ST:TOS: Man Trap & Charlie X
At the beginning of July all the Star Trek episodes became available on Netflix. I let out a squee heard ’round the world (it was, too, thanks to Twitter), because I’ve been wanting to watch it with Indy; I was a little younger than he was when I watched pretty well the entire original series (the, er, only series, at that point), and I think it’s a pretty great age to be introduced to Trek.
The non-Kirk pilot is not included, and the episodes are presented by air date rather than production date, which is…pretty clearly not ideal, but I’m not dedicated enough (especially since I’m watching with Indy) to hop around and watch them in production order.
So the story starts in media res with the pretty awful and yet in moments brilliant “The Man Trap,” where a salt-desperate alien able to take on the form of anybody that someone thinks strongly enough about kills several Enterprise crewmen in an attempt to survive. There are sexual politics at once embarrassing and not too horrible for their time, but the thing I liked most was how sympathetically, in the end, the alien was presented: she was the last of her species, not *bad*, but trying to survive. And there’s a straight-up amazing moment when she transforms into McCoy, and Deforest Kelly’s body language flawlessly mimics the actress playing the alien’s. My hat is off, sir.
The alien’s real, monstrous form, once revealed, was sufficiently scary to Indy that he told me he didn’t want to watch any more of that show, and (before he was in any danger of going to sleep) that he had had a bad dream about it. Fortunately, we’d bought a dreamcatcher for him while in North Carolina, so I put that up and all was well.
This morning he asked quite eagerly if we were going to watch more of Star Trak tonight. :)
So tonight we watched the second (aired) episode, “Charlie X,” and hot damn, people, Captain James T Kirk gives a straight-up lesson in consent to the teenage guest star in that episode:
Kirk: It’s not a one-way street, how you feel & that’s all. It’s how she feels, too. If she feels anything for you at all, you’ll know it. There are a million things in this universe you can have & a million things you can’t. It’s no fun facing that, but it’s the way things are.
I knew, in fact, that Kirk was generally a lot more progressive & outspoken about womens’ rights than his reductive image has made him. But the SECOND EPISODE. That was awesome. Also awesome is that I paused it there to ask Indy what had happened:
Me: Does he like that girl?
Me: Does she like him?
Me: So what does that mean?
Indy: He should leave her alone!
Leaving me w/this cross sense of
1. My 6 year old gets this, &
2. Aren’t geeks supposed to admire/emulate Kirk? HERE’S A NUMBER TAKE A CLUE
Anyway, aside from excellent unexpected consent lessons, “Charlie X” is a really, *really* good episode. It’s chock full of behavioural lessons and impossible quandaries both for the crew and the guest star, and yeah, wow, that one knocked it right out of the park. (It was written by a woman, DC Fontana, and now I’m really looking forward to seeing more of her episodes.)
(Kirk’s costume changed almost every time he left the room and came back again. I noticed it, pointed it out to Indy, and Indy noticed it after that. :) But wow, the remastered colors! Some of those shirts really ARE green! And oh my, the dramatic lights falling across the eyes in key and tense moments… ♥ :))
(Also, oh, my, yes, Uhura really does flirt with Spock from the outset! I love it!)
(And the crew IS multi-ethnic! And there are women wearing pants! And…! ♥!!!!)
Indy is looking forward to watching the next eposide tomorrow. ♥!