(Copyright Paramount)


I noticed in the last episode (The Enemy Within), as well as this one, that the writers haven yet discovered that they can be more subtle with Kirk’s Logs. Both times hey sum up the pre-Title teaser (That a duplicate was made, and that they each see the woman differently), but do so before their characters on screen make that discovering. I can hear the writers saying, “If the audience misses the opening, they won’t know what’s going on! Oh no!” As such, both logs seem to suggest they are transcribed by Kirk later. It’s an odd effect. These days, say in the premier of “Breaking Bad,” where Walt is standing pantless with a gun in the desert in the cold-opening, leaving us to wonder what led to this, in these ST episodes, either because the cold-opening convention was not part of the language of episodic TV or it was not the writer’s real intention, the effect seems only partially utilized. The writer in me sees they were close to figuring out a different way of telling a story, but stopped short. It’s not a big thing, but I thought I should comment on it, because it really got me thinking about how different and daring TV would become in recent years, no longer reliant on the straight linear story progression and occasional, clearly-defined flashbacks.




A good continuity nod: Carter is using an old-style laser pistol, as seen in The Cage, which makes sense, that he wouldn’t necessarily have a state-of-the-art Starfleet phaser, being a civilian scientist. Also reinforcing the idea that Not Everyone Is In Starfleet, we have Carter and Kirk arguing over jurisdiction and procedure. Unlike in TNG, I find myself trying to figure out Starfleet and the Enterprise’s role in the galaxy. It’s one thing to be emissaries to newly-discovered planets and civilizations, it’s another to be knocking on the door of established colonies, mining operations and research facilities. What IS Starfleet’s jurisdiction, at this stage? With Mudd, they were clearly enforcing some Federation Law, but the minors had no responsibility to them. Kirk even mentioned having authorization to negotiate with them for the crystals. It really does lend a sense that discovering new lifeforms is one thing, but they’re also trying to tame the “established” territories within the Federation, very much like Old West frontier law. Wagon Train To The Stars, indeed.




This episode specifically had good writing, good character development with McCoy and what for me was a significant thread (not so much a plot point, per se) with Rand and Sulu. If I’m not mistaken, they later serve together on Excelsior in either one of the movies or a Voyager flashback episode (or both, I can’t quite remember). Either way, I like Rand and I like what they’re doing with her. It’s a pity she was never brought to lead status, even in the movies.




Okay, next!