13 July 2015

Don't Call Me Funny Bunny (Review: 'Star Trek' 1.15, "Shore Leave")

Vasquez Rocks County Park.jpg
"Vasquez Rocks County Park" by Thomas from USA - Vasquez Rocks
Uploaded by PDTillman. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The first season of Star Trek is 29 episodes long. Today, most American shows go for 22-24 episodes and if they go for the latter, there's usually at least one episode that is essentially a cheap filler or a clip show.

I'm not sure this one qualifies as either, but it's definitely got some of the stranger scenes that I've seen in an episode of Star Trek.

Kirk, McCoy, Sulu and a few other junior officers beam down to a seemingly uninhabited planet to check it out a head of some possible shore leave. However, Bones soon spots a rather large white rabbit... and no, he hasn't been on the LSD.

Mind you, when I saw the trailer for this episode, I did wonder whether LSD was also involved in the writing of this episode. On conclusion, however, the blood test would probably have come out as negative.

This is a somewhat more fantastical tale, with the aforementioned rabbit followed by Don Juan, a samuari, a Japanese Zero (that's very clearly stock footage for most of its appearance - and not even all of a Zero!) and a tiger, which Shatner wanted to wrestle... but was wisely advised against. This is reasonable enough and the story is actually quite decent once everything is revealed.

Oh and Finnegan, a fellow cadet of Kirk's whose love of pranks against our Captain is beaten only by an accent so Oirish that leprechauns would loath it, who takes part in an extensive fight scene with Kirk that sees him ruin yet another tunic. He is played by Bruce Mars, whose acting career was otherwise short and unremarkable - IMDB says he became a monk.

Star Trek may well have been very forward thinking in some aspects, but in others it is still very much a product of the 1960s. Hence the fight scene is filled with wide telegraphed punches and unnecessary forward rolls. We also get a scene where another Yeoman encounters a fairytale dress and is encouraged by Bones to put it on. Sam Carter would have told him where to get off.

We get some really extensive location shooting in here in the vicinity of what has come to be known as "Kirk's Rock" (its first appearance of nine to date in the franchise and pictured above)  - the Vasquez Rocks County Park roughly 30 miles north of LA that has become an oft-used filming location for alien worlds, Westerns and I'd imagine a few shows set in the Middle East. I recognised it on sight.

The last scene is one of those "Wasn't that hilarious? Everybody have a laugh" scenes that sometimes fill out episodes of a slightly lower quality. Not saying this is one of them - at any rate, Trek does better than many shows even on a bad day.


Light and (relatively) inoffensive. It's not stand out good or stand out bad.


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