Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Star Trek--"Errand of Mercy"

“Errand of Mercy” marks the first appearance of the Klingons. Other than that, the episode is largely unremarkable. Call it blasphemy if you must, but I am not particularly impressed with TOS Klingons compared to their 24th century counterparts. Od, since several TOS Klingons will make appearances in a couple of DS9 episodes. Regardless, I find Klingons at first to be cruel barbarians with little character to make them interesting. It is particularly bad here, although kor does make a formidable villain. But so do the Borg and they all have the personality of a moon rock.

Much like in the Superior ‘Balance of Terror,” the federation finds itself on the verge of a massive war that has not even been remotely hinted at up until this point. The klingons are massing war materiel in a secotr of space in which there is one independent planet, Organia. Should Organia fall, the balance of power will tilt towards the klingons. Kirk and Spock go undercover in order to compel the Organians to fight the Klingons. Nothing they do convinces the pacifist seemingly Organians to do anything.

What follows is a number of TOS staples which are done much better in subsequent episodes, particularly the third season’s “A Private Little War.” One retrospective element is the organians are actually beings of pure energy far advanced than humans or Klingons, whom they consider--surprise, surprise--complete savages far beneath them. Cue the Thespians, Metrons, whatever the heck Trelane and his parents were, Gary Mitchel, etc. The organians halt all ability to use weapons and force the Federation and Klingons into an uneasy peace

There is nothing exciting here, nor was there anything to take away from the episode. If the Origonians were supposed to represent the virtues of pacifism versus the ready for battle Federation and Klingons, it failed. The Origanian wound up enforcing their will more harshly than either of them. Even the implied off screen torture scene does not resonate much squeamish feeling, since Spock just brushed it off like it was an uncomfortable, but thrilling roller coaster ride. It kind of took the sting out of it. Actually, there was not much sting about anything. A very forgettable episode.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

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