4/29/12

Star Trek: Asterisk "Journey to Babel"

Vital Information
Series: The Original Series
Episode: S02E10
Air Date: November 17, 1967
Written by: D. C. Fontana
Directed by: Joseph Pevney

Premise
The Enterprise takes on a ship full of delegates for the Babel Conference, including Sarek, Spock's sickly father, who eventually stands accused of murder.

Review
The Enterprise takes orbit over Vulcan to take on the last bunch of ambassadors on their way to the Babel conference and all Bones can say is how uncomfortable his formal uniform is. To be fair, they look all kinds of uncomfortable. But before you know it, the shuttle from Vulcan flies its way into the shuttle bay and a bunch of red shirts line up to greet the Vulcan delegates. When suddenly... A wild Sarek appears! He uses IGNORE SON. IT'S SUPER EFFECTIVE! He uses VULCAN SALUTE. Bones has been stunned!

Meanwhile, all the delegates meet in the officer's lounge for some kind of fancy banquette. There are Andorians, Vulcans, Tellarites, some weird purple aliens and some tiny golden ones who seem to have evolved from Oscars. While they're there, the Tellarites try to goad Sarek into arguing, but he, logically, refuses. So they get into a bit of a tiff, and then suddenly Sarek has motive. Because as soon as the Tellarite leaves... he dies.
Murder most sow!
But I'm getting ahead of myself. While they're at the banquet, we get a good look into Spock's past. How the children made fun of him for being a half-breed; how he's always tried to impress his father, but could never get past the emotionless ways of the Vulcan. But we also learn about Amanda Grasyon and how she believes that the Vulcan ways are better ways. And since we already know that Spock is a momma's boy, we can be quite sure that his decision to be more Vulcan is on account of both of his parents.

Meanwhile, a random ship attacks! Well, not so much attacks as... trails behind them. Really quickly. And it seems to be picking up some transmissions. And when Kirk asks where the transmissions are coming from, Uhura says "The call is coming from your house!" Well, ok, she doesn't say that, but she might as well. Because the transmissions are coming from the Enterprise. So now that the Tellarite ambassador is dead, there's even more mystery to it.
"And you say it looks like a ghost's face?"
To make matters worse, Sarek seems to be sickly. He had a Vulcan version of a heart attack and he needs a Vulcan transfusion. And Spock is the only one who has a compatible Vulcan blood type. But that doesn't matter 'cause when Kirk is attacked by a random Andorian, he is injured and unable to command, so Spock has to take it from him. In stead of saving his father. Which is complicated, because he's trying to impress his father by not saving his life. Because taking command is the logical choice.

When Kirk wakes up from surgery he decides to take command before being fully healed. In this way he fools Spock into going back and giving his blood to Sarek, meanwhile giving command of the Enterprise to Scotty; well... Planning to give command of the Enterprise to Scotty. Before he can do that, the vessel tailing them ATTACKS! And the Andorian that attacked, escapes temporarily and is revealed to be a fake Andorian. So whatever that ship is, it's definitely in cahoots with the murderer.
The Orions can spy until they're blue in the face.
So, Kirk has this amazing plan to beat the alien ship by powering the Enterprise down completely. In this way, he lures the ship into close range and then blasts them out of space. When the fake Andorian sees that his buddies have been destroyed, he commits suicide by swallowing poison. And then Kirk orders an autopsy and Spock surmises that he and the ship were Orion because they had a lot to gain by the Babel conference going wrong. Oh, but wait... Sarek is still sick and Kirk is still injured. So before an autopsy is to be done, McCoy shuts up all of his patients and gets to work on his job. In peace... and quiet.

Overall Thoughts
There's a lot going on in this episode, but what I like most is the history we get on Spock. This episode goes a long way toward explaining the daddy issues he has which kind of blow up in Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country. That's just awesome character development right there.