Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Episode Review – The Immunity Syndrome (Original Series, Season 2)

For those who are new to my episode reviews, you can find the post where I establish my point criteria here

Overview – As the Enterprise heads towards a shore leave destination, they are contacted by Starbase 6 with respect to the starship Intrepid, manned by an all-Vulcan crew. Soon after receiving the distress call, Spock experiences a telepathic communication with the Intrepid’s crew, indicating that they were all suddenly killed. As they approach the last known location of the Intrepid, Kirk and the crew begin to experience various symptoms if illness and fatigue. As they discover the source of their problems, a large, cell-like space creature that feeds on energy, Kirk must decide which of his two closest friends, Spock or McCoy, he must sacrifice to save the ship.

Score: 8/10 – While the pacing in this episode is often a bit slow, there is a great story to be told in this episode. While on the surface it looks like an adventure to save the galaxy from an entity that seems to feed off of all energy, it is actually a fairly well done study of the relationship between the original series trifecta of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. As the crew try to stave off this “destroyer of worlds” (the latest in a long string of such adversaries), we examine this friendship in much greater depth. Not only does Kirk play the balance to Spock’s cool logic and McCoy’s fiery emotions, he must choose between them to save the ship, likely at the cost of his friend’s life. It is a decision that Kirk does not enjoy, but in his typical fashion he makes the tough call. The science behind the solution to the problem may be a little farfetched (hey, it is called science fiction for a reason), but the dramatic buildup mostly works.

Relevance - 0 points. Sadly, there is nothing in this episode that connects it with other episodes in Star Trek. Having a recurring theme of threats to the galaxy notwithstanding, it would have been humorous to hear someone, such as McCoy, mention that the crew have been facing off against a lot of galaxy-level threats recently. If you miss this episode, it is no big deal (except for the fact that this is a great episode).

Continuity - 3 points. Everything checks out here. All-Vulcan crew starships should not be a big surprise (we see them in DS9 as well), and nothing contradicts any storylines. Most importantly is the Character continuity. With the focus being on Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, these three act exactly the way we expect and love them to. There has always been great chemistry between the three, and this is the showcase.

Character Development – 3 points. Again, showcasing the great on-screen chemistry between not only the three central characters but the three actors as well, this episode does a fine job in pushing all three along their development. Kirk has to deal with the choice of which of his closest friends he should send on what is most likely going to be a suicide mission. Both Spock and McCoy are willing to go to keep the other one safe. The genuine care that each has for the others is strongly shown in this episode. Yes, McCoy and Spock argue. A lot. For two individuals that are so fundamentally different, that is to be expected. Yet when push comes to shove, they are there for each other. There is no greater example of this than when they are attempting to rescue Spock, who suggests that they conserve their energy. McCoy shouts out “Shut up Spock, we’re rescuing you!” to which Spock replies with his ever cool quip “Why thank you…Captain McCoy”. Great writing helps flesh out the great friendship these characters had.

Social Commentary – 2 points. Making the tough call. Which friend do you sacrifice? For a guy that does not like the no-win scenario, Kirk has a doozy of one here. Still, he makes the best call that he can, and then does everything he can to cheat the system and emerge the winner. While we may not have decide between friends in life-or-death situations on a regular basis, we often have to make tough choices that we would rather not make at all. All we can do is make the best choice we can and hope it all works out for the best.

Cool Stuff – 1 point. One point scored for the space amoeba. Cool creature, both in the 60s and with the re-mastered edition. While realistically I doubt such a creature could exist, I did appreciate the imagination that was put into its development.

Rank – Captain (17 points). This is an enjoyable episode that highlights one of the Original Series best qualities, the dynamic of Kirk, Spock, and Bones. It is an adventure story that does a lot to build this dynamic. While missing it might not take away from the overall picture, it is a great story that you should not miss.

If you would like to read other reviews from the Original Series, click on the link here.

If you would like to read an episode review from any of the Trek series, click the following link to get to the series catalog. If the episode you want reviewed has not been done yet, then feel free to request it in the comments and I will see what I can do.

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