Friday, September 24, 2010

And the Children Shall Lead

From Wikipedia:

"And the Children Shall Lead" is a third-season episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, and was broadcast October 11, 1968. It is episode #59, production #60, written by Edward J. Lakso and directed by Marvin Chomsky.

Overview: On a distant planet, Kirk, Spock and McCoy find a scientific team dead, and their children who, unknown to the crew, have great powers at their disposal.


Watch it

Notes and pics:

* According to Wikipedia, episode director
Marvin Chomsky is my intellectual guru Noam Chomsky's cousin. Small fuckin' world. Marvin Chomsky is probably quite a good director, with a couple of Emmy's under his belt, but you couldn't tell by watching this one. Indeed, judging just by "And the Children Shall Lead," you wonder how these two guys could come from the same family.

* Until last night, I hadn't watched this one for nearly two decades mostly because I remember it as being the absolute worst Star Trek episode of the original series' run. Is it really as bad as I remember it being?

* Okay, I have to admit that I like the opening tableau with all the suicide bodies lying around. Indeed, it reminds me of something...

* ...Why yes, the mass suicides at
Jonestown back in the late 70s. Good times.

* Oh man, children. Children and science fiction almost never work well together, at least on film and television. This one is no exception. And what's with the patent leather boots? Are they into the Temptations or something?

* Kirk's sense of deep anxiety ought to be funny, but it's just lame and stupid. He really should have gone over the top with it. At least it would have been funny.

* Nurse Chapel serves the children ice cream. This scene is horrific. I hate these kids.

* And just when you think it can't get any worse, Kirk enters the scene and you just want to change the channel. I've seen better performances at middle school speech tournaments. Much better performances.

* I wanna punch this guy in the face.

* The chant is fucking stupid.

* The "angel" is fucking stupid, too. And his name is Gorgan. That also reminds me of something...

* ...Gorgon of Marvel Comics' The Uncanny Inhumans. Similar name, totally different character. And by "totally different," I mean "good."

* Chomsky tries to get artsy, superimposing Gorgan's face over the children's hands during their fucking stupid chant, but it just makes me want to vomit.

* Is this even really Star Trek?

* Oh. Now Spock tells us of a "legend" of evil associated with planet Triacus' history. But so what? Who cares? This is all so awful.

* At least we've got some creative red shirt deaths. Mistakenly beaming them into outer space, very nice.

* Mystical daggers coming at the ship, an ancient crone in Uhura's reflection, a Satanic angel, this is like watching television on Saturday afternoon back in the 70s. You know the drill. There's nothing on at all, so you're totally willing to watch stupid B horror films from the 60s.

* Okay, the moment when all the red shirt hears is gibberish is nice. And it goes on for fucking ever.

* Kirk: "I'm losing my ability to command!" This is so terrible.

* Kiss him, Spock! Ram your filthy Vulcan tongue down his slutty throat! You know that's what everybody wants to see.

* Scotty: "We'll all be lost, forever lost!" At least Mr. Scott escapes this one relatively unscathed.

* Fucking Christmas tree.

* Why don't they just beat the shit out of these kids?

* The only thing that could have made this script work would have been to use the cast of The Brady Bunch. Oh well.

* Okay, it is satisfying to see them cry. But only because I hate them and enjoy their pain.

* WTF? This sucks so bad.

* Heh. McCoy's seemingly as happy as I am to see these little brats bawling: "They're crying, Captain! I don't know how you did it, but it's good to see."

* No stars. None. "And the Children Shall Lead" doesn't even deserve a rating. Sure, it's got one or two decent moments, and a couple of funny things here and there, but it's just not enough. Not nearly enough. Really, the biggest crime the episode commits is that it's boring. You couldn't care less about the characters or their story. And it's embarrassing if you genuinely like Star Trek. You kind of feel like an idiot for being a fan. I'm probably not going to watch this one again for another twenty years. I've got a very bad taste in my mouth right now.