The One with the Ompa Lumpas
Slightly boring episode this but a few things lift it above the bad. Kirk, Spock, Bones and Chekov beam down to a seemingly paradise planet, but his security team keep being killed by plants or exploding rocks. They can't beam back to the ship as a computer in the form of a monsters head is keeping them there and controlling the natives.
I'll say the few things I like before the many that I didn't. The planet setting is quite refreshing and there were enough plants to make the surroundings seem slightly more realistic than usual. Spock saving Kirks life was also good as was most of the banter with the Trio. Chekov had some nice scenes with Yeoman Martha Landon, who still comes across as too giggly and weak like most yeoman's, but actually had a decent fight scene! Most impressive. I really didn't buy her relationship with Chekov though.
Now on to the bad. This episode dragggged for me in places. There's far too much plodding through the jungle and watching red shirts be killed off in unusual ways (admittedly enjoyable to watch at times). There was also very strange acting on the Enterprise with Scotty and Kyle. He seemed to keep pausing after every sentence and question asked. Maybe he was adopting Shatners style of acting. Speaking of which, Kirks anguish at losing his men was a bit OTT and the sort of scene that gives Shatner a bad rep. Generally, I find him enjoyable and quite good, but he hams it up big time here, maybe because he had a slightly reduced part. It was also tiresome seeing him checking up on the Enterprise's status in it's decaying orbit. Surely viewers in the 60's didn't need to be reminded every 10 minutes of the B plot.
The tribes people looked hilarious with their strange wigs and the orange makeup reminded me of the Tango ads from a few years ago and Willie Wonkas ompa's. The strange situation of how Vaal came to be created is never explored or why it needs food and why it's shaped like a snakes head. The concepts so bizarre it could never be explained away satisfactorily. I did like Spock arguing that perhaps they should indeed leave these people alone as they had been doing fine for 2000 odd years. Indeed, Kirk is definitely breaking the prime directive and seems to get away with it. Without the ship in danger story, it would have looked quite invasive and forced, rather than a fortunate by product.
So, watchable enough episode, but hampered by rather boring long drawn out scenes and some ropey makeup.
Overall Star Trek Franchise Rating so far: 110/185