Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Star Trek--"Day of the Dove"

“Day of the Dove’ is another of the few highlights of the third season. It is a budget saving bottle show that is exciting enough to make you forget the limited stetting.

An alien cloud convinces the Enterprise a Federation colony has been destroyed. The cloud also convinces a group of Klingons Kirk has destroyed their ship. Neither event has actually occurred, but the cloud feeds off the aggressive anger of both sides in order to survive. The cloud arranges for the two sides to supplied with swords, manipulated emotions, and automatic healing of wounds in order to keep them fighting. In order to get rid of the cloud, the crew and the Klingons have to genuinely cease their mutual animosity and stop fighting.

There are several virtues ro “Day of the Dove.” One is the treatment of the Klingons. Up until this point, they had been presented as nothing but brutal warriors, conquerors. Even here Kang tells Kirk the Klingons must fight other species and take what they need to survive because there are poor planets in the Klingon Empire. This sounds like rhetoric for Kirk’s benefit. Privately to his men, Kang expresses concern about ending the conflict quickly with as few of his mwn killed as possible. He especially shows concern for his wife, though he calls Kirk’s bluff at one point in a threat to kill her so as not to appear weak.

As a bigger fan of the 24th Trek series, I appreciate the latter day Klingons more. They have a more developed society and have risen above serving as a Cold War Era Soviet stereotype. No space faring race could be all warriors. There had to be engineers, doctors, artists, and the like for their civilization to grow. If Kang were correct about his people being mere scavengers, they would still have a subsistence existence. “Day of the Dove” at least hints for the first time there is more to them than just bloody conflict.

Two, the fighting with swords was a nice touch. It allowed for some exciting duels that served two purposes. One being to prolong the anger in the heat of battle and two, to keep production from having to pay for so many phasor beam effects. I thought it was also neat how the swords were appropriate. Sulu used a Japanese katana, Scotty had a Scottish claymore, and Kirk, ever the swashbuckler, was sporting a cutlass. It is to bad Bat’leths had not been introduced yet. Traditional Klingon weapons would have added extra authenticity to the concept.

Finally, thestory was resolved peacefully without being corny. The original idea was for the crew and the Klingons to sing peace songs and such in order to drive the cloud away. That would have killed the episode for me. Instead, there was a temporary truce to satiafy an immediate goal without any hint everything is going to be wonderful between the parties afterwards. Too often, TOS has endings that pat. It was nice to see this one end on a more realistic note.

It is interesting to note here that Kang and Kirk appear to know each other previously. They are on a first name basis from the get go. This was probably due to the original script calling for John Colicos to reprise his role as Kor from “Errand of Mercy.” Colicos was unavailable, so one of my favorite character actors, Michael Ansara, took time out of his busy schedule being the lucky guy married to the lovely Barbara Eden in order to create the role of Kang. I like Ansara because his gravelly voice has lent itself well playing spooky villains over the years. Ansara reprised the role of Kangg for VOY and DS9 some thirty years after “Day of the Dove” and also played Lwaxana Troi’s last (?) husband in another DS9 episode. Not nearly enough appearances to suit me.

Rating; **** (out of 5)

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