Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Good Trek / Bad Trek #12 The Carbomite Maneuver

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. 

I'm back in Michigan, which is where I'm from. It's always a little weird going back to where you're from. That doesn't explain why there have been no new Trek posts the past couple weeks because I've only been here a week. I'm just saying I'm going through some shit right now and feeling pretty weird, so just back off. That being said, I watched the Carbomite Maneuver this week. It was pretty badass. There are some typical TOS problems but all in all, I liked this one a lot. 

Recap. 

The crew finds a floating cube. It seems to follow them wherever they go and they can’t escape it. What secret does the floating cube hold? There’s only one way to find out and that’s to keep on watching it. It’s following them around and it’s causing radiation to rise. It’s all around no god. They eventually destroy it. 
This cube belongs to the RainBorg

They’re deciding whether or not to move ahead, which they do. Despite the fact that this increases the likelihood of running into whoever left that cube in the first place. They run into a giant sphere shaped ship which tells them it’s going to destroy them because I don’t really know why. They just decide it’s time to destroy the Enterprise. Nobody is too keen on this idea. Kirk thinks that maybe this is all just a game that they’re playing and decided to tell the sphere about a substance called Carbomite t hat will destroy them if they try to destroy the Enterprise. It's just a bluff, but Kirk gives it a whirl. 
Balok

A little ship comes out and escorts to the Enterprise to a prison planet. The pilot of the ship is a blue character named Balok (or is it???) but the Enterprise manages to break free disabling the little ship. They beam over because they still want to meet this new life form even if it might be violent. Turns out the blue alien was just a ruse. The blue alien was just there to look intimidating. The real Balok is a small child looking alien with the funniest voice on earth. It seems pretty jovial considering it just tried killing everyone. Space baby explains that it just uses the other alien so people don't treat it weird because it's just a space baby. Then a crew member who was a real fuck up decides to live with space baby. None of this matters, because space baby has this crazy deep voice and it's the funniest thing I've ever seen. 5 stars for this episode. 5 stars and 3 cheers for space baby. 
Space baby on board

Bad Trek?
NO! Even without the amazing space baby, this was a real fun episode. Honestly, this should’ve been the pilot I think. This is probably the Trekiest episode so far. Aside from some TOS silliness, this could’ve been a pretty good TNG episode. I don’t know what the fuck the deal is with having Shatner shirtless and shiny, but here it is again. Is that what masculinity was supposed to look like in the 60s? It’s not like he’s super ripped or anything. He's an okay looking guy who’s in okay shape. I just don't know who that is supposed to be for.
Seriously. Let me know if this works for you. I'm really quite curious. 

This is the most militaristic and scientific the Enterprise has looked so far. That makes sense in context. They’re out where nobody has been so far so it makes sense that they want to make sure everyone is at full battle ready. 

Seems a little weird how quickly Bailey decides to just leave maybe forever and live with the crazy child. 

I get the ruse as part of a reveal for the show, but if you have the technological power of that ship then that’d be enough to be intimidating. Seems a little weird that folks on another ship wouldn’t take anything he says seriously because he looks like a tiny baby. I mean, if a ship could clearly destroy mine without thinking twice about it then I’m not going to laugh in the guy’s face just because it’s a baby with a  deep voice. That being said, the baby reveal is hilarious. I loved it. 
Bonus Space Baby
Even though it really seems against character they've established so far, I really enjoyed Kirk thinking that scientific curiosity trumped getting revenge on the baby for almost destroying them. That seemed like more of a Picard move, but it worked. He hammers the point home a  few times that the only reason they’re out there is to meet new folks, and they can’t very well do that if they keep on trying to destroy all the new folks they meet. 


Three’s been a few episodes that strike me as odd that they’re never mentioned again. This is the first time they’ve gone out this far, but not the last. Picard or the rest of anyone just never run into space baby again? Where's space baby? I want more space baby. Star Trek: Discovery better be like 80% or I'll throw a fit. 

Worse Trek

I'm having trouble thinking of an episode that mixes the drama with such a humorous ending. If you want to watch a real horse shit episode about the crew thinking they're in danger only to realize it was all a silly game then you could watch the DS9 episode Move Along Home. I won't be watching it because it's just straight garbage. You also shouldn't watch it either, I'm just grasping at straws trying to find an episode that's similar to this one. The crew plays a game. It's fucking awful. So don't actually watch it. 


Good Trek

Shadows and Symbols DS9 S7E2

This isn't really comparable at all, but it's a great episode. Poker comes up a lot in TNG like it does in The Carbomite Maneuver, but not in the same way it does in Shadows and Symbols. It's a great episode about a commanding officer calling someone else's bluff. It's a Major Kira heavy episode which is good because she's awesome. 

That's it for this week. I'm still feeling a little weird, but I guess better. Star Trek makes people feel better. Not much, but a little. And that's something. 

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