Mark Watches ‘Star Trek’: S03E01 – Spock’s Brain

In the first episode of the third season of Star Trek, a mysterious being steals Spock’s brain. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek. 

Trigger Warning: For sexism, body horror.

Look, I feel like I’ve seen worse from this show, but what makes this such a frustrating experience is that the writers set up something that could have potential – a society desperate to develop themselves and progress – but they completely drop the ball with a conclusion that… lord, it makes no sense. None at all! And I’m not watching Star Trek for the inclusion of scientific accuracy. I’m not! I’m totally fine with this show being ridiculous, with it giving me fantastical solutions to problems, and with the choice to be dramatic over perfectly accurate.

But what the hell did I just watch?

Again, I love the set-up: a mysterious being teleports onto the Enterprise and literally takes Spock’s brain. It’s an emotional premise, one that William Shatner and DeForest Kelley use to give us some fine performances, particularly in that scene over Spock’s bed. It’s a scary scenario and it shows us yet again how close these characters are. The very thought that their friend could die in 24 hours is unfathomable to them, and Kirk decides to go on a wild goose chase rather than give up.

And lord, what a chase that is. This was such a great mystery at the start because we truly didn’t know how any of this was possible. The three planets within the Sigma Draconis VI system that could hold human life weren’t even remotely capable of the kind of technology that could remove a brain as perfectly as Kara did. Yet there was a sign that the sixth planet, the least developed of the three, contained energy signatures that were impossible. AND I DO LOVE THIS TROPE WHEN IT’S USED ON STAR TREK. It’s really a common trope within genre fiction in and of itself: establish certainties through worldbuilding, and then introduce something that’s impossible within said world. It’s also remarkably common within the mystery genre, too, and if the writers hadn’t dropped the ball here, I think this could have been an incredible episode.

Maybe. That’s hard to think about because ultimately, I don’t even know if I could have come up with something to save this. There are just so many strange things done here! A primitive planet with people of the opposite gender split up…. sooooooooooooo. How did these people procreate? Ever? Why haven’t they died out? Is there some weird sex shit going on here? Is that the pain and pleasure thing the Morgs referenced to? No, let’s not think of that for now. How did a primitive culture develop futuristic and sexy outfits like the ones the women who lived underground were wearing??? Where did the Great Teacher come from? Did the Ancients who created this civilization do so and then just leave everyone behind? If that thing only lasts temporarily, why aren’t more people using it to help out the society as a whole? Like, each Eymorg spends a day as the appointed person to learn from the Great Teacher.

What did they plan to do with Spock’s brain in the long haul? If it was running necessary life components on the planet, who was doing that before? Because it seems like the Morgs and the Eymorgs were getting on fairly okay without things like HEATING or AIR CONDITION. What were they eating? Where is the water supposed to be pumped? Do the Morgs just not take showers? Who is going to build all the facilities that the Controller will control? Why didn’t anyone think of any of these things?

I feel less frustrated by the whole surgery sequence, though I have to admit that it’s pretty damn ridiculous. I suppose I’m mostly entertained by the notion that Spock schooled Bones through his own surgery. That’s super funny to me! But how could Bones have done surgery without cutting any of Spock’s hair? There are no sutures? Why weren’t Scotty or Kirk providing Bones with a very crucial towel to wipe his face? ALL THAT SWEAT COULDN’T HAVE BEEN MEDICALLY APPROPRIATE.

And I don’t understand the ending. They just leave? The Eymorgs have to go to the surface to survive? How long have they been down there??? Are they truly unaware of how to live on their own? There’s an unfortunate implication here, of course, since we’re meant to believe that ultimately, women can’t survive without the ways of men. Oh god, all those lines of dialogue about how these women clearly couldn’t be smart enough sounded so awful out of context. But even within the context of the story itself, the end of this episode features everyone laughing about the women being forced to rough it in the world of men, and it’s just WEIRD.

This is not the worst thing I’ve seen on this show, but it’s super disappointing by the time you get to the end of it.

The video for “Spock’s Brain” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

Mark Does Stuff is now on Facebook! Feel free to Like the page, which I’m running myself, for updates and SILLINESS.
– My older sister needs help with her transition, so I’ve agreed to read all of Fifty Shades of Grey on YouTube if we can help her reach her goal!
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– Please check out the All Mark Watches videos for past shows/season are now archived there!
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next three Double Features are now in the schedule! I will be watching In the Flesh, The Sarah Connor Chronicles (complete with Terminator liveblogs!), and then Leverage. Commission away!
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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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