11 June 2011

Trek Review: Errand of Mercy & The Alternative Factor

I'll start with a quick divergence from the Trek Reviews. I know that some people think I'm a pretty hardcore Trekker and I'd probably agree, but even I have my limits in Trekkiness. On Twitter, there's a great many different people you can follow that either emulate a character from Trek or provide info, whatever. One such is @TrekTrivia, it doesn't take much to work out what this one is all about.

Twice a week they run Trek related Trivia for Twitter followers to partake in. There's no prizes, but it's kinda fun. Until someone takes it a bit too seriously, which has happened to me on two occasions now from the same follower. I dunno, just feels like we're back in primary school when a user is tweeting that the only reason I won a round was because no one else was playing. All I can really say to them is 'boohoo', for the most-part TrekTrivia is run to cater for the European/North American timezones, so the fact I get to join in at all is already worth noting and there's nothing up for grabs, so does it matter who wins or not? I always figured it was just about participating and having fun. Meh...

Errand of Mercy

Errand of MercyThe Enterprise is sent to Organia to prepare it's people for a likely Klingon invasion. Oh, I should rejoice, KLINGONS!!! Kirk's greatest adversary finally make it onscreen in this episode!

Negotiations between the Klingons and the Federation haven't gone well and it becomes important to secure Organia for the conflict ahead. An attack by a Klingon ship on the Enterprise followed by an alert from Starfleet confirms that the two parties are now at war.

The Organians refuse help, saying it's not needed. Kirk and Spock are confused and end up stuck on the planet as a Klingon fleet arrives and occupational forces beam down. The Enterprise flees to round up Federation forces on Kirk's orders.

Kirk and Spock work to sabotage the Klingons but are captured (after being turned in by Ayelbourne, the head of the Organian council). He eventually frees them from their cell, and Kor, leading the Klingon forces has 200 Organian's killed and promises 200 more if Kirk and Spock aren't returned.

Eventually we find that the Organian's are in fact beings of a much higher evolution and that no one was hurt, they were projections. The Organian's ultimately intervene and stop both the Federation and Klingon forces from coming together in battle and neither side is able to take claim to the planet.

My observations would mostly relate to the Klingons in this episode. Obviously they don't look anything like what we'll come to expect from TNG, DS9, VOY & ENT but this is how they looked. They also behave slightly differently, not much about honour and battle in how they present themselves, obviously this must be worked into their culture as time goes on.

This episode does show their militaristic nature though and beaming down to a planet and taking control with little initial resistance proves easy, but with one hiccup (Kirk and Spock escaping), Kor shows how ruthless the Klingons can be by executing 200 people on a whim.

It will be interesting to observe the Klingons in future episodes and see how they develop into Kirk's number one enemy and possibly more into the warrior race that are so renowned by the 24th century.

One thing of note though is that Ayelbourne foretells that both the Federation and the Klingons will one day become friends and work together and how much truth there is in those words!

Overall Rating: 7/10

The Alternative Factor

About to complete a survey of an uncharted planet, the Enterprise and her crew experience a 'blink' where the universe is on the verge of non-existence. A man appears on the planet below where before there was no life.

The landing party find Lazarus, who claims he is pursuing a 'thing', a monster who destroyed his civilisation. There is no other life on the planet, so Lazarus is accused of lying.

In the meantime, more 'blinking' occurs and it soon becomes apparent that Lazarus is involved in some ways and McCoy finds it hard to explain how at one moment he can have a bandage on his head and the next, it's no longer there.

It turns out that there are two Lazarus', one from our universe and another from a parallel universe. In the 'blinking', the two meet in a type of corridor that connects the two universes. Kirk learns the truth when he accidentally transports into the parallel universe instead of Lazarus, who has gone insane. Kirk meets the parallel Lazarus, who is prepared to seal himself and his counterpart in the corridor forever to save both universes from destruction.

The episode is okay, but gets a bit confusing and repetitive with the 'swirling' effect used to show Lazarus entering the corridor and fighting with his counterpart. It's only towards the end of the episode that it truly starts to make sense and we can understand what is happening in these scenes. The idea of the episode is an interesting one though and parallel universes are visited again and again throughout the rest of Star Trek - just executed a little differently each time.

Overall Rating: 5/10

Only two more episodes await for the first season - coming soon!

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