|Crap, she wears red, doesn't she?|
The other day I commented to my husband that I had no idea why I had signed up for a Star Trek blogfest because I'm not a huge fan of Star Trek. "I must have a disease," I commented. "I can resist signing up for them. How am I going to list 5 favorite episodes and characters?" My husband's reply? Easy. And he began rattling off awesome episodes from The Original Series. (The only Star Trek series I've watched completely.) And he's right of course. It wasn't so long ago that we watched all three seasons of TOS (now I fell like a real geek) and I did enjoy it quite a lot. And to my surprise, while looking through a list of TOS episodes, it was surprisingly easy to pick out 5 that soared above the rest.
So here is a list of my favorite episodes of TOS and the characters that made them stand out, in no particualr order...
The Squire of Gothos
The Story: The crew of the Enterprise is taken prisoner on an unfamiliar planet by a powerful being who calls himself "General Trelane, Retired" and acts like an English gentleman. At first he seems to only want to show them a good time, but when Kirk refuses to play along the good squire shows his dark side. Refusing to let the crew escape, he puts Kirk on trial for treason and sentences him to hanging. But just before Trelane kills Kirk two beings of energy show up who turn out to be Trelane's parents. They scold him to messing around with people, apologize to Kirk and disappear with a childish, whining Trelane.
The Character: Trelane is just a fun character. He has a lot of charm and vitality and also his fair share of wickedness. (Children in a nutshell really.) And it's always interesting to see Kirk go up against a threat that seems ridiculous but is actually more dangerous than he knows.Trelane alternately acts like an impetuous child, a gracious host, and a sadistic judge. In a later Star Trek novel it is revealed that Trelane is actually one of the Q Continuum, which makes him even more interesting.
The Story: Spock's biological clock is about to go off and he has to get back to Vulcan to marry his betrothed before he dies. And what we see of Vulcan in this episode is just so exotic and alien and fascinating. But due to his fiancee's devious maneuverings, Spock is forced to fight Kirk. Kirk cannot possibly win so McCoy fakes his death. Spock meanwhile rejects his fiancee because of her games and goes back to the enterprise to suffer whatever fate awaits him for killing Kirk. The look on Spock's face when he sees that Kirk isn't really dead is one of those few classic moments when Spock's Vulcan composure lifts and we can see how much Kirk really means to him.
The Character: Spock. This episode shows a lot of unexpected emotions in a character usually ruled by logic. And while we all love the stoic Spock, it's nice to see him break. The glimpses of Vulcan culture also help us understand the forces that shaped him. Seeing where he comes from makes Spock even more interesting and sympathetic.
The Story: This is a follow up episode to Mudd's Women, which was also good. Harcourt Fenton Mudd is basically an interstellar con man. He has crash landed on a planet full of androids who take him for their king. To get revenge of Kirk for their previous run-in, Mudd has one of the androids, Norman, hijack the Enterprise and bring it to him. His plan is to leave Kirk and his officers on the planet and take the Enterprise for his own. But eventually it is revealed that the androids will not let Mudd leave. After studying Mudd, they have decided that humans are too destructive. Their plan is to leave their planet on the Enterprise and basically take over the galaxy, becoming the caretakers and police of the human race.
Kirk and Mudd and others work together to defeat the androids by being illogical, which apparently causes the androids to short circuit. It makes for many hilarious scenes and great quotes like the crew dancing around and Spock talking about logic being a little bird. Eventually Kirk causes Norman, the android in charge, to overload by posing the Liar Paradox to him.
The Character: Mudd is a great comedic character. From the beginning with his act as an honest trader with a thick Irish accent, to his gloating "reign" as Mudd the First, to his torture at the hands of a reprogrammed android copy of his dreaded wife. You almost feel sorry for him at the end, until you remember that he want to maroon Kirk and crew on his prison planet.
The Story: The classic show where Kirk and crew first encounter genetically superior madman Khan Noonien Singh. I have to admit I find the idea of the Eugenics Wars proposed by Star Trek to be quite fascinating. I mean, if you were a genetically altered superbeing wouldn't you try to take over the world? Of course you would. The gradual discovery of Khan's nature, the treason of one of the Enterprise officers on behalf of this incredibly dynamic man, and the elegant solution that Kirk comes up with make this a great story.
The Character: Khan is just awesome. And Ricardo Montalban is perfect in the role. Are there any ladies out there who wouldn't at least think about betraying Star Fleet for him? He's got a lot of charm and personality and exudes an air of confidence and power. Yeah, we can't blame the Lieutenant for her choice. Khan was such a great character that they couldn't just let him be. They had to take him out in a blaze of glory in The Wrath of Khan movie. Can you imagine his story ending any other way?
A Piece of the Action
The Story: The Enterprise discovers that a developing world has accidentally been tampered with by humans and has modeled their culture entirely on a book called Chicago Mobs of the Twenties. To fix this blunder Kirk, with Spock at his side, is forced to bluff and bluster his way through an obstacle course of competing mobs who are determined to get their hands on the Enterprise's technology.
The Character: Kirk. Kirk is just so glorious in this episode as he hams it up while pretending to be a mobster himself and resorting to negotiating with the planets residents on their own terms. Kirk is just THE CAPTAIN. End of story. No one else can even come close to his awesomeness.To paraphrase something my husband recently said: All Kirk and No Kirk make Kirk, Kirk.
What do you think? Did I nail some of your favorites?
Side Note: I'm putting off posting for the Sparkfest until tomorrow. I hope that's ok.