11 September 2011

Trek Review: By Any Other Name & The Omega Glory

By Any Other Name

Rojan and Kelinda, from another galaxyThe Enterprise is responding to a distress call from a planet. Kirk and the landing party find two people on the surface who demand that Kirk surrender the Enterprise to them and with the use of a paralysis device incapacitating the landing party, demonstrates their superiority in the situation.

The two are identified as Rojan and Kelinda and are travellers from the Kelvan Empire of the neighbouring but distant Andromeda Galaxy. They were looking for a new home as radiation levels in their galaxy will make it uninhabitable. Rojan's ship was destroyed while crossing our galaxy's galactic barrier. They intend to use the Enterprise with modifications to her engines to report back to Andromeda of the suitability of planets in the Milky Way for conquering and colonising.

In another demonstration of Kelvan superiority and disciplinary action against Kirk's attempt to escape capture, two personnel (red shirts) from the landing party are turned into small inanimate objects. Rojan crushes one with his hand, killing Yeoman Thompson while he returns Security Officer Shea to life.

Kirk attempts to reason with Rojan, informing that the Federation could come to a peaceful agreement, but Rojan is adament that the Kelvan way is to conquer and rule - a fate the Federation would eventually face when the Kelvan people come.

The Enterprise is taken over by Rojan, Kelinda and their other crew members. Rojan deems that except for Scott, McCoy, Spock and Kirk, the rest of the crew are unnecessary and would use up supplies needed by his crew in the long voyage ahead. Spock and Scott can't stop the paralyser's each of the Kelvan's have, so rig the ship to explode as they cross the galactic barrier on Kirk's order. Kirk can't bring himself to do so and the ship continues toward Andromeda.

Their only hope lies with playing on the Kelvan's new-found bodies. They have transformed into humanoids so they can operate the Enterprise more effectively. Their true forms being too cumbersome. Kirk and crew soon realise that the Kelvan's are not used to sensations and emotions that come with being human and play this to their advantage. Scotty gets one Kelvan drunk, Spock and Kirk work to make Rojan jealous while Kirk introduces Kelinda to the idea of love (as Kirk does so well!) while McCoy works on another Kelvan by injecting him with stimulants after suggesting he may be ill.

In the end, a duel between Kirk and Rojan breaks out once Rojan's jealousy reaches a head. Kirk finally is able to reason with him and convince Rojan a peaceful solution can be found. The Enterprise turns around and heads home.

This was a good episode, there were certainly some interesting moments and some humours ones, particularly with Scott and his drinking buddy. However, I can't help but think that the Kelvan's were extremely short sighted with their wanting to acquire a ship to head back to Andromeda to report on their findings. That and the fact the Andromeda galaxy will still be inhabitable for many, many years just seems a little too pre-emptive. The Kelvan Empire might die out way before then!

We also see Kirk strike a woman again in this episode. He punched Lady Gaga in 'The Gamesters of Triskellion' and this time he karate chops Kelinda in the neck, despite many episodes ago telling Charlie "there's no right way to hit a woman" in the episode 'Charlie-X'.

Overall Rating: 6/10

The Omega Glory

Capt Tracey and WuArriving at the planet Omega IV, the Enterprise discovers a derelict sistership in orbit, the Exeter. Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Lt Galloway beam over to the ship to investigate and find the entire crew reduced to crystals. McCoy determines each crew member has had all of the water removed from their bodies and a medical log from the ship's doctor reveals it is the result of a virus and that immunity can be found on the planet's surface.

Beaming down, the landing party discover the Exeter's commanding officer, Captain Ronald Tracey. Tracey explains there is a natural immunity offered by the planet environment. Kirk and crew soon find he is in league with a group of people known as the Kohms, who are engaged in a war against savages known as the Yangs. They also find that Tracey has been supplying the Kohms with Federation weapons in their struggle, breaking the Prime Directive.

Tracey tells Kirk he was only wanting to survive and that the Kohms have lived extremely long life-spans, suggesting he has stumbled upon a fountain-of-youth. He wishes to do more research with the equipment aboard the Enterprise but the Yangs must be held at bay. Tracey asks for more phasers to help but Kirk refuses, at which point Tracey has Kirk and Spock locked up, with a Yang leader recently captured.

McCoy is able to discover that the immunity of the inhabitants and the virus that killed the Exeter crew are results of biological warfare. The longer someone remains on the planet, the stronger their immunity becomes, had the Exeter crew stayed on the planet for a few more hours, they would likely have survived. This also means Tracey's fountain-of-youth doesn't exist, what he has witnessed is natural evolution of the inhabitants on the planet.

In a Yang attack, they take over the city and capture Kirk, Tracey and the others. It is found the Yangs and Kohms represent another parallel of Earth's culture. The Yang's being Yankees (or Americans) and the Kohms representing Communists. They went to war with the Kohms winning and the Yang's fighting to regain their land ever since. Their battle standard represents and old and battered flag of the 'stars and stripes' from the United States of America.

Kirk is able to remind them of their routes by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, referred to as the 'holy words' by the Yangs. After a man-to-man fight with Tracey, which Kirk wins and Sulu and a security team beam down, Yang leader Cloud William believes Kirk to be God's servant and they are free to go.

Another message relayed in this episode that might still apply today but would have probably had deeper meaning at the time of its release. Aside from the political message we see another deranged Starfleet commander going after something that doesn't exist and going against Kirk. We don't really know what became of the Exeter after the Enterprise found her as she doesn't appear in any other shots later in the episode.

The episode also suggests that Spock has telepathic abilities when he suggests that the female Yang, Sirah bring him a communicator. Memory Alpha says this is reminiscent of an early concept that Spock had special powers over women.

It's another parallel Earth development episode and it makes you wonder how these cultures can develop the way they do - even to the fact that the Yangs have a United States flag and their Pledge of Allegiance. I would probably suggest this would be contamination from a previous Earth visit to their planet, but it's not confirmed or denied in the episode either way.

Overall Rating: 5.5/10

The 'Amok Time' fight music makes another come back, the themes are good, the story's okay but the repeat use of parallel cultures to ours is getting a bit played out at this point. With three episodes left for the second season it will be interesting to see how it goes and what the overall impression of Season Two is when we're done...

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