Star Trek “Spock's Brain” (part 2 of 4)
When we return, a log entry reveals the stardate to be “4351.5”. The last stardate was “5431.4”, so either somebody screwed up, or Kirk’s dyslexic. Kirk, Scott, Chekov, and some redshirts beam down to the now-familiar “alien planet covered in foam boulders” set. They all make some flaccid “shivering” motions, so Kirk casually orders, “Suit temperatures to 72.” Wow, is that all they had to do? Something tells me this “self-warming suit” technology would have come in very handy in the episode “The Enemy Within” (The One With The Evil Kirk) when they couldn’t beam Sulu up from that freezing cold planet.
And, hey, how nice of Kirk to actually order them to warm themselves up. What would they do without him?
Oh, and I always thought the Trek universe operated on Celsius, but 72 degrees Celsius is 161 degrees Farenheit. So I hope not.
There’s an allegedly funny moment here where Kirk says, “Life form readings, Mr. Spock?” Then he instantly corrects himself: “Mr. Scott?” Scott feels burned, but he recovers quickly and picks up several humanoids nearby, “on the large side.” Or maybe they’re just big-boned. Does your scanner pick that up, huh? Does it?
We immediately cut to Grizzly Adams wandering through big foam rocks on a different part of the set. He’s dressed in animal skin rags, and to make the cliché complete, Grizzly is carrying a big wooden club. Surprisingly, he doesn’t say, “Oogah-boogah.” But you can read it all over his face.
Back to Chekov reporting that he can find “no generation of energy” with his scanner. Meanwhile, a whole bunch of cave-dudes in shaggy wigs and fake beards gather together, looking alarmed, and reminding me of the Beatles circa the recording of “Hey Jude”.
Eventually, Scotty picks up traces of the five shaggy hippies. Kirk orders phasers on stun, because he wants them all conscious. Well, “stun” doesn’t necessarily leave its victims conscious, but in the Trek-verse, that usually depends on the needs of the plot.
After both parties creep around for a while, the cavemen finally attack, throwing foam rocks at the landing party. The crew are getting lightly pelted with soft clubs and stones, with a twenty percent chance of bone. Finally, Kirk has had enough fraternity hazing. He aims his phaser, which somehow sends out a wide, unfocused spread of energy that subdues one of the cavemen. The other four hippies see their comrade fall, so they all instantly turn and hightail it out of there. Not much loyalty among the caveman sect, is there? Shame on you, Oog. You too, Goona.
Kirk goes to the fallen caveman. Scotty’s holding out his tape recorder, which I guess is meant to convey the presence of a Universal Translator. Why we’re shown this thing sometimes and not other times remains one of the great mysteries of Trek. Kirk says he only wants to talk, but Captain Caveman says Kirk and Co. are not “the Others”. Kirk says they are “men, like yourselves”, but Captain Caveman says, “You are small. Like the Others!” Ouch. I think he just called Kirk a little girly-man.
Eegah then reveals that the Others are “the givers of pain… and delight!” Kirk wants to know where the Others come from, but Eegah simply promises that the Others will eventually come for him. Kirk wonders if they also come for the cavewomen, but Eegah’s never heard the word “women” before. Kirk and Scott attempt to clarify things, throwing cerebral words at him like “female”, “mate”, and “companion”, but Eegah is just plain clueless.
Just then, Chekov detects the presence of an underground city nearby, and Kirk says this must be where the Others are. Eegah freaks and runs off, and Chekov wonders what’s got him spooked. Kirk recalls the “pain and delight” promise, which Chekov calls “a peculiar mixture”. At least, I think that’s what Chekov said. Hey, you try and decipher a Russian saying “peculiar”.
Scotty calls the guys over to a foam cave, where inside are baskets of food along with forged metal weapons. Kirk posits that these could be a “lure” set by the Others for the cavemen. Remarkably, they have six or seven more lines where they all pretty much agree the cave is a trap before finally deciding to leave it.
Outside, Kirk contacts the Enterprise to have McCoy beam down. He tells Chekov to keep watch up on the surface along with the redshirts, and hilariously, Chekov actually sighs [!] as he says, “Aye, sir.” Wow, somebody’s bitter about his lot in life.
McCoy soon materializes, and standing right beside him—well, what do you know, it’s Spock! A brainless Spock, with odd metal headgear above each ear, which we’re made to believe is what’s keeping him standing up. For some reason, he’s dressed in a dark khaki jumpsuit now. I guess possessing a functioning brain is a requirement for wearing the Starfleet PJs, though the evidence on hand would suggest otherwise. However, it’s tough not to notice that even though his brain was surgically removed, Spock still has all his hair [!!].
McCoy, meanwhile, has a very handy handheld device in his hand, which has three dials and twelve colored buttons like two bright, shiny rows of Chicklets. Are you ready for this? It turns out to be a remote control that will completely control Brainless Spock’s movements [!!]. Wow, who knew you only needed twelve buttons to control an entire person?
McCoy presses a red button, which we learn is the “turn to Captain Kirk and stare” button, because that’s what Spock’s body does. After a brief staring contest between Kirk and Spock (which Kirk is almost certainly destined to lose), Kirk tells McCoy to bring Spock along. McCoy hits the “walk forward” button and Spock walks forward. Strangely, every time Spock moves in this episode, there’s a repetitive clicking noise, almost like he’s a robot. The best way I can describe it is the sound heard when somebody spins the Wheel of Fortune or the big Showcase Showdown wheel on The Price Is Right.
Anyway, Kirk, Scott, McCoy and Spock’s body head into the foam cave while Chekov and the redshirts stand watch outside. Unlike the previous episode I recapped, Kirk does not come close to shitting his pants in the cave, but instead, he activates the cave-trap by, um, stepping on a certain spot. How did he know to stand there? At any rate, a door shuts on the cave entrance and the camera is jostled left to right and back again to make us believe they’re hurtling downwards. McCoy quips, “Call Chekov and tell him to send my stomach down!”
Up above, Chekov tells the redshirts, “It might be a long wait! We may as well be comfortable!” So he uses his phaser to heat up a rock to glowing red perfection, and then they all warm their hands around it. Wow. That had a point.
In the Cave Elevator, Kirk orders all phasers set to stun. Again. Just to make extra-sure, I guess. Scott reports that they’re getting closer to that energy source. You mean, the same energy source that Chekov couldn’t detect on the surface? Poor Chekov is now batting oh for three. Scott warily says the energy could be “ion power”.
The elevator comes to a stop, and the door slides up to reveal another attractive brunette in a miniskirt. Before she can hit a button on her Wrist Splint, Kirk hits her with those laser beams, ow ow ow! Relax, don’t do it! The woman collapses and more romantic music swoops in because, you know, she’s a good-looking female.
Kirk beckons his men forward. McCoy and Scotty advance, and Spock wheel-of-fortunes on over. McCoy revives the woman, and Kirk asks to be taken to her leader, saying he wants to speak to him. Yeah, he said “him”. James T. Kirk, you are the Great Sexist Bastard of the Galaxy.
“Him?” the woman asks. “What is ‘him’?” Oh, boy, she’s so dumb, she doesn’t even use pronouns. Kirk demands to know what they did with Spock’s brain, but the woman just gets all stressed out because “you are not Morg or Eymorg!” Kirk says she’s just playing dumb, but McCoy uses his handy tricorder to determine that it’s no act, because she’s telling the truth. Boy, this is a tool that sure would have come in handy in one or two earlier episodes. Like, say, “Conscience of the King” (The One Where An Evil War Criminal Pretends To Be An Actor).
Kirk asks what this place is. “This place is… here!” Thanks, you’ve been very helpful. We soon learn that she’s Luma, an Eymorg, and the cavemen above are Morg. She asks who the human men are while wearing a really confused look on her face that the actress has obviously had a lifetime to perfect. Kirk begins to speak, but is stopped by McCoy. “It’s no use,” the doctor says. “You’ll get nothing out of that one. Hers is the mind of a child!” Just like all women, right, Bones?
Just then, Scotty hurries over and hands his communicator to Kirk, and Kirk soon hears the voice of Spock. “Fascinating!” Spock’s voice says. “Activity without end, but with no volition!”
Kirk speaks to him and Spock eventually responds. “Captain, there is a definite pleasurable experience [!] connected with the hearing of your voice!” Uh, Spock, is there something you want to share? Kirk asks him where he is, but Spock has no idea, so Kirk tells the others they need to press on. McCoy grabs Luma and Scotty pushes Spock’s “walk forward” button and they’re on their way.
Soon, they come upon the brunette who intruded on the Enterprise earlier, now accompanied by two male escorts. Kirk aims his phaser and demands to know where Spock’s brain is, but unfortunately for him, it’s time for more Wrist Splint action. The woman pushes a button and Kirk and the guys all fall to the ground. We pan up from the unconscious men and zoom in on the brainless Spock, and there’s a loud sting of music. Strangely, we get another shot of the brunette and another shot of the unconscious men before we finally fade to commercial. Nice, smooth editing job there.