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Star Trek reviewed, from start to finish

cellist

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POSTS: 28

Report this Dec. 07 2012, 1:52 am

Quote: Spouter @ Apr. 14 2011, 4:07 am

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>I noticed the colour changes too, as soon as i saw the sky in the scenes in `The Man Trap' just after Darnell has been killed.

>THE CHANGELING

>A good example of season 2's specialty - that of being able to `polish a turd'. ie; take a tedious old-hat sort of a story, and turn it into an interesting piece of unmissable drama. The story marks the first use in season 2 of `kirk vs computer/machine' and `dangerous entity thats a threat to life in the galaxy', 2 elements that would keep popping up again and again. The teaser is excellent (that would make a good thread actually, best/worst teasers) with the bridge crew being knocked for a loop. The scenes of Uhura being re-educated were cut by the BBC who didnt like the double-entendres present in lines like `The Dog has a blue ball' etc.

>MIRROR, MIRROR

>Great ep, i remember seeing this at the age of 6, but only remembered the scenes of Chekov in the agony booth. Next i heard of it was years later, when i got a copy of the US SF mag `Starlog', issue 24. There was an interview with Leonard Nimoy, and a still of Spock from this ep - i didnt realise the story would feature a whole `evil' crew and ship, i imagined from the still/caption that it would involve just a solitary `evil' Spock, sat in his lair, plotting the destruction of our heroes with a sinister chuckle. This ep shows that in the 60s, tv programme makers were terrified of alienating the audience by presenting them with a mystery - the explanation, that Kirk and co are in another dimension, comes far too soon and easily. `The Mark of Gideon' is season 3 is another example - God forbid, the viewers should be confused about whats going on, so we'll explain that Kirk is on a duplicate Enterprise within 5 mins, and completely ruin the atmosphere in the process.

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The Changeling is a cool episode, although the ending is a rehash of the Return of the Archons, where Kirk talks the computer into destroying itself. He will use similar tactics in the series as well in The Untimate Computer and Wolf in the Fold (it begins to get old).


Mirror, Mirror is unquestionably the best of the "parallel universe" episodes, sort of an elaboration of The Enemy Within. In the Enemy Within, Kirk gets an evil double, but in Mirror, Mirror, the whole crew gets the same treatment. I wonder if the Klingons and Romulans are good in this universe?

cellist

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 28

Report this Dec. 07 2012, 1:58 am

Quote: Spouter @ Apr. 20 2011, 3:22 am

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>THE APPLE

>This is a nice episode, though its just a rehash of `Return of the Archons' from season 1 - a primitive society ruled by a God who turns out to be an all-powerful computer. The Prime Directive is one of the worst ideas in ST so its good to see Kirk having no regard for it at all. More red-shirts are killed in this ep than any other, particularly effective is the bit where one gets blown up by an exploding rock. David Soul is completely unrecognisable under the red make-up.

>THE DOOMSDAY MACHINE

>Generally regarded as one of the best, this is an excellent episode, with a great guest performance from William Windom. The effects are good for the time, but look a bit naff now, especially with the same few stock shots of the Enterprise and the Planet Killer being used over and over again. In fact, a lot of these shots dont fit, in context, as the action is taking place in a relatively close area, so shots of the Enterprise warping through space are silly. Theres a blue transporter beam in this ep, instead of the usual yellow one - wonder why? During the fight between Decker and the guard, its interesting to see no other crew members are around when you need them, the corridors are usually bustling, but if someone is under attack (see also `Journey To Babel') theres never anyone around. I wonder what a female crewmember would have done if shed walked round the corner at that moment? would she have waded in to help, or just stood and cowered against the wall, as in the bar fight in `Trouble with Tribbles' where the female crewmembers can be seen doing just that.

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I have always thought that the Apple was a bit lame, but The Doomsday Machine is a masterpiece--the machine is a clear metaphor for a nuclear missile (a long pointy device that destroys planets) and the episode is a moving anti-nuclear arms piece. Great ending as well.

cellist

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POSTS: 28

Report this Dec. 07 2012, 2:04 am

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>METAMORPHOSIS

>One of the really bad eps, this one, it manages to be dull and silly at the same time. The basic concept is ludicrous - Cochrane and the Companion are 2 entirely different species, so the idea of romantic love between them is insane. Its as stupid, in its own way, as Gene Wilder falling in love with a sheep, in the film `Everything you wanted to know about Sex but were afraid to ask'. This is one of those stories that appeals to the really anal, po-faced fans, who espouse it as a beautiful illustration of how true love transcends all barriers, while those fans who watch it without rose-tinted glasses would say `what a bloody stupid story!' - and they'd be right. I like the planet set, with clouds in the sky that actually move.

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So the idea of romantic love between Sarek and Amanda is ridiculous, Paris and B'Lanna, The Doctor and a human, Tasha Yar and Data, Worf and Dax, Spock and myself. Arghhh

the relationships you cite are between similar humanoid species (or androids/holograms in humanoid form) - Cochrane and the Companion are, as i pointed out, `entirely' different species, a humanoid male and a glowing ball of energy.

The Companion partially took over a human's body where the original owner and herself coexisted (in a human body).

But I don't see what's wrong with the Companion 'loving' Cochrane anyway. I might love my dog who is of lower intelligence than me. Not in a romantic way of course.  Cochrane would probably be of rudimentary intelligence compared to some being like the Companion. But that's the whole point of the episode IMO that it didn't matter to the Companion the deficiences in Cochrane - she loved him anyway.


Star Trek was always a very politically progressive show for its time (the late 60s), and Metamorphosis is clearly a commentary on interracial marriage. This is cast as "interspecies marriage" but Star Trek always goes one level further to try to make the point. The episode perhaps is a bit clumsy, but impressive in what it tries to grapple with.


 

cellist

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POSTS: 28

Report this Dec. 07 2012, 2:26 am

Quote: Spouter @ May. 18 2011, 12:38 am

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>A PIECE OF THE ACTION

>Quite hard to review, this one, as my thoughts on it are exactly the same as everyone elses': great episode, good comedy, Fizzbin, `i would advise youse to keep diallin' Oxmyx', great sets etc.

>One thing ill say: whenever there is a poll or whatever about the sexiest women in TOS, its always the usual suspects - Janice Rand, Uhura, Helen Noel, Martha Landon etc. For my money, its the 2 women in this ep who appear near the start, complaining about the `crummy street lights' in the area. Makes me wish i was a Gangster!

>THE IMMUNITY SYNDROME

>A dull and predictable story that has already been done 3 times before - in the same season. The first time-`The Doomsday Machine'-it worked well, but the second and third outings-`The Changeling'/`Obsession'-fell flat, and this is even worse. Its basically 49 minutes of padding. The only thing that stands out is the footage of the giant amoeba. 4 points of note: 1. Its the last appearance, production-wise, of Kirk's alternate green shirt. 2. Kyle appears, but with a different hairstyle, a gold shirt instead of a red one, and is called `Cowell', both by Kirk and in the credits. Did they expect us to think it was a different crewman? 3. The shuttle interior is different to how it looked before. 4. The USS Intrepid has a crew of Vulcans- but i thought Vulcans didnt approve of StarFleet, as was pointed out by Sarek in `Journey to Babel'. The impression given to this point is that Spock is the only Vulcan in StarFleet.

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One interesting aspect of A Piece of the Action is that it is an episode that tries to make a statement, I think skeptical, of Christianity. We have seen this in another episode--The Apple, in which it is seen as a good thing that man is kicked out of the "garden." In A Piece of the Action, Star Trek wonders what would happen if a whole society was based on a book that is NOT the Bible--but rather a book about Chicago gangsters. The society seems ridiculous, and as a result we seem to get the suggestion that perhaps it not a good idea to base a society on any random book, including the Bible.

cellist

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Report this Dec. 07 2012, 2:34 am

Quote: Spouter @ May. 22 2011, 10:16 am

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>A PRIVATE LITTLE WAR

>After my previous comments concerning `polish a turd' eps, this episode would have featured an actual turd, live, on-screen, if it had been filmed as planned: in the teaser, Kirk and Spock see the Mugato's footprints (stock footage of the White Rabbit's footprints from `Shore Leave'), and comment that there wont be any around, as they seldom stay in one place. When the ep was first written, when Kirk says they better be careful that there arent any `Gumatos' (the name was later changed, but still listed as a Gumato in the credits) around, Spock was to have pointed to a piece of turd on the ground, which had turned white, indicating that it had been dropped a few days ago, and so, there wouldnt be any of the creatures around, as they seldom stayed in one place for long.

>A very enjoyable ep, lots of action, Gerald Fried's great music, Nona having an orgasm over the ailing Kirk (in the cave after he's been bitten), some hilarious `sci-fi' dialogue ("I am a Kanutu Woman!"), and, of course, the Mugato, which looks dangerous and cute at the same time.

>The scene of the Enterprise in orbit at the end is stock footage from `Friday's Child' - rather unfortunately, as not only does it feature a different planet to the one already seen in this ep, but the footage also includes the Producer and Exec Producer credits from the earlier ep. so Gene L. Coon gets credited with an episode he had nothing to do with!John Meredyth Lucas was in charge at this point.

>RETURN TO TOMORROW

>Odd title, that has nothing to do with the story. The story is good, and, in a season that is awash with tales about mad computers/machines, parallel Earths, and entities that are a threat to life in the Galaxy, it stands out. Diana Muldaur looks good in a StarFleet uniform, but since she's a Doctor, shouldnt she be wearing a blue uniform? Another ep featuring a sinister Spock - though Vulcans are among the `Good Guys' in the show, they are much more effective when presented (both in TOS, and also Voyager and Enterprise) in a dangerous, villlainous light, as here, `Amok Time' etc.

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A Private Little War is another Cold War episode, in the genre with Arena, Balance of Terror, Errand of Mercy, etc. The interesting thing about it is that it might be interpreted as pro-Vietnam War--"we have to arm our side with exactly that much more." Or perhaps not--I'm not sure.

cellist

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POSTS: 28

Report this Dec. 07 2012, 2:45 am

Quote: Spouter @ Jun. 15 2011, 1:50 am

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>Different uniforms, blue credits instead of yellow, and, according to 99% of Trekkers anyway, a horrible deterioration in the show's quality - its season 3

>SPOCK'S BRAIN

>Generally regarded as the worst episode of the entire series, by people who've never seen `The Mark of Gideon', this is actually a fun and entertaining romp, more enjoyable than many straight-faced episodes. Im not actually convinced that this isnt a comedy, either - the myth is that Fred Freiberger disliked comedy eps, and so this story, written as a comedy, was altered to become serious. But was it? The beginning is fairly serious, but then it takes a tongue-in-cheek turn. The set of the planet surface is quite cheap, with the rocks spray-painted to give them a glacial look, and that cave turns up in many a 3rd season story. Marj Dusay (Kara) is another of TOS unsung sex symbols. This episode is excellently directed, with some angles of the bridge never seen before (or since), and theres even a scene of Kirk with just the starfield on the viewscreen behind him. The idea of Spock getting his brain put back in his head while he's still conscious is utterly sick, but since its played for laughs, its not as disturbing as it might have been. 

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This episode, I think, is unintentionally funny, which is why people think it is so bad. It is entertaining as camp.

cellist

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Report this Dec. 07 2012, 2:57 am

Quote: Spouter @ Jul. 02 2011, 1:13 am

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>DAY OF THE DOVE

>The best Klingon story in TOS by far - great performance from Michael Ansara which, if TOS had continued for a few more years, should have been the benchmark for Klingon acting. Nice to see a couple of female Klingons as well. Once again, Chekov gets a bit to do - the scene where hes about to rape (?) Mara was trimmed but not completely cut by the BBC. Kirks alternate universe bodyguard in `Mirror, Mirror' pops up here as a Klingon. The swordfights are energetic but marred because its obvious they are blunt. A pity most of the female crewmembers were trapped below decks - it would have been interesting to see them engage in a bit of swordplay.

>Listen to the scene on the Bridge where Spock and Scotty almost come to blows - Scotty says "Keep your Vulcan hands off me!", but James Doohan muffles the line and it sounds like he has told Spock to keep his `F***in' hands' off! Any casual viewer, who didnt know Spock's background, would definitely think that Scotty had just used the F word

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Another Cold War episode, this one I think is a classic. The idea of a creature that lives off of hate is just brilliant, especially because we know people like this--sadists. Star Trek again assumes a position of optimism in the face of the threat.

cellist

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Report this Dec. 07 2012, 3:04 am

Quote: Spouter @ Jul. 06 2011, 1:08 am

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>PLATO'S STEPCHILDREN

>This episode stands out for me, as a British fan, as it was one of the 4 eps banned for over 20 years by the BBC. The BBC screened the series starting in July 1969, but it was screened out of order, which meant that `Miri' was shown after the rest of season 1, and the whole of season 2, had been screened. When `Miri' was shown, in December 1970, it caused an outrage, which led to it not being shown again until the 1990s, and to the BBC examining all future episodes. In 3 cases, they felt the eps were so debased, they had no choice but to ban them - this ep, `The Empath' and `Whom Gods Destroy'. I remember first encountering this story in James Blish's adaptation, and being amazed, nodding my head and thinking `yes, i can certainly see why this was banned'. It might seem tame now, but it was strong stuff at the time - the bit where Spock is about to stamp on Kirk's head is quite horrible, Kirk on the floor screamimg (if im not mistaken, are the Platonians mentally twisting his genitals? That seems to be the implication from the way its shot), and Spock's smutty and suggestive song, about women losing their virginity (Maiden Wine). Contrary to what some fans think, it was the sadism that got it banned, and nothing to do with the interracial kiss. This was the first such kiss on US tv, but the BBC beat them to it, with a similar kiss in a tv soap opera. Anyway, this is another excellent ep, and even though its no longer banned, watching it and the other 3 eps, still has a frisson. Looking at season 3 thus far, i think its poor reputation has more to do with the fact that Gene Roddenberry (next in line to God in some fans eyes, especially back in the 60s/70s) was ousted as producer and Fred Freiberger was brought in. The only differences are cosmetic ones (does the fact that Scotty has a different hairstyle, and the credits are in blue instead of yellow REALLY matter?), and the stories are easily equal (and in terms of effects, better) to those in the first 2 years. Those fans who think season 3 sucks - perhaps their tv sets have been tuned into another dimension?    

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I really appreciate this episode also, especially how it explores the seemingly inverse relation between power and wisdom. Interesting episode.

cellist

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Report this Dec. 07 2012, 3:14 am

Quote: Spouter @ Jul. 16 2011, 5:09 am

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>LET THAT BE YOUR LAST BATTLEFIELD

>(Why do some fans get the title wrong, and refer to it as `Let This Be Your Last Battlefield'?)

>One of my favourite episodes, despite what many fans think. The anti-racism message is, as some have said in the past, `mind-numbingly obvious', but who cares? Its still a good message. Nice performances from Antonio and Gorshin as Lokai and Bele, and a great, wordy script. I havent got a problem with the `cheap' invisible ship - its a nice idea. I agree with the criticism some fans have made about the direction - it is particularly odd at the end, when Bele is chasing Lokai through the ship, and it looks like he is going for a Sunday morning jog round the park! How do they know where the Transporter room is, and why do they both stand sideways on the platform? Kirk should have beamed them both back up, instead of leaving them - he is therefore partly responsible for the extinction of an entire race, as they will both kill one another. The line about Cheron being in an uncharted area is daft, plus the fact that the planet changes colour, from mauve to orange. Overall though, a great episode. The self-destruct sequence is excellent. When this was shown on the BBC, the scene where Spock listens in to Lokai preaching in the rec room was cut.

>


 


The great thing to me about this episode is that, although the anti-racism message is obvious, the way it is introduced is ingenious. The idea of a person who is literally half black and half white is really clever--not what you would immediately think of. And then, to have them argue over somebody being subhuman because they are black on the right side (or was it left, I CAN'T REMEMBER!!) seems so ludicrous that it puts to shame any arguments based on peoples' appearance. I agree with you that this is an excellent episode.

cellist

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Report this Dec. 07 2012, 3:36 am

Quote: FleetAdmiral_BamBam @ Aug. 02 2011, 3:02 pm

Quote: Ghostmojo @ Aug. 02 2011, 2:44 pm

Quote: FleetAdmiral_BamBam @ Aug. 02 2011, 2:40 pm

Quote: Ghostmojo @ Aug. 02 2011, 2:34 pm

Quote: Spouter @ Aug. 02 2011, 9:20 am

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>THE SAVAGE CURTAIN

>One of my favourites, this. I first saw ST at a point where i was old enough to take note of things like episode titles etc, from 1978-1981, the shows fourth `complete' (minus the 4 banned eps) run on BBC1. For some reason, Operation Annihilate and this ep were missed out from that run. I had a copy of James Blish's Star Trek 6, which adapted this episode and remember reading and re-reading it over and over in the early 80s. I finally saw this ep in 1986, and it was quite different to how i visualised it from the book.

>Its a very interesting story, despite being a rehash of `Arena'. Any story that has a cast of characters that includes Genghis Khan, Abraham Lincoln, Kahless the Klingon, Surak the Vulcan and a giant monster made of living rock has got to be good!

>

Yes it is quite good - but also a bit odd in some ways. Abraham Lincoln and Surak are both strange choices to take into combat against the forces of evil! When I watched this and for a long time afterwards I was of the opinion (as are we all usually) that Lincoln was a good stick and his comments to Uhura are respectful and appropriate. The view of Lincoln back in the 1960s and indeed until quite recently was universally positive.

However, proper examination of Lincoln's history via actual records proves the guy was actually a racist. He has been mythologised to such an extent in the USA that a whole industry surrounds him as some kind of national do-gooder/slave-freer and moral conscience of the mid 19th century. The truth is so very different. He actually sought to find a way to try and send all the black people back to Africa (whether they liked it or not) because he actually believed in white racial superiority and basic apartheid principles. With that in mind, it would be difficult to include him as anybody's kind of hero if you were to do a similar Star Trek show today. He also doesn't strike me as somebody Kirk would necessarily see as a role model. If Kirk was to pick any American President one might perhaps have expected Washington or Jefferson ...

The Surak character is sadly underdeveloped. Spock might well recognise him as an image of Surak (rather than the real thing) but I'm still surprised he wasn't 'fascinated' enough to want to chew the fat with the Father of Vulcan Logic somewhat ...

Wow - attack Lincoln and don't provide any supporting documentation?  Of course, that may be better in 10-Forward...

Just a passing aside.

I don't want to quote the whole history here for you. You can go away and look it up yourself. I was disappointed with the Lincoln reality when I discovered it (since I too had long bought into the great liberator notion) - so long have we all been used to the great Lincoln mythology ... but sadly the truth is far from the PR spin that has so effectively been passed down, and is still being promulgated (I have no doubt) - from kindergarten onwards - in the land of the free ...

Considering that Lincoln and Frederick Douglass were well documented friends, I think this "reality" is probably closer to the revisionist history taught about the Founding Fathers.  But I won't go into that here as it's a different topic...


Very interesting that a Star Trek episode about the nature of good and evil has provoked a discussion of Lincoln's credentials to be on the "good" side. I'll jump in and say that I think that Lincoln's views actually evolved--became less racist. But, as has been pointed out, that is another discussion thread. The interesting thing to me about this episode is its conclusion, that evil "backs down when forcibly confronted." I'm not sure this is true, but it is really very interesting theater.

cellist

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Report this Dec. 07 2012, 3:42 am

Wanted to say thanks Spouter for your reviews and your keen observations on all of the Trek episodes. I started reading your thread and have to confess that I got so fascinated that I read and commented on all of the reviews in one sitting (as you probably saw). Great to see somebody who loves the old show as much as I do. 

J.T.Kirk

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Report this Dec. 16 2012, 8:23 am

I think Kirk fell for Rayna's innocence and I also think the planet must have had some lingering spores from Omicron Cet III in the air.


 


Incidentally, this episode is memorable from my childhood in that I took away from it the love(no, not for Rayna) for classical music. I don't remember giving a jot about Kirk's strange android infatuation ... but remember clearly, most vividly - Spock's interest in the instrumental piece that was played and remembering thinking at the time that it must be a really good thing.


Fast forward 30 something years and I'm an avid collector and listener of Brahms, Mozart, Haydn, Boccherini etc, etc. .... and can trace the earliest origins of this hobby back to the 'Brahms Waltz' played on Requiem for  Methuselah - back when I was a young elementary school student and original Trekkie.

Spouter

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Report this Dec. 21 2012, 11:11 am

Quote: cellist @ Dec. 07 2012, 3:42 am

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>Wanted to say thanks Spouter for your reviews and your keen observations on all of the Trek episodes. I started reading your thread and have to confess that I got so fascinated that I read and commented on all of the reviews in one sitting (as you probably saw). Great to see somebody who loves the old show as much as I do. 

>


My pleasure, thanks for the kind comments

Spouter

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Report this Dec. 21 2012, 11:13 am

Quote: /view_profile/ @

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>Just watched "Requiem For Methuselah". 

>I really like this episode but it doesn't really make that much sense unless you consider Kirk maybe having some mid-life crisis or something.

>At the beginning of the episode all Kirk's crew are going to die of the plague unless they get some sort of cure within around 12 hours I'm estimating. They get to Flint's planet and negotiate for the raw materials for the cure and to kill time Kirk romances the girl.

>For one thing, Kirk's priority has always been the ship and I can't see him 'fiddling while Rome burns' dancing and playing pool while his crew is dying.

>Then he falls in love with Rayna in less than 4 hours, invites her to run-away with him while upsetting their host who has total control over whether his crew lives or dies. I'm not a guy but I don't think Rayna was that fantastic, oh yes she can discuss particle physics with you, is very attractive, dances well but I think too innocent for Kirk's usual tastes but maybe men will disagree with me. It seems to bizaare even for Kirk. I'm thinking and maybe its hinted in the episode that Kirk was under a lot of strain and Flint was riding him. If I was Starfleet and was rating his performance of this incident I would consider suspending him here or something. I consider Kirk's actions in this episode unprofessional (the only time I can remember aside from maybe TWOK).

>Then Kirk and McCoy have the hide to tell Spock that he doesn't know what love is and it is he rather than Kirk that demonstrates it in this episode. And that's what makes this episode great for me.

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Good to see youre still watching and commenting on the eps, and keeping the thread going. Did you ever re-watch `The Deadly Years' to check on Kirk's `erection' at the end, as you said you would

Spouter

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Report this Dec. 21 2012, 11:18 am

Good to see youre still here too J.T., keep commenting I tried to `quote' your comments but the site acted up and i wasnt able to.

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