Sep 21, 2020
Star Trek (TAS) “Beyond the Farthest Star” (part 2 of 3)
Kirk makes a captain’s log. How he’s making this log, I’m not sure. Maybe he just talks out loud and everyone around him indulges him. Maybe those life support belts have tape recorders. He says Enterprise is in orbit around a strange dead star… hmm. Enterprise was drawn inexorably to a large gray body now described as a “dead star”? Did George Lucas have any original ideas in his head?
Uhura reports the radio signal ended the moment the four beamed over. Kirk has her put a transporter lock on them (you mean, the transporter chief didn’t have a transporter lock on them before now? If I was McCoy, I’d be punching Kirk. Repeatedly) and the four head inside. They come across a weird(er) alien device.
And it appears to be functioning after all this time. Spock determines it’s an energy accumulator, designed to absorb motion, sound, light, heat… which, now that I think about it, how are the guys able to see anything in this dead ship without flashlights? I guess the life support belts provide light, too?
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Scotty and McCoy remark that the place gives them the creeps, and Spock, in his own inimitable style, tells them they’re little girls. To avoid an argument, Kirk tells them they should get a move on. They reach a door and Spock examines the ancient mechanism. Being Spock, he should be able to decipher the alien technol—
—and shooting it into submission works too, I guess. They enter a new chamber that looks nothing at all like anything else in the ship. And you know what? I can give that a pass, seeing as how my kitchen looks nothing like my living room. The door seals behind them, and all the pretty lights start working. Spock examines his tricorder and determines there’s air and gravity.
Nice, Spock. Maybe next time, you should check that before you turn off your life support belt? The door shuts behind them, and Scotty tries to shoot their way out, but he discovers their phasers have been drained. And their communicators have been sucked of power as well. Upon hearing this news, McCoy says, “So we’re trapped here?” in a tone that suggests he’s already considering A) cannibalism and B) which of the other three would be the easiest to kill.
The four find some jury-rigged equipment, and they make a bunch of educated guesses as to its purpose: Namely, to shield the room from something outside. It turns out they’re right, and something is trying to get through the door.
Kirk asks Spock if the door will be able to keep whatever it is out, and Spock checks his tricorder. You know, the one that by now shouldn’t be working? Because their devices were drained of power? Is Spock checking just to make Jim feel better? Does he think of the tricorder as a witch doctor’s fetish, waving it around to appease his tribe of ignorant savages? “Look, chief Kirk! The space gods have told me door will hold back bad mojo!”
Just what is it like for Spock serving on Enterprise, anyway? If Vulcans are so much smarter than humans, is it like him being a referee at the Special Olympics? No wonder he’s always nervous every time McCoy treats him. See how you feel about a man with an IQ of 70 wielding a scalpel and a hypodermic needle.
While the thing outside is still trying to get in, Kirk tells everyone to be quiet as he hears something else. It’s a low thrumming pulse, not unlike dubstep. Hey, if hippies could make a comeback…
…then why not music designed to vibrate the fillings out of your teeth? Ultimately, an image appears on the screen.
And if I were in that room, I would likely wet my pants in horror. Somehow, I don’t think I’m cut out for space exploration. Kirk thinks this might be a captain’s log of some sort, and Spock thinks he can get a translation. He manipulates the control panel, and sure enough, they’re getting a good dose of exposition from the alien horror.
Their ship got pulled towards the Death… I mean, dead star, and they picked up a “malevolent life form”. Rather than risk the thing spreading out into space, they opted instead to destroy their own ship. The alien says if they understand this message, they’re only protected in this room, and oh my gawd there are ‘splosions everywhere! The door goes, the viewscreen goes, the funny doodads hanging everywhere go. Kirk says, “Get out of here, hurry!” and they beam away. How? Their communicators don’t w—
Oh. Back on Enterprise, Chief Kyle, still sporting his truly wicked mustache—
—reports he got ahold of the landing party and beamed them over. Judging by the conversation between him and Sulu, it sounds like they decided to snatch the four up the moment they made contact again. In an episode largely bereft of common sense, I give the writers points for having the supporting characters do something smart.
But Kyle is horrified to discover he beamed something else aboard.
When I started writing these recaps, I decided there would be a certain type of humor I would not use. I would hold myself to a certain standard and stick to it. I was going to avoid what I viewed as “low brow” humor. But the moment I saw this scene, the only joke that came to mind was that Mister Kyle had beamed over a sentient fart. And look at Spock, standing there like a guy who dealt it and is pretending not to have smelt it.
Damn you, “Beyond the Farthest Star”. Damn you to hell.
Okay, then. Moving on. Kirk orders Kyle to beam the thing out, then he shoulder blocks Kyle out of the way, because Jim realizes he hasn’t done anything heroic in, like, forever. He tries to beam the thing away, but it stuns everyone and flows into the ventilation just like the cloud creature from the original series episode “Obsession”, and then it laughs over the comm system a lot like Redjack from the original series episode “Wolf in the Fold”. It was like the writer had a decent script up until the third act, then he had no idea what to do, and just started watching old episodes for inspiration.
Back on the bridge, Kirk gets a status update, and everything seems to be fine. Spock then activates the bridge defense system.
Okay, does sitting under what looks like the equivalent of a phaser shotgun seem like a good idea to anyone? Kirk says that, to be safe, Scotty should arm the self-destruct device in Engineering. What self-destruct device? I thought all you had to do to blow up the ship was to get the three senior officers to put their codes in the computer? First, the writers blatantly rip off the original series, then they turn around and ignore it.