Monday, October 3, 2011

The Alternative Factor

* (1 star out of 5)

No, not 'The X Factor', 'The Alternative Factor'. However, I'm sorry to say that while 'The X Factor' might just be the worst thing on TV nowadays, "The Alternative Factor" might just be the worst Trek of 1967.

Our boys are surveying near Starbase 200, when something incredible occurs. Non-existence! How does non-existence occur, you ask? Well, watch this benighted gibber-jabber and find out!

I kid. We never find out.

We do find George Jetson's family sedan.

It was hover-jacked by desert disco Jesus.
He falls off a cliff and into our hearts.

Starfleet big-wig Commodore Travers calls to inform Captain Kirk that the "non-existing" event occurred in the entire galaxy and far beyond. How does he know this? Pen pal in Andromeda?

Regardless, it was a WTF moment. Time warps, radiation, fundamental forces in disarray, and all the chaos predicted in the books of Grant Morrison. Dogs and cats living together, pants are now shirts, you name it.

Kirk wants answers from the cliff-diving visitor, Lazarus, but the guy's sanity is flimsier than his alien beard. Says he's chasing "the devil's own spawn" who "destroyed his civilization".

McCoy mentions Lazarus doesn't have the constitution and recuperative powers of a dinosaur as though he and Kirk are both familiar with some.
I guess they probably are, and I wish I was watching a story with dinosaurs in it right now.

Lazarus wanders out of sickbay in torn & filthy clothes, to go hang out, beard and all, in the rec room. Why? Also, NOBODY notices him, despite his constant fits! Has no-one told the crew the universe is inside out and the End is Nigh? They're still flirting and complaining about the coffee. 'Oh, another Armageddon? Whatevs.'

Lt. Masters, checking the hot plates in engineering, preparing to grill some pop-tarts, is strangled unconscious and two dilithium crystals are stolen. I wonder who by?

Lazarus falls off ANOTHER cliff like it's his purpose in life. Back to sickbay!

The 'truth' is... Lazarus is a time traveller in a time ship. And our crew just leave him unattended for the SECOND time and the SECOND crystal heist. Also, it was probably not the truth.

Kirk and Spock decide the phenomenon is a rip into a parallel universe of antimatter. There are at least two Lazaruses (Lazari?) and it's easy to tell them apart because one is a bearded madman with a head injury whereas the other is a brain-damaged beardo who hails from Crazy Town. Spock deduces that one is mad and one is rational, possibly by reading ahead in the script. Anyway, as if it matters, one is Matter and one is Antimatter and if they meet...
"Total, complete, absolute annihilation."

Good, no point in half-assed annihilation.

Kirk is accidentally zapped into the antimatterverse where his pants are white and... well, that's it. Nothing explodes... was it supposed to? Kirk's conversation with Rational Anti-Matter Lazarus confirms all those things that we now believe... or something. A-M Laz declares both universes will be saved if Mad Matter Lazarus is trapped in a corridor between them. Also for no particular reason the "Rational" Lazarus plans to imprison himself there, too.

Kirk is either convinced or is just sick of the whole thing and agrees to this... I guess you'd call it "plan". Enterprise destroys the gateway ship. Lazarus and Lazarus end up strangling each other forever in the void.

It's like 'The Enemy Within' only it's The Enemy WITHOUT: without motive, coherence, or emotional resonance. Is it a metaphor for something? Did some of the pages stick together? I feel like if I understood ONE SINGLE THING THAT HAPPENED I wouldn't judge it so harshly. But until then, one star is me being overly forgiving.

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