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Star Trek The Animated Series: The Terratin Incident

Mikey Heinrich and Billie Doux discuss The Animated Series episode, "The Terratin Incident."

Mikey Heinrich: Who's an itty bitty Kirk then? Who's the cutest iddle iddy biddy Kirk? Is it you? Yes, it's you!

I can't help but really like this episode, even though there really isn't a lot to it. Or maybe that's why I like it. In contrast to some of the earlier episodes, they aren't trying to shove an hour's worth of story into 23 minutes.

While surveying a burnt out supernova (don't those collapse into black holes? Or is that just something pulp sci-fi has led me to believe?) Kirk and company get easily distracted by a mysterious signal with one repeated word, 'Terratin.'

Everyone's keen to go check out what that's all about, except Bones, who for some inexplicable reason is being a total dick about the situation. Once they get to the planet of the signal's origin they're struck by a strange beam and everyone promptly begins shrinking.

Not that they understand this at first, of course. Kirk assumes that they're all fine, and it's the stuff that's changed size. Right Kirk, because the problem can never be you, can it.


Anyway, they all keep shrinking. An absolutely adorable series of makeshift contraptions to operate full sized controls with ropes and pulleys and the like ensues. We learn that even with all those sensors the Enterprise still more or less relies on canaries to know if they're in trouble. "Well, the translucent mice aren't dead, so we're probably fine." We find out that Nurse Chapel can't swim, and we take a moment to be VERY clear that their uniforms are made out of "organic enough material that it is also shrinking and there aren't going to be any teeny tiny wangs flopping about, thank you very much."

Then it turns out that they can fix themselves pretty easily with the transporter, and that it's all kind of a misunderstanding with a lost earth colony "Terra Ten" that got shrunk into "not-findable-ness," so that's all fine. Although Kirk does very nearly blow the crap out of their city with lasers just on general principle before it all gets sorted out.

Why is Sulu so uncharacteristically panicky and freaking out about wanting to shoot at the planet? Well, it's probably a pretty stressful day.

What do you all think? Personally, I kind of love every last goofy second of it.

Billie Doux: "Go to the far bulkhead so I don't step on you!"

We're on the same wavelength, Mikey, because this one was my favorite so far. As you said, it was just one plot – they didn't try to jam five plotlines into it. And it was a perfect plot for animation. I particularly loved the focus on trying to operate the Enterprise with strings and pulleys because it made total sense. And the detail that the clothes were organic and shrinking too made me laugh out loud for exactly the reason you stated. It would have been fun if they were running around in makeshift rags and loincloths, but okay.

The viewscreen shots of the group of tiny people reminded me a lot of the shots of the group of very fast people from "Wink of an Eye." But other than that, I couldn't think of an original series episode that they were ripping off. Yay for that.

And Scotty's engines were purring like happy kittens. :)

Mikey: I immediately thought of you when Scotty said happy little kittens!

I really like that they had Nurse Chapel have the agency to think of the solution to fixing Sulu's leg, and make the climb to retrieve it herself. They then lose a little bit of cred by immediately having her need to be rescued from the fish tank, but still. It was something.

This week's cringe: the female officers in miniskirts climbing on the console. It was sort of fine in animation, but all I could think was how cringey they would have made it in live action.

"No, I am not looking up Uhura's skirt."

Billie: I had the same thought about the miniskirts. The thing with the invisible lab animal was a bit weird. And of course, we wouldn't have gotten this episode without Richard Matheson's The Incredible Shrinking Man. But still.

A solid three out of four happy little kittens?

Mikey: 'The Enterprise might be in danger! Check the fish!'

I'll go eight out of ten, also happy little kittens. You can't not go with happy little kittens.

1 comment:

  1. The caption on the picture of Spock just made me snort WAY too loud at work. :)


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