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Star Trek The Animated Series: Albatross

Mikey Heinrich and Billie Doux discuss the Animated Series episode, "Albatross."

Mikey: In which we learn that there is no intergalactic Good Samaritan Law.

I should say up front – and the English major in me recoils in shame – I've never read "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." I think it's highly unlikely that the good people at Filmation put a deep cut Coleridge Easter egg into this episode. But in the spirit of intellectual honesty, I should admit that I wouldn't have recognized one.

Let's talk a moment about the opening scene of this episode, because there's something that's kind of glossed over. After delivering vital medical supplies to the good people of Dramia I – AFTER, mind you – The Dramian secret police, or possibly just one guy, says "Oh, yeah. Thanks for that. Hey, while we have you... We totally have this warrant for Doctor McCoy's arrest for causing a plague and killing most of our population after his last visit. Starfleet already signed off on it, so... you know... if you could just hand him over so that our notoriously fast and dodgy justice system can execute him, that would be great."

Now, take a second to think about the implications.

Starfleet, knowing that they'd signed off on a warrant for McCoy's arrest by the Dramians, deliberately sent him on a medical mercy mission to deliver supplies to those same Dramians.

Dick move, Starfleet.

Also, the Dramians totally waited until AFTER they'd gotten the needed medical supplies before springing their arrest warrant.

Dick move, Dramians. Plus, why are you accepting medical aid from the guy you're about to accuse of attempted genocide through incompetence? Wouldn't that make you – hear me out on this – LESS likely to want his help on this issue?

That said, the concept of a plague that shows its presence by making you change color is a pleasingly visual conceit. And it was nice that the plague made all crew members, regardless of race, the same pleasing shade of blue.

The trip to Dramia II felt a lot like an excuse to pad things out and introduce the giant pretty spacer cloud. (OK, Aurora) And speaking of – Kirk, my dude, at what point are we going to learn to go around giant space clouds?

But a few complaints aside, I thought this a solid Star Trek story idea that didn't try to cram too much into 23 minutes. I particularly enjoyed the final wrap up of "Um, so we're all just going to ignore the totally illegal shit we both did, right? Cool."

What did you think?

Billie: I thought it was a surprisingly dull episode, considering that it included a surprise arrest, a zombie apocalypse and a sparkling space cloud. (Mikey, you're right – Kirk should have known better after his extensive bad experiences with sparkling space clouds.)

Like you, Mikey, I did like the way the illness showed itself by turning everyone blue, including the yellow Dramians who probably should have turned green. Color change was a more enjoyable symptom to watch than, say, vomiting. I thought the look of the Dramians was interesting, too, although they might have found something better for them than chihuahua ears.

But there was just so much that didn't work. The big one was, why didn't Dramia help Dramia II find a cure instead of abandoning them for nineteen freaking years? How did our guys arrive on planet and immediately find the one survivor that could exonerate McCoy? Why did Kirk suddenly start putting his hand over his face? Why all the giggling about dispensing vitamins?

And why was McCoy wearing a gold uniform top in the transporter room at the end of the episode? It did turn blue almost immediately. Maybe it had the disease, too.

Mikey: For the record, I would much rather watch someone change color than vomit.

I did like the amount of variation in Dramian skull shape.

Billie: I bet it wasn't intentional. Like putting McCoy in a gold uniform.

Mikey: Kirk's hair was also very auburn in this one.

Billie: Seriously, though. Did I miss Kirk repeatedly covering his face with his hand in the nineteen previous episodes? Or was it just that he did it so many times in this one episode that it jumped out at me?

Mikey: No, you are not wrong. He did it like a million times here.

Billie: I don't have anything else to say about this one, except that the Coleridge reference flew right by me, too. Pun intended. One and a half out of four large white birds?

Mikey: I'll go five out of ten chihuahua ears. And seriously, what was up with the vitamin thing at the end?

Billie: Yeah. So much for fatal diseases, genocide, life in prison or even execution. Reset button!

Hey, can you believe it? Only two episodes to go!

Mikey: Home stretch!

1 comment:

  1. Chihuahua ears. Lol.

    I thought this episode was simple and predictable, but oddly entertaining. I was distracted by the aurora. It might have been better called a sparkling space cloud due to the fact it seems to located in space, and not at a planet’s magnetic poles. No matter, I still thought as soon as I saw it’s rainbow-y goodness that it was going to be a factor in the plague. Too bad the Dramians didn’t think of that.

    The vitamin humor I thought was due to Spock’s & McCoy’s sparring, which Spock seems to have won this time.


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