Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Squire Of Gothos

Travelling through a void, or star desert, 900 light years from Earth, the Enterprise encounters unexpected danger. Weirdly The Squire Of Gothos has the setup of a slasher movie; a group of people, on a journey, a long way from home, too far to call for help, and nowhere to run. The key difference being the lack of psychopaths. Instead the Enterprise crew meets Trelane. Squire, or so he says, of the planet Gothos.

It's next to impossible to review The Squire Of Gothos without first talking about the ending where it's revealed Trelane is a child; an alien child with god-like powers. Like the reveal of the fake Balok in The Corbomite Maneuver it changes the audience's understanding of the story. All through the episode there has been a mismatch between what Trelane can do, and the way he behaves; then Trelane's parents show up, and that mismatch is resolved. Suddenly the audience understands how a being who can create planets can also throw temper tantrums. Paul Schneider's script is a clever one, and manages the difficult trick of setting up the surprise ending in advance. Too much set-up and Trelane wouldn't have just acted in a childish way, it would have been obvious he was a child. Likewise, not enough set-up and the ending would have worked but it would have felt bolted on rather than the moment when everything snaps into focus.

The ending is also the point which most clearly separates The Squire Of Gothos from Charlie X. Both stories feature people with powers that allow them to do anything they want, and have protagonists who act childishly and want to fit in; Charlie wants to fit in socially, Trelane wants to be as bloodthirsty as he imagines humans are. Both stories have scripts which define the conflict as a one-on-one struggle with Captain Kirk, backing Kirk into a corner until he has no choice but to confront the protagonist. And, both stories end with the protagonist's parents (for want of a better word in the case of Charlie) talking them home. There are differences. Charlie X takes place on the Enterprise, we're expected to sympathise with Charlie's plight, and the end is pitched as tragedy. The Squire Of Gothos is mainly planet based, Trelane is presented as an arrogant irritant, and the tone at the end is comedic. But both scripts do often hit the same themes.

Until the ending. When the Thasians show up in
Charlie X it's because Charlie has become too powerful for the crew of the Enterprise. They can't kill Charlie, or use Kirk's hastily thought out plan to drug Charlie and take him to Colony Five. What would they do there? Keep Charlie tranquillised forever, or lobotomise him? The only dramatically satisfying resolution which allows the Enterprise crew to keep their heroic status is for someone to come along and take the problem off their hands. The Thasians become an off switch for the plot. If Charlie X was a two part story, or if the Thasian's turned up at the end of the teaser the result would have been the same. The conflict between Charlie and Kirk is unresolved and Kirk becomes a spectator, he watches someone else sort out the problem for him.

In The Squire Of Gothos Kirk unambiguously wins. Kirk's victory comes shortly before Trelane's parents turn up when he refuses to acknowledge he's been beaten, and he snaps Trelane's sword. Ironically Trelane's right, Kirk cheats. He wins by not admitting he's lost. At that point you could spin the story off in any direction; Trelane could disappear in a huff; he could kill Kirk and the Enterprise crew (instinctively I feel this ending could have been difficult for the series); he could vow to come back in 100 years and torment any passing Enterprise Captain he meets. It doesn't matter what he does because Trelane is always reacting to being beaten. When his parents turn up it caps the episode, rather than finishing it.

Another difference between Charlie X and The Squire Of Gothos is the presentation of the antagonist. We're shown Trelane's power. He snatches Kirk and Sulu from the Enterprise, and then casually appears on the bridge himself during Spock's abortive first escape attempt; the first time we see an external threat invade the sanctity of the Enterprise bridge. But it's never used, as you might expect, to ransom the crew against the Captain's good behaviour. In Charlie X, Charlie constantly threatens the crew. He tells Kirk he will make people, “go away.” It's used as a sign of Charlie's insecurity. He's puffing himself up, to remind himself he is powerful. Similarly, when Gary Mitchell was upgraded by the radiation barrier at the edge of the galaxy, in Where No Man Has Gone Before, he talked of crushing people like insects, of using worlds, and finally demanded Kirk pray to him. Trelane makes no such threats. Even in the courtroom when Kirk drives Trelane into a fury the danger is to the captain, not the crew. As it also is when Trelane casually drops the Captain into the real atmosphere of Gothos. The first time the crew is placed in danger is the end of the hunt when Trelane decides he's having so much fun he says, “I must fetch all the others back to play”. This fits with Trelane's child nature. Presumably from his perspective attempting to control Kirk's behaviour by threatening the Enterprise would be like telling an uncooperative ant you will destroy the nest. A side effect is The Squire Of Gothos has a slightly lower key feel than other episodes. The audience is left to draw their own conclusions about Trelane's threat rather than having melodramatic reminders about his ability to kill everyone without lifting a finger.

With such a rounded part to work with it's no surprise William Campbell runs with the character of Trelane and plays him with malicious glee. It's one of those occasions where an actor appears to be having a whale of a time, and their enjoyment enhances the performance. It's an obvious gag but the ending where Trelane drops the English aristocrat accent and turns into whinning, wheedling child is very nicely done.

It feels almost compulsory to discuses whether Trelane could be Q, or another member of the Q continuum. Probably not. Star Trek has no shortage of god-like beings with amazing powers, we've already seen at least three different types in the 17 weeks the series has been on air; Gary Mitchell and Doctor Elizabeth Dehner in Where No Man Has Gone Before, Charlie and the Thasians in Charlie X, and now Trelane. That's before you get onto the second division races like the Talosians, The Menagerie, and the what-ever-they-ares from Shore Leave, both of whom are capable of some pretty remarkable feats. 

Is this story perfect? No. For the 18th episode made it's slightly alarming how many elements it seems to draw from earlier stories. And, on a more minor note, the comedy ker-donk noises when Trelains mirror is smashed seem out of place. It's also, perhaps, the first time a script doesn't explore any of the characters. Instead they are dropped into a surreal situation and left to react along established lines. That said when Spock talks to Trelane he gets the magnificent line, “I object to you. I object to intellect without discipline. I object to power without constructive purpose.” But like Shore Leave, this is a story which gets by on charm. It's good fun.

Crew deaths: None. Trelane may talk about killing but it's not something he does.
Running total: 23

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Galileo Seven Redux

As if the review of The Galileo Seven wasn't already long enough.

This started out as a paragraph in the review for The Squire Of Gothos, but that feels untidy; why discuss one story within the review of another? I also don't like the idea of making invisible edits to old blog entries which is why this hasn't just been slipped into the original The Galileo Seven review as if it was always there. I'm slightly at a loss as to why I didn't mention this in the first place. I certainly meant to put it in. Possibly at nearly 2000 words I thought it was too long already. Or, possibly I didn't want to be too negative about a story I really like. So this is an addendum, or something like that; The Galileo Seven part 2.

The major weaknesses of the episode is Galactic High Commissioner Ferris an articulate plot obstacle who exists simply to walk onto the bridge and deliver lines like, “gentlemen it is five minutes since I was last on the bridge, in those five minutes you have moved five minutes closer to the time when you must abandon your colleagues.” It's the worst kind of plot device, an attempt to impose an arbitrary deadline on the story and explain why Kirk can't keep the Enterprise in orbit until he finds the missing shuttle. The script treats Ferris like an idiot and, worse, makes Kirk look stupid as well.

Ferris is there because the Enterprise is flying drugs to Makus III. The drugs will be put onto a freighter for New Paris colony, where a plague is out of control. It's three days to Makus III, and the rendezvous comes two days after that so the Enterprise has two days to search for the missing shuttle. There's nothing wrong with a ticking clock deadline but Ferris isn't handled well. All through the episode you can't keep him off the bridge. He's all, “we need to get to Makus III,” and, “that plague is out of control”. He is in every bridge scene right up to the point where his deadline expires. And then he disappears. His last line is, “You're procrastinating, Captain. You have your orders. Recall your search parties and proceed to Makus III immediately.” What does he do afterwards? Does he go to his cabin and sit there assuming that because his deadline has expired the ship must be on the move? For plot reasons he can't be on the bridge because if he were he'd uncover Kirk's cunning plan to leave orbit at “space normal speed” (presumably the starship equivalent of first gear). His total disappearance from the story is what gives away his lack of purpose as a character beyond forcing the Enterprise to leave orbit.

Kirk looks stupid because he stops the Enterprise in the middle of a mercy dash to do science. Regardless of the window in the schedule, or his standing orders to investigate quasars, this feels like an inappropriate time. Murasaki 312 will still be there when they've finished. There's also something unedifying about seeing Kirk pick and choose which orders he obeys. Standing orders to investigate quasars are fine but a direct order to proceed to Makus III is disobeyed; how many plague victims died because of Kirk's “space normal speed” time wasting stunt, or because he ordered the shuttle mission in the first place? Granted Ferris is an officious idiot, but he's also correct. It's frustrating to watch an episode which wants us to sympathise with Kirk, who is in the wrong (none of this would have happened if he'd headed straight to Makus III), and boo Ferris like a pantomime demon when he's clearly right; if lacking in people management skills.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Galileo Seven

It's easy to forget the the production order of Star Trek differs from the broadcast order; Charlie X, for example, was the seventh episode made but shown second. It gives the production team flexibility. A run of budget saving cheap episodes can be slotted in around more expensive stories, technically demanding stories can be pushed back, and simpler stories brought forwards. Of course this is not unique to Star Trek. The Prisoner fans have spent decades debating the correct order to watch the programme; production order, broadcast order, or some as yet undiscovered third order where everything makes sense. Shifting the episode order can create anomalies. Balance Of Terror (filmed 8th) and Shore Leave (filmed 17th) are shown back-to-back. Minor character Angela Martine is in both episodes so the week after her fiancé dies in a Romulan attack, on their wedding day, she is getting friendly with Lieutenant Rodriguez.

The Menagerie was made as the 15th and 16th episodes, out of 29, and it was shown as episodes 11 and 12. It also seems to be the first story totally written and filmed since Star Trek began broadcasting on NBC; so it's also the first story to be influenced by public reaction. This makes it a good midpoint for the series. Star Trek before The Menagerie is an unknown quantity, nobody quite knows what stories this series will do best, or how the characters work. Star Trek after The Menagerie is the series with “the guy with the ears”. It's the point where Spock completes the transition from character to hero. Spock has always been the one who uses logic to find, and voice, the hard but correct options. In Where No Man Has Gone Before, he's the first person to recommend killing Gary Mitchell. In Balance Of Terror he surprises everyone in the briefing room by agreeing with Stiles and recommending the Romulan ship be destroyed. However The Menagerie is the first time he's given a proper heroic storyline when he kidnaps Captain Pike. At first the audience is left to guess at Spock's motives, even his friends doubt him, but Spock is correct. Talos IV is the best place for Pike, and the means of getting him there are justified by the ends. It's essentially the same storyline given to Kirk in The Conscience Of The King; presented with a problem, and unwilling to involve his friends, Kirk is challenged, but proved correct in the end.

All this is to try and explain why exactly The Galileo Seven feels so out of step with the series at this point. In The Galileo Seven Spock is wrong. He makes poor decisions, is unable to take the reactions of his human colleagues into account, misunderstands the responses of the inhabitants of Taurus II, and gives an order which directly kills one of the men under his command; if not ordered to remain on guard away from the shuttle Gaetano would not have died. Finally Spock is given a scene where he openly questions his own decision making.

SPOCK: Strange. Step by step, I have made the correct and logical decisions. And yet two men have died.
MCCOY: And you've brought our furry friends down on us.
SPOCK: I do seem to have miscalculated regarding them, and inculcated resentment on your parts. The sum of the parts cannot be greater than the whole.
MCCOY A little less analysis and more action. That's what we need, Mister Spock.

Spock only saves the day when he stops relying completely on logic and, in the words of Captain Kirk, reasons it is time for an emotional outburst. Spock's decision making process is not just questioned, as Kirk's is in The Conscience Of The King, it's actually tested and found wanting. If this was a war film Spock would be the cocky Lieutenant who realises he has a lot to learn and is not yet ready for command. 

The Galileo Seven was made 13th, a couple of episodes before The Menagerie, and held back until episode 16. One of the reasons it feels out of place is because Balance Of Terror another significant Spock focused episode aired in the meantime. Balance Of Terror, also made pre-Menagerie, fits much better because Spock is given the heroic 'man who is wronged 'storyline; character A dislikes character B because someone like B was responsible for a terrible event in A's past, when A's life is saved by B, A realises B is okay and learns it is wrong to judge people as a group. Moving Balance Of Terror means the run of episodes goes like this; The Menagerie, Spock as hero; The Conscience Of The King, Spock light story; Balance Of Terror, Spock as hero (he wins over the bigoted Lieutenant Stiles and saves the day by firing the vital phaser shot); Shore Leave, Spock light story; The Galileo Seven, Spock makes bad decisions and gets one man killed. You can see why the story jars. 

The other element of The Galileo Seven which feels off is the attitude of the crashed shuttle crew to Spock. Granted they're in a stressful situation. And, granted even before discovering the planet is inhabited by 12 foot "huge, furry creatures" which want them all dead, the seven crew know three people may have to be left behind to allow the shuttle to achieve orbit. If they're going to be abandoned along with non-essential equipment to make the shuttle light enough to take off they want some reassurance their life is more valued than the Galileo's candy floss machine, and Spock is never going to be the commander to give that assurance, but they start whining and sniping very quickly. McCoy in particular seems to be put out simply because Spock treads on one of his jokes:

MCCOY: Partial pressure of oxygen, seventy millimetres of mercury. Nitrogen one forty. Breathable, if you're not running in competition.
SPOCK: Just the facts, Doctor.
MCCOY: Traces of argon, neon, krypton, all in acceptable quantities. However, I wouldn't recommend this place as a summer resort. 

There's something very passive aggressive about that summer resort comment. McCoy gets in a dig because Spock only wants facts. Now McCoy might simply be trying to raise people's spirits with a little humour if it wasn't for the next scene being one where McCoy follows Spock outside and needles him about his approach to command being based on logic. Then the very next scene, after Spock says his decision on who stays behind will be based on logic, not drawing lots as Lieutenant Boma suggests, contains this exchange: 

SPOCK: ... Now gentlemen, I suggest we move outside to make a further examination of the hull in the event we've overlooked any minor damage.
BOMA: If any minor damage was overlooked, it was when they put his head together.
MCCOY: Not his head, Mister Boma, his heart. His heart.

In the space of three scenes McCoy moves from taking digs at Spock to openly criticising him in front of junior crew-members. And, unsurprisingly, the crew become increasingly hostile and aggressive, with Lieutenant Boma in particular being almost irrationally determined to make shows of compassion in front of Spock as he insists on burials for both dead crewmen. It all comes to a head after one of the creatures is driven off after attacking the shuttle.

SPOCK: The moment they discover they're not seriously hurt, they'll be back. Meanwhile, please check the aft compartment. See if there's anything you can unload to lighten the ship.
BOMA: Mister Gaetano's body's back there.
SPOCK: It will of course have to be left behind.
BOMA: Not without a burial.
SPOCK: I wouldn't recommend it. The creatures won't be far away.
BOMA: Not without a burial, Mister Spock.
SPOCK: It would expose members of this crew to unnecessary peril.
BOMA: I'll take that chance. You see, Mister Spock, I would insist upon a decent burial even if your body was back there.
MCCOY: Mister Boma.
BOMA: I'm sick and tired of this machine!
SCOTT: That's enough!

It's rather hypocritical of McCoy to utter that shocked, “Mister Boma” as if he hasn't spent all their time on the planet second guessing Spock's decisions, and criticising him. If he can't set a good example he shouldn't be surprised when other people think insubordination is okay. It's worth noting it's Scotty who tells Boma “that's enough”. Mr. Scott is one of the stars of this episode. He gets on with his work with quiet competence. He doesn't join in the communal whinging. And he comes up with the solution to their fuel problem. In short, he plays the sensible second in command role normally taken by Spock. Back on the Enterprise, Uhura is also given a good character moment when she suggests a way to narrow the search because Taurus Two is the only planet in Murasaki 312 capable of supporting life. It would have been easy to give this line to Kirk, or make him look smarter by seeing the solution before everyone else. It's also good writing because it almost unnoticeably solves the problem of how the Enterprise can get to the right planet in an area described as comprising at least four complete solar systems.

Robert Gist, the director, gives us claustrophobic planet scenes as well as the human tension on the shuttlecraft. He mostly keeps the camera low, even when people are climbing on rocks, and this, plus lots of dry ice, and lots of twisting rock canyons makes Taurus Two feel like an easy place to get lost. One weaknesses of Star Trek's sound stage planets is their attempt to create the illusion of space in a confined area. The rocks of Taurus Two don't look any more realistic than usual -one of the alien spears grazes a rock and causes a shower of polystyrene- but not seeing a horizon really helps, and the constant weird scraping sound, wood rubbing on leather according to Spock as the natives prepare their weapons, gives a more threatening feel than the usual ambient planet noise. The director, or editor, also makes the wise decision not to give us a close-up look at the inhabitants of Taurus Two. Although impressively bulky, they look a bit silly and the trick of having them holding regular sized spears and shields, but replacing them with giant versions in shots with the shuttle crew never really convinces; it also leads to a whopping great continuity error when a regular sized shield is dropped near Spock, Boma and Gaetano which changes to a giant version in the next shot. 

The Galileo Seven is a unique episode. The unusual personal conflict and claustrophobia makes it feels doom laden. Once the Galileo has taken off the shuttle scenes have a sombre feel; even though the audience knows the Enterprise is still in the area the crew don't. Nimoy plays Spock musing on his first command very well, you can see the disappointment behind the emotionless mask. When he is questioned on jettisoning the fuel he sits completely still, his hands locked and only his thumbs twist and twitch at the bottom of the frame to betray his interior turmoil. This is a self-doubting Spock we have never seen before, and one we wouldn't have seen at all if this episode had been made any later.

Crew deaths: Three. Lieutenants Latimer and Gaetano, on the shuttle. And Ensign O'Neill an Enterprise search party member.
Running total: 23.


The tag scene at the end of the episode is bizarre. It's the standard crew laughs at something Spock says scene but the reaction is bizarrely over the top. Uhura, Yeoman Mears, and a blond haired crew-woman are so tickled by Spock's line they rock backwards and forwards against the communication console. Kirk laughs so hard he barely makes it back to his chair without falling over. McCoy stands next to the Captains chair and almost doubles over at one point. Sulu keeps looking back from the helm and guffawing so much you worry he's going to steer the Enterprise into a star. And Scotty has to walk across the set and lean against a wall to support himself in his hilarity, before wiping the tears from his eyes. Maybe this was the last shot of a long day, or the twenty third attempt at the same scene. The whole thing is so OTT it's difficult not to wonder if the cast is being sarcastic.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Shore Leave

On the surface Shore Leave and The Naked Time don't seem to have much in common. The Naked Time is a largely ship based episode with only a few scenes set planetside while one of the strengths of Shore Leave is its' extensive location filming. The plots are not similar either. In The Naked Time the Enterprise crew succumb to space drunkenness while in Shore Leave they are baffled by a planet where dreams become real.
What unites the two episodes is that The Naked Time and Shore Leave are both concepts in search of characters. You could unplug Kirk, and Spock, and Sulu from the story of The Naked Time and slot in characters from Babylon 5, or Blake's 7. Normally this would be pretty poor writing (why are you writing a Star Trek episode if what you've written is not uniquely Star Trek?) but The Naked Time works because the emphasis is always on the characters; what they do, how they react, and what we learn about them. Shore Leave is the same, instead of Doctor McCoy seeing the white rabbit it could be Babylon 5's Doctor Franklin, and Commander Sheridan who meets an old flame and fights, “my own personal devil” from years before.

Shore Leave is great fun but it's a lesser episode than The Naked Time. The logistics of location filming mean for the most part it only features six of the Enterprise crew; Kirk, Spock, and McCoy plus three guest characters Yeoman Barrows, Angela Martine, and Lieutenant Rodriguez. The Naked Time has a larger scale. The crew and the operation of the Enterprise are all threatened. Everybody is given something to do. Kirk has to deal with losing control of the Enterprise. McCoy is searching for a cure. Scotty is trying to cut his way into Engineering to restart the engines. Spock is assisting all three, and he gets infected, as does Sulu, and Nurse Chapel, and several guest cast members.

Shore Leave the landing party spends most of the time running from one threat to another. Off screen the Enterprise's power is drained and until this is resolved the landing party are trapped. Instead of taking charge, as would normally happen, the cast are left reacting to events. Not that the script gives them anything else to do. It is very oddly paced. In the teaser McCoy talks about the planet being like, “something out of Alice in Wonderland,” sees the White Rabbit and Alice, and reacts. In act one Kirk talks about, “...the Academy. An upper classman there...” sees Finnegan, and reacts. In act two McCoy talks about how, “A princess shouldn't be afraid, not with a brave knight to protect her,” and the Black Knight appears, and so on. The various manifestations put the plot into a holding pattern for 43 minutes until the Caretaker walks out from behind a bush and explains what's happening.

Danger is added by killing first McCoy and then Martine. Unfortunately the audience knows, whether consciously or not, this is not the way a series kills off a main character. Obviously, in The Naked Time the audience also knows the Enterprise is not in any real danger, but that script can create tension by showing the characters attempting to prevent destruction, and then showing how those attempts are frustrated by the spread of the infection. In Shore Leave there's nothing the characters can do to stop McCoy dying, or bring him back, they, and the audience, just have to wait until the story restores him. Actually, one of the few directing failures of Shore Leave is the death of Martine. It looks more as if she runs into a tree and knocks herself out while taking cover from a strafing aeroplane. Rodriguez's reaction to her death can be read as concern over her being injured rather than grief. What actually happened is only made clear at the end when she reappears with McCoy.

We also learn less about the characters in Shore Leave than in The Naked Time. Spock doesn't have fantasies so the planet doesn't recognise his presence. McCoy is killed 30 minutes in. Before that all we find out is he's read Alice In Wonderland, and possibly Le Morte d'Arthur, and that he fancies Yeoman Barrows. Martine, Rodriguez, and Barrows are just there to generate other threats; Don Juan, a tiger, and a fighter plane. Which leaves Sulu and Kirk. We learn Sulu is a gun nut, which ties in nicely with his sword obsession in The Naked Time. There's a great moment when Sulu hands the gun he's found over to Kirk and is so enthusiastic he launches into an unprompted explanation of how handguns fire. More disappointingly Sulu's imagination also conjures up a Samuri. There's nothing really wrong with this and it would pass unnoticed if not for one of the best scenes in The Naked Time being Sulu's insane swordfighting. There by not giving Sulu an oriental weapon the production team took extra care to step away from the obvious and they established him as a person with interests beyond his ethnic background. In this context the Samuri scene in Shore Leave just feels obvious, and disappointing. Sulu describes the gun he found as an, "old time Police special" maybe he could have been attacked by a gangster.

The treatment of Kirk is more interesting. He gets to meet Ruth, an old flame, who obviously means a lot to him, and Kirk's school bully (for want of a better word) Finnegan from Starfleet Academy. This leads on to an epic six minute chase/fight scene which takes up the end of act three and the start of act four. As Kirk starts whaling on Finnegan there's not only the sense of a personal devil being exorcised but also that Kirk, as a thirty five year old, wants to know he's got what it takes to beat up his twenty year old nemesis. He doesn't just want a fair fight, he wants a fight slanted in the favour of his opponent. And he wants to win. There is also something very endearing about Kirk's reluctance to talk to Spock, or anyone else, about the two people he's met. He's either embarrassed about having his past come to life in such an obvious way, or feels it's not good for his image as Captain. 

Three things make Shore Leave a success. A script which is frequently funny, the location filming, and a director who makes the most of both. A nice moment comes during the first Captain's log when Kirk momentarily forgets the stardate. Plus there is Kirk and Spock's final frantic dash back to the glade when they encounter a tiger, are strafed by the fighter plane, and meet the Samurai in quick succession. There's a good moment of physical comedy as the Samurai leaps out for an attack and is body checked by Kirk in a very un-Bushido way. Obviously he doesn't always have the time or inclination for a fair fight. 

The location filming is lovely to look at. It may only be sun-parched California but everything is opened up and there's a real sense of space. Several times the director uses long tracking shots to show the characters running; something which would just not be possible in studio. It's fair to say Shore Leave wouldn't work if it had been filmed on a soundstage. Imagine the Kirk/Finnegan chase done on a planet set. It would probably have been unbearable. Equally, if location filming had been more common on Star Trek then Shore Leave wouldn't have looked so unique. 

The director uses some unusual production techniques, not just the tracking shots, but also a voice-over for Mr Spock. This shouldn't seem unusual, three or four times an episode we get a Captain's log voice-over from Kirk but these recap the story for viewers. Here a voice-over is used as part of the story telling to set up the mystery of the planet. “Scouts have detected no animals, artefacts, or force fields of any kind. Only peace, sunshine, and good air. You'll have no problems.” Mr Spock tells the Captain over a shot of the lake, followed by a zoom in to show a rock lifting up revealing the gun Sulu will find later.

It's tempting to say Shore Leave's trip out of the studio is as much a break for the cast and production team as it is for the characters. Actually the episode is full of shots which suggest the crew must have been pressed for time. In addition to the confusion over Martine's death we have; obvious continuity errors, Kirk is thrown by Finnegan and his shirt is undamaged, then torn in close-up; sound faults, when Kirk walks over to Sulu and finds McCoy's body has gone we hear footsteps on wood which appear to be caused by the cameraman stepping on boards laid down for the camera; and other glitches, a boom microphone shadow on the ground as Finnegan taunts Kirk and shouts "here I am. Run!", plus, as Kirk, Spock, and Sulu spread out after hearing the tiger roar, blue smoke puffs into the bottom left-hand side of the frame, as if someone off-camera is having a cigarette but not realising where the smoke is drifting. Mixed quality shots suggesting filming went on late into the day. After the Finnegan fight the shot of Spock asking “did you enjoy it, Captain?” is very grainy, as if the light was becoming too low to film properly. Several scenes are filmed late in the day where people have long shadows. And there are also some close-ups of Spock with a very dark blue sky in the background, which cause more continuity problems with the light levels in surrounding shots. All of which would normally be corrected in a less rushed production. It's all the more remarkable that for all the apparent strain to get this episode made the end result is something so easy going and relaxed.

Enterprise crew deaths: None. McCoy and Martine are both killed and restored by the technology of the theme park planet.
Running total: 20