The Rewatch 44: A Private Little War

Series: Star Trek (The Original Series)
Episode: 2.18 The Immunity Syndrome (02-2-68)
Rating: 3/5
Redshirt Status:  0/20/43

Notable Guest Stars:
 Nancy Kovack – Nona. She had several film and television roles in the late 1960s.
Michael Witney – Tyree. Known for his role in The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters.
Ned Romero – Krell. Ned Romero would appear as various other characters throughout the Star Trek Franchise, including as Chakotay’s grandfather on Voyager.
Booker Bradshaw – Dr. M’Benga. He will return for one more episode.

Review:

 We start our journey today with McCoy in his happy place, picking up samples to devise medical uses for.  Kirk and Spock stand on the rocks, as Kirk relays how he spent time here as a Lieutenant, on his first plant observation mission.  However the planet is changed from his last visit.

They are soon brought into a firefight when Kirk notices his friend Tyree being targeted.  They run, but not before Spock is shot.  Remarkably, for the blood he is losing, he can get up and run some more.  McCoy hears the commotion and calls for the emergency beam up.

A lot to happen before we even have the opening credits.

Chekov, Scotty and Uhura have to remind Kirk that different planets develop at different rates.  Which is a good point.  A lot of development is judged through an earth-tinted lenses.  He believes it is the Klingons (since a ship just appeared in orbit) and while everyone makes some good points, he is ultimately right.

Back on the Planet, Kirk gets attached by the planet’s version of a abominable snowman (minus the snow) which has a poisoness bite. McCoy tries to get some passersby to help, but they kind of just stare till McCoy is about to ‘gibbs’ smack them back to the stoneage.

This is when things get a little weird.  Tyree, Kirk’s old friend, has married a woman from a special tribe that is known to be healers. It is implied that she knows how to drug him into loving her, but I don’t know if that was just playful banter between the two or not.

She’s kind of weird and maybe a stage mom in a wife like way. 

They do not kid around about the connection to Vietnam.  Particularly this line:

KIRK: Bones, do you remember the twentieth century brush wars on the Asian continent? Two giant powers involved, much like the Klingons and ourselves. Neither side felt could pull out.
MCCOY: Yes, I remember. It went on bloody year after bloody year.
KIRK: What would you have suggested that one side arm its friends with an overpowering weapon? Mankind would never have lived to travel space if they had. No. The only solution is what happened back then. Balance of power.

Script taken from Chakoteya.net

The only problem with this scenario is that the US/Russia/China (I believe those are the only three, my Vietnam war history needs a bit of touch up) all were about the same in weaponry.  They would not have been going from flintlocks to phasers.

Ok, so they had trouble talking about reproduction a few episodes again, but sexual assault is okay to show on TV?  No wonder NBC was having issues with this show.  I must admit that overall I was enjoying the episode till the last ten minutes when they removed Nona’s agency as a character and killed her to give Tyree a motivation.

Interesting Notes:

  • Directed by Marc Daniels
  • Written by Jud Crucis (Don Ingalls) and Gene Roddenberry
  • This episode is meant to be a reaction to the war in Vietnam.

Pros:

  •  Dr. M’Benga.  So often it seems like McCoy is the only physician on board. Its also strange they wanted this long to have a doctor familar with Vulcan physiology as McCoy keeps claiming he is not.

Cons:

  •  Why does Spock constantly have to remind Kirk of regulations?
  • Costumes.  We have the the guys wearing what looks like deflated life jackets and Nona who is wearing is barely more than a tubetop made from the creatures from Chilly Up sequence of Labyrinth.That can’t be too comfortable.  Tyree has a really bad wig.
  • Ok, we have a magic woman.   Who apparently is scheming?
  • Sexual assault is never okay.  Also, she seemed earlier to have some skill with her blade, why does she suddenly have none?

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