It took a little longer than I would have liked to get to the next batch of episodes, but as they say, the show must go on.
S01E05 – “More Tribbles, More Troubles”
Cyrano Jones returns with a new breed of tribbles.
Stanley Adams reprises his role from TOS as tribble trader Cyrano Jones. This time, Jones has a new kind of tribble as well as a tribble predator designed to keep them under control. But the Klingons are taking no chances this time. What more needs to be said about this episode? I really want to see a Klingon opera based on the Great Tribble Hunt. And I want Worf to headline as Koloth. Just saying.
S01E06 – “The Survivor”
After five years missing, a wealthy philanthropist turns up alive in a one-man vessel… but he’s not what he seems.
We’re introduced to a race that would have been difficult to do without animation at this time. Vendorians are a race that I would have loved to have seen later on, say, season 4 of Enterprise when they were pulling out all the other stops? A race capable of assuming any form of similar mass and living off deceit? Oh wait… we did see the Founders on Deep Space Nine. Have to say, this design is far more interesting, if not as practical. And we did get Romulans again this time… still using Klingon battlecruisers.
We also get our first look a Caitian, Lt. M’Ress. We won’t see one of those in live action until Star Trek V.
S01E07 – “The Infinite Vulcan”
A dying race of plantlike beings kidnaps Spock, cloning him at large size, in the name of galactic peace.
Walter Koenig couldn’t rejoin the crew as Chekov, but he made his debut on this episode as scriptwriter.
The natives of the planet Phylos are botanical in nature, but they look like a green variation on the Vendorians. I suppose that was to be expected given how quickly they cranked these things out. What’s interesting is the giant human they serve is a clone from a guy that dates back to the Eugenics Wars, one of Khan’s contemporaries. This is the sort of thing I really wish they had more opportunity to flesh out. The setup of this episode is terrible, but the way they solved it is spot-on, philosophically speaking.
S01E08 – “The Magicks of Megas-tu”
The Enterprise penetrates the galactic “creation point,” beyond time and space, where the crew encounters a being who uses magic.
The network says they can’t do a story where God features as a character… but they have no problem with Lucifer, or Lucian, as he calls himself here. Go figure. And of course he looks more like the Greek deity Pan than the red dude with the bifurcated tail that appears in some Romantic art. He also happens to sound a lot like Nicol Williamson’s Merlin from Excalibur. We’re eight years ahead of that film’s release, but I can’t un-hear that. And if you go with the idea that Merlin was the son of a demon as legend sometimes said, there’s a twisted kind of symmetry here. The ideas of the other Megans having known demonic names but looking like the Puritans circa the Salem witch trials… that’s just inspired.
There’s something just incredibly fun about Spock describing magick as logical in a place like this. It sounds weird, but let’s not forget that Vulcans have a mystical side, and much of what was known as magick in our world became natural philosophy and then science. It makes perfect sense he’d grasp the concept first, even if it’s not spelled out here. It’s also interesting to consider that Kirk’s compassion — his sympathy for the devil, if you will (because clearly he’s a Rolling Stones fan) — proved humanity’s evolution, that our hearts are bigger than our need to believe outmoded myths and legends. People, that’s deep for a “kid’s cartoon.”