It seemed fitting that my first Star Trek: The Original Series recap for TWoP be the first TOS Mathra ever chained me to a chair and propped my eyes open with toothpicks to watch all the way through. Remember Geordi in Generations and how his forced and prolonged exposure to unbelievable carnage at the hands of Malcolm "Clockwork Orange" McDowell made him less susceptible to the unbelievable carnage he was to experience in the future? Yeah, well, that was me and my future viewings of more TOS. Not so fitting is that Mathra is at some edge-of-your-seaty Automorphic Forms conference in Park City, Mormonia while I do my first TOS recap. How one self-pities when one is unemployed. Man! Time to shake that maudlinity off in a extra large slosh of Pimm's -- whaddaya say? And while we're drawing the chalk lines for life alterations, try this one on for size: we caught the tail end of Quantum Leap right before "The Way to Eden" on our tape. Suddenly, all the pieces of my life fall into place. But on to the recap!
A ship that looks like those weird triangular football things fifth-grade boys made out of notebook paper and flicked at each other when they thought the teacher wasn't looking, but with nacelles, fakes its way through space with a cardboard Enterprise in tepid pursuit. The familiar-even-though-this-is-the-first-TOS-I've-ever-seen PING PING sound PING-PINGs as Spock, Kirk, and Kirk's extra-long sideburns look at the other ship on the viewscreen. Spock smears on his Green Exposition Eye Shadow and tells his captain that it most definitely is the stolen spacecruiser Aurora with six aboard. Kirk pulls in his gut, pushes off from the rail he was lounging on, and orders hailing frequencies opened. "Aurora, this is the U.S.S. Enterprise, Captain James T. Kirk commanding. Acknowledge," Kirk says. There's no acknowledgement. Kirk repeats his address. Still nothing. Some woman at the comm panel who is not Uhura but has Uhura's thing in her ear reports that the ship is receiving them, and Spock reports no indication of malfunction aboard the ship which would prevent them from responding. Kirk starts to tell the unresponsive ship that he has Federation orders to detain them, when the ship turns up its nose and walks away. Sulu needlessly reports that "they're veering off, sir." Kirk orders pursuit of the Aurora.
Stock shot of Enterprise hanging a right at the corner. Kirk tells Chekov to standby with tractor beams. Chekov looks intense and says that if the ship continues on its course, it will enter Romulan space. Spock pulls a Spock face. Kirk orders Sulu to engage the tractor beam and pull them in. Sulu reports that the Aurora is struggling to escape from the tractor beam. Spock reports that the Aurora's engines are dangerously overheating. Just pour a little water in there and I'm sure they'll make it to the closest hobby shop. Kirk orders the Aurora to cut their engines. But they don't, of course. So Kirk has to order an emergency transportation of those aboard. The Aurora glows red and explodes. There are a few tense minutes of Kirk clenching and sweating several parts of his body, demanding Scotty to tell him whether or not he managed to save the Aurora six, before we can all collectively relax when Scotty reports they're all there. "And a nice lot, too!" Scotty burls as six figures half-dressed in ill-fitting, loudly-patterned, hemp-woven "clothes" all turn to him, tenting their hands together in triangles. As the music crescendos, the camera focuses in on one particularly freakish bald arrival with abnormally big ears that look as though someone in costume had a major tiff with seven pounds of Silly Putty.