Sunday, February 25, 2018

Pace of Play, Large Corporations, and Good Trek/Bad Trek #59 The Gamesters of Triskelion

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 and/or worse Star Trek episodes to watch that remind me of this episode. Usually, I ramble on about some bullshit before the Trek. That’s it.

I like Star Trek. Obviously. Even when it’s bad I like it. I also like baseball. Neither baseball or Star Trek is for everyone. Baseball gets a lot of shit because of how goddamn boring it is. And I can see those complaints sometimes. It’s slower, but I don’t at all find it boring. I guess Major League Baseball agrees that baseball is boring because they just instituted new rules to make it less boring. In fact, almost every year for the past five years they come up with some new rule hoping to make baseball less boring to the people who find it boring. I don’t get that. Some people don’t like baseball. They don’t like that there’s no shot clock like in basketball, they don’t like that the pace is slower than hockey, they don’t like that it doesn’t turn your brain too much like football. That’s fine. That’s why those other three sports are there.

Maybe baseball just isn’t for you. I’m not a fan of how compartmentalized everything is in terms of politics and culture, but when it comes to entertainment I don’t have any issues whatsoever. I don’t really get why baseball would even try to get to these people who don’t like it. They’re baseball. They’re doing fine. But every offseason they make these grand pronouncements that they’ve decided to be less boring which is met with mild annoyance by the folks who love baseball as it is and is met with an indifferent shrug from the folks who don’t for baseball in the first place. 

Baseball isn’t the only one desperate to be loved by folks they have no business being loved by. Pepsi and Coke have been spending the last forever desperately going after new customers. Why? If I want a cola I’ll reach for a Coke. Coke realized that not everyone wants a cola though. Some people want a weird lime infused can of gross shit. So they made that. Pepsi has been buying up all sorts of brands hoping to have everyone always consuming their products. They buy up all these diverse companies then they get too big and they have to break themselves up because they lose focus of what people liked about them to begin with. I’ll never understand that. It happens all the time. It happened to Ford. People liked buying Fords, Lincolns, and Mercurys. So Ford bought Jaguar and Aston Martin and Land Rover. Turns out Ford knew a lot about making Fords but knew fuck all about making those other three brands so they started tanking. Then they sold them all for a loss. 

I know a lot of times I look at a new movie and just say “nope.” And then, here’s the kicker, I go out and not see that movie. And that’s fine. My favorite movie is probably Serenity. A movie not a lot of people saw based on a TV show that not a lot of people saw. But I fucking love it. What I’m saying is that companies should be happy to be Serenity. People like you. You made money. Just be that. 
I know why the caged Kirk screams

I don’t know. This went off the rails. I guess what I'm saying is that I don't think I have what it takes to be a large corporation. And also what I’m saying is that I loved the movie Serenity. I also love baseball. And Star Trek. Even this episode which was a weird, but fun one. Here goes. 


Back on TOS since it’s going to be a while before there’s any new Discovery so I’m back on TOS for a while. I guess for the next season and a half worth of episodes. Then I don’t know what. Maybe I’ll stop. maybe I’ll move on to TNG. We’ll see. That’s for later. Right now is more TOS. The last episode I did was The Trouble With Tribbles and this one is The Gamesters of Triskelion and it was a weird one. 

I've heard of "mansplaining" but I think this is "leather-daddy-splaining"

Kirk, Uhura, and Chekhov are about to beam down to an unmanned outpost. They disappear, but not down to the planet they mean to go to. They end up on a different planet where they’re met with some real serious dudes. A fight breaks out and Chekhov really embarrasses himself. Uhura and Kirk do pretty well. But they’re outnumbered so they give up the fight so as to fight again. 
Still only the second most ridiculous fictional character named Galt

They’re on a planet called Triskelion where they’ll be sold to fight while some unseen aliens bet on them. Pretty bleak stuff. I was pretty sure that this was just going to be the new normal and that the rest of the series would take place on Triskelion. That’s not the case though. Spock is able to figure out where the crew went to and Kirk makes a bet with the advanced beings and is able to free himself and the rest of the captives. But first, he falls for and knocks the fuck out, a green-haired lady. 

With the exception of the title that I'm using to address you right now

Good Trek?

I’m gonna say yes. Listen, I don’t really think this was a great episode, but maybe I was in a good mood when I watched it but I had a shit load of fun watching this one. A lot of silliness and it looks ridiculous, but maybe I’m getting to the point where I can accept this show for what it is. I was talking online about how hard watching TOS is once you're used to the production values and pacing of future Treks and a guy told me that it helped to watch these episodes like you're watching a stage play. That makes sense and it has helped me watch these. Still, It’s not TNG and that’s okay. Shatner is no Patrick Stewart and that’s okay too. It was just so silly and the aliens are just brightly colored brains. They’re so smart where they’ve grown beyond everything but their one thing is kidnapping folks and making them fight to the death. You’d think that’d be one of the first things you give up once you become a super-evolved brain being. 

That’s her shadow 100 % getting raped. She is most definitely not all right.
A big problem with this one though is this VERY LONG attempted rape of Uhura. Yo, holy shit. Hey, stop trying to rape her, please. This was on at during prime time in the sixties. This is before they showed the famous interracial kiss between Kirk and Uhura. I think that’s season three. I just know that it hasn’t happened yet because I haven’t gotten to that one yet. I thought maybe it was this one when it started, but then I remembered the name of that episode and remembered that it wasn’t this one. I remember reading that some stations wouldn’t show the episode where Kirk and Uhura kiss because it was too much, but you can show a scene where a dude TRIES TO RAPE UHURA?!?! It’s not implied either. It’s not like Kirk has to comfort her at some point and she’s like “you’re not going to believe what happened to me.” You see a guy enter her jail cell and she starts screaming and then you see his shadow really giving Uhura’s shadow the business. It’s fucked up.

The GIF of Kirk kissing this lady and then punching her out is pretty famous. I’m glad I finally got to see the live version.

It’s not all rape and punching women, there’s also a lot of heart to this episode. I love McCoy. He’s easily my favorite character and his scenes with Spock are really good. They both have a lot of concern for finding Kirk, Uhura, and Chekhov they both just show it in very different ways. McCoy mistakes Spock’s lack of emotion for lack of concern and his frustration is understandable. 
Chekhov's thrall looks straight out of a Simpsons porn parody

Beautiful means you got big ol' space titties covered up by a tiny bit of aluminum foil

I don’t know if there’s ever been a follow up to this episode, but I’d be curious to know what happened to these folks. I can’t think of any time where the TNG crew makes it out to this planet, but I want to know what happened to this diverse group of folks who went from being fighting slaves to getting to govern themselves. I’m not curious enough to read the non-canon Trek novels. I’m sure they revisit the planet in one of those, but I don’t really care enough to crack one of those. For the record, I’ve put in my non-canon novel. I’ve read enough to know that I never want to read another one again. Still, it would've been a fun revisit in a future episode or movie. 
These super-evolved beings look like wads of chewed up gum

Better Trek?

If you’re looking for a Trek where members of the crew are abducted and forced to fight in pits against all odds then look no further than VOY’s Tsunkatse. In this one poor old Seven of Nine and Tuvok are abducted. Abducted most foul and Seven is forced to compete in a sport called Tsunkatse. Which is just boxing, but there are these sensors around and you have to punch them. And sometimes the person who gets their sensors punched dies afterward. The funny thing about the sport of Tsunkatse is that all the spectators shout “Tsunkatse” the entire time while they fight. Which is just ridiculous. Because it’s like folks shouting “boxing” the entirety a match. The Rock is only in it for a minute, but he spends those precious moments really The Rocking it up. Keen Trek folks will also notice a couple other favorite retreads. 
The Rock displaying his legendary range
If you’re looking for an episode where the captain gets kidnapped and has to face off against unseen forces and one of the other aliens that are abducted have some messed up teeth then look no further than TNG’s Allegiance. Picard gets abducted and is replaced by a double. He’s got to figure out why he’s there while the crew of the Enterprise has to figure out why this new Picard is acting all screwy. Patrick Stewart is great in this one especially at the end when he’s able to turn the tables on his abductors. It’s one of the most satisfying conclusions that I can remember. Picard acts out a little more petty than we’re used to, but given the circumstances, I can’t say I blame him. 


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