6/4/12

Star Trek: Asterisk "Assignment: Earth"

Vital Information
Series: The Original Series
Episode: S02E26
Air Date: March 29, 1968
Written by: D.C. Fontana and Laurence N. Wolfe
Directed by: John Meredyth Lucas

Premise
When the Enterprise goes back in time to study 20th century Earth, they find a mysterious man claiming to want to help humanity through a crisis. HE HAS A KITTY!

Review
This will be the first time when the crew of the Enterprise purposely went back in time presumably on Starfleet's orders. It may not be the last, but it certainly won't be a regular thing in Starfleet. By the time Deep Space Nine rolls around we'll find that the Department of Temporal Investigations has formed, time travel is frowned upon and a Temporal Prime Directive has been put into place. But in this episode, none of those rules apply. So let's go study a nuclear warhead launch in 1968, shall we?? But first... STRANGER DANGER IN THE TRANSPORTER ROOM!

Scotty picks up a random transporter beam, which is odd because this is 1968 and there shouldn't be any transporters. When the pattern materializes, we are introduced to Gary Seven and his cat, Isis. Kirk holds him for a while because he could very well be an alien agent meant to contaminate the past, although he insists he is not. He immediately figures out that the Enterprise is from Earth's future, and this doesn't phase him. I mean, why would it? He arrived on a transporter beam, after all. While Kirk and the crew discuss Gary's presence, it doesn't take long for him to escape by use of his sonic screwdr- er... his servo.
It doesn't do wood.
When he beams down to an office, he materializes in a transport chamber that is disguised as a police bo- er... vault. He finds no one in the office, so he taps into the computer to find out where everyone is. He tells the computer that he is a Class 1 Supervisor and he needs to know what happened to the agents that were assigned here. The computer gives him some attitude, but finally relents when Gary Seven tells her the agents' mission: that they were descendants of humans taken from Earth 6,000 years ago and bred for their mission to keep humanity, who had become more technically advanced than they could handle, from destroying themselves.

Gary finally finds out that the agents have died in a meaningless car accident, so now he has to take it upon himself to finish their mission. After creating several different forms of identification for himself and printing out a map of McKinley Rocket Base, he meets Roberta. Roberta walks in and asks if anyone's there. Finding no answer, she gets ready for secretarial work. Gary, assuming she's in the know, grills her on what has been happening with the agents and, in the process, spills all the classified beans. Now he can't let the unwitting secretary out of his sight. She'll have to be his companion.
They were always brave.
Isis meows at Gary, Gary explains to Roberta that Isis is a trained cat and then goes into his office with Isis, while instructing Roberta not to let anyone in. Meanwhile, Kirk and Spock are hot on Gary's trail and find his building. They eventually find Roberta, but, true to her word, she doesn't let them in to see Gary. They struggle for a while and she ends up pulling off Spock's hat to find his ears. While she's distracted, Kirk makes his way into Gary's office and no one is there. But he does see the map of McKinley Rocket Base and deduces that's where Gary is headed. Unfortunately, Roberta has called the cops. When they arrive, Kirk and Spock beam up... with the cops... whom Scotty promptly beams back down.

Indeed, he was headed there. He arrives through his own time vorte- er... transport fog? He's caught by a guard, but he's able to use his psychic pap- er... artificial CIA ID to distract the guard before knocking him out with the servo. He then makes his way to the rocket. He climbs up it, removes a panel and begins rewiring it with Isis crawling all over his back, making biscuits. Meanwhile, Kirk and Spock beam down to the base to look for Gary, but are immediately captured by the guard whom Gary previously knocked out. They are stuck and helpless... and then Scotty finds Gary.
People have waited hundreds of years to find me
and here you manage it in a couple of hours.
Scotty attempts to beam up Gary, but he doesn't count on Roberta stumbling upon Gary's transporter. She screws around with a few buttons and, just as Gary is about to materialize on the Enterprise, she intercepts the beam and he ends up safe inside his office. His deed done, he goes to the computer to watch the missile launch. The rocket hits space. Scotty calls down to Kirk. The guard is distracted by the communicator, allowing Kirk and Spock to beam up. Roberta has second thoughts about trusting Gary Seven. She whacks him over the head with a book and then Kirk and Spock beam down to Gary's office.

With Gary on the floor, it's now Kirk's decision to either stop him from doing his job or let his rocket modifications take hold. At the last minute, Kirk decides that Gary is a good guy, and allows him to explode the rocket 104 miles above Earth. The day is saved, the missile is destroyed. Later, Kirk comes back and tells Gary that everything played out exactly as they were recorded in his history tapes. Then Isis randomly turns into a hot chick and kinda winks at Roberta who's now all weirded out. Kirk also tells Gary that he and Roberta have some interesting times ahead of them. And we never saw them again...

Overall Thoughts
I LOVE this episode if for no other reason than for the fact that it's a blatant Americanization of Doctor Who. And what more perfect a show to spin such a series off of than Star Trek? Unfortunately, the spin-off series for which this was originally intended to be a pilot never got picked up, but the legacy of Gary Seven lives on in novels and comics! Pick up The Eugenics Wars today and find out how Gary Seven was a mentor to one Khan Noonien Singh!