Saturday, June 9, 2012

Classics: TOS 1:5 & 1:6 (Capsule Reviews)

1:5 - The Enemy Within

TV Guide Summary: A transporter accident splits Kirk into his Jekyll and Hyde halves. Meanwhile, a stranded away team tries to avoid freezing to death.

Steph's Comments: Even by 1960's standards, the acting is really cheesy in this one. As Hyde!Kirk, Shatner chomps gleefully on the scenery like there's no tomorrow. But if you can get past the performance element, there's actually a pretty good - and vaguely Aristotelian - story here. Hyde!Kirk, representing the impulses of Kirk's reptilian brain, is clearly unable to function as ship's captain because he's a hedonist and therefore a slave to his drives. At the same time, Jekyll!Kirk, representing Kirk's cerebrum, is wussy and ineffectual without his sublimated aggression. A man cannot live on his appetites alone, argues the writer, but neither can he live by pure reason. It's an interesting - and, I think, largely accurate - anthropology.

Steph's Rating: 7.5


1:6 - Mudd's Women

TV Guide Summary: Kirk chases down an unregistered cargo ship and rescues petty criminal Harry Mudd and his cadre of strangely hypnotic mail-order brides.

Steph's Comments: This episode is a jumble - and a very boring jumble at that - but I was actually surprised by its relative lack of sexism given the cringe-worthiness of the premise. Granted, I suppose some today would bristle at the central choice presented -- i.e., that you can be an empty sex-kitten or a good wife who takes care of her husband by cooking, cleaning, and mending his socks (among other things). But I think this episode deserves credit both for downplaying the importance of external beauty and for acknowledging that a woman might object to being treated as a commodity. In reality, where portrayals of womanhood in early Trek are concerned, the promotion of honest and humble housewifery is hardly scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Steph's Rating: 5.0 


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