8/4/12

Star Trek: Asterisk "Beyond the Farthest Star"

Vital Information
Series: The Animated Series
Episode: S01E01
Air Date: September 8, 1973
Written by: Samuel L. Peeples
Directed by: Hal Sutherland

Premise
The crew accidentally picks up a malevolent entity that wants to escape a negative star.

Review
Responding to radio emissions from the edge of the known universe, the Enterprise gets dragged off course by Questar M-17, an imploded negative star mass. Whatever that means. The point is that it's got crazy amounts of gravity or something. They manage to establish an orbit and in the process come upon a huge tentacly starship type thing that appears to be old. Really old. Old as balls.

They beam over to the dead, abandoned ship with personal force fields on instead of space suits and discover that it has been exploded from the inside rather than attacked from without. Trying to find out why, they find what appears to be the control room and play the captain's log. It was a race of insectoid beings that say they exploded themselves rather than bring a malevolent entity back into the galaxy. Well, if that wasn't enough to make them run back home, the starship starts shaking and buckling. They race back to an area where they can beam out and quickly transport over to the Enterprise.
And then we're introduced to the glorious new
mustachioed British transporter chief!
After they get back, it turns out the entity has made its way back with them. It wreaks havoc throughout the ship, destroys the old ship and takes control over the Enterprise's systems. But Kirk and Scotty devise a way to make it so the engines can only be operated manually. So the entity takes control of this crazy green shooty thinggie on the bridge and starts ordering people around saying "YOU WILL OBEY!" Kirk pretends to obey, but, instead, puts a personal force field around the controls. He suffers a green laser for that, but he survives.

Spock surmises that the ship is now like a living, autonomous body with the being as the soul and the crew as the white blood cells. Working off of this idea, Scotty goes to mess around in engineering, but the entity traps him in one of the devices. The only thing saving him from being crushed is his personal force field. Kirk and Spock then come up with the idea of slingshoting around the negative star mass to get rid of the entity. I... I'm not sure how that's supposed to work, really... but Spock thinks it will, so it will.
"I just want to tell you good luck. We're all counting on you."
So, they slingshot around the negative star mass and the entity thinks they're about to crash, so he jumps ship and goes to the star mass. Meanwhile, the Enterprise jumps out the other side (presumably also go back in time a little bit) and leaves, leaving the entity to orbit Questar for the rest of his days.

Overall Thoughts
The first reaction on gets to this series, watching this episode is "what is the target demographic for this??" It presents like a kids show with poor animation and bright colors, but then Spock goes rambling off some high-minded science and technological jargon that a child would never come close to understanding. Then you learn to relax and just take it as it comes. Pretend the paint is people and just enjoy the story. If you can do that, you can enjoy The Animated Series.