Wednesday, December 09, 2009

A Taste of Armageddon

From Wikipedia:

"A Taste of Armageddon" is a first-season episode of Star Trek: The Original Series. First broadcast on February 23, 1967 and repeated July 20, 1967, episode #23, production #23, and was written by Robert Hamner and Gene L. Coon, and directed by Joseph Pevney.

Overview: The crew of the Enterprise visits a planet whose people fight a strange war with a neighboring enemy.


The "strange war" is fought with simulated nuclear weapons. That is, it's all done on computers, without any actual nukes; software on both planets calculate what would happen if real missiles were to reach their targets, and casualties, real people, are then ordered by their respective governments to report to disintegration chambers to die actual deaths. The idea is to preserve culture and infrastructure without losing all the dying. Nifty idea. Kind of like exclusively using neutron bombs, which kill by radiation, rather than with massive explosions.

Of course, this horrifies Captain Kirk, who believes war should be about destruction, which compels him to concoct yet another justification for defying Star Fleet's
Prime Directive, forcing these two hypothetically warring civilizations to fight a real war--ideally, faced with holocaust, the two planets will sue for peace.

While "A Taste of Armageddon" has some interesting concepts, there's really nothing intellectually or artistically redeeming about it. Both philosophies presented here, fake war with real death and real war with real death, are morally reprehensible. What makes this episode fun is that it's straight-up action and adventure, lots of ass-kicking and shooting, Kirk's cowboy diplomacy--indeed, the episode's one true Federation diplomat is portrayed as a stupid fucking pussy. Episode highlight: Kirk taking out six alien security guards in less than three seconds using only his fists.

If you dig kicking ass in space, this one's for you.

Watch it