Saturday, July 29, 2017

Dark Tower Got Me Nervous & Good Trek/Bad Trek #30 Operation: Annihilate

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 Star Trek, I’ve never watched The Original Series. So, I’m watching and reviewing them as a fan of Star Trek, but one who’s 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.

There was that big vote on health care the other day. People were really angry. Then people were pretty excited. Then people were angry that the people who were excited were sexist. Then people were annoyed that people were accusing the excited people of sexism. It was a whole thing. I’m not saying that I don’t have an opinion on John McCain or the health care vote as a whole.  I am saying that there are definitely too many opinions out there about it. The last thing the world needs is another virtue signaling blog post. That’s what podcasts are for. 

What it needs is a post shitting on a movie I haven’t seen yet. I’ve been reading up on The Dark Tower movie and am getting nervous. I've been pumped about this for a while. I’m a person who goes into something hoping for the best. I’ve never understood the folks who only seem to take in media to shit on it. That’s become such a staple of godawful nerd culture. A bunch of fucking idiots who see a director attached to a beloved property and freak out about how awful the movie will eventually be. Then they see the casting and talk about how awful it will be. Then they watch the trailer at Comic-Con and talk about how awful it will be. Then they wait in line to see the movie on opening day so they can go home and talk about how awful it was. That’s a shame on you situation. That being said The Dark Tower is not looking great. It’s got a runtime about four minutes longer than Vanilla Ice’s movie. It looks like it’s critics screening is being put off until the very last minute so there are no reviews yet. I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised, but am reminded of when I first saw Episode 1. I’d agreed to see Phantom Menace three times with my friend Brandon. We were so pumped about it that we planned on going back to back to back. I saw it once and left him there. I didn’t like it. Watching it bummed me out and I didn’t want to spend another five hours being bummed out. 

Last week’s Trek kinda bummed me out. It wasn’t as shitty as Phantom Menace but what is.  Last week I watched City on the Edge of Forever. An episode that I was told was one of the greatest episodes of all time. This week I watched Operation: Annihilate. An episode that I’d heard nothing about ever. I liked this one a lot better. Here it is. 


The gang is tracking a number of instances of mass insanity that’s making its way across a region of space. Space madness. Bad stuff. To make matters worse, Kirk’s brother and sister in law are on the planet that is said to be going nuts. They watch a guy fly a small ship into the sun. He’s probably been affected by the madness. Or he was just dumb. I guess that’s what we’re here to find out. 
TFW you’re Space Jet who just happened upon some Space Sharks

They go to the planet and are attacked by club wielding space ruffians. Something’s going on. Everyone seems to be in pain and is acting all bananas. Kirk’s brother is dead. Kirk’s sister in law is not looking good and his nephew also looks to be in trouble. 

Turns out the whole planet is being controlled by these weird blobs. They infect you and make you do their bidding. It’s no bueno. What’s worse is that Spock is now infected. He tries to take over the ship but is subdued. When he wakes up he realizes that he can fight the alien influence, but it’s really painful and difficult. 

Kirk lets him go back down to the surface even though he just tried to take over the ship to collect an alien. They figure out that they’re not individual aliens, but single cells of a much larger creature, and more importantly that they don’t like bright sunlight. So they cure Spock by accidentally blinding him with bright-ass light. Then realize that they can cure everyone else without blinding them. Then all of a sudden Spock is unblind thanks to deus ex evolutionary biology. 

Good Trek?

Hell yeah. This isn’t just good Trek. This is great Trek. I don’t know why everyone is so up on City on the Edge of Forever. This is so much better. I don’t want to keep on harping on City on the Edge of Forever, but the episodes are really differentiated by who they focus on. Operation: Annihilate is a real group effort. You get to see everyone and they work really well together. I’d say Spock (more specifically, Leonard Nimoy) does the heavy lifting, but Scotty, McCoy, and Kirk also knock it out of the park. Whereas City on the Edge of Forever was largely left to Shatner to carry, and as I’ve said time and time again, Shatner just sucks. Sometimes he’s okay. This particular episode is great and he’s great in it. But as a whole Shatner sucks and so does his Kirk. 
This was made in 1967 you say?

When you think of Star Trek most don’t necessarily think of great acting, but Nimoy really nails this one. The scene where he’s in incredible pain trying to suppress the parasites is great. He’s really able to completely sell that’s what’s happening. 
Non-emotional emoting. Should'nt work. It does. 

One of my absolute favorite scenes in all of Trek is Scotty preventing Spock from beaming down and then Kirk letting him go. We haven’t seen a lot of Scotty yet. I look forward to seeing more. He knows that Spock has gone nuts. He knows that there’s a good chance Spock will break his neck if they fight. You can see both the fear and resolve in his eyes. It’s great. I’ve shit on Shatner a lot. Mostly because he kinda sucks. But when he realizes that even though Spock is impaired, the man he trusts is still in there and lets him beam down to the planet. Great scene all around. Except for the red shirt who gets nerve pinched by Spock. He’s not great. Just gets taken out like a little bitch. 

I saw James Doohan at a convention once. I was told by his handler that he was "too old to have his picture taken." As soon as I saw him I agreed.

I love how the concept of these little puddle parasite aliens are single cells of a much larger organism. I’m not sure if this is an episode that is revisited, but I’d like to. While I was watching this one I kept on thinking about how great this would have been to introduce to the movie universe. I know some Trek people don’t care for the Kelvin Universe Trek. I can see why. Into Darkness really stinks, but I loved the first one and I liked Beyond. As I was watching this I kept on thinking that if Abrams wanted to revisit something then this would’ve been a perfect candidate. You’d have emotion, you’d have Spock going bananas, we could’ve seen what the whole of these single cells looks like. This movie hasn’t been made and I already like it a thousand times more than Into Darkness.  

Yeah. Bones already feels bad, asshole. Maybe focus on how McCoy found a cure and not the blindness thing 

I can think of a couple episodes that this one reminded me of. I don’t think I’d say any of them are better. There's’ the infamous TNG episode Conspiracy. In it, a bunch of worms starts taking over people’s minds. A bunch of high up admirals are all infected by these things. There's a big ending with a dude blowing up that was pretty well done for the time. Some people love this episode. I’m not one of those people. I read that the writers originally wanted to do something else with this one and have the conspiracy be a real thing and not just a matter of an alien parasite. When Gene Roddenberry heard that he was horrified that anyone would dare to imply that there’d be any kind of inra-Starfleet conflict beyond the superficial. He also was said not to be a fan of the tone that Deep Space Nine planned on taking. He was wrong because DS9 is the absolute greatest. Anyhow, Conspiracy is also an episode about worm like creatures that are really hard to get with a phaser controlling people’s minds. It’s early TNG and it’s before the show found its footing. It’s not awful, but Operation: Annihilate is so much more solid. 
Wicked case of bacne. No doubt from injecting Into Darkness super blood.

If you really want to watch another episode about aliens having redundant organs, I don’t know why, but if that’s your thing then go with TNG’s Ethics. I have to say I don’t really remember this episode all that well. Just that Klingons have weird physiology. I don’t think it was all that great, but again, I don’t fully recall. Maybe I’ll watch it at some point this week. We’ll see. 

This goes against my own Good Trek/Bad Trek rules, but if you want to watch some media that deals with people who are subjected to something that’s supposed to placate them and then they turn violent you have to watch Serenity. If you haven’t seen it, then you really should. It’s the movie follow-up to Firefly. It’s one of my absolute favorite movies. It’s not Trek, but not everything has to be about Trek. Go out and expand your horizons for Christ sake, you close minded piece of shit. 

That’s it for season one. This took a lot longer than I thought it would, and I’m kinda getting sick of this shit. But oh well. Season two next week. 

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