25 May 2011

Trek Review: Court Martial & Return of the Archons

I haven't been happy with my recent review style for the Original Series episodes so I'm going to try a different technique with these two. I'd prefer to try and concentrate more on my thoughts and observations about the episodes than provide a detailed synopsis of what happened. Let's see how I go with that...

Court Martial

Court MartialWith the Enterprise in orbit of Starbase 11 for repairs, Kirk is put on trial for negligence, resulting from the death of a crewmember.

The opening shot of this episode gives us our first glimpse of another Constitution class ship (the Intrepid) just like the Enterprise which for a shiplover like me gives the episode bonus points! The remaining visual shots show the damage the Enterprise sustained in a recent ion storm, which contributed to the alleged death of Lt. Commander Ben Finney.

This episode shines some light on the legal processes within Starfleet as Commodore Stone initially offers Kirk a 'ground' assignment to cover up the incident if he takes responsibility. Kirk angrily declines and presses for a full court martial to be able to clear his name.

The court martial itself is also quite telling, and we get to hear a bit more about our dear Captain's history as the computer reads out his extensive record. We are also treated to the records of Spock and McCoy as they give testimony.

Of course there's a lady in Kirk's life that makes an appearance in this episode, Areel Shaw, and of course she turns out to be involved in the case as well, the prosecution!

Spock is referred to as a 'Vulcanian' in this episode and it's interesting seeing a human prosecutor try to twist his words while on the stand. It is ultimately Spock, while playing several games of 3D chess against the computer, finds out that the computer is malfunctioning.

We eventually find that Benjamin Finney didn't die and and instead hid himself (very well) to frame Kirk and ruin his career out of revenge for when Kirk ruined his own career many years ago.

After a typical fight with the body doubles and Kirk ripping his shirt, Finney confesses and tells Kirk where the ship computer has been tampered.

Quite a good episode which (as mentioned above) shows the legal system within Starfleet in action. In typical fashion in tidies up nicely at the end. The blu-ray remaster once again shines, particularly with the shots of the damaged Enterprise in orbit, her sister ship the Intrepid and the shuttles. There is also a scene in Commodore Stone's office listing a number of ships and their registries, more for the shiplovers to appreciate!

Overall rating: 8/10, I thought this episode was quite well done and it surprised me.

Return of the Archons

Return of the ArchonsSulu and O'Neill are fleeing the inhabitants of Beta III. Beamed up to the Enterprise, all is not alright with our ships navigator.

The planet's inhabitants are all mindless, going about their business and talking strangely. They all appear to be under some sort of control. Kirk and his landing party really stand out.

It turns out that a computer, named Landru has taken over and rules over the inhabitants using some sort of telepathy, those who disobey are absorbed, or killed. For a period of 12 hours, a festival allows the people to behave recklessly before returning to control in the morning.

McCoy falls victim to absorption, but Kirk and Spock come upon an ally who leads them to Landru. Kirk overcomes and ultimately destroys Landru by asking a series of difficult questions the immense computer can't handle. Departing, Kirk leaves a team to rebuild the society on the planet.

This episode was a bit slow, but it is important in that we are first introduced to the Prime Directive, Starfleet's order to not interfere with a culture. Kirk technically broke the rule by destroying Landru, though it could be argued that it was the best course of action.

Aside from that though, the episode doesn't leave much more of an impact. The crew are out of their uniforms for most of the episode and most scenes are shot on location again, in a small confined town.

Overall Rating: 5/10

It seems I still need to provide a synopsis of the episode in some form in order to provide context! I'll keep working on it! Feel free to offer suggestions or advice in the mean time :)

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