8/12/12

Star Trek: Asterisk "Once Upon a Planet"

Vital Information
Series: The Animated Series
Episode: S01E09
Air Date: November 3, 1973
Written by: Len Jense and Chuck Menville
Directed by: Hal Sutherland

Premise
The crew returns to the "Shore Leave" planet to find that the caretaker has died and the robots have taken over!

Review
So it's time once again for the crew to go on shore leave. And, of course, they know the perfect place to go. The planet they found in the episode titled "Shore Leave" is a perfect diversion for their space weariness. When they arrive, Bones recalls the last time they were there he saw a white rabbit being chased by Alice. And then the same white rabbit and little girl show up again. Things appear to be going swimmingly with Bones in his own Southern estate and Uhura singing by the shoreline. And then... The Queen of Hearts attacks. And a hovering robot kidnaps Uhura.

Bones is able to beam up and report to Kirk about what happened, so Kirk takes a team down to figure out what's going on. In the meantime, Uhura is brought before a master computer that has somehow gained sentience. And the computer explains that he is detaining Uhura so that her "master" won't leave. And Uhura is like "Bitch, I ain't got no master!" The computer explains that he's referring to the "sky machine" up in orbit around the planet. So, obviously, the computer has some kind of misconception going on. Uhura says the crew will look for her and the computer says he's gong to "turn them off"!
While attempting to turn Uhura on?
Kirk goes down with a crew to look for the overseer and finds his gravestone. Which is quite unfortunate. But then the team is attacked by some more robots! A huge cat corners them in a cave and then a pterodactyl shows up and threatens them. Kirk remembers that last time they were there, Bones died and was then taken to the center of the planet to be fixed. He postulates that if they can make it look like someone had died, they can bait a robot to pick that person up and then follow it. So Bones gives Spock a serum that makes it look like he's dead and a hovering robot comes to pick him up. Kirk is the only one able to follow him.

In the core of the planet, Kirk and Spock meet up with Uhura and the master computer and find that the master computer believes that machines, which are obviously superior to organic beings, are in control in the galaxy. He believes that the Enterprise uses the crew as slaves. But Kirk explains that the crew actually controls the ship. The master computer is all depressed because he thought he was gonna get a new friend. And he wants to escape his life of menial work. Meanwhile, on the surface, Bones and Sulu are being chased by a fire-breathing dragon.
RANDOM ACTS OF ARSON
Kirk and Uhura try to reason with the master computer and say that the services it performs are for the pleasure of other species. It's not menial work if they can co-exist peacefully. So the master computer says "alright, I'll let you guys go and have your fun, as long as you can leave someone here to explain all the wonders of the universe." So, who do you send to talk to a computer? Spock is happy to take the job.

Overall Thoughts
Kind of a charming episode, but still not up to par with The Original Series. I dunno. I just don't know if there is any way The Animated Series can redeem itself.