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Star Trek The Animated Series: The Infinite Vulcan

Mikey Heinrich and Billie Doux discuss The Animated Series episode, "The Infinite Vulcan."

Mikey Heinrich: Giant Spock!

OK, I think I'm legally required to start by mentioning that this episode was written by Walter Koenig and that he was commissioned to write it as a bit of a bone throw for not having been brought back with the rest of the original cast due to budgetary constraints.

That out of the way, the thing that struck me about this one is the number of potentially interesting ideas that are vying for development. There's the sci-fi standard of "Planet ruled by plant beings instead of animal beings." There's the escaped mad scientist from the Eugenics Wars, there's the "race of people dying out from disease," and the "Visiting alien accidentally brings a virus that's harmless to them but kills off the aliens he's visiting" plotline.

Those last two are the ones that really needed pruning, if you'll pardon the pun. The script is pretty muddy about whether the Phylosians are dying off due to a longstanding issue, or whether it's due to the new disease that Stavos Keniclius brought with him. One more pass at the script could have cleaned that up nicely.

I would give a great deal to see a version of this made in the early 70s in live action, because GIANT SPOCK!

Keniclius is a scientist from the Eugenics Wars and is carrying his experiment in cloning a perfect being on this alien world. For some reason, his clones of people are what appears to be about 30-40 tall. Why does he have to make the clones gigantic? Because shut up. That's why. Leonard Nimoy in Jason and the Argonauts style gigantic split screen effects? Yes, please.

I also enjoyed that the final confrontation/plot reveal essential boils down to:

Keniclious: "My giant clones will go out and force the entire universe into peace!"
Kirk: "Dude, we've been at peace for like, hundreds of years."
Keniclius: "I'm sorry, what now?"
Kirk: "Totes peace. For a really long time."
Agmar, leader of the plant people: "Well, shit. Forcing peace was our plan, too."
Keniclius: "I know, right?? That's why our goals totally... what's the word.. um..."
Bones: "Dovetailed?"
Agmar: "You can shut the hell up, you totally just killed our housepets with your weed spray."
Bones: "My bad."

The whole "the goal was peace" twist was actually really nicely done. Still doesn't explain how Kirk was able to execute a chokehold on a plant earlier on, though.

What did you all think?

Billie Doux: I think props to Walter Koenig because I enjoyed this one. The thing that has disappointed me the most about this series is the regurgitated plotlines, but I've never seen a giant Spock clone before. And correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think we've ever seen plant people before – at least not on Star Trek. (Was it Farscape?) I particularly liked the tribble-like plants with feet, and the pterodactyl-like bird things with the spiral tentacles. And great-grandad's traditional weed spray.

But of course, they did give us some plot callbacks, like needing Spock to be an all powerful computer brain. And that bit about Sulu being inscrutable made me cringe. Oh, well. 1973.

Mikey: Oh my giddy aunt, the inscrutable "joke." SO cringey. At least it was right at the end so that that's the final note we're left with.

I also really liked the plant that was clearly re-used tribble animation with legs. It does strike me that the plant aliens shared a little bit of the same look as the shape shifter that was pretending to be Ted Knight last episode.

I'm just saying... canonically, giant Spock is still alive and out there in the universe... Somebody get on that re-appearance!

Billie: The virus plot was indeed too muddy, though. I honestly didn't follow it. I suppose I could have watched it a second time, except I didn't want to.

Rating? I thought it rated four out of four walking tribbles for giant clone Spock, but only one for the muddy virus plot. Two and a half out of four?

Mikey: It's probably telling that we didn't have a ton to say about this one, isn't it? I'll go with six out of ten fashionable eugenics togas. I really did like giant Spock very much.

1 comment:

  1. Fun Giant Spock followup -

    I haven't gotten to watching Lower Decks yet, but apparently at one point they walk by the skeletal remains of Giant Spock from this episode as a sight gag. Solid respect for the writers of that one, that's a pretty deep cut for a throwaway background gag.


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