Star Trek (TAS) “The Pirates of Orion” (part 1 of 3)

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Our story begins with Kirk reporting that the outbreak of Choriocytosis is being contained. The disease isn’t serious to humans, but apparently it’s lethal to any species with copper-based blood. So, what is Choriocytosis, anyway? Who brought it on board? Is saying it’s a space STD too obvious a joke?

Yes. Yes, it is.

The Enterprise is heading to Deneb V to represent the Federation at the dedication ceremony for their new Academy of Sciences. Hmm, according to Memory Alpha, Deneb V was mentioned in the TOS episode “I, Mudd”, where it was stated the planet employed the death penalty for crimes such as fraud. You could choose to die by phaser, hanging, gas, or electrocution. Deneb V was colonized by Texas, apparently. I wonder if they teach creationism as well as evolution at their Academy of Sciences? Thank you, Memory Alpha!

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Kirk confirms with Spock that everything is running smoothly, then says it’ll be nice to play diplomat for a change. At this, Spock’s expression becomes one of terrible pain…

Star Trek (TAS) "The Pirates of Orion" (part 1 of 3)

…and he collapses! Man, I would love to know what happened the last time Kirk “played diplomat” to earn him such a reaction. Kirk and McCoy stare in shock at Spock’s fallen form…

Star Trek (TAS) "The Pirates of Orion" (part 1 of 3)

…and then Kirk calls down to Sickbay to report an emergency… even though McCoy is standing right there next to his chair. Maybe McCoy is off duty. Maybe it’s a cardboard stand up McCoy that Kirk keeps on hand when he misses the doctor. Maybe I should stop speculating now.

Later, in Sickbay, McCoy explains the disease is hardly a problem in people with iron-based blood, but to people like Spock, it’s fatal. So… wait. You knew there was a contagious disease floating around the ship, one lethal to Vulcans, and you knew there was at least one Vulcan on board… and you did nothing to prevent Spock from contracting it? Like maybe quarantining him for his own safety until you knew everyone on board was clean? McCoy says in regards to Spock’s condition that he wishes to God he was wrong.

Sure you are, Bones. Suuuuuure you are.

Star Trek (TAS) "The Pirates of Orion" (part 1 of 3)

McCoy explains the disease encases Spock’s blood cells, preventing them from getting any oxygen. Kirk says that causes suffocation. McCoy sighs at Captain Obvious’ statement and it goes over Kirk’s head, who then asks if there’s any cure. McCoy says there is: a rare drug called strobolin. Kirk asks the computer where the nearest planet containing strobolin is, and my God, even Majel Barrett sounds bored as hell in her role as the voice of the computer. It sounds like she had a bowl of Quaaludes for breakfast. It turns out the planet in question is four days away, and it’s called Beta Cannabis. So, I guess strobolin can be either smoked or baked into brownies.

Oh. According to Memory Alpha, the planet’s name is Beta Canopis. There goes at least a dozen pot jokes. Damn you, Memory Alpha!

McCoy says that with a synthesized drug, he can only keep Spock stable for two days. By the end of the third day, the disease’s effects become irreversible. Frustrated, Kirk says there must be a way and McCoy suggests a rendezvous. Kirk jumps on that idea and calls Starfleet, and soon he has a ship lined up to meet Enterprise halfway with the drug. Kirk asks what the effects of the disease are, and McCoy explains that it increases tiredness and decreases efficiency, just like working in an oxygen deficient atmosphere. McCoy says it’s a lot like the test Kirk had to pass at the academy. That wasn’t a test, Bones. That was spring break at Ft. Lauderdale.

Meanwhile, in deep space, we seen the Huron on its way to rendezvous with the Enterprise.

Star Trek (TAS) "The Pirates of Orion" (part 1 of 3)

And I gotta say, without sarcasm, I like the design. On the one hand, it shows a certain design aesthetic in line with the Enterprise, but at the same time, it has its own thing going on. It’s pretty ugly, but it’s a freighter, so it’s not supposed to look pretty. On the bridge, we have three people. It’s obvious the guy rocking the Ahab beard is the captain.

Star Trek (TAS) "The Pirates of Orion" (part 1 of 3)

The woman reports the ETA to the rendezvous is… Christ, Majel isn’t even trying in this episode. She delivers her lines in a flat monotone, and she doesn’t do anything to try and make her voice sound different from the computer. I realize you’re married to the boss, but come on!

The Huron is some two hours from the Enterprise, and the captain exposits that the drug is pretty important and he’ll be glad to just get back to shipping dilithium. The other guy reports there’s another ship ahead and…

Okay, I know it’s George Takei doing the voice, I mean, it’s kinda obvious. But at least the guy is trying to sound different. So anyway, the helmsman says he doesn’t think it’s the Enterprise, and the captain orders the man to do the only thing he can do on a slow moving freighter with no weapons: keep an eye on it.

McCoy calls up to the bridge to tell Kirk that it’s time for Spock’s injection. Spock turns and sees McCoy standing beside Kirk.

Star Trek (TAS) "The Pirates of Orion" (part 1 of 3)

Maybe it’s an inflatable McCoy? I wonder if it has any other functions…

Star Trek (TAS) "The Pirates of Orion" (part 1 of 3)

Back on the Huron, the crew gets their first look at the pursuing ship.

Star Trek (TAS) "The Pirates of Orion" (part 1 of 3)

And again, setting the snark aside, I like it. The artists used bright colors to aid in differentiating it from Federation designs, and it has a sort of predatory look to it, like it has bat-like wings and spider-like fangs.

Back on the Enterprise, McCoy gives Spock his injection and performs some scans while Nurse Chapel looks on.

Star Trek (TAS) "The Pirates of Orion" (part 1 of 3)

Hell, even Majel Barrett’s animated alter ego looks sleepy. McCoy says the readouts don’t look bad, and Christine notes the drug isn’t working anymore. Bones tells her not to worry, because they’ll have the drug soon.

Gee, I wonder if something is about to go wrong.

And we’re back on the Huron! It’s amazing how much screen time a non-Enterprise crew is getting this time out. It’s kinda neat, really. I wonder if they were considering a Star Trek: Huron television series and were testing the waters with this. Trek fans are so rabid they’d tune in for anything with “Star Trek” splashed across it. How else do you explain Enterprise staying on the air for four seasons?

Multi-Part Article: Star Trek (TAS) "The Pirates of Orion"
TV Show: Star Trek (TAS)

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  • Yay! I always look forward to the Star Trek recaps.

    • Thomas Stockel

      Thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Muthsarah

    Hmmm…would you say this episode is typical of the quality of the show, or is this perhaps one of the better ones? I’d check it out, but…well…I get the impression it wouldn’t be half as enjoyable as reading someone tearing it apart. You make this episode seem rather competent, not like the hilarious ineptitude of the episode you reviewed last time. Well, not entirely competent, there are those few mind-bogglingly stupid inconsistencies (hard to port, inflatable Bones) that make it seem like it was put together bit-by-bit in a great hurry and never once proofread. And there was the warp speed through the asteroid field….Wait…that makes it sound terrible again. Who the hell made these things such that an episode with only two or three glaring eff-ups makes for one of the better ones? I gather that the 70s were the “Dark Ages of Animation”, but did they seriously have NO standards?

    Maybe it’s for the best that they didn’t, at least for irony’s sake. The sloppier the material, the funnier the mockery. I recall the last recap had me laughing so hard it hurt, I should have left a comment back there.

    • Thomas Stockel

      I would say it is one of the better ones, quality wise. I think it was a good story despite the glaring flaws.

      And I’m happy to hear I made you laugh. It’s what I’m here for. ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Cristiona

    I dunno about that last paragraph. That sounds like so much retrofitting continuity errors to me. But then again, that’s one of the primary purposes of fandom, no?
    This was a fun read. Always glad to see more of these.

    • Thomas Stockel

      I can see your point in regards to the whole Orion skin tone thing. I kind of like it because by making the males one skin tone and the females another it lends an element of alien-ness to ’em.

      And I’m glad you liked the recap.

      • Cristiona

        Oh, very true. I think it’s a really neat concept too, but I’m wagering the writers/animators weren’t thinking like that; they were just lazy.

  • One thing I don’t get — it was pronounced Oh-RYE-un in “Journey to Babel,” but in this episode, they’re pronouncing it ORE-ee-un. Um, what? I know it’s been seven years since the actors last pronounced the word, so it’s not surprising they forgot how they’d pronounced it the last time … but nobody else caught it or thought it mattered?

    • Muthsarah

      I always figured TAS fell last in anything canon. I think DS9 pronounced the namesake syndicate as “Oh-RYE-un” as well.