So, if you ever wanted a textbook example of How Not To Behave in a Space Crisis, this is that episode. Our fair ship is on a mission of mercy, delivering medical supplies to a beleaguered colony, but “standing orders” to study all pulsar phenomena (???) mean they must delay said mission of mercy so that shuttle Galileo can investigate an unexpected pulsar. For reasons, basically.
This episode does contain Trek’s first shuttle departure (which excited us a whole lot), the first time the rank of Ensign is spoken aloud (heralding, eventually, the much-deserved death of the Yeoman/Space-Secretary rank for lady guest stars), some of the silliest Styrofoam rock-throwing in classic Trek, and some alien facial prosthetics that we never see because they were deemed too scary for 1960s television.
It’s also one of the more contrived setups we’ve seen, as Kim says, “a plan to get them on a planet… with danger.” All so that the shuttle can crash on a (completely ridiculous) terrible monster-ridden planet and snipe at each other and behave in various out-of-character ways.
We were not huge fans of this one, obviously. It all seemed like a wrong-ordered process, where they decided they wanted to create a situation where the show could sloppily shove interpersonal conflict in the audience’s face, and they didn’t care about how they got there – up to and including forgetting established character traits and basic facts, like the fact that Spock is the fucking first officer and therefore this obviously cannot be his first command, and handily showcasing early Starfleet’s general failure at instilling inter-cultural and inter-species sensitivity in its recruits.
Another one to add to the list of suggestions on your Starfleet Evaluation Card.
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[From The Not So Much The Neutral Zone Podcast]
This episode is also a helpful itemized list of Crew To Definitely Not Take On Further Away Missions, also Crew Better Reassigned to the Onboard Puppy Clinic.
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