Friday, May 29, 2009

Star Trek--"Operation--Annihilate!"

I have received a special request to tread gently on this episode. It will not be a tough Task. In spite of some absurd moments--flying, plastic barf attacking Spock--”Operation: Annihilate” is one of the most solid episodes of TOS. What is more, you can imagine Kirk is certainly still in pain over losing Edith Keeler as hefaces the terrible death of family members by the parasite infecting the planet, not to mention the risk of his friend Spock going blind because of the cure.

Die horribly, they do. The scene in which Kirk’s sister-in-law dies is often butchered in the syndicated version because it is considered so disturbing. I would say “Operation--Annihilate!” is the grand pappy of the science fiction/horror genre of alien ifestation movies. Depending on how much you value substance over style, you mat consider this the best version of the theme, since it relies heavily on suspense and a sense of tragedy over gory special effects.

Theesense of tragedy is palpable. The kirk children are orphaned, the colony is devastated, and Spock runs the risk of becoming blind even if McCoy’s plan to expose the parasites to radiation work. It is enough to make me overlook the absurdity that McCoy is skilled enough to come up with a soution to kill a parasite in a matter of hours an entire colony was not able to get rid of for months, yet he is unaware Vulcans have an inner eyelid which will ultimately save Spock’s eyesight., I guess in exobiology, the philosophy is to not sweat the small stuff.

A minor nitpick: Spock’s refusal to wear protective goggles as he is being exposed to the radiation because the colonists are not going to have any in unnecessarily self-sacrificing and melodramatic. Perhaps he was secretly relying on his inner eyelid to save him, but if so, it is odd he would not mention them to McCoy. Do Vulcans have a secret penchant for drama? It looks like Spock does.

I liked the episode, so rather than end my review on a nitpick, I will note that George Kirk, of whom we only get the briefest glimpse after his death, was played by William Shatner sporting a slightly different hairstyle. This is the only time in TOS he played a different character other than Kirk outside of any alien doubles, androids, or split personalities, of course.

“Operation--Annihilate!” is a worthy end to the first season of TOS. In sum, it was an uneven batch of episodes. Tomorrow, I will start covering the secnd season. I believe it is the best of the series desite a couple duds. My favorite TOS episode aired during the second season, too, but we shall get to that one in about a week and a half.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

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