Sunday, March 11, 2018

NYC Cars, Vigilantism, & Good Trek/Bad Trek #61 The Immunity Syndrome

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.

Crazy week over here in the apple that never sleeps. A lady killed two kids with her car, which was pretty nuts. A lot of attention has been paid to people who die by guns lately. Which makes sense. Guns kill a bunch of people. But I do think that’s different. Because people are trying to kill each other with guns. The fact that a lot of people are killed by guns is kind of an engineering victory for the gun folks. Guns are designed and manufactured to kill people. Ammo is designed in a way to be extra deadly. To go through armor sometimes. To cause extra big exit wounds so as to really go bonkers when the bullet is in there. Cars are not. They are made to get you from point a to point b and they do an awful lot of killing. Yeah, I know there’s a time differential. If we as Americans spent as much time irresponsibly shooting guns as we do irresponsibly driving in cars then there’d probably be a lot more gun deaths, but still. It’s messed up. The lady hasn’t been charged with anything as of yet, which is insane. I’m having trouble thinking of any other instance where if you, in broad daylight and in full view of dozens upon dozens of witnesses killed two children in front of their mothers and you were just free to go about the rest of your day. I mean, if I’m a cop I’m arresting the shit out of that lady just in case. Because chances are you done fucked up. 

It’s not just that people are dying a lot and almost dying constantly, but it's that nobody gives a shit. You’re considered a nuisance. because you’re walking or riding your bike. Listen, if someone is on a scooter, then I get it. That person is a nuisance, but for us bike riders and pedestrians we’re just trying to get around and it often seems that the NYPD is not just indifferent but actively opposed to people getting where they need to be safe and alive. You watch folks speed through red lights in full view of cops who just sit there staring. You watch cops themselves pull 43 point U-turns just to double park in front of a sandwich shop. Go by a police station anywhere in this city and try to walk by on the sidewalks and you can’t. You can't because the sidewalks are filled with cop cars. These are the folks we’re supposed to rely on to take this shit seriously. The very same ones who park on sidewalks or in crosswalks or in front of every available hydrant. You know the amount of balls you have to have to park on a sidewalk in this city?

Can you think of any other instance where two mothers watch their children get killed in front of them and dozens of witnesses in broad daylight and the person responsible is just free to go that very day? It’s insane. Who is going to enforce laws if not the NYPD? Do pedestrians and cyclists need to resort to vigilantism in order to be taken seriously? You see cops parked on sidewalks do we need to start slashing tires? Taking our U-locks and smacking the mirrors off of cars who endanger us? I guess we should all start with spitting on cars that piss us off and work our way up. 

I don't know what the answers are. What I do know is that I watched an episode of Trek and it was one of my favorites so far. It's the Immunity Syndrome. Here goes...

Recap:

The Enterprise just completed a long exhausting mission and are headed in for some nice relaxing r & r when there’s a distress call from a Vulcan manned ship named the Intrepid. Spock freaks out because he senses that the Intrepid has been destroyed and the crew is dead. They’re ordered to the sector to investigate because there are strange things afoot aside from the disappearance of the Intrepid. From what the sensors are saying the sector itself is filled with nothing. When they show up it’s just a giant black area in space. No stars or nothing. They don’t know what this giant black thing is, but they’re beginning to think that whatever it is, it’s responsible for the disappearance of both the Intrepid and also an entire solar system that just so happened to vanish. Messed up. 

Trump tweeting about the Oscars
They enter the “zone of darkness” and shit goes from bad to worse. Their energy supplies are being depleted and they don’t know how to stop it. The shields are being drained. And the zone is also wreaking havoc on people’s bodies. The dark zone is literally draining people’s life force in addition to the ship's power. They’re being pulled towards the center of the zone where a giant space amoeba lives. Bones realizes that the only way to find out how to defeat this thing is to send a shuttle with one person. One person who, in all likelihood, will not make it out alive. Both McCoy and Spock volunteer. Kirk then has to choose which one is better able to complete the mission. So whoever he chooses probably won’t make it back. Kirk decides on Spock. Who goes in, but is unable to transmit the information before losing contact. 

But don’t worry, I’ll be gentle
Kirk decides to take the whole Enterprise in because this thing is like a giant space disease and they need to use antimatter because that will work like an antibody. To make matters worse they don’t have much power so they have but one chance. They send some antimatter to the belly of the beast and snag Spock's shuttle with a tractor beam on their way out. Everything works and everyone is alive at the end. 

Good Trek?

Yes! I really liked this episode and it's definitely one of my favorites so far. The mystery is fun. They let it unfold really well. The pacing is among the best of all the TOS episodes I've seen. I like the idea of parts of space where space itself is actually dead. I also loved the fact that the Vulcans all died because they weren’t able to deal with the situation illogically. Just a really solid episode all around. Kudos. Just some fine fine Trek here.   

Great shot. Also, there's some space dust in my eye
So did George Lucas not think that anyone would realize that he straight up stole Obi-Wan sensing the destruction of Alderaan from this episode of Trek? The dialogue is remarkably similar. Spocks reacts similarly. It's very very close. Yeah, Obi-Wan saying "I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced.” might have a little more razzle dazzle to it, but don’t you dare expect us not to notice this. One of the many many ways that prove that George Lucas sucks and that even though Star Wars is fine, it’s not nearly as good as Trek.

 Fuck you, George Lucas. I'm calling out your hack ass. 

I guess my only problem is just how quickly they want to kill this thing. This is the fundamental difference between Kirk and Picard or Janeway (Sisko had so much other shit going on he wouldn’t even notice giant space amoebas). I know they are in a bit of a time crunch with the power being drained and their lives all hanging in the balance, but there was literally no thought given to a solution that didn't involve murdering this thing. Yes, it’s only a single-celled organism, but it is new life. You know the very thing they’re supposed to be seeking out where no man had gone before. Spock is the scientist too. You think he of all people would be the one who would try to find a way to communicate with it, but no. They identify it and all of a sudden it’s time to take it out.  
God bless you, Bones
I’ve made it abundantly clear that Kirk isn’t my favorite captain and more so I don’t really care for Shatner as an actor either. It doesn’t help that the dude comes off as a douche in real life too. That being said Shatner knocked the choosing who goes on the away mission out of the park. That was my favorite part of the episode by far. Kirk telling  Spock that he's most qualified to probably die on this mission is one of my favorite scenes of the entire show. Or at least what I've seen so far. I can’t remember if they’ve done this device before, but it's something else. That took a pretty good episode and turned into a great episode. There’s a lot of tough missions and I know that both Spock and McCoy are going to be okay because I’ve seen the movies and they're both in them. Although I guess Spock has died before, so I guess he could die and be searched for again, but he doesn't. This whole episode is also good in establishing the friendship between Spock and Bones. Great all around. 
"Yo, what the fuck?" - Chekhov

I hate to nitpick, but they’re out of power right? I mean, Scotty said that there's no more power. They used the last of it on the tractor beam to drag Spock's sorry ass out of the space disease. So they're not going anywhere. They're just going to drift alone until life support fails and they all freeze/suffocate to death. Just putting that out there. I would say that if I was going to nitpick. But I'm not about that or anything else because this is a great episode. 

Better Trek?

I wouldn’t say any of these are better. But these are also some good ones that deal with similar themes. The Voyager episode The Cloud. One of the most famous lines by any Starfleet captain is spoken in this episode when Janeway says “there’s coffee in that nebula.” Thing is there is not. It’s a trap. The nebula isn't a nebula but a giant living being and before they realize that they accidentally mortally wound it. Even though this "nebula" is a threat to them and going back in would be very dangerous, the Voyager crew does what they can to fix it up before they leave the area. 
Vulcans are known for logic and also for being extremely passive-aggressive in the face of death

If you’re interested in a Trek that also involves large swaths of space without stars or planets and energy is being drained then look no further than yet another VOY episode, The Void. Voyager gets trapped in a large expanse of space that's devoid of stars, planets, or any form of energy and is seemingly impossible to escape. One of my absolute favorite Voyagers. Janeway often gets forgotten in terms of the favorite captain debate. She’s got a little bit of Kirk’s cowboy, a bit of Picard’s stoicism, and some of Sisko’s badassery. I think she’s great and this episode is where she's put on what makes her such a damn good captain. The Federation means the world to her and she knows that no matter how difficult it can be sometimes, cooperation and sharing is the way to get shit done. 
"Tits" is how that ends. Surprised that made it past late 60's censors

Of course, if you’re looking for a Trek where Spock sacrifices himself for the greater good of the many, then you'd be a goddamn fool if you didn't watch Star Trek II. One of the best Trek movies out there. I’m still partial to 6 as my favorite, but Wrath of Khan is really a phenomenal movie and you already should have already seen it by now. But if you haven't, then take this opportunity to do so. If not I don’t know what the fuck you’ve been doing with your life.  

That's it for this week. If you drive a car, please don't kill me. If you ride bikes, stay safe out there. If you're a cop, do your fucking job, please. And of course, watch this episode of Trek and also Wrath of Khan. They're both really solid. 


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