21 July 2011

Trek Review: The Apple & The Doomsday Machine

The Apple

The AppleThe Enterprise arrives at a world described as paradise for survey. On beaming to the surface however, Kirk's landing party come across deadly plants that shoot poisonous spores and explosive rocks.

In orbit, the Enterprise falls victim to an unusual electromagnetic force emanating from the planet. This eventually jeopardises the ship.

The landing party continue towards a village of the planet's inhabitants but unfortunately lose more of their party in the process. Kirk and Spock discover they are being followed and trap their spy who takes them to the village, introduces his people and Vaal, a large serpent like cave that the inhabitants worship and care for.

Vaal is the source of all the problems Kirk and his crew are facing and a plan is put into action to deprive it of its power and free themselves and the enslaved inhabitants in the process.

This episode is a great example of Kirk breaking the Prime Directive, though most of it seems to be from McCoy's disgust at how the people live. They do not reproduce as they do not die. Vaal takes care of everything as long as it remains 'fed'.

The remaster brings out a lot of the vibrant colours used in this episode from the trees against the red dirt to the clouds and storms generating by Vaal and more. We lose at least three red shirts in this episode as well. Kirk feeling the impact of each as the episode goes on, particularly noting he knew the father of one crew member who helped Kirk get into the academy. I thought the episode might end with Kirk outsmarting the computer or whatever Vaal was, but instead the Enterprise successfully drains Vaal long enough to shut him down and allow the planet inhabitants to fend for themselves - not that they asked for it, Kirk and co simply assumed it would be better for them that way!

I remember reading that this episode was originally intended to feature the Enterprise separating the saucer section. I wondered how or why this would happen, but Kirk alludes to it in a communication with Scotty when the ship is losing power and being pulled towards the planet by Vaal's interference. In any case, we never see a Constitution class ship separate, so we'll just have to leave that one for the fan-fiction writers out there!

Overall this wasn't a bad episode, I'm rating it 6/10.

The Doomsday Machine

The Doomsday MachineThis episode remains one of my favourites and most memorable from the Original Series, though I'll admit there were still parts of the episode I had forgotten about.

The Enterprise is exploring a region of space where all the planets have been destroyed. They come across their sistership, the Constellation adrift and badly damaged. Her commanding officer, Commodore Decker is found aboard, but none of the crew.

Decker tells of a terrible weapon that attacked the planets in the area and his ship. He beamed his crew to a planet for them to be safe, but the machine destroyed them all.

Kirk and Scott work to prepare the Constellation to be towed back to base while Decker is put under McCoy's care aboard the Enterprise. Soon enough, the 'planet killer' appears and attacks the Enterprise. With damage to communications and transporters, Kirk and Scott are stranded on the stricken Constellation. Spock maneuvers the Enterprise to safe distance but is soon overruled when Decker comes to the bridge and uses his rank to take command.

The Enterprise is taken into battle against the Planet Killer but deals no damage while taking plenty of its own. Kirk can only watch from a repaired viewscreen as his ship takes on the huge machine. Once Kirk finally gets through to the Enterprise and calls off the attacks, Decker sneaks himself into a shuttle and rams it into the Planet Killers maw, sacrificing himself but having no effect.

Eventually, Kirk rigs the Constellation to explode in the maw of the Planet Killer, taking the machine down with a much larger explosion before it is able to attack more populated systems of the Federation.

I think I like this episode for the space action that takes place and it's the first time we get to see another Constitution class starship up close, even if it is a bit wrecked. In remastered form, this episode shines with the newly ruined Constellation adrift in space with debris and rocks bouncing off her hull. The new Planet Killer and weapon effects are also well done.

Notably, Uhura wasn't in this episode, instead they had another female communications officer, Lt Palmer.

Enjoyable with suspense, danger and battles. The nail-biting scene where the Constellation rams the Planet Killer and Kirk awaiting his beamout was very well done for the time I imagine!

Overall Rating: 8/10

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