Squire of Gothos, Arena and The Alternative factor
Welcome one and welcome all to the next installment of Star Trekkin’.
Ordinarily These posts are laden with humour; this post, I dont know if im up to such things. Why? Well, the three episodes I watched were, to me anyway, some of the bleakest episodes of Trek I’ve seen. Each seemed to be stitched together with dark, uncompromising, visions; meaninglessness, war, destruction, negation of existence and the hopelessness of the now.
Fuck it though, there’s plenty still to jibe and giggle about, including silly rubber suits and episode ruining endings… tally ho!!!!
Let’s begin with squire of gothos. Kirk and the gang head towards an unknown planet, Sulu and Kirk go missing and some freaky, antiquated, words appear on the enterprise screen:
Spock: I believe its pronounced, tally ho.
Turns out an omnipotent force has basically nicked Kirk and Sulu and turned them into statues in his 19th century mock up home (which looks pretty bad ass actually). A bit of introduction takes place and mr omnipotent dude informs all he is a military man, retired, called trelane. But they can call him the squire of gothos. He’s a badass character that, despite the fact that a 19th century costume and manner in a futuristic bit of science fiction would ordinarily be complete and utter tripe, looks pretty darned cool…
What follows is like a Socratic dialogue discussing the war like nature of man as beast; including the most awesome line ‘youre the only predator that preys on its own species’.Well, I didn’t take it down exactly so excuse me if that’s an inaccurate transcription. Still though. That’s some ridiculously degrading stuff- man as nothing more than an extension of a self destructive universe. Why’d I say that? Well, theres something so kafka-esque about this episode that I couldnt help but think about futility, meaninglessness and the nature of the universe we find ourselves in.
Throughout this episode it felt like Trelane was just an allegory, an allegory for the nothingness of existence, its blind absurdity, throwing obstacles in paths, defeating choice, locking all who exist within it’s realms precisely within its realms, offering no escape and condemning man to both freedom and imprisonment, to its end and life, simultaneously. Seriously. Its the never ending quest to get into the castle, with no end in sight, its the trial for death that exists yet does not have a finality ahead of it.
So… you guessed it folks, this whole hyped up existentialist predilection in the episode served to MAKE ME FUCKING ADORE IT. I loved the character of Trelane, his blindness, his immaturity, his development, his misunderstandings. His potency and blindness. I loved the fact that there were so many points in this episode that Shakespeare’s King Lear leapt into my head, the immortal ‘like flies to wanton boys’ shimmying like a hypnotic mantra, directing me, pulling me, into the heart of blackness.
There are so, so, many things I would love to write about this episode, bit we’ve got too much to cover and, as always, I dont want to direct you too much (Bifur – Yes, please do stop prattling on dear boy)- please comment if you have thoughts and are reading this!… I will say this one further point; the ending was a bit shit – it made sense, absolutely the narrative was a perfect finalisation, but there is some cheesy shit going down that was a little bit of an anti-climax.
And cheesy shit abounds in the next episode ‘Arena’. Mainly because of this…
oh dear… my modern sensibilities were horrified by the rubberised shape of this ‘lizard man’, called a Gorn. Not only this but, well, the dude in the suit was a bit shit at trying to overcome the ridiculousness of the suit; some badass acting wouldve done at least part of the job. You know that stuff modern actors do with studying animals, developing walks and motions to represent how the beast their inhabiting would move (google Andy Serkis preparing for his role as Gollum, youll see what I mean); this dude clearly did none of that. To be honest they probably just threw the suit on a cameraman and asked him to walk around. Pish.
The good news is it didn’t really affect the episode too badly; another dark tale, discussing the war-like nature of man in a lot more detail than the last episode. This one ends with a bit of hope, with a squeeze of enabling man to be a little bit bestial still, ‘cos, you know, sensualism and whatnot.
The main really horribly depressing thing in this episode is more to do with the nature of truth; particularly moral truth, understanding and appearance.
(Bifur – the other horribly depressing thing for me about this episode is that Mythbusters comprehensively disproved Kirk’s genius move…)
Basically an outpost gets fully fucked up by the Gorns, the enterprise pursues them in a fit of venegeance, Kirk and a Gorn dude get captured by some crazy powerful race and stuck on a planet to fight to the death… then there’s a little twist where, well, no spoilers… but the outcome of the twist serves to lead you to question perspective, and its implications in reaching a moral truth, even in the face of an amoral standpoint youre left a little queasy. Fallibility and getting shit wrong not because you didn’t do your best but, because, all subjectivity gets things wrong (there’s a nod of that in the last episode as well). So a big outcome of this episode is… we’re fucked. Really, really fucked. That hope that gets thrown in the end, yeah its there but it doesn’t suffice in plugging the gaping, open, vacuous wound of human existence as condemnation…
So the next episode… dude, seriously, these three are fucking scratching at the back of my mind and letting little gremlins flood into my senses screaming ‘hahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahhahhahhahhahhahhaojhosfo[ha mudfg oiu rpoiu rgpiudsf gpomug pouet h FUCK YOU YOU STUPID DICK, THERE AINT NO POINT!’
So when this started happening I paused, and made an espresso..
This ones from Foundry roasters, its a Rwandan from a Karangera washing station and its pretty fucking delicious. Ive had little luck with it tasting its best with the aeropress, nor has milk really let it shine so far, but in espresso it’s a bit like drinking an orange juice. A warm, concentrated orange juice. With a good slab of dark chocolate. And a plummy aftertaste. Its both soothing, and enlivening… just the thing I needed for….
THE ALTERNATIVE FACTOR: in which the very fabric of existence is in jeapordy because the neutralisation of matter and anti-matter produces complete and utter non-existence. AKA harmony is nullification. AKA, why on earth does anything exist if it necessarily needs to be extreme and imbalance?
This episode is super duper cool; it has insanity, sanity, wild eyed abandon, multi-verses, singularities, warp rifts and some fucking awesome acting. Both Nimoy and Shatner really seem to have gotten into this episode, giving it every ounce of there ability to convey humanity in the face of the void; every ounce of bringing character to thrust questioning, confusion and blindness into the realm of the real for viewers. Its astonishing.
Its also an episode that really utilises what little effects could be used at the time to produce an extremely uneasy feeling; as a viewer I felt sicked by the swirling, difficult to fully focus on, negative images of self battling self. I loved it.
What else did I love; oh, the ending of the condemnation of an individual to have insanity scratching at his throat, and his alternate throat, for all eternity. Good work Kirk; make me feel the horror of being again.
…this guy was certainly already feeling it… ouch
His name is Lazarus, and he is at the centre of this episode. He basically jumps on the scene in a weird remot planet at the same time as kirk is contacted by a dude in starfleet to say that he thinks an invasion of some sort of ultra insanely scary force is beginning; why ultra insanely scary? Because they cant get a fix on where this crazy intense forces are coming from.
Lazarus basically is a bit nutso, states he’s after a ‘beast’, a Luciferian presence that ended his world… what follows is an episode that throws so much around that you cant help but feel pulled into it’s projection of desolation. It slithers across the screen, drawing you into a realm where nothing makes sense, everything is void and well… fuck it, just go watch it and see for yourself.
With that, here’s a picture of a smile ‘cos, you know, I feel like we all need cheering up a bit…
sigmund freud.. pah, what’s the point…….