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01 January 2010 @ 06:58 pm
The City on the Edge of Forever; Or, the Past Is Another Country, and Things Are Less Colorful There  
Based on the title, I thought this was going to be about a planet right on the edge of a singularity. But it's about time travel instead, and time travel is one of my all-time narrative kinks, so I don't mind.

But who the fuck edited this? The episode doesn't look internally consistent. At all. Close-ups often look out of synch with the rest of the shots to me, but this ep is particularly bad about that for some reason; all the close-ups look like they were shot on a different planet. And why, oh god WHY, are so many of these shots extreme close-ups? Close-ups that show JUST THE HEAD? (Producers! Directors! You're paying for the actors' whole bodies! Why not show me them?)

We join the Enterprise, already in orbit.

The first shot is of a large booping flashing prism. (It's red when it's on, of course, and gray when it's off. This is the Enterprise; I shouldn't have to tell you what color things are anymore.)

In the background, there is a random woman just standing there, and I suddenly realize why the weird strappy thing on their outfits disconcerts me so: they all look like they're wearing quivers. I keep waiting for someone to declare an archery contest with Kirk as the prize. If you're going to wear that strappy thing, I think feathered caps are the least you can do for me, frankly.

The ship is shaking. This is slightly harder to believe because, while most people on the bridge shake on cue, Shatner apparently feels that the laws of physics don't apply to heroes; he just kind of nods his head regally, like he's okaying the whole thing. He definitely looks like the princess at the archery contest.

And WHOA! Sulu just explodes! Just goes boom. I guess helmsmen are really volatile.

Ripples! Ripples in time! Are shaking the ship! Whatever that means!

Kirk takes the precaution of broadcasting the last week's entries, including the data that presumably brought them here, to Starfleet, just in case. Best Beloved and I are amazed, for two reasons:
  1. Kirk is actually TAKING A SENSIBLE PRECAUTION. Clearly this is not Reboot Kirk at all. We applaud his maturity!
  2. Kirk thinks they might die and is continuing on the course solely because Spock wants to. Kirk, you're thinking with your dick. I mean, I love Spock, too, but - okay. Fine. Stay in orbit. If you go, you go knowing you made Spock happy, and that's good enough for anyone.
Bones arrives to deal with Exploded Sulu. Apparently a side effect of explosion, on the Enterprise, is that you get a lot of eye shadow applied to you. His eyelids are PURPLE. Like, it's-1985-and-I-found-my-big-sister's-makeup-kit purple.

To fix Exploded Sulu, McCoy risks a few drops of "cordrazine." Kirk says it's tricky stuff, and asks if he thinks it's a good idea. Apparently Kirk is a doctor now? I'm surprised McCoy doesn't stab him with a hypospray. I would.

Sulu gets the shot and we immediately see why cordrazine is risky: it turns Sulu into Creepy Sulu, with the kind of smile you normally see on people just before they pull out the big knife and tell you the chandelier is making them kill you.

Spock predicts a heavy displacement, but apparently this is no reason to batten down the hatches or hold onto anything. And, whoops! Bones stumbles and stabs himself in the stomach with the hypospray, which was "set for cordrazine," which, what? Does that mean there's only one hypospray that Bones keeps reusing on different settings? Have these people never heard of blood-borne diseases? I am revolted and we have to pause so I can recover.

But things are not improved when we come back, because the cordrazine has worked its magic and turned Bones into Creepy Bones. Shiny Creepy Bones. Shiny Creepy Bones shrieking about killers! Assassins! And he's into the transporter and away he goes.

And, credits. In these credits, there are exactly two names: Shatner and Nimoy. Even the credits ship Kirk/Spock!

Creepy Bones fells a red jumpsuited dude with Creepy Martial Arts. BB tells me we are in the transporter room. "You can tell by the gray walls and gray floor," she notes.

Back on the bridge, Spock is at his station, standing up but bent at the waist. Why not just sit? I worry about Nimoy's back, here. Plus, every time Kirk comes up behind him, I see the future of a thousand photo manips.

Oh no! Bones has beamed down - without BB, this is the first time I would have known that was the transporter room - to the heart of the time disturbance.

Landing party! My third ep, my first away mission! The landing party consists of Kirk, Spock, Scotty, and Uhura, plus two red shirts, so I may be about to witness my first red shirt deaths. So - Exploded Sulu is in charge up there, then? The bridge must be basically empty.

They arrive on a blue planet. I suspect that it's the same set as Vulcan, because it's very glittery.

And, hey! They've found a stargate! There's even a DHD thingy in front.

They go up to check out the stargate. "Unbelievable, Captain," Spock says. "That's funny," Kirk replies, which makes no sense at all. Kirk's speech modules are malfunctioning again. Spock was so sure he fixed him, too.

The stargate is the source of all the time displacement. We study it.

Best Beloved: Shouldn't there be something in the middle?
Me: Like what?
BB: A wave! A color gel!
Me: They don't have the money, honey.
BB, who has obviously been spoiled by special effects spectaculars like The Sentinel: Smoke! Anything!

But no. There is nothing. They'll have to wait thirty years for the whoosh and the blue.

While Creepy McCoy plays hide-and-go-seek with the redshirts, Kirk and Spock are studying the Stargate. And, woo, it talks! "I am the Guardian of Forever," says Mr. Talky Stargate.

"Animal, vegetable, or mineral?" asks Kirk.

"I am both and neither," says our friend the stargate; he's obviously one of those annoying 20 Questions players. "I am my own beginning, my own ending."

And here you discover the difference between my background and BB's. At the same time, we say:

BB: He's God!
Me: It's Ouroboros!
BB, staring at me: He's the alpha and the omega.
Me: He's eating himself.

Mr. Talky Stargate (Possibly Also God or Big Snake) is all mean to Spock. "Your science knowledge is obviously primitive."

"Really?" says Spock, irritated.

"Annoyed, Spock?" Kirk asks, siding with Mr. Talky Stargate, which is NOT ON, Kirk.

And, hey, we get special effects in the middle of the stargate after all! Thus proving the TV corollary of Chekhov's Rule: if you show a hole, later you'd better show something filling it.

We see footage from our past, which begins what will be a continuing theme: the older it is, the less color there is. Back in Egyptian times, things are in grainy grayish black and white. Talky Stargate says they can go back to the past if they want. Kirk considers it, because apparently he likes toying with causality.

(I have to pause here to note that the Starfleet insignia are really reflective and shiny, and stand out, which is a problem because they look like cursors. I keep wanting to point and click.)

Creepy McCoy, now with extra creepy red spots, is going for it. Right to the center of the doughnut!

Now we see why redshirts die all the time: Kirk and Scotty were the only people who tried to stop McCoy. The redshirts just stood there. Apparently they have second-class brains. (We assume that off-screen Uhura is peeling herself off the ground, too. Spock presumably calculated that it would be pointless.)

Uhura has no reading from the ship. Nothing wrong with the communicator, though.

Talky Stargate says, "Your vessel, your beginning, all that you knew is gone." Wait - we're doing the reboot already?

Kirk: "McCoy has somehow changed history."
Scotty: "You mean we're stranded down here?"
Spock: "With no past, no future."
Uhura: "Captain, I'm frightened."

We pause so we can shriek and throw things at the screen. I really hope there is a lot of fan fiction about Uhura, because wow does she get the worst lines on the show.

And then comes the WORST SLO-MO in the WORLD, as Kirk looks at the sky and you can see the frames stutter. (The shot looks familiar. I'm pretty sure it's in Us. It looked better there.)

Spock and Kirk go back in time and attempt to set right what McCoy changed.

And, hey, I think I saw this shot in lim's vid, too! It's the Depression. You can tell because, while it isn't black and white, it isn't as screamingly colorful as the show usually is. It's the Dingy Time, a much-studied period in our history.

Bystanders pause to check out Kirk and McCoy, and Spock covers his ears, not realizing that their clothes are going to look at least as weird as his ears. But Kirk realizes!

Spock points out that he's going to stand out no matter what he wears, and I wonder why Kirk brought Spock back with him, except, you know, how could he not? If you're might get stuck in time, you're obviously going to take your Spock with you.

Kirk steals some clothes. "I'm going to like this century," Kirk says, "simple, easy to manage," and I know, even before the pan out, that this is what is called a Buffy Moment in our household (because of the show we were hacking our way through when I finally grasped this television narrative device): someone says something and then the opposite immediately happens. It is the first time I have EVER successfully predicted what was about to happen on a TV show. I am proud beyond belief, and would love TOS just for this if I didn't love it already.

Cop! Just like I predicted! After a pause during which I do a strutting victory dance, Kirk says, "You're a police officer. I recognize the traditional accoutrements."

BB: Kirk, it's NOT A QUIZ.
Me: He probably recognizes the handcuffs.

Kirk proves to be shockingly bad at lying. Spock tries to help - when a member of a race that doesn't lie is better at lying than you, Kirk, it's time for remedial help - but the cop isn't buying. He tells them to spread 'em, and Kirk says, "Oh, how careless of your wife to let you go out that way," and Spock IMMEDIATELY knows to go for the neck pinch. It's so broccoli I swoon.

They flee to a basement and have an awesome conversation:

Kirk: "You were actually enjoying my predicament back there. At times, you seem quite human."
Spock: "Captain, I hardly believe that insults are within your prerogative as my commanding officer."

And Kirk just says, "Sorry," all casually. I insist we rewind so we can see it again.

We come back on them finishing dressing. I am distracted by the fact that Spock apparently knows how to tuck in a shirt. BB is distracted by the fact that hey clearly stripped off and got re-dressed in front of each other. SHE IS A BETTER SLASHER THAN I AM. I feel inadequate.

It's really weird watching Spock grope around in his pants. I hope to god they use that shot in a lot of vids.

Spock says he has data in the tricorder that he can't get out, because apparently no one back then imagined a recording device with playback capability. Kirk suggests he build a computer. Spock looks shocked and points out that that would be basically impossible given the time's level of technology. "Yes, well, it would pose an extremely complex problem in logic, Mr. Spock." And then he moves in for the kill: "Excuse me. I sometimes expect too much of you." Again, I tell you: these people are married.

Here comes a lady type person! We know she's the love interest because the screen is blurry when she's on it. And, wow, that gets old before it has even happened once.

Kirk, apparently flirting, says, "It's cold outside." He delivers the line like he thinks he's James Dean. Which means that in Shatner's mind, James Dean is the epitome of seductiveness. Hmmm.

The woman's name is Edith Keeler, and she offers them money to work for her. Why, yes, ma'am, that is an extremely intelligent thing to do with two men you RANDOMLY FOUND IN YOUR BASEMENT.

Upstairs in the mission Edith runs, Spock and Kirk are getting food, and the soundtrack is completely silent, like the composer stepped out. Maybe he's anti-food. The guy next to them says you don't get the food for free, you have to listen to Edith preach or something. "If she really wanted to help out a fella in need -"

Kirk says, "Shut up. Shut up." But, unlike in Tribbles Tribbles Tribbles, he changes inflection! We applaud.

Spock shoots him a look, apparently knowing the early signs of infatuation all too well. Being married to Kirk must be extremely tiresome at times.

Edith insists that she is not a do-gooder, but I know she's lying, since she's speaking in that weird Elocution for Schoolmarms accent. But holy shit! Edith can see the future! You can tell when she's having a vision, because she starts talking like the teleprompter broke down.

And the teleprompter problem is epidemic. Kirk says, "I find her most uncommon, Mr. Spock," and I swear he pauses for a random length of time between each syllable. Speech module all wonky again; Spock's going to have to get back in there with the screwdriver, I guess.

Edith finds them a place to live. In their new room - which they share, of course - Spock is getting into the logical challenge, but he needs five or six pounds of platinum, which - WHY, Spock? The only reason I can think of is that Vulcans live on shininess. This would explain why Vulcan is so glittery.

Kirk comes back with food and a bag of logic-problem stuff. He says he's not getting the platinum. Spock points out that he's already being asked to work with primitive materials in a very dull time, and if he doesn't get a whole lot of something shiny soon, he can't be answerable for the consequences.

Spock steals some jeweler's tools, which are apparently sufficiently shiny, and Edith catches them; she's pissed off, but Spock says he's going to give them back, and Kirk says if Spock says he needs them and that he'll give them back, he will, so just fucking lay off, okay?

Edith agrees, on one condition: "Walk me home?"

We are so, so uncomfortable with this, on all kinds of levels.

BB: He can have the tools if I get your body?
Me: I am pretty sure it wasn't meant like that.
BB: WHAT ELSE COULD THAT MEAN?
Me: ...I don't know. Let's blame Harlan Ellison for this part.

We agree to. He's certainly creepy enough to think it's okay.

Back onscreen, Edith has questions to ask. Because she's noticed they're out of place. Spock asks where they belong.

"You? At his side, as if you've always been there and always will."

EVEN THE LOVE INTEREST THINKS THEY'RE MARRIED.

"And you? You belong in another place. I don't where or how. I'll figure it out eventually." Apparently her seeing thing isn't just limited to the future.

And, wow, they have made a serious error here, in thinking that giving her visions and so on makes her appealing. In reality, it makes her PROFOUNDLY CREEPY. This is the episode of creepy people. I am not surprised, what with the Creepy Harlan connection.

And Creepy Kirk joins the creepy cast - as she walks away, Kirk pauses to give her a look like he is plotting the first of his many serial kills before following her.

Spock pretends he isn't watching Kirk go, but he IS. Oh, he IS. And I just do not know what that acting choice could have been meant to convey except "my boyfriend is going off with someone else and I'm repressing my GREAT ANGUISH."

Edith and Kirk are walking and talking. There is some unfortunate romantic dialogue, and then there is a really weird cut, where she turns to Kirk and it looks like they're going to kiss and then LOL unexpected bridge is unexpected! And I know they can show kissing on this show, because the first interracial TV kiss was on Star Trek, so what gives?

Back at logic-puzzle camp, Spock appears to have invented microfiche. He gets a relevant hit on his first shot, which proves it's special Vulcan microfiche. Bad news: Edith Keeler is dead in 1930! Except, wait, it's good news: Edith and the President are getting it on in 1936!

And then the machine, as confused as we are, explodes.

In another place, a guy goes to steal a bottle of milk. And then Creepy Bones does a flying wallenda into the street, still screaming: "ASSASSINS. MURDERERS."

Wow, Creepy McCoy looks SUPER Creepy. He makes the guy spill his stolen milk, which is just not right. Afterward, they're hanging out, and McCoy appears to be about to go down on Spilled Milk Dude. We're very uncomfortable with this.

Then Creepy McCoy gets it on with a pillar, and says he wants to see the hospital. "Probably needles and sutures..." he says, rubbing against the pillar.

BB: If he moans, I'm going to have to turn away.
Me: Don't judge! Creepy McCoy's kink is okay!

We honestly cannot tell if this is a psychotic break or an orgasm. Either way, things look bad for McCoy.

Then McCoy's out cold, and Spilled Milk Dude picks his pocket; we feel he deserves some compensation for being put through that. He steals an electric razor that makes him turn blue and disappear. We pause to debate what the hell that was. The episode never explains, or even refers to this again. WTF? Usually when you make a dude disappear it's a plot point!

And then Creepy McCoy finds the Mission! And Edith!

We learn that if Edith Keeler lives, Hitler wins WWII. Kirk's response to this is, "Spock...I believe I'm in love with Edith Keeler." We both recoil from the set in horror, because he's known her for like four days and never even seen her in focus.

Spock says, "Jim, Edith Keeler must die." We are both reminded of a title, which again is very revealing about our differences. BB: Romeo Must Die. Me: The King Must Die.

Edith Keeler is nursing McCoy, which is amusing. But her nursing is super-awesome, because he's doing better! Okay, he's still pale and red in places, but he's no longer creepy, so, really, I am absolutely behind her nursing skills.

Back at the rooming house, Edith pulls the old fall-into-his-arms trick. Spock, watching, is Not Amused, Captain. The soundtrack is making me ill at this point. But NOT AS ILL AS SEEING POOR SPOCK TURN AND GO BACK INTO THEIR ROOM ALL CRUSHED AND ALONE AND SAAAAAAAAD. He may not show it, but I know he is! I CAN TELL.

McCoy and Edith are talking, and for the first time, I really like him. We learn that McCoy has never heard of Clark Gable. (That's not, for the record, why I like him.)

Edith is off for a date with her "young man," which makes us giggle, and she tells Kirk they're catching a Clark Gable movie; he's never heard of him, either. Big reveal! Kirk runs off to find Spock and McCoy and they have an awesome three-way. An awesome three-way HUG, people, stop snickering. It is really, really wonderful. We go back and watch it a few more times.

But then: weird zooming in thing, and then Kirk and McCoy do some more hugging while Edith dies.

Shatner attempts to cry. It isn't pretty.

Back at the blue planet, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy come through the Talky Stargate. Sadly, there is no more hugging - I was hoping for a massive group hug, with the redshirts in the middle.

The space-time continuum is back to normal, although you get the feeling Kirk and Spock are going to be sleeping in separate beds for a couple days.

Everyone assumes positions for their final bow.

The End.
 
 
 
Azure Jane Lunaticazurelunatic on January 2nd, 2010 02:08 pm (UTC)
Apparently my memory, too, is on crack! I could have sworn it was still Bones. Huh.
gaudiorgaudior on January 2nd, 2010 04:01 pm (UTC)
According to Harlan Ellison, Gene Roddenberry did not want to use Ellison's script, because it was Too Gritty And Real for Roddenberry's precious universe. And so Ellison claims that Roddenberry and other studio folks tried to explain Ellison's pique by saying, "No, his script was nuts! He wanted to have Scotty addicted to drugs!" This pisses off Ellison enormously, which makes it not unlike 90% of the rest of the universe.

I'm sure that saying that Bones was addicted to drugs would piss him off even more...
Azure Jane Lunaticazurelunatic on January 2nd, 2010 09:55 pm (UTC)
It made sense in my head because prescription drug addiction can be a problem for a doctor. BUT NOT IN STARFLEET APPARENTLY.

(Er, perhaps I should have my caps lock key license revoked.)