About the series:
A revisit of a review, that was in itself a revisit of a retried pilot. Got it? Good.
Here we go, the second pilot, and the first episode featuring Captain Kirk. This episode has in many aspects aged worse than most of the series, but it serves as an interesting look at how many changes the show went through in its infancy. Of course, why this was aired nearly a quarter of the way through the first season and not used as the first episode as intended, I have no idea. I guess NBC was using the same kind of logic back then that Fox employed with Firefly in more recent times; that is, none at all.
If you watched other episodes before this one, it can seem a bit jarring. The Enterprise bridge, effectively unchanged since the filming of the original pilot, “The Cage,” looks drab, lacking in the more familiar color and character of later episodes. The uniforms here are muted yellows and blues without any red shirts to speak of. All of the women are wearing pants. Star Trek lore was barely even established at this point, as here we have Earth Base mentioned in place of Starfleet Command, and mistakes such as James T. Kirk’s name being misused late in the episode as James R. Kirk. The lack of establishment in this episode makes it feel more akin to something like The Twilight Zone, as opposed to the Star Trek that we know and love.
In a rare thing for Trek, “Where No Man Has Gone Before” deals with the capacity for humans to possess extra sensory perception, something that the characters here treat as a normal, if uncommon, reality. The interest in ESP happens when the Enterprise encounters a treacherous energy barrier at the galaxy’s edge while investigating the loss of an old starship, the Valiant. No surprise that of course the ship and crew are put into extreme peril.
U.S.S. Enterprise encounters the galactic barrier
This move cripples the Enterprise’s warp engines, and has a profound effect on two crew members who already possessed a small level of ESP.
(Now before you all get too nitpicky—you know who you are—and ask how Enterprise, much less Valiant, could make it to the galaxy’s edge in a relatively short time with warp drive, remember not to think too two-dimensionally. One could reach the “edge” of the galaxy just as well by traveling “up” or “down” relative to the galactic center.)
Gary Mitchell, Kirk’s longtime friend, is the most drastically affected by the energy barrier. At first his new powers seem fairly innocent; he can read fast, retain information with perfect clarity, and perform minor feats of telekinesis. But it doesn’t take long for Mitchell’s growing powers to affect his judgment, and he soon begins to view the Enterprise crew, even his friend Kirk, as a nuisance, an obstacle in the way of his development into a more advanced kind of human being. Kirk delays as long as he can to help his friend, but when it is clear that Mitchell won’t stand down, Kirk is forced to make the decision to maroon him on the only planet that the Enterprise can reach, Delta Vega. Mitchell erases any doubts about whether he can be spared when he ends up killing an Enterprise crew member while the ship is being repaired.
This leads to a confrontation between the two former friends, as Mitchell’s powers grow to nearly be on par with the Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation (worth wondering is whether Mitchell’s powers are the potential threat the Q saw in humanity when they tested Riker later on). Kirk is able to win out in the end after pleading with Dr. Elizabeth Dehner, the other crewmember augmented with the advanced ESP, to one more time look at the situation from a human perspective. At the cost of her own life, she helps the Captain defeat his former friend.
This highlights one of the more interesting morals of the episode: no matter how much a human evolves, do they ever lose their dark side? Can a human ever be rid of their base instincts? Kirk points out that for all of his power, Mitchell is not advanced enough of a life form to handle it responsibly. What we are left with at the end of this episode, is the idea that even with all of our advancements, humans still have a long way to go before we can ever be higher beings. This is deep for a low budget second pilot from the 60s.
While it will never be the strongest episode in the Star Trek franchise, “Where No Man Has Gone Before” does take some interesting chances and makes you think. It also serves as a great opening vehicle for Kirk, showing us his agonizing conflict between loyalty to his friend and his duty to ship, crew, and humanity.
Disclaimer: Star Trek is a CBS/Paramount copyright. All images in this review posting are courtesy of http://www.startrek.com, http://www.trekcore.com, http://www.imdb.com, and http://www.wikipedia.org. Images are used for informational purposes only, and no copyright infringement on CBS or Paramount Studios is intended.
Originally posted on The Uncommon Geek. Edited for a better reading experience versus what I created back in 2013.
It’s not necessarily that I believe I owe anyone here on the internet anything per se. However, those of you who have taken the time and/or money to follow what I do and read my books, I do believe you ought to have my thanks, and more of an incentive to visit this (admittedly still obscure) website of mine.
I have long since given up on trying to keep up with the endless trough that is social media. My life is so much better and richer for having dropped all but the bare minimum presence on Facebook, for example. I have started posting more often on the Instagrams (https://www.instagram.com/neo_ragnarok/) because I like that the presences there are more focused on art and less on politics, blathering, or generally useless and inane opinions on any and everything. Even there, though, I don’t have much time invested. I don’t care about trying to optimize my presence to get more likes and followers. You either like what I do or you don’t. This generation and society in general have become sickeningly addicted to social media, to instant gratification. It seems that so many go batshit crazy if they aren’t being constantly bombarded with information and content. Art gets buried in the feed. Meaningful wisdom is overshadowed. Success is less about quality and more about how much you can spam feeds.
I stand in a weird place here, as someone whose voice is currently being heard in large part only due to the modern artist’s conveniences of the internet, a website, and the relative ease of self-publishing. Yet I despise the mechanisms that have spawned around and between these things, so here I am using a modern boon to say that I think we lost something crucial by abandoning the days where quality won out over quantity. Would things have been different if we were slower and more responsible in our adopting the internet and the digital age? Certainly, though the same could also be said for most innovations or breakthroughs, such as, say, atomic power…
So, I appreciate all of you who have read my work or taken the time to comment on one of my blogs, or who likes the artwork I’m posting. That’s really cool, and I want to going forward make any investment in me on your part worth your time. But it’s not going to be from quantity. I’m not gonna be blowing up your inboxes or your feeds. Like any treasure, you’re gonna have to do some digging here and meet me halfway. In so doing, you’re going to get something better than the torrent of spam that is flooding most of the internet. If you don’t like that, and want to follow someone who is going to constantly bombard you with updates and content, you might as well exit stage left, because that’s not me, and trying to be that way was detrimental to my existence and happiness.
Here’s to art, to quality, to creating and sharing something meaningful.
Recently I was privileged to interview another great local author, Rochelle Bradley. Read on! (more…)
If you have not already had a looksee at my first novel, you can get a free digital copy of it this weekend on Kindle. This is to help celebrate the launch of my story collection, Beginnings, this coming Tuesday. You’ve probably seen me talk about it and I will be talking about it more in the future to be sure.
Check it out at the link below. It’s a great time to stay indoors out of the heat, read a book, and take in the beginning of a new sci-fi saga.
It isn’t what most people think.
This isn’t going to be much of a blog post. The short and sweet of it is that the preorder link for After Terra: Beginnings is below. The release price is 99 U.S. cents, and the collection launches 8 days from now on July 30, 2019.
I realize that a significant portion of the reading populace prefers print to digital, and to be fair I’m not sure when I will have a physical version of the collection made available, but if you dig ebooks, science fiction, and want to support the work I do in a tangible way, please consider checking this out. It will only put a marginal dent at most in your weekly coffee budget.