Monday, 9 June 2008

Star Trek: TOS 2.6 - The Doomsday Machine

Review 34 - Episode 35

The One that's a bit like Moby Dick

Well, what can you say? Superb episode with lots of great scenes, but a couple of weird things I'll note at the start to get them out the way. No Uhura? No Uhura and replaced by some blonde white chick? What the hell was going on there? Chekov also MIA I can just about accept as he's new, but Uhura? It's odd, she doesn't really do much, but when she's missing it's strangely jarring. Also, Kirk in his green tunic? I'm not sure if this was to differentiate him to Decker, but along with the new sets, it almost seemed like a relaunch show.

Anyway, none of the above is really important. What we have here is a giant ship (?) that eats planets and travels across space and eats more planets. For all eternity. The Enterprise's sister ship, USS Constellation (bit odd that name if they're Constellation class, though I suspect it's retroactive and there were no classes in these days) is badly damaged and only Commodore Decker is alive onboard, his crew beamed to the supposed safety of a planet, before they were killed by the Planet eater. He's not taken it well and sets about claiming the Enterprise and attacking the Doomsday Machine.

Kirk and Scotty stuck on the Constellation have great scenes together as Kirk desperately tries to get the ship up and running and Scotty for the first time really shows what a miracle worker he is, getting the engines and phaser banks working. He also fixes the transporter's on the Enterprise and saves Kirks life by a whisker (nice to see Kyle again, who's accent wavers but I think is meant to be English)

The main drama is Decker in command of the Enterprise and Spock obviously desperate to return and collect the captain, but refusing to break star fleet rules of command. His scene with McCoy as he offers a route to get rid of Decker then takes it away in the same breath is highly amusing, yet frustrating at the same time. Spock has never seemed more Vulcan and alien in this episode. McCoy is sadly missing for most of this episode, which surprised me as I thought he'd be in cahoots with Spock to overthrow Decker. It's a fine performance by William Windom, at times level headed, yet a nervous wreck and constantly on the verge of losing it. Here is a commander who has faced his worst nightmare and lived, yet wished he was dead. The giant ship really does look like some sort of space whale and it's good there was no explanation for it or where it came from beyond an interesting theory from Kirk.

Odds and sods: Sulu is once again relegated to driver guy and I'm surprised how little he has to do in these early episodes; it's great seeing another Federation ship and this is another episode that makes the universe bigger; I had no idea Decker in The Motion Picture is supposed to be Deckers son. Makes his character more interesting.

Quite Simply, another great episode.


Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 103/170

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