Thursday, June 4, 2015

Trek Thursday: Is There in Truth no Beauty?

#21: Is There in Truth no Beauty?

In case you forgot: The Enterprise is once again on a diplomatic mission (yay!), this time transporting an ambassador Medusan (Kollos) back to his home world. Humans can't look directly at Medusans without going mad, so Kollos has a handler (Miranda Jones) to accompany him in a little carrying case. Some shenanigans go down, we learn that Jones is blind but has some cool dress tech to compensate, and Spock nearly loses his mind by accidentally looking at the Medusan without some special glasses.

The problems inherent in trying to communicate with an alien species so dramatically different from our own we can't even begin to imagine it make for great science fiction fodder. The excuse the show uses for Kollos's box (and for calling the Medusans the Medusans) is that they're OMG SO UGLY, but I prefer to think of it as something like uncontrollable psychic powers or emission of certain pheromones or so on, and that's an easy enough substitution to make.

Miranda Jones is also an interesting character. Her obsession with being "close" to Kollos doesn't immediately come off as "silly woman in love" but can easily be read as the obsession of someone who wants to be the best person in the room at their job. While it's par for the course that Mavrick has a serious unrequited crush on her, the episode doesn't seem to blame Jones for not being interested in the guy (which, good, because he's creepy).

Random thought: Starfleet's going to outsource all of their navigation to the Medusans, then? Poor Chekov and Sulu, out of a job.

The last-minute crisis of "oh no Spock looked at him without the visors!" is tacked-on and, like all the other tension based around WILL THIS MEMBER OF THE POWER TRIO SURVIVE (the answer is always yes), rather pointless; the time would have been better-spent expanding on the the Medusans' relationship with the Federation and Jones's relationship with Kollos.

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