Saturday, July 22, 2017

Good Trek/ Bad Trek #29 City on the Edge of Forever

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. 

John McCain has brain cancer, which is either a cause to celebrate or not. I don’t think it should be. I understand that there are reasons to take politics very seriously. The health care debate is very serious. John McCain was against government healthcare. A lot of folks hate any kind of government healthcare because they’re pieces of shit. I’d put a good portion of the Democratic Party and a larger part of the Republican party in those camps. They don’t really give a shit who’s affected by what. Those people are out there. There’s probably a lot of them. Some people are against it because they’re of the belief that the more government that is in healthcare the more people will die. I think they’re wrong, but that’s what they believe. I thought that the majority of the right behaved like a bunch of little bitches during the Obama years. I don't think that the answer to that is to act in equal or greater bitchiness now. Don't get me wrong, I’m all for mocking people. I’m all for making fun of people who suffer awful circumstances. I don’t have a blanket policy about not celebrating when certain sacks of shit have awful things happen to them, but celebrating when a political opponent gets cancer rubs me the wrong way and it says a lot about the political climate where not celebrating a political opponent’s brain cancer diagnosis makes you a centrist. Chances are, you won’t have the same opinions on everything for the rest of your life. If you do, you’re probably a big asshole with shitty opinions. 

And speaking of cancers, Ann Coulter bitched more about losing a seat on a  stupid Delta flight than John McCain ever did about being tortured for years in Vietnam. I loved this story because Coulter immediately thought that she was being targeted due to her politics. What she doesn’t understand is just how fun treating a shitty person shitty feels when you work in retail or customer service. I worked retail for a few years. I hated it. The hours are awful and the pay is worse. The one saving grace to interacting with all these sacks of shit is that you get to wield tiny amounts of power. Not a lot. We can't’ determine who lives and dies, but you sure as shit can ruin someone’s day and make it look it look like that’s not what you wanted to do. The ability to dole out small amounts of justice to assholes is the only saving grace to working a shitty job. Telling customers that we’re out of something we have hundreds of, telling folks to wait while I check in the back and then leaving for lunch. All great things. Maybe Ann Coulter should worry less about a vast left-wing conspiracy that targets its thinkers by giving them three fewer inches of legroom and realize that people in customer service don't go out of their way to be nice to mean people. 

Speaking of things that shouldn't be treated with kid gloves, this episode of Trek. This is supposed to be one of the best Treks of all time, and it is not. Not even close. 

Recap

The gang is investigating a time disruption. Sulu gets hurt and Bones comes to the rescue with a drug that we’re told is very dangerous. The fact that we’ve never heard of this drug before this moment and are immediately assured of how it's dangerous means that it’s going to be a plot point. And lo and behold it immediately becomes one. There’s turbulence and McCoy accidentally gets himself with the drug. He goes bananas and gets all paranoid. He finds his way to the transporter room where he gives a transporter tech two quick karate chops which knock him out for some reason and McCoy beams down. 
Cordrazine's a helluva drug

Kirk, Spock, Sulu, Uhura, and a couple bags of shit go down and there’s a time portal I guess. A voice who’s in charge of a time portal. He tries to explain it, but it’s silly. Bones jumps in. In doing so he changes history. Now there’s no Enterprise. The ship and everyone on it never existed so they just disappeared. Except for everyone on the planet. They haven’t not existed yet. I guess because they’re close to the portal. I don’t know. It doesn't really make sense. Just go with it. 

Just another portal that controls all of time and space...YAWN!

Kirk and Spock go into the portal to stop Bones from doing whatever it is he does that blinks everyone out of existence. So they go back to Great Depression era America. While hanging out Kirk meets a nice young lady. He falls in love and learns that what Bones does is save her from dying in a car accident. She lives and the country gets taken over by Nazis. 

They figure it out and watch her die. It’s very sad, but when they go back through the portal the Enterprise and all of them exist. So it worked. 

Good Trek?

I don’t know. It was fine. It’s not even close to my favorite TOS episode so far and nowhere near the best Trek. I can think of a number of other time travel episodes that are better. I know this is one of the first ones, but still. It just wasn’t that great. Again, fine Trek. It was fine Trek, but definitely not deserving of the mantle of the greatest episodes of all time. 
Starts off with some solid remastered effects

I have some little nerd problems with this episode, but let's address the big one here, and that’s that Kirk sucks and should not be captain. I’ve warmed to Shatner’s Kirk a little bit, but this episode makes him look like the biggest sack of shit to ever wear a Starfleet uniform. Most of this episode should be used as evidence for his court martial. The fact that Spock doesn’t give him the old nerve pinch and throw him in the brig makes his judgment suspect as well. There’s a lot of blame to go around. 

Even though his smugness is almost immediately punished, I'm still counting this as Bones knocking it out of the park

Offense #1 Let’s start with the part where they’re on the planet’s surface. As soon as they realize that they’re staring at a magical time portal, Kirk’s first instinct is to use it to change time. Dude, do you seriously not think that the Prime Directive would also apply to time? For god’s sake. At that point, he doesn’t even know what IF ANY long term effects Bones will suffer. He might just need to sleep it off. This is not a reason to go back in time. In fact, you should never purposefully go back in time. Unless maybe you’re fixing one of your other fuck ups, which I’m sure there are plenty. 
Edith Keeler: Lynchpin for the fate of the universe, not bad-looking broad 


Offense #2 Okay, so now Bones jumps through the portal because Kirk was dicking around. Time is only threatened in the first place because of Kirk's dithering. Now they have to go back in time and fix this mess. Who does Kirk choose to bring with him back in time to Earth? The only person on the away team that is not from Earth. What the fuck? I know Spock isn’t the most conspicuous alien in the galaxy, but he does look different. Different enough where it’s immediately an issue. As soon as they get back to Earth. Kirk lies and tells a cop that Spock looks like that because he’s Chinese. Seriously. Know who would’ve been easier to pass off as Asian? The Asian person who you could have easily brought to the planet’s surface with you. The one who is part of your bridge crew. I know it would’ve ruined the whole fish out of water thing, but it’s terrible judgment. 
Obviously 

Offense #3 He’s been in 1930’s America for like fifteen minutes before he’s decided that he’s fallen in love. Dude, you’re on a mission. A mission to the past where anything you do could alter the future. You shouldn’t even be talking to her let alone trying to get your dick wet. That cannot be the priority. The more you interact with people, the higher the risk that you, the person who went back in time to fix the timeline, will muck up the timeline even further. In the scene where she gets hit by a car, Kirk is about to take her to a movie. Dude, you can’t do that. Everything you do could affect your future. No movies. No falling in love. 

Offense #4 Once he realizes that her continued existence may corrupt the timeline he doesn’t have to watch her die. This may be counter to what I’ve already said, but at that point just take her with you when you return through the time portal. You’ve effectively removed her from the timeline so Hitler won't’ take over America, you don’t have to prevent your chief medical officer from saving a woman’s life. How did they not figure this out? He falls in love and then decides he is just going to watch her die. It’s horse shit. 

This isn’t an issue with the episode, but I did notice that the only reason she was there to die was that she was meeting Bones and Kirk. So was this an effect preceding cause time travel thing? What’s sometimes called the “shut up, you stupid nerd paradox.”

The whole guardian of time and space thing was annoying as shit. I know they needed a device to get them all back in time, but why is everybody so goddamn nonchalant about these beings that control the whole of time and space. This is a big fucking deal and you all are explorers. Treat it as such, you idiots. 

Other than Kirk’s abhorrent behavior I thought it was okay. The whole love story angle was really rushed. It wasn’t bad, but I’d be surprised if then ends up as a top ten TOS of mine. It was fine, but Kirk’s behavior was so shitty, and the rest of the episode was so just okay that I wasn’t really all that impressed by this one. 

Better Trek?

I think I’ve put these episodes on the better Trek lists before, but they’re all great. So I can’t recommend them enough. First one would be TNG’s Lessons. If you want to see how a real captain behaves when his love life and his duties collide then watch this. There’s no time travel, but goddamnit will it pull on your heartstrings. Picard falls for the fetching Lt. Commander Nella Daren. It’s sweet. Picard can captain circles around Kirk. This episode is a great example. 

If you like your Trek with some Nazis then I’d go with VOY The Killing Game. This is a two-parter that takes place mostly on the holodeck. Generally not a fan of holodeck episodes but I’ve always liked this one. VOY had a lot of lackluster villains. The Hirogen were pretty solid. In it, they’ve taken over the ship and are making the crew fight ancient wars on the holodeck. 

Finally, one of my favorite episodes dealing with time is VOY’s Year of Hell. There’s no real time travel in it, but the episode deals a lot with time and nonexistence. It’s great. TV’s Red Foreman gives a great performance and it’s one of my favorite Janeway episodes. Kate Mulgrew’s Janeway sometimes gets short shrift when it comes to great captains. She shouldn’t. She’s awesome, and if you don’t think so watch this episode and if you still disagree then you can go fuck yourself. She rules. 


That’s it for this one. This was very long. 

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