Star Wars: The Last Jedi came out about a month ago and I think that now after two views (distanced by about two weeks), I can finally write down a final opinion on it. What I can tell, it created some serious divide between the critics and fans. Just look at the difference in scores in Rotten Tomatoes between critics (that lauded it) and fans (that some claims is even worse than Attack of The Clones).
So far, the best and most interesting fan review came from Kevin Smith. A very good hour in which he goes through details, highlighting the good and underlining the bad things about.
I decided to give it a few weeks before making my comments for one reason: the Jedi mind trick that hit me 15 years ago when Attack of the Clones came in screen. At first, I was “Oh yeah, it was awesome! One of the best Star Wars!” and still remember the diatribe from Rafic Djoumni, a former journalist in “Mad-Movies” (a well-respected French magazine about Sci-Fi and horror movies that was my favorite movies magazine). Looking back, the movie honestly did not survived the tides of time and is needed not as good as I remember (please someone remove Anakin meadow scene from my brain!).
ATTENTION————————SPOILERS AHEAD! YOU ARE WARNED!———————————-
So, there is the deal: the movie is good, better that was fans try to make you believe. But it is also not the masterpiece sold by critics. No, it is not “The Empire Strikes Back” quality (still awesome after thousands of watching and almost 40 years in the odometer). There are some good moments, and there are also just scenes I would have cut and I would not even notice I was missing something in the story plot. I feel Rian Johnson wanted to not follow the same steps than JJ Abrams and thought probably it was time for his own vision of a trilogy. Although this can be a laudable move, it also meant that a lot of things brought by JJ went under the rug.
The movie starts with a bang, right where we kind of left it “The Force Awakens” and it is very intense. Imagine a WW2 bombing operation transposed in a galaxy far far away a long time ago. It was starting very well, but then started to stall at some point. The Rebels try to escape from the Imperial Fleet, only to be caught up a few hours after jumping out from Hyperspace. If you are accustomed to the reboot of “Battlestar Galactica” aka “BSG”, the plot of the first episodes named “33”. I don’t want to spoil much (because this is one of the most awesome Sci-Fi franchise from the mid-2000s I wished was aired in FrenchTV back then) as the Cylons are capable to track “the 12 colonies of Kobol” surviving fleet each time they jump from their FTL (faster than light) drive. Each time after 33 minutes.
This creates a plot in which the Rebels are in a sort of face-off, running out of fuel. Thats sounds a good plot but then you realize it runs on a paper thin. The Imperial fleet has a formidable firepower that would zap the fleet. No, they just stand waiting them to run out of fuel. Kylo Ren is keeping on the rage, only to be disciplined by Snokes. Enough to have Kylo to pick a Tie fighter and attempt a suicide mission on the main fleet vessel carrying General Leia Organa. He literally blew the ships deck with Admiral Ackbar in it sending Leia floating in space. This is where we have another ridiculous scene with CGI as good as “The Matrix Reloaded” (the infamous Playstation2 CGI). One of the sequence I liked however was the appearance of Laura Dern as Admiral Hodo. I was waiting for the “Fuck You, Poe!”, as I am still in all my Twin Peaks mindset and seeing Laura Dern playing the Diane tulpa. Her last move was a last kind of bravado act, going down with her ship as any respectable Captain do after ordering the crew to abandon ship (I almost felt Star Wars was getting inspiration from Trek). The whole sequence was simply a shock and awe, with a complete silence during the scene (remember…….in space nobody hear you scream!).
This scene is enough to questioning where Johnson wants to bring us. I guess it was meant to ramp into the sub-plot of the “Casino planet” that I thought was 45 minutes of major meaning. So I will skip this and go to Lukes plot. We left that with Rey finding Luke and handing him over his lightsaber, the same one he lost on Bespin in the Empire Strikes Back. Here comes the funny part that I liked about, seeing Mark Hamill throwing away the lightsaber and basically saying “enough of this BS”. I liked this whole sub-plot except the Porgs and the nuns. I felt seeing this part of the story was very good and show how the Jedi Council behind his allure of virtue and nobility are not as clean as they want to make things look like. They have sinned in their own way by their overconfidence and maybe also their inability to evolve. Seeing Yoda as a puppet was also a touching moment.
Rey rejoins the whole group and decide to confront Snoke. This is just bringing the second anti-climatic phase of the movie. Snoke dies like an idiot, Captain Phasma dies like an idiot. Both getting the Bobba Fett Mary Sue treatment. Both flattened out as a missed souffle. So we have been waiting two years for something that felt flat like a deflated balloon?
The last quarter of the movie was kind of awesome. It was somehow replaying the plot of the Battle of the Hott system. Seeing the evolved AT-AT and seeing the Rebels cornered brought in this level of stress that was initially here. Then came Luke (sort of), almost coming as a Messiah. And Hell he looked like the Chosen One in a scene reminding us of “The Matrix” Neo final scene, resurrected within the Matrix and capable to stop the agents bullets and move faster than their moves. Seeing Luke being blasted with all the firepower and stood still made us feel Luke reached the uber-jedi Rank and was appearing as the Jedi. Only to realize he was transposing himself from a distant galaxy, with the sunset on him. This final scene had some profound meaning for me because it was a direct call to my childhood heroes and it was also meaning that the sun is set on our childhood heroes. Han Solo was gone, Luke is gone and Leia is also gone.
My son loved it, but me I stood at the end of the credits sequence and thought. Maybe I am getting old, maybe I am becoming an old shmuck thats mind is stiffening overtime and incapable to show flexibility. I thought to myself that Episode IX will likely be my last one. I don’t see myself piling up another trilogy and I feel somehow sad to see that Star Wars is becoming a cash cow for Disney, milking it ad nauseam (we are not yet having Star Wars condom but I would not be surprised to have some). Maybe it is time, that as Luke, Han and Leia, I close my eyes on Star Wars.
Today marks the 25th anniversary of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (aka DS9). It marks the branching out of the Trek Universe, five years after the launch of Star Trek: The Next Generation and was running in parallel to the latter one.
It first aired on January 3rd 1993 and in my opinion constitutes the best of the Trek Universe and follows the life of the Deep Space Nine station under the command of Benjamin Sisko. Some people claims DS9 took the idea from Babylon 5, indeed DS9 preceded Babylon 5 by a year roughly.
The series starts chronologically right by the end of TNG Season 2/beginning Season 3 “Best Of Both Worlds” when Capt. Picard is captured by the Borg collective and became Locutus of Borg. Under his command, the Borg lead the massacre of Wolf 359. The DS9 pilot starts here in which Benjamin Sisko (played by Avery Brooks) serving on a Federation ship amongst his wife. As they try to evacuate the ship, Benjamin lost his wife from collateral damage and constrained to abandon ship in an escape pod. Back in Earth and a couple of years following the Borg encounter, Benjamin is offered the command of the Deep Space Nine station (also referred as Tevok Nor), recently recovered from the Cardassians following their retreat from the Bajor planet, ending their occupation of the planet.
For any means, getting command of the Deep Space Nine is not the most enjoyable assignment: located in the deep end of the Alpha Quadrant, near a planet that remains primitive (Bajorans lack spaceship transportations) and a highly mystical civilization (Bajorans share many similarities with Bhuddism). In order words, this station is considered as being assigned at the frontier of the Federation.
Benjamin comes in with his son Jake, in a dirty, rusty and isolated station and get command of the station under the Federation mandate. As we discover Benjamin Sisko exploring the station, we get introduced to newcomers of the Federation. We have some familiar faces in the person of Senior Chief Petty Officer Miles O’Brien (played by Colm Meaney) transferring from USS Enterprise (we have seen O’Brien in several TNG episodes) amongst his wife Keiko (played by Rosalind Chao) and their daughter Molly. We also have newcomers in the persons of Dr. Julian Bashir (played by Alexander Siddig) and Lt. Jadzia Dax (played by Terry Farrell). Bashir is this young and prodigious doctor eager to discover new horizons. For him, assigned to the frontier of the Federation is a boon and considers it as an formidable opportunity. But behind his joyful and prodigy hides an important family secret that comes in later to haunt him.
Dax is the second time we got introduced to the Trill alien race, a race that is involving a symbiont as corporal support. It is a very interesting character as Trills carry over memories of their previous hosts and often change their gender through the circumstance. Jadzia (female) is the 8th host, following the transfer from Curzon (male) Dax. Benjamin knows Curzon very well and gently refers as “old man” and keep that friendly relationship with Jadzia. It is an interesting concept by bringing the discussion of transgender and LGBT into the Trek Universe.
Amongst the members of the Federation, we also discover the “locals” of the station. We have firstly Major Kira Nerys (played by Nana Visitor), commander from the Bajorian Forces and representing Bajor in the station. We get introduced to Odo (played by Rene Auberjournois), a “changeling” alien that is a fluid-like alien capable to morph into any shape and structure. He was the Chief of Security under the Cardassian occupation and remains as is in the current station. We also get introduced to the Ferengi in more details by the presence of Quark (played by Armin Shimerman) owner of the bar. Quark hold the bar business with the help of his brother Rom (played by Max Grodenshik) and his nephew Nog (played by Aron Eisenberg). In addition to serving alcholic beverages, Quark also maintain some Dabo tables (a complicated gambling game looking like a roulette game) animated by the presence of Leeta (Chase Masterson) and by the presence of Morn (Mark Allen Shepherd). Finally, the last but very important protagonist is Elim Garak (played by Andrew Robinson), the owner of a tailor shop. Behind his jovial and very warm character, Garak hide a heavy and dark secret that we only learn later in the series.
Early on, the discovery of a wormhole leading to a brand new uncharted Quadrant (the Gamma Quadrant), transform this remote space station as a formidable frontier hub for those traveling to this Quadrant and coming from it.
This congregation of different characters coming from different horizons and different species make this melting-pot that made the DS9 station unique. It look like a Babel tower in space, in which different cultures and aliens cross their way through. The first two seasons are sure campy and make the rides bumpy but by the end of Season 2, the magic formula slowly started to take in and take some radical different directions than the utopia set of Gene Roddenberry. DS9 shows us that the future is full of shades of grey, with characters fighting their own demons and depicting that the Federation is not as shiny as it is.
We get into very interesting story arcs: the Federation-Cardassian treaty that surely ended up the bloody war (we learnt about Miles past as a soldier) but failed to consider the impact of setting DMZs on the population (creating the splinter cell known as the Maquis, taking the name of the French Resistance during WWII). We also get introduced to the Bajoran-Cardassian relationship and the relationship between an occupier belligerant and the occupied, shattering through the idyll of the David versus Goliath. Both camps shed blood and blind terrorism in the name of a cause. But also both camps knew to fell in love (thats really speak to me, as I see it as a metaphor of the occupation of France by German Nazis, with the French population). We also get introduced to the Dominion, a metaphor of the Pax Romana that offers you peace with the condition that you surrender your authority to the Roman Empire) and his army of the Jem’Hadar. An army genetically conceived with one mission: “Born to kill” and maintained in check by the use of a drug referred as Ketracel White (we can see similarities with soldiers given wine and liquors before giving the charge). I also see the Jem’Hadar as a metaphor for the child soldiers that were actively involved in various civil wars in Africa.
Things really starts to kick in when Worf (played by Michael Dorn) join the series by Season 4 (right after Star Trek: First Contact) and when Sisko takes on the “Samuel L. Jackson” goatee look. This exponentially increased the awesomeness of the show by deeply exploring the whole Klingon folklore superficially explored in TNG.
In addition to the story arcs, we have important topics discussed through different two-series episodes with some of the best Star Trek episodes ever created in the whole Trekverse. Look at the “In the Pale Moonlight”, “Assault on AR-558” and many others.
If you have not seen DS9, you have been missing big time. I would however recommend to skip some episodes in Season 1 and 2, especially those that are not associated with the main story line (Bajor or Maquis).
If you are a Trekkie, you know the big debate about Star Trek: The Motion Picture (TMP). It was released about the same time than Star Wars: A New Hope and when you come from Star Wars, TMP appears slow….very slow…….and also kitsch. Very kitsch. I am still try to understand how, 40 years later, they had made the decision on the Starfleet costumes (some ugly PJs that should have never seen light, even back in the 70s).
Now something interesting came that week, someone has the genius idea to blend TMP, cut into the extra-fat and plugged in “Tron Legacy” soundtrack. Oh boy, I really loved that sequel to “Tron” with the remarkable work of Hans Zimmer and Daft Punk, through their MOOG synthesizers, giving this primal electronic sounds that as synthetic is can carry some of the deepest emotions. The photography was sleek, it was well directed and was giving a major upgrade to “Tron”. Just look back at the famous Light Cycle scene how the video and the audio blended perfectly:
Suddenly, TMP becomes a new movie and really makes me think if there was some very clever cut, with a re-designed soundtrack, could become much more watchable. It also now revived my interest in “Tron: Legacy” and I really hope Disney decides to get “Tron3” from the back-burner.
Sometimes a good surprise can await you around the corner. This was the case of “Turbo Kid”, as it popped as a suggestion on my digital service.
Turbo Kid is a French-Canadian movie written and directed by François Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell. Not much famous actors in the cast except with the exception of Michael Ironside (known for his role as Ham Tyler in the original “V” series).
“Turbo Kid” is not totally new to me, as the first iteration known as “T for Turbo” was the prototype for it and frankly it created a huge buzz:
It rightfully made a loud buzz by its VHS feeling of an 80’s post-nuke movie, a kind of genre I have been bottle-fed thanks to the Italian moviemaker. All the ingredients were already in: the post-nuke wasteland, the abandoned quarrel, the Bontempi synthesizers, the cheap gore effect, and the BMX ride. Even the inspiration of the “Cannon Pictures” gives this huge nostalgic vibe.
The plot is fairly simple but fairly fun. The plot takes place in a post-nuke 1997, in a quarrel posing as a wasteland. Water is scarce and became a precious commodity. In a complete anarchy, the law of the jungle prevails: the survival of the fittest.
“The Kid”, the main protagonist, lives on scavenging on his BMX bike and fomenting revenge to Zeus (played by Michael Ironside), as Zeus killed his mom in front of him. Taking courage from reading “Turbo Rider”, a comic book.
One day, the Kid finds Apple, an android girl that quickly becomes attached to him. This only starts the trouble once Apple get kidnapped by Zeus and fleeing from his minions, the Kid ends up in an abandoned vehicle and finds the remain of a certain “Turbo Rider”….
The movie is not aiming very high but it hits hard on the GenXers like me. You could almost believe you have seen this movie as a kid, as the feeling is so genuine to 80’s Sci-Fi B-movies, especially Italian post-nukes: They were cheap, the plot was quite often cheesy. But oh gosh they were great and fun to watch!
Here is the official trailer, you can catch the full movie on Netflix:
As 2016 closes to end with its many tumultuous and tragic toll over this year, I wanted to also highlights some of the good things that happened on a personal level this year. One of them is discovering “Star Trek” through watching “Star Trek The Original Series” as 2016 marked the 50th anniversary of the original series on NBC.
For a long time now since my initial exposure to Star Trek universe when I was a kid, the airing of the original (remastered) episodes on BBC America provided a plato how I learned to stop worrying and love being a new member of the Trekkie family. As I am finished up binging on the original series (I am in the almost done with the first-half of Season 3, watched the original movie and the two JJ Abrams movies), I thought it would be great to put that into a blog and why I think Star Trek surpasses Star Wars in many aspects, at least based on my binge level and current knowledge of the lore.
My first experience of Star Trek was maybe when I was 3-4 years old, when the series was aired on some French public TV channel. I was intrigued but quickly stopped by my Dad skepticism about the seriousness of the series, impersonated by Spock Vulcan trait (in other words his pointed ears). So this eagerness was stopped and stayed latent until now, as I moved into Star Wars and fueled by the misconception that Star Trek was boring. This I feel define the rivalry between team Star Wars and team Star Trek.
Indeed both are different and addressing two distinct philosophies: the former is highly impregnated by religion and beliefs (indeed Buddhism, Zen and other religions have highly influenced Georges Lucas) whereas the later is driven by logic, skepticism and critical thinking (that I guess why Star Trek is highly popular amongst scientists and also a trademark of Gene Roddenberry humanism). It is also driven by their very distinct plot development: the former constitutes a clever blending of sword & buckler (lightsabers) and Western (the famous Han solo cantina duel) whereas the later prone the diplomacy approach before the use of violence (even there, the crew use their phasers on stun mode) to solve a hard-time situation. This lack of action in the latter is probably why folks often chastise Star Trek as a boring series due to its lack of action (the first Star Trek Original Motion Picture was indeed exemplifying this stereotype).
However, “Star Trek – TOS” provide a much richer environment than Star Wars although being 10 years older than then Star Wars. In Star Trek, we are not dealing with the Star Wars skeleton crew. We are dealing with a whole navigating team, each with their own expertise, pros and cons. We have Captain James “Jim” P. Kirk (played by William Shatner), a charismatic and womanizing ship captain, seconded by Spock (played by Leonard Nimoy), a Vulcan science officer and champion of logic. Contrasting with Spock personality, Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy (played by DeForest Kelley) provides the mercurial and hard-boiled doctor, using any of the situations to verbally joust with Spock.
In addition, we have key elements that made the series very innovative by its cultural inclusiveness and progressive views:
- Lt. Nyota Uhura (played by Nichelle Nichols), a Afro-American woman in place of the key communication officer.
- Lt. Hikari Sulu (played by Georges Takkei) as a Japanese helm officer. Sulu is the man behind the “USS Enterprise” maneuver into warp drive, putting the defenses on and firing phasers and torpedoes against hostile encounters.
- Ensign Pavel Chekov (played by Walter Koenig) a Russian second-in pilot
- Lt. Montgomery “Scotty” Scott (played by James Doohan), easily recognized by its strong Scottish accent, key engineer that have the spaceship “USS Enterprise” run in good hands. He is the man behind the transporter that made Star Trek as it is.\
- Nurse Christine Chapel (Majet Barett, Roddenberry love affair and second wife), assistant to McCoy and Spock secret lover.Aside from taking (limited) control of the ship during absence of Kirk, none of them are dispensable (unlike Star Wars in which almost everyone knows how to fight and fly the Falcon Millennium). Almost each episodes of Star Trek is centered about the discovery of a novel planet and its inhabitants or around a spaceship encounters. This is what I love about Star Trek: they don’t go blindly into a planet. They scan it, study it, define its composition and identify any presence of living beings. Even after living beings, the crew stands on a strong ethos driven the Prime Directive: do not interfere with the population technology or beliefs. Observe and limit interactions. Sounds sciencey no? It is. Many things that are appearing in Star Trek have crossed the science-fiction into the science: the use of miniature storage device that almost look like flash drives, the health monitoring system in sick bay that is now a common device in every hospitals….There are things that still into the science-fiction realms like the Tricorder, the propulsion system called warp drive…..The Original Series spans on 79 episodes split in three seasons. Overall most of them are interesting but there are also inequalities: some are excellent, some are just kind of a reheated episode, some are completely weird or infamously bad.
These are some of the greatest episodes that i recommend to watch. Season 1 is certainly one of the best season as there are many episodes that made my favorite list:
Season 1 (1966-1967):
– S01E04: “The Naked Time”. In this episode, the crew is investigating the death of a federation outpost, only to be contained by a transmissible parasite that makes the crew hallucinating and schizophrenic.
– S01E05: “The Enemy Within”. A damn good episode! One of the few written by Richard Matheson (you may heard his name as a screenwriter for many “The Twillight Zone” episodes and “I Legend”). In this episode, a malfunction in the transporter results in having Kirk personality split into two Kirks: the good-hearted Kirk and the evil-minded Kirk. This is the episode in which Kirk appears completely insane!
– S01E07 “What Are Little Made Of”. In this episode, the crew investigates a distress call from Dr. Roger Korby, an exobiologist that is also Nurse Chapel long lost finance. He has been working on creating humanoids replicas and try to use the Enterprise as a vehicle for dominating the world.
– S01E10 “The Corbomite Maneuver”. In this episode, the crew face an encounter with ah alien spaceship, putting the crew into a nerving mouse-and-cat game.
– S01E11-E12 “The Menagerie”. Based on an unaired pilot repurposed in this 2-part episode. It sees Spock mutiny decision to follow Captain Pike’s order, former USS enterprise commander.
– S01E14 “Birds Of Prey”. This is the first episode that introduce us to the Romanian faction, one of the faction at war with the Federation. It is also has this classical feeling of chivalry that was noted in WW1 air and sea battles.
– S01E16 “The Galileo Seven”. This episode is one of the most stressful as Spock and the team are stranded on a transport shuttle crashed into an hostile environment, fighting form their survival and trying to get back into the Enterprise.
– S01E18 “Arena”. This is probably one of the classical episode that looks weird and outdated but yet fascinating. In this episode, Kirk and the captain of a hostile spacecraft (a paper-mache reptile) are put on a planet with only their intelligence and natural resources to develop lethal weapons, as only one will leave this place alive.
– S01E22 “Space Seed”. This is an important episode as it introduces us to “Khan”, one of most fearsome foe of the Star Trek Universe.
– S01E23 “A Taste Of Armageddon”. Thats another great episode by the political meanings. The Enterprise crew arrive in a planetary system that appears thriving and peaceful, only to see that a 500-year war has been running between two factions. A virtual war but with deadly civilian tolls, as each faction have to disintegrate its own civilians as “collateral damage”.
– S01E25 “Devil in the Dark”. This is the episode that was used in one video made from someone of my home region, using a vernacular regional German dialect (Alsatian), with a creature (referred in the parody as “la merde de l’espace”) that terrorise a mining company. One of these weirdest episode highlighted by Spock mind-melding with the creature.
– S01E26 “Errand Of Mercy”. Not a great episode but worth in the list as it is the first episode to introduce the Klingons (their appearance and language will greatly differ in the subsequent iterations).
– S01E28 “The City on the Edge of Forever”. Certainly one of the best episode due to its dramatic tense. Following an accidental injection, a delusional McCoy beams himself into a planet hosting a time-travel portal transporting him, Kirk and Spock into the 1930s depression-era. Kirk and Spock faces not only the dilemma hold by the Prime directive but also the consequence of saving someones death on the historical timeline.
Season 2 (1967-1968):
Season 2 was also very good but some episodes have this feeling of “deja-vu” by using a plot already explored. These are my favorite Season 2 episodes in my list:
– S02E04 “Mirror, Mirror”: Another great epidote in which a disturbance in the transporter beam leads to a mix-up between two parallel universes, sending Kirk and its teammates in which the Federation is more like a pirate and terrorizing organization.
– S02E06 “The Doomsday Machine”. Another favorite episode. In this episode, the Enterprise faces a huge doomsday machine that is fueling on planets and galaxies that he swallows. He sees the demise of an another spacecraft and captain that will make the ultimate sacrifice as a ship’s captain.
– S02E10 ” Journey To Babel”. A unique episode as it brings various races of the Federation into the Enterprise, in particular Spock’s parents. All on a “whodunit” intrigue as well as a unique father-son relationship makes this episode unique and original.
– S02E15 “The Trouble with Tribbles”. THE episode with the fur balls!
– S02E16 “The Gamesters of Triskelion”. One of the action-packed episode seeing Spock, McCoy and Kirk becoming gladiators.
– S02E17 “A Piece of The Action”. What would Star Trek would like if it took place in the 1920’s Chicago prohibition-era? Well this episode!
– S02E21 “Patterns of Force”one of these episodes using a planet as a mirror to human history, in particular to something looking like the Nazi Germany. Worth the seeing.
– S02E24 “The Ultimate Computer”. Before computers were even outside, this episode had this visionary feels as it predicts the danger of considering any computer devices as fool-proof, devoid of any “bugs”. Wargames’ WOPR or Terminator’s Skynet anyone?
– S02E26 “Assignment: Earth”. An odd but fun episode, playing with Star Trek colliding with modern-day (1967-69) Earth, straight in the line of “Tomorrow Is Yesterday” (S01E19) episode.
Season 3 (1968-1969):
Season 3 in my opinion started to go into weird direction, brining some of the worst episodes and maybe explaining why the series was plugged off. This seasons feels like a roller-coaster as it feels an a succession of “yeah” and “meh” episodes. Here are some of the best and worst episodes that I was given to see:
– S03E01 “Spock’s Brain”. The worst episode in my opinion, just look at the plot: A lost civilization sent a woman into the Enterprise, put everyone to sleep to steal Spock’s brain. Not only Spock remains alive without a brain, even better McCoy find a way to make a remote-controlled Spock!
– S03E02 “The Enterprise Incident”. Maybe of the best of that season, in which Kirk and Spock decide to stealthy steal a Romanian technology. One of the few times Spock kicks away his logic and use his seduction to the female Romulian ship captain to plot the theft. When James Bond collides with Star Trek, it makes one interesting episode.
– S03E03 “The Paradise Syndrome”. Another terrible episode in which Kirk becomes amnesic and fall in love with a Native-American like indigenous inhabitant and becomes a God-like symbol.
– S03E05 “Is There in Truth No Beauty”. Another terrible episode in which Kollos, a Medusean ambassador is locked into a box due to transportation, any human seeing Kollos (in other words the inside content of that box) become insane before dying. I never knew that psychedelic visuals would make someone to die, unless you are on LSD. I guess that was maybe the message behind that episode “Don’t do drugs”.
– S03E07 “Day Of The Dove”. Thats another great episode in which Kirk and a rival Klingon ship have to work together to fight a common enemy, an energy-made creature feeding on anger and violence.
-S03E08 “For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky”. Not a great episode but worth mentioning as it has the only episode in which McCoy have a love affair with a priestess from a drifting spaceship turned into an asteroid.
– S03E09 “The Tholian Web”. One of the darkest episode. As Kirk investigates the wreckage of USS Valiant, the crew faces multiple challenges that put them into the most challenging situation: a disease that makes crew members bezerk, Captain Kirk declared dead by Spock only to be found lost into another dimension running low on oxygen, the attack of a Tholian fleet resulting in major casualties and mechanical damage, putting Spock and McCoy into the most tense decisional fight in decision making.
– S03E10 “Wink of an Eye”. A very boring episode in which Captain Kirk moves at the speed of light following the incursion of some aliens inside his ship. The only noteworthy moment in my opinion is when Captain Kirk went the extra mile, above the call of duty with the female alien :p.
– S03E11 “Eylaan of Troyius”. An interesting but also weird episode, with Kirk having to discipline a tin-foil clad but spoiled princess and a sabotage by some Klingons. We knew Kirk was a womanizer but making up with a princess-bride was priceless.
– S03E12 “Whom God Destroys”. An overall okay episode taking place in a space asylum taken by Garth of Izard, a former Starlet captain turned psychopath (and capable to take others apparence). What make this episode very interesting? Two things: seeing the false Captain Kirk getting loco as Scott refuses to beam him inside the Enterprise, the cruauty of Garth that does not hesitate to let suffocate Marta (her love affair from Orion) by exposing her to deadly poisonous gases but also to explode her alive remotely all on the prime-time screen.
– S03E14 “The Mark of Gideon”. A bizarre episode in which the Enterprise try to establish diplomatic contact with the habitants of the Gideon Planet. The only problem is that such planet is overpopulated by mute folks in spandex moving using Brownian movement. Choosing Kirk for helping to control the population is certainly sarcastic.
– S03E19 “Requiem For Methuselah”. I liked this episode as it has some Twillight Zone twist to it. The Enterprise is beamed down a planet to harvest and extract some ryetalyn to treat some a Rigelian fever outbreak (I wonder if there is any association with the Ritalin drug used for ADHD patients). At the surprise of the captain, they found two humanoids on the planet that not what they appear to be.
– S03E20 “Way to Eden”. Oh my, this is an awful episode. Imagine hippies into space looking for their ashram and raising a mutiny inside the Enterprise. Ugh!
– S03E21 “The Cloud Minders”. An interesting episode by its inspiration for Lando Carlissian’s cloud city of the Bespin planet. It has also a strong inspiration with Fritz Lang “Metropolis” by the social class divide (the intellectually poor are relegated to terranean surface, whereas the rich ones are living in the clouds).
– S03E22 “The Savage Curtain”. Another interesting one, as the crew of the USS Enterprise are encountered by a replica of Abraham Lincoln, only to be forced to participate in a gladiators game similar to “Arena”. Kirk, Spock and Lincoln team with Saruk (a legend amongst Vulcan history) into a deathmatch against some of the greatest villain of Earth History including Gengis Khan and Captain Green. The second time that a rock-based alien is the center of attention.
– S03E23 “All Our Yesterday”. This is a must-watch, one of the best episode by its darkness and probably the first time Spock showed his human emotion. The USS Enterprise is visiting a planet that has 4 hours to live before its destruction by its star that became a nova. Spock, Kirk and McCoy are beamed down into a library and greeted by the last librarian. At their surprise, the librarian tell them everybody else have left into safety (despite their lack of knowledge in rocket science and space exploration). The trio discovers the fate of its population as they are trapped in some holographic portals.
– S03E24 “Turnabout Intruder”. The last episode before NBC cancelled the production. Also one of the worst episode of TOS franchise. Captain Kirk is visiting Camus II following a distress signal from Dr. Lester, a scientist and former Kirk love affair during its time at the Starfleet Academy. Using an ancient device, Dr. Lester traps Kirk and use it to switch minds. This episode is awfully bad essentially for the mostly misogynistic allure of it. The whole plot is centered on Dr. Lester venality, as women are barred from becoming Starfleet Captain. Dr. Lester also use many mysogynistic techniques such as “slut-shaming”, physical and verbal violence (she tries to kill Kirk imprisoned in Dr. Lester’s body several times) and “gaslightning”.
A very bipolar series of breaking news hit the hyper space this week: the release of the last official trailer of Star Wars: Rogue One and the passing of Kenny Baker within a 72 hours.
First, the trailer. The latest trailer was in my opinion very exciting and dark. It is very promising and makes me excited to see it at the holiday season. So much, I would almost not mind to have the insult from Episode I and the half of episode II remade. This is how I feel Star Wars is about.
The second was the death of Kenny Baker. You may not know his name but you may certainly know R2-D2. Kenny was the soul behind R2, he was so much in his role that it insufflated life into R2 quickly becoming “our little friend” as Obi-Wan would introduce us in Episode IV. Although rumors and notes claim that Kenny Baker and Anthony Daniels were having bad blood out of stage, the duo was kind of antagonistic but so unique in the Sci-fi Universe. Where C3PO was reserved and diplomat, R2 was the little fighter that could go mercurial with his bleeps and stand against much stronger creatures than him (remember standing against the robot manager in Jabba’s workshop or the first encounter with Yoda). My sincere condolences for his family and relatives and a thank you for Kenny for illuminating my childhood and bringing me fascinations for robots and droids.