Star Trek (TAS) “The Survivor” (part 1 of 2)
I’m a huge Star Trek fan, and when I discovered one of my local libraries had the animated series on DVD, I geeked. Now, some may have heard TAS is bad, and it’s true the animation is lacking, the music is repetitive, and some of the actors sound like they’re sleepwalking through their lines (Majel Barrett is not even trying to sound like different people), but despite all of this, I’m very fond of the series. Because this was my first introduction to Star Trek, seeing it on Saturday morning television.
And yes, despite that, I’m a Star Trek fan.
So I thought I’d give recapping an episode of TAS a try (because what the world really needs are more internet recappers). The episode I’ve chosen is not “so-bad-it’s-good”. This is just bad. I give you “The Survivor”, written by James Schmerererer… erer…
Let me make one thing very clear before I jump into this recap: it’s going to be very Trek-heavy, which means there are going to be many references to various past Star Trek episodes from the various series. You have been warned.
The Enterprise is patrolling the Romulan Neutral Zone and comes across a damaged one-man vessel. They discover the ship is registered to “Carter Winston”.
McCoy says that’s impossible, because Carter Winston has been missing for five years. Which must be true, because when someone is missing for any length of time we have to assume they’re dead—
Continuity? What’s that?
Winston beams aboard, and Spock wishes to check his credentials, because being the smartest guy on the ship, Spock doesn’t take anything at face value.
McCoy immediately objects, suggesting it’s outrageous that Mr. Winston is anything but who he says he is…
Like, say, a shape-changing alien that sucks salt out of people…
…Or an insane former military commander who has a thing for green women…
…Or even a spy who’s been surgically altered to blend in…
…Or a robot made to look like someone else.
Apparently McCoy got the short straw this episode, and is the token idiot. Could be worse; it is not like it’s a full time job, like it is on Voyager.
Winston is told his fiancé Anne is on board the ship. Here, I’m willing to cut the writer some slack. In the original series, Kirk, McCoy, Spock, Chekov, and even Nurse Chapel at one point or another ran into old flames. So Winston’s fiancé being on the Enterprise? I’m not the least bit surprised at the coincidence. No, I have plenty of other nits to pick today.
So McCoy is giving Winston his required medical checkup to verify he is who he says he is, and the doc receives some odd readings. Naturally, instead of assuming Winston might not be who he says he is, McCoy assumes the diagnostic instruments are the problem and not the stranger. Winston’s fiancé, Anne, stops by and Winston blows her off, claiming it is not to be. He’s changed, a person was assigned to him during his recovery, and he nursed him back to health.
Yes, of course there was going to be a gay Sulu joke here. It’s my first Star Trek recap, I’m going to use every cheap gag I can.
After dumping his hot fiancé, Winston stops by Kirk’s cabin. Because since he’s “changed”, naturally Kirk is an irresistible hunk of man meat to him now. They discuss Winston’s wrecked ship, and while Kirk’s back is turned, Winston turns into a tentacle creature.
He knocks Kirk out with a tentacle monster neck pinch, and carries Kirk to his bed.
The jokes just write themselves, people.
The tentacle beast (after we assume he indulges in the love that dare not speak its name with Jim) changes its appearance into Kirk. We cut to Sickbay, where Nurse Chapel claims there’s nothing wrong with McCoy’s medical instruments. Naturally, McCoy, the guy who’s met numerous shape-shifting space aliens and robot duplicates, doesn’t think that maybe something might be wrong. I understand McCoy is suffering from some hero worship here, but come on!
“Kirk” is on the bridge, and has Sulu change course for Ratar III, which will take the Enterprise through the Neutral Zone. Later, the real Kirk wakes up and, I’m assuming, wonders why his pants are on inside out. He makes his way to the bridge, and after getting an update, he claims that he gave no course change order. Spock counters by showing how Starfleet now has video cameras installed everywhere, in case crazy Starfleet captains try to deny doing insane crap with their ships. Kirk gives Sulu an order that in no way affords me the opportunity to insert a gay joke, then with Spock leaves the bridge to go see McCoy about his potential blackouts.
In Sickbay, McCoy is visited by Winston, and the nightmarish tentacle creature proceeds to do the same to McCoy what he did to Kirk.
And really, there’s no reason why Tentacle Winston visits McCoy. He just needs to be there so Winston’s fiancé Anne can speak to not-McCoy. It’s just bad writing, and I can’t help but feel that Schmerererer figured he was writing for a bunch of five year olds, so why bother? That’s that Super Friends mentality. So Anne stops by Sickbay to discuss her problems with McCoy, because when it comes to talking about advice regarding men you desire but who don’t want you in return, there’s no one else for her to—
…Right. So “McCoy” suggests Anne forget about Winston, and then Kirk and Spock stop by. Kirk wants some tests run to make sure he’s not brain damaged, and hasn’t been given a date rape drug, and McCoy blows him off, claiming he’s busy “running tests”. Out in the corridor, Kirk and Spock decide McCoy’s behavior is strange, and they go back in to find McCoy on the lab floor waking up. McCoy suggests that he must have been taking a nap, because the alternative is far too horrific to contemplate. Kirk enters Sickbay, looks around, then figures out there are three examination tables where there are just supposed to be two. Which is something you would think the guy who actually works there would notice.
I wonder if Schmerererer had it in for DeForest Kelley.