We enter Season 2.
New opening credits! Altered theme! Marginally higher budget! New tricorders! Giant... cat?
-- Look at all the new console crystal-buttons, and the length of the shot that shows them off. Things were lookin' up until the booming Lost Skeleton of Cadavra voice went "Kiiiirk! KIIIRK! Can you hear me? Your ship is cuuuuurrrrsed!" Then I go UGH. Well, the increased budget seems to be helping a little. Instead of a styrofoam set, we get a... better... styrofoam set. Just enough with the psychokinetic aliens already!
More Galileo away mission action... sorta. Insufferable supporting characters to deal with. Silly blob negotiation.
-- Episode takes a bit of a weird turn in the second half, and Kirk's communication with the Companion is somewhat laughable. It barely scrapes by with not being dumb.
"Friday's Child" (4/10)
A potentially interesting political battle turns to schlock. Clever reveal involving pregnant woman. Man, this time they didn't even try to make the Klingon look different, did they?
-- For whatever reason, the acting is really awful in this one. I'm thinking bad dubbing is to blame. It's also pretty stupid generally. Dropping the potential dirty negotiation between Starfleet, Klingons, and the Avatar-ish aliens in favor of a chase through the desert and the pregnant woman ticking clock was what I like to call baaaaaaad butt. The showrunners are content with getting a bunch of the smaller elements to work before they fix things like the damn plot. Why can't they "Balance of Terror" it up again?!
"Who Mourns for Adonais?" (4/10)
"Is that a... giant hand?!" Holy shit that's terrifying! Oh wait, it's just another superpowerful alien who conveniently models his world after Earth history.
-- I'll give that it's a slightly-less-stupid stupid episode; I like it when the crew's all workin together on somethin. And the guy who plays Apollo is good. The part where the woman accidentally ruins Kirk's plan, I thought it was going to turn into that scene in Diamonds Are Forever when Bond calls his female companion a "dunderhead." Ahhh classic.
"Amok Time" (6/10)
Vulcan culture and the Pon Farr, the thing that when turned into a fragrance you can buy, subtlely condones rape.
-- I like how edgy Spock is in this episode. Nimoy was goddamned serious about this role, in spite of reports to the contrary. It's a good episode and all; the thing I didn't like (I mean, aside from the fight scene stunt doubles) was the ease in which Kirk was placed in the position of fighting. They spent time establishing how unusual it was for non-Vulcans to be there in the first place on behalf of one fighter, and merely showing up means you're at risk for fighting against your friend? Yeah, they point it out but a couple more "Hey wait a minute"s would have been appreciated. Spock's smile as he exclaims "Jim!" is fucking sweet. Is that treasonous language? Additional benefit: I now understand the creepy text at the beginning of this.
"The Doomsday Machine" (6/10)
The Enterprise fights a giant space condom. It's like Moby Dick, and the other Starfleet captain acts like a huge one. Are there more penis parallels?
-- Glimpses of other Starfleet ships and personnel are like precious drugs to me at this point. I fiended similarly through the Sonic the Hedgehog comics. "Tell me how this world functions through examples!!" They pushed too far past the Ahab parallel into Decker-is-also-smug territory, made up for it in all of the engineering sequences and a surprisingly competent hallway fight. That's what they should all look like! And does this mean the Galileo is destroyed?
"Wolf in the Fold" (5/10)
Lament: "... completely hedonistic society," followed by long shot of dancing girl. Then some bitches get hardcore stabbed! Then Kirk insists they adhere to the planet's laws even though he had no problem conning the Vulcans in "Amok Time."
-- This is almost "He's dead, Jim," the episode. There are things about it that are dumb, but a few things save it. First: they spend almost 30 minutes in the conference room, talking. Second: they distract the entity with the most famous transcendental number, Pi. Third: they beam that motherfucker into space. I'd probably like it more, but I hate it when the addition of a computer that can tell when someone is lying makes a mystery way too easy to solve. Another reason to hate "Mudd's Women" for introducting that piece of equipment.
"The Changeling" (5/10)
Kirk convinces another supercomputer that existence is futile. See what I did there? Actually, this episode has nothing to do with the Borg so take back your congrabulations.
-- It's good to see the show taking some risks in the story department, filling in gaps with harder science. I doubt the rest of the show is going to catch up in time for it to get cancelled, but hey, maybe. And uhhh... and what happened to Uhura exactly?
"The Apple" (3/10)
"A crew member was killed by a poisonous plant." "I hear it's nice down there, Captain." "It IS nice." No more CONCERN? No further precautions at least? How about communicating with the creature who is following you, instead of marching about with phasers drawn? How about administering medicine as quickly with the extra crewman as you do with Spock after he gets shot with plant barbs? Yeah don't you feel sad about it now.
-- A lot of redshirts die horribly in this one, no redskirts though. A good version of this episode would be more time devoted to what is in the last fifteen minutes: discussion of Prime Directive and how their mere presence is interfering with this pre-warp culture. This episode is another reason why the Prime Directive, at this point in history, is clunky and counterintuitive to exploration. But say the Enterprise crew were brought there by accident and unable to leave. That would make for a good episode that explains why the Prime Directive is GOOD if what ensues is a destruction of a (granted) fascist system that in turn destroys the planet in some way. Put the damn focus on Freedom VS Safety. None o dat though. Just boring, vague moral aggrandizing and an inexplicable villain. Other than the scene where the natives are told how to murder the fuck out of people, it's as excrutiating as a Charlie Rose interview.
"Mirror, Mirror" (6/10)
The goatie episode! Bearded Spock, scarred Sulu, ambitious-cutthroat Chekov! Uhura sexual tension! Captain's Woman!
-- I'm impressed; they made A LOT of shit work for a somewhat silly concept. And in spite of Kirk yet again violating the Prime Directive and fucking up an alternate universe.
"The Deadly Years" (4/10)
Shatner-acting hits a maximum and crew members begin to age.
-- Aspects of this episode are cool, for instance the reappearance of the Romulans and the Corbomite bluff, and the relentlessly depressing way in which they portray ye olde age. Too much blah blah blah to make it a good one though.
"I, Mudd" (4/10)
Goofy bullshit with some funny stuff towards the end.
-- Uhura really had me worried for a second. Kirk yet again demonstrates his skill of presenting a set theory paradox (somewhat inefficiently); it's probably time to get into different methods of machine dispatch, I feel this method has reached its zenith in the Portal 2 instructional posters. "If AI threatens you, scream: This sentence is false!" Graduate to the Russell Paradox? Actually, maybe that's the same thing...
"The Trouble with Tribbles" (6/10)
Wacky phun happens.
-- I liked it. I'm tired, leave me alone.