Star Trek: The Original Series
"The Doomsday Machine"
Air date: 10/20/1967
Written by Norman Spinrad
Directed by Marc Daniels
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
The Enterprise's sister ship, the USS Constellation, is found severely damaged and adrift in space. The ship's captain, Commodore Matthew Decker (William Windom) is the only person left of his crew, the remainder of which had been beamed down to a nearby planet for safety. Unfortunately, nothing is safe from the unstoppable device roaming the region, which destroys entire planets, consumes the debris, and then moves on to the next planet. The death of Decker's crew has sent him into an insane obsession to destroy the device, even if it means suicide.
"The Doomsday Machine" sets the standard for all-out TOS tactical space action, with flawless pacing, a terrific score by Sol Kaplan, and lots of boldness. With Kirk and Scotty trying to make repairs to the Constellation, we have a great conflict aboard the Enterprise, where Decker takes command of the ship while Spock and McCoy are initially powerless to stop him from launching a suicide mission. Spock's calm but firm action in the face of this adversity is an absolute joy to watch unfold.
Keeping in tune with the series' social commentary is the low-key allegory on nuclear weapons—which is implicitly present, but never threatens to eclipse the story.
Previous episode: The Apple
Next episode: Catspaw
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76 comments on this post
Sun, Mar 17, 2013, 9:18pm (UTC -5)
Thu, May 2, 2013, 6:30am (UTC -5)
This is by far Trek at its "man show" best. Guest star William Windom, who has said he knew nothing about Star Trek, turns in a master class performance as the obsessed Ahab-like Commodore Decker out destroy the doomsday device that killed his crew. Windom RULES this episode. He constantly reminds us "I'm in COMMAND here" and he certainly is. The crew's quiet contempt for him reflects exactly how the viewer is urge to see him.
The tension is palpable on both ships with malfunctions and pissing contests and a nicely done Decker-vs-redshirt fight scene that just spills testosterone all over floor. The pacing is perfection without a second of filler.
A lot of Trekkers have to defend Star Trek to their friends and family. This is one those episodes a non-fan could follow and appreciate.
Thu, Apr 3, 2014, 11:47pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Sep 9, 2014, 12:03am (UTC -5)
Mon, Nov 17, 2014, 9:16am (UTC -5)
Fri, Feb 12, 2016, 1:43pm (UTC -5)
I've taken that recommendation and then some. I have seen through the remastered "Doomsday Machine" quite a few times, first from the standalone second-season remastered release, and then from the 2015 remastered full-series release, and it never ceases to amaze.
Sun, Jun 12, 2016, 4:54pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Aug 21, 2016, 8:48pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Sep 1, 2016, 2:44pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Oct 13, 2016, 6:57pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Feb 27, 2017, 3:20pm (UTC -5)
The episode does benefit greatly from the character of Decker that Windom brought to life beautifully -- from showing the anguish of his lost crew, to the shock of trying to remember the planet-killer when on the Constellation, to the resignation of his suicide mission on the shuttlecraft.
The enhanced graphics make a big difference, the detail of the asteroids (this is subtle - but I liked one asteroid crashing against the Constellation early in the episode).
Spock is terrific in this episode with his logic that doesn't become overbearing or condescending. Scotty also pulls off a minor miracle in getting the transporter working.
The other thing to not forget is the outstanding soundtrack. Highly recommend purchasing it (comes with Amok Time). The track "Kirk Does It Again" as the Constellation gets set to destroy the robot is a classic -- and one used in a handful of Trek episodes including a derivation of it for 1975's "Jaws".
No question 4/4 stars (maybe 4.5/4 stars as I think it is the best Trek episode objectively speaking aside from being my personal favorite).
Sun, Apr 30, 2017, 1:28am (UTC -5)
After doing a bit of research a few years ago, I found out William Windom was known as "The Crier". It seems if you needed an actor to have a scene with crying, or breaking down, you went and hired him (mostly for Westerns).
This heralded one of the most perfect castings we've had in the wide world of Trek. When he says "On the third planet.", it's pitch perfect. And when he later says "Don't you think I know that? There was, but not anymore. They called me. They begged me for help, four hundred of them. I couldn't. I couldn't..." I cannot think of an actor who could have conveyed the anguish he felt at the loss of his crew any more effectively then he did.
I really believe he was a great actor. When on the Enterprise, he truly looked like he was someone who was just barely holding it together, using only his will and training to keep from going mad on the bridge. And I believe that takes some talent, especially when you figure he was going from Westerns to imagining himself on the bridge of a Starship.
His acting set the stage for the whole episode...
Just some random thoughts... RT
Mon, May 8, 2017, 4:24am (UTC -5)
*Except Mirror Mirror, which had purple beams in the mirror universe, I assume to differentiate the universes
Mon, May 22, 2017, 11:13pm (UTC -5)
A lot of drama, and superb acting. William Windom, in my opinion, gives the best performance of any guest actor on Star Trek TOS.
Mon, Aug 28, 2017, 1:02am (UTC -5)
Wed, Sep 6, 2017, 7:19pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Sep 8, 2017, 10:43pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Oct 2, 2017, 6:02pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Oct 10, 2017, 12:16pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 3:10pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Dec 18, 2017, 6:42am (UTC -5)
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 12:09am (UTC -5)
Sun, Feb 4, 2018, 5:43pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Aug 6, 2018, 1:33am (UTC -5)
I'm not a fan of the new special effects. The ones I've seen on Netflix are not as good as in the original series. Also, when the Constellation explodes inside the planet killer, the new special effects are lame. The original version was much better for that final scene. I wish I could watch Star Trek with the original effects.
Mon, Aug 6, 2018, 7:58am (UTC -5)
The Blu-Ray box set lets you choose between the original effects and the new effects. I personally always watch with the original version effects, they have a certain charm that the CGI stuff lacks.
Sat, Oct 6, 2018, 5:39pm (UTC -5)
This is also one of the few TOS episodes that makes me wish modern Trek HAD been like its parent show. I miss the dynamism, the strong characters, who act and talk like contemporary people being the absolute best they can be. The "perfect" 24th century humans are boring by comparison. I would rather aspire to be Kirk than Picard!
The Doomsday Machine (what a title!) is intense and exciting throughout, with a gripping sense of dread from the moment Dekker speaks about hell; that speech would never be allowed in today's ultra-PC Trek shows, by the way. Spock handled himself superbly. I wish the idea of the device coming from outside our galaxy had been expanded on as I believe that is unique in all of Trek? I can't really say anything that hasn't already been said about how wonderful the episode is. It's one of Trek's finest hours and remains compelling to this day. No remodulating the tertiary bollock machine, no re-routing a high-bandwidth tachyon pulse through the deflectors. Instead we have Scotty working his arse off to fix a broken ship and coming through at the last moment.
One question: did they have some sort of fuel crisis in their day? This is not the first time I've heard Spock talk about someone's ship running out of fuel. How can they only run for seven hours at maximum impulse? Space is quite big. We don't fly planes from New York to Manchester with 70 litres of fuel in the tank - Starfleet needs to work on its logistics!
Now for the VFX rant.
The special effects were better than usual for the TOS Remaster. I am not sold on the Remastered effects at all; they fail hard in comparison to ENT for example which I believe was being made at the same time. TOS:R retains all the inconsistencies of the original episodes (phaser colours for one thing), looks just as amateurish when phaser blasts are striking the Doomsday Machine, and the Constitution class starships still travel at that weird diagonal angle as if they are strafing in Doom.
TOS:R is just an expensive warmover of dated effects and can only be viewed as "good" in comparison to the originals. In the TOS:R trailer one of the VFX blokes actually slips up and says "The Enterprise won't be doing barrel rolls or anything, it's just going to make people's mouths water a little more. A lot more." His self-correction was a warning that the Remaster wasn't going to be special.
The main improvement IMO is how much they cleared up the live action scenes. Now they ARE impressive: every episode of TOS looks like it was filmed yesterday. TNG, DS9 and to some extent VOY have that weird, glossy, glowy visual quality inherent to American television shows in the 80s and 90s. A kind of softness, making the special effects seem a blurry and low-res. Funny how the 1960s original show looks sharper and clearer.
Wed, Jan 23, 2019, 4:07pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Mar 17, 2019, 12:39pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Apr 25, 2019, 12:22am (UTC -5)
Thu, Apr 25, 2019, 11:04pm (UTC -5)
He did? I hadn't read that, but there are many things I haven't read. :)
He did do a reprise of his role in a fan-fic story/filmed episode. It was quite a few years ago, so I don't recall the name of the not-for-profit production, but the Enterprise goes back in time (shocked! :) ), and they find him in some way by accident, I think.
It seems the Doomsday Machine had a singularity at it's core, or something, and when he went in to commit suicide, it instead sent Decker through space and time. And there he was, on a viewscreen only (as I recall), talking to their version of Captain Kirk. He'd ended up living out his days on "old" Earth.
Perhaps, in the end, he didn't feel as bad about it as he had before. Hopefully, anyway. At least, he was nice enough to help them with their ST project. :)
Sat, Apr 27, 2019, 10:19pm (UTC -5)
Mon, May 13, 2019, 11:28pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Jun 16, 2019, 2:09pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Jan 7, 2020, 2:13am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jan 9, 2020, 12:07am (UTC -5)
Thu, Jan 9, 2020, 6:37am (UTC -5)
Normally I don't get much out of these attempts to retroactively upgrade the effects for old TV and movies like with the Star Wars re-releases.
But something about this particular episode seems to really come alive with the remastering, especially for the doomsday machine itself. I just love the color and scale of it. The episode was always a classic but the remastered version is like they took that greatness and perfected it.
Thu, Jul 23, 2020, 4:49pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jul 23, 2020, 7:24pm (UTC -5)
Couldn't agree with you more. For me, the best episode of the entire Star Trek franchise. Absolute perfection.
Thu, Jul 23, 2020, 7:53pm (UTC -5)
For me - too.
Thu, Aug 20, 2020, 4:23pm (UTC -5)
As for the remasters—- seasons 2 and 3 titles with the opera lady singing. Holy crap, I hate how they’ve ramped up the volume of that, especially the last wail. I literally always mute it.
It’s comical to me they did that. A new recording I guess? I don’t know, but I think exactly zero percent of Trek’s longevity was due to its title theme song.
Thu, Aug 20, 2020, 4:33pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Sep 8, 2020, 9:31pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Sep 17, 2020, 1:40am (UTC -5)
Tue, Dec 15, 2020, 11:08am (UTC -5)
Slap me twice and call me Ishmael.
When was the last time Star Trek was brave enough to take a captain off his bridge and replace him with a formidable actor? Chain of Command, maybe?
Even when they paired Bakula with the superior Katsulas in the ENT episode "Cogenitor," it wasn't on the bridge of the Enterprise. And Bakula was there in every scene.
But to leave Decker there on the bridge, no Kirk in sight - now that took balls.
Then again, TPTB must have been very confident in Shatner and Nimoy, in that they risked outshining them on multiple occasions: Montalban (Khan), Ihnat (Garth), Lovsky (T'Pau), Colicos (Kor). Sheer charisma oozing out of every pore.
I think only Jean Simmons (Admiral Satie on TNG) ever came close to that level of screen presence.
Meanwhile, Voyager had The Rock and George Costanza.
Tue, Dec 15, 2020, 12:02pm (UTC -5)
Being the Trek geek I am, I once compiled a list of who I thought were the best guest actors performances to appear (as one-offs) and William Windom's Commodore Matt Decker was right up at the top of the list (with Harris Yulin from "Duet" right behind him). You're right in that this episode took balls. I think a fair bit has been written about Windom and this episode.
Tue, Dec 15, 2020, 8:23pm (UTC -5)
I agree, Marritza was amazing, and "Duet" is epic. I think that episode - and two similarly powerful episodes: "Progress" and "Ties of Blood and Water" - work so well because Kira (Nana Visitor) is perfect across from these larger-than-life men.
Spock and Kira seemed to have had that in common, no doubt a key advantage in a first officer. They both brought out the best in their superiors.
Sun, Dec 20, 2020, 8:53pm (UTC -5)
I think Lt. Palmer comes off as professional and no-nonsense right out of the gate when compared to some of Lt. Uhura's more subdued exchanges with Captain Kirk or her exaggerated fear when reacting to strange aliens or dangerous situations. Makes me wonder how Nichelle Nichols would have played it for this installment.
Thu, Feb 25, 2021, 10:25am (UTC -5)
Mon, Apr 5, 2021, 8:58am (UTC -5)
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.
Mon, Apr 5, 2021, 10:16am (UTC -5)
I think your criticisms of this episode are pretty weak -- don't mean to be so blunt about it but not sure how else to express it. Yes, occasionally the ship/shuttle in scale don't jive with how big the doomsday machine should be, but when it counts the monstrous size and power of the machine is clearly conveyed. It's not a "belching of fire" either -- that I believe is an effect of the enhanced version (I don't think the original was that way).
"there should have been something to suggest the 'doomsday' aspect."
I think there's plenty here to suggest the 'doomsday' aspect -- Kirk's theorizing about how it continues to destroy solar systems long after the war between the 2 sides (where one side built it) was long over, and the fact that it has destroyed numerous solar systems just to get to where the Constellation was. Leaves just the right amount for the imagination, which is what good sci-fi should do. I really feel "The Doomsday Machine" is as close to perfection as a Trek episode could be.
Tue, Apr 6, 2021, 2:35am (UTC -5)
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.
Mon, Sep 13, 2021, 8:41pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Oct 16, 2021, 9:29pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Oct 28, 2021, 11:40pm (UTC -5)
Always remember that great quote"vulcans never bluff"
Thu, Mar 24, 2022, 7:09pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Apr 25, 2022, 7:27pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Apr 28, 2022, 6:56am (UTC -5)
My only complaint is the lack of a more tactical approach when the Enterprise tries, under Commodore's command, to destroy the machine. I mean, they just come in front of it getting shot and they end up firing on it's hull instead of inside? I know the machine wouldn't be destroyed by that, but I would like to see a high rank starfleet officer pulling off something more intelligent and that at least sounded like it could work...
Thu, Apr 28, 2022, 9:00am (UTC -5)
Interesting point but I think the Enterprise under Decker's command is meant to show how compromised the Commodore has become after the loss of his crew and damage to the Constellation. Thus his tactics are puerile. He is heading toward suicide and McCoy hasn't had a chance to do a mental evaluation of him. The dynamic between Decker and Spock (and McCoy) is brilliant -- Spock suspects Decker is compromised but is adhering to regulations. Spock was not able to get any of his tactics through to Decker.
But also the machine is meant to be pretty much indestructible and we later learn (or have to deduce) that firing anything (phasers, photon torpedoes) into the machine would not have done the trick.
Sat, Jun 4, 2022, 7:39pm (UTC -5)
Bill Windom doing his best Captain Ahab
What a hoot
One of the best of season 1
Robert Ryan in the Decker role? That would have been interesting
Check him out in Bad Day at Black Rock
Holds his own in a movie with a bunch of heavyweights
Sat, Jul 2, 2022, 10:14am (UTC -5)
Of course, Leonard Nimoy matches Windom and provides a nice counterpoint and character foil to the madness. Spock is at his most perturbed here, which is fun to watch, but he's also as steely and cold as ever. Spock is a machine here, too, when it comes to Starfleet regulations that prevents him from relieving the most senior officer of his command. It finally takes Kirk's impassioned, angry explicit orders to move him to finally take Decker's command away.
The story of the device itself is wonderfully basic. Basically, it was built by some people. "Why?" "Unknown, Captain." In a way, that's enough. The dialogue and suppositions among the crew provide almost obvious commentary -- we've built such devices like the hydrogen and atom bombs ourselves, so the precedent is there. But here, all indications are that this machine has outlived its own creators' war itself. It's still completely powerful and destructive, but now technically also pointless. How's that for irony?
Still, "Oh, forget about your theories!" is Decker's cry. I like that simplicity. It doesn't matter what's behind the construction of the device. The fact is, it's attacking us and all the nearby planets and must be destroyed.
In the end, of course, human ingenuity and near-suicidal tactics on Kirk's part win the day against technology. We are still better at adaptation and strategic thinking then our "smart bombs" are. But this episode serves as a warning to us -- we'd best remember to keep it that way.
Kirk -- "Worry about your own miracles, Scotty. I'll worry about mine."
My Grade: A-
Wed, Jul 20, 2022, 2:43pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Aug 21, 2022, 1:47pm (UTC -5)
First of all, the music is outstanding. The episode wouldn’t be the same without this beautifully dark, grim, somber score. Just take the opening scene on the bridge as an example: when the wrecked Constellation appears on the viewscreen and Kirk whispers “Look at that!”, it is ear-piercing in a good sense.
When I’m saying it felt like watching a movie, this also concerns the filming… I can’t really pinpoint it, but I think it has something to do with the lighting. I’m not very well versed in this, but the scenes on the Constellation look quite different to what we’re used to from the Enterprise: dimly lit, darkness lingering in the corners, sharp contrasts to more illuminated areas, only single sources of light, shadows on the actors’ faces. It effectively conveys the ghastly atmosphere of the wrecked, abandoned ship.
And, of course, the characters. Other reviewers have already said that everyone is at his or her best, and I fully agree; not only the main characters, but all crewmembers alike. I liked the quiet competence of Lt. Palmer and the repair crew, and it was great to see how Sulu embodies the whole dilemma of loyalty vs. authority, not with the few lines he speaks, but simply with his reactions to Spock’s and Decker’s contradicting orders. Of course, the focal point of the episode is Decker’s tragic loss of his ship and crew, and I think he’s indeed one of the most memorable guest characters in TOS, mostly because he is so authentic that it hurts. Just look at the scene when the boarding team finds him – what I found most striking was not his behavior, but the startling contrast between the shocked, dazed man we see and his own voice coming from the ship’s log: calm and steady and confident, it doubles the impression we get from the depths of his trauma.
It also becomes obvious that his tragedy strongly affects Kirk: of course because he knows Decker quite well, but there is something else. I think Kirk is only too aware that this might just as well have happened to him, his ship and his crew, and that’s not something he’s keen to contemplate. Decker hasn’t really made an error… of course, sending his crew down to the planet turned out to be a fatal mistake, but he did it for the best, thinking he could save them this way. It’s probably what Kirk would have done in his place, too… and the consequences, the guilt would break him just as they destroyed Decker. It fits that Decker’s last words are: “The commander is responsible for the lives of his crew, and for their deaths. Well, I should have died with mine.” At that moment, once he’s already decided to die, he seems to be his former rational, controlled self… he again sounds like the man we heard making the log entry before the attack of the planet killer.
When the shuttlecraft finally disappears, there is a brilliant shot of Kirk: he closes his communicator and for a short moment, we see his fist clench tightly around it. It’s just amazing what this tiny gesture manages to convey: grief, resignation, and most of all, the despair of being helpless and powerless. And it’s nice to see that Spock has apparently made some progress in dealing with the emotional turmoil of humans: he quietly offers his sympathies while it’s Kirk who points out the illogic of Decker’s death (“It’s regrettable that he died for nothing.”). It’s actually a clever inversion of their usual roles.
The struggle between Spock, Decker and Kirk for command authority is a great climax and very well written. And there is one thing about it that I probably never might have noticed if I hadn’t recently seen a synchronized version of the episode. It’s the shift in the forms of address which occurs during the escalation of the dispute between Kirk and Decker. At the beginning, they are still on first-name terms, but when Kirk criticizes Decker’s actions, furiously calling him a lunatic, Decker doesn’t know what else to do but to assert his higher rank; he reprimands him and starts calling him “Kirk” and “Captain”, what Kirk reciprocates by calling him “Commodore”. It’s just a detail, but an excellent one.
And last but not least, there is an important message concerning weapons of mass destruction. Kirk’s description of the planet killer is unambiguous in its reference to history: “A doomsday machine (…) is a weapon built primarily as a bluff. It's never meant to be used. So strong, it could destroy both sides in a war. Something like the old H-Bomb was supposed to be. That's what I think this is. A doomsday machine that somebody used in a war uncounted years ago. They don't exist anymore, but the machine is still destroying.” I agree with PCP that it’s clever writing that most of the crew’s questions regarding the planet killer remain unanswered. They never find out who built it, and for what purpose. Had it really been used in a war, as Kirk suspects? Or had it initially been built for deterrence and got out of control later, maybe after centuries, when its existence was already forgotten? Both are chilling visions and a warning that no viewer could possibly miss. Here, the doomsday machine may be a face-lifted windsock, albeit an impressive one, but all we know there are more than enough doomsday machines in our world.
Tue, Aug 23, 2022, 6:37am (UTC -5)
I watched this episode recently. Thanks for the well written, thoughtful review.
Mon, Oct 3, 2022, 4:13pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Nov 13, 2022, 8:05pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Dec 19, 2022, 9:31pm (UTC -5)
Here is a good litmus test: can you show this to someone with no background knowledge and reasonably expect the person to like it?
(The equivalent in the Doctor Who series is, of course, Blink. Many a Whovian will attest that that is *the* episode for a newbie.)
We can quibble over what we would prefer to *add*, but there is nithing wrong here that I would *remove*. Complaints about the VFX are like going back to 1985 and riding a city bus in Columbus, Ohio, and saying that the city should have inested $125,000 more into every bus and that there is no good Wi-fi. You're right, but what's the point of raising these complaints?
Well, the one real complaint is TOS's perennial sex problem. Not one woman appears or does squat except a throwaway secretary role by a fill-in. But, that goes the territory, so to speak. What do you expect? The most feminist thing on American TV in the 1960s, no joke, was probably I Love Lucy.
Mon, Dec 19, 2022, 9:54pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Dec 26, 2022, 9:39pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Jan 10, 2023, 8:31pm (UTC -5)
Bar none THE best climax of ANY Trek...but I submit of any TV show...ever.
Ive seen this 100 times?....I know EXACTLY how it ends...Im STILL on the edge of my seat as the jumpy transporter continues to fail as Kirk is seconds from blowing up The Planet Killer with a bomb they made out of the wreck of the Constellation.
The other 4 Greatest Treks are, Balance Of Terror, City On The Edge Of Forever, Arena, and Spectre Of The Gun..this last one I know would probably not pass the muster of most reviewers...but I love the "Trekkyness", and surreal creepiness of it.
Red Shirt Fatalities: 0
Tue, Jan 10, 2023, 9:06pm (UTC -5)
It was the 60's. It's a lost, better time.
Get over it.
Sat, Jan 28, 2023, 12:07pm (UTC -5)
))blemishes: [...] and when the Doomsday Machine hits the Enterprise a number of times with the same power beam that rips apart entire huge planets and it just weakens the shields((
It a matter of TARGETING. Targeting a planet sedately orbiting its primary star is a lot easier than targeting a Star Ship performing constant evasive maneuvers. The Doomsday Machine obviously had a targeting system appropriate for slicing up planets - but not for hitting maneuverable Star Ships. (There's even a line of dialog in which someone speculates that it probably wasn't programmed to go after something as small as a Star Ship.) Thus, the Enterprise only got "glancing blows" - not direct hits.
Sat, Jan 28, 2023, 12:14pm (UTC -5)
))Yes, occasionally the ship/shuttle in scale don't jive with how big the doomsday machine should be((
Does it JIBE better in the remastered version?
Fri, Feb 24, 2023, 5:18pm (UTC -5)
The Doomsday Machine is interesting in context with similar themes of two other season 2 episodes - The Changeling and Obsession. (This episode arguably handles those themes better.)
While The Changeling has been aptly compared to TMP, I would argue The Doomsday Machine stylistically bears a lot of similarity to WOK, even though it's a machine villain rather than a man out for revenge. It's high octane, non-stop life and death action. I think it makes sense this is the style Trek perfected.
It is also interesting that there were two episodes dealing with runaway AI bent on destroying worlds. One could make the case that Doomsday Machine is a good candidate to watch immediately following The Changeling, which would also help explain the absence of Uhura in this episode. Or does the existence of the Doomsday Machine and TMP pretty much make The Changeling a pointless episode?
Comparing to Obsession, we have a captain in both episodes who regrets the actions of the past and lets that regret impair his judgment. I actually think Decker sells it better than Kirk does. It's hard to buy Kirk as a character who obsesses over regrets. Here in Doomsday, we have Kirk almost feeling that even thinking about regret is unprofessional and unsuitable for command. Here we find the Kirk archetype we all know so well - the one who doesn't believe in a no-win scenario.
Wed, Mar 15, 2023, 10:07pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Mar 15, 2023, 10:19pm (UTC -5)
Tue, May 9, 2023, 10:24am (UTC -5)
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