5/7/12

Star Trek: Asterisk "Obsession"

Vital Information
Series: The Original Series
Episode: S02E13
Air Date: December 15, 1968
Written by: Art Wallace
Directed by: Ralph Senensky

Premise
The spirit of Captain Ahab inhabits Kirk's body and mistakes a blood-sucking cloud for his infamous whale. At least that's what I prefer to believe.

Review
I'll be honest, I'm not gonna spend a lot of time on this one. It doesn't merit time. But it did happen, so it will be mentioned. The biggest mistake the creators of Star Trek made in this episode was mistaking Kirk for the kind of captain that would be obsessed of his own free agency. Not only is it not in his character to dwell on the perceived mistakes of the past, it also seems to be a bit beyond Shatner's acting ability. Or, if not, beyond what his understanding of the character had become. Perhaps the only redeeming part of this episode is the redshirt body count.

When a landing party that was comprised of mostly redshirts runs into a gaseous foe, Kirk recognizes its sweet aroma and remembers an encounter with it from the past. On his first commission, the USS Farragut, then Lt. Kirk was the only survivor of of this entity's attack. The captain, a good friend of his, also died, but his son, Lt. Garrovick, was now stationed on the Enterprise under Kirk's command. So when this entity kills Garrovick's best friend, Kirk offers him a crack at the entity.
He should have at least changed into a blue or gold uniform.
As you can see from that picture, the new landing party is also comprised of mostly redshirts. And we know how the entity loves redshirts. It attacks again. This time, Garrovick is a fair distance away from the entity when it attacks the rest of the redshirts. He pauses for a moment in panic before stupidly firing phasers at the gas cloud and hoping that would have an effect. (Seriously one of the most annoying things about this series.) Well, when he paused, that gave him a guilty conscious. He was the only one who survived. And for some reason he thinks he could have saved his friends if he didn't pause.

So now he's in the same boat as Kirk, apparently. Meanwhile, all this time the Enterprise is supposed to deliver medical supplies to some other planet and that planet is slowly dying while Kirk works out his obsession. No big deal, right? Well, it does cast a bit of doubt on Kirk's commands in Spock and Bones's views, so they confront Kirk about it, but Kirk is insistent that they go after the vampire cloud. Aaaand now the vampire cloud is going into space.
Because of course gaseous anomalies can travel at warp speed.
They shoot at it with the Enterprise's phasers and finally realize that's not going to work. So I guess that's supposed to make Kirk and Garrovick feel better. It must have made Kirk feel better because he came up with a plan which involves going back to the planet, because... the cloud really didn't have anywhere to go? He calls Garrovick up to help him and brings a sort of bowling ball bomb type of thing to the planet, lures the cloud there and they take turns trying to sacrifice themselves for the good of the crew. But Spock says if they can't decide, then neither of them can sacrifice themselves! He beams them up and the bowling ball bomb blows up the vampire cloud.

Later, Kirk tells Garrovick nothing was his fault and goes on to tell him stories about Captain Garrovick of the USS Farragut. Whatever.

Overall Thoughts
Nope. Don't like this one. Kirk is not one to be obsessed over a cloud at the expense of the lives of the people who need him to deliver aid. I'm just going to go ahead and pretend this episode doesn't exist.