05 August 2011

Trek Review: The Deadly Years & Obsession

We're nearing the halfway point of Season Two and along with it the halfway point of the Original Series! This review looks at another two interesting episodes of the series and I have to say that even though I'm sure I've watched through the Original Series before, all of these episodes feel like new adventures as I hardly remember anything about them!

The Deadly Years

The Deadly YearsThe Enterprise arrives at Gamma Hydra IV to find the scientific party assigned to the planet all dead or dying from old age - since none of the team were over 30, an investigation gets underway.

Soon enough, members of the landing party begin to show their own signs of rapid aging, affecting Kirk, McCoy, Scotty, Spock and Galway, but not Chekov.

Scotty's signs are more obvious but Galway's aging increases the quickest and takes her life eventually before a solution can be found. Kirk's memory starts to lapse and his command effectiveness is called into question by Commodore Stocker, being transported to Starbase 10.

Eventually, Chekov is key to saving the aging crew members when McCoy and Spock find that adrenaline stopped the aging from ever taking effect after Chekov became extremely frightened when he discovered the first dead scientist on the planet surface.

This is a decent episode for its time. The aging effects on each character are quite well done, including some interesting parallels to future aged characters we'd end up seeing. Sure, Kirk doesn't quite look like the Deney Crane from Boston Legal, but the aged McCoy we would revisit in Star Trek: The Next Generation's pilot episode 'Encounter at Farpoint' isn't too dissimilar and the aging Spock doesn't look too different from the Spock we would end up encountering in The Next Generation either.

The Enterprise becomes involved in a Neutral Zone incident in this episode after Commodore Stocker takes command and orders the ship head straight for Starbase 10, a course that takes the ship through the Neutral Zone. You have to wonder at the dimwits that Starfleet pins Commodore badges on, but surely a course to Starbase 10 should be plotted around the Neutral Zone regardless of how impatient the Commodore was at getting to his new posting? Even Sulu should have known better? Anyway, the Enterprise is attacked by Romulan's as soon as it crosses the Neutral Zone border, interesting, because I thought no ships were allowed in there from either side. Commodore Stocker decides to sit in the Captain's chair and has no reaction while the ship is pounded relentlessly by Romulan forces. Why not retreat or at least return fire?! Nope, nothing. It takes Kirk, back in his prime to call a bluff with his famous 'Corbomite Maneuver' to get the ship out of trouble.

Notable for this episode is the blu-ray remaster. The effects shots of the Romulan conflict are quite well done with at least four different Romulan ships seen in the battle against the Enterprise and the 'warp out' shot is one of the best I've seen in the remasters so far showing the agility of the Constitution class hero ship we all know and love.

Overall Rating: 8/10


ObsessionKirk and Spock lead a landing party on Argus X, surveying the planet for Tritanium. The landing party are soon set upon by a mysterious cloud that claims the lives of two security officers and leaves Ensign Rizzo badly injured. The dead officers having every red blood corpuscle drained from their bodies.

Kirk detects a similarity to a past situation he has faced and returns to the planet with Ensign Garrovick and a security team - all while the Enterprise is due to make an important rendezvous with the Yorktown to transfer urgently needed medical supplies.

On the planet surface, Ensign Garrovick is unable to stop the cloud before it kills the security team. He reports that he hesitated with fear to the senior staff, where Kirk relieves him of all his duties.

It is revealed that Ensign Garrovick is the son of Captain Garrovick, who Kirk served under aboard the starship Farragut. Captain Garrovick was killed along with 200 of the Farragut crew by a similar vampiric cloud. Kirk believes this is the same cloud. McCoy and Spock begin to notice Kirk becoming more obsessed with the creature and fear it is impeding his judgement, particularly with the rendezvous with the Yorktown being overlooked.

As the cloud leaves Argus X and launches into space, Kirk orders the Enterprise to pursue at Warp 8, however the ship is unable to continue for a long duration and forced to drop back. At this point, the cloud turns to attack the Enterprise. A phaser and torpedo attack have no effect and the cloud enters the ships ventilation system. Inside the ship, the cloud kills another crew member and attempts to kill Ensign Garrovick in his quarters, but Spock is able to intervene. The cloud leaves the ship and Kirk orders a pursuit course to the planet Tycho IV, where Kirk and the Farragut crew faced the cloud creature before.

There, Kirk and Garrovick are able to lure the creature with a sample of blood and detonate an anti-matter explosion that finally takes out the creature and leaves a rather large crater on the planet's surface.

Kirk's obsession with the creature puts him out of character from what we're used to as he relentlessly pursues it to atone for the guilt he feels for the deaths of the 200 or so lives lost on the Farragut. This episode must be up there for the record number of red-shirt deaths that occur!

Overall Rating: 7/10

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