Friday: Black as Night & Good Trek/Bad Trek #47 Metamorphosis
Intro: I’ve loved Star Trek since I was a kid. I started by watching TNG in 6th grade. I’ve been a fan since then and though I’ve spent a lot of time watching Star Trek, I’ve never watched The Original Series. So, I’m watching and reviewing them as a fan of Star Trek, but one who’s never seen any of them. So I’m watching all the TOS episodes for the first time and saying whether or not they suck. At the end, I give examples of better and/or worse Star Trek episodes to watch that remind me of this episode. Usually, I ramble on about some bullshit before the Trek. That’s it.
Thanksgiving was yesterday. SO I guess I’d have to say that I’m pretty thankful for Trek. Particularly Discovery, but I’ve grown to like these old TOS episodes as well. I’m thankful mostly that I was able to just sit and watch Trek or do whatever the fuck I want on Friday. I used to work retail and working retail this time of year is pretty awful. I worked at Best Buy which is probably one of three worst retail places to find yourself on Black Friday. Working or just shopping. Working there sucked to be sure, but shopping there didn’t really look like any fun either. Who in their right mind wants to go to a store on Black Friday? Do these people not have computers? Is that why they’re at Best Buy in the middle of the night? They need a computer so they decided to wait in line for hours or days or whatever. There’s always that one asshole who sets up a tent and is there for like a week. And all the local news folks come up and interview him about his empty meaningless life and how he hopes to fill the void with a Blu-ray player that’s slightly discounted. That guy isn’t even doing it for the sale. He just wants to be on the local news for five minutes in a story that’ll have his friends and neighbors looking at him and all collectively saying “what a fucking idiot.” I don’t know what’s sadder. I guess the saddest part is the person who’s making just above minimum wage to be there.
Working Black Friday sucks so much that it almost bonds you to the job. You develop such hate for the monsters that go in there that you’re glad that they’re all getting screwed by deals that aren’t worth it. You set up all this cheap shit that costs way too much right next to the thing that’s marginally discounted and then you laugh when the dumdums buy both negating whatever discount they were going to be getting. They’re your enemy. I felt bad for some of them. After a few hours, I didn’t give a fuck. I just wanted them all to leave. The worst part is that it’s just the beginning. Yeah, it’s the worst part of the holiday season, but it’s the first real day of it. You got a whole month coming up that’s also gonna suck. It’s brutal.
I used to like to read the articles about how Black Friday shopping was on the decline and that people were now into doing shit that wasn’t all about empty consumerism. I used to read those articles while at the same time I was being instructed by my manager what to do if one of these fucking animals accidentally tramples another fucking animal to death because they were standing in the way of their discounted Amazon Fire Tablet.
I’ll tell you what isn’t worth trampling someone to death over, and that’s this episode of TOS. It’s the Metamorphosis and it was jarring going from new Trek back to this one.
Kirk, Spock, Bones, and an ambassador named Nancy Hedford are aboard the shuttle Galileo. Ambassador Hedford is sick and needs to get unstick as she’s the only person in the galaxy capable of getting to planets to not kill each other. When all of a sudden their shuttle gets caught in an energy field and they get marooned on a planet. Peace between those two planets isn’t looking good. Also, Hedford is probably going to die. That concern is secondary though because she’s kind of irritating. So no biggie.
They’re on the planet and to their surprise, they meet a guy. Who is…brace yourselves…Zefram Cochrane! If you’re not a Trek person that name probably doesn’t mean all that much to you, but in the Trek universe, Zefram is a pretty big deal. He’s the person who did (or will eventually) be the first human to discover warp travel. Also, the first to make contact with the Vulcans.
Everyone thought he’d been dead for decades, but turns out he’s been marooned on this planet and living with or being held prisoner by this beam of light who reversed his aging process and now sees to his every whim.
The Enterprise folks aren’t too happy about being held captive so they think of ways to escape, none of which work. The beam of light thing is pretty protective of Zefram too. They deduce that it’s not just a beam of light that can reverse the aging process, but a lady beam of light(???) who is very much sweet on Zefram and doesn’t want him to leave.
Then the ambassador is about to die so the beam of light takes over her body (???) and Zefram decides to stay and live with the husk of what was Hedford and this is treated like a happy ending. It was pretty fucked.
Not particularly. I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say that this was firmly in the bad Trek category, but it definitely isn’t as fun as some of the TOS episodes I watched before this one and it also was nowhere near as good as any of the Discovery episodes I’d been watching. It was fine. Just kind of a letdown to go from one to the other.
It is jarring going from new Trek to old Trek. Discovery has its faults. Not many because it’s really badass and you should be watching. But going from a modern day show that’s female-focused and really well written to this episode was something else.
Even though this weird beam of light that is controlling the whole thing as soon as the crew realizes that it’s female and then they start treating it like shit. That’s messed up. To think this is five years after the events of Discovery. Seems like women go an awful long way between now and 2200 and then in the five years after that they get set back a lot. I hope that isn’t Burnham’s fault that women start getting treated like shit again.
The ending is just fucked. So the woman is dead, right? She ceased to exist and the other thing took over her body and a little bit of her personality stayed put, but she’s for all intents and purposes a dead husk that got taken over.
That energy dame took over her body. Now she has to live with Zephram forever on this planet, but the lady who was the character earlier in the episode is literally a dead person now. Man. That’s fucked.
If you want to know more about Zefram Cochrane, and who doesn’t, then I’d say watch Star Trek: First Contact. It’s the second TNG movie. It involves the TNG crew going back in time to stop the Borg from stopping Cochrane from meeting the Vulcans. It’s an odd movie in that it’s almost two different movies. The parts that take place on Earth with Counsellor Troi, Riker, and Zefram Cochrane are treated very light where the action on the Enterprise with Picard, Worf, and the Borg are crazy intense. Some of the best Picard lines ever are found in this movie. Probably my second or third favorite Trek movie as well. It’s an all-around solid flick.
You want to watch an episode where two people become one and you can’t separate them without killing the new entity. I got one word for you and that’s Tuvix. Tuvok and Neelix become one person for some reason. It could’ve been a worse episode. It’s a silly concept that they treat with a fair amount of gravity. So actually, this one might be better than Metamorphosis. They’re both kind of a mess.
That’s it. I’m proud to say that I think this is the first GT/BT that’s clocked in under 2K words. Next one will probably be a million words to make up for it. Hopefully, the next episode isn’t too shitty.