* (1 star out of 5)
"The Lights of Zetar" is apparently Ronald D. Moore's least favourite classic Star Trek episode, which is one thing Battlestar Galactica's showrunner and I have in common. It's a close race in this season, though, with plenty of duds to choose from. I'm being slightly arbitrary, but this may win the prize for Duddiest.
Memory Alpha (before it was an oft-consulted Trek wiki) is a central library planetoid with all the accumulated scientific and cultural knowledge of the Federation. How many navy beans make five, what wine to serve with Regulan blood worm... everything you'd care to know and so much more.
Information specialist Lt. Mira Romaine is helping to upgrade the place and Scotty has fallen in love with her. He calls her "The sanest... women that has ever come aboard this ship." Oh, he also calls her pretty, and nice, and all that mush. 'Sane' just stands out for me, gives me a chuckle because it makes the engineer sound like he thinks 'woman' is a synonym for 'totally addled'.
Or as Sulu jokes: "I don't think he's even noticed she has a brain."
Even Spock's impressed with this paragon, this Mary Sue, but... wait- she's a lieutenant, and a specialist, and this is only her first assignment for the Federation? How did she earn a rank without having done anything?
A weird storm approaches at Warp 2.6. "Check that" snaps Kirk. "No natural phenomenon can move faster than the speed of light."
Spock confirms this- "It cannot be a phenomenon of nature."
They both remember the Vampire Cloud, right? That phenomenon of nature they fought last year? The one that moved even faster than this one?
The storming lights hit the shields and zoom in on the negative scratches on a picture of Lt. Romaine's eye. She begins making the noises I often make with my stomach and internal sphincters. Maybe you know the ones I mean.
The nerves of everyone's brains have been attacked (much as I just attacked you with the imagined noises of my digestive secretions) but only Mira collapses.
Mira snaps at McCoy: "I haven't had a single response worth noting!" Oh, honey, truer words.
I can't tell- does she even like Scotty? There's supposed to be a romance blossoming- is it meant to look so one-sided? There should be more stories devoted to Scotty. Just not THIS one.
Mira only passed her preliminary Starfleet exams? Are they just handing out lieutenant ranks? Can I be a Lieutenant? No, a Ghostbuster. I want to be a Ghostbuster... I AM a Ghostbuster!
The Lights check out the library- killing every poor bookworm inside.
Our crew know the power is out, but they beam into Memory Alpha without flashlights. Nice training. This is everyone's first assignment, right?
The dead library technician gargles at them, turns every colour of the rainbow, and only stops breathing while dead in the Special Edition. Although maybe that wasn't a mistake: maybe it was simply a comment on the extreme physical stamina of librarians!
Mira is suspended in transport- for... because... uh, padding?
Scott and Mira decide not to report her strange mental visions. Scotty shrugs it off- "It's just space." This is not responsible, logical, or sane. If you have weird visions and a library full of people in the same circumstances have just died of brain hemorrhages, GO TO THE DOCTOR!
The Lights keep chasing the ship, and Kirk fights back. "Prepare to lock phasers into the heart of the Community." Joel McHale and Mira collapse!
The characters waste a few minutes going over the events of the episode so far. Thank you ever so much for a rehash of WHAT I AM WATCHING RIGHT NOW.
Kirk urges Mira to submit to the will of the Lights. Which means talking in a low, slow, 'spooky' voice.
The Lights are from Zetar: they are the desires and will of the last hundred people from a world wiped out by war. They have searched a millennium for a suitable host body. Or a Popeye's Chicken.
Kirk passes judgment: "The price of your survival is too high... you're entitled to your own life, but not another's."
Then our heroes stuff Romaine in a dryer and tumble the evil out.
(It's a gravity chamber, but I have to make my own fun today.)
The Zetars had the will to last through death in war, and a thousand years in space, but not PRESSURE! Pushing down on me, pushing down on you... a full Several atmospheres of pressure will crush those nasty ghosts... but not the girl somehow. SCIENCE!
Doctor Who actor Tom Baker called a companion who contributed nothing 'The Cabbage'. I think 'Romaine' is in the same vegetable family...