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

Lazarus beams off the ship to the planet (how does he know how to work the transporter? Hell if I know) and I swear, between shots of him in this scene, the beard changes. Maybe it’s just too flimsy an appliance to show up well consistently, but damn!

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

Kirk heads off after him, and we cut back to the planet as Lazarus runs to his ship. The beard is full again, by the way, and he puts the crystals in a panel on the door, and he’s about to leave when Kirk runs to the ship.

Lazarus is alarmed as Kirk approaches and shouts, “No, don’t! Not you!” Kirk reaches into the ship and freezes, vanishing in a sizzling flash which takes us to our last commercial break as Lazarus screams “Nooooo!”

Emotional, isn’t he?

Caption contributed by Ed

Hey, why so blue?…Oh god, you see what you’ve done to me, episode? You see what you’ve done?!

Caption contributed by Ed

This man just watched this episode ten times in a row continuously.

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Back from the break, Kirk is in what I guess we can now call the antimatter dimension. He wanders around aimlessly, and the only really amusing thing here is that his pants are glowing. Unfortunately, this episode has beaten me down so much that I can’t think of one single decent promiscuity reference that would make the least bit of sense. Damn you, episode. Damn you to hell.

Caption contributed by Ed

Fun fact: All Canadians come with glowing pants. It’s how they attract mates. You know… when the beer runs out.

Suddenly, he falls to the floor. The anomaly returns and the frame spins out and back in, depositing us and Kirk on the planet at night.

You know, an episode as incoherent as this is the reason you sometimes need a show runner who comes off like Sam Kinison in full ranting mode. You know what I mean? A guy who just comes in with a baseball bat to the writer’s room like this: “You can’t write for shit!” WHOMP “The script doesn’t make any fucking sense!” WHOMP “Jesus Christ, where the hell did you incompetent assholes go to writing school! Oh! Ohhhh!” WHOMP, WHOMP, WHOMP

Kirk wanders around a little more until he sees Lazarus’ ship, complete with a musical sting. Okay, composer, now I’m getting a restraining order.

Kirk approaches the ship, and we see the dome is off to the side, and the door has been removed. Lazarus pops up, welcoming Kirk, and I’m guessing this is the evil one since he’s… Well, a little more calm for one thing. Not to mention the last time we saw him, he was about five seconds away from full-on screaming like a bitch.

Caption contributed by Ed

Jesus, it’s his story and even he looks like he doesn’t know what the hell is going on here!

I guess both versions of him stole the crystals or something, and the only reason I’m not going to get too deep into this is that I really have an aversion to going hopelessly cross-eyed. Most chicks consider it to be a bit of a turn-off.

At least the ones I’d have anything to do with, but that’s not important right now.

They chat, and essentially reiterate and confirm everything brought up in the Kirk/Spock scene. And after confirmation that the evil Lazarus also has crystals, the good one says he has a plan to stop him.

Later, Lazarus is doing… something, while rambling on about how Kirk accidentally did what he meant his evil double to do, giving a ten minute countdown before the bad one returns. Lazarus explains (sort of) the place that they’re in, calling it a “magnetic corridor”, and a safety valve between parallel universes.

You know, right now he could be giving his recipe for fudge brownies and I wouldn’t know the difference. Incidentally, he prefaces all this by saying, “It’s difficult to explain,” which is why most writers worth a shit do these wacky little things called rewrites! Or, at the very least, make sure that at least they understand what the hell they’ve put on paper so they can communicate it to the director.

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

The corridor is responsible for the whole non-existence thing, since the evil Lazarus passed through it. Lazarus goes on to liken the corridor to an explosive lined prison. The only thing keeping the explosives from going off is staying inside the corridor.

Lazarus explains that when his people found evidence of a parallel universe, it drove his double insane, hence his rambling on about a horrible creature that must be destroyed.

Yep, the Lazarus we are looking at now is that “horrible creature”, which means that for most of the episode we’ve been looking at the crazy double. Or maybe not, since this Lazarus follows up with, “Yes, captain. Or he is. Depends on your point of view, doesn’t it?”

Oh, kiss my ass, you miserable fifty minute long sack of shit! You know what? This episode just broke my goddamned mind! I used to have an idea of things, clarity of thought. Right now, I feel like a character in an H.P. Lovecraft story, driven mad, just waiting for the mutant fish people to come for me.

Wait, I hear… footsteps, wet and slippery… And breathing! Horrible, inhuman breathing that surely must come from some alien abomination not fit for human eyes! Can this be what I fear the most? I dare not look… I dare not… I dare…

Ahem, sorry about that. Where was I? Oh yes, I believe I was over here.

Now then, the plan is to force the evil Lazarus into the corridor, where the good one will be waiting for him. Kirk’s job is simply to find the evil one and force him into the corridor, where Lazarus plans to hold him there forever.

He plans to accomplish this by having Kirk destroy the ship, which will destroy both ships, and trap both versions of Lazarus forever. Hey, whatever ends this pointless lump of an episode. At this point, I’d settle for it all being a dream, with Spock waking up in bed and finding Kirk in the shower.

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

On a side note, the realization that I may be the only person who not only gets a Dallas reference, but would have the balls to actually put one in a recap of a Star Trek episode makes me feel really goddamn old!

Kirk agrees, and Lazarus sends him to the antimatter dimension. We get the usual bullshit effects, but suddenly, we’re back on the planet as Spock and some redshirts approach the evil Lazarus.

Kirk runs up behind him and gets him in a chokehold. They struggle as Spock watches with confusion (well, sort of, since he’s non-emotional and all), and I have to say, this has nothing on… well, pretty much any other fight we’ve ever seen from the series.

Caption contributed by Ed

While the security team appreciated the captain giving them tips on subduing an enemy, they were less than enthused with being called “a bunch of useless mincing pussies”.

I’m guessing stage combat wasn’t one of Robert Brown’s strong points, since Shatner has to do most of the work.

Caption contributed by Ed

Kirk meets the first in a shockingly long line of scientists who can beat him like a redheaded stepchild.

Regardless, Kirk manages to toss Lazarus into the ship, where he vanishes. Spock has the crystals removed, Kirk orders the ship to be destroyed, and we go back to the bridge as they both enter.

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

Kirk orders the Enterprise to destroy the ship with phasers, which is a little over the top if you ask me. But regardless, after a very pregnant pause, Kirk gives the order and the ship is destroyed.

Caption contributed by Ed

Even the ship is pissing all over this episode!

We cut briefly to the corridor, where Lazarus is fighting with himself, and then it’s all over. Kirk is somewhat troubled by what has occurred, but Spock assures him the universe if safe. Kirk replies, “For you and me. But what of Lazarus? What of Lazarus?” and the episode finally, mercifully, ends.

Caption contributed by Ed

—“Spock, let’s just never speak of this again.” —“Captain, I am fairly certain nobody was looking when you…” —“The episode, you putz! The episode!”

Thank god, it’s finally over! As I said way back at the beginning, this is one of the most poorly constructed fifty minutes I’ve ever seen. An almost impossibly incoherent script, a damp squib of a finale, and some horrible editing make this one of the true stinkers in the Trek universe.

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"
TV Show: Star Trek

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  • Bill Wilson

    Yep. This episode is a stinker, but considering how Robert Brown was thrown in to this pile of manure without so much as a title page to look at, I don’t think his performance is all that bad. I just don’t believe anyone involved understands this story any better than we do!