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Old 02-28-2019, 02:09 PM
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February 28th, 1969, "The Cloud Minders"

Fiver (by IJD GAF)
Transcript
Memory Alpha

The Episode

Captain's log, stardate 5818.4. A botanical plague is devastating a planet in the quadrant of the galaxy where the Enterprise is operating at present. It threatens to destroy the vegetation on the entire planet, leaving it uninhabitable.

I'm glad that the series is almost over, because this whole "we need something on Planet A to stop a disaster on Planet B" thing is really getting old. I'm not saying that this plot can't be done well, but the more times it's used the less likely it is that it will be done well. Furthermore, the idea that minerals can't be replicated is silly, just like the idea that the Federation wouldn't take medicinal plants from one world and transplant it to other worlds just in case.

KIRK: On Stratos? That's their cloud city, isn't it, Mister Spock?
SPOCK: It is, Captain.

Memory Alpha claims that Stratos uses antigravity technology to float. Putting aside the question of why a civilization would want to do that instead of a proper orbiting station (at that altitude you'd need a protective shield and contained atmosphere for increased warmth and oxygen levels), I question what purpose this achieves besides raising questions. Building the city on a mountaintop far above the clouds would serve the purpose just as well with fewer plot holes.

PLASUS: They agreed obviously as a ruse to get valuable hostages.
KIRK: Hostages? For what purpose?
PLASUS: To force the council to meet their demands.

The word "duh" comes to mind. I thought Kirk was supposed to be a tactical genius. Couldn't they have brought Chekov or someone to ask the question?

DROXINE: I have never before met a Vulcan, sir.
SPOCK: Nor I a work of art, madam.

Yikes, Spock. For a Vulcan this is practically laying it on with a trowel.

SPOCK [OC]: This troubled planet is a place of the most violent contrasts. Those who receive the rewards are totally separated from those who shoulder the burdens. It is not a wise leadership. Here on Stratos, everything is incomparably beautiful and pleasant. The High Advisor's charming daughter Droxine, particularly so. The name Droxine seems appropriate for her. I wonder, can she retain such purity and sweetness of mind and be aware of the life of the people on the surface of the planet? There, the harsh life in the mines is instilling the people with a bitter hatred. The young girl who led the attack against us when we beamed down was filled with the violence of desperation. If the lovely Droxine knew of the young miner's misery, I wonder how the knowledge would affect her.

How did spores get here from Omicron Ceti III? I question why Spock has to be the one in this position, he's not one to fall into infatuation this fast. Charvanek was much more compatible with him, and it took her hours to get this far with him. Ugh.

DROXINE: You only take a mate once every seven years?
SPOCK: The seven-year cycle is biologically inherent in all Vulcan�s. At that time, the mating drive outweighs all other motivations.
DROXINE: And is there nothing that can disturb that cycle, Mister Spock?
SPOCK: Extreme feminine beauty is always disturbing, madam.

As Phill Farrand says in the Nitpicker's Guide, the pon farr was supposed to be a secret to anyone not related in some way to the Vulcans. I'm not going to address the question of whether or not Vulcans ever mate for pleasure, but it doesn't seem likely. Why is Spock being written this badly?

PLASUS: Troglytes are not like Stratos dwellers, Mister Spock. They're a conglomerate of inferior species. The abstract concepts of an intellectual society are beyond their comprehension.

It's been noted again and again that a necessary first step in "rationalizing" prejudice is convincing the oppressors that the oppressed are a lesser sort of being. I get the moral that is trying to be taught, but it's hard when we only see a few of these people, and those that we do see are terrorists who are resistant to any solution other than violence. The moral is hard to tell when both sides aren't presented as real, rational people.

Captain's log, star date 5819.0. More than eight hours have passed since the consignment of zenite disappeared and we have still found no trace of it. We've received word from Merak Two that the plague is spreading rapidly. Delivery of the zenite is imperative within twelve hours or all life on the planet will be annihilated.

I hate these arbitrary "the plot must be resolved in X hours or thousands will die" deadlines. They aren't needed. Starfleet hostages are enough, the serious accusation by a group of people on a Federation (or at least Federation-aligned) world is enough.

KIRK: Lieutenant Uhura, advise Starfleet command that the zenite has not been delivered. In my opinion, Plasus' method of accomplishing delivery will not succeed. If the zenite is not delivered shortly, I shall have to violate Plasus' order of non-interference and win the confidence of the Troglyte leader with the use of reason.

MCCOY: That may not be easy, Jim. Medical analysis indicates the Troglytes are mentally inferior.
KIRK: That's impossible, Bones. The Troglytes have accepted personal sacrifice, a common cause. Mentally inferior beings aren't capable of that.
MCCOY: Look, I've checked my findings thoroughly. Their intellect ratings are almost twenty percent below average.

The question "so?" comes to mind. Even if these guys are permanently on the level of Pakleds, so what? They're sentient beings that are being oppressed, that's enough.

The Fiver

Captain's Log: A mysterious disease is ravaging the quadrant. How it successfully traversed the vacuum of space is anyone's guess.

Exactly.

Spock: Why do you not trust Advisor Plasus' coordinates?
Kirk: I knew the guy once. He was a scoundrel.

Plasus is played by Jeff Corey, who appeared with William Shatner and John deLancie (and Alexi Roshenko actor Theodore Bikel) in a 1977 TV miniseries called Testimony of Two Men. This is what's called an overly obscure joke. Did anyone other than IJD GAF ever get this one?

Spock: It appears that the shipment of zienite has not arrived on schedule.
Kirk: I could tell by the lack of zienite and Troglodyte miners.
Vanna: Grr! That's Troglyte!
Kirk: Ah, a diet caveman.
Vanna: That's it, we're capturing you.

Puns are always fun. I wonder what a drink called "Troglyte" would taste like...

Kirk: I've beamed to your cell to tell you about these masks.
Vanna: Ooo. Will they make us smarter?
Kirk: Yep. Unless you're Jim Carrey.

I never even watched that movie, but I saw enough trailers and reviews and so forth that it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Yet another time capsule joke.

Memory Alpha

* David Gerrold comments on the original idea and how it was dumbed down for the screen.
* Not only is Spock being un-Vulcan with his discussion of the pon farr, but he expresses pride, which is another emotion.

Nitpickers Guide

* Phil is skeptical that Droxine will last very long in the mines before giving up and going home.
* Phil also speculates that perhaps Spock's brain not being reattached correctly might explain some of his behavior here.
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