside, you hit the nail on the head.

    She wanted to leave the show but that chance encounter with MLK changed her mind. By season 2, the show was just "THE BIG THREE" and it's awe-inspiring when any other character got even a minute of development other than the usual lines. Ensemble pieces or tying a show to specific characters has both pros and cons for each. TNG didn't even flesh out all its ensemble characters, and DS9 was the only one that managed it. And even shows nowadays don't always make it work, so it clearly is a difficult and rare accomplishment.

    Easily. :)
     
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  17. Henoch

    Henoch Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Lieutenant DeSalle was previously established in TSOG and TSOP, where in TSOG he was even in command of the landing party to recover Kirk. In both episodes, he wore the command color tunic. Later in Catspaw, he was promoted to the Assistant Chief Engineer and even though he wore the engineering red tunic, like Scotty, he still maintained his command ranking on the ship. I simply assumed he (the Assist Chief Engineer) was higher in the command structure over Uhura (the Communications Officer), so, it was no slight to her.

    Side discussion: In the first few episodes, Uhura wears the command color uniform, then switches over to the operations red uniform for the rest of the series. (In reality, it was probably done because Nichelle Nichols looked better in red.) In universe, it looks like no promotion was involved to prompt the uniform change, so, I assumed she opted out of the command division and decided to pursue her career as the communications officer in the operations division. Her new standing/seniority in the command structure may have been lower than other officers who were in the command division all their careers. (I note that both actors Nichols and Barrier are similar in age, so, both could have the same years of service.)
     
  18. Kamdan

    Kamdan Commander Red Shirt

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    Dr. Ann Mulhall was a Lieutenant Commander. I want to say that there was a number of them in a group scene in one of the third season episodes. Despite their high rank, they probably weren’t efficient for bridge command. We saw how even a Commodore buckled under the pressure of being under attack from Romulans in The Deadly Years so rank isn’t everything.
     
  19. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

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    Is the reason no woman got to be in charge of the bridge in TOS is that no woman on the Enterprise had command training even though a Lt Cmdr has the rank?
    Or was it that GR was divorcing his wife and women like her had to be put in their place, or was it because it was the 60s and it was enough that you had women on the bridge at all.
    There were several (not many) times women commanded men in TOS - Charlene Masters, Uhura getting the fake guy to fix her door, Rand telling fake crewman Green to get lost. It started off with good intentions I think.

    If TOS were made now there'd be women in command all over the place - you know DISCOVERY.
     
  20. Shawnster

    Shawnster Commodore Commodore

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    It was the 60s. That's the main factor.

    Even at that we saw Number One as first officer and in command in Pikes absence. The female Romulan Commander seemed to command the entire attack squadron. Wasn't Mara the first officer of Kang's ship?

    TOS had no problem depicting non human females in positions of power and authority.
     
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