A Taste of Armageddon - episode #23

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A Taste of Armageddon - episode #23

Post  BoG on Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:34 pm


A TASTE OF ARMAGEDDON (1st season; episode #23)
Directed by Joseph Pevney // writers: Gene Coon, Robert Hamner Like a Star @ heaven Air Date:02/23/67

A somewhat clever science fiction concept, regarding the different manner in which another society may wage its wars: totally by computers. In this supposed enlightened method, the buildings and the culture continue - the populace obediently reports to disintegration chambers to fulfill an agreement with the enemy planet after each computerized attack. So, the fine architecture, on display above, doesn't get touched. All you lose is an 'acceptable' percentage of the population.
This all sounds very clinical, very clean, if not a bit in the 'patriotism gone mad' spectrum - but it's probably the clinical aspect which outrages Kirk the most; that and the fact that his beloved starship is declared a target almost immediately. I don't think he even remembers, at this point, that another Federation ship was lost 50 years earlier in this manner - one of the reasons the Enterprise is checking out this sector - it's his ship what counts.
_
To be fair to this society on Eminiar VII, they did warn the Enterprise to stay away from their system; but the problem here again is an annoying Federation bureaucrat, ambassador Fox (played by Gene Lyons; see also the previous The Galileo Seven for another such representative). Fox places more value on a successful diplomatic mission than on the lives of all the crew and the ship. This does not endear him to Kirk, Scotty - or the audience, for that matter.
Speaking of Scotty, he had some of his best scenes of the first season right here. Placed in command of the Enterprise for most of the episode, he gets to shine in his confrontations with Fox and the 'mealy-mouthed' Anan-7 down on the planet. My favorite scene takes place when Scotty informs Anan-7 that the Enterprise will destroy the surface of the planet in less than two hours. It sounds horrible as so described, but it's sort of a validation of a starship's power and, by extension, Starfleet, and actor Doohan learned by this point how to infuse as much melodramatic impact on such pronouncements as possible. We secretly thrill to this opportunity Scotty has in throwing his starship's weight around - following Kirk's orders, of course.
For Kirk, it's his chance to play God once more (see the previous Return of the Archons), literally transforming an entire culture overnight - not in theory, but in practice! To be fair to the captain, one can argue his hand was forced after his ship was targeted. But, I, for one, get the sense he's really enjoying himself - give him any excuse; he'll change the way a planet does things soon enough, maybe even as simply retribution for daring to threaten his ship. Kirk gets to show a very tough, even somewhat nasty side to his nature here - but war does tend to bring out the worst in people, doesn't it?
The depicted society of Eminiar VII does pose many questions and problems, despite the outward appearance of prosperity and technological comfort (another nice matte painting here, though not as successful as previous ones for Starbase 11 in The Menagerie and Court Martial). Anan-7 (David Opatoshu in a nicely-layered performance) himself inadvertently suggests where the priorities of this so-called culture lie when he tells Kirk that he'll try to spare his starship, but that the human beings inside it are definitely goners. Things - material things - definitely take precedence over humanity here. There's something inherently repulsive about living thinking beings marching into oblivion at the 'suggestion' of computer results - another aspect making this similar to Return of the Archons - like so much programmed ants. I could understand Kirk's disgust and I noticed Spock was on his side all the way without even a word of debate about something called The Prime Directive. BoG's Score: 7.5 out of 10

Extra Trek Trivia: apparently, General Order 24 is Starfleet code for 'destroy the planet.' This does not present Starfleet or the Federation in the usual pacifistic light; however, this could be a code within the code, as in a bluff (a favorite tactic of Kirk's). Guest actress Barbara Babcock turned up as another character in the 3rd season's Plato's Stepchildren; she also provided her voice in The Squire of Gothos.  
Remastered version of cityscape:


Last edited by BoG on Sat May 02, 2015 11:32 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Taste of Armageddon full episode

Post  BoG on Mon Mar 29, 2010 12:44 pm

CLASSIC TREK QUOTES:
Anan-7: "Millions of people horribly killed! Complete destruction of our culture, here, yes, and the culture on Vendikar.
_____ Disaster! Disease! Starvation! Horrible lingering death! Pain and anguish!
"
Kirk: "...that seems to frighten you?"

Scott: "In one hour and 45 minutes, the entire inhabited surface of your planet will be destroyed."



Kirk never did like computers; in fact, he may secretly hate them...
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