Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973/1974) – The Slaver Weapon, The Eye of the Beholder, and The Jihad

Captain’s log: stardate 4187.3

Larry Niven adapts his story The Soft Weapon to become a Star Trek episode in this tale that first aired 15 December 1973.

The race is on when Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) and Sulu (George Takei) discover an ancient weapon. The come up against the cat-like Kzinti who want to use it as well.

The trio are captured by the Kzinti, proven rather menacing, despite their predilection for pink. When they discover the weapon, the Kzinti are unable to work out it’s purpose, as it seems it is actually a multi-purpose tool with a variety of uses and abilities.

Sulu and Spock are able to slip away with the device, but Uhura is held as a hostage, forcing a final confrontation. Sulu and Spock are able to figure out some of the device’s abilities, and some of them prove to be dangerous to let fall into Kzinti hands. But the device creators may have had one final plan in mind to stop the weapon from falling into the wrong hands.

I rather like this episode as it gives Sulu and Uhura a chance to shine, something they didn’t get a chance to do a lot of in the Original Series.

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Captain’s log: stardate 5501.2

David P. Harmon, who had worked on the Original Series, pens a rather simple tale, The Eye of the Beholder, which first aired on 5 January, 1974.

Kirk, Spock and McCoy (DeForest Kelley) find themselves in trouble when they realise the planet they have just beamed down to in search of a lost scientific expedition is not what they thought it was.

Arriving on the surface, they come across a variety of landscapes and life forms, and are captured by the alien life forms that live there. And they find themselves the latest additions to an intergalactic zoo.

Our heroic trio tries to figure out the best way to interact with their captors and find a way to escape from their confinement. Contact and understanding is made between the representatives of the Federation, and their captors.

In other words, in true Trek fashion an understanding is reached between differing species, a simple form of communication occurs, and we learn a little about each other before the Enterprise continues on her way.

Like I said, a simplistic, and familiar tale, even in the Trek universe. What is fun about it is the banter between Spock and McCoy is at its best here since the end of the Original Series.

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Captain’s log: stardate 5683.1

Stephen Kandell who had written Mudd’s Passion, as well as the Original Series episodes I, Mudd and Mudd’s Women pens the season 1 conclusion, The Jihad, which aired on 12 January, 1974.

Kirk and Spock and a team of intergalactic… specialists… are recruited to abscond with an artefact known as the Soul of the Skorr. The key to the entire mission is doing it in secret, because if they are discovered, a holy war will erupt and engulf the galaxy.

The Soul was stolen, something that was kept secret, and this team of unique individuals has been recruited, the fourth group to attempt to do so, to recover it and return it before the avian-like creatures who revere it discover it’s missing.

The episode is just seeing the characters taking on one obstacle after another, and just plays more of an adventure story than a Star Trek episode. There’s not much in the way to distinguish it from variations on the classic heist story.

Of fun interest is the fact that writer David Gerrold plays the lock-picking Em/3/Green.

Next time we dig into the short second season of the series as the Human Adventure continues…

jihad

 

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