6/12/12

Star Trek: Asterisk "The Paradise Syndrome"

Vital Information
Series: The Original Series
Episode: S03E03
Air Date: October 4, 1968
Written by: Margaret Armen
Directed by: Jud Taylor

Premise
Kirk forgets who he is and falls in love with a Native American woman for some reason.

Review
An asteroid is about to crash into this planet, so Kirk, Bones and Spock go to check the planet out before they decide what to do about it. They look around and find the planet to be idyllic. It would be a shame to lose it just because of how beautiful it is. And then they find a huge obelisk obviously made by an advanced race that isn't around anymore. The last thing they find there is the oddest. Tribes of Native American people just chillin', doin' their thing... HUNDREDS OF LIGHTYEARS AWAY FROM EARTH.

Well, now they absolutely have to save the planet from the asteroid. But Kirk wants one more look at that obelisk. Finding nothing interesting, he calls the Enterprise and is immediately dropped into a cavern beneath the obelisk where his memory is wiped by a random electrical charge. Spock and Bones look for him for a while, but can't find him. Spock then urges Bones to go with him back to the ship since time is running short for them to get to the asteroid in time. Because apparently it would be illogical to let Bones stay behind to look for Kirk.
"...and we'll use this stone to plug the plot hole."
Meanwhile, Kirk meanders out of the obelisk cavern and runs right into a couple of women from the tribe. The Prime Directive now thoroughly discarded due to his amnesia, he goes off with the women who introduce him to the tribal elder. And then everyone just kind of assumed he's a god. This opinion is justified when a boy is brought before him who was drowning. Everyone was ready to pronounce him dead, but Kirk performed CPR on him and the boy lived. What else is there for a man who seemed to have breathed life into someone else, but to call him a god? And as god, he is now the medicine chief. And as medicine chief, he gets Miramanee, the beautiful tribal woman.

Well, that gets Salish all jealous 'cause he was in line to be the medicine chief and have Miramanee. What's more, he actually kinda loves the girl, and now he can't have her. So he goes off in a huff while Miramanee goes and explains to Kirk what it means to be their god. Well, sort of. She says that the secret of the "temple" - the obelisk - is passed down from chief to chief, but the current chief's father died before he could pass the secret on. So it was Kirk's responsibility to help them remember it. Speaking Kirk, none of the tribe know his name. When asked, Kirk tries to remember, but all he can get out is a K sound, so the chief calls him Kirok.
Kronk? Kira? Kelsey? Stairmaster?
Meanwhile, back on the ship, Scotty and Spock use all of their power to get to the asteroid in time and shove it with all they've got. With their power used up, it's now going to take forever to get back to the planet. Which is just enough time for Kirok to fall in love with Miramanee, marry her and give her an unborn son. But only after Kirok fights with Salish and Salish makes him bleed. Luckily, though, on their way back, Spock was able to pick up a few things from the pictures he took of the obelisk. He discovered that it was made by the Preservers who take cultures who are in danger of blah blah blah blah anyway... The markings on the obelisk are musical notes. So he's trying to figure out what the tune is.

Back at the tribe, Kirk is making all these plans to make the tribe a better place with an irrigation system and lights and stuff, and Miramanee is proud to have such a smart husband. But when a bad storm comes around, Miramanee expects Kirok to know how to work the temple and make the storm stop by making the blue flame come out of it. Kirk, of course, doesn't know this. He doesn't know anything. But he's willing to give it a try. He goes out to the temple and tries to command the weather while standing by the temple, but nothing happens. So the whole tribe loses faith in him and starts to throw stones. And then Miramanee runs up to his side and they throw stones at her, too, giving her fatal wounds.
"YOUR FOAM ROCKS WILL NOT HARM A GOD!"
Well, that's when Bones and Spock show up. Kirk and Miramanee are both unconscious. They revive Kirk, but he doesn't recognize them, so Spock does a mind meld on him and cures him of his amnesia. Spock explains that the markings on the obelisk are sounds, so Kirk makes the sound that he made when he fell in and calls up to the Enterprise. The door opens and they walk in, take control of the obelisk and push the asteroid out of the way. And the day is saved! But Miramanee is not. When the planet is out of trouble, Kirk brings his wife back to the tribe and comforts her while she and the unborn child die from her injuries. So that loose end is tied up. And they all lived happily ever after and learned a valuable lesson about the Preservers.

Overall Thoughts
There's jut one thing that really, really bugs me about this episode. Why didn't Bones stay behind to look for Kirk?? Whatever, it's an interesting look at what Kirk considers to be paradise, and it introduces us to the Preservers. Apparently Kirk is a big fan of wide open spaces. Which is odd since he's trapped in a starship for most of his life. Stargate SG1 did a similar episode to this, except O'Neill didn't lose his memory. Anyway, I posted a comparison between the episodes here. Check it out!