Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Original Series, Season 3: Day of the Dove

The Original Series, Season 3
"Day of the Dove"
Airdate: November 1, 1968
67 of 80 produced
62 of 80 aired
Click here to watch CBS.com

Introduction

Called to a remote colony by a distress signal, the crew of the Enterprise finds a deserted planet and an orbiting Klingon battle cruiser. As they put themselves at odds with each other, little do the two crews know that they are being manipulated into a false rage by a malevolent entity that feeds on emotions. Will they be able to put aside their differences in time to avoid being taken on a journey out of the galaxy, doomed to fight each other throughout an immortal eternity?

You see this sash, Kirk? It means STFU while I kick your ass. That's what.


Writing

Kevin: This episode has a lot going for it. You don't get much more a parable for a 60s audience than the lesson that we have to fight to overcome our violent impulses or we risk destroying ourselves. I liked the way their anger and violence arced. Kirk knows something is wrong, especially after finding out Chekov's lamented brother is a fiction, but is so consumed the by the immediacy of the situation, he can't call the conference to work it out and solve the problem. I had a few small problems with the set up, but those can be explained as part of the manipulation of the entity, like why Kang would not suspect Kirk of trying something when being beamed aboard, or why there is no evidence of a colony of any kind on the planet. If there never were a colony, wouldn't the computer had known that? But like I said, the entity was clearly manipulating things. It actually is creepier if it could do it over such a distance.

Matthew: I like this story a lot. We get a little bit deeper portrayal of the Klingons, one which is both more balanced (they believe propaganda about the Federation) as well as more backstory (their hunting and expansionist nature, which will  be picked up later). The notion of a being that feeds on emotions has been done before in TOS, but this is probably the best iteration. The story affords us the opportunity of seeing our favorite crew members at odds with each other, which is always illuminating.

Kevin: The solution felt a little pat, but it doesn't destroy the episode by any stretch. The whole point of the episode was the triumph of reason over violence, so it largely works, it just felt a little too easy. Kang patting Kirk on the back too hard was a nice touch.

Matthew: I agree that the solution was a bit too quick, but as always, I give a bit of a pass due to the constraints of a TV show. My main problem was with how stupid the Klingons on the planet were. Why in the hell would Kang ever trust Kirk to beam his six guys up to a ship of 430 humans, and not end up in custody? It defies belief that a Klingon would be so trusting and so stupid. Perhaps he was under the influence of the entity? Well, maybe, but then he is doing exactly the opposite of what the entity wants.

Kevin: I found Chekov's attempted rape of Mara to quite disturbing. I was stunned by how graphic and non-euphemistic it was. Not only did you have the visual of her dress being torn, but everyone from Chekov to Kirk to Kang pretty much said out loud what was going on. Especially for the standard's of 60s television, it was pretty ballsy.

Matthew: Definitely a creepy and worthwhile scene. Astonishingly, it's really the only time we see a serious rape attempt by a Starfleet crew member. I wonder if this was a show that Roddenberry was "hands off" on, given that he jealously guarded the virtue of Starfleet personnel in stories, both before (City On The Edge) and after (all of TNG) this show.

Kevin: Nitpicks. Why destroy the Klingon vessel? Intelligence find of the century. Right there.

Acting

Kevin: The acting job by pretty much everyone was what made sure this was a good episode for me. The crew displaying unrestrained violence, bigotry and insubordination to Captain Kirk are all wildly out of character, and in the hands of a lesser cast would have come off as ham-fisted or so absurd as to suggest their pathological cause almost immediately. But their aggression arcs well and seems almost appropriate to the circumstances that it helps build rather than demolish the tension.

Matthew: As usual, Nimoy earns accolades. Any time Spock gets testy, it's always fun to watch. Doohan also shines as an angry Scotty. I thought Chekov was a little over the top in the anger, but Koenig played the rape scene well.

Kevin: Michael Ansara as Kang gives a great performance. The producers apparently originally tried to get John Colicos back as Kor, but he was unavailable. Kang is definitely cut from the same cloth as Kor, but made the performance and character his own. Susan Howard does a pretty good job as Mara. I particularly liked her scene on the bridge when she realizes she won't be killed and in Engineering when trying to convince Kang of what is going on.

Matthew: The main Klingons were all good. Many of the extras were just ho-hum, in my book. They seemed like stunt men delivering lines.

Production Values

Kevin: The only real effects here were the destruction of the D7, which was sadly low budget, and the Beta XII-A entity itself. The entity is your standard blob of light, but the color changing was a nice touch. The sound effect for the matter changing got really annoying really quickly.

Matthew: I think the glowing pinwheel was one of the better blob of light effects. In the remaster, we get lots of nice shots of the ships, and the Enterprise blowing up the Klingon vessel.

Conclusion

Kevin: I am going with a 4 on this one. The set up is a classic Star Trek parable. The tension built well for me, and the acting was top notch all around. A slightly too simple conclusion and some effects that showed their shoestring budget keep this from a 5.

Matthew: This one has grown in my estimation after watching it for this blog. It's the best portrayal of Klingons in TOS. The rape scene was daring and well-played. The concept is not stunningly original, there are some characters acting stupidly at the outset, and like you say, the resolution was just so-so. But I'm comfortable giving this a "low 4," for a total of 8.

1 comment:

  1. Love this episode so much! The message is decent, but I'll admit my love is reserved for the cheesy parts: the Klingon lady eye make-up (and a high-ranking Klingon lady!), the ritzy Klingon uniforms, the sparkly evil alien, Kirk somersault-fighting, and Kirk's "you're a dead duck!" to the evil alien followed by Kang cheerfully supporting Kirk "Ha-ha! We'll kill humans without any help from you! *pats Kirk on the back and has a merry laugh with him*"

    I've already complained about Chekov's grossness in this episode, but the threat of rape is somehow dulled by the idea of the Klingon women in Next Gen, who were my first impression of the race, and who would have killed Chekov and eaten his heart before Kirk and Spock caught up. Mainly I just think the writers are genius for turning the standard 'I have a previously unmentioned vendetta against these aliens we have just encountered' cliche on its head, and then letting Sulu sucker-punch everybody with the horrifying idea that Chekov has this completely imaginary brother whose imaginary horrible death has left him devastated.

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