In the following episode, Shatner overacts, Spock cries, and Sulu swashbuckles.
According to Kirk-log, the Enterprise is orbiting Psi 2000, which he describes to be “an ancient world, now a frozen wasteland about to rip apart in its death throes.” I love that Kirk-log can never say, like, “We’re above Psi 2000, a nearly extinct planet covered in ice.” He’s such a drama queen. Kirk-log explains that they’re there to pick up a science party and observe the disintegration of the planet.
Spock and a Blue Redshirt beam down to the science laboratory. I’m only assuming at this point that the Redshirt is a blue science officer, because both Spock and Blue Redshirt are wearing the most ridiculous orange protective suits I’ve ever seen. It’s like a seven year old tried to remake the sterile outfits from Outbreak or something. Also, the actual bodysuit is separated from the … head bit, I guess would be the best way to describe it. The head bit is just an orange plastic bag with a square piece of translucent plastic over the face. There is a gaping hole in the area of their throats. Worst disinfection suit ever.
Those suits are seriously hideous.
What is a little more realistic and creepy is the science laboratory. Something obviously went wrong, because the entire room is covered over with an inch thick layer of ice, including the body of the frozen communications officer, still at his or her post. Spock and Blue Redshirt look around, puzzled. Spock stylishly brought along his matching orange science gun accessory, and uses it to examine things instead of his tricorder.
“Check out the life support systems,” Spock commands. The Blue Redshirt scurries off. Spock looks around the frozen room, his eyes finally settling on a mannequin in the hallway. The music alerts us that this is in fact supposed to be a dead person. Could’ve fooled me. Blue Redshirt returns while Spock is orange-gunning the woman, and reports that all the life system were turned off. “Someone strangled this woman,” Spock comments. Blue Redshirt has enough decency to let Spock think he’s a medical officer and not mention that “this woman” is obviously made of paper mache. Instead, he reports that the other four scientists are in the backroom, frozen in strange positions. “Better look for yourself, Mr. Spock. One man was taking a shower, fully clothed,” he adds. I think Spock raises his eyebrows, but it’s hard to tell through all that crazy orange plastic. Orange is not Mr. Spock’s color.
As Spock goes back to check on the G-rated Psycho scene in the backroom, Blue Redshirt decides to get some readings on the Communications Officer. Oh, by “get some readings”, I mean “sign his death warrant”, and by “on the Communications Officer”, I mean “and endanger the entire crew.” His twitching nose indicates that it’s itching something awful, and he removes the glove of his disinfection suit to reach under the head bit and scratch it. Why this would make a difference to whether he gets infected or not, I’m not sure, since his attire is about as much a disinfection suit as Enterprise is a Star Trek series. Ohhh, I went there.
He leaves the glove off to get some further readings on the underside of the communications table, touching a red stain in the process. The camera zooms in on red liquid coming out of the stain and dripping ["Dripping upwards"-Redcoast] onto this hand as the traditional Star Trek "Oh No!" music peeks in with a few notes. Blue Redshirt puts his glove on just as Mr. Spock comes back in. “Make certain we expose ourselves to nothing,” Spock tells Blue Redshirt, who proceeds to not even react. If you’re going to leave out the fact that you took off your glove for a whole minute, Blue Redshirt, then at least have the decency to look a little guilty about it. Spock comms the Enterprise, by just touching his wrist. It kind of makes you wonder why they use communicators. Kirk answers.
Blue Redshirt the Stupid touches a contaminated wall with his gloves off.
“All station personnel are dead,” Spock informs the captain. “What caused it?” Kirk asks. “Unknown, Captain,” Spock admits: “It’s like nothing we’ve ever seen before.” The “Oh No!” music flares loudly as the camera zooms in grimly on Spock’s assumably emotionless, definitely orange face.
The pinging begins and we pass the stars slowly as Kirk-log says his famous opening lines. This reminds me: when that space screen saver came out, did anyone sit there and pretend to be a Star Trek character? I only ask because I wasn't into Star Trek then, but I was into Star Wars, and I spent a good deal of time pretending to be Han Solo in front of my sleeping computer. ["Oh, me too. And when the screensaver stoped, the stars would warp like the Millenium Falcon was entering hyperspace."-Redcoast] Anyway, we’re skipping the rest and boldly going to where these credits end.
Kirk-log (stardate 1704.2, for anyone who cares) recaps the first part of the episode more efficiently than I do, but I think I have a better sense of humor. I’m sure if Bones were to McCoy-log, he’d beat me by a long shot. Actually, I think he does McCoy-log in at least a few episodes, but it only happens when both Kirk and Spock are out of action, so we don’t exactly get to see his funny Bone. Ba dum dum CH! Even though the science crew has been found dead, the Enterprise is remaining in orbit of Psi 2000 to watch the planet breakup. I bet it rents ‘The Way We Were…” and buys Smirnoff Twist, a box of Kleenex, and Phish Food ice cream.
The landing party beams up. Blue Redshirt The Stupid tries to leave the transporter area, but Spock stops him. “Did you receive my signal, Mr. Scott?” he asks. Scotty affirms that he did. “Decontaminate,” he orders an ensign. Disco lights flash a la Studio 54! Decontamination is groovy. Kirk requests that the landing party also go to sickbay.
Sickbay. Spock in a tight black t-shirt. Yum! All that Neck Pinching and Mind Melding has really defined his biceps. Blue Redshirt is given a bill of clean health, and Spock gets on the medical table. “Your pulse is 242. Your blood pressure is practically nonexistent—assuming you call that green stuff in your veins blood,” Bones says. Spock sits his sexy self up and tells McCoy that the readings are perfectly normal for him. “And as for my anatomy being different from yours – I am delighted,” he adds. ["I am also delighted with his anatomy."-Redcoast]
"And as for my anatomy being different than yours -- I am delighted."
This “Oh Snap” moment is interrupted by Blue Redshirt The Stupid looking really distraught and rubbing his arm roughly. Kirk enters, inquiring after his crewmen. “They’re fine, Jim,” Bones confirms. “Terrible, Captain,” Blue Redshirt whines. “It was terrible. They were just… sitting like they didn’t care. Whatever was happening, they didn’t care!” Which is exactly what I’m doing right now, Blue Redshirt. “I keep wondering—,” he tries to continue, but Kirk cuts him off, “You keep wondering if man was meant to be out here.” But he keeps signing on, Kirk points out with a smile. Blue Redshirt grins a little. Kirk asks Spock for an explanation of what was going on. Spock admits he has no guesses, and he’s putting his shirt back on, so both Kirk and I are disappointed. Come to think of it, I can’t say if Kirk is more disappointed that Spock doesn’t know the answer or that Spock is putting his shirt back on. Blue Redshirt interrupts the science discussion to whine about how terrible it was again. “You’d better get some rest,” Kirk suggests. Yes, Kirk, get the kid freaking off-screen already. God. Kirk and Spock leave, and just a few minutes later, Nurse Chapel comes in. I believe this is her first appearance. And she has silver hair, which I think is Star Trek trying to be like "In the future, everything is silver and futuristic!" but ends up just being like "This nurse is old looking." ["I think she's distinguished. Everyone is kinda old-looking in Star Trek."-Redcoast] Soon, she'll be the blonde, lovesick nurse we've come to know and identify with.
Anyway, Blue Redshirt is still scratching his arm, and he looks at his hand, perplexed. A rattling sound, which from now on shall be referred to as “The Virus Music”, is heard.
In the conference room, Spock is reviewing data from the planet. Kirk observes how the science team seemed to have lost their grasp on sanity, as though they were drugged. “If it wasn’t so ugly, it’d be laughable,” he concludes. “Not even a theory, gentlemen?” Bones confirms that the incident was not caused by drugs or intoxication, due to the medical analysis of the bodies. Spock suggests space maddess, seeing as there didn’t appear to be any contamination. “Or at least none that your tricorders could register,” Scotty points out.
Conferring in the conference room.
Kirk tells his men that to observe the breakup of the planet, they need to be in critically tight orbit. “Question- could what happened down there to those people create any unusual danger to this vessel and crew?” he asks. Seeing as they still have no friggin idea what happened down there, this question seems pretty silly. Spock answers that the critical orbit will be tricky, since the planet’s mass may change. That ... had nothing to do with his question, Spock. Kirk notices this, too, and turns angry. “The purpose of a briefing, gentlemen, is to get me answers. In a critical orbit, there’s no time for surprise,” he says. Actually, there's time for four surprises, one before each commercial break. “Unless you people on the bridge start taking showers with your clothes on, my engines can pull us out of anything,” Scotty declares proudly. ["Oh, that's bullocks. When's the last time Scotty's engines performed well under duress? Never, that's when."-Redcoast] Careful, Mr. Scott; there's no wood to knock on in space.
The bridge reports that, sure enough, the planet’s mass has changed. I hear you, planet; my mass changes during a breakup, too. Must be all the ice cream. “It’s beginning,” Spock comments.
In the break room, stupid Blue Redshirt gets his stupid food out of the stupid food replicator. He still looks really emo, but he’s wearing his blue shirt now, and I have to say: why is it that all the medical and science officers on this show have that slight slouch that brings out their shoulder blades? Maybe I just love Spock and McCoy too much, but I’m beginning to find it attractive. Blue Redshirt rubs his ungroovy, contaminated hands stressfully. The Virus Music plays. Sulu comes striding in with Reilly at his heels, talking about swords. “Foil! It’s a rapier!” Sulu is explaining. “All right, so what do you do with it?” Reilly asks: “Self defense? Mayhem? Shish-kebab?” “You practice,” Sulu says, poking the Irishman in the chest pointedly. “For what?” Reilly says, disgusted, as Sulu greets Blue Redshirt. “Last week,” Reilly complains, “it was botany he was trying to get me interested in.” And the week before, it was gay porn! ["And the week before that, it was timepieces. Sulu's only consistency is his lack of consistency." - Redcoast] (Side note: I feel much better about making gay Sulu jokes now, because I saw the roast of William Shatner, and George Takei made more insensitive gay Sulu jokes than anyone else.) “Your attitude is all wrong!” Sulu exclaims. Sulu tries to peer pressure Reilly into fencing some more, and then says, “You tell him, Joey. Explain it to him.” Joey is evidently Blue Redshirt, who is too busy itching his hand of DOOOOOM to join in the conversation. Sulu taps him, and Joey looks up like he’s seen a ghost, or just realized he’s a Redshirt. “You feeling alright?” Sulu asks, concerned. “Get off me!” Blue Redshirt growls. “You don’t rank me and you don’t have pointed ears, so just get off my neck!” Heh. Props to the script crew for the Vulcan Neck Pinch joke. He says this pretty loudly, and everyone in the breakroom turns and stares. Uhura announces that the bridge people have to go to the bridge. “You sure you’re alright, Joey?” Sulu asks, getting up.
“We’re all a bunch of hypocrites,” Blue Redshirt laughs. “Sticking our noses into something that we’ve got no business.” Microsoft Word grammatically cannot stand this boy. Neither can I. “What we doing out here anyway? Bring pain and trouble with us. Leave men and women stuck out on freezing planets, until they die. What we doing out here in space? Good? What good?” Blue Redshirt keeps ranting, getting more and more sweaty and violent; also getting less and less gramatically correct. Sulu thinks about as highly of this speech as Microsoft Word. “Now calm down,” he says, and for a moment, Takei’s voice has that resounding Darth Vadar quality that it attains by the 1980s. Blue Redshirt grabs a knife and points it at them. I kind of wish Sulu would take this classic sitcom set-up to turn to Reilly and say, "See, this is when having a sword would be useful."
Blue Redshirt gets violent!
Stupid Blue Redshirt continues his stupid peech, while Sulu and Reilly try to reason with him. As he’s ranting about it, he turns the knife on himself. The camera dramatically zooms in on it, which is a bad choice, because now we can clearly see that the knife is actually about as sharp as Blue Redshirt’s brain.
The excessively dull knife in question.
“We don’t belong,” Blue Redshirt concludes: “I don’t belong.” Maybe if the ship’s psychiatrist had survived the first episode, things like this wouldn’t happen. Reilly tries to grab the knife out of Joey’s hand. There’s a struggle with lots of hand touching and a really intense looking Sulu. I love Takei in this episode, by the way, but more on that later. Blue Redshirt falls on his knife, which is a little less honorable than falling on your sword. As irony would have it, his shirt is now red! The “Oh No!” music swells. Blue Redshirt looks down at his now red shirt, like this was an unexpected turn of events. What? You were aiming your knife at your stomach. Your stomach now has a hole in it. How did you not see this coming?
Reilly runs to the intercom and calls 911… OF THE FUTURE! He then looks at his hand, perplexed, and the Virus Music joins the “Oh No!” music to send us into commercial break.
Kirk-log sums up the situation melodramatically. It’s really difficult to be more melodramatic than necessary when you’re stuck in a tight orbit with chronic madness spreading through your crew, but somehow Kirk-log manages it. “But unknown to us, a totally new and unusual disease has been brought on board.” Why does Kirk always do his logs in the present tense? He's always like, "I am tied up onto a wall, and I have no idea that my first officer has been kidnapped," making the entry in multiple ways impossible.
The bridge: everyone is trying to keep their orbit tight but stable. “Obviously, this planet is condensing more rapidly than expected. A valuable study,” Spock comments. As Kirk goes around and does Captain-y things, Reilly rubs his hand against his pants, and the Virus Music reminds us that this is no ordinary itch. Sulu, too, is evidently feeling the effects. Kirk and Spock stand by Spock’s science station and discuss Blue Redshirt. “Was he trying to kill himself?” Kirk asks. “It’s doubtful he meant to,” Spock replies. “His capacity for self-doubt has always been rather high. What puzzles me is what brought it to the surface with so much force.” I love that one of the only two people who were on that infected planet is acting strangely, and Spock and Kirk are all hanging out, making excuses for it.
McCoy and Nurse "My Hair Looks Like Crap"-el perform what is assumably the autopsy. Wait! Close up on Blue Redshirt’s face. He’s shivering and moving about. Dammit, Redshirt, just die already. Chapel looks at the wall readings with a concerned look on her face as they all obey my secret orders and drop. Bones finishes the operation.
Back on the bridge, the planet’s gravity has increased, yanking them closer to it. “Compensate!” Kirk demands. Sulu tries a few things, but Reilly looks kind of confused. “Compensate,” Kirk repeats, exasperated, pushing something on Reilly’s board. The orbit steadies. Why they even keep a navigator around when everything is done with one button is beyond me. Reilly rubs his hands and apologizes. “Made me a little nervous, I guess,” he explains. Isn't it your job not to be nervous when navigating? If you keep acting nervous, you might end up on an advanced but tiny spacecraft with the world's creepiest captain.["I would be nervous if I were the navigator. It's like being the drummer for Spinal Tap."-Redcoast]
Sickbay. “This shouldn’t be happening,” Bones muses. “This man should be getting stronger." Are you sure the respirator is functioning properly?” “Yes, Doctor,” Chapel replies. “Then why is this man dying?” Bones wonders aloud. He and Chapel look at each other, not sure what to do. Bones asks for a hypo, and injects something into Blue Redshirt. The readings continue to drop, and suddenly, there is no heartbeat at all. “He’s dead, Doctor,” Chapel says, surprised. Bones’ eye twitches at Chapel stealing his line. “The wounds were not that severe!” he exclaims, confused. Stop questioning why God cleans out the gene pool, Bones, and just join me in celebrating the fact that this Redshirt will never have stupid children.
McCoy loses a patient.
Bones calls Kirk down to sickbay. Before he goes down, Kirk and Spock discuss some more how the planet breakup is still keeping their ship in danger. We get it, guys.
“I don’t know if it’s this planet or what happened with Joe,” Sulu says to Reilly, “but I’m sweating like a bridegroom!” And that is a feeling you'll only have in Massachussetts after this, Mr. Sulu. “Yeah, me, too!” Reilly replies. The Virus Music plays, and Sulu jumps up with a Crazy Gleam in his eye. “Hey--- why don’t you come down to the gym with me, Kevin me lad?” he asks Reilly. ‘Me lad?’ I guess Sulu has been hanging out with Reilly too much. It’s a shame that Chekov doesn’t have the same effect of on him. I’d love to hear Sulu’s deep woice mispronouncing warious letters. “Now?” Reilly asks, horrified. “Why not?” Sulu shrugs. Um, because your ship is spiraling towards a dying planet? Actually, I guess that's pretty status quo on the Enterprise. “Sulu, don’t be a fool!” Reilly hisses across the bridge as Sulu is a fool and bobs his way across the bridge, evading everyone’s notice.
The first appearance of Crazy Sulu, as he tries to convince Reilly to come fencing with him.
In sickbay, McCoy is telling Kirk that Blue Redshirt shouldn’t have died with such slight damage. Yeah, well, he shouldn't have lived with such a small brain. “The only reason he died is that he didn’t want to live. He gave up,” Bones sighs. “That’s a supposition, Doctor, not a fact,” Kirk replies. “I’ve lost patients before, but not like that,” McCoy adds. “Coincidence?” Kirk asks, but he doesn't elaborate. I guess he means is it a coinicidence that Blue Redshirt was in the landing party? “Jim, he was groovily decontaminated, he’s been medically checked, we’ve run every test we know for everything we know…” Bones replies. “That’s not good enough!” Kirk snaps. Neither is the diet that McCoy put you on a few episodes, apparently. “We’ve done everything that’s possible,” Bones explains. “Bones, I want the impossible checked out, too,” Kirk says. Why is Kirk always so angry at Bones?
On the bridge, the "There's A Problem, Helmsman!" light starts to blink. Spock glances up to notice that Mr. Sulu is gone. He dives down to Sulu’s chair, which is that much easier for Spock because he never fucking sits down in his chair on the bridge. It took them this long to realize Sulu wasn't there? They don't talk much on the bridge, other than to laugh at Spock, do they? “Why isn’t Mr. Sulu at his station?” Spock snaps. Reilly just steadies the ship, looking actually kind of bored. “Take over here, Rand,” Spock orders an ensign who I will assume is related to Janice for my own amusement. Spock turns to Reilly. “You haven’t answered my question. Where is Mr. Sulu?”
“Have no fear! O’Reilly is here!” Reilly proclaims in a ridiculous Irish accent, although no more ridiculous than Chekov's Russian one. ["Or Scotty's Scottish one."-Redcoast] “And one Irishman is worth 10,000…” “You’re relieved!” Spock snaps. Dammit, one Irishman is worth 10,000 what? Other men? Euros? Womabts? “Lieutenant Uhura, take over this station.” Wait, Uhura’s trained in navigation? Actually, now that I think of it, she's a lieutenant, just like Sulu. Why isn’t she given the comm. after Spock, Scotty, and Kirk are all out of the Enterprise? It always go directly to Sulu! Sigh. This isn't the time or place to discuss 60s sexism. “Yes, sir,” Uhura says in a “oh thank god” way, although I think it’s because she wants to get the freaky Irishman off the bridge, not because she wants to fly the ship. “Now that’s what I like! Let the women work, too! Universal suffrage!” Reilly exclaims. Hm, I'm pretty sure that male feminism is not a stereotypical Irish trait... “Report to Sick Bay, Mr. Reilly,” Spock orders. That’s where they send people who support women in science. “Sick Bay? Exactly where I was headed!” Reilly exclaims cheerfully.
Reilly loses it, too.
Reilly saunters towards Sick Bay, touching walls and skipping while he does so. He looks pretty drunk. On the way, he checks out a working woman, supporting her universal suffrage from behind. Once in Sick Bay, Reilly asks Chapel where Joe is. Chapel hesitates. “He died, didn’t he?” Reilly asks. “Yes,” Chapel confesses. It’s really a shame they popped that silver wig on her. She’s a pretty woman, but this just makes her look like a teenage girl playing Grandmother in the school play “Little Red Riding Hood”. “You have such lovely eyes,” Reilly tells Chapel, touching her face. The Virus Music hisses at us, informing us that Chapel has been infected. Chapel assumes that Reilly is acting like this because he’s in shock. “You know what Joe’s mistake was?” Reilly says solemnly. He leans close to Chapel like he’s about to tell a great secret. “He wasn’t born an Irishman.” Snort. Chapel is like “wtf?” but she apparently wasn’t told by security that she was supposed to keep Reilly in Sick Bay, because he saunters his drunken Irish self out of there like someone is checking out his ass.
Alright, this next scene… I feel like it almost needs an introduction. This is Sulu’s greatest humorous moment.
Shot of the elevator doors. They open, and out leaps a topless Sulu, a joyous smirk on his face, and a fencing sword in his hand. “Richelieu, beware!” he exclaims triumphantly, waving his sword around menacingly. His eyes dance, looking for a victim, and settle on an invisible one just to the left of the camera. “HAH!” he cries, lunging forward in spurts of actual fencing technique. “Hah! Hah! Hah!” he says with each little leap. Reaching a corner, he puts down his sword and gets all stealthy. (I’d like to take this opportunity and point out that Sulu, too, is a most attractive man. Rumor has it that he worked out for weeks when he read the script. He also insisted on changing Sulu’s secret dream from being a Samurai to being a pirate. ["A musketeer! He's a musketeer! Richelieu is the bad guy in The Three Musketeers!"-Redcoast] [["Yes, hence why Spock calls him D'Artagnan later. But a swashbuckler is a swashbuckler, and pirates are funnier. Also, Takei refers to being a 'pirate' in this episode, so when I wrote the recap, I was basing it off of that"--recapsule]]) Dread Pilot Sulu looks around, assumably checking for enemies, and brings his sword up into a salute position, looking at it proudly.
Dread Pilot Sulu leaps out of the elevator
He pokes the top, pricking his finger enough to exclaim “Aouch!”. So the edge is sharp. Danger, Will Shatnerson, Danger! While sucking on his hurt thumb, Dread Pilot Sulu peaks around the corner, and evidently spots an enemy, because his eyes widen excitedly and he withdraws his head. Sure enough, a medic and an ensign are walking down the hall. Dread Pilot Sulu jumps out at them and cries, “Stand!” ferociously. The two freeze and stare at him, more confused than frightened. “No farther!” Sulu demands in a Sulu demands in a somewhat British ["French!"-Redcoast] [["British!!" --recapsule]] accent; his look one of supreme smugness. He ducks into the fencing attack stance, and laughs an evil, maniacal laugh. “No escape for you,” the Suloup Nazi informs them. They still are just staring at him, not sure how to handle this situation. I guess facing a crazy person wasn't covered in the Enterprise training course, but considering the number of times it happens a year, it probably should be. “You either leave this bois bloodied… or with my blood on your swords!” Dread Pirate Sulu’s British ["French!"-Redcoast] [["British!!" --recapsule]] accent is becoming more and more pronounced throughout the scene. (Whatever it's supposed to be, it definitely sounds British). Suddenly, he leaps out with an “AHA!” and the crewmen go running. Sulu chases them with lunges, accompanied again by the “Aha!”s. Then he just stops and laughs even more maniacally swaggering like a true buccaneer back to the engineer ladder, which he swings himself up onto. Oh man, George Takei is clearly having so much fun. “COWARDS!” he yells back at his foes before climbing up to the next level.
Sulu laughs maniacally as he jumps onto the ladder.
Back on the bridge, Lieutenant Uhura is relieved of her brief navigational interlude. Kirk enters to talk to Spock about the crazy people. “What were there symptoms?” he asks. “Non-violent at this stage,” Spock replies. Obviously no one has made any reports about Sulu yet. Spock says Reilly was acting pleased with himself, as if he were… “Drugged,” Kirk finished. “Precisely,” Spock agrees. Kirk calls for security, asking that Sulu and Reilly be confined, and every crewman they come into contact with medically checked. Immediately, Uhura reports a disturbance on Level 2. “It’s Mr. Sulu, chasing crewmen… with a sword!” Uhura exclaims, confused. Now, this might be admitting I know too much information about the Enterprise, but the bridge is on Level 1. That means that Sulu’s ladder, on Level 2, could only lead to one place. Dum dum dum! “Fascinating,” Spock says. He points out that Reilly thinks he is the descendant of Irish kings (not that our royalty has been anything to brag about for the last thousand years or so), and that Sulu is a swashbuckler at heart (what? Really? I didn’t think this was a really obvious trait. Sulu always seemed a little reserved to me.) ["What, no butt pirate jokes?"-Redcoast]
Spock and I are interrupted by a tug that causes the entire Enterprise to shake. Spock tells the navigators to warp out of the orbit. “No response from engines, sir!” one of the replacements exclaims. “Impulse power then!” But that isn’t responding either. Spock intercoms Engineer to ask what’s going on. “Mr. Scott! Acknowledge! Our controls are dead!” Kirk exclaims. No response. Kirk gives Spock the comm. and strides toward the elevator. Before he can reach it, however, the doors open to reveal Dread Pilot Sulu, who exclaims joyously “Richelieu! At last.” Kirk tries to push the sword away, but finds it incredibly sharp. “Put that thing away!” he demands. Sulu strikes a pose and cries out “For honor, Queen, and France!” He dives at Kirk who narrowly gets out of the way. The best part about Sulu fighting in this episode is the delighted, insane grin that is plastered across his face the entire time. Spock tries to approach Sulu from the side, but Sulu will not have the defeat with a side of Neck Pinch today, thank you very much. He points the sword at Spock and chuckles evilly. Then Sulu just goes crazy with the swashing and the buckling, waving his sword around like it is a feather duster. He fights like a dairy farmer!
Uhura tries to get his attention, but it works towards an undesired effect: “Ah,” Sulu growls lustfully at her. He grabs her hand and pulls her towards him, crying out “I’ll protect you, fair maiden!” Uhura glares at him and replies, “Sorry, neither!” Bahaha.
Sulu protects Uhura from Kirk. He might be on to something, actually.
She struggles against him, allowing Kirk to take away his sword and Spock to Neck Pinch him. “I’d like you to teach me that some time,” Kirk tells Spock. “Take D’Artagnan here to Sick Bay,” Spock says. “Scotty, we need power! Engine room, acknowledge,” Kirk pleads into the intercom. “You rang, sir?” Reilly’s voice replies. Oh shit! They are so screwed. So hilariously screwed! You know how earlier Kirk said it’d be laughable, if it weren’t so ugly? Well, this situation would be ugly, if it weren’t so hysterical. “Get out of the engine room, Navigator! Where’s Mr. Scott?” Kirk exclaims. “I’ve relieved Mr. Scott of his duties,” Reilly replies with a cheerful demeanor. “Now, attention cooks: this is your captain speaking. I would like double portions of ice cream for the entire crew,” Reilly announces over the loudspeaker. “And now your captain will render an ancient Irish favorite.” He begins to sing an Irish ballad very badly. Spock reminds the captain that they have 20 minutes until they reach atmosphere. Kirk knows this, and he’s angry enough to really storm off the bridge. As Reilly continues his Irish ballad, Spock raises his eyes in concern and then sighs an exasperated sigh as the “Oh No!” music rises.
Reilly's got the comm.
Kirk-log sums up the situation hurriedly. “We have 19 minutes of life left,” Kirk-log reports dramatically… and you are wasting them by bragging about how dramatic your life is. How Kirk of you. “How’d Reilly get in there?” Kirk asks, furious. “He said you wanted us on the bridge!” Scotty replies. So everyone in Engineering left? “Then he shut the door behind us and locked off the mechanism.” Scotty explains that it’s impossible to get to even auxiliary power. They might be able to override the door mechanism if Scotty can cut through the right wire in the wall. But he needs to take it slow and figure out the right wire, or they'll blow up. ["Oh, whatever. Scotty is stalling to hide the fact that he has no idea what to do."-Redcoast]
Inside the Engineering room Reilly is badly singing about roses. At Spock’s command, Uhura tries to get everyone to basically quarantine themselves, but Reilly cuts off the loudspeaker, because she’s “interrupted his song”. Truthfully, he’s not doing badly down there. He’s getting stuff done quicker than anyone in Engineering has done as far as I can remember. It’s not the right stuff, but still, maybe he should’ve been an engineer. “I’m sorry,” Reilly tells Uhura, “but there’ll be no ice cream for you tonight.” “Cut him off,” Kirk demands. Uhura can’t, because Reilly has somehow fixed that, too. Seriously how does the kid do this shit? Don’t extremely superior beings (and here I’m specifically thinking of Khan, but I know there are other examples) try to take over the Enterprise with far less success? I mean, I know that Reilly is at least trained in working on a starship, but he’s still just a lowly navigator! I think the only other person who successfully takes over the Enterprise in a quick and accurate manner is Spock, and he's a Vulcan who can do everyone's job better than they can.
Reilly announces that “there will be a formal dance in the bowling alley at 1900 hours tonight.” There’s 17 minutes left, and in a reasonably realistic fall down, the crew shows us that the ship has lurched to the left. Shot of Nurse Chapel and McCoy doing the same in sickbay, while topless Dread Pilot Sulu is strapped to the bed. McCoy intercoms Kirk and asks him to “keep this beast level” so he can finish running tests on Sulu. So far, he adds, nothing unusual has shown up in his blood stream. Kirk points out that Reilly is the immediate problem, but Bones says he can’t do anything about Reilly's sickness until he figures out what it is, which relies on Sulu. Over the louspeaker, Reilly makes a few sexist demands about women wearing their hair loosely around their shoulders, and wearing less make-up. Uhura, her hair up and her make-up thick, looks insulted. He then says he’ll render the Irish ballad again.
The ship lurches violently.
“Please, not again,” Kirk says, his face fearful. Now he knows how I feel about hearing “Don’t You Want Me Baby?” after working in a shop that played Lite FM for a year. You know, Don’t you want me, baby? Don’t you want me? Ohhhh... You think you've changed your mind! You'd better change it back, or we will Both! Be! Sor! Ry!
Scotty is trying to get the controls back from Reilly. He places some “jumpers” up one of the engineering pipes, getting enough power to keep the Enterprise stabilized. He then goes over to see how exactly he has to cut the wall to open the door. A crewman has stenciled an outline of where he should cut onto the wall; it looks a little like Harry Potter’s scar. Spock’s looking at something that might be a print out and announces they have 16 minutes left. Uhura announces that she’s getting reports (she is? I thought Reilly turned that off. Maybe Scotty got that back, too) from Decks 4 and 5 about disorders and fights. “Get me Sick Bay,” Kirk demands. Uhura can’t. Kirk sends Spock down, asking him to help McCoy and check on Scotty.
Some random crewman in a hallways is holding a red paint brush and laughing at it crazily. I know I’m overusing the word “crazy” in this recap, but to be fair, it is an episode about an insanity virus. Spock tells the crewman to report to the lab. I can’t believe Spock still is trying to make order of all this. Spock sees the crewman’s graffiti on a nearby wall. On the wall is written “LOVE MANKIND”. Spock sighs exasperated at it. I’m sure there is supposed to be some deeper meaning here, seeing as these are the two things Spock understands the least, but I don’t quite get what it is. A crewman is singing to Janice Rand down the hall, and Janice, who is thus far unaffected, complains to Spock. “Crewman, stand aside!” Spock orders, happy that someone thinks his words still hold sway. “Oh, yes sir,” the crewman says and does so. The minute Spock leaves, the crewman continues his singing. “Spock!” Janice calls out hopefully, but Spock’s talking to Scotty. ["Kick him in the balls, Randi! Justice for Janice!"-Redcoast]
Scotty and Spock bicker about whether Scotty can move faster. Scotty says no, Spock says yes. Scotty says he might blow up the ship if he goes faster. Spock points out that he has to move faster, because at the rate he is proceeding, he’ll take a minute and a half more than they have left, and the ship will blow up anyway. I guess that solves that argument.
Spock tells Scotty to hurry up.
In Sick Bay, a still unaffected McCoy and a somehow latently thus far affected Nurse Chapel keep examining Sulu. I guess McCoy is immune, because he’s been touching Sulu and Nurse Chapel for some time now. That’s lucky, that the Chief Medical Officer’s immune to this particular illness. Or maybe he just expresses all of his emotions, disease or no disease. McCoy tries to get a lab report from biopsy. “Harrison, where’s my report?” he exclaims, angrily. No response. “I’m going to the lab,” he tells Chapel gruffly. Chapel tells him that the tranquilizer on Sulu is wearing off. McCoy finds this good news, since he wants Sulu conscious now. Nurse responds in a sort of loopy manner, but McCoy is in too foul a mood to really notice. He leaves, she itches her hand and touches her awful hair in a feminine way.
Rand runs into the bridge, where two or three crewman are laughing hysterically. “Yeoman, take the helm!” Kirk exclaims. Is she trained in navigation, too? Why are the women who graduated from Starfleet either subservient to men or basically ship secretaries if they know things like medicine and navigation? Sigh. Kirk is freaking out on the bridge. He’s also touching a bunch of crazies, so it’s kind of weird that hasn’t gotten the sickness yet. “At least TRY cutting him off!” Kirk yells at Uhura. “Sir, if I could cut him off, don’t you think I’d…?” Uhura yells back, just as angry. She stops and they stare at each other silently for a second. Uhura agrees to keep trying. Kirk apologizes. They’re all stressed, what with the virus and the imminent planet breakup. I guess it could be worse: it could be a zombie invasion instead of a crazy one. Well, it isn't, so Spock's brain is safe... for the time being. Kirk intercoms Scotty and reminds him that it’ll take 2 or 3 minutes to warm up the engines at this rate. Uh, I think Scotty knows a little more about engines than you, Captain. Scotty responds confidently that they’ll make it. Yeah, and you said you’d have warp speed no matter what at the beginning of the episode, too. Stop acting so cocky, Scotty.
Spock walks into Sick Bay. Chapel is looking at herself in the mirror in the side room. I think she’s let down a bit of her hair, but seeing as I’ve spent most of the episode trying to ignore it, I can’t really tell. Spock sees her. “Nurse?” he asks. She turns. “Where is Dr. McCoy?” “He’s gone to the lab,” she explains dreamily. Spock walks back into the main room and tries to contact the lab. There is no response. Chapel has followed him in and is standing behind him, striking a “I’m Too Sexy For My Hair” pose. Anyone is too sexy for her hair. Dick Cheney is too sexy for her hair. He goes to leave, and she grabs his hand. “Mr. Spock,” she begins. The camera zooms in on their hands, like we’re stupid enough not to realize what the whole touching thing means by now. Or maybe the camera has to zoom in on it for the virus to take effect. That would explain McCoy and Kirk’s apparent immunity thus far. “The men from Vulcan treat their women very strangely,” Chapel says. Well, as far I can tell, that’s just Spock. Sarek treats Amanda quite well whenever we see them together. ["And that would be the strange treatment."-Redcoast] And Stonn seems pretty dedicated to T'Pring, but that's another story. “At least,” Chapel sighs, “people say that. But you’re part human, too.” Bad move, Chapel. I think we can all agree that the way to Spock’s oddly placed heart is not through bringing up his human side. “I know you don’t… you couldn’t hurt me. Would you?” He won't as long as you don't bring him any fuckin' plomeek soup, bitch. Spock just pulls his hand away from her as if she were diseased (which, to be fair, she is), and walks away looking very confused. He pauses before the doors, and she calls out, “I’m in love with you, Mr. Spock.” Spock looks absolutely terrified, and he glances at his hand. Although the romantic in me would like to say he’s just terrified of his feelings and he’s staring at his hand because she touched it in a loving manner, I’m pretty sure that Spock just realized that Chapel has the disease and has touched him. “You,” Chapel continues. “The human Mr. Spock. The Vulcan Mr. Spock.” The German Mr. Spock. The drug-addled Mr. Spock. The Mr. Spock who sings to hobbits.
Chapel confesses her love to Spock, and gives him the virus. Whoops.
“Nurse,” Spock tries to say, but Chapel interrupts him: “Christine… please. I see things, how honest you are. I know how you feel. You hide it, but you do have feelings.” She fangirls Spock for a while, saying things that every girl in love with Spock says, that he has these deep, tortured feelings. A kind of shaky Spock won’t look Chapel in the eye, and informs her that he is in control of his emotions. Whatever, Spock. Just start crying already so we can go back to the singing Irishman. Chapel goes on to say that she loves him just the way he is. “I’m sorry,” Mr. Spock rasps. The comm makes a wee-ooo sound. Uhura notifies Spock via intercom that the Captain is on his way to Engineering and needs Spock to take the bridge. Again, I'd like to point out that if Uhura is there, and she is a lieutenant, she can temporarily take the bridge. But no one ever seems to think of that. Spock pulls away a little and repeats, “I’m sorry, Nurse.” “Christine,” Chapel begs. An apologetic Spock nods: “Christine.”
Uhura is intent on getting Spock to respond. Spock finally pulls away and walks out the Sick Bay door.
And so Mr. Spock slowly begins to lose it. Disturbed, he walks down the hall. He pauses, whimpers, and then walks away. Aw!
I must admit, the whole Spock-expressing-emotions-suddenly plot was overplayed by the end of TOS, but this is the first time it appeared, and Nimoy does a pretty good job of it. It is kind of funny, though, that Spock has this deep torturous burden as his secret emotion, where as Sulu’s is… swashbuckling. ["Musketeers."-Redcoast] . And someone on Psi 2000’s was taking showers with his clothes on. Real deep.
Kirk arrives at Engineering, where Scott is cutting through the wires. Reilly is still serenading the crew. “Almost ready, sir” Scott confirms. Kirk just nods. Scotty’s patience pays off, and the door psh-psh’s open. Kirk, Scott, and a security team rush through the door, phasers on stun. A disappointed Reilly sees them and pauses his ballad. “No dance tonight,” he says to himself, sullenly.
Panic-stricken Spock is staggering down the hallway. He finally ducks into an empty room, and in a scene replayed a thousand times in YouTube videos across the internet, with soundtracks by artists as varied as NIN to Britney Spears to Jack Johnson, Spock leans against the psh-psh doors (can you do that? Wouldn’t they open?) and declares that he is “in control of [his] emotions.” “Control of my em—,” he tries to say, but he’s already crying. He tries to get himself together a couple more times, rambling to himself about duty. He even sits down at a science computer, murmuring that it's "too late". After a few more attempts at control, Spock just gives up and starts sobbing. It’s hard to humorously recap this scene, as I don’t even think McCoy could find cause to tease a sobbing Spock.
Spock's all, "I'm in control of my emotions!" and Spock's emotions are all, "Oh yeah Bitch?"
In Engineering, Kirk and Scotty try to get things in order. “Ship has started entering the planet’s atmosphere,” Uhura alerts them fairly cheerfully, given the situation. Maybe she's just excited that the situation has left her in charge of the bridge, for once. “Captain!” Scotty exclaims, alarmed. “He’s turned the engines off. Completely cold.” The “Oh No!” music plays and Kirk looks horrified. Scotty estimates a half hour before he can regenerate them. So wait, Reilly was able to hack into communications, turn off the engines (don't you think there'd be some device protecting that from happening?), hack into the psh-psh doors system, and take auxilary and impulse power away from the bridge? All in 15 minutes? While singing? The kid's a mechanical genius! Good God, hire him on as an Engineer! Scotty never gets anything done on until the nick of time anyway. Uhura informs them that the ship’s outer skin is beginning to heat. They have 8 minutes left. Kirk looks helplessly at Scotty. “I canna change the laws of physics!” Scotty says. “I’ve got to have 30 minutes!” The “Oh No!” music grows, and the screen fades to black.
We’re back with Kirk-log who tries to sum up the entire episode, but leaves out Dread Pirate Sulu. Come on, Kirk-log, that shit is classic. Scotty and Kirk argue about mixing the matter and anti-matter cold. Scotty seems to think the ship’ll explode. Kirk seems to think they don’t have any other choice. I’m siding with Kirk on this one, mostly because Scotty always seems to say "the ship'll blow to pieces!" when he means he doesn't know what will happen.["Scotty doesn't know anything! He's the anti-Spock: always, always wrong."-Redcoast]
Kirk asks the bridge if they’ve found Spock yet. They haven’t.
Cut to sick bay. Just like all good things in this episode, it begins with Sulu being crazy: a tense, flushed Sulu is screaming at the top of his lungs, and Bones is standing next to him staring at him in this classic crazy-eyed McCoy way with his eyebrow cocked. It just looks hilarious.
Sulu calms down, and then suddenly looks confused. “I was on the Bridge,” he says. A relieved McCoy beelines over to the computer, pushing the dazed Nurse Chapel out of the way as she plays with her hideous hair. He calls the lab, and gets a laughing technician. “It’s water! That’s how we missed it, it passes from man to man through perspiration!” “What’s that, Doctor?” the clearly infected crewman giggles. But McCoy, despite dealing with the disease for the last few hours, doesn’t apparently notice this small detail, and goes on babbling about how to do it, instead of getting his medical ass down to the lab and making some more serum himself.
Finally, Bones realizes that the guy is off his rocker and leaves, dismissing Sulu from Sick Bay in the process.
Kirk uses his Spockdar and finds Spock in the conference room. “What happened?” Kirk asks Spock. “My mother…” Spock replies. Yes, let’s start at the beginning. “I could never tell her I loved her,” Spock continues. “We’ve got four minutes left, maybe five,” Kirk says. This sounds like a therapist session already. “An Earth woman, living on a planet where love, emotion is bad taste,” Spock continues. And only getting laid once every seven years. Yikes. Kirk grabs Spock and animatedly explains the situation. “We’vegottorisk. A fullpower restart!” Kirk exclaims. “Doyouhearme? We’vegot! Torisk! A. Full. Power. Re. Start!” Spock keeps babbling about his lousy childhood, so Kirk slaps him in the face hard. Man, we gotta let Kirk loose on some of these emo bands. Then Spock goes in for the kill: “Jim, when I feel friendship for you, I’m ashamed!” Kirk slaps him three or four more times. I foresee this being a bad idea, since it’s often brought up that Vulcans are like ten times as strong as humans. Spock raises his hand and grasps Kirk’s midslap.
“Weneedaformula!” Kirk yells. “It’s never been done,” Spock replies, before going back to his feelings. Kirk slaps Spock again, and this time Spock hits back, sending Kirk flying over the table. Kirk gets up and yells about implosion again, how it’s their only chance. “It’s never been done,” Spock repeats, shaking his head sadly. “Don’t tell me that, Science Officer! It’s a theory, it’s possible!” Kirk yells. There’s blood in the corner of his lip. That always seems to be the one thing that happens to Kirk in a fight. Does he just have really weak lips or something? They seem to get enough exercise that one would think the opposite.
Kirk lists off some of Scotty’s hyperboles, about exploding like a sun and there being a one in 10,000 chance, but says they’ve got to take it. Kirk’s really losing it, and Uhura intercoms him asking if he’s found… “YES, I’VE FOUND MR. SPOCK,” Kirk yells, hitting the computer. What are you doing, Jim? This is highly irregular, Jim. “I AM TALKING TO MR. SPOCK, DOYOUUNDERSTAND?!” “Yes, sir,” Uhura replies cheerfully. I love when you can tell that they recorded things at different times. Kirk frantically rubs his hands like they itch. Dum dum dum! You know, the incubation period of this sickness was a lot longer when Sulu got it. I was letting the Mr. Spock thing slide since his metabolism is different, but now I’m chalking it up to inconsistency. ["Maybe he was infected when he touched Sulu earlier. It's not like it would be easy to tell if Kirk was infected."-Redcoast] ["Maybe he doesn't even have the disease. Maybe he's just using it as an excuse to outwhine Spock." --recapsule]
Kirk is shaking. “I’ve got it,” he says. “The disease!” For someone who is aware of their condition, he doesn't even pause to breathe before starting to show the symptoms: “Love, you’re better off without it. I’m better off without mine! This vessel… I give, she takes. She won’t permit me my life, I’ve got to live hers.” He starts talking about how hot Rand is, and complains that Spock is allowed to notice that she is attractive. Way to pour lemon juice on the paper cut that is Spock’s dilemma, Jim. He was just complaining to you about how he can’t feel love. “Jim,” Spock says. “There is an intermix formula.” Why the disease seems to have worn off on Spock, I'm not sure. But Spock is finally on topic, and Kirk doesn’t care. He keeps babbling about his love for the Enterprise. Scotty apparently has Kirkdar just like Kirk has Spockdar, because he walks into the Conference room. “Captain?” he asks. “Scotty!” Kirk gasps, his eyes comically wide in pain, “Help!” I know I said I couldn’t make fun of Spock being in pain, thus I feel a little bad that I can laugh this hard at Kirk right now, but he is so Shatnerized during this scene. His overacting makes Scotty’s accent sound real.
Spock is entirely in control now, and he tells Scotty that he’ll send the intermix formula via the bridge. Kirk tells him and Scotty, shaking, to clear the corridors. Not sure why this is necessary, or why he thinks that anyone will still obey him. They go off to do so, and Kirk looks around at the Enterprise. “Never lose you,” he murmurs, assumably adding ‘Unless you’re being retired anyway and I need to save my friend/kill some Klingons’ in his head. “Never.”
Kirk limps down the hall sadly, and goes to the elevator. On the doors is written “SINNER REPENT” in that same red writing. Again, I’m not sure what the significance of this statement is, but I guess there must be one. Kirk glances at it menacingly. He wipes the blood from his lips.
The planet surface is coming into view. A recovered Sulu is staring at it, concerned, like he wishes that maybe McCoy hadn’t fixed him so quickly. Kirk walks onto the bridge and McCoy, I kid you not, rips open his shirt to give him the serum. I think DeForest is trying not to laugh for a brief moment, but Shatner is taking the whole business very seriously. Why the ripping of the shirt is necessary, I don't quite know. ["I believe it was in Shatner's contract that he had to show some skin from his collar bone to his navel every episode."-Redcoast] We know that hypos can go through clothing. Maybe Kirk was jealous that Spock got the tight black shirt scene. Well, Kirk, if you wore a tight black shirt under your official one, maybe you too could have some tight black shirt scenes instead of sweaty red chest scenes. Kirk takes his seat, ripped shirt and all. He didn’t scream when he was given the shot. I guess Sulu is a sensitive soul.
I don't find it surprising that Kirk's shirt is so easy to rip. It explains why no one loses their shirt nearly as much as Kirk.
He sets everything up for the antimatter/matter implosion, and sets a course for back “from where we came”. Kirk sees Rand to the left of him and reaches his hand out to touch her ridiculous hair, but stops himself. “No beach to walk on,” he says bitterly. Come on, he was given the serum. Why’s still complaining about not having a woman or life other than the Entperise?
Wait, wait, wait. Back this train the fuck up. Kirk is complaining about not having another woman or life other than the Enterprise? You’ve got to be kidding me! He can’t go four episodes without playing hide the space salami with some scantily clad space person! He probably has kids hidden in every corner of the galaxy. I bet by Voyager, half the Space Age population is somehow related to Kirk.
Spock and Scott get the antimatter ready. A nervous Kirk orders the Engineer room and the navigation crew to engage. Everyone stands around nervously. McCoy looks surprisingly calm, considering how much he usually freaks out about everything. Everyone stares at the screen, and suddenly they all act as though in terrible pain.
I bet you're all glued to your seats in suspense, wondering if everyone on the Enterprise is going to die during the sixth episode!
But it worked! They’re moving backwards in space!
Spock somehow makes it up to the Bridge from Engineering in like a minute. He goes straight to Kirk. “Are you alright, Captain?” he asks, concerned. Kirk smiles and nods. “You?” he asks. Spock gives a tiny smile and nods, too. How precious. “We’ve found a cure. We’re over that part of it,” McCoy explains, reminding them that he’s technically a main character, too. Sorry, McCoy, you’re not credited in the opening until season 2!
“Captain!” a shocked Sulu exclaims. “My velocity readings are off the scale!” Spock explains that they are now traveling faster than is possible for normal space. Kirk asks Sulu to check elapsed time. The clock is going BACKWARDS! Dum dum dum! Wow, this is also the first time that the Enterprise space travels. A lot of clichés began in this episode. Sulu informs Kirk of this development. “Time warp!” Kirk exclaims. It’s just a jump to the left, and an antimatter-matter implosion to the right. “We’re going backwards in time,” Kirk adds, for those of us slow enough not to pick up on the most recent dewelopment. Uh, development. Sorry. I’m going into Chekov vithdrawal. Reilly is a poor, Irish substitute.
Kirk orders them to reverse engines. They do so. “We’re back to normal time, Captain,” Spock confirms. Kirk asks him what the time warp did. “We regressed in time 71 hours,” Spock explains. “It is now three days ago, Captain. We have… three days to live over again. This does open some intriguing prospects, Captain.” Spock starts taking about why time travel would be neat. “We may risk it some day, Mr. Spock,” Kirk replies. Yeah, multiple times, mostly to dates between 1900 and 1990.
So the Time Warp saved the day. I feel happy about this, until I realize that this means Blue Redshirt isn't dead! Noooooooooo! He lives!
“Resume course to our next destination, Mr. Sulu,” Kirk orders. Yeah, even though we have a cure and could easily explore that nearly extinct planet/lay those scientists to rest, let's just ... pretend that never happened. Since Star Trek is so good at doing that.
“Course laid in, sir,” Sulu replies, turning back to his post.
“Steady as she goes,” Kirk says, which I think is supposed to be Terribly Meaningful, since we now know that Kirk is, um, practically celibate due to the Enterpirse.
Yeah, whatever, Kirk.
Steady as she goes!