Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Star Trek: A Piece of the Action

Hey, it's time to talk about Star Trek again. Today, it is A Piece of the Action.
 If you loved Romans in Space, you'll love Gangsters in Space. Right? Check.
The trick with A Piece of the Action is to not think too critically about it, just put your feet up, relax and enjoy it. After all, this is lighthearted, humorous Trek, not something with a message or a scifi story to tell.
The Enterprise is sent to Sigma Iotia II to follow up on the mission of the Horizon, a space vessel that visited the planet 100 years ago. The visit from the Horizon was before there was a Non-Interference Directive, so Kirk and the gang are to check to see if there was any contamination to the local culture.
Yeah, there's contamination all right and it all stems from The Book, left behind by the Horizon - Chicago Mobs of the Twenties. By the time Kirk, Spock and McCoy arrive the gangsters have taken over. Their entire culture is based on this book.
The episode is a seemingly endless array of captures and escapes as Kirk and the gang deal with the various crime bosses.
It's all far too much to recount here, but when Kirk and Spock don their gangster outfits and step into their roles, that's all that matters.
"Captain, you are an excellent starship commander, but as a taxi driver you leave much to be desired." 
Spock steps into the gangster role surprisingly quickly, while back on the Enterprise Scotty is slow to catch on, and even when he does, he doesn't quite have it right: "You mind your place, mister, or you'll be wearing concrete galoshes."

The big problem for me, like in many Trek episodes, is that it's all too small. The crime bosses they are dealing with here represent the entire planet, but are all just a city block or two away from each other. Maybe there's only one city on all of Sigma Iotia II, or maybe I just overthink things.
Kirk gives this episode two thumbs up and you should too, if you like lighthearted Star Trek. If not, pass it by and stick to the more serious episodes.

Next up is By Any Other Name.

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