8/5/12

Star Trek: Asterisk "One of Our Planets Is Missing"

Vital Information
Series: The Animated Series
Episode: S01E03
Air Date: September 22, 1973
Written by: Marc Daniels
Directed by: Hal Sutherland

Premise
A planet-eating cloud is on the loose through the galaxy! But would it be ethical to kill it?

Review
Kirk says in his log that a huge cosmic cloud is entering into our galaxy, so they're off to investigate. On their way, they observe the cloud on sensors engulfing a whole planet and the planet disappearing. Kirk surmises that the cloud has consumed the planet. And then the cloud changes course to an inhabited planet. Kirk orders Warp 8 to get there as soon as possible and warn the governor of the planet. And then the cloud eats the Enterprise.

Inside the loud they find a bunch of charged antimatter objects swarming the ship and draining the shields. In fact, the whole makeup of the inside of the cloud leads Spock to believe that the cloud is actually a living being. But Kirk doesn't care. He figures out a way to kill it and orders it done. After some odd stares from the crew, Kirk explains that they don't know if it's an intelligent being, and he'd rather take the chance that it's not than risk a whole planet and the billions of lives on it.
Although, it would be a shame to destroy a work of Genndy Tartakovsky art.
But, then, of course, Kirk starts feeling bad about his feelings. He consults Bones who basically backs up his immediate decision, and then Spock offers an alternative. He finds the cloud's brain and, with the help of Uhura, patches his telepathic powers and the cloud's brain through the com system. He stretches out his telepathic fingers toward the cloud and thinks to it. They talk for a while and Spock explains that there a bunch of intelligent, living creatures on the planet it's about to eat, and that we really would appreciate it if it went back to where it came from.

And the cloud listens! It stops in its tracks and is about to turn around, and the Enterprise finds its way out through its "digestive system". And Spock says that through the experience he perceived the wonders of the universe.
High as a kite.

Overall Thoughts
This is pretty much the kind of Star Trek episode that one writes when one wants to fill some time before the next episode. It's a cookie cutter story about whether or not to destroy the alien life that is threatening familiar life. There's not a whole lot to be liked about it. I just hope this cloud thing doesn't come back in Star Trek Online.