Saturday, May 26, 2012

Classics: TOS 1:1 & 1:2 (Capsule Reviews)

Introductory Comments: Due to popular demand - and by "popular," I mean that Dad told me to do this - I have decided to start reviewing the classic Trek. But before I begin, let's get a few notes about my approach out of the way:
  1. I'm putting Where No Man Has Gone Before first because that's what actually makes sense. Otherwise, I will be following the Netflix order. (And by the way, for those who may be wondering, I will talk about The Cage when we get to The Menagerie.)
  2. Most of the time, I will be using a capsule review format. However, if we come to an episode that really stands out - either because it's very good or because it's hilariously bad - I will zoom in and use our standard long-form structure.
  3. I will be judging the acting and other production elements on the series' own terms. After all, in the 60's, industry practices - and the available technology - were different.
Further, be aware that I'm a HUGE McCoy/De Kelley fangirl, so I may over-rate episodes in which Bones is prominently featured. Hey -- we all have our biases, right? I might as well fly my flag openly.

But enough of my administrative blathering. Onward to tonight's reviews!

TOS 1:1 - Where No Man Has Gone Before
"What do you know about gods?"
"Then let's talk about humans, about our frailties. As powerful as he gets, he'll have all that inside him."
"Go back."
"You were a psychiatrist once. You know the ugly, savage things we all keep buried, that none of us dare expose. But he'll dare. Who's to stop him? He doesn't need to care."
TV Guide Summary: Kirk's friend develops superhuman powers after the Enterprise runs into a strange barrier at the edge of the galaxy.

Steph's Comments: Alas, I don't really buy the "rocks fall, Gary Mitchell dies" ending to this episode. Dad would no doubt jump in here and point out that Mitchell's power is weakened before Kirk finally defeats him, but that still doesn't explain how Dehner - who at that point is several stages behind Mitchell in her evolution into demigodhood - is able to sap him of his energy in the first place. Plus, if Mitchell can conjure fruit trees out of thin air, why doesn't he just command Kirk's heart to explode before Kirk convinces Dehner to join his team? IJS.

In all honesty, though, this is far from the worst Classic Trek episode ever made. In fact, there's genuine pathos to be found here as Kirk gradually comes to the realization that Mitchell is no longer the buddy he once knew. Moreover, as illustrated by the quote included above, there lurks in this episode a consciousness of man's original sin - and the corrupting influence of absolute power - that I find intensely appealing.  Bottom line, this pilot - while sloppy and goofy - is not completely without merit.

Steph's Rating: 7.0


TOS 1:2 - The Man Trap
"You could learn something from Mister Spock, Doctor. Stop thinking with your glands."
TV Guide Summary: The Enterprise unintentionally picks up a dangerous passenger -- a monster with a talent for illusion and an insatiable appetite for salt.

Steph's Comments:  Eh. Creature-of-the-Week episodes rarely impress me, and The Man Trap is certainly no exception to the rule. Still, this one is just barely rescued from utterly forgettable mediocrity by De Kelley, who demonstrates right away that he's a thousand times more interesting - and more charming - than the other two actors they tried for ship's surgeon. Particularly noteworthy is Kelley's performance at the climax; I love the torment and confusion we see on Bones' face there as he tries to reconcile what Spock is saying with what his lying eyes are telling him. That moment is probably the episode's key redeeming feature.

Steph's Rating: 6.0

No comments:

Post a Comment