Friday, September 9, 2011

The Naked Time

*** (3 stars out of 5)

The NAKED time? Not as fun as it sounds... but still pretty fun.

Viral space madness releases the crew's buried feelings. A drunken Irishman makes matters worse. Which will kill everyone first: Riley's barricaded engine room or his singing?

It's a good early story: what makes these astronauts tick? We'll learn when the PSI 2000 virus turns subtext into text. Captain Kirk has a love/hate relationship with the ship. He wants to relax on a beach but he NEEDS to be at work. Spock's entire sense of self is founded on being a logical Vulcan like his father, but he's never been able to tell his Human mother that he loves her. And SOME of the crew are royally screwed up.

"What are we DOING out here in space? Good? WHAT good?" Joe Tormolen, shortly before his suicide by butter knife and apathy. If letting your feelings out to play has you seconds from giving up the ghost you had bigger problems. What were his problems? Kevin Riley explains: "He wasn't born an Irishman."

Riley continues to rile people. "One Irishman is worth 10,000 of YOU, sir!" he shouts to Spock.
Nationality is apparently a more relevant topic when you're drunk. As are gender politics, since he adds: "Let the women work, too. Universal suffrage!" He soon evades security and locks himself in the engine room, shutting the engines down and declaring himself Captain over the intercoms.

While the Enterprise spirals out of orbit, Helmsman Sulu decides he's a Musketeer and plays swords in the halls- with a real foil. He "rescues" communication officer Uhura.

"I'll protect you, fair maiden!" blurts bare-chested Sulu. "Sorry, neither!" Uhura insists.
My pal Ron pointed out the subversive nature of this line. Two loaded words making light of two network taboos at once: she's black and she has THE SEX. Tee hee!

Riley still howls his terrible ballads and gives orders. "There'll be a formal dance in the bowling alley at 1900." I dearly love the idea that this is not a hallucination- if there isn't a bowling alley on this starship, there SHOULD be.

Nurse Christine Chapel throws herself at Mr. Spock, siting his gentleness and honesty above the rumors she has heard that Vulcans hurt their women.
Considering what we are about to learn in three episodes (about how long it's been since Christine had THE SEX) I guess she's willing to risk it.

Good old Scotty phasers through the bulkhead to the engine room (and in the CGI Special Editions they could a afford to give him a cutting beam to do it with) "I'm sorry, but there'll be no ice cream for you tonight." says Riley to the mutinous dogs.

Oh, and in the course of evading a crash landing on a crumbling ice planet, they accidentally figure out how to time travel. One of those useful little things that crop up now and again.

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