Friday, October 08, 2010

Is There in Truth No Beauty?

From Wikipedia:

"Is There in Truth No Beauty?" is a third season episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, first broadcast October 18, 1968. It is episode #60, production #62, written by Jean Lisette Aroeste, and directed by Ralph Senensky.

Overview: The Enterprise travels with an alien ambassador whose appearance causes insanity.


Watch it

Notes and pics:

* Nice quick and weird set-up. An alien who drives you insane if you see him. I'm assuming his race does not call themselves "Medusan." Why on earth would the diplomacy obsessed Federation give
such a nasty name to these people? Ah well. It doesn't really mar the episode if you don't think about it too much.

* Wow! Doesn't Spock look f'ing weird with his visor?

* Actress Diana Muldaur is even more beautiful in this episode than she was in the second season's "
Return to Tomorrow."

* So looking directly at a Medusan may very well cause insanity, but the process of doing so is also very trippy. Here, check out this sequence:

* Miranda is one cold bitch.

* Kirk is quite good in the reception scene, presiding over the snarky comments Marvick makes to Miranda, and that Miranda makes to Spock, moving it all along, and defusing the tension.

* Is it just me, or has Scotty's dress kilt gone way over the top for the third season?

* First appearance of
the Vulcan IDIC symbol. To the best of my knowledge, it only appears this one time in the original series, but it eventually becomes as important an aspect of Vulcan culture as logic and telepathy. I dig the IDIC.

* Miranda: "Someone near is thinking of murder." This is a very Agatha Christie moment. Nice.

* Marvick is already crazy when he beams up, albeit the more run-of-the-mill stalker dude variety.

* Marvick looking at the Medusan is a fan-fucking-tastic moment.

* Oh yeah! Now Marvick is totally insane! I love space madness.

* Quick and cool no-dialogue scene sequence where they try to find the now mad Enterprise designer.

* Very funny and very disturbing cut from Spock saying "Dangerous insanity..."

* a smiling Scotty in engineering telling Marvick "The controls are all yours!"

* Great psycho fight with wild psychedelic keyboard musical accompaniment.

* A shot of the bridge from an angle we've never seen.

* I always love it when Spock checks under the hood.

* For the third time in the show's run, the Enterprise once again hits the galactic barrier. Nice.

* Marvick: "Liar! Liar!" I fucking love this guy.

* McCoy: "He's dead, Jim." Sometimes cliches work well.

* This one is quite cerebral, and I love it. Really, I couldn't follow the plot for years, until I was a teenager. It's hard to make sense here if you're only six or seven.

* Miranda's deep cynicism makes Kirk's standard awkward seduction scene more interesting.

* Weird. Her stalker/lover hasn't been dead a half hour, and the Captain's moving in for some nooky.

* Miranda's offstage scream, followed by her cold reentry is very Greek.

* More trippy visuals as Spock mind melds with the Medusan.

* Trippy Spock/Medusan joint personage. He's really good here, quoting Shakespeare and Byron, expressing emotion, smiling...

* ...and now Spock's insane, too! Right on.

* Very groovy mind meld between Spock and Miranda. It rivals the one from "
Spectre of the Gun."

* Four stars. Not brilliant, but with several moments of greatness. It's a tight and quickly paced narrative with all kinds of candy and treats, from just straight up LSD inspired trippiness, to always welcome space insanity, to lots of cool Spock stuff.

Hey, after "
Spock's Brain" last week, that's two four star episodes in a row. Looks like we've got a little run going here. How long can they keep it going on the third season's limited budget? I guess we'll see...