Sunday, October 16, 2011

Journey To Babel

***** (5 stars out of 5)

In my humble opinion, if you're only going to watch one episode of the original "Star Trek" (and why? Why just one? Why would you DO that?) then by all that's decent watch "Journey To Babel".

It is my all-time, hands down ST:TOS favourite. It' s got everything: humour, heart, a phaser battle, a murder mystery, surgery, a family drama, a knife fight, romance, and a pig-faced man with bright red nail polish. Hoof polish, I guess.
Enterprise is ferrying a hundred delegates to planet Babel for a conference on the admission of dilithium rich world Coridan to the United Federation of Planets. Among them is the Vulcan Ambassador Sarek and his human wife Amanda: parents of our Mr. Spock.

Celery and coloured cubes for all at the reception, and old grudges and debates for all as well. Porcine and argumentative, we see our first Tellarite, Federation members who love a verbal scrap. Andorians also make the scene for the first time, with their antennae and blue skin and reputation for violence.

When the Tellarite Ambassador Gav turns up dead by a known Vulcan technique, all evidence points to Sarek. His alibi, however, is severe heart failure, and only his son can provide a transfusion of their somewhat rare T-negative blood. An unidentified vessel shadows them and attacks without provocation. An Andorian stabs Captain Kirk, forcing Spock to back out of the surgery to deal with the crisis. Kirk's attacker and his compatriots on the attacking vessel are revealed to be Orions, trying to sabotage the talks and keep Coridan dilithium for themselves.

It's writer Dorothy C. Fontana for the win. Spock's parents are well cast, stern father and mom with moxie. A bridge between cultures forged in love against all difficulty. Spock's struggle to find his path between those cultures is well seen here. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy (The Big Three) show their friendship amidst the demands of their job, and their willingness to make sacrifices to help each other.

It's brilliant, and I'll fight anyone who says different. Be ready with the protoplaser and cardiostimulator for when I lose said fight.

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