Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Star Trek: The Eye of the Beholder

My friends and I are embarking on a new journey to watch all 22 episodes of Star Trek's animated series.  We'll be posting on Wednesdays.  All are welcome to join us for all or parts of our adventure.

Episode: "The Eye of the Beholder"
Series: Star Trek: The Animated Series
Season 1, Episode 15
Original Air Date: January 5, 1974
via Memory Alpha
It's an idea as old as Trek: Enterprise crew members become an exhibit in a zoo.  While investigating the whereabouts of a missing science expedition (aren't they always?), Kirk, Spock and Bones are snagged by superior beings and placed in an Earth-like environment for gawking pleasure.  This basic premise hearkens back to "The Cage," the first pilot of the original series.

I appreciate the stories in which the Enterprise encounters beings of higher intelligence, especially the ones which ultimately prove to be benevolent.  Neither humans nor even Vulcans are top dogs in the galaxy.  We still have much to learn and these superior alien races provide moral aspirations for a possible future.

*****
via Memory Alpha
Tom Markel is the commanding officer of the USS Ariel, the survey ship which had gone missing.  This episode marks his only appearance in Star Trek.  He is voiced by James Doohan.

If you would care to join us for all or part of our travels, sign on to the list below.  Please visit the other participants.  Next week: "The Jihad."

16 comments:

  1. Doohan was a master of voices. It was a familiar concept but it was wild to see Spock taken down a notch.

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    1. Absolutely. I love such stories. TOS "Errand of Mercy" is my favorite.

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  2. What kills me is I don't know the name of our christian benevolent alien lifeform. I mean it could be Roman Catholic, Muslim, Jewish? I think Leonard Nimoy said once theres Judaism in Star Trek. At least if we knew the creatures name we'd have something to go on.

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    1. I'm not at all sure I'm following your line of inquiry here but let's pretend for the moment that I am...

      The best info I can find refers to the beings in this episode as Lactrans. I can find nothing regarding religious affiliations. Now the word choice in the NEXT episode definitely carries certain connotations...

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  3. I'm pretty sure I saw that episode. Zoos are sad places to me. I wish they were used only for animal rescues.

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    1. I won't pretend that I'm entirely comfortable with zoos but I do believe that some take their role as stewards and researchers very seriously. And it's not as if humankind is doing particularly well by animals in the wild these days, either. Obviously, rhinos have been in the news a lot recently but they're hardly the only animals in peril.

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  4. Someone mentioned that Nimoy referenced Judaism in Star Trek - I saw that interview, too. I think it was Sunday Morning or 60 Minutes (I'm google-lazy right now). Anyhow, it was a great one...

    My son and I are enjoying the reviews of the animated series.

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    1. I guess I'm going to have to look into this...

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  5. You hit a long time memory neuron in my brain. I think I remember this one ever so vaguely. This theme is popular in many areas as I can't help thinking about the book called "The Collector"

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  6. This is a deftly-scripted episode that addresses our human frustration with limitations. My personal objection would be the absence of beer on a planet of slugs. Only flaw I can see is that everything that caused the Lactrans to set the humans free could have been deduced from their presence as off-world visitors. Fun story!

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    1. Lack of beer is definitely an under-appreciated aspect of these adventures.

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  7. Superior alien races sound fascinating, although not the part about locking up other beings for gawking pleasure.

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    1. Yet another example of humans having to prove their worth: an important recurring Star Trek theme.

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  8. That's an ear slug in that picture, right?

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