Saturday, May 13, 2017

Good Trek/ Bad Trek #19 Arena

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 was a tough one. I have it on good authority that Trump fired FBI director Comey to prevent me from writing anymore about Star Trek. Well, I shall not be daunted. I mean, maybe I will actually. not a whole lot of people read these. If I had a better idea of something to write about I’d probably do that instead. In fact if you have ideas for another thing to write about then by all means. Let me know. I’ll do that. But anyhow, I just wanted to make a topical Trump joke. 

I hate the cycle of topical jokes. Where you get flooded with the same fifteen hot takes then there’s the backlash about people who hate hot takes then you get the food of people who hate the backlash backlash. Really what this all means is that social media fucking sucks. What are we doing to ourselves? There’s no point to this. I guess I've heard that some people become famous just from it. I guess there’s that. I think the people who become famous from probably don’t actually read it ever. There's no reason to actually read what any of your idiot friends are thinking all the time. I like my friends, but jeez. Give a rest folks. 
Anyhow, this week’s episode of Trek was the Arena. I now this episode from the iconic imagery of Kirk fighting the green alien. Even if you’ve never seen an episode of Trek, there’s a good chance you’ve seen this. It’s pretty shitty, but at the same time it almost seems more ambitious then a lot of later Trek. It looks like shit. Of course. But at least they were going for something there. The Bajorians just have a kind of wrinkly nose. That’s it. The only thing that separates them from every other human being is, not even a very wrinkly, but a kinda wrinkly nose. At least this green creature is going for something. 


The gang is headed to an Earth outpost. They get there, but it appears shit has gone very wrong very recently. The whole thing is gone. Turns out it was all a trap. Soon as they show up they start getting shelled. Then they just kind of hide while bombs fall. This takes a while. 
This red shirt got evaporated by the sound of falling shells

They then chase the folks who’ve been shelling them for a while. Seems like the chase is going well. Then both ships are forced to stop by an unseen force. It's the Metron. A very powerful race that controls this part of space. They're not cool with people using their space to fight so he’s going to kidnap Kirk and the captain of the other ship and if they’re going to fight they’ll have to do so on an asteroid or a moon or something. 
Politics according to David Icke 

Here we are the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Kirk fighting the lizard person. The lizard folks are pretty strong. So Kirk is not doing great at the fighting. He keeps on trying to trick him, but Kirk is telling all his plans to his communicator. So he keeps talking to his stupid enemy about how dumb he thinks he is. Pretty ridiculous. 
A for effort, I guess
Kirk figures out that there are the raw materials to make a bomb. So he does. He wounds without killing the horn gentleman. He decides not to kill him even though them the rules. All of a sudden a guy appears out of nowhere. The guy who sent Kirk and the Gorn to the planet, to begin with.  He tells him since he decided not to kill the Gorn that humans aren’t as barbaric as they thought and that they’d decide to spare them. Maybe even humans and Metron can be friends in a thousand years or so. 
Getting sick of omnipotent space dandies 

Good Trek?

It was so-so Trek. Mostly bad though. The fighting was just so ridiculous. I guess I applaud them for trying something with the costuming of the Gorn. Later Treks they put a touch of garnish on someone’s nose and call that a new race. 

I did really like the fact that the Gorn was allowed to defend his actions. Yeah, his ship killed a whole outpost of people, which we can all agree is not cool. But the Federation just set up shop in space that’s not there’s. There’s gonna be some blowback. Good touch. Even if the Gorn looked the way he did. 

I also really dig the western aspects of the TOS. I can see why Enterprise and the (hopefully) upcoming CBS series want to set their shows closer to the origin of the Federation. By TNG and DS9 a lot of all the missions was just maintaining. Maintaining alliances and treaties. It's neat to see a ship out and exploring where nobody has gone before. 

I love when people freak out over undefined terms. When Kirk says warp factor 8 and everyone shits their pants. You've never explained what warp is or why 8 is that much crazier than 7. I don't know if it's really clear all that much up. I've read more about warp technology than most people. Still not sure I fully understand it. 

Why was Sulu just sitting there? When the Enterprise is under attack dude is just sitting there waiting for orders. Show some initiative and fire back. 

We have another race judging humanity. Jesus Christ. This has happened a lot. It’s a well they go back to time and time again. Like, too many so far. I thought Q was a unique character when he came to TNG, but this theme is like every other episode of TOS. Why aren’t we spending more time with the Romulans? They were so badass, but we get another vaguely defined omnipotent space creature passing judgment on humans. I wanted to like this episode, but I was kind of underwhelmed. The fighting was lame, the Gorn looked just fucking ridiculous. The ending was a rehash. So, I’d say this was some bad Trek. 

TNG: Code of Honor 

If you want to watch an episode where two people fight to the death and nobody dies, and you also want that episode to really suck then go with this one. I generally hate the word problematic because it’s only ever used by assholes, but holy mackerel is this episode of TNG a fucking mess. If you want to watch it that’s fine, but it’s god awful. I always felt bad for Denise Crosby. She’s such a good actor but she was given such horse shit to work with. It’s no wonder that she decided to leave when she did. I wish she would've stayed to see how her character would’ve been when the writers learned how to write for her. She has to fight in this weird tribal ritual. It's largely considered a racist mess. I'm pretty sure Michael Dorn spent the week of filming giving everyone the stink eye. 

DS9: By Inferno’s Light

Speaking of Worf watch this episode. It rules. It’s one of my favorite episodes featuring my all time favorite Trek story line and one of my favorite characters. Worf is in a secret Jem’Hadar prison. Bashir and Garek and trying to figure out a way out while Worf gets roped into a prisoner fighting ring. It’s great and for all the jokes people make about Worf not being tough because he gets beat up in a few episodes you get to see him being super badass. 

Any Q Episode (except for the DS9 one)

I mean, we have another powerful species judging and ultimately giving humanity a pass. It happens a lot. Just about any Q episode is better than this. Watch Q Who is the first appearance of the Borg. Watch Encounter at Farpoint if you want to watch the first appearance of Q. Or you could also watch All Good Things if you want to cry. Any one of those would be a better bet than this. 
Kirk may have been merciful, but I wish someone would snap this episode’s neck. That’s it for this week. Next week is Yesterday is Tomorrow. A time travel episode I assume. Hopefully we can get into some sick paradoxes. 

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