Star Trek: A Piece of the Action

“Words, words. They’re all we have to go on.”

Tom Stoppard

Or, The One Which Shows How Unimaginative the Original Star Trek Creators Were.

So the Enterprise visits a planet that was “contaminated” a hundred years ago by another starship, in order, apparently, that the crew can “uncontaminate” it.

Because that makes sense.

Well, anyway, the ka-tet (rather diminished this episode: only Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down to the planet) find that the original contamination consisted of a book on the Chicago Mobs, which has become the society’s Bible. Therefore, the suspiciously humanoid Iotians (the inhabitants of the planet) live in a world which is conveniently like 1920s Chicago. So much easier, you see, than being inventive and creating an actual alien society.

There is much ridiculous toing and froing between various Mob bosses, with Kirk, Spock and McCoy being kidnapped on an annoyingly regular basis by people with straw boaters and guns. Captain Kirk’s fighting skills seem sadly uneven: conveniently good when the scriptwriters need him to escape, and conveniently bad when the scriptwriters need him to get captured.

Also, I always think that it is stupidly easy to capture Kirk, given that he is, after all, captain of a very powerful starship with a crew of 400. Just take his communicator off him and, whoops, he’s stuck. It seems to happen every. Single. Episode. Surely the crew should take better care of him?

And after an essentially plotless hour of this, something happens at more or less the last minute and then Everything is Magically Better without any obvious resolution. Had these people ever actually read a decent script?


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