Me: Of all the iconic images of the original Star Trek, the shot of a shirtless Sulu running the corridors with his fencing swords ranks up there as one of my favorites. Again, it’s great to see the character play a pivotal role in this episode concerning a shipboard infection and its psychological effects on the Enterprise’s crew. Some very nice character moments in this one, especially with regard to Spock, his backstory, and how his Vulcan-human heritage is a surprising source of conflict for the typically inscrutable first officer. Like Charlie X, however, it’s somewhat sullied by a deus ex machine ending that solves everything, nice and neat.
Cookie Monster: Forget de ending. Monster’s biggest problem wit dis episode be de title. If you promise Naked Time, me expect Naked Time!
Me: The episode gets off to a strange start with Spock and some idiot investigating a dead science team on a dead world. The shower curtain hazmat suits they wear presumably affords them some measure of protection – but the concept is lost on Spock’s escort who takes off his glove long enough to scratch his nose and get infected. Then, upon returning to the Enterprise, he attempts to stroll out of the transporter room without going through the decontamination protocol. Dude, seriously? It’s like Spock was on his way to to the transporter, happened upon this moron enroute and offered to let him tag along. No experience necessary!
Cookie Monster: Despite dis guy’s stupidity, episode open wit great mystery on planet. All science team dead. One woman strangled. One guy frozen at his post. Other guy frozen taking a shi…ower.
Me: It’s another suspenseful build as the infection spreads to the rest of the crew. The idiot is the first one to have it affect his mind, going off on his fellow crew members before pulling a knife on them.
Cookie Monster: Look out! Me have a butter knife and me not afraid to use it!
Me: But apparently even a butter knife can be deadly – if you fall on it.
Cookie Monster: Sulu and Riley next to fall viktims to infektion. While Sulu run around trying to skewer everyone in sight, Riley lock himself down, set ship on crash course, and sing his lungs out. Kirk and co. horrified. Crashing into planet is bad enough, but having to listen to guy sing while dey await inevitable death be final ignominy. It be small consolation dat Uhura not join him in duet.
Me: A shirtless, ripped Sulu hits the bridge – only to get taken out by a Kirk-Spock combo. By the way, did you notice Spock actually make a joke in reference to the unconscious Sulu: “Get D’Artagnan here to sick bay.”?
Cookie Monster: He better off sticking to his broody persona. Chicks seem to dig it – like nurse Christine who tell him she in love wit him. You know what dey say: “Once you go vulcan, you never be sulkin’!”.
Me: Right. Anyway, once Spock is infected, we’re treated to some great insights into his past and his attitude toward his dual vulcan-human culture, the regret he experiences for never having told his mother he loved her, his sympathy for her – a human living in an emotionally bereft vulcan society, the shame he sometimes experiences in friendship with Kirk. Great stuff. Things build to an unbelievable narrative crescendo as McCoy, in a race against time, manages to devise an antidote for the infection.
Cookie Monster: And den dey go back in time and it’s tree days earlier.
Me: Er, yes. They go back in time. For some reason.
Cookie Monster: Becuz cold matter and antimatter mix in explosion.
Me: Uh, right.
Cookie Monster: And it be tree days earlier. And dey have to relive dose tree days over again.
Me: Whatever that means because they clearly still possess memories of what happened to them.
Cookie Monster: De End.
Me: Minus three days.
Tomorrow = the highlights of my east coast trip including more details about my new scifi series!