Star Trek, The Original Series: “The Corbomite Maneuver”

So here I was, thinking that as Enterprise was handing me a nice long hiatus for the month of March, I would just be kicking back, actually seeing the light of day, and generally reclaiming my life. Then, because Mathra hadn't seen it in years, we watched "The Corbomite Maneuver," I started in with the massive amounts of hyperventilation, and I knew I had to let my personal life go for a little bit longer.

Sulu technobabbles. Crazy-man camera work zigzags in on Spock, who shouts, "STAND-byyy to-photow-GRAPH!" Okay, not only is he being a Shouting Vulcan, he's also doing some odd syllabic stress placement. The only way for me to do real justice to Nimoy's delivery is to break out the feet. That first line was spondaic, anapestic, iambic. Crazy-Man Camera flies up to the ceiling so that we can look down on the set. "That particular angle is from 'The Cage,'" Mathra informs me. Spock orders some pictures taken of fake outer space, and a lower-ranking officer sighs as he hands Spock a clipboard, complaining about how long they've been photographing the fake nothing. There's something really wrong with Spock's hair, but I simply can't put my finger on it. It's like his bangs are all piecey but also uneven. Sulu reports an object heading their way. "De-FLECT-torrrs full-inten-SI-TY!" Iambic, dactylic, spondaic. Spock sounds the alarm and then "countermands" it a few milliseconds later. They do a lot of "countermanding" of orders in this episode -- wonder when they decided that "belay that!" had much more of an impact. The mysterious object comes into view. It's a cube. Not a Borg cube, but a cube that looks like the logo of something that I tried for two weeks to remember and got no further than giving myself a mental thrombosis. It's got red on one side, yellow on the other, and blue on the third. It spins on an axis and glows. They can't go around it, they can't go under it -- they might as well go through it! Anyone else remember that childhood ditty? The cube keeps getting in their face. "It's blocking the way!" the lower-ranking complainer cries out. "Quite unnecessary to raise your voice, Mr. Bailey," Spock tells him. Pot? You've got a little schmutz on your nose. Spock asks that the alarm be sounded. Sulu gets on the comm and says, "Bridge to all decks -- condition alert. All decks -- condition alert. Captain Kirk to the Bridge." I put that line in its full because of what happens next in Sick Bay.

Kirk logs a recap of the first two minutes. Spock stays on the Bridge, glaring into the viewscreen. "My location: Sick Bay. Quarterly physical check," Kirk finishes. Aaaand we go right to a greased-up and shirtless Kirk doing some sort of reverse Stairmaster in Sick Bay. He's on his back -- just the way he likes it -- and is pumping his feet against two spongy-looking pads. Are those always in Sick Bay? Bones monitors his vitals. Kirk drops his legs -- he's wearing weird blue slippers, sort of like the kind doctors wear over their regular shoes -- and groans. Bones tells him to keep at it, and hints that he could stand to break out another bottle of Johnson & Johnson's Baby Oil. Interestingly enough, Bones notes the red alert flashing out of Kirk's sight, but doesn't say anything. What confuses me is this: Sulu got on the comm, announced the general alert, and requested that Kirk come to the Bridge. Are you trying to tell me that Sick Bay is surrounded by soundproof scenery or something? Why else wouldn't Kirk have heard it? Kirk finally sits up with some more grumbling and spies the red alert. He immediately, and without putting a shirt on, goes to the Sick Bay computer and asks the Bridge what's up. Spock shows him the threatening cube and explains the situation. Kirk says he'll be right up. He grabs his shirt and snaps at Bones, "You could see the alarm lights flashing from there, McCoy -- why didn't you tell me?" Kirk stalks out, with Bones shouting after him, "I had to finish the physical on you, didn't I?" At this point Kirk has completely left the room. "What am I? A doctor or a moon shuttle conductor?" Bones continues. Whuh? What does a moon shuttle conductor know about red alerts? Also? Considering how awkward that line was for Bones to get out, I can see why they switched to the "Dammit, Jim -- I'm a doctor, not a Zamboni driver!" catchphrase. "If I jumped every time a light came on around here I'd end up talking to myself," Bones says to himself. Hee -- I love Cranky Bones.

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