Episode Report CardKeckler: F | Grade It Now!
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Before Star Trek V: The Final Frontier even starts -- during the FBI warning, in fact -- Mathra hits pause, turns to me and says, "This is pretty bad, Keckler." That was the understatement to end all understatements. Dust on a barren planet. "Nimbus III in the Neutral Zone" types across the bottom of the screen, and I'm already distracted because I'm thinking about Harry Potter's broomstick. Heartbeat. Behold, a rider approaches slowly from the distance, and a man with no teeth stops pounding in the dust and picks up a weapon, squinting into through the swirling dust. Heartbeat. Rider approaches in slo-mo from the distance. Maybe he's one of the horsemen of the Apocalypse. Say, Pestilence. Heartbeat. Or Famine. Rider still approaching from the distance. It's like that scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail when the riders just keep approaching without getting any nearer. Rider still approaches with menace. I decide not to wait on the edge of my seat and go to the kitchen for a glass of Pimm's and Sprite. Man With No Teeth loads his weapon incompetently with pebbles, which promptly fall out. Heartbeat. The rider dismounts and says in rich accents, "I thought weapons were forbidden on this planet." Man With No Teeth gnashes his gums weakly. "Besides, I can't believe you'd kill me for a field of empty holes," says the strange rider, twitching his voluminous robes as he approaches Man With No Teeth. Heartbeat. "It's all I have," gasps Man With No Teeth, looking more and more like Michael Stipe with each passing minute. Heartbeat. The mysterious rider looks intently at Michael Stipe With No Teeth, who sinks to his knees and sobs. "Your pain runs deep," says the Mysterious Rider. "What do you know of my pain?" weeps Michael Stipe With No Teeth. Heartbeat. The Mysterious Rider says something about each man hiding a secret pain, which must be "exposed" and "reckoned with." (I don't know how "secret" this man's pain can be. Heartbeat. He's on a barren planet, drilling for something in infertile and arid earth, he's bald and he doesn't have any teeth. Heartbeat. Where's the big secret in all that?) The Mysterious Rider grabs Michael Stipe With No Teeth and tells him to "share [your] pain with [him] and gain strength from the sharing." Heartbeat. Michael Stipe With No Teeth rests his head on the Mysterious Rider's breast as the heartbeats quicken and the symphony swells from The Percussion Of Suspense to The Symphony Of Enlightenment. Michael Stipe With No Teeth raises his head and asks where he gets his power. Mysterious Rider tells him the power was within himself. Michael Stipe With No Teeth says, "It's as if a weight has been lifted from my heart; how can I repay you for this miracle?" Mysterious Rider strides back to his horse and tells him the only payment he needs is for Michael Stipe to join him in his "quest." Oh dear, it's a questing plotline. I think I'll splash a little vodka in with that Pimm's. Michael Stipe asks him what he seeks. "What you seek. What all men have sought since time began. [For the Yankees not to win the World Series?] Ultimate knowledge. To find it, we need a starship." Michael Stipe With No Teeth tells him there aren't any starships on Nimbus III. Bummer. Mysterious Rider says they'll bring one to them. "But how?" Michael Stipe With No Teeth asks. With drama-queen timing, The Mysterious Rider throws off his hood and exposes his Vulcan ears. So, he's going to listen for them? "Faith," Mysterious Vulcan Rider says, "there are more of us than you know." "You're a Vulcan," Michael Stipe With No Teeth says in wonderment. Mysterious Vulcan Rider nods as Michael Stipe With No Teeth gapes gummily at him. The Mysterious Vulcan laughs and laughs. And laughs and laughs some more. In fact, he laughs maniacally in that mwoo-ha-ha-ha way to further hammer home the nail into The Coffin Of Paradox that Vulcans can laugh at all.