Friday, June 20, 2014

Star Trek: S1E5 The Enemy Within

A friend of mine played as a monk for a while. His Stunning Fist would always be "neck pinch!" whenever he used it; if he didn't say it, someone else would. I got into the habit at one point just because it's what we did. I'm sure at some point someone must have tried to explain it to me, but back then I would have reacted to anything Star Trek with "boring" and moved on. Man, I was a dumb kid.

Mr. Spock's famous neck pinch! I finally get to see it in action. This episode had its ups and downs, but I was on board with the basic idea of a technology issue causing Jekyll and Hyde. There were definitely darker parts than I expected from Star Trek - that line "just a minute, Janice" is just so chillingly quiet and... I want to say impersonal - about a rape attempt that it felt disturbingly realistic. How many sexual assaults, I have to wonder, are carried out with that same tone of uncaring, as though asking someone to hold the door?

Of course, that was Evil Kirk's only standout moment that wasn't him trying to pass the world's biggest kidney stone. The makeup and lighting trick they used to pick him out made him look just deranged and sweaty, to the point that I would have challenged anyone to pass him in the hall without asking if he had a touch of fever or just a dash of the rabies. Also why does McCoy have brandy in the clinic?

So to get it out of the way, Evil Kirk was nuts and batty and so over-the-top that I'm amazed Actor McActorname (I will learn these eventually, I swear) didn't explode out of his own skin from the strain. What's awesome in this episode is how I feel I'm starting to get a dynamic going between the three leads that's sort of reminiscent of psych; Kirk, the decider, the man of two minds, is ego. McCoy thinks about people and emotional considerations ahead of the practical. He's id. Mr. Spock is probably the textbook definition of superego. Come to think of it he might actually be in the textbook on that page and now I want to go check it.

There was also a healthy dose of screentime for Sulu, who has a sort of second-string leadership role down on the planet. He's in a tough scrape but his team comes through and he keeps a level head and a sense of humor through the whole thing. I like Sulu. I'm getting a better picture of him as a character one piece at a time.

Like last episode, Scotty's job seems to be to tell Captain Kirk (and us, the audience, by extension) that the latest peril will take an impossible amount of time to solve and then come up with a solution ten minutes later. I do hope he gets more to do than this down the line, I like having him around.


  1. Hamming it up is the Shatner's specialty.

  2. The Ego/Id/Superego thing for Kirk, Spock and McCoy has been a common interpretation of the show for decades, so...props to you for figuring it out by episode 5!

  3. Boy does everyone feel dumb for letting the away team freeze once the writers invent shuttlecrafts.

  4. McCoy is well-known as a pusher. Booze, hyposprays....he'll shoot you up without asking. It's kind of hilarious once you notice it.

  5. There is actually an RPG based on Star Trek (Star Trek Encounters, maybe?) that my college roommates played in the early 90s. I found it fantastically boring because it seemed more based on statistics than, oh, actual ROLE PLAYING, but it had wonderful comedic references to Scotty's magic engineering abilities.