Friday, September 10, 2010

The Paradise Syndrome

From Wikipedia:

"The Paradise Syndrome" is a third season episode of Star Trek: The Original Series
, and was broadcast October 4, 1968. It is episode #58, production #58, written by Margaret Armen and directed by Jud Taylor.

Overview: An alien device on a primitive planet erases Captain Kirk's memory, and he begins a new life with the native humanoids.


Watch it

Notes and pics:

* Nice
Ravelesque music for the establishing shot of nature-as-paradise. Is this new stuff for the third season?

* Yet another "what are the odds" discussion of the parallel Earth concept. By this point in the show's run, I'd say that the odds are pretty damned good. Confoundingly, Kirk and crew continue to be surprised by an idea they encounter repeatedly. Oh well. What can you do?

* Cool obelisk.

* Spock is now apparently an expert on North American indigenous cultures, describing the planet's inhabitants as "a mixture of Mohican, Navajo, and Delaware."

* At last! Shatner's famous "pain" routine combines with some compelling special effects to create a really wonderful shot.

* Spock pounds Bones' aimless bitching with an impromptu science lecture, complete with props.

* And straight from the set of Bonanza come two white women in red face.

* Cool. I love it when the Enterprise goes to warp nine.

* These are really some of the worst stereotypes I've seen in Star Trek--at least they're not portrayed as bloodthirsty savages who want to have sex with white women.

* Medicine Chief Salish is fucking great.

* This really looks like Star Trek invading Gunsmoke or Bonanza.

* Kirk makes out with a little boy.

* The tribal elder is fucking hysterical: "Only a god can breathe life into the dead...give him the medicine badge."

* All this bowing to Kirok the god is hilarious!

* Salish's despair is lough-out-loud funny. This guy really is
Frank Grimes.

* Good procedure stuff back on the Enterprise as they deal with the oncoming asteroid.

* Classic Scotty as he laments the beating Spock gives his engines: "Me poor bairns!"

* The moment when Kirk tries to remember his name, which is then misinterpreted as "Kirok," is a hoot.

* Yet another episode of bad Kirk romance.

* McCoy goes off on Spock.

* "Spock's Theme" is revamped for the third season.

* Kirok's joy. This just keeps descending into absurdity. Go ahead and laugh. You know you want to.

* Salish to Kirok: "Behold the god who bleeds!" The dialogue in this one is either brilliant or awful. I'm still not quite sure which.

* The next time I get married, the ceremony is going to look just like this one. I'd probably better not invite any of my
Choctaw relatives.

* McCoy again confronts Spock, but is much more conciliatory this time. Really, this is an excellent episode for the two characters' ongoing feud. Good stuff.

* Shirtless Kirk making out with Miramanee: "Miramanee...c'mere!"

* Kirk's monologue on the recurrence of his Enterprise dreams: "They've...come...back..." This may very well be the most extended use of Shatner's pausing technique, the one John Belushi used in order to parody Kirk back in the late 70s on SNL, of the entire show's run, maybe of Shatner's entire career.

* What's with all the Mr. Science prop-lectures?

* I kind of dig Kirok's buckskin suit.

* The tribal elder: "When the ground trembles, the caves are not safe, Kirok!" An old friend of mine used to imitate this line delivery and he was always spot on. Much to everybody's amusement.

* "I am Kirok! I am Kirok!" Oh god.

* Triumphant Salish. I fucking love a good tin plated villain.

* Yeah! Spock's Vulcan lyre!

* A good old fashioned stoning.

* Yet another excellent Vulcan mind meld. It's like they really ramped up this side of Spock for the third season.

* In spite of how extraordinarily goofy the Kirk-as-Indian plot is, the death of Miramanee always puts some tears in my eyes. Even today, and I have no idea why. I mean, this is the height of Star Trek's unintentional comedy. It's fucking hilarious, and Miramanee is more of a cardboard cut-out than an actual human being, and Kirk is just silly. But it makes me cry. Maybe it's the whole loss of love thing. I don't know. It's probably more about me than about the episode. But it never fails to get me.

* Three and a half stars. In spite of all the goofy humor that we're supposed to take seriously, or more likely because of it, "The Paradise Syndrome" is engaging. You really do want to know what's going to happen next. And it is funny. Really funny. Funnier, even, than "
Patterns of Force." And the stuff that's not funny is pretty darned good. Like I said, the story back on the ship works well.

And I give it that extra half star for making me cry. I mean, I can be a little subjective here, can't I?