We learn at the start of the show that four billion people have been killed in a star system, and the near total apathy of the bridge crew suggests that they didn't really like those four billion people all that much. I mean, it's not like one of those four billion people was Chekov or somebody whose death always makes Kirk sit up and take notice every time he's killed. Maybe those four billion people kept Kirk's Frisbee when he threw it in their solar system when he was a kid, or maybe they played their music so loud they kept everyone else up in the Milky Way all night long. So good riddance, four billion anonymous people. I'm sure you were all guilty of something.
After not caring that four billion people are dead at a writer's whim, a green blob suddenly flies at the Enterprise and everyone starts falling all over the bridge because it still hasn't occurred to anybody to install seat belts. All they've got is that little fence running around the bridge that everyone is always falling into and grabbing onto, and I wonder if Starfleet has to put up a disclaimer about chipped teeth like those security bars in parking lot traveling carnival roller coasters. The janitor must have to come in after every alien encounter with a huge mop like those kids use in supermarket aisles to sweep up Sulu's teeth.
Spock says the energy attack of the green blob was equal to 90 photon torpedoes. The Enterprise is usually bouncing back and forth with panels exploding and smoke coming out the computer consoles with only one or two photo torpedo hits, so I'd think 90 would leave nothing but a crater in space where Shatner's ego used to be.
The Enterprise's shields are down to 20% and Spock says that they can withstand three more such attacks. I'm not the best mathematician in the galaxy or a great big super-brain like Spock, but let me have a dummy human whirl at this.
1 energy blob = 90 photon torpedoes and resulted in an 80% loss to the shields.
3 more energy blobs = 270 photon torpedoes and would result in another 240% loss in the shields.
Since you'd only need 101% total green blob energy -- 100% to collapse the shields, 1% to blow up the ship -- by my back-of-the-matchbook calculations, 1 more energy blob would be sufficient to destroy the Enterprise completely with 59% green blob energy left over to vaporize Kirk's toupee just in case he panics and tries launching it out an escape hatch at the last second.
Spock is pretty much as good at ciphering as TV contemporary Jethro Bodine.
The Enterprise fires a torpedo at the thing that shot at them, and Kirk is stunned when it is able to absorb all that energy. Hey, Captain Genius, your ship just absorbed ninety times that much energy. Or maybe he's distracted because he's still trying to do Spock's complicated "goes-into-ing" in his head. Naught, naught, carry the naught...
Kirk finally decides to try to talk to the thing that killed four billion (I'm sorry, vaporized corpses, I just yawned) people, that just tried to kill them, and which he's just tried to blow up. I'd think saying "hello" would be pretty much the first thing you'd try to do every time you met something new up there in the great unknown of space, although I suppose as a diplomatic gesture trying to blow the hell out everything first works too.
The thing that just tried to kill them agrees to beam aboard the Enterprise, and everyone is so distracted that nobody but me notices that the actor extra in the transporter room wearing the red shirt is the same extra who was up on the bridge a little while ago wearing a blue shirt. Maybe he spilled mustard on his red shirt.
The thing that killed four billion people (sorry...yawned again) and tried to blow up the Enterprise is a tin gas can with a trash compactor on top. I guess it must have set those four billion people on fire then ground them up. I hope none of the four billion people put a spoon down it, because Kirk will have to call a plumber, and they charge a fortune for space calls.
The special effects team really went above and beyond the call of duty with the ultra-realistic string that floats the alien device off the transporter deck and bounces it around the ship.
The Enterprise senior officers all seem pretty surprised that the thing can move around. I'm not, since I'm apparently the only one who remembers that two seconds ago the thing was outside flying at warp 15 on a friggin' string.
The thing is called Nomad, it was launched from Earth in the early 2000s and was subsequently damaged and then repaired with alien technology that corrupted its original programming and is now traveling back to Earth to find its creator while in the meantime it's whiling away all those boring in-between hours in space by killing biological infestations.
Don't confuse this with V'ger from Star Trek: The Movie, which was launched from Earth in the late 1900s and was subsequently damaged and then repaired with alien technology that corrupted its original programming and will be traveling back to Earth to find its creator while in the meantime it will while away all those boring in-between hours in space by killing biological infestations. That time will be much different because it'll be ten years later, 50 million bucks richer and there'll be a bald chick.
Gee, I hope Spock logs all the files on this Nomad encounter in the right spot in the computer, because you wouldn't want to mix up these once-in-a-lifetime alien encounters.
Stop being a better actor than me!
Uhura turns on the intercom and starts subjecting the entire ship to her singing. I'm not kidding. So if some bored crewman down on Z deck feels like broadcasting fart noises to the whole ship, he can do so just by flipping a switch. It would also sound better than Uhura's singing.
Nomad hears Uhura shrieking over all the loudspeakers and floats out the door on its string to see who is skinning live cats. It floats up to the bridge where it sends a blue beam into Uhura's face and gets her to stop singing. If Nomad can get her to never fan dance again, he'll be my favorite floating tin bucket with a trash compactor on it in the whole wide world.
V'ger -- oops, I mean Nomad -- kills Scotty, and medical man Bones stands over the body and announces, "He's dead, Jim." I'd say he's the crummiest doctor in the universe since he doesn't even make any attempt whatsoever to revive him, but simple CPR was probably disinvented somewhere in the 22nd century, so that makes Bones not an incompetent quack I wouldn't trust to put on a Band-Aid.
Nomad says it can fix Ilia...oops, I mean Scotty. All it needs is some crackers with anatomy books on them and a cheddar cheese scalpel.
It fixes Scotty just by bouncing around on its string next to his bed in sickbay. It doesn't even send out a beam or a tumescent antenna like it did an embarrassing few minutes ago when it was tracking down Uhura.
Once Scotty is alive again -- no thanks to the ship's chief surgeon who was afraid to perform the kiss of life because it'd make him look gay in front of Sulu -- they tell Nomad to fix Uhura. It says it can't fix her because her brain was wiped clean, so Spock says they can reeducate her and Bones plasters on that disturbing wax smile that always looks like he's trying to grin his way through a proctological exam. I'm glad the compassionate doctor is so happy that Uhura's entire memory -- which would include her family, friends, and every life experience to date -- was washed away like a wet sponge across a blackboard. Hey, just as long as it's not you it's A-okay, right, Albert Schweitzer?
Two minutes later Uhura is somehow already reading at a kindergarten level, and Bones and the homely nurse laugh when she mispronounces "blue." And the compassion train just rolls on and on in Dr. Mengele's Zany Ztarship Zickbay.
Spock does a mind-meld with the garbage disposal top part of Nomad and figures out that Nomad was originally supposed to sterilize dirt samples but has decided to branch out to include people. Personally, once I got it to lower its shields I'd have chopped it up with an ax, but feeling it up is okay too, I guess.
Spock also is able to find out Nomad's history and how it was rebuilt after it was damaged when it joined with an alien probe. Okay, I can accept that a small pile of scrap metal can travel at warp 15, that it can wipe out entire planets and send out photon torpedoes that are 90 times more powerful than those on the Enterprise even though there is no evidence of any kind of rocket launcher out of the thing's tin bucket, and that it can perform CPR without ever leaving its string, but how is it that Spock can read the computer records in its own garbage disposal head when it can't access those exact same records? I'm starting to think they maybe didn't think this episode through clearly. Gosh, I hope they do a big screen remake one day that fills in all the blanks. (Also that costs millions of dollars more, is as boring as watching snail races on CBS, and that Scotty won't die in that version and will have a mustache. That would be sweet.)
Nomad punches out the homely nurse, zaps a couple of red shirts, and goes to engineering, which is so modern that it is run entirely with Lite Brites and plastic bowling balls. I think it's going to gas everybody on the ship or something. Who cares?
Kirk tells Nomad that he is a biological unit. Nomad's entire raison d'etre is killing living things and it didn't bother to check Kirk's pulse? What adorable innocence in a probe that's killed at least four billion people.
Kirk tells Funnybot that everything that is in error must be destroyed and that Nomad was in error, so Nomad naturally starts smoking like an ashtray at a Dean Martin celebrity roast and Kirk and Spock toss it out the window where it blows up.
At the end, we learn that Uhura is already back to college level and will be back on the job in a week. Apparently reeducation is a snap for a gal who has nothing on her brain but "hailing frequency open, captain" and pie. Too bad she'll call the cops on her parents when they show up at her apartment unannounced on Christmas because she'll have no memory whatsoever of them.