09 May 2015

Seriously, was this episode made on drugs? (Review: 'Star Trek' 1.10, "The Corbomite Maneuver")

I have to begin this review with the sad news of the death of Grace Lee Whitney, aka Yeoman Rand, at 85. While Rand's role in the series isn't that big, she certainly adds enjoyment to every scene she appears in, with this episode featuring a great one involving Kirk getting an unexpected dinner.

Rest in Peace.

The late 1960s were known for, well, drugs. Lysergic acid diethylamide, aka LSD, no longer patented at this time and not yet criminalised in most countries, is well known for its psychedelic effects. After watching this episode, I'm wondering whether this played any part in writing this episode. A quick Google search revealed one unsourced Reddit post on the matter and Roddenberry's ashes going into space with one Timothy Leary (him who popularised "Turn on, tune in, drop out").

This episode sees the Enterprise, while exploring an uncharted region of space, accosted by a radiation emitting spinning Rubik's Cube-esque object (the Cube, arguably the best thing to come out of communist Hungary, had to yet to be invented). Once they destroy it (the first use of ship weapons in the franchise), they're stopped by some strange sphere in space that wants to destroy them for trespassing... and is operated by a reject from the Blue Man Group.

There's another twist, but I won't say any more bar than I think Roddenberry was on something... So, I'll cover some other points in more depth:
  • Kirk is again superb in this one; demonstrating a tactical master stroke in how to bluff on nothing. Also, he gets his shirt off yet again, to the point of wandering the corridors without it on. At least he doesn't do so on the bridge!
  • Much of this episode revolves around a guest crewman, one Ensign Bailey. Definitely a novice; it was probably a good thing we don't see him again.
  • Spock has some great lines; Vulcans do seem to have a sense of humour, that's for sure.
  • We get to see some good old "Starship Acting" on several occasions in this one; i.e. the ship gets hit and the crew throw themselves in an exaggerated manner around the room, sometimes not all in the same direction...
  • Why is Uhura wearing gold? She should be wearing red.
    • My research says this was produced third (i.e. the first ep after the two pilots) and ended up airing tenth.
    • I also note that I'm watching a remastered version with improved effects, so not everything is as was in the 1960s.


A very, very weird episode, but nonetheless very enjoyable. One wonders if it would be even better stoned.


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