Star Trek “The Alternative Factor” (part 4 of 6)

Kirk is confused (you ain’t the only one, man!), and the only sort of vague explanation that Spock can give involves the dilithium crystals. This sets Lazarus off on a terribly hammy plea to gain access to them, in order to defeat whatever the hell it is they’re fighting.

Seriously, I have to imagine that after filming wrapped, Shatner took the actor in the back and screamed at him for stealing his act. The endless pauses, the odd body movements, it’s really an awful performance. Say what you will about Shatner, but at least the man is good at being a bad actor!

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Kirk is less than enthused with Lazarus’ plan, and when Lazarus continues to beg, Bill finally wakes up a bit and demands answers. Lazarus leaves, but not before turning and swearing, “I will have my vengeance!”

Caption contributed by Ed

“For the last time, it’s not a toupee, it’s a hairpiece!”

Kirk simply watches him leave, and has a security guy on hand follow him. Well, he actually just stands there looking bored/concerned while the redshirt goes off after Lazarus, but you get the point. Jesus, this script is horrible! Vagueness, bad characterization, confusion… That bottle of Cabo is starting to sing to me.

Meanwhile, Lazarus steps off an elevator and has another stumbling attack. Anomaly… blue guys grappling slowly… blah, blah, blah. You know the drill by now.

Star Trek "The Alternative Factor" (part 4 of 6)

After this bout of Hamititis B passes, we’re back to the Lazarus sans bandage, and he wanders around until he finds the Engineering section, hilariously indicated by a simple nameplate on a door.

Star Trek "The Alternative Factor" (part 4 of 6)

The 23rd century, eh?

Inside, Lt. Masters is doing random stuff, checking gauges, and turning dials, when another redshirt enters and tells her Kirk wants to talk with her. I assume this is an actual conversation he wants, as opposed to the “talks” he usually has with the ladies onboard.

Star Trek "The Alternative Factor" (part 4 of 6)

“Stay there, Jimmy. I remember what happened the last time you worked in this area… Not again, not on my watch, damned Jerry Lewis fan.”

Being a redshirt, he fails to notice Lazarus hiding a few inches away in some sort of enclosure, and sure enough, as Kirk asks Masters to do something with the crystals, Lazarus knocks out the redshirt and does the same to Masters, and we cut to the bridge as Uhura reports that security has lost track of Lazarus. The music swells and we go to break.

Caption contributed by Ed

This is how it always starts with Jimmy…

Caption contributed by Ed

And this is how it usually ends.

Wow, I think that the security guard at the mall who spends half his day sleeping and the other half eating could do a better job than the dorks on this ship.

Caption contributed by Ed

Another crew member is about to wake up to a morning of regrets after a session of “Straighten the Slinky” with the captain.

Back from the break, Lazarus is being held captive, and it looks like the makeup guy was on his joint break during this scene, because the man looks almost clean shaven. I have to assume this is the case, otherwise I’m left with the thought that Kirk had a prisoner shaved before questioning… which is more than a little messed up.

Kirk and Spock question him about the missing crystals (seems he got hold of two), though I have to say that since he hasn’t been off the ship, they shouldn’t be too hard to find, unless the crew is being written to be a bunch of dullards…

Oh, right. Sorry.

Lazarus claims he never took the crystals (with the close-up, it’s clear his facial hair has thinned out to an alarming degree) and for some reason, Masters is there looking distraught.

Star Trek "The Alternative Factor" (part 4 of 6)

He implores Kirk once again to “find my enemy”, but can’t give a good excuse as to how the enemy got onboard. Seeing Kirk is getting nowhere, Spock asks what the enemy needs the crystals for. Lazarus gives another non-answer, ranting that his enemy is a humanoid who could pilot a spaceship. Kirk finally decides to go back to the planet to look for the crystals, taking Lazarus along too.

So… we’re getting the same two scenes over and over again on a loop then, are we? Great, now I feel like I’m Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. If I’m really nice to Andie MacDowell and Chris Elliot, can I get the hell out of here? No? Okay then.

Back on the planet, Lazarus is back to the “homeless guy who just doesn’t give a shit” look and I really have to wonder, at this point, what the hell the goddamned continuity girl was doing. She couldn’t have been off blowing Shatner and Nimoy the entire time, could she?

Star Trek "The Alternative Factor" (part 4 of 6)

Follicle follies aside, Lazarus’ ship is being examined… again, by Kirk, Spock, and four redshirts, and not only are the crystals not on his ship, it seems Spock can’t find the radiation source he found earlier that isn’t really there.

Caption contributed by Ed

Doc Brown’s time machine based on a giant Flowbee was less than impressive.

Kirks orders a full search of the area, and I have to say that given how dull and pointless this episode has been thus far, but each of the four redshirts had better die horrible deaths the likes of which would make Satan himself gag.

Not that I mean to be vindictive or anything.

The search commences… with all seven men walking in the same direction. Good blocking, guys. Real good.

They walk for a bit, with Lazarus getting separated from the group, and sure enough, as he gets onto a high ridge, he has another episode.

Everyone begins stumbling around and holding their arms up against an attack, as Lazarus goes all blurry. Cue the spinning frame and the battle in blue. And I never thought I’d say this, but this episode is making “Spock’s Brain” look pretty goddamn good right about now!

Plot and plot! What is plot?

Caption contributed by Ed

Blue Man Group on Blue Man Group violence is such a tragic thing.

We go back to Blur Land, as Lazarus continues to stagger around. The blurring passes, and in an instant, the episode is all over. Again: not this one, just Lazarus’ personal episode.

Yeah, I redid the joke I just did a few pages earlier. At least, unlike the episode, I’m damned funny!

Ed Harris

A fan of less than great cinema since childhood, Ed divides his time between writing scripts, working an actual paying job and subjecting himself willingly to some of the worst films society has produced.

Multi-Part Article: Star Trek "The Alternative Factor"

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