Saturday, May 18, 2013

Star Trek: The Alternative Factor

Everybody is talking about Star Trek Into Darkness. Me, I am still back in the original series. Today, here's what I have to say about:
Could this be the end of everything? As the episode begins the ship is rocked and Spock reports that "everything within range of our instruments seemed on the verge of winking out" and that "the entire magnetic field in this solar system simply blinked." Starfleet reports that the phenomenon was felt throughout the galaxy and that they believe that it may have been a prelude to invasion.

It sounds like an exciting episode, right? No, not really.
Shatner's reaction to having read this episode's script.

Conveniently, the Enterprise is at the center of the winking out effect. They head down to the surface of the planet below where they unfortunately encounter the show's central character - Lazarus.

As they eventually learn there are really two Lazaruses (Lazari?). One is crazy while the other is sane. Conveniently one has a cut on his forehead and the other does not.

The good and evil Lazarus switch places over and over and over, seemingly endlessly so with an effect that brings in a shot of the Trifid Nebula and a sort of a negative shot of the two of them fighting in slow motion.
I suppose it would have been cooler if you couldn't tell that they were clearly in a room. It is described later as a "negative magnetic corridor where the two parallel universes meet" and as a "safety valve that keeps eternity from blowing up." But, yeah. It's a room with a floor, walls and corners.

They bring Lazarus aboard the ship and, even though he is at the center of the winking out effect and that both Kirk and Starfleet think that this might signal an invasion, they let him wander about the ship unattended.
Later, after there's been trouble, McCoy complains about having a security guard in sick bay who is then dismissed so that Lazarus can steal some of the ship's dilithium crystals.

Then we find that there is a source of radiation on the planet below.
Well, not really as the scanners report that it isn't really there. How can that be? Spock explains, "It may be described, though loosely and inaccurately, as a rip in our universe."

As we eventually learn there are parallel, but opposite, universes that are threatening to annihilate each other. Cool, eh? Lazarus is the key to keeping the universes safe from annihilation.
Kirk eventually gets transported to the opposite universe which is made of antimatter. Apparently it is only if identical particles meet that we get "The end of everything. Civilization, existence, all gone." In reality, a Kirk made up of matter visiting an antimatter universe would indeed result in a big explosion, but not one to end 2 universes. Their implication is that this that both universes would end if Matter Kirk met Antimatter Kirk.

The solution is for the Enterprise to destroy Lazarus's space ship (which is also a time machine, but nothing is really made of that) while the two of them are in the magnetic corridor thing, fighting for all eternity. The sane Lazarus is cool with that. As he says "Is it such a large price to pay for the safety of two universes?"
This episode should have been much, much better than it was. The premise was there, but the execution was pretty poor.

This was my 20th of these. I hope that some people are enjoying them. Next up: Tomorrow is Yesterday.

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