7/31/12

Star Trek: Asterisk "Turnabout Intruder"

Vital Information
Series: The Original Series
Episode: S03E24
Air Date: June 3, 1969
Written by: Arthur H. Singer & Gene Roddenberry
Directed by: Herb Wallerstein

Premise
Crazy woman switches bodies with Kirk because she hates being a woman, hates Kirk, and pretty much hates everything.

Review
So there's one last distress call for the intrepid crew of the live-action Enterprise NCC-1701 and this one takes them to the mad scientist laboratory of Dr. Janice Lester, a woman who Kirk once loved and left. And we'll see why in a minute. But first, she's gravely ill with radiation poisoning. When they arrive, she's out cold, but she starts to get antsy at around the same time Spock picks up life form readings. Bones tells Kirk that he should stay by her bedside while he and Spock check out the readings with Janice's personal physician, Dr. Coleman. Which is perfect, because while they're away, she regains full consciousness, pushes Kirk against a wall, activates a machine and switches bodies with him. All according to plan.

So now Janice is in Kirk's body and vice versa. So, when I say "Janice", think William Shatner's face in your mind. Kirk is now in the radiation-riddled body of Janice and the shock from the life force transfer put him out cold. Jance takes him over to the bed and while he's laying there, she contemplates how terrible it is being a woman in that day's society. How it's impossible for a woman to become a starship captain, which is bunk because they were originally going to have a female first officer. Basically, Janice is completely insane with a touch of persecution disorder. And now she's the captain. She's about to snuff out Kirk's life, but Bones, Spock and Coleman arrive just in time.
"Smells like opposite sex in here."
Coleman and Bones disagree on what the body of Janice is dying from, and this disagreement will affect what kind of treatment she gets. So everyone beams back up to the ship and "Kirk" goes to sickbay. Janice, meanwhile, gets used to her new position as captain and starts spouting orders that don't make any sense to the rest of the crew. When Spock attempts to make suggestions, she snaps back at him. Still feeling that everyone is against her, she demands the Enterprise is brought to a station that's several lightyears out of the way of their mission in order to save her body with Kirk in it. Then she goes back to sick bay and orders that Coleman is put in charge of her body's care.

So, now that everyone is suspicious that Kirk isn't Kirk, Bones orders a medical examination and Janice passes with flying colors. Meanwhile, Kirk wakes up in the body of Janice Lester and calls for McCoy. Coleman explains that Bones isn't on his case anymore, that Coleman is. And then Janice walks in swaggering around in Kirk's body to flaunt it over Kirk and Kirk's all like "bitch, you crazy." Kirk, however, quickly adapts to the situation and tries his best not to seem paranoid.
"I've never been inside a woman before... wait, hang on..."
Through the course of events and while Bones performs various tests on Janice, Spock comes in to see Kirk and is unconvinced that he actually is Kirk until he performs a mind meld on him. But a mind meld isn't enough to convince the rest of the crew or Starfleet. So, when Janice finds out about it, she calls a court martial hearing against Spock for mutiny. During the hearing, Spock makes his case that Janice performed a life-energy transfer with Kirk in an attempt to take over his life. Kirk is brought in, and remains completely still and sane, letting Janice flounder around flaunt her insanity for as long as possible.

During a recess, Scotty and Bones discuss mutiny out in the hallway, and when they come back in, Janice plays a recording of them discussing mutiny out in the hallway. So the whole thing ends with Kirk, Spock, Scotty and Bones being put into a cell to be executed. Which, as we all know, is not allowed except in the case of General Order 4. With the sentence declared, Sulu and Chekov refuse to obey any of Janice's orders, which drives her even more insane. And in the stress, she falls back into Kirk's chair and experiences the transfer giving way.
JAZZ HANDS!
Back in the cell, Kirk says that he felt like he was back on the bridge for a moment. Meanwhile, Janice convenes with Coleman and says that the transfer is weakening. Coleman says that the only way to strengthen it is to kill Janice's body with Kirk in it. So he prepares a lethal hypo spray and they make their way to the cell. They open the cell, but the crew isn't about to give up without a fight. They knock each other around for a bit, but before Coleman or Janice is able to kill Kirk, the life energy transfer completely breaks and the two are back in their proper bodies once more. Now back to being a woman, Janice laments this fact and cries and pouts all the way back to sickbay. And Kirk is able to wipe his hands of the crazy bat for the rest of his long, heroic life.

AND THUS ENDS THE ORIGINAL SERIES.

Overall Thoughts
What a crazy way to end a series. Even if they didn't know they were done, what a crazy way to end a season. I really wish they would have done more with the whole "women suck" thing of this episode. It seems like Janice really just hates women. But it's not clear if that's the case, or if 60's prejudices are just seeping into the screenplay. They should have had Uhura or Chapel extol the benefits of womanhood or put women on the same level with men somehow. Also the science in this episode was kind of wacky, but whatever. Other than that, it was kind of entertaining to see William Shatner act like a woman. And I am sad to see The Original Series go, but EXCITED for The Animated Series and the coming movies! This isn't all for Kirk and the crew!