143: Star Trek TOS Season 1, “The Corbomite Maneuver”

https://youtu.be/GjX7pQCOamA

Matt and Sean talk about playing three-dimensional poker when your opponent is playing… something else…? This is where the Star Trek we all know really kicks off with Spock, Kirk, Sulu … and now Bones. Who wants some Tranya?

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Hey everybody. In this episode of Trek in Time, we’re talking about bluffing your way out of a bad situation, but first the Tranya. Ha ha. That’s right, everybody. We’re talking about Star Trek season one, the Corbomite Maneuver. This is episode number 10 in broadcast order, but third in shooting order and the second in our entry into the original series.

Welcome everybody to Trek in Time. Where we’re watching every episode in Star Trek in chronological order. And we’re taking a look at my brother lose his mind. Uh, we’re taking a look at the episodes in chronological order. And we’re also taking a look at what happened at the time of original broadcast in history.

So, we are doing it according to stardate order, not broadcast order. Which The astute among, you may have noticed something last week,

there was

no episode. And that’s because Matt and I sat down and I was literally moments away from starting my intro about the Corbomite Maneuver when Matt said Wait, we were supposed to watch The Man Trap, right?

Go!

What makes this particularly funny to me is, is as we were doing the outro in the previous episode, I made a point of saying, Hey everybody, pay attention to the list we have on our website. It’s the right order for this podcast. Don’t go according to the order of the episodes on your streaming service, your CDs, or your DVDs, or your videotapes, or your mom.

And then we sat down, and what happened to Matt? Hey man, I had a good excuse. He fell into the Matt trap.

I had a good excuse.

This is true, you did have a good excuse. You were coming up from a pretty intense procedure. Yes,

yes. I was not thinking clearly.

Yes, Matt was not himself. So today’s episode, episode 10 in broadcast order, but number three in production.

And one of the reasons for delay was that this is a pretty special effect heavy episode. I did not watch the original broadcast special effects. I watched the enhanced version, which is the more recent one, uh, which I thought were terrific. But I do remember that the original episode, the special effects, there’s a lot of them.

There’s a lot of exterior stuff. There’s a lot of stuff going on in this. So it delayed the broadcasting. And one of the things I want to point out right here at the top, like I mentioned, we’re not following broadcast order. We are going to be ping ponging around through dates because when they broadcast these, they had no concern about continuity.

So they put them out in an order that fit what they felt they needed. So you’re going to have to pay attention to the list. You’re also going to pay attention to the sound of my voice. Do as I say, not as Matt do. Before we get into the newest episode, we’re going to talk about our previous episode, which is of course, Where no man has gone before.

So Matt, what did you find in the mailbag for us to discuss before we get to the new one?

Okay. There’s some good comments here. Uh, first one was from Sebastian DK 9575. Finally, we’re here. That was it. That’s all he said. Yep. Yep. Um, yes, Sebastian, we’re finally here. It’s taken a while, but we made it. We did.

Uh, PaleGhost69 wrote, I’m convinced this whole episode was just an experiment by the Q continuum to see how humans would react to having godlike power. It would fit that this is an alternate timeline. And the rest of the show, one, because the casting differences and two, the experiment doesn’t affect the prime timeline.

I don’t know. It was kind of a fun retconning. A fun

retconning. Yeah. And there’s also, I mean, we’re going to have more than one time during this run of the original series where we’re going to be in a position where we could say that could have been. The Q. A Q. There’s, it’s going to happen more than once.

And I look forward to those moments.

A comment from Kindredsgirl who wrote, How weird to time travel back to 1966, which is when I was born, by the way. In terms of the original series, I am admittedly good at suspending disbelief, but I really enjoyed the episode. I think you have, I think you either have to ignore or embrace the cheesiness of the sets, the makeup choices, and the 1960s effects and props.

I thought it was pretty dark for a pilot episode. Yes, it was. Yeah. And holy cow, does Kirk make really sketchy choices. Yes, he does. But man, so, so much drama. Aside, how do you fly your spaceship out of the galaxy? Like, is there a line in space surrounding the whole thing? Also, plus, plus, plus 100 heart emoji, heart emoji for shirtless Kirk.

There you go. He still does it. Ah, he’s such a dream. He’s a dreamboat. He is a dreamboat. And man, he’s shirtless in this one too, this one we’re going to be talking about. So you’re killing me, doc. You’re killing me. Then there was a comment from Steve C. Photos. The dated effects don’t bother me at all, but this episode really stands out for its cheap feel.

Notice the shadows from the cast standing on the bridge. I guess the second pilot lacked the budget for backlighting on the set. Maybe it did. A particularly cringeworthy moment is Dr. Denner in sickbay responding to Mitchell’s apology about the walking freezer unit, a remark that said, well, women professionals tend to overcompensate.

Yeah, yeah.

So many cringeworthy moments in that. Don’t forget guys, it’s not your

fault if you point them out.

Yeah, and there’s, there’s some in this episode too. Anyway, let’s not even get into the deleted scene with Mitchell walking down the hall near the opening of the episode, almost reaching out to grope the blonde yeoman as he walks towards the turbolift.

Since you are going in stardate or production order, there is even Still, an episode or two where Spock barks out orders on the bridge, which is the one we just watched.

Happens here today, yes. The one

we’re talking about today. He’s shouting on this one. Then chastises Bailey for raising his voice. I made a comment for myself when I watched this episode last night, Sean.

That it was so ironic that literally, like, seconds before Spock is on the bridge, Barking out the orders, do this, do this, and then he sits there and goes, You don’t have to yell to Bailey. I was like, wait, what is happening, Spock? Yeah. That all being said, the dialogue and interactions with most of the cast puts this in top 10 episode material for me.

That’s one of the things I want to kind of, I wanted to highlight from this comment, and I feel the same way about the episode we’re about to talk about. Even though there’s so much cheesiness, With the sets and the, some of the acting is a little over the top from what we would consider acceptable today and all that kind of stuff.

Storytelling really is. Top notch. Like, so if you can kind of look past the cheese, it’s like, there’s some really good stuff coming on these episodes and some really like really witty one liners that are delivered that I don’t remember. It’s been so long since I’ve watched these all. It’s like, I’m like laughing out loud.

There’s some genuinely funny moments and dramatic moments. I just did not recall. It’s, it’s, it’s kind of surprising. Um, if you can look past the cheesy Set decorations and stuff like that. I

agree completely. And I like, I like in the comments the pointing out of the production values of the second pilot.

It does look cheaper than it does. Yes. Than the show does here. And I do think that is very much. The reluctance of the studio to give them a second go was probably, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they were told, you get a second shot, but you get half the money. And maybe it was a skeleton crew doing the camera work.

Um, it seems like it’s very basic shots. There is an intense Set design need of the, the planet when they go down below and, and there’s the special effects of the, the flowering plants that appear and the creation of the hole in the ground and stuff like that. Money probably went into that as opposed to going into, into the context

Yeah. In the context. And instead of going into things like, uh, the, the lighting in the background, ’cause they have that one shot, which would’ve been. What do they call it? What do you call it? When they paint the, the background and it’s actually closer to the camera than where the people are. The Matt

painting,

the matte painting.

Um, there’s a beautiful matte painting shot in where no man has gone before, where they’re showing the mining setup. And it gives it this sense of scale, which is terrific. And I was very impressed by that while seeing other things in the show that felt like, Oh, these are a little cheap. And the, the costumes don’t look like they fit everybody.

And it looks a little janky at times, but on the whole, I agree. You can look past all of that. And I also agree in this episode, I agree with everything you just said, Matt. This feels like, holy cow. This is like, Knocks it up a notch that if you were tuning in and you were like, I’m going to forgive that previous one for being a pilot, because this next episode is probably going to be closer to what they’re trying to do.

It’s unfortunate that this was delayed until the 10th episode, because if this was your second episode in broadcast. Would have captured a bigger audience, I think, um, at this point for them to be doing this kind of thing, which feels almost cinematic is really impressive. Before we get into our discussion though, that noise in the background is of course the read alert, which means that it’s time for Matt to tackle the description of the episode.

Matt, take it away.

The Corbamite Maneuver is the 10th episode of the first season of American science fiction television series, Star Trek. The episode follows the USS Enterprise as they encounter a massive and powerful alien starship, the Fesarius, and its unusual commander, Balok. Balok announces that he will destroy the Enterprise for trespassing into the First Federation territory and destroying the Markerbuoy.

He gives the crew ten minutes to pray to their deities. First Officer Spock obtains a visual of Balok, a blue skinned humanoid with constantly shifting facial features. The crew of the Enterprise, led by Captain James T. Kirk, attempt to bluff their way out of the situation by claiming that the Enterprise contains Corbomite, a substance that automatically destroys any attacker.

I mean, if you think of, I’m rubber, you’re glue, that’s what’s up for me. Sticks to you, Sean. Kirk refuses to provide proof of Corbomite’s existence, and Balok does not destroy the Enterprise. Instead, a small tugboat ship detaches from the Fesarius and tows the Enterprise deep into First Federation space.

Where Balok states the crew will be interned on the Earth like planet and the Enterprise destroyed. The Enterprise crew, led by Kirk, McCoy, and Bailey, beam over to the tug ship, discover that Balok, on their monitor, was an effigy. The real Balok, looking like hyper intelligent humanoid chi human child, enthusiastically welcomes them aboard.

He explains that he was merely testing the Enterprise and his crew to discover their true intentions. Balok expresses a desire to learn more about the humans and their culture and suggests that they allow a member of the crew to remain on his ship as an emissary of the Federation. Bailey happily volunteers and Balok gives him a tour of his ship.

As mentioned before, this is episode number 10 in broadcast, but third in production. It’s directed by Joseph Sargent, written by Jerry Sohl, and it was originally broadcast on November 10th, 1966. We have the main cast. William Shatner as Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Spock, DeForest Kelly as Bones. James Doohan as Scotty, Nichelle Nichols as Uhura, George Takei as Sulu, Nigel Barrett as Christine Chappell and the voice of the computers, and Grace Lee Whitney as Janice Rand.

And in this episode, we have guest stars, little Clint Howard, only 7 years old, the brother of Ron Howard, director and actor of some fame, and one of my favorite things I’ve ever seen on television was years ago, When the MTV Movie Awards did a Lifetime Achievement Award to Clint Howard, in which they showed a summary of his guest stints, including this clip of him as Balok, as Balok saying, ah, Tranya, and he was only seven.

Also in this episode, Anthony Call played Lieutenant Bailey, Walker Edmiston was the voice of Balok. And Ted Cassidy was the voice of the Balok Puppet. So when they board the ship, you’re hearing the voice of Walker Edmiston. And when they are communicating from ship to ship, it’s the voice of Ted Cassidy, which is of course an incredibly deep and booming voice.

And the world on November 10th, 1966. Well, Matt, this is a number one song that you and I both can recall. Last Train to Clarksville by the Monkees was the number one song in the country at that time. And on the box office, people were lining up to see the movie Hawaii. Hawaii is a 1966 American epic drama directed by George Roy Hill.

It’s based on the 1959 novel by James Michener. And it tells the story of an 1820s Yale university divinity student played by Max von Sydow, who accompanied by his new bride, Julie Andrews. becomes a missionary in the Hawaiian islands. It was filmed at Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, and on the island of Kauai and O’ahu in Hawaii, and is basically a tale of colonialism.

Yes. Huzzah.

And we’ve been talking about the various shows that Star Trek would have been broadcast alongside. We’ve mentioned before that some of them include Batman, F Troop, The Dating Game, Bewitched, That Girl, My Three Sons, and Daniel Boone and Dragnet. And the number one programs that would have been airing in 1966.

We’ve talked about the number one show, which was Bonanza, which earned a 29. 1 rating, according to Nielsen. At this point, in the first season, Star Trek would average a 12 rating. Rating in the Nielsen rankings. So that gives you some sense of scale. The number two show in 1966 was the Red Skelton Hour.

Red Skelton was a comedian. It was a variety show full of comedy, sketches, and musical numbers, and was basically the equivalent of. It was kind of a predecessor to a show like Laugh In, which of course would then lead its DNA leading into Saturday Night Live. So it’s that kind of, of And in the news, on this date There were stories about the GOP finds 1968’s outlook brighter as it counts election successes.

In the elections in 1966, which had taken place a week before, it gained 47 seats in the House and eight governorships across the country. So it is a forecast of the GOP felt of what might come in 1968, which of course, was true As at that point, Nixon would win the presidency. Just real quick, I wanted to mention.

Right at the top. This is the first episode that we have the, what we think of as the original crew. It is funny to think that we’ve had multiple episodes that are in effect the original, original crew. We have the original pilot. No, move them on. We have the second pilot. No, no, no. We’re not keeping all of them.

Here we go. This is who we’re going with. So we end up with an episode where it feels a little bit like you can see, like if you peek the right way, that they’re introducing all the characters. Everybody gets a moment for somebody else to say, ah, your name is blah, blah, blah. And your job is blah, blah, blah.

So there is a moment where we see Bailey referred to as the navigator. Sulu is referred to as the helmsman. We see Scotty, you’re the best engineer in the fleet. We see Bones, for the first time in this episode, in an opening that I actually think if I liked the introduction of Scotty in Strange New Worlds, Where he shows up and he’s just kind of like slouching there, his arms are crossed and he’s just like kind of casually brilliant while people around him say you’re brilliant in a way that doesn’t make sense because you’re like cobbling these things together and you don’t even know what you did to make them.

I liked that introduction of Scotty. And of course at this point where we also have to rely on our introduction of Uhura is not simply as a face in the background like it is in this episode. We’ve seen her now for years. On Strange New Worlds, but you gotta love this introduction of Dr. McCoy. Because not only do we see him putting Kirk through his paces, we see two things that stood out to me as like, wow, they knew, somebody knew who McCoy needed to be.

Do you want to take a guess as to what the two elements that I’m talking about that really like shine a light on McCoy for me?

Oh, the first one, I thought this was brilliant. Like, this is a brilliant introduction to our character. him not acknowledging there’s a red alert going on when he’s testing out Kirk.

He like deliberately is kind of like, okay, kind of positions himself in a way kind of like to help mask it. It’s like he is deliberately hiding it from him. And you find out he’s doing that because he’s been trying to get this physical done of the captain for who knows how long. And he’s like, I’m not giving up on this.

It’s like, the ship is in danger. And McCoy is like, damn it. No, you’re finishing this physical. That says so much about his character. It’s fantastic. I love it.

You got the first one right on the nose. What do you think the second one was?

The second one, was it in this scene or did it come later?

It was in the scene.

It was in the scene because I was going to say the other scene for me was like when they’re having the yeoman comes in with the meal and he had changed the captain’s meal. It was just like,

that’s another good scene. That’s another good scene. But what I’m talking about is in this first introduction, Kirk, Uh, when he realizes the alarm is going off, he reprimands the doctor and he then turns and storms out of the doctor’s office and McCoy is left and says, what am I, a doctor or a moon shuttle conductor?

If I jumped every time. That a red light went off around here, I’d be talking to myself as he’s talking to himself. That, that, to me, those two things. That line, yeah,

I, that line, I didn’t put it as great character moment, but I put that down because that’s what I was saying. Those funny one-liners, those, the wit of the show.

That was it. It was like when he said that I was laughing so hard. I was like, that is such a great moment to have. Um, but you’re right, that is a key character trait of him that I just, it didn’t click for me the way it did for you, but yeah, you’re a hundred percent right.

Yeah. I also found myself really thinking something happened between the shooting of the original pilot and this, when somebody recognized, Oh, George Takei, we need him closer to the cameras because he has the ability to give knowing looks.

To people that just reads like confidence in their abilities. He’s really subtle in it, but when he looks at people and gives them to like, like, it’s going to be hard, but we can do this. He gives that to Bailey throughout this. And when he has to lean over and do Bailey’s job for him, the hesitation. To do it, but also the knowledge, like these, I have to do these things.

I have to do his job because he’s freezing and the professionalism there, his charm in the conversation, his, his leaning into humor. And I like in this first episode, there is a moment where Spock says something, which is effectively sarcastic. And Sulu kind of gives him a little glance and I immediately flash forward decades.

To the episode of Voyager, where they do the backstory of the sixth movie and you see Captain Sulu aboard the Excelsior say to one of his crewmen, he’s a flyer apart then, but he says to Tuvok, if you’re going to be on my bridge crew, you have to have a sense of humor. And don’t tell me Vulcans. Don’t have a sense of humor.

I know better. Like, I immediately. Like, connected to that, and the ability in the very brief introductions to give a sense of who these characters are, I think is masterfully done in this episode, while also having a story which is epic. And gripping. And so the balance there I thought was really, really well done.

One of the things I noticed. Yeah, go ahead. Go ahead. Hold on. Before I go, before we go away from Sulu, the other thing in that moment where Spock basically cracks a joke, when he makes that, Bailey says something to him. I can’t remember what the line was. He delivers back, but it’s a joke. It’s like a Vulcan joke that he says back and Bailey’s got this look on his face like he’s taking him literally and Sulu gives that glance of like burn.

He recognizes the joke. Don’t

cross brains with Spock and come out. He’ll cut you to pieces. Exactly.

That to me was the original series version of what happened in Strange New Worlds where Um, uh, the, the Spock is having that meal with that Vulcan and, uh, the navigator, I’m blanking on her name, Ortegas, is making fun of what they’re saying to each other.

And the doctor goes, Oh no, they hate each other. And he’s describing exactly what he’s seeing. It’s like that Sulu’s reaction in that moment was like the doctor’s reaction in that moment on Strange Worlds. It’s like, here are our characters. that truly understand their, the Vulcan ness of things and the multifaceted aspects of these characters that look kind of deadpan on the surface.

I thought that was really kind of fun that I didn’t remember that, that Sulu right from the get go was this charming, very funny guy. Um, and there’s a chemistry there. Like you said, something happened between the pilot, the second pilot and this, something happened. What happened, Sean, was they figured out the chemistry of the Yeah.

That’s what they figured out. And by putting Sulu there as the foil for that moment, it gives the spark, that X factor that was missing in the pilot, and then also Bones,

massive

X factor. You’ve got this contrarian, this foil for everybody in Bones. It’s like all the stuff that was missing, that dynamism, that spark is now here.

I want to talk a little bit about that and to get to that moment about McCoy being the foil, I want to talk a little bit first about Kirk’s development in this episode. It feels, this feels, the, the, Where No Man Has Gone Before felt like a proto Kirk. It was, that felt less Kirk even than the Kirk we’ve seen in Strange New Worlds.

Where, and I think it’s easier for Strange New Worlds to give us a Kirk that feels like Kirk than it is for the second pilot to give us a Kirk that feels like Kirk because William Shatner is like figuring it out, the writers are figuring it out, but in Strange New Worlds they had 60 years of TV and movie history to say to the actor, like, here’s what you need to do.

Here’s what, here’s how this has to be portrayed. This Kirk feels like the Kirk who’s not shooting from the hip and just being like, well, why don’t we fly through that barrier? Oh my God, nine people died. It’s, it’s, it’s doesn’t have that element. This has the Kirk who is measured and confident and reliant on his crew.

And. looks to them to push and to question and to test so that when he makes a decision, he feels like he’s explored, truly explored all the options. And I think that that comes to the fore when McCoy comes up multiple times and is like, you’re pushing Bailey too hard. You are going to make him crack and that is not good for him.

And they have a contentious moment where it is a back and forth between the two of them. Where McCoy effectively says, I will report you to Starfleet for having ridden this officer too hard, and Kirk and he get into it, and then have a nice little apology afterward, in which McCoy half heartedly says, well, I don’t know how you kept from punching me in the face.

Um, what did you think about that, back and forth?

I was going to say That, I love that aspect too. The, the, like I said, the foilness of Bones and that scene where he comes on the bridge and is challenging him about Bailey, I thought that was great. And what I thought was really fun was in the, it’s, it’s weird because like, why is the doctor on the bridge during the red alert when they’ve just been told everybody’s going to die in 10 minutes and he chooses now to fight him on Bailey?

It’s like, yeah, they all might be dead in 10 minutes. Who cares? He’s got stuff to deal with right now. Why are you doing this right now? But it fits because of that opening scene with him where he’s ignoring the red alert to get the physical done for the captain. It shows that he is putting his need to be the best doctor and his duty of being a doctor and making sure everybody is being treated properly above all else.

And then later in the episode when he comes on the bridge and challenges the captain at that moment, it makes sense because this is who he is. It’s like, yeah, this is all noise. I’m concerned about Bailey. Let’s talk about Bailey. And the cat is like, screw off. Stop talking to me about Bailey. He’s like, I got a bigger fish to

fry, doc.

Yeah. Yeah. To me, it felt so true to the character. It felt It was a really great moment because it gets that um, I know there’s a lot of people that don’t like Discovery and Strange New Worlds because there’s this kind of a soap opera esque quality to the storytelling and the acting and stuff like that, especially Discovery, but that existed in this and that scene.

It’s a prime example of it. It was done even in the original series, it was just done in a different way, but it’s there. Here’s character drama happening, and they’re doing it in the middle of a scene, which wouldn’t be doing this. Who would be doing this? Bones would be doing this. Bones does it. Yes, exactly.

I love it.

Yeah. I also like the depiction of Bailey here, and I think it’s another, like, early on, we didn’t have red shirts. We didn’t have, like, like, oh, they’re beaming down to the planet, and I don’t know the name of that guy in the red shirt. Dead man walking. We don’t have that at this point. This is the second time that the guy in that chair ends the episode leaving the series.

We had, in the first episode, in Where No Man Has Gone Before, we have a guy become a god, and he ends up dying, and that was his chair. Now we have Bailey sitting in the chair, and I like the parallelism that they establish of Kirk sees himself in Bailey. And we know from the previous stories that we’ve talked about last week, Kirk’s history is he was very driven at a young age.

We saw him in Strange New Worlds. He was already moving up the ranks. He’d already been an instructor at Starfleet Academy. He rose to the captain’s seat by stepping into. A leadership role after a calamity. And it’s that action that gets him the seat of the captain seat on the enterprise to put a character in front of him, who’s supposed to be a younger version of him that he thinks he’s grooming to be that kind of leader.

I think is a really interesting spin because it is showing that mentor relationship effectively failing. He’s not doing a good job for Bailey. And Bailey manages to pull himself out of it through, he effectively has a breakdown and by the end of the episode is able to catch his breath enough to come back to the bridge.

How did you feel about that arc? Of, for Bailey in particular, I liked the, the clear signs that this is a guy who does belong on the bridge of a ship, but it’s starting to crack and he falls and then has to stand back up and come back and effectively say, let me try it again. I liked that. And I found it fascinating that it culminates in him leaving the series.

Like this kind of like, I get this opportunity to do this wild thing. Which is why I’m here in the first place, to be an explorer. What did you think about that?

Here’s where you and I diverge. I thought this was the weakest part of the episode. I, I did not like Bailey’s character. I had this reaction of like, that chair on the bridge is cursed because here we go again.

First guy that sat there was a Horndog, misogynist, and then ended up getting killed. And now we got a guy who looks like he’s barely holding on to reality and then breaks down completely and can’t do his job. So it’s just, I, I had a problem and I think the problem was not necessarily the writing. I think it was probably the 1960s acting.

It was not subtle would be the kindest way to put it. Yeah. It was like his initial cracks. were like at 10

for me. He’s got some fantastic moments when he’s just like, somebody’s got to do something, do something.

Yes. So his, his, his beginning to crack was already at 10. And then when he actually does like break, he is like chewing scenery all over the bridge and like just over the top, like in a theater talking to the last row.

It’s like, it’s so in your face that it was to me, laughable. It was just like everything else. I was kind of like, Oh, cool with chill with, and let me like, okay, this is nice. And then his performance, this is 2024 person talking about 1960s. But at the same time, it’s just like, it just really took me out of it.

Um, did not like it at all. I liked the concept of it. I’m with you on the concept.

Yeah. I think,

I

think that, yeah, I think that this is a moment, um, this aspect of the show and to a certain degree, a few other, a few other line readings from different people. There are moments where it’s like 1960s acting is standing in the way, but I think I was more forgiving of that in this one than you were.

Um, but I did see it as well. I would like to visit now two last, uh, elements in the show that stood out to me. What did you see as the now beginning of the relationship between Kirk and Spock that we know is the truer to the original series that will be moving forward as opposed to last week where it felt, it felt like two people who were still getting to know each other.

It almost feels like where No Man Has Gone before you could kind of say like, well, in timeline, maybe that’s like a full year before this. Like, it feels like it could be very early in his captaincy of the Enterprise, and now it’s a different relationship between all of these people. Sulu clearly knows Spock, like, they’ve been serving together.

Uh, Uhura is in the background. We know that she’s been on the ship for years, but this is a moment where the two of them, to me Again, something happened, somebody realized, like, oh, we need to, like, they need to be tight. They need to have this kind of unspoken, like, the ability to look at each other and just know.

And I see the beginnings of that here. What did you think about the dynamic that was displayed?

Oh, it was the same thing. It was the pilot felt out of place. This felt more in line with the Spock and Kirk. Meeting each other on the Strange New Worlds episode, playing chess and all that kind of stuff. It felt authentic.

It felt, um, true from that through line between the most modern Star Trek show to the oldest Star Trek show. It felt like, oh, these are the characters that know each other. And there’s like this, unspoken dialogue that’s happening between the two of them the entire time. Uh, a couple of scenes that came to mind were, there was a, I can’t remember what it was, the captain asked Spock to give a suggestion about something.

Spock gave the suggestion and the captain basically rejected it. And then Spock says, Why do you ask me things when you already have made up your mind? And it was just like, that little scene was like, that is such a Spock Kirk moment. And I was shocked that they nailed it. This early in the show. Yeah. And then there was another scene where I thought it was, once again, witty dialogue, dad joke happened with Kirk.

Where they’re in the ready room and they’re, he asks Spock to make an assessment about that thing that’s in front of the ship, just floating there, the buoy. And Spock says, it’s one of two things. And he, he mentions the first thing. And then the second one, he goes, fly paper.

Yeah.

And Kirk just looks at him and goes, so you don’t recommend sticking around?

Yeah. He, the way he, The way Shatner delivered that line was not a ba doom doom chink wink. He just deadpanned it and went right into the next line and it kept going. And I was, once again, laughing so hard. And again, that’s the relationship between these two. Here’s this Spock giving an analogy that a human will just immediately get and then Kirk coming back with a one liner.

sarcastic remark and then moving on. It was like the relationship between these two I thought was so well rendered and I was shocked that it happened this early in the series.

Yeah. I agree particularly with both of those. And for the first one that you mentioned, especially, this is the first officer being belligerent to the captain.

If you take two officers who haven’t served with each other and the first officer says the captain, why are you asking me questions when you’ve already, you’ve already decided on the course of action, that would not be great. That would not be a good thing for a first officer to do. The fact that Spock doesn’t hear, these two guys have known each other for a long time, and they trust each other, and Spock is testing the boundaries, not of their relationship, but truly trying, I took that as like, he is truly curious, like, why are you asking me questions when you already know what you’re gonna do?

I don’t understand that. I find that perplexing. It is not belligerence and Kirk doesn’t take it as such. Kirk responds, if I remember correctly, with kind of a charming smile. And he’s like, I just need to know that, like, like he’s, yeah, it’s like, yeah, that’s fine. Um, they’re peers in that way. And we all see Spock

in captain mode in the opening of the series, the opening of the show.

It’s like, he’s, he’s in the captain’s chair cause the captain’s off doing his physical. And so he’s in command of the ship. And he is command Spock. It’s like, he’s just barking orders, doing stuff, calm headed, just doing his business. And he’s doing a good job of it. Feels very comfortable in that position.

So it’s like, yeah, again, that’s something we’re seeing for the first time. And it’s only the second, the true second episode of the show. So it’s like, again, I’m surprised. Yeah. My memory of the show feels like that didn’t start to happen until the end of the show and into the movies. But it’s the second freaking episode and they’ve already got it kind of figured out.

Yeah. And we’ve talked about all of this without talking about the dilemma that they’re faced with in this one. I really like the game playing analogies that keep coming up. The idea of like, well in chess. You find yourself in checkmate. There is no other move. And Kirk has the brilliant moment toward the end of the episode where he’s like, ah, it’s not chess.

It’s poker. And that’s our way out. We can bluff. And it works of course, by saying like, we’ve got this thing called Corbomite. We keep it out of our records because if anybody knows about it, it’s You know, we don’t want that to put anybody into jeopardy. So we keep it hidden. But if you destroy yourself, that’s not going to be our fault.

We’re, we’re done with this. You can go ahead and kill us now. Um, and the bluff works, but up to that point, I thought it was really interesting that everything that they go up against, Is clearly boundary testing the alien entity when they come into contact with the, uh, Fesarius and Balok is communicating with them.

Like you’ve intruded our space before that even happens. The buoy that they meet. is clearly just showing up, block your path. What are you going to do about it? Oh, you’re going to pass me. Okay. I’m going to chase you down. I’m going to, I’m going to chase you down. I’m going to stand in front of you now.

Now I’m going to come closer and I’m not going to touch you, but I’m going to come closer. Now I’m dangerous and I’m going to keep coming after you. And I’m going to keep matching your speed and I’m going to be catching up to you. And I’m still not doing anything aggressive, but I am dangerous to you.

And it’s this test, test, test, test, test. They finally revealed that they have the ability to Basically, be violent and then here comes the main ship and now it’s, okay, we’re going to destroy you. And when we’re not going to destroy you, we’re going to maroon you. And when we’re like, like it’s clearly going through a series of test, test, test, test, test.

And I found it fascinating that the response from Kirk and the crew is they did not recognize the testing going on. And by revealing Balok. In the form of a human child, I thought it was a nice 1960s production values aside, they go aboard this thing. It’s clearly a child. I mean, it’s a child actor. It’s a little Clint Howard.

He’s adorable. He’s got the bad teeth. He’s got the adult man doing the voice for him. And he loves Tranya. After watching this episode, every time I drank anything in my kitchen, I would say, Oh, do you like the Tranya? Drinking coffee? The Tranya.

I found it interesting that they decided to go with, like, let’s literally use a child So that the game playing aspect is now pushed to the fore. It’s, you’ve been tested, tested, tested, and it results in like, this isn’t an immature entity that they’re meeting, but is visually to us as a viewer, a child, so it is brought now down to the level of gameplay.

He is welcoming, he is charming, he is curious about them and is Without putting too many words on it, he says something that’s basically along the lines of we’ve had, I’ve had bad experiences before with people who just like, are really, they lie. They can be dangerous. They keep their true motives hidden.

I couldn’t risk it. It’s too dangerous for me to do that. And for all of that to then open the door to Bailey, I found all of that to be a very epic and welcoming storyline that I couldn’t help but think of some of the best of Star Trek are ones where you wish there could have been an entire spin off series of Let’s follow Balok and Bailey as they go around the galaxy in this crazy ship.

And I’m like, I’m like, what would a TV series about a, in the future, a human from earth on an extremely advanced spaceship, gallivanting around space with this incredibly intelligent alien body? thing that looks like a child. They call it Tronya

Trek. Um, so I want to, on that storyline, on that aspect of the story for how it was all a ruse to the end, this is, I would actually say this is a slightly kind of, this is nitpick.

a slight weak point of the storytelling for me because it was so subtle what was going on that for the characters on the bridge to not start to pick up on this is a test until literally the very end of the episode. It falls, it kind of falls into the trap of a lot of what Trek episodes tend to. I remember this happened on Next Generation all the time, where it’s like, the episodes are 45 minutes and there’s 42 minutes of, what is going on?

And in the final minute, we’ve have the magical solution. Push the button, we’re done. And it was like, it had that kind of a feel where when it’s finally revealed and everything kind of comes together, it’s literally the end of the episode. And so it kind of has an anticlimactic, wait, what the hell kind of moment that happens.

They should have probably had more clues or crumbs dropped that the characters on the bridge are starting to pick up that something’s not quite right here. But they didn’t. And if they had done that as a viewer, it would help the viewer understand and reinforce. Something’s not quite right here. First thing would have been like, uh, how, when they’re trying to communicate with the ship, the, um, and they figure out, what was it, Bailey goes, I’m hearing something.

It’s on the navigation beam.

Yeah.

A communication signal coming in through a non communications channel. Yeah. That’s weird. Mm hmm. So then later, when the, when the, uh, little, uh, ship, they kind of do that maneuver where they’re doing the shearing and pushing and pushing and pushing and making it lose its, uh, energy.

It puts out a broadcast signal on the communication channels for help. Why is it using the communications channels now, but it was doing the navigation thing earlier? It’s like, it’s like they could have done little things like that where our characters are going, that, that’s extra weird. That doesn’t make sense.

Right. Like start to show them. Puzzling together of things aren’t quite adding up here, which would have strengthened it when you have Kirk go, this is a game of poker. You know what I mean? It’s like, it would have strengthened all of that and put that together in a different way and made it more impactful in the end.

And like I said, nitpick. Super nitpick. It’s, I thought the story was good. I’m not saying it was a bad episode, but it was just, I think that they could have made it better if they had put more breadcrumbs earlier to show that some of the crew was starting to pick up on something.

Yeah, it would have been, I agree with that.

I think it would have been neat. I don’t think it detracts from my enjoyment of the episode. But it would have added to my enjoyment of the episode if there had been moments of Spock saying, like, there’s a lack of consistency in their approach. They don’t, they don’t behave according to their own rules.

And for that to then be picked up by Kirk, like rules, game playing, like that, that would have all added together in an interesting way. I think that that would have, that would have been a neat icing on the cake, but for me, there’s a lot of great cake here. So I really enjoyed all of it. I give it very high marks.

I really love this episode. And for the enhanced episode that I watched, uh, I thought the special effects were terrific. It had a sense of scope that was when the alien ship shows up and it is. The Enterprise is dwarfed by it. Even the, the simplicity of a spinning colored cube that looks like a child’s toy spinning in space.

Uh, I found myself like really enjoying the fact that when they showed the faces of the bridge crew, they were shining the appropriate colored lights in strobing effect on their faces. So it was like, It really kind of felt immersive in a way that, that really worked for me. So I give it a big thumbs up.

Next time we’re going to be talking about the original series, Mudd’s Women. So buckle up for a little bit of, we didn’t talk about the misogyny in this episode, but there’s going to be more misogyny next week. And there was. Uh. Just a quick shout out to Janice Rand for putting up with, um, having to show up to the captain’s quarters with a salad and be reprimanded by him for bringing the salad, which is her job.

And apparently her job is just to deliver food. And why did the Starfleet give him a female yeoman? And, uh, uh, and we also won’t talk too much about the fact that after you’re killing me, doc, and he gets off that table, Captain Kirk walks through the entire ship without a shirt on. Yes. Yes. A little weird.

I found myself hearkening back to, like, would Captain Picard walk around the ship in his pajamas? And I think there is an episode where he surprises somebody by being in his pajamas and everybody’s just like, why are you in your pajamas? Um, anyway. Next week, Mudd’s Women. Make sure you watch that episode.

Do not watch a different episode. Don’t watch the Man Trap, like somebody I know did.

Everybody should know this is for me, not for you guys.

So, what did you all think about this episode? Jump into the comments and let us know. As always, the easiest way to support us is to leave comments, Like the episode and share it with your friends and don’t forget to subscribe.

Before we sign off, Matt, is there anything you want to share with the listeners and viewers about your main channel? What do you have coming up?

Uh, we have kind of a call it a documentary about kind of an exploration about this new wind turbine that looks like it’s an old wind turbine from literally over 200 years ago.

But it’s actually not that old turbine. It’s something completely different. And our journey discovering all this and kind of piec it together, it’s a really cool place to tech and I thought it was a very interesting story that goes back to Charles Darwin’s grandfather Erasmus Darwin. It was a very kind of fun story.

Interesting. As for me, you can check out my website, sean ferrell.com, find out more about my books. You can also go to hangry dwarf press.com. I have started writing adventures for Dungeons and Dragons, and if Dungeons and Dragons is your thing, I invite you to stop by and see what I’ve got going on. If you’d like to support the show directly, you can go to Trek in Time Show.

Click the Become a Supporter Button. It allows you to throw some coins at our heads. We appreciate the welts. And then we get down to the hard business of talking about the Tranya. Thank you so much, everybody, for taking the time to watch or listen. And we’ll talk to you next time.

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