Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Star Trek Initiation: "Where No Man Has Gone Before"

"Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." This saying is proven to be all too true as the crew aboard the Enterprise discover in this episode. Unlike the first two episodes, the "enemy" this week is not a mysterious stranger, but a member of their own crew: Kirk's good friend Gary Mitchell. After the ship flies through a mysterious forcefield (or something like that? Correct me if I'm wrong) Gary's ESP powers develop into something more powerful and dangerous. Suddenly granted the powers of gods, Gary loses all perspective on humanity and all respect for human life--even the lives of his crew members.

I have to say I enjoyed this episode much more than the first two. I don't know whether I've just gotten used to the "Star Trek" world more now, or if this episode is actually better, but I found myself waiting nervously to see what would happen. At first it seemed the problem was almost the same as in "Charlie X"--how do you stop someone who's WAY more powerful than you?--but with the added complexity that they all remember Gary before he went psycho. Of course, Mr. Spock is the only one who can look at the situation "rationally." There was some interesting juxtaposition between Spock (the epitome of logical, unemotional thinking) and the ship's new psychiatrist, Elizabeth Dehner (who relies on emotions and finds herself falling in love with Gary). I thought it was ironic that Elizabeth was sent to observe how the crew members handled emergencies. The situation with Gary was definitely an emergency, and during the first evaluation, she was the only one who refused to consider the possibility of killing Gary before he became too powerful (his powers were increasing at an exponential rate). But they decide not to, and Gary becomes a bigger problem than they can handle.

At the same time, the ship is damaged from traveling through the forcefield. They decide to land on another planet, which has a power station with the parts they need. It's also completely barren. Their plan is to leave Gary behind, which he isn't too happy about. They lock him up in the room with the electric barrier. Charlie from last week was able to disable that pretty quickly (just take out the power source!) but for some reason it held Gary for a while. Oh, but then he developed telekinesis. Kirk's backup plan was to blow the power station up (with Gary inside) and they hooked up a self-destruct button. Gary used his mind to strangle the button-pusher, a guy named Kelso. It was a very intense scene, probably one of the best I've seen so far.

In case you were wondering, I happen to be watching the "digitally remastered" version of the show, where they went back and re-did the special effects. I haven't seen the original to compare it to, but I do like the look of the new effects.

I find myself liking Spock. I don't even know why, exactly. He's probably not a very good conversationalist. And I've noticed for the second episode in a row that he and Kirk play 3-D chess, which looks interesting. (Before you try and teach me the rules, let me say I'm not even very good at regular chess!). Oh, and I think the phaser rifle is pretty badass, even if it looks like a Super Soaker with a giant needle on the end.

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