Corbomite. Corbomite. Corbomite. Hard to say aloud, especially if you’re Corene and keep wanting to say carbonite (Corene is very excited about Star Wars). This is a solid, smart, professional episode for the Enterprise crew in which there is a mystery to be solved and a problem to be strategized away, which is one of Trek’s greatest strengths.
Well. Except for that asshole, Bailey, who spends 50 minutes losing his shit in progressively more unprofessional and disruptive ways, to such an extent that we wondered five minutes in why this man was in Starfleet to begin with and yelling career advice at the screen, e.g. You Are A Terrible Starfleet Officer.
This episode was meant to be the first episode after the real pilot, but its unprecedented amount of special effects delayed its release. Most of this story is about the Enterprise v.s. varying sizes and shapes of space-light, so you can imagine why that might flummox 1960s effects departments.
You could even call this an episode-in-a-bottle, because the crew spends 99% of the story staring out into space at the won’t-leave-them-alone mysterious space cube and outmaneuvering its big brother, Space-Disco-Ball. Our crew is cast as the reasonable victims of an outrageously unreasonable, unseen alien threat that decides they must be destroyed, no questions-asked, for trespassing into unmarked sovereign space. But our alien aggressors are apparently unaware of what we the viewers already knew, which is that you should never try to out-bluff James Tiberius Kirk. Mostly this episode is a ton of tense hurry-up-and-wait, all in all a great example of a smart, sensible starship crew trying their intelligent best against intractable space-jerks.
Well. Except for Bailey, who ends up adopted out to the aliens in the interests of diplomacy. Probably the best thing for everyone.
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[From The Not So Much The Neutral Zone Podcast]
Here’s another life-lesson for you: when a bunch of aliens have spent an entire episode shooting at you and trying to kidnap you, maybe don’t accept their booze without testing it first, Bones.
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