This post is kind of hilarious, because I started it like two years ago. The first two episodes I watched in the summer of ’14, and I’ve watched the last three in the past week. It’s an understatement to say I stalled out on TOS, but better late than never. Also it’s like a fifty year old show; I don’t think it’s going anywhere.
Season 2, episode 6: “The Doomsday Machine”
Original Airdate: 20 October 1967
Directed By: Marc Daniels
Wikipedia Synopsis: “After losing his entire crew to an alien planet-eating machine, Commodore Matthew Decker pulls rank on Kirk in order to play a game of cat-and-mouse with the mechanical adversary. His efforts to destroy the menace place the Enterprise in grave danger. This episode serves as the back story for the Star Trek 25th Anniversary Game Boy game.”
Favorite Quote: “Mr. Spock, you’re in command.”
This episode was a good one, but I wouldn’t say a great one. The most interesting part about it is the power struggle, as the Commodore technically outranks everybody but nobody wants to listen to him because he’s crazy! There’s a bit too much action in the second half for my taste, and I’m pretty sure the doomsday machine was CGI-ed later, but nevertheless it’s a decent episode.
Season 2, episode 7: “Catspaw”
Original Airdate: 27 October 1967
Directed By: Joseph Pevney
Wikipedia Synopsis: “Two powerful aliens threaten the well-being of the Enterprise and her crew with their magical powers.”
Favorite Quote: “I don’t like such hostile strangers showing such an acute interest in our galaxy, our world.”
This was actually a pretty awesome episode. Though I probably wouldn’t rank in top level of Star Trek episodes, but it’s would be pretty close. It’s got a lot of Trek staples, including Kirk getting the girl and also Kirk not getting affected by aliens while everyone else does. It’s also Halloween themed, which is interesting. We get some interesting philosophical stuff, because the aliens assume human form and previously were disembodied (or something). Finally, there are some cool effects (I know right?) at the end with giant cat shadows!
Season 2, episode 8: “I, Mudd”
Original Airdate: 3 November 1967
Directed By: Marc Daniels
Wikipedia Synopsis: “Captain Kirk and the crew has a second run in with the con man, Harry Mudd, this time finding him as the king of a planet of androids.”
Favorite Quote: “This place is even better than Leningrad!”
This episode sees the return of Harry Mudd, a classic villain from the first season who I barely remember, but remember had a pretty good episode (even if I don’t remember the specifics of that episode). I think it also involved android sex slaves (maybe they were just aliens?), anyway, the point is, Mudd is pretty scummy and that hasn’t changed. What also hasn’t changed is Kirk’s rejection of logic to solve problems, as the crew ends up having to act silly to confuse the androids, thereby exploding their brains. This show’s done that better (S2, E3), but this episode was decent just the same.
Season 2, episode 9: “Metamorphosis”
Original Airdate: 10 November 1967
Directed By: Ralph Senensky
Wikipedia Synopsis: “A shuttle crew from the Enterprise encounters a castaway (who appears to be Zefram Cochrane, the inventor of warp drive) and his mysterious alien companion.”
Favorite Quote: “I thought maybe, if she loved him, she would let him go”
This episode was pretty darn absurd. Kirk once again trumpets the illogical nature of humans, to the slight detriment of a sentient cloud that has fallen in love with a human castaway on its planet and helpfully reverse aged him. It’s a very strange episode, one I enjoyed slightly more than the previous one because it was a bit more unusual. The cloud eventually ends up possessing a sick woman Kirk, Spock, and McCoy were sent to rescue in the first place, and now that the cloud is human, the castaway can accept that she loves him. What?!? Okay. Cloud loves human, crazy. Human possessed by cloud loves human, totally normal. I don’t understand it either, but the moral of the story is Kirk loves his illogical humans, as always.
Season 2, episode 10: “Journey to Babel”
Original Airdate: 17 November 1967
Directed By: Jospeh Pevney
Wikipedia Synopsis: “While transporting dignitaries to an important peace conference the Enterprise is pursued by a mysterious vessel and an assassin is discovered among the passengers.”
Favorite Quote: “How does that Vulcan salute go?”
In this episode, we meet Spock’s parents! It’s a good thing that it was a framed as this big surprise when they met Kirk, because otherwise I wouldn’t have realized that we hadn’t met them yet either. It’s always fun (and basically obligatory) to delve into Spock’s conflicting Vulvan/human nature, and even though this episode had kind of a contrived way of doing it (I feel like it’s pretty obvious he should have just turned over the command to Scotty and saved his dad, and his reluctance to do so kind of feels like a slight against Scotty’s command abilities, but whatever), I really liked seeing Spock interact with his parents. This all takes place in the midst of an assassination plot, and I always love solving murders aboard the Enterprise. It does a lot of things Star Trek normally does (like argue about logic) but it does them in a pretty satisfying way here.
So, TOS is back! Hopefully back to stay, because I’ve been “watching” it for way too long. Hopefully I can finally finish it this summer, but I probably shouldn’t count on it. “Catspaw” and “Journey to Babel” were definitely the highlights of this group of episodes, but most of them were pretty decent. Stay tuned for episodes 11-15, which includes arguably the most recognizable of all TOS episodes: “The Trouble with Tribbles.”
Click here to read reviews of episodes 11-15!