Up first! He's a homosexual Asian helmsman! His best pal's a wig-wearing Russian navigator who can't say W! When these two Federation officers share a living pod on Alpha Centauri's tiniest moon, it's warp factor funny! Tune in for The Sulu & Chekov Show!
Next on tap! The last thing this fan-dancing communications officer with a spark plug in her ear wanted was to share her quarters with three adorable kids and one playful scamp of a dog, but when their parents are killed in a space-car accident, she has no choice but to let her orphaned nephews, niece and their dog Tribble onto her starship...and into her heart. It's Hailing Frequencies Open, this fall on CBS!
And finally! He's an earth-man raised on a far distant planet and sent back home with a magic ballpoint pen and a kitty cat. What kind of hairball schemes will this zany pair of mismatched misfits get into? Tune in to Assignment: Earth to find out!
Of the three choices above, I'd pick the first two a million times before I chose number three. Unfortunately, number three was this week's Star Trek episode.
The show starts with the Enterprise back in 1968 to shoot at hippies from orbit. Kirk says they're doing "historical research," but if you're going to travel through time and not space wouldn't it make more sense to do so with a team that's already on Earth rather than to pull a deep space ship all the way back to home port? Not to mention the myriad potential risks of sending a ship and crew back in time for something that could be researched with a Federation library card. The one thing Star Trek seems to get most right week after week is the timeless fact that government bureaucrats make moronic decisions.
Scotty apparently forgot to turn the transporter off, probably because he was busy slapping butter in his greasy hair and combing it with a fish skeleton comb like Moe in the short where the Stooges were cavemen. A guy in a suit and carrying a cat appears in the transporter room. The cat says "meow" and sounds like Terry Jones yelling "cock-a-doodle-do" in Monty Python's Life of Brian.
The guy in the suit was beaming from somewhere a zillion light years away. There are vast expanses between stuff in space, so it's possible there were no moons, planets, suns, asteroids, black holes, or Golgafrincham Ark ships between there and Manhattan, his ultimate destination, but it seems pretty unlikely to me that he missed all that other stuff on the beam over only to land on a time-traveling starship's transporter pad just above Earth. The odds must be a couple of quadrillion to one against. When he does get to New York, his first stop should be a liquor store to pick up a lottery ticket.
The guy in the suit says he's "Mister Seven" and that this "is the most critical period in Earth's history." The arrogance of that odious Sixties generation makes me wish the Enterprise really was there to shoot hippies from orbit.
Mister Seven is there because of all the orbiting nuclear missile platforms that got sent into space in 1968. At first, I figure he's also there to stop all the unicorns that got launched up there to keep the missile platforms company, but then I realize that the Star Trek writers are serious.
Kirk puts one guard on duty outside the cell of a guy who beat up everyone in the transporter room without breaking a sweat and on whom Spock's Vulcan neck squeeze doesn't work. He also doesn't have the prisoner frisked, so Mister Seven takes out his magic ballpoint pen which knocks out the prison cell's force field. The ballpoint pen can also deliver long-distance heroin injections, judging by the stoned look on the guard's face after he gets zapped by it.
Mister Seven escapes from the Enterprise and materializes in the bank safe that Mister Mooney and Lucy got trapped in every week. On Earth, he's got a high-tech computer that looks like a toilet seat glued to a sideways movie poster frame, and Terri Garr is his secretary. When the toilet-seat computer is turned on it announces "com-pu-TOR on." And I thought Windows was annoying.
We learn that Mister Seven wants to stop the U.S. from launching an orbital missile platform to catch up with the orbital missile platform that another, unnamed country already has in orbit (I'm looking at you, Mother Russia). Maintaining the balance of power in this situation would be bad. I'm confused, because I remember the earlier episode where Kirk and the Klingons got into an escalating contest supplying arms to Planet Vietnam, and that time escalation to maintain the balance of power was good. Maybe its just bad on Earth. Oh, you crazy humans!
Kirk again picks the one guy on the whole ship that looks like an alien to accompany him down to New York. Spock's brilliant disguise is, as usual, a hat.
Kirk and Spock walk all over town while from the ship Scotty directs them to Mister Seven's groovy penthouse apartment. There's nothing preventing them from beaming directly into the apartment since, in fact, they do that very thing at the end of the episode. Hey, it takes a lot of work to stretch these things out to an hour, minus commercials.
I narrowed my choices down to this or my equally inconspicuous pope hat.
Mister Seven flees with his pussycat in Mister Mooney's safe and turns up at the missile launch site. This guy's been trained to be a super-genius spy on some mysterious faraway planet, but apparently no one told him that walking around NASA stroking a cat like Ernst Stavro Blofeld is the opposite of discreet.
A guard tries to stop him, but Mister Seven puts the man to sleep using his magic pen which, he doesn't seem to realize, could hugely alter the future. If the guy is caught napping on the job, gets fired, is divorced as a result and doesn't have the two kids he was destined to have, it could have a ripple effect through time that results in a sentient cockroach swallowing Schenectady in 2083.
On the Enterprise, Scotty can't see the ground unless he bounces his signal off a satellite. Radio Shack has more sophisticated equipment than the starship Enterprise.
On Earth, Mister Seven hides in the trunk of a car to get to the launch platform. His beamer can beam him clear across the universe but couldn't beam him directly to the platform.
Kirk and Spock beam to the launch site, but are captured. Luckily, no one looks at Spock's ears, which are clearly visible under the brim of his fishin' hat.
Scotty sees Mister Seven tampering with the missile, but when he tries to beam him to the Enterprise, Terri Garr beams him back to his swinging New York bachelor pad. The missile goes off and starts acting all screwball.
At the apartment, Terri Garr finally realizes what with all the beaming and the talking green computer box and the cat that says "meow" in Mel Blanc's voice that something fishy might be going on, but Mister Seven locks the doors and zaps the phone cord with his magic pen when she tries to call the cops on him. I start to think that Arthur C. Clarke was full of crap, and that if this pen can do anything Mister Seven wants it to do, then at some point science actually is magic.
Terri Garr whacks Mister Seven on the head with a box of Cuban cigars and says hers is a generation of rebels because they wonder if they'll be alive at thirty. We viewers know that, unfortunately, most hippies are still alive long after that, are soaking up social security like pampered, bell-bottomed sponges, and are still yammering out their big, fat pie holes about how great they are at sixty-five.
Kirk arrives and lets Mister Seven blow up the missile before its nuclear payload starts World War III. So Russia, a malevolent prison-fortress nation intent on world domination still has its floating missile platform, but the benign superpower doesn't have one to counter it. Way to go, team!
Mister Seven's cat briefly turns into Morticia Addams, but only Terri Garr sees her.
Kirk and Spock say they checked the history tapes on the ship and that Mister Seven and Terri Garr are in for lots more sexy adventures on their spinoff show but, since there was apparently a time when all television executives weren't complete morons, no, they weren't.