The Rewatch 71: The Cloud Minders

Series: Star Trek (The Original Series)
Episode: 3.21 The Cloud Minders (02-28-1969)
Rating: 3/5
Redshirt Status:  0/9/58

Notable Guest Stars:
Jeff Corey – Plasus. Unfortunately Jeff Corey was a victim of blacklisting during the 1950s due to McCarthism and the panic over communism within the United States, which still has effects today. He appeared on many television shows and continued to work in film after the blacklisting was lifted.
Diana Ewing – Droxine
Fred Williamson – Anka
. He was a professional football player before turning to acting. He gets extra kudos for being a member of my favorite team, the Steelers (Pittsburgh).

Review:

I find it ironic how I’m doing a rewatch during a pandemic stay-at-home order and the third season of Star Trek is full of contagious diseases.  This episode is not excluded. Once again Enterprise is sent to find a mineral – this time zenite – that can cure a botanical plague on a Federation Planet.

They find this mineral on the planet Ardana, but as always, trouble finds them.  They are taken hostage by a group of minors who are rebelling against the planet’s class system.  One thing this series never seemed to take into consideration is not to send the top officers in the same away mission.  This away team has both the Captain and his first officer.

 This episode is interesting as Spock takes interest in a girl, but slowly finds out she’s not what he hoped she be.  Kirk for once is amost secondary to Spock in this episode. They both find out that the politico-social situation on the planet is far from ideal.  The planet has been divided into those who live in the clouds (the intellectuals in their view) and the troglytes, or the miners/physical laborers.  The laborers are exposed to a gas during their mining that causes brain fog and emotional outbursts, making them seem less intellectual and more violent then their sky peers.

Not that the sky people are willing to understand that fact.  I’m not entirely sure if this is commentary on social classes or on work conditions.

Its also a bit hilarious that Plasius seems to think that Vanna is thinking of Kirk, when she has clearly had an interest in Spock.

I know Kirk has promised to send mediation, but I think something more productive would be sending proper mining gear.  Even in our mining today we have more up to date tools of mining then digging with our hands.

Interesting Notes:

  •  Directed by David Alexander
  • Written by Arthur Heinemann and Michael Richards (D.C.Fontana)
  •  

Pros:

  •  Kirk isn’t the one with a love interest
  • There is at least some improvement in the planets society.

Cons:

  • Costumes are made of fragments again.  Half the dresses are held up by boobs. I’m not sure how that is comfortable, practical and how on earth they managed to have no slip-ups.
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