skyfyre: Sumeragi Hokuto from X/1999, Smiling (What is this fuckery?)
skyfyre ([personal profile] skyfyre) wrote2010-08-22 12:49 am

The Empath

Well, that made little to no sense.

I don't approve of the sole woman in the entire episode literally having no voice. And they call her "Gem" as if she's just some pretty object that they can own and none of them consider that she might have her own name. And then Scotty compares her to a pearl to be bought and he never even met her. All these men are around going "GEM HAS TO DO THIS THING" and I'm all "DID ANYONE EVER THINK TO ASK HER OPINION ON IT?"

Also, Gem sounds way too similar to Jim and it annoys me.

So this episode starts out with Kirk, Spock, and Bones beaming down to a planet. This time it's because the main star of the galaxy they're in is about to go nova and they're to pick up some scientists that were observing the star. However, when they beam down, none of the scientists are there.

They are upset with this, because they have clearly forgotten that this happens every time they go to pick people up. They probably think that the scientist are just playing hide and go seek. Sadly, by the looks of all those cobwebs around, no one yet has thought to shout "Olly-olly ox and free"*

Just as Our Heroes are about to settle down to try and figure out what's happened on the planet (HINT: ALIENS ARE INVOLVED), the Enterprise detects some major solar flares coming from the star. This will cause a space storm thing that will take 70 something hours to pass.

Kirk: HOLY SHIT. Scotty, get the Enterprise out of here! She just got a new paint job and I don't want some stupid sun ruining it!
Scotty: Well, okay. Just give me a second to beam you up-
Scotty: OKAY, I'm going!

Because surely Our Heroes can spend over two days alone on the planet without getting themselves killed.


So now that the Enterprise is gone, they continue their search of the base. This search consists of looking at a data chip that's three months old. Don't ask me how Spock knows that the thing is three months old. He just does. Maybe his touch telepathy extends to inanimate objects?

Or maybe he's been reading the script again. The cheater.

So, they watch the video and they see the scientists they're looking for disappearing after hearing a loud whine.

A whine that they themselves are hearing in the present.


Bet you guys wish you'd beamed up when you had the chance, huh?

So, the guys wake up in a dark expanse of nothingness. Which actually happens to them more often than you would think. Only usually they're there because they're wasted. Again.

So, somehow, while Spock and Bones are fine, Kirk has given himself a head injury. I'm not exactly sure how, as I'm pretty sure that he didn't do anything to his head while he was flailing around before. Then we get a stunning display of what passes for medical attention in Star Trek:

Bones: That's a nasty cut, Jim. Does it hurt?
Kirk: No.

And then the injury is left well enough alone, because it's not like Bones is a doctor or anything. Maybe it's all a part of his secret plan to take over the ship. First, he lets Kirk die through his own stupidity. Then he takes out Spock by asking one of those logic puzzle things ("Can God create a rock so heavy that he himself cannot lift it?"**), because that would totally work on him. Because Spock is like a computer. Then Scotty gets alcohol poisoning. And Bones slowly works his way through the entire command line, until he is the only one left to take command.

And then he heads to the planet Euphoria.

And this is why we should never have let Bones go into Space. Let that be a lesson to us.

Anyway, they wander around some and they eventually spy this unconscious person. Bones again shows his amazing medical prowess by informing us that the person who is not speaking is a mute and completely lacks vocal cords. They also make the assumption that it's a woman simply because she looks like what we expect a woman to look like with humans. She's an alien, she could be anything.

I'll use female pronouns for her, but I won't like it. I don't feel comfortable calling her "it" and I don't know any gender neutral pronouns.

You would think that an all woman liberal arts college would teach me these important things.

And then Bones decides to call her "Gem" and I want to stab things a bunch. For lack of a better option, I'll stick with calling her Gem. BUT WITH GREAT PROTEST.

Gem, honestly.

So, Gem is surrounded by these tall men of unknown origin who may or may not be speaking a language she understands. HER SPECIES IS MUTE, WHAT MAKES YOU THINK SHE UNDERSTANDS SPOKEN LANGUAGE?

Despite this, Gem decides that she'll do Captain Kirk a favor and take care of that cut on his head.

From this, Bones can tell that this girl is an ~*empath*~. They can take people's pain and make it their own and then heal themselves! Nifty! How the fuck does Bones know about empaths? Don't even try to tell me he learned about it in Med School, the man can't even heal a cut.


Then the all powerful aliens came and... were all powerful, I guess. They have a shield that draws on your emotions. The more you want to escape, the more powerful the shield. And they seem to have some weird obsession with Gem. Awesome.

Also, these guys remind me an awful lot of the aliens from The Menagerie. I DEMAND NEW ALIENS.

And there I go assuming that they're male. OH WELL.

So, awesome, Gem has magic. There are aliens whose plan we don't understand. Cool. It is time to explore the rest of the nothingness! Come on, Gem, it might not be safe by yourself.

No, you don't get a choice. It's not like you've been by yourself this whole time. Oh, wait.

So they discover a sort of kinda laboratory. It's hard to tell when there aren't any walls. What is around, though, is some giant tubes with the missing scientists inside.

Mission accomplished, you guys! You found them! You know, a bit more dead than what was preferable, but whatever. You can't win them all.

Of course, what's troubling is the empty tubes labeled with Our Heroes names.

So, you know, this might not end well for them. COOL.

So one of the aliens shows up again and acts all superior to everyone. Captain Kirk tries to tell him about the sun that is about to go nova and is about to kill them all.

It turns out that he only tries to warn him so that Spock could get behind him and nerve pinch him into oblivion and steal his alien device. Because Vulcan nerve pinches solve all their problems.

Except, apparently, this one, because this alien is not out for long.

Long enough to give everyone a false sense of security, though. So that's something.

So Our Heroes go and try to find a way out. They find a way back to the planet's surface!

Kirk: Enterprise! Come in, Enterprise!
Me: Umm. Dude. You sent them away. They are so not coming for you.

So they all go running around and they think that they see Scotty, but he's not actually there, and poor Gem is just being dragged everywhere and, seriously, is anyone going to ask her opinion about all this? I'm sure she's glad that you're trying to rescue her, but there is such a thing as asking, I'm just saying.

Despite everyone and their dog trying to kidnap her, Gem decides to be nice and tell Spock and Bones that they lost their captain a while back. And by "tell" I mean "gesture wildly back towards where they came from". Kirk's back with the aliens, who decide that they only really need the one specimen and send Spock, Bones, and Gem*** off somewhere that they claim is safe and take Kirk for their own nefarious purposes.


Sulu: So, we've gone far longer than anticipated.
Scotty: With the solar flares still going on, it's not like we can do anything but sit here. Kirk would kill us if the Enterprise got so much as a scratch on her.
Sulu: Shouldn't we be, I don't know, worried about them?
Scotty: Dude, they are probably more worried about us than we are of them. Now hurry up and pass the booze.
Sulu: Yeah, you're right. They're probably fine.



So, yeah. This episode takes a turn for the awesome as Captain Kirk is strung up to the non-existent ceiling with his hands in manacles and he's just sort of dangling there. It is pretty much totally awesome, even if I'm not exactly sure why the aliens are doing this. Something about fighting for life? I don't know. I just think they're sadists.

Man, I hope they have a safe word in place. That shit could get dangerous, yo.

And Gem gets to watch all this because the aliens are not only physical sadists but emotional ones, too. GOOD TIMES.

So they finish torturing Kirk and send him back to Spock and Bones, who've been wandering around the nothingness again. Kirk isn't looking too good, as he has some pretty serious wounds. You know, with the whole hanging from the ceiling thing.

Then Gem very nicely takes on Captain Kirk's wounds.

They all witness this and start theorizing about her and her powers. Did you know that it's possible that healing people could kill her? True story! You know, it's possible that her self-preservation instinct would kick in and keep her from actually dying, but they can't be sure. And she doesn't know Captain Kirk well enough to risk her life for him.

The whole time that they're talking about her, she's sitting not even ten feet away from them. SHE CAN HEAR YOU GUYS. Probably. If she understands language at all. Either way, it's not cool to treat her like a tool instead of a person. SHE HAS FEELINGS, SHE'S AN EMPATH.

Oh, and Captain Kirk apparently has the bends. Because that totally makes sense.

And here come the aliens again to give Captain Kirk a choice! Either they can take Bones, who has an 87% chance of dying, or Spock who has a 93% chance of permanent brain damage should they take them. They'll give Kirk a bit of time, but when they come back, he better have made a decision.

So there's some bickering and Bones and Spock each try to sacrifice themselves and Kirk tells them to stfu, because he's the captain and he decides who lives and who dies. Again, this situation is oddly familiar.

However, unlike the time with the GIANT SPACE AMOEBA OMG, Bones decides to take matters into his own hands. Fuck yes. Bones decides that he's going to remember that he is a medic, has all sorts of fun drugs, and has a hip-holster of bad ass. A hip-holster that is a bag of holding and has anything he could possibly need in any given situation. Up to and including all those fun drugs.

So he takes a hypo and knocks his Captain out. Which probably constitutes an act of mutiny and assault on a superior officer (does it matter if the officer you assault is superior or not? Does no one care if you kick an ensign?).

However, nobody ever cares about acts of mutiny and Spock can only approve of the lengths that Doctor McCoy has gone to. Mostly because this makes Spock acting captain and free to sacrifice himself for the greater good. Bones hates the world.

Well, Bones hates the world just long enough for him to knock Spock out, too. Damn, Bones is hardcore.

My whole "Bones is going to take over the ship" thing isn't looking too far fetched now, is it? He's already taken out two of his commanding officers. And that's just with his hip-holster. Imagine what will happen when he gets his crazy up to his fully stocked medical bay. Scotty better be watching his back, 'cause he can never know what Bones' might slip into his drink.

Before Bones can get back to the ship to carry out his hostile take-over, though, the aliens come and remind him that he's supposed to be sacrificing himself. And Bones figures that if he can't take over the ship, then he might as well take the moral high ground from Spock. Really, Bones wins either way.

I would like to know why it is that when Kirk was being tortured he was missing his shirt, but when Bones is being tortured he's still in full uniform. I feel that this is unfair and would like to lodge a formal complaint. You know, on top of all of my other complaints.

So Spock and Kirk wake up and realize that they just got their asses handed to them by Doctor McCoy. They just lost several levels of bad ass. So then they start coming up with a game plan to seem awesome again. It involves hacking the device they stole from the alien earlier. Captain Kirk points out, for no really clear reason, that a good defense is a good offense.

Kirk: I plan to start offending right now.
Me: Oh, sweetie. You've been offensive for a while now.

So they use the alien device, and they find Bones hanging from the ceiling, looking very much the worse for wear.

Thank goodness Spock is there, he finds the very conveniently placed rope that lets Bones down. I'm going to try not to think to closely on that rope. Because I have no clue how pulling that rope undoes Bones' manacles. It makes no sense.

I actually assume that it only works because Spock was the one to pull the rope. If anyone else had tried, nothing would have happened.

(If Chekov had tried, it would have set loose a pack of rabid wolverines. True facts.)

So then Bones is dying. Like, every single one of his major organs is failing horribly. He is not going to make it back to the Enterprise to take it over. This would sadden him more if he wasn't in so much pain.

But, hey, you guys! Gem can do something! Sure, maybe she'll die! But maybe she won't!

And then the aliens pop up and tell us that Gem has to decide what to do for herself! Spock and Kirk can't try to sway her either way. Apparently these aliens are testing Gem to see if she'll learn from Our Heroes the instinct of self sacrifice. Because the aliens have the power to save one planet and they're thinking of saving Gem's. But they'll only do it if Gem proves that her species is worthy of survival.

Because that isn't terrible or anything. I mean, who does that? We're going to decide on the survival of an entire species based on one single person? And you're going to force her to give up her life for your own scewed sense of justice? I mean, that's douchey beyond belief. You guys are fail higher intelligence.

Also, the aliens have taken to calling her Gem, too, and did no one think to ask this girl her name? You guys are supposed to be all powerful! Surely you could have gotten past that mute thing! Unless she really can't understand what you guys are talking about and you can't understand her which just adds a whole new level of wrong to the whole thing.

While Spock, Kirk, and the aliens debate over how big of jerks the aliens are being, Gem is working on McCoy. She heals him a bit, but she she balks at actually dying for this man that she barely knows.

Thankfully, Spock is able to break out of the force field that feeds on emotion by way of not having any. He steals the aliens other device thing and Kirk is set free. At this point they say... something to one of the aliens who decides that perhaps forcing this girl to kill herself isn't the best answer. He heals Bones and Gem and they go on their merry way.

Our Heroes end up back on the Enterprise where Scotty compares this girl he never met to a stupid pearl in a story. A pearl worthy to be bought! Because that's totally how we talk about people.

And then they talk about how emotion saved the day and they theorize that Spock should stick that in his pipe and smoke it. Spock thinks that they should all kindly stfu.

SO. I have some demands. I demand that someone write this episode from the point of view of Gem (with bonus points if you give her a better name, one that is actually hers). I also demand a story where Bones takes over the Enterprise and then the universe (with bonus points if he is then called "Bones" for a different reason). I also demand and ocelot, but that is neither here nor there.

Also, I've noticed that for all the Star Trek icons I have, none of them actually show a happy emotion. They are all judging in some way. Except for my Sulu icon, which is just plain awesome.

*Or whatever. I am not actually all that knowledgeable on children's games. SHOCKING, I KNOW.
**Yes. And then he does it anyway. Bitches.
***I keep wanting to call Gem Chell, who is a silent female protagonist who can kick ass and has a name that doesn't offend me.

[identity profile] 2010-08-22 07:45 am (UTC)(link)
For some reason this episode was the very last one I saw. I saw most of season three in repeats, as well as most of season one, so it was a random factor as to when I might see any given episode--and this one escaped me till the summer of '75, something like, what, seven years after it aired for the first time?

This, as well as "Return of the Archons," "For the World is Hollow and I have Touched the Sky," and "Spock's Brain" were among my least favorites of the series, though they all pale beside the godawfulness that was "And the Children Shall Lead Them." Sad as it may seem, I think my favorite Season 3 ep was "Assignment, Earth."

[identity profile] 2010-08-22 04:02 pm (UTC)(link)
I don't really have a problem with "For the World is Hollow and I have Touched the Sky", though that might be because I'm weak to weddings, no matter the quality. I'm totally with you with the others, though. "And the Children Shall Lead" also loses points for being just plain boring. I haven't watched "Assignment, Earth" yet, but I don't really have any high hopes for it. I've sort of stopped expecting anything good from this season.

[identity profile] 2010-08-22 04:23 pm (UTC)(link)
I remember Assignment Earth as being kind of fun and out of the usual run, but I was younger than you and perhaps uncritical.
The Empath reminded me a whole lot of the tapes of experimental theatre my dad showed to his high school English students, with random unpleasant stuff happening in spotlights on a dark stage, and a lot of unexplained scene shifts.

[identity profile] 2010-08-22 05:08 pm (UTC)(link)
That is exactly what The Empath is. Dark stage, spot lights, and not a whole lot of sense. I disapprove.

[identity profile] 2010-08-23 03:14 am (UTC)(link)

And this pretty much sums up why there wasn't a season 4.

[identity profile] 2010-08-23 03:26 am (UTC)(link)
I have such fond memories of season 2. Why can't we go back to those bygone days? Those episodes where I didn't really notice all the fail that was going around. I keep hoping that maybe season 3 will pick up. But it never does.

[identity profile] 2010-08-23 03:27 am (UTC)(link)
Having never really watched the series in sequential order of seasons, I never realized how things went downhill until your funny yet insightful posts.

[identity profile] 2010-08-23 03:30 am (UTC)(link)
This is, indeed, a time when my desire to watch things completely and in the correct order comes and bites me in the ass.
ckd: small blue foam shark (Default)

[personal profile] ckd 2010-08-23 02:44 pm (UTC)(link)
I think Diane Duane wrote a Trek novel called _Doctor's Orders_ with McCoy in command of the ship.

As for your views on this episode...yeah. Third season. This writeup is about 10 bajillion times[1] more entertaining than the actual episode was!

[1] Possibly more.

[identity profile] 2010-08-23 04:35 pm (UTC)(link)
I will have to add that to the list of Star Trek tie in novels to read. The list so far consists only of "How Much for Just the Planet?".

I'm glad that these are amusing and not just plain annoying!

[identity profile] 2010-08-23 04:58 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm told that Barbara Hambly wrote a Star Trek novel that is worth reading, with bonus geek-joy of Here Come the Brides crossover based on actors in common. But I have not seen a copy, so this is hearsay.

[identity profile] 2010-08-24 03:14 am (UTC)(link)
Yes. The novel is called Ishmael, and it is awesome.

We have a copy around the house.


[identity profile] 2010-08-24 03:20 am (UTC)(link)
We have a copy around the house.


You have just described every book in existence. FYI.

[identity profile] 2010-08-24 06:50 pm (UTC)(link)
The gender-neutral pronoun I know is 'per', which may be from Joanna Russ? Our campus newspaper tried using it for a few issues in the late 70s but it didn't catch on.

[identity profile] 2010-08-25 12:54 am (UTC)(link)
From what I can tell*, there isn't any sort of gender neutral pronoun that's set in stone. There's a lot of different one depending on who you're talking to?

I don't know. I should probably look into it more.

*keeping in mind that I have done very little research on the subject. Like, a very quick Google scan.