Star Trek: Friday's Child

McCoy: "Say to yourself, 'The child is mine. The child is mine. It is mine'."
Eleen: "Yes. It's yours."

I've always been fond of this one. But I don't think I ever really thought much about what was going on with the plot. It's basically a morality tale about survival of the fittest versus an advanced society's compassion for its weakest members.

Actually, what's best about it is McCoy trying psychology on a very tall, very pregnant warrior woman, and succeeding beyond his wildest dreams. Sixties star Julie Newmar, probably best known for playing Catwoman on the original camp Batman series, is fun as Eleen, verbally and physically sparring with a doctor who is just trying to save her life. Plus it's also fun seeing Kirk and Spock romping about on the rocks creating landslides, playing bows and arrows, and getting in touch with their inner boy scout.

The Capellans, as limited and heartless as they were, showed more honor than the Klingons. Kras, an outright slimy liar and cheat, doesn't come off nearly as well as Kor – plus he was a lot paler than the previous Klingons and lacked all those cute tufts of masculine hair. Hey, at least he wasn't wearing pink and orange fake fur.



Seriously. The costumes they came up for the Capellans were striking in an outright painful way. They must have had a lot of fake fur left over from Amanda's outfit in "Journey to Babel." But did they have to pair it with purple, turquoise, orange and maroon tunics, and top it with horse tails coming out of their heads? What primitive warrior would be caught dead in an outfit like that?

The B plot reflected the main story, as Scott, in command, was distracted by a bogus distress call long enough to keep from easily rescuing the landing party. At least he showed compassion, instead of leaving the fictional ships to flounder on their own. We're a superior species. I think.

Ben says...

It's hard to know where to start on this one. Do you ever watch a sci-fi program and find the costumes, makeup or effects so distractingly absurd that it's hard to focus on the story? I had this problem with Babylon 5 generally, and it was the same here. At one level it's a really good and interesting story which has continuing relevance around its ideas of cultural relativism, self-determination, proxy wars and honor codes. Really, where else on 60s TV are we threatening to murder babies to ensure a stable government? It has elements which allude to the Vietnam War when you could not possibly have addressed that subject as entertainment. It's really a bold episode.

On the other hand, it's Catwoman (the incomparable Julie Newmar) battling a group of tough ultimate Frisbee players who apparently lost a dare with the costume designers. Seriously, I haven't seen such a gratuitous use of fake fur since I stumbled into a Furry fandom bachelorette party at LA Con back in '96. It's like the costume designers took apart all the couches they bought at a garage sale for a Hollywood hills bordello and then made costumes from it. The fringe alone, the horror, the horror.

Back to Billie for bits and pieces:

— Stardate 3497.2. Capella 4, mining agreement for the rare mineral topaline.

— No talk of the prime directive, especially considering Kirk and company pretty much forced a coup with a new leader for these people. And McCoy had spent time with the Capellans in the past.

— Kor, Kras... do all Klingon names start with K for Klingon? Okay, we know they don't, but at this point, the original viewers of Star Trek must have thought so.

— One redshirt beamed down to the planet and was immediately skewered to death with a kligat.

— Chekov's dreadful wig was back. Yes, I know they aired out of order.

— This episode was filmed in a stark, striking-looking area near Los Angeles known as Vasquez Rocks. A number of other Star Trek episodes were also filmed at this location. So were a lot of other shows, too, including Buffy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasquez_Rocks

Quotes:

McCoy: "Look, I'm a doctor not an escalator."

Kirk: "How'd you arrange to touch her, Bones? Give her a happy pill?"
McCoy: "No. A right cross."
Kirk: "Never seen that in a medical book."
McCoy: "It's in mine from now on."

McCoy: "You must want the child."
Eleen: "No. Here, child belongs to husband."
McCoy: "So they take all the credit here. Poppycock."

Spock: "Fortunately, this bark has suitable tensile cohesion."
Kirk: "You mean it makes a good bow string."
Spock: "I believe I said that."

Scott: "There's an old, old saying on Earth, Mister Sulu. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."
Chekov: "I know this saying. It was invented in Russia."

Spock: "Oochy woochy coochy coo, Captain?"
Kirk: "An obscure Earth dialect, Mister Spock. Oochy woochy coochy coo. If you're curious, consult linguistics."

Spock: "The child was named Leonard James Akaar?"
McCoy: "Has a kind of a ring to it, don't you think, James?"
Kirk: "Yes, I think it's a name destined to go down in galactic history, Leonard. What do you think, Spock?"
Spock: "I think you're both going to be insufferably pleased with yourselves for at least a month. Sir."

Three out of four kligats,

Billie
---
Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

This one's in my personal Top Ten (great reviews, by the way), despite the Python costumes and silly headgear.

It's got the Enterprise exploring a culture that's really a '60s Third World Country (part medieval, part Larewnce's Arabs), planetside action/adventure with Kirk, Spock and McCoy and, in space, all the rest of the support cast in a cat-and-mouse space race, Klingon interference and chicanery, as well as smart dialog, great location photography, quick cutting, a great original musical score and memorable guest stars (Catwoman!) -- it's like a prototype Trek movie. I've always found it a lot of fun, very smart, and engaging action-science fiction drama.

differently wired said...

I love how, unlike most 'newborn' television babies, they actually used a real newborn for little Leonard James; a very clean one, I'll admit, but he was very sweet.

Excellent episode and one I have only seen once before, so a real treat.

Outsider65 said...

The best part of the episode was imagining Spock later looking up the baby talk as Kirk suggested he do and his reaction to whatever search result came up.

I always thought it must be kind of weird for Leonard Nimoy that Kelley's character was called Leonard McCoy (it even rhymes!) but McCoy was rarely called by his first name so it probably didn't come up often.