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Tidd
Tue, Apr 20, 2021, 7:44am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Return to Tomorrow

Jammer is spot on - a great potential story early on, that descends into chaos. (Or rather, as I saw it, not so much chaos as 1940s Hollywood-style 'romance / jealousy' with sentimental orchestral strings to unnecessarily hammer home the message).

It's a real 'could have / should have' episode. The premise of incorporeal minds was fascinating, though one would immediately question why they hadn't originally built robot receptors before they voluntarily went into the spheres. The hijacking of The Enterprise before making a polite request to 'borrow' 3 bodies, was an excusable plot device, as no-one got hurt in the initial stages. As for the Henok using of Spock's body, that was a highpoint, as we got to see Nimoy getting the chance to emote again.

Kirk's "risk" speech was melodramatically delivered, but a good moment:
"Do you... WISH.. that the Apollo mission hadn't got to the moon? Then to Mars...?"
It's a sobering thought that this was shown a full two years before the moon landing, and now it's only days since a drone flew over the surface of Mars. Fine stuff.

As others have pointed out, it was also good that Nurse Chapell got to share her body briefly with Spock, in a wish-fulfilment of her dreams. Small wonder that it didn't put her off him!

But in the end, I simply couldn't believe in those incorporeal minds retaining their passions and jealousies, and the whole thing turning into a botched melodrama.

2.5 stars
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Tidd
Mon, Apr 19, 2021, 8:54am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: A Private Little War

A strange little episode to review. There's a quite deep philosophical and political undercurrent to it, forming Roddenberry's anti-Cold War message, most especially the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam, with the "Villagers" being the North, and the "Hill People" being the South, while the Klingons represent the Communist East arming the Northerners, and the Federation NATO. Ultimately, just like the real world conflicts, here it remains unresolved, though Kirk's 'Balance of Power' practicality wins out over McCoy's non-aggression anti-war idealism. I think we are meant to sympathise more with McCoy's philosophy than Kirk's (well, I did!), particularly in the character of the Hill People and their reluctance to be drawn into warlike modes of behaviour.

There is also an interesting contrast between Spock's very disciplined Vulcan 'self-healing' technique, and the (portrayed-as-hokum?) 'Witch doctor' healing methods on the planet involving herbs, roots, and incantations... which actually do succeed in curing Kirk's injuries! Interestingly, McCoy's very efficient and effective deputy on board is given an African name - coincidence or deliberate?

Two things severely spoiled this otherwise interesting episode: one was Nancy Kusack's utterly OTT acting particularly when healing Kirk, plus her character's inconsistency (how would a strong medicine woman be so easily overpowered by the rival tribe?). The other... well, need I even say it!? Even allowing for the limited 60s special effects, the 'monster' with the poison fangs was a joke. It would make even a 60s sci-fi producer wince. I could see that on a comedy spoof, but on a Trek episode? Come on!! I could make a better 'monster' from what's lying around in my living room.
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Tidd
Sat, Apr 17, 2021, 1:22am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Immunity Syndrome

There are some surprisingly negative reviews here. Despite the very hokey science, the interaction of the crew, especially Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, makes this episode stand out in my opinion. It is probably the best “Spock vs McCoy” sequence of them all.

I wouldn’t probe the science too far — it’s the on-board story that makes this episode so good.

3.5 stars for me.
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Tidd
Fri, Apr 16, 2021, 2:35am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: A Piece of the Action

I like this. Comedy gold. Yes, the plot — such as it is — is repetitive, but it’s worth it to see the Enterprise crew hamming it up in Hollywood-style gangster paradise. Kirk learning to drive (badly), the game of Fizzbin, Kirk adopting Noo Yoik modes of speech and behaviour, several instances of the Spock “noiv” pinch, Scotty’s gradual understanding of what’s going on...

Sure, there is little to reflect on, no great talking points, but if you accept it on its own lighthearted terms, it’s ¾ of an hour that flies by and provides laughs galore.

3 stars, maybe slightly more.
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Tidd
Thu, Apr 15, 2021, 1:42am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Gamesters of Triskelion

Oh, one more note: this episode is essentially “The Cage” re-done, very badly.
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Tidd
Thu, Apr 15, 2021, 1:38am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Gamesters of Triskelion

Kirk gets beautiful female alien. Kirk outwits rubber brains (instead of computer). Kirk wins all his fights. Spock and Bones argue. Humanity “proved” superior to all other life forms. Ridiculous stupid episode.

Although it took him an essay to say so, I think William B has it right: it’s the manipulation of Shana by Kirk in the supposed name of freedom while actually pursuing his own personal freedom, that provides the only real talking point of this episode.

1 star, or less.
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Tidd
Wed, Apr 14, 2021, 2:18am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Trouble With Tribbles

@Liviana Charvanek

“Cyrano Jones mentions to Chekhov that ''tribbles have no teeth''. So...y'know...how do they eat?”
The same way that worms do?
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Tidd
Wed, Apr 14, 2021, 2:10am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Trouble With Tribbles

A light-hearted comedic episode that has rightly become a classic, as demonstrated by the ‘Forrest Gump’-style reuse of its footage in DS9.

So many good moments: Kirk interviewing a whole lineup to find out “who threw the first punch “, Cyrano Jones waltzing through the fight with his purloined drinks, Scotty with Chekhov in the bar, Spock’s near-impatience with Tribbles, Kirk opening the grain hatch to be submerged by Tribbles... Who really cares that there isn’t any real drama or tension? This is Trek comedy, a rare beast but one to be treasured.

Mind you, the Klingons never had a chance, with the Squire of Trelawney as a commander!
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Tidd
Tue, Apr 13, 2021, 2:40am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Wolf in the Fold

“S/he’s dead, Jim “

Ludicrous on so many levels... yet fun to watch. I wouldn’t give 3 stars, maybe 2.5?

Points of question:

1. All the people are human not aliens- yet hundreds if not thousands of years have passed on Orgelius. Yet it’s only the 23rd Century.

2. A sedative that acts as a narcotic? LOL

3. Crew members of a starship are employed mainly to walk the corridors? (Continuity error: they’re seen walking with aimless happy grins BEFORE the sedative is given)

4. Scott is sent to a basement room with an attractive lieutenant after being accused of misogynistic murder?

5. Hengist was an obvious choice of villain early on.

Oh well. Trek benefits from non-Trek episodes now and again. And the belly dance was good to watch.
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Tidd
Mon, Apr 12, 2021, 2:03am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Obsession

KIRK: I have far.

KIRK: Too many.

KIRK: Redshirts. I MUST.

KIRK: Find SOME... way, to

KIRK: Reduce... their....

KIRK: Numbers.

Don’t share the general approval of this episode. Apart from Shatner’s melodramatic histrionics, the whole business of sacrificing colonists (and why - given the circumstances - couldn’t the Yorktown have met with the Enterprise at a convenient midpoint to transfer the vaccines?), and the general acceptance that it was fine to destroy an intelligent lifeform, I just can’t see the good points.

That’s not to say there aren’t redeeming features. Spock and Bones are excellent, though I did laugh out loud at Spock believing he could stop a gas coming through a grating by pressing his hands against it! Garrovick is also good, as is Nurse Chappell.

In all I can’t give this much more than 2 stars.
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Tidd
Sat, Apr 10, 2021, 2:15am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Deadly Years

I always rather enjoyed this episode. Seeing it again does highlight the flaws though:

- the unnecessary love interest that adds nothing to the story
- a Commodore wearing a red shirt and subservient to a Captain?
- the competency hearing lasting too long
-Kirk’s accusing Spock of treachery
- the ridiculous fast effect of the serum

All that said though, it’s still a good episode to watch - the ageing effects were, I thought, pretty well done; the story proceeded fairly well; there was some good deliberation about the effects of losing one’s faculties; the slower Vulcan ageing of Spock... in all I think it deserves 2.5 stars.
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Tidd
Fri, Apr 9, 2021, 2:40am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Friday's Child

Shoot Out At The OK Capella. (Yawn).

Potentially this could have been a good episode - the Bedouin type sets were pleasing and the cultural politics of the initial scenes interesting, especially the way McCoy interprets every situation. But once I’d seen this:
REDSHIRT (chosen for a diplomatic mission, and yet, against all prior warnings) “A Klingon!” (draws weapon despite no threat whatsoever... dies),
I just knew it was going to turn out bad.

This was essentially the ‘Wild West’ episode and there’s even a reference to “the cavalry coming over the hill to rescue....”. Just a series of random fight scenes interspersed with Scotty realising unbelievably slowly that they have been tricked by a false distress signal.

The episode is partly redeemed by “MAKK-oi”’s scenes with the girl. A doctor who is not an escalator, huh? If not for those scenes it would not even deserve the 1.5 stars I’ll give it.
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Tidd
Thu, Apr 8, 2021, 2:41am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Journey to Babel

Classic 4 star episode. This is the first TOS episode in which you can see the seeds of the future Trek franchise, even if they didn’t at the time! Convincing alien races, murder mystery, alien attack, the first appearance of Sarek, medical drama - there’s almost TOO much here, yet it still makes a compulsive watch.

The political aspect would of course be seen again often - in TNG, DS9 etc. As others have said, I just wish the Tellurites and Andorrans had been seen again in TOS but you can’t have everything and the producers of the time didn’t have a crystal ball.

This episode was where Spock and McCoy really shone as characters, and it was refreshing to see Kirk take a (relative) back seat. I wasn’t quite so convinced by Spock’s mother; though she was well played, and added to what was written as a one-off episode, she would - as pointed out - have lived long enough on Vulcan to understand her husband and son better.

This episode is classic Star Trek and more than makes up for the weaker Series 2 episodes. If I could give more than 4 stars I would.
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Tidd
Wed, Apr 7, 2021, 2:07am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Metamorphosis

An interesting standalone sci-fi story. It would have made a v good Outer Limits episode, but perhaps not quite so good for TOS, as the central theme does not really need Kirk Bones and Spock.

The interesting Trek things are the first appearance of the Universal Translator, and Zephram Cochran who would play such a pivotal role in the movie.

Apart from the quite appallingly sentimental “Hollywood romance 1940s” music score, this made a fairly absorbing episode with thoughtful ideas behind it. 3 stars, just about!
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Tidd
Wed, Apr 7, 2021, 1:52am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: I, Mudd

After an intriguing start, Mudd appeared. I stopped watching.
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Tidd
Tue, Apr 6, 2021, 3:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Apple

@Peter G

I think Vaal represents the - e.g. - Kremlin, which did use force to keep its people in subjugation, while at the same time portraying Soviet society as "ideal" with the Pravda reports of record agricultural yields, manufacture of tractors, and so on.

There's an echo of that in the character of Chekhov who constantly (and comedically!) asserts that everything good originates in Russia.

It's also obviously an Eden parable but I just think there's more to it than that, given the era it was made in.
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Tidd
Tue, Apr 6, 2021, 2:54am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Catspaw

One of the silliest episodes, absurd, illogical and downright pointless.

And yet... I actually quite enjoyed watching it! It’s more of an Orson Welles Adventure story than Trek, but if you can mentally place it outside the Trekverse (“bad poetry”? Sorry 😂) it’s quite fun in parts. And Kirk gets his hands on yet another beautiful woman. I did laugh out loud at the true form of the aliens - whose concept was that!

Who is this De Salle in charge of the Enterprise? Do we ever get to see him again?

I think this episode was filmed before Doomsday... as Chekhov still has his silly 1967 Mickey Dolenz haircut he had when he first appeared.
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Tidd
Tue, Apr 6, 2021, 2:35am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Doomsday Machine

@Rahul

You’re entitled to your opinion just as I’m entitled to mine!

I think it’s a very good episode but there have been at least 3 before it that are even better. However I can see why so many rate it so highly.
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Tidd
Mon, Apr 5, 2021, 9:50am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Changeling

I quite liked elements of this:
- the AI story including the crashing and merging of two probes (presumably both had self-repair routines built in)
- Uhura's greater contribution than usual, including getting to hear her sing. (I've assumed that the 'mind wipe' was actually induced amnesia which left some abilities intact, e.g. knowledge of Swahili)
- the use of logic from Kirk (would have been better from Spock!) to cause NOMAD to self destruct (but why does that always mean a speeding up falsetto voice? Kubrick's HAL going slower and deeper singing 'Daisy Daisy' was more effective).

But other elements were ludicrous if not downright offensive:
- huge destructive pulses from NOMAD at the start - what, from something that looked like an interplanetary vacuum cleaner??
- the crew's underwhelming reaction to the destruction of billions of people - yet how on earth did NOMAD actually achieve that? It's only a tin can after all.
- NOMAD's categorisation of its scan of Uhura as a mass of chaotic impulses - WHAT, BECAUSE SHE'S A WOMAN?????

Not an outright poor episode - I'll give it 2 or perhaps 2.5 stars
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Tidd
Mon, Apr 5, 2021, 8:58am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Doomsday Machine

I think this episode is a LITTLE overrated - I'd give it 3 stars, perhaps a bit more.

There are so many good elements - Decker's neurotic need for revenge after losing his entire crew; Spock's level-headedness (as usual!); the anti-nuclear weapons message; and of course the tense but action-packed development of the story.

I thought the machine was too variable in scale (the relative size of shuttle craft and starship entering its maw was horribly inconsistent), and its belching of fire was nonsensical - there should have been something to suggest the 'doomsday' aspect. I do realise though that the contemporary special effects abilities weren't exactly brilliant, and the budget was limited.

There were also silly aspects like puffs of smoke as the transporter malfunctioned - what??

On the whole though, while not as good as Mirror, Mirror or The Balance Of Terror, this was a good action episode.
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Tidd
Mon, Apr 5, 2021, 4:14am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Apple

@Peter G

Yes, that was my reaction at first, but I got to thinking about the time it was made: it seemed that a Cold War statement was more 60s than some religious thing. The view of the time (Manchurian Candidate?) was that Soviet/Chinese populations were brainwashed and had little freedom of choice (some truth in that?), while their media portrayed society as “perfect” - if not exactly Eden, then Trek’s clumsy analogy was close enough to contemporary portrayals.
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Tidd
Sun, Apr 4, 2021, 4:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Apple

Awful episode. Not-very-subtle 'anti-Soviet / Eastern totalitarianism' clumsily disguised as a Biblical parable. I can think of very little good to say about it, and will never bother re-watching it.

1 star
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Tidd
Sat, Apr 3, 2021, 3:37am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Mirror, Mirror

@Trek Guru
The episode may have been called Mirror Mirror, but it wasn’t actually a literal reversal. Spock was pretty consistent in both worlds, so why should the Halkanians be evil? They were scared, which was a big change from how they were in “our” universe - isn’t that enough?

To add - I am glad that Uhura gets a good portion of this episode. The moment where after teasing Sulu on the Bridge, she tucks the knife into her boot...
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Tidd
Sat, Apr 3, 2021, 3:06am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Mirror, Mirror

Yes, there are a few shortcomings, but overall this is a 4 star brilliant episode, one of the best in the whole Trek franchise. The consistency of the 2 Spocks - a ‘logical’ plot device; the barbaric Sulu; the Nazi salutes; the Tantalus device; and the urgent but civilised pleading of “our “ Kirk with the “other “ Spock to logically act to preserve Starfleet in the long run by not destroying the planet (a Roddenberry plea to our own 1960s world to ‘shape up’?).

Apart from one thing, the other shortcomings are minor: the ease with which Kirk disarmed ‘evil Sulu’ and Uhura the ‘Captain’s woman’; the switch of uniforms in the transporter, etc. The real difficulty is how the ISS crew got back at exactly the same time as “our” crew. Should we assume that “our” Spock worked it all out and got the “evil” crew on the transporter waiting for the precise moment to energise? It niggles me, but in the end does not take away from a brilliant bit of sci-fi.

4 stars.
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Tidd
Thu, Apr 1, 2021, 2:59am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Who Mourns for Adonais?

@Peter G

“ someone who was in for a brief stint but didn't seem interested in being a career officer. ” Uh? How does that fit with a ’5 year mission’? Lt. Palamas (note the Greek name!) was a professional who had signed on for a long voyage.

I’ve just seen that most of the comments since are a long discussion about women and feminism so I will just respond to this:

“I've known plently of liberal-leaning women with strong values about women's rights or sexism, and yet will have no compunction to admit that if a certain dreamboat [insert popular Hollywood star here] they would go ga-ga.”

And the “average man” (liberal or otherwise) is completely immune to a shapely pair of legs or breasts? Oh, come on!
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