"Bread and Circuses" (5/10)
The Enterprise away team runs afoul of fascist Romans, the result of a Starfleet surveyor going mad with power. Spock and Bones worry about Kirk as he fucks a slave girl. Machine gun action in the final act. Oh those inexplicably-existent Earth parallels.
-- I have a feeling this might be a clever speculative exercise of Roman history, more clever than I'm picking up on. I do like the portrayal of the gladiator games as filmed in front of a cheap set with canned cheers and boos. Bones and Spock alone in a cell together = also gold. I'll only mention that there's more Prime Directive WHUH stuff, some Jesus humor, and then give this one a pass.
"Journey to Babel" (6/10)
"Oooooo, a multi-racial conference! Shit's about to get nerdy real f- OH GOD WHAT THE FUCK ARE THOSE MIDGETS DRINKING?!! COLORED ROCKS?!" Vulcan philosophy delves into hardcore brass tacks area, moreso than the last episode's excusal of an oppressive dictatorship. The Enterprise gets new Phaser animation. Neato spycraft subplot.
-- Man, Spock's father was dumbed down as all hell in the Abrams movie. I won't lie: I'm gradually disliking that more. "Andorians! I swear I've seen these in later Trek shows. They look great, the makeup is improvi- Oh CHRIST sudden hallway fight with awkward Kirk wall-jump!" Kirk's whole thing about taking the bridge while injured is badass. Best episode of the season mmmmmaayyybe (the Human-Vulcan duality is incredibly heavy handed). It's almost as good as "Balance of Terror."
"A Private Little War" (3/10)
Spock is shot in the back and Kirk is bitten by a Thing. Injun allegory ensues on the western set. Spock likes it rough.
-- Let's care more about what the manipulative witchwoman does instead of the proxy war = boooooooorrring. And for all of her being unrealistically villainous, we are robbed of a good old fashioned gangrape at the end, the perfect manifestation of what her poor decisions have yielded. Recall: The Wild Bunch's "PUUTAAAAA!" scene. Now that's how ya get revenge.
"The Gamesters of Triskelion" (4/10)
Kirk really switches on the charm to seduce Boob Lady Gaga just so he can punch her in the face when she's all turned on. What exactly is a Gamester?
-- Oh, it probably means another one of these powerful collecty races. A remarkable number of these... For being so 'advanced,' they are suckers for gladiator style games. And they remind me all of Tron. This one's like a Season 1 episode, complete with the awkwardness. Good stuff in the cell scenes (again), like Chekov's transvestite and Uhura's rapey-man. I guess they all win in the end, though Kirk kills two creatures on the Brain Committee's terms and it is only on their word that they are free to go. I like the final scene of the episode. The rest...
Kirk directly challenges cowardice. A nonrecurring redshirt manages to stay alive. Moby Dick again?
-- I like the plot, but should I? I suppose 1) it's out of character for Kirk and for the rules of the Federation and 2) given the loaded title of the episode and the medical ticking clock element, I'm wrong in asserting from the beginning that Kirk is correct in hunting down the "Metamorphosis" cloud. In another episode, Kirk would be just as quick to forgive the Cloud for killing his crew as long as dialogue could be reached. After all, what did "Arena" try to teach us? And they appear to be acknowledging this by increasing the amount of emotional dissent between crew members. Well, they all come around eventually so.
"The Immunity Syndrome" (5/10)
The Crew fights giant Space Amoeba. They spend time figuring out how they hell they're going to get out of This One, and delay the big reveal midway through with confusion and things that don't operate normally.
-- You know you're in trouble when the first line is something like "I look forward to a long, peaceful, event-free vacation from the drudgeries of Starfleet duty." Why is Shatner's delivery of his line so weird? Oh okay, he's horny. Anyway, Spock provides an apportunity for George Lucas to rip off the show and then puts Bones in his place hardcore! The second half is a little boring, sadly. It's hard to say if this is better than the Star Trek: Voyager equivalent, "The Cloud," or if it's The Same for Different Reasons. This one has Bones and Spock verbal jousting, after all! And they're not there for fucking coffee.
"A Piece of the Action" (6/10)
A hyper-imitative society resulting in a strange level of inconvenience?! Fuck yes! That be Douglas Adams territory.
-- If they had done more with it, that is. Well, it does have a lot of coolness in it. It gets a shit-ton sillier once Kirk climbs into gangster garb. And not silly in the same way that "The Trouble with Tribbles" is. What I'm trying to spit out is that I felt the second half was a little lazy. However, I have been accused of hating too many things. It's ever a toss-up.
"By Any Other Name" (4/10)
Would it have killed them to have chosen a less hilarious pose for Bones and Spock to get frozen in? It really contrasts the following scene when the redskirt is killed in a disturbing manner.
-- The paralysis machines are ridiculous in general, and OF COURSE there has to be a central hub that they can take out to disable all of them at once, lest they disturbingly get turned into sugar cubes -- wait, no, Triangular Orthobicupola (yes, I had to look that shit up). That's an effective way to store prisoners! The Kelvins probably should have done that to the principle cast members, but then Kirk couldn't seduce the lady with her back hangin out, could he?
"Return to Tomorrow" (5/10)
Sulu's back! Briefly! For a... strange idea of an episode where glowing balls ride human bodies like motorcycles in order to make gross robots. That's what happened right?
In spite of it having the feel of a Season 1 episode, there's a good idea executed in an adequate manner. I like that Kirk and Spock (as themselves) don't affect the plot until the end. Speaking of which, Leonard Nimoy deserves an award for his performance as Spock as Evil Alien.
"Patterns of Force" (4/10)
Earth parallel! Are the occurance of these ever investigated? It has to be something more complex than "they wanted to use the French town set." Maybe before they solve that, they should look into why all of the "observers" that Starfleet sends end up fucking their planets into fascist nightmares.
-- On the whole, it's not as clever as "Bread and Circuses" but we do get a prophetic glimpse of a flatscreen TV. It's tough to determine its quality; its either almost almost good or barely ungood. *looks* Cat's dead, I'll put it in the latter category.
"The Ultimate Computer" (5/10)
Uh oh, a supercomputer is involved. Beware of Kirk! Seriously, though, how many more of these plots can occur before we can say that we've learned our lesson?
-- Surprisingly, they go a slightly different route and the problem is human irrationality, instead of the solution. Dear Starfleet: keep churning out these insane burnouts into the universe. You're doing wonderful work.
"The Omega Glory" (4/10)
"Enlist in Starfleet! Only 26% chance of getting turned into salt! Oh, and that rule about giving up your life and the life of your crew rather than violating the Prime Directive is flexible at best."
-- We're given the hard moral push here, and I hear tell it is because it was once considered for a pilot episode. Had that happened, perhaps we could have avoided these outright violations of a clearly stated policy in later episodes. Just avoid that whole Nazi thing altogether. The "freedom" worship word coincidence is much like the Shakespearean quotes in Brave New World. IE crap.
"Assignment: Earth" (3/10)
WHAT. Fuck this episode.
-- The Enterprise has just gone back in time willy nilly? That's weird. I was hoping they'd never use that Whateverwhatever from "The Naked Time" and "Tomorrow is Yesterday" and we could all just pretend it never happened. That the least of this episode's problems, though. What stakes does this strange alien have in humanity's survival exactly? And why is Kirk so uncharacteristically unreasonable? Oh forget it, it's an unfocused mess. The only good part was the cat lady. Mmmm.