Nerd School: The Trek That Needs To Be In Your Queue Pt.2 TOS Seasons 2 & 3

by Joe on July 19, 2011

Continuing from last week, I am going through the episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series that really need to be in your Netflix queue. Whether it is for simply familiarizing yourself with Trek, or picking out a couple episodes for enjoyment, I cannot help but recommend the following. 

“Amok Time”- 2×01: First up is the first episode of season 2. To paraphrase the much underrated Free Enterprise, Kirk just seeing Edith Keeler and his brother get killed, now has to deal with Spock betraying him? Well not exactly, but in this episode we get a deeper understanding of Vulcan culture and the infamous PON FARRRRRRR!!!! This episode has it all from Kirk being wily, McCoy being devious, and Spock getting all hopped up on his hormones. This episode is not only a standout for season 2, but of the entire series.

Nerd Fact: the  Vulcan high Priestess T’Pau was the inspiration for the eponymous 80’s Brit Rock group. The second greatest rock band named after a sci-fi figure (100 nerd points if you can guess the first)

“Mirror, Mirror”- 2×04: Ah, “Mirror, Mirror”, You’ve given so much to pop culture. OK, maybe not that much, but if you were ever wondering where the whole idea of “the evil doppelganger” having a goatee came from this is that turning point in pop culture. The concept of a parallel earth wasn’t new to sci-fi at the time, but Trek did it wit flair and panche as Kirk, has to teach a parallel federation about tolerance and understanding, blatantly not giving a shit that this is essentially how it has been in their =version of reality for thousands of years.

Nerd Fact: OK there is also a band named Spock’s Beard, and they’re terrible.

“The Doomsday Machine”- 2×06: I include episodes like “Amok Time”, and “Mirror, Mirror” on this list because not only are they good episodes, they are important to what they added to our collective pop culture. Episodes like “The Doomsday Machine” I added because it’s just a fucking good episode. at it’s core it’s a Moby Dick story, a type of Story Star Trek does really well. It’s tense, well acted, and the score is unbelievably good for television.

Nerd Fact: Captain Deckard is supposedly the father of Will Deckard from Star trek: The Motion Picture.

“Journey to Babel”- 2×10: “Journey to Babel is at it’s heart an Agatha Christie story. A murder mystery with Kirk taking on the role of Poirot. One could just replace the Andorians with Prussians, the Vulcans with French, and the Tellerites with the Russians. This episode also explores Spock’s mixed parentage, and the toll interspecies romance has on our logical Vulcan friend.

“The Trouble With Tribbles”- 2×15: Tribbles are cute fuzzy balls of fur that are born pregnant. Oh, did I mention that they are also the scourge of the Klingon Empire? Surprisingly the Klingons have not made my list yet, but for good reason. Even though the Klingons are the “classic” Star Trek villain, they didn’t have a lot of good episodes. “The Trouble With Tribbles” really plays up the Klingon/Federation rivalry, and the barroom brawl is great.

Nerd Facts: This episode is one of the few times you can see Jimmy Doohan’s missing finger. It was shot off when he took to the beach at Normandy, no seriously. So what have you done with your life?

“The Gamemasters of Triskelion”- 2x 16: As I said above, there are pop culture episodes and there are great episodes. However sometimes there are episodes that I just love. “The Gamemasters of Triskelion” is simple pulpy fun I think the high point of the episode, however is Kirk’s speech to Shahna, sexy slave girl, where he describes love

Shahna: What is … love? Kirk: Love …is the most important thing on Earth …especially to a man and a woman. Shahna: We, too, have mates. When it is time to increase the herd, my Provider will select one for me. Kirk:On Earth …we select our own mate. Someone we care for. On Earth …men and women live together, help each other … make each other happy.

That’s going to be my wedding vows when my wife and I renew them.

Nerd Fact: Angelique Pettyjohn who played Shahna posed nude in a mockup of her costume and makeup. I’m not providing the link, but the images are available online.

“A Piece of the Action”2×17: Star Trek has always been criticized for having every civilization the crew meets being “a planet of hats”.  That meaning every planet has a homogenous culture, such as  everyone wearing hats. The term itself comes from “A Piece of the Action” wherein everyone on the planet acts like they are from 1930’s Chicago. The concept is sound however as they work the concept into the story unlike other episodes like “Bread and Circuses” or ” Patterns of Force”.

“Plato’s Stepchildren”- 3×10: In terms of how important Star Trek was, one has to watch “Plato’s Stepchildren” in the mindset of those watching it when it first aired on March 29, 1968. The episode itself is alright, in fact it’s one of the best of the lackluster season 3. However the Kirk/Uhura kiss is just so monumental, and it really sums up Gene Roddenberry’s ideals of what the future of humanity should be. Oh, and Kirk gets ridden like a horse.

“Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”- 3×15: I am going to end my list with this personal favorite of mine. ” Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” is a silly metaphor filled, heavy handed, allegory for race/nation/creed relations on Earth. Normally I don’t care too much for episodes like this, but Frank Gorshin really brings home the scenery chewing, and no one remembers if he was the black/white guy, or the white/black guy.

Honorable Mention:

Futurama:

“Where No Fan has Gone Before”- 3×11: This episode of Futurama is so faithful to the original Trek that one cannot help but include it as must see material. everything from pretty much having all the original members (minus Kelley and Doohan), referencing really obscure dialog (“I’m not leaving until I get my Quatloos”), and having silly sight gags (such as Fry in the Pike chair). But the best part of the episode is the obvious love that went into it from the writers. Seriously if you have not seen this episode watch it when you finish watching TOS, you’ll feel all the better for it.

Read Joe’s other articles:Trek in your Queue, Game of Thrones Primer II,  Obama Trek Mutant Fatigue Sci-Fi A-Team Star Trek: A Different Generation, An Alternate History of the Doctor, Inn at the Crossroads interview, A Love Letter to Natalie Portman, Failed Star Trek Spinoffs, Thor Primer, Doctor Who Season 6 primer, A Game of Thrones Primer, More

Check Out Joe’s weekly reviews:

Game of Thrones S1E1, S1E2, S1E3, S1E4,S1E5, S1E6, S1E7, S1E8, S1E9, S1E10

Doctor Who S6E1, S6E2, S6E3, S6E4, S6E5, S6E6, S6E7

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Anthony July 19, 2011 at 9:03 am

It was no tribble at all

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