Friday, December 30, 2016

Good Trek / Bad Trek #10 Miri

Intro: I’ve loved Star Trek since I was a kid. I started by watching TNG in 6th grade. I’ve been a fan since then and though I’ve spent a lot of time watching Stat Trek, I’ve never watched The Original Series. So, I’m watching and reviewing them as a fan of Star Trek, but one whose never seen any of them. So I’m watching all the TOS episodes for the first time and saying whether or not they suck. At the end, I give examples of better Star Trek to watch that remind me of this episode. That’s it. 

This week I watched Miri. As I was typing this I just learned that Carrie Fisher passed away. I generally hate when people fill social media with a bunch of vapid horse shit when a celebrity passes away, but I liked Carrie Fisher and it’s a shame to see her die as young as she was. It's hard to talk about Fisher without using the word badass. Almost everything about Star Wars is overrated. Not Fisher. She was awesome. Honestly, I think I had more fun looking at the promotional picture her and Hammil made for The Force Awakens than I did watching the movie itself.



This isn't about Wars. This is about Trek. And I watched some. I watched Miri this week. And it is a bizarre hour of TV. Oddities on TV aren’t uncommon these days. Weird TV isn't that weird anymore, but this wasn't made for today. It was made for the late 60s. Star Trek had trouble finding an audience when it was on originally and that makes perfect sense. It's bizarre. I wouldn’t say it’s a bad hour of TV. I wouldn’t say it’s a particularly good hour. It’s weird and has some problems.

Recap:


The gang is cruising around and they pick up some old Earth radio waves. That’s bizarre on account of that they’re very far away from Earth. They go to investigate, and BOOM, it’s Earth! But of course, it’s not Earth. It’s just an exact duplicate of Earth. You might think this is nuts and will be the central mystery of the episode, but really they don’t bring it up too much after this. 

No but seriously, what the fuck?
McCoy, Yeoman Rand, Kirk, Spock, and a couple shit bag red shirts beam down to look at Earth 2. It’s exactly like Earth used to be in the 1960's, but all dilapidated and run down. So I guess they’re in 1960’s Cleveland. They get attacked by a monster and they find a little girl that Kirk ends up being way too flirty with.


Not okay

Turns out the Earth2lings found a way to almost completely halt the aging process. They thought that they’d figured out a way to live forever, but it didn’t go as planned. The adults who took ended up aging hundreds of years in a very short amount of time. It does work on the kids though. So all the children are hundreds of years old, but as soon as they hit puberty they age hundreds of years in a matter of days and then they die. So you get to be a kid for a few centuries and then you die.
Fly lord
Worse part is, now all the Enterprise crew has contracted it. So it’s a race against the clock to figure it out in time. It would be hard enough, but there are roaming bands of unruly children who are running around causing havoc. So the crew has to outsmart the kids and also stop the weird aging virus from killing them. Luckily, the crew is stronger and smarter than a bunch of dumb kids. So they are able to do it. At the end, they all share a good laugh about how the Federation is sending some babysitters to help deal with these children now that they’ve figured out a way for them not to die right after puberty.

Bad Trek?

It’s bizarre. It’s close to being good, but Jesus Christ Kirk and Miri’s relationship is not okay, and it's really hard to ignore. She is a child. He is very much not a child.

Yo, what the fuck is up with the lighting on the Enterprise? They have the energy to go to distant planets, but for some reason they only ever seem to use track lighting that focuses all the lights on small sections of people’s faces.
???
I don’t want to keep harping on this shit, but Kirk is straight up weird with this little girl. And that is what she is. She’s a little girl and Kirk is hitting on her. I know according to McCoy she’ a little girl, but she’s becoming a woman. That's a fucked up enough thing for an old man to say. I don’t know what’s worse Kirk flirting with a child or McCoy repeatedly bring up her burgeoning womanhood. Don’t describe her that way, because it’s creepy. You keep on saying she’s becoming a woman, but she is no way one yet. She is a child. Everyone quit excusing Kirk's behavior just because she'll be an adult one day. Kirk, keep your goddamn paws to yourself. I”m not trying to review sexual politics from fifty years ago, but yikes. It’s jarring. 
Miri: Either a young woman or a small child depending on whether or not you're a fucking creep
Have you seen this? It’s weird. SHe’s a child. SHe’s not even a teenager I don’t think. She’s supposed to be like 12, and Kirk immediately just turns on the sex appeal to get her to help them. He’s not exploiting her crush on him at first. He just sees a small child and his instinct is to start pawing at her. This part is just too fucked up.

Why are we not trying to figure out why this planet is exactly like Earth? That’s pretty nuts. There way off in deep space and they stumble on a planet that is exactly like earth from the 1960's. The continents are all the exact same shape and in position. They use similar radio waves as Earth did at that time. The inhabitants look exactly like humans. Nobody seems all that curious about it. This is insane and nobody seems all that bothered by this.
Kirk, scouting another love interest

Yeah, the kids are messed up. It’s very Lord of Flies. I assume. I’ve never read the book, but I’ve seen The Simpsons episode that was modeled after it so I got it. I know that kids have less developed brains than adults do so that would explain some of their behavior, but they’re still in the hundreds of years old. You’d think even people with child brains would stop being animals at one point. They just don’t ever learn.

This also has one of the problems that Star Trek Into Darkness had. So they discover a procedure that makes humans pretty much immortal. Are they're just going to abandon this altogether? Living to be thousands of years old is still a pretty insane technology that you’d think they might remain interested in even after they’ve left. Yeah, the first tests weren’t great, but at the same time maybe this is worth a second look.

The whole thing, I see what they’re going for, but I think the whole concept is a swing and a miss.

Push Trek:

VOY: In The Flesh

This isn’t really equal as I like the Voyager Episode a whole hell of a lot better, but it’s not the best of episodes. It des feature an alternate Earth that isn’t really what it seems. The Voyager crew, tens of thousands of light years away from the real Earth is surprised to find Earth. They don’t know what’s going on. It seems pretty right even down to the Starfleet Academy groundskeeper being there. But that’s no the real Boothby, and that’s also not the real Earth. This episode is definitely better, but at least the Voyager crew is a little bit curious as to why there’s an exact replica of Earth where it shouldn’t be. Unlike the Enterprise crew who stumbles upon a scientific impossibility and just says “neat” and forgets all about it.

DS9: The Quickening

This is a much darker episode than Miri. I chose this one because it also features a race of people who get sick and die sometime after puberty that one lone doctor has to try to cure. Doesn’t happen immediately like in Miri. Some of the people are able to live with it for a little while, but the whole of the planet’s population is soon to be extinct because of what the disease has done to them. Bashir is a polarizing character. I think they misused him the first couple seasons and this is an episode that really lets Alexander some nuance to the character. Bashir’s arrogance can be grating. For reasons that are revealed later in the series, he has reasons to be pretty confident of his abilities. He has superhuman smarts. Watching him try and fail to find a cure and grow increasingly frustrated is hard to watch. It seems for the first time he’s failing at something that he’s really trying to do. Even when things start to go his way it’s bittersweet.

That's it for this week. Happy New Year everyone. Next week is Dagger of the Mind. Also, I'll review my favorite of the year tomorrow. I'll give you a hint in that Star Trek TOS is not on it. 

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