Lion of the Blogosphere

Star Trek TOS, Season 1: Miri

The message of this episode is similar to a message from other Star Trek TOS episodes that I already reviewed: transhumanism is bad, really really bad.

Specifically, in this episode, the Enterprise discovers a planet where three hundred years ago, scientists were trying to develop a virus that would make everyone live for thousands of years, but instead it backfired and everyone died from a horrible disease. In the previous episode, What Are Little Girls Made Of, we learned that it’s also wrong to try to achieve immortality with robot bodies.

Everyone died except for the children, who age extremely slowly and don’t die until they enter puberty, at which time they contract the horrible disease and die.

This episode has the assumption that without adult-enforced discipline, long-lived children develop into a dystopian society reminiscent of the Lord of the Flies.

There is also an assumption that emotional and cognitive maturity comes from the biological aging of the brain, and children with non-aging brains will remain children forever. Rally bratty children in this case. Spock compares them to animals and mice.

Of course the landing party of Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Yeoman Rand (?) and two red-shirts also get the disease. This is the second time in the series where they get a really bad disease that almost kills them. You would think the lesson would be that they should wear hazmat suits when they visit strange planets. On the other hand, they were wearing hazmat suits in the first disease episode, The Naked Time, but the suits didn’t work because they were made from shower curtains. So maybe the lesson learned was why bother wearing the suits if they don’t work?

Another lesson I learned from this episode is don’t bring a blonde-wigged bimbo along with a landing party. And in fact, in this rare case, they did actually learn the lesson, because this is the last episode where Yeoman Rand has a major role.

The landing party discovers Miri, who is supposed to be a girl who’s just entering puberty, maybe she’s supposed to be around 13 years old. Captain Kirk uses his alpha-male charisma on her, like he does to all women he meets down on planets, and acquires her cooperation as a result. And then Yeoman Rand gets extremely jealous of Miri, and that causes Miri to get jealous of Rand and mad at Kirk for paying attention to Rand instead of her, which leads to Miri convincing the other kids to kidnap Rand so they can then lure Kirk to find her so they can punish him.

The highlight of the episode is the actress who played Miri, she did a completely convincing job of having a crush on Captain Kirk. Her highly competent acting only reminds us of how horrible an actress Majel Barrett is, and to a lesser extent Grace Lee Whitney who plays Rand. Barrett was completely unconvincing in being attracted to Spock in “The Naked Time,” and being the fiancée of Roger Korby in “What Are Little Girls Made Of.” Truly an example of a bad actress being hired only because she’s sleeping with the boss.

The girl who played Miri (who was actually 18 or 19 at the time this was filmed) went on to play Mattie in the movie True Grit where John Wayne won an Academy Award.

Because this is not a great episode, it makes me want to nitpick things. Like how at the beginning, they discover a planet that looks exactly like Earth. That’s really mysterious, isn’t it? How did that happen? But then they completely forget about that. Maybe early on in Star Trek, they didn’t think it would make sense for aliens on a distant planet to speak English and look exactly like humans, so they came up with the idea of a planet being a parallel Earth.

And then there is the problem of the disappearing red-shirts. They beam down with two red-shirts, but then midway into the episode the red-shirts simply disappear. No they don’t show them being killed, they just get written out of the story. Where did they go? And Kirk really could have used them, because we see Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Rand all leave their communicators on a table in a lab in the hospital while they leave the room to respond to a strange noise outside the room, and then we see the bratty kids sneak into the room through an air vent and steal the four communicators. Isn’t there some Star Fleet protocol that says you aren’t supposed to leave all of your communicators lying around unattended on hostile planets?

Now they can’t communicate with the ship, and without communication with the ship they can’t access the ship’s computers for help in concocting a cure for the virus. But what about the two red-shirts? Don’t they have communicators? But everyone has forgotten about them. My theory is that they originally intended for the two red-shirts to get killed, but then afterwards they decided that it didn’t play well to have the red-shirts killed by children, so they cut out that scene or never filmed it in the first place.

Reading other modern reviews of this episode, most of them are creeped out by Kirk using his alpha-male charisma on a 13-year-old girl. But apparently no one in 1966 thought it was a problem. And I don’t see the problem; it makes sense for Kirk to use his alpha-male charisma in this situation, because they needs Miri’s cooperation. It’s not like they had sex, or even kissed.

Notes:

Kirk’s ripped shirt: Kirk’s shirt gets ripped in various places, but we see less skin than most other ripped-shirt episodes.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 9, 2018 at EST pm

Posted in Star Trek

19 Responses

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  1. Wait, can these kids reproduce? Or have they been alive for 300 years and this is the last generation of humans on the planet?

    IHTG

    August 9, 2018 at EST pm

    • “Or have they been alive for 300 years and this is the last generation of humans on the planet?”

      Correct. They don’t reproduce.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      August 9, 2018 at EST pm

  2. The disease the duplicate Earth scientists genetically engineered remains dormant until the subject reaches puberty, then the disease reaches its terminal phase in short order.

    Oswald Spengler

    August 9, 2018 at EST pm

  3. I am going to comment about Dave Ramsey in an attempt to get Lion off this Star Trek kick (which is boring to non-fans).

    Dave Ramsey is the third most-listened-to U.S. radio personality (after Rush and Hannity). He is far and away the most popular personal finance guru.

    Since he and his listeners are evangelical Christians, he answers questions which no coastal SWPL has heard of. Examples:

    Do I pay my tithe during bankruptcy?

    God told my husband to sell the house. What to do?

    I’m broke, but my church keeps asking for additional contributions.

    Here’s one:

    JA

    August 9, 2018 at EST pm

    • “God told my husband to sell the house. What to do?”

      Give your husband anti-psychotic meds.

      “to get Lion off this Star Trek kick (which is boring to non-fans).”

      Star Trek is the most important TV series in the history of television. More important than another post about Trump.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      August 9, 2018 at EST pm

      • “…the most important TV series in the history of television.”

        Sorry, that’s Seinfeld. And I’m the biggest Shatner booster here.

        Marty

        August 9, 2018 at EST pm

      • While eminently debatable, the most important TV show is probably I Love Lucy.

        It caused millions of people to purchase TV sets.

        It popularized the sitcom format.

        It revealed that the real money for a TV show was in syndicating the re-runs.

        It was the most popular TV show originating from the West Coast, causing production of almost all sitcoms to move to Los Angeles.

        It’s still popular today.

        (HBD side note: As Steve Sailer loves to point out, Cubans like Desi were obviously considered white by Americans. That’s why it was fine for him to marry and impregnate a Northern European like Lucy.)

        JA

        August 9, 2018 at EST pm

    • I simply cannot stand Ramsay’s voice. I actually can’t think of another white person who I’ve ever felt that way about. In SF, Ransay comes on at 6pm. Since I also can’t take the rampant PC of our local sports talk, that means I have no radio to listen to unless the Giants are on the east coast.

      Marty

      August 9, 2018 at EST pm

    • Interestingly, his religious beliefs don’t seem to affect his audience reach much. I know a lot of more or less secular people who are fans of his.

      I find financial advice shows pretty boring, though, ’cause it’s a Pareto sort of thing where concepts a smart 3rd grader intuitively understands will get you 80% of the way there

      Jokah Macpherson

      August 10, 2018 at EST am

  4. I think the parallel Earth shtick was simply the result of what sets were available to use since it had no bearing on the actual story, but there were at least two other TOS episodes in which they went to a parallel Earth, the one where Rome never fell and the one where the Cold War went hot and there was a nuclear war (again another longevity story…?). In all three of these cases, it was simply another planet in our galaxy that had developed identically to Earth until it diverged, which means the Federation Earth may not have been the “real” Earth, simply the one that got to space first. How weird that was was never explored in TV shows but some of the books guessed that those other earths were created by aliens for…something.

    Mike Street Station

    August 10, 2018 at EST am

    • But in addition to the parallel Earth episodes, there were numerous other episodes in which the aliens were totally indistinguishable from Earth humans, yet this was never explained. This is particularly jarring because there are plenty of episodes in which they tried to make the aliens look, well, alien, leaving the viewer to wonder why in certain other episodes no one seems to notice or care that these supposed aliens look exactly like human beings.

      I was surprised the actress who played Miri was 18 or 19; she really did look younger. The actor who looked out of place in this episode was the leader of the “kids,” played by Michael J Pollard, who was 27 at the time. Yeah, he was a small guy, but you could tell he had fully gone through puberty.

      Hermes

      August 10, 2018 at EST am

      • I think one of TOS episodes, when Kirk was stranded on the Indian planet, was that there was an ancient alien race that had “seeded” humans throughout the galaxy, so I think that explains why there are so many human looking aliens, because they are human. But politically they’re outside the Federation and have no historical or cultural ties to Earth.

        Mike Street Station

        August 10, 2018 at EST am

    • I remember a line where Kirk chalks this up to “Hansen’s law of parallel planet development” or some such. Surely the most absurd example is where on another planet they come up with the Constitution of the United States, word for word! There is an episode of Next Generation where they explain why there are so many humanoids around.

      Steverino@Steverino.com

      August 10, 2018 at EST am

      • That law of parallel development is clearly absurd but I guess they just needed something to move the plot along.

        Mike Street Station

        August 10, 2018 at EST am

      • Lion is going to love the second season episode I just watched recently, “Patterns of Force,” in which they come upon another planet populated by actual Nazis (which William Shatner pronounces with a short “a,” rhyming with “patsies”,) who were turned into Nazis by a Federation cultural observer who meant well and thought Nazism was the best way to unify the planet. Talk about an episode that could never be made today.

        Hermes

        August 10, 2018 at EST pm

    • Then there were episodes where Federation contact (intentional and unintentional) with a humanoid civilization led to that planet imitating a period from Earth’s history. ..like the Third Reich planet or the planet’s inhabitants that based their society on a book about Chicago gangs of the 1920s.

      Oswald Spengler

      August 10, 2018 at EST am

  5. Apparently “Hodgkin’s Law of Parallel Planetary Development” is a well covered topic.

    http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Hodgkin's_Law_of_Parallel_Planetary_Development

    Mike Street Station

    August 11, 2018 at EST am

  6. “Specifically, in this episode, the Enterprise discovers a planet where three hundred years ago, scientists were trying to develop a virus that would make everyone live for thousands of years, but instead it backfired and everyone died from a horrible disease.
    (…)
    There is also an assumption that emotional and cognitive maturity comes from the biological aging of the brain, and children with non-aging brains will remain children forever.”

    Sounds like copes for better accepting aging and death to me. The virus could have been successful, and as to maturity, it’s more linked to life experiences and ideological makeup than brain aging.

    Thomas

    August 11, 2018 at EST am


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