Clickerbox: Star Trek 1×06 “The Naked Time”

Enterprise investigates the deaths of a science team on a dying world, while a mysterious infection spreads throughout the ship.

Best premise yet? Possibly. Despite the title, there’s very little nudity.  😦

I think the best word to describe this episode is weird. It’s not as amazing as it could be, but it’s not painful to watch either. It’s just fucking weird.  That said it’s one of the better stories so far, and there’s a lot of nice things to say about it.

First of all, having Mysterious Planet of the Week #6 be an ice world is a welcome change from the deserts. Ice worlds, if you’ll pardon the pun, are just cooler. Hoth is the best planet in the Star Wars films, that one with the actress and the train is the best Naruto film, and who doesn’t love Freezeezy Peak? Hell, I’d have taken a planet of cat food just for some variety.

The opening scene with Spock and some other science officers examining the outpost on the planet is actually pretty creepy. Everybody’s dead, and covered in ice. It’s a haunting image. Which they promptly ruin by Enterprise‘s HEV suits being quite obviously made out of shower curtains. Maybe Starfleet’s been going through some budget cuts? DO NOT RUIN THIS FOR ME.

The more Spock and pals learn about this place, the science team’s fate just gets stranger and stranger. One man is found dead in the bathroom, taking a shower with his clothes on. Spooky, right?

Maybe he’s a nevernude.

One of the expendable crewmen decides here and now of all fucking places would be the best time to scratch his nose. So he takes off his glove and a red blood-like liquid drops onto his hand. OH NOES INFECTION. HOW CAN SHATNER FIGHT SOMETHING HE CAN’T MONOLOGUE TO DEATH?

That’s my main gripe with this episode. There’s so much potential for creep factor here. They could have told a genuinely unsettling tale.  But, no, in classic Trek fashion they took a flying leap over the Realm of Terror straight into Stupidsville.

Thankfully, we haven’t quite arrived in Stupidsville yet. How could I be annoyed with this episode when the Heart Monitor With the Wicked Bass makes yet another appearance? Spock’s away team is being examined by McCoy after their excursion. Let me tell you, the all-black outfits they wear under those shower curtains? Way, WAY more flattering than the damn space pajamas they usually have on. ALSO SPOCK IS SO SASSY TO MCCOY. I LOVE HIM. McCoy of course, gives everyone a clean bill of health because he’s an awful doctor. Well, not really, but I mean, we have to have a plot, right?

Despite the terrifying shit that happened down on the planet, Kirk decides to stick around and monitor the breakup of the planet FOR EARTH SCIENCE!

Meanwhile in the mess hall, the genius who scratched his nose is being pestered by Sulu to take up fencing. During the meal, he starts freaking the fuck out over nothing and starts yelling at everyone, and just generally behaving like a toolbag.

Picture is unrelated.

So it appears we’ve got a sort of rage virus on our hands here, not unlike28 Days Later only nowhere near as interesting.

And can I just say that Star Trek‘s bit players are usually pretty fucking awful? Following in the footsteps of Bailey from “The Corbomite Maneuver”,  infected guy is just awful. I’ve seen more convincing acting in Random Assault specials. JEEZ.

Despite awful acting and a lot of blithery blathery nonsense, Infected Guy does raise kind of an interesting point when he questions why exactly Enterprise and indeed humanity is a whole is way the fuck out in the middle of the Buttfuck Quandrant, risking so many lives for largely pointless exploration, instead of taking care of Earth and humanity first. It’s a good question to explore, and it’s one of the few storylines on Enterprise (the show) that were actually a good idea.

Before we can ponder the moral dilemma in the most hamtastic fashion possible, Infected Guy snaps and comes at Sulu with a knife. It’s a pretty stupid idea, since Sulu is pretty badass. I like how all the extras just kind of sit there and watch George Takei struggle with a knife-wielding maniac. You have earned your pay.

Anyway, during the fight Idiotstick accidentally stabs himself in the gut with his butter knife and oh hey that is way more blood than I thought 1966 would allow. Sulu gets the guy’s blood on him and as the wonderfully cheesy rattlesnake sound effect tells us, he’s now infected. THE VIRUS SPREADS THROUGH BODY FLUIDS

As much as I like McCoy, and as much as I like watching McCoy get his Dr House on, I can’t help but feel a little impatient as he tries to determine how the virus works. The audience already does, so it’s a little bit of a problem. This scene should have come a little earlier, I think. That said, we have no idea exactly what it does or how to cure it, but you know, details….In the end the virus plot is mostly just there to facilitate the hijinks.

Also, without even being infected, Kirk is kind of a huge anger-dick to McCoy in this scene. When Bones says he’s checked every possible reason for Infected Guy’s behavior and come up empty, Kirk says:

I want the IMpossible checked out too!

McCoy’s face  during that line basically just says “I hate you so, so much.” Yeah, okay, Shatner. I’ll get right on that. Hmm. Maybe it’s the work of a purple space platypus! Maybe there’s a four-sided triangle to blame.

Actually, on this show, I wouldn’t be surprised.

So now Sulu’s infected the Other Helmsman of the Week, Reilly. HAY! ^_^ Reilly, being the Irish fuck that he is, starts acting drunken and surly, wandering down to sickbay to hit on Nurse Chapel before buggering off to cause more problems.

Sulu meanwhile, seems to think he’s Errol Flynn, and runs around the corridors with no shirt on, menacing hapless extras with his rapier.

You can just see the gayness flowing off of Takei and it’s just glorious. I love him forever. Sulu is a goddamn lunatic in this episode. He even tries to swordfight the bridge crew and “rescue” Uhura. Since she’s awesome, of course, Uhura isn’t having any of that shit.

Another weird little thing is that after knocking Sulu out, Spock dryly refers to him as D’Artagnian. It’s a decent line, but why it was given to Spock I’ll never guess. It just seems a little more silly and out of character for someone who’s supposed to be emotionless. MAYBE IT’S FORESHADOWING.

Reilly’s locked himself in the engine room, declares himself Captain and starts to sing over the intercom and just generally be as annoying as possible.  Oh, and he’s shut down the engines and Enterprise has like twenty minutes before the planet falls apart. YAY.

One nice thing to say  about Kirk: When his ship’s in danger, he doesn’t march heroically to solve the problem. He fucking runs. I like that. It lends a sense of urgency to the matter when your lead is tearing down the hallway as fast as he can.

By this point, the virus has spread pretty much everywhere on the ship, and I was pretty impressed with how chaotic they managed to make it feel. Everyone is going fucking nuts and running amok, while Reilly continues to sing drunkenly over the intercom annoying everyone.

Fuck

Reilly acts like me when I’m drunk. 😦

Scotty and his engineering bitches manage to phaser their way into engineering and oust Reilly. The bad news is he’s turned the engines completely off and the time it’ll take to restart them is more time than they have. Luckily there’s the Untested Formula of Convenience that might, just might get them out of this.

There are people all over the place just losing their shit. One guy is painting religious nonsense all over the walls and laughing about it. My Space Waifu Yeoman Rand is really wonderful here. She’s yet to be infected and kind of takes the whole thing in stride. She puts up with no bullshit with that one, and when the crazy people won’t leave her alone, she exasperatedly yells for Spock. Love. It.

Spock’s in sickbay trying to get an update on the whole cure-situation. Nurse Chapel, however, has been infected and tries coming on to him.  It’s interesting to see the usually cool-as-cucumber Vulcan get so overtly flustered and uncomfortable with sexual advances. I’m kind of curious as to how procreation works on Vulcan. Is it like, enjoyable for them? Or is it just hey we should probably continue our species. Let us bone.

Chapel touches Spock and he becomes infected too. And it’s fantastic. Nimoy plays the whole thing wonderfully. Spock doesn’t go crazy immediately. He desperately clings to the shreds of his emotional control and logic. And he’s fucking scared. Losing that control and feeling all those emotions under the surface terrifies him. He fights it so hard, trying to recite scientific formulas and math equations to keep himself logical, and when he finally just can’t do it any more and breaks down it amazing.

Spock’s experience here is quite a contrast to the human crew members. They lose their inhibitions and the insanity is a public  display. Spock goes through it in private. It’s something he’s ashamed of being unable to stop and he succumbs to it in the quietest way he can.

Since that was such a wonderful moment, Shatner barges in and acts as hammy as ever. He even slaps the shit out of Spock because it’s always a great idea to strike an out of control Vulcan who’s a lot stronger than you are. Spock does manage to shake it off, but not before he punches Kirk right in the mouth.

Kirk himself is now infected and tries to have a similar scene where he talks about how the responsibility of command is so heavy and that he can’t really have a life of his own because he’s married to the ship. It’s kind of true, but doesn’t that make the 4326545 space babe he bangs every week like…adultery? It’s not a bad scene and it does what it’s supposed to, but it’s nowhere near as effective as Nimoy’s.

Lucky for them, McCoy’s finally figured out that the virus is some kind of polywater that is transmitted through bodily fluids like blood, sweat and saliva, and that it basically makes you fucking drunk. He’s concocted a cure and the crew is quickly back to normal.

There’s still the problem of the planet going poof and taking the ship with it. The Untested Formula is ready to go. Kirk gives the order, and not only do the engines start, but the speedometer’s going off the scale. So fuckin’ fast, in fact, that they travel at speeds beyond what’s physically possible and travel back in time three days to before any of this bullshit even started.

Ooooooooookay. THAT was out of nowhere. What the fuck? Time travel? SERIOUSLY? You’re going to introduce time travel this late in your story. WHAT IN THE FUCK. Random, much?

I mean, it’s not a complete reset button (I’m looking at you, Voyager) because those three days still happened and everyone remembers it, but damn, what an out of nowhere plot device. Also, guys, you have a formula that will very definitely enable time travel whenever you want it why is this never used again? I don’t think any of the other shows mention it either. Wouldn’t this have been handy in The Voyage Home when you’re stuck in the 80s?

FUCK

One of The Naked Time’s flaws is that we kind of have two episodes going on here. There’s the one about the crew being infected with a virus that basically makes you a drunken lunatic, and there’s the one where Enterprise is slowly descending towards a planet because there’s something fucked up with the engines (which we just saw in “Mudd’s Women”). I can’t quite put my finger on why, because the events of both the A and B plots follow on quite logically from one another, but I just can’t help but feel like these two stories maybe weren’t meant to be part of the same episode and got duct taped together and run on sentences.

The opening scene was quite creepy, and if they’d have played the virus plot a little more straight they could have had a nice little horror story. Having an episode where everyone is silly is okay, especially because it does have consequences, but I still feel like it’s a wasted premise (yes, I know everyone hated the “Vulcan zombies” episode on Enterprise, but still). Either that or just pick one or the other.

I do like that so much of this episode focused on the crew as more of an ensemble, rather than the usual William Shatner Show. It’s a fun episode, but it’s just incredibly bizarre and as Spock might say, the ending was most illogical.

REDSHIRT DEATHS: 6*

UNNECESSARY ROLLS: 1

SHIRTLESS SHATNER: 3

*I’m not counting the dude who stabbed himself because his shirt was blue

Notes:

  • I can has replicator, plz?
  • Sulu uses a rapier here because Takei didn’t want the character to be a Japanese stereotype. Fair enough, but come on, katanas are way more awesome.
  • Goddammit, Majel Barret is not a sex object. Just stop.
  • Apparently Enterprise has a bowling alley on board.

Next time: Star Trek 1×07 “Charlie X”

About Random Assault

Random Assault is a collabaration of nerds who get together every Sunday to talk about whatever they want on their show Random Assault Podcast. What makes us unique is that we bring on guests from all walks of life who are just as passonate about entertainment as we are, guests including you! Just drop us a line and we'll put you on the list of guests, it's that easy!
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One Response to Clickerbox: Star Trek 1×06 “The Naked Time”

  1. Johnny G says:

    McCoy is not a very good doctor, but I think that makes sense because it’s obvious he HATES being a doctor.

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