Thursday, January 23, 2014

Star Trek: Friday's Child

I can't imagine that Friday's Child makes anyone's top ten list of Trek episodes, but it is somewhat fun. It is kind of a Cold War tale between the Federation and the Klingons but it doesn't come really close to Errand of Mercy.

We begin with the Enterprise in orbit about Capella IV and McCoy, who has been here before, briefing everyone on what to expect. Their mission is to negotiate a mining treaty because, apparently, the Prime Directive doesn't apply here. They're after that "rare mineral topaline, vital to the life-support systems of planetoid colonies." They beam down and before the teaser is over . . . 
a Red Shirt bites the dust. Alas, the Klingons got here first, well, one of them anyway, and the Red Shirt overreacted by drawing his weapon. He was fast, but the Capellans were faster.
This isn't the best start for negotiating that mining treaty and it rapidly turns worse. The leader of the Capellans, the Teer, is killed and replaced by the guy in black with green sleeve and the gold tassels (as opposed to the guy in orange with the pink fur) standing next to the Klingon (above). As Klingons go, this guy's pretty dull. Where's Kor when you need him?

Kirk, Spock and McCoy are imprisoned in a cushy-looking tent along with the late Teer's very pregnant wife. 
Kirk and the gang overpower the guards when Kirk surprises one by throwing a pillow at him. Really. That must be why they are called throw pillows.
They escape and abduct the late Teer's very pregnant wife at sword point. Really.
Meanwhile Scotty is in command on the Enterprise when a distress call comes in. They bug out and leave the landing party to fend for themselves.
As if abducting the pregnant woman wasn't enough, McCoy slaps her around. Of course, she slapped him first. Twice.
The bad guys are in pursuit. Kirk and Spock don't have any weapons, but they do have communicators which they use to create a sonic disruption that explodes a canyon wall and sends down a deadly rain of Styrofoam boulders upon the Capellans.
 Our heroes flee and we learn that McCoy is a doctor, not an escalator.
Back in space, there was no sign on the ship that made the distress call. Scotty orders the Enterprise back to Capella IV and then another distress call comes in. He knows it's a fake intended to lure them away from the planet. As he says, "There's an old saying on Earth, Mr. Sulu. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." Chekov says it came from Russia, but we know it really came from George W. Bush.
They head back to Capella IV and we get the series' look at a Klingon ship. Really. Not so special special effects.
Meanwhile, back on the planet, I still can't decide if these guys are warriors or a dance troop.

Anyway, Kirk and Spock shoot people with bows and arrows, the baby is born, the mother takes off, the Klingon gets a phaser and, for some reason, we get a big confrontation between the Teer and the Klingon.
It's kind of one sided.

It doesn't really make much sense, does it? There's a happy ending though, as Scotty arrives to save the day. In the end, we learn that the baby, Leonard James Akaar, will be the new Teer, his mom will serve as his regent and the Federation gets its mining treaty. Everyone on the dwarf planets planetiods will be very happy.

For me, the best thing here is the musical score by Gerald Fried. It 24 minutes of mostly action music, all of which is available in the awesome TOS music box set from La-La Land Records. You can hear a sample track, Distress Signal, from this episode here. The episode ends with the best Trek send off music ever, a track called Coochy Coo/Godfathers. It can be heard in other episodes and is instantly recognizable to any Trek fan.

If you are so inclined, you can watch Friday's Child right here from StarTrek.com.

Next up is one of my favorite episodes: Who Mourns for Adonais?

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