Star Trek
Star Trek, The Original Series: “Arena”

Episode Report Card
Keckler: C+ | Grade It Now!
YOU GRADE IT
Jimmy crack Gorn and I don't care
"It was a trap! Getting the Enterprise to come to Cestus III, getting us and our whole crew to come ashore!" Kirk announces in his kwarters. Okay, let's be real here -- your "whole crew"? It was you, Spock, Bones, and three tacticians -- that's not even a tenth of your crew complement of eighty-some, so stop exaggerating, Kirque de Soleil. Kirk insists that the massacre at Cestus III and the attempt to put the Enterprise out of business point to only one answer: invasion. I guess he means of Earth, but he doesn't exactly say -- wait! I've got it -- it's the Xindi, isn't it? They've come to stop a destruction in their past that could happen in their future if they don't turn around, hop on one foot, and spit over their left shoulder in the present, right? Right? Spock tries to argue that there could be other explanations for such an attack -- yes, mine! -- but Kirk has already taken off his listening ear. I sense a Kirktasrophe on the schedule tonight. Finally, Spock amends that there is only one thing to do: make sure that the alien ship never reaches its home plate. Kirk agrees, and orders Sulu to overtake the alien ship. He then orders phasers loaded and primed for his firing orders. A siren goes off, and Spock looks disappointed in his captain's inability to see anything beyond the kill. Except for that bit of obviousness at the beginning, which wasn't really his but more the writers' fault, I love Nimoy's subtlety in this episode. "All hands, this is the Captain. We are going into battle. All hands to battle stations. Red alert, I repeat, red alert. This is no drill, this...is...no...drill!" Kirk announces to the ship. Can someone tell me if this is a drill? Bridge. Sulu smugs that they're closing in on the alien ship. I'd like to mention here that because this episode was cheaper than Chinette plates at a Princess Caroline wedding of your choice, we never get to see any visual of the alien ship. A crewman reports that if you look out the window on the right side of the ship, you can see an unknown solar system coming up. However, the alien vessel is not going towards it. Uhura reports that they're being scanned by the solar system on an unusual wavelength. Nothing happens for a few seconds until Sulu reports that the alien ship slows to a complete stop. "He may be turning to fight!" Kirk salivates. Spock gives him A Look. Sulu contradicts his captain and says the ship is just sitting dead. He's also a sitting duck for a bloodthirsty captain who would shoot first and ask questions later. "Then we've got him!" Kirk crows, "Go to Red Alert [wait, I thought that whole 'this is not a drill' stuff was because they were already on Red Alert!?], then prepare to fire phaser banks!" Kirk gives more orders, and Sulu counts down their approach to the alien ship. Just before they reach firing range of the alien ship, Enteprise is forced to a complete stop. "From Warp Eight -- have you lost your mind?" Kirk says to Sulu when he reports that they're at a standstill. "Same as the alien, Captain," Spock observes. Kirk gives Spock a look like he never realized that. What a complete mental lightweight! No, I take that back -- make it "liteweight," because he's so dumb, he doesn't deserve the good spelling! Kirk demands a report from Scotty. "We're dead, Captain. Locked up. Frozen tight. All propulsion systems read zero," Scotty says. Well, you can't get any clearer than that. All other ship systems report normal; they just can't go forward. I assume they can't go backward either, or side-to-side. And doing the hokey-pokey is pretty much out of the question. Spock reports that they are being held in place by the unknown solar system. "This far out -- that's impossible!" Kirk scoffs. "We are being held," Spock repeats. Hey now, why is it impossible if they are near an unknown solar system? If it's "unknown," isn't it possible it could be populated by beings so advanced that holding a ship in place thousands of parsecs from their system could be as easy as picking their noses? Assuming they have stuff to pick. Or noses.

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Star Trek

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