6/26/12

Star Trek: Asterisk "The Tholian Web"

Vital Information
Series: The Original Series
Episode: S03E09
Air Date: November 15, 1968
Written by: Judy Burns and Chet Richards
Directed by: Herb Wallerstein

Premise
Just as Kirk disappears into the void between universes, the Tholians show up and start holding the Enterprise in a web!

Review
Investigating the disappearance of the U.S.S. Defiant, the crew of the Enterprise finds the lost ship phasing in and out of existence and donning a beautiful new glowy green coloring. They try to contact them, but there's no answer, so they put on their fancy space suits and beam over. To their shock and horror, they find that the crew has likely killed each other in fits of insanity. And now this area of space is probably going to do the same to them.

While investigating, Bones finds a dead man on the floor and puts his hand right through him like he's a ghost. He also puts his hand through a table and then warns that the whole ship is about to disintegrate. Unfortunately for the landing party, this area of space is wreaking havoc on the transporter. Scotty can get it working, but can't beam back everyone at the same time. So, like a champ, Kirk orders his crew to go first. Leaving the most valuable member of the crew behind to face the danger. Because captain's prerogative.
"I'm not even supposed to BE here!"
As expected, the transporter goes on the fritz as soon as the rest of the landing party comes aboard. So Kirk is left on the Defiant while it fades out into the Mirror Universe. I should note that we only know it goes into the Mirror Universe because of this episode of Star Trek: Enterprise. The ship actually travels through time as well as dimensions, but Kirk, somehow, as we'll find out, detaches from the ship and floats around on his own. Not a huge problem yet. Spock says there's about two hours until the next phase shift happens and they should be able to lock on to Kirk and beam him aboard. So all they have to do... is wait...

And then the frakkin' Tholians show up and ruin the whole thing. They claim that this area of space is their property, but Spock explains that the United Federation of Planets recognizes it as no-man's land. The Tholians try to assert their claim, but Spock explains further that Kirk has disappeared and they need to wait for two hours to pick him back up. The Tholian agrees to wait and confirm Spock's claim, but is still quite threatening. There's just one problem... When the Tholians came along, they disturbed the fragile state of space in the sector. Kirk may not phase back...
Scumbag Tholian.
The time comes for Kirk to phase back and nothing happens. So the Tholians decide that Spock was lying and start building a web. Very slowly. I guess they figure since the Enterprise is stuck they have all the time in the world. At least they don't have to use multiple contact points anymore like they did back in Captain Archer's day.Without Kirk there, Bones is forced to declare him dead. Bones and Spock go to Kirk's quarters to listen to his final orders only to be read on the occasion of his death. Meanwhile, this sector of space is making everyone crazy and Bones is working on a serum to fix that while Spock figures out how to get the engines back online.

And then Uhura looks into her mirror and sees... A GHOST! Kirk is floating around in his fancy space suit. But, of course Bones just thinks she's going crazy like everyone else due to the crazy space. Except then Scotty sees the same ghost in engineering! And then Spock sees it on the bridge! You know when Spock sees something it's legit. As the Tholians almost finish their web, Spock clings to one last chance to get Kirk back. Kirk appears just outside the viewscreen, orders Scotty to lock onto him with the transporter. With the transporter locked, he activates a burst in the engines that pops them out of the Tholian web and several lightyears away, carrying Kirk along with them.
Beam him in before he starts performing Shakespeare!
With Kirk safely on board, the Tholians no longer a threat, and a serum made to cure the space madness that mixes well with Scotch, everyone can now relax. Kirk sits back in his captains chair and asks Bones and Spock what they thought of his final orders... but they refuse to admit that they listened to them. Which confuses Kirk... since he was officially declared dead. But, oh well! End the episode on a smile, and all that.

Overall Thoughts
For an episode called "The Tholian Web" it really didn't have much to do with the Tholians. I guess the web gave them a little more tension - something they had to escape before finding Kirk again. But it seemed a little tacked on. Otherwise, this episode was a resounding success and cemented Spock's relationship with Bones, a dynamic that held all through the Original Series movies. Mad props to my boys.