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Spock's Brain - episode #61

 
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Bogmeister
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:18 pm    Post subject: Spock's Brain - episode #61 Reply with quote

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______________________"His brain is gone"


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Here I am writing about Spock's Brain again.

"Spock's brain? Brain and brain! What is brain?!"

It's unfortunate that this episode may have been the introduction for many viewers to the Star Trek series (it was the first broadcast of the 3rd season).

What a difference a new season makes! Like The Trouble With Tribbles, this is one of the most familiar episodes, but for different reasons. Knowledge of Star Trek's cheese factor may have spread from this very point.

I confess I don't really know how things went so wrong with this one. The director is Marc Daniels, who (going by a cursory look at all the episodes) was responsible for many of the better episodes. Gene Coon was a great writer. But the melodramatic elements in this one were just too overwrought.

Yet, it even becomes dull at some points, a double whammy! Shocked




There's really nothing wrong with the plot, on paper — an early version of Star Trek III: The Search For Spock (1984).

In this case, however, it's "The Search For Spock's Brain."

Here, Kirk and crew are moving along in their starship, minding their own business, when a small ion-propelled ship approaches. A space babe (Marj Dusay) materializes on the bridge of the Enterprise and (smiling sweetly the whole time) knocks out everyone with the touch of a button on her spiffy bracelet (and I mean, EVERYone, on the entire ship!)

This is similar to shots in By Any Other Name when everyone was frozen, and toThe Way to Eden.

When the crew awaken, they find something missing — you guessed it! Spock's brain!

Yes, this is Spock's final episode! Shocked (Just kidding.)

Here's a minor discrepancy already. The female invader is able to conk out everyone on the Enterprise immediately, and yet later, on the planet they find her on, she and her cohorts take the trouble to affix funky belts on Kirk and his boys to send painful knockout signals.

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I won't elaborate on the slow pace of this episode — with the camera, for example, settling on an immobile Spock just standing there, as if something is about to happen . . . yet nothing does.

The style is very strange here, almost as if everyone involved wasn't sure on how to proceed. Someone, meaning the producers, the director, and the actors, took a wrong turn or at least a sideways view of this story.

As an example, in an early scene when McCoy slowly informs Kirk of Spock's, problem, it was probably meant to be a suspenseful, grim scene.

It isn't. "His brain is gone!" McCoy says, looking a bit shell-shocked.

Kirk mouths the same phrase, also shocked or stunned. I expected Scotty to repeat the phrase yet again, then Nurse Chapel. This scene may suggest the tone of most of the episode — the audience is already chuckling by this point.

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By the time we get to the underground civilization on that planet, things have escalated to a laugh-riot, with the words "Morgs" and "Eymorgs", and the declaration, "You are not Morg!" ringing in our ears as Kirk tries to make sense of a wacko culture divided between female rulers and male brutes.

This was a less-than-complimentary idea of a matriarchal society. (Gene, Gene! Rolling Eyes)

Spock's body is turned into a walking puppet, guided by McCoy's little hand-gizmo as if it were a toy robot. Kirk's key meeting with the ruling females, all of whom speak like spoiled teenagers, becomes an exercise in ultimate Trek cheese.

Kirk even gets on his knees to grovel at one point after the female ruler (Marj Dusay) sends him in spasms to painful oblivion. It's rather ghastly, yet I can't turn away for much of the episode, spellbound in disbelief by the hysterics on screen.

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All the concepts are sabotaged by the execution, even the climactic brain re-attachment surgery, which does begin fin.

McCoy gets his brain boosted by a special device and proceeds to operate with his newly acquired skills. Then he starts to forget the knowledge, and Spock talks him through the rest, the audience understanding full well that neither has the knowledge of these unknown techniques.

I guess messing up a few hundred connections makes no difference to a Vulcan brain, sturdy as it is? (sarcasm here, but who knows? I'm surely not a brain surgeon). Some entertainment value is there, no doubt, but beware; this all could be a (dare I say i) a drain on the brain! Laughing

BoG's Score: 4 out of 10

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Extra Trek Trivia:

~ Gene Coon wrote this episode under the pen name Lee Cronin. Hmmm, I wonder why?

~ Co-producer Robert Justman admits to making the suggestion of Spock helping McCoy out during surgery. He later regretted this. In the original written outline, Spock remained on the starship during the story. This would have saved actor Nimoy much embarrassment.

~ Now some very obscure trivia: this was the episode playing on a TV in one scene in the movie Taps (1981). The cadets at the military school are watching it at about the midpoint of the film. One of them makes a comment about a force field that protects Spock's brain, which I think is a bunch of malarkey.


_____ The Wonder Years Parody of Spock's Brain


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If you prefer a condensed version of the episode, where all the odd dramatics become quite apparent, try this.


________________ Spock's Brain: Condensed


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BoG
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Guys, I've been having an absolute ball watching each of these episodes on Netflix streaming while I've been converting the format of Bogmeister's reviews on the Galactic Base of Science Fiction so I can post them here on All Sci-Fi.

I have to admit, he's not wrong about this episode's curious mix of faults and virtues. One of the virtues are the lovely space babes that Bogmeister mentions! Very Happy

And the script acknowledges this in the scene where Kirk, McCoy, and Scotty discuss how to get to the nearby table which holds all their hi-tech devices. Unfortunately, the table is being guarded by two tall and formidable men.

As they discuss the problem, they deliver this humorous exchange.

Captain Kirk: Those woman developed these painful "training device" we have to wear. What a way to maintain control over a man!

Scott: Yes, but "pain AND delight", the primitive man said up above.

Dr. McCoy: I'm sure you noticed the 'delight' aspect of this place.

Captain Kirk: Yes, I certainly did notice those delightful aspects. Wink

As wacky as this story is, it does seem to work hard to deliver a yarn just as imaginative (but no more ridiculous) than the Flash Gordon serials some of us adored as kids! Shocked

Folks, I'm not saying we should settle for the stories that satisfied us when we were adolescents in the 1950s. I'm just saying that sometimes we should try to view sincere efforts like this one through the eyes of our younger selves, and resist the jaded attitudes we've all developed as we've gotten older! Sad

That's the sad curse of growing old year by year. We demand TV series and movies that try to impress us as much as the ones we loved when we were kids! Shocked

But that's an impossible task, because our standards get higher and higher until finally nothing is quiet good enough . . . because nothing is quite new enough or quite as amazing enough to please our elderly jaded taste.

It's a sad fact of human nature that what dazzled us in our youth will bore us in our future. And if we give in to this truism, our lives will become increasingly dull! Sad

But if we fight this sad tendency and try to hold onto our youthful enthusiasm, we'll can all end up being a little more like . . . well . . . me! Very Happy

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Robert (Butch) Day
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bud Brewster wrote:
… our standards get higher and higher until finally nothing is quiet good enough … because nothing is quite new enough or quite as amazing enough to please our elderly jaded taste.

And that's WHY there should never be a remake of so many of our favorite movies , witness The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)

And every attempt to remake Forbidden Planet (3 so far; JMS' 2008, Corlind Production's 1993/1955 filmed but never completed version and the proposed Cartoon Network's Japanese Anime style special of 2012.

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