Thursday, April 5, 2018

Episode Review - The Lights of Zetar (Original Series, Season 3)

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

Overview – The Enterprise is on its way to Memory Alpha, a planetoid that is home to the Federation’s largest computer library. On board is Lieutenant Mira Romaine, who has won the affections of Chief Engineer Scott. A strange storm approaches the ship, and it incapacitates the crew in different ways. Romaine collapses after the encounter and is heard speaking some sort of garbled language. Shortly after, the same storm engulfs Memory Alpha and kills the majority of the people stationed there. As Kirk and his away team explore the outpost, they encounter a woman who speaks the way Romaine did earlier. After the woman dies, Kirk questions Romains. The storm returns and this time, Lt. Romaine is overcome by the lights. It turns out that the storm is the remnants of the population of Zetar, a planet where all life was wiped out long ago. They seek Romaine as a vessel to inhabit and survive. Kirk and his crew risk Romaine’s life to drive out the aliens.

Score: 6/10 – It’s always nice to see someone other than Kirk get the girl. This episode, it’s Scotty’s turn. He is ever the gentleman towards the lovely Mira. The story, which was co-written by legendary ventriloquist Shari Lewis (best known for her act with Lamb Chop). The story is interesting, but the writing is a bit slow paced. I liked the idea of Scotty being in love, but he was portrayed as being a bit on the mushy side. The idea of Memory Alpha, an interstellar library of the Federation’s knowledge, was also interesting.

Relevance – 1 point. Not much connects this episode to anything else. I will give a point for Memory Alpha itself. If you look closely at the star charts in Kirk’s quarters, you will see the location of this planet. Other than that, there is nothing relevant to this episode. I will note here, however, that the online Trek reference site is called Memory Alpha for this place. It is the site that I get a lot of information from and would highly recommend you use it to learn more about all things Trek.

Continuity - 3 points. A point is scored for character continuity. Scotty has always worn his heart on his sleeves, and he does so in this episode. Kirk, at the end, makes a surprising conclusion when Scotty, Spock, and McCoy are all in agreement, and he makes a little joke about it, just as we would expect him to. Universe continuity is also good. Story wise, well, despite being a basic story, it follows along nicely.

Character Development – 2 points. Scotty definitely gets some attention, this time around with a love interest. The rest of the characters are not really given anything to build upon, as most of it is either commenting on Scotty’s love, or discussing the current dilemma. It is very refreshing to see our beloved chief engineer get the girl. While his love for Mira causes him to act terribly lovestruck, it is a different side of him that we see. Mostly, Scotty’s true love has been the Enterprise, but it is good to see that there is room in his heart for human companionship.

Social Commentary – 0 points. I really could not come up with any real connection to social commentary. This is a story, nothing else. It gives us nothing to really think about or ponder. Yes, there is the idea that we will go to great lengths to stay alive as the Lights of Zentar did, but to go to that extent is just not something most, if any, people can relate to.

Cool Stuff – 1 point. For its time, the effect of the sparkling lights was quite a cool effect. I liked the idea of having the souls/consciousnesses of former Zentarians was an interesting concept. While the effect may not be spectacular now, at the time they were worthy of note.

Rank – Lieutenant (13 points). A bit of a ho-hum episode. It’s nice to see Scotty in love, but beyond that there is not much else to it. For a better Scotty story, I would suggest “Wolf in the Fold” instead.

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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