This episode adds a little fuel to the K/S fire, since in this episode Kirk acts frankly Gay, and Spock acts like he likes him that way. There is no female "love interest", no hot M/F action to complicate things. Quite the contrary.
This episode also throws a spotlight on Kirk's "creative" (some might say peculiar) problem-solving methods, adding weight to my assertion that Kirk is a shameless masochist, as I shall explain.
The Enterprise is accidentally warped back in time and space to Earth, late 1960s, when they try to escape the gravitational pull of a rogue "black star" (that's what they call it, folks) that was hidden near starbase 9.
They pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and discover that the warp engines are on the blink. Kirk asks Uhura to contact "Starfleet control" (that's what they call it, folks), but all she gets is static. They listen in on a radio broadcast, and because the guy is blathering on about the first manned moon shot being immanent, they realize that they have been thrown back in time.
They use impulse power to climb out of Earth's atmosphere, but are spotted and chased by a jet pilot who has been ordered to intercept and if possible disable the "UFO", or force it to land. Even in their crippled state, they aren't too worried about the guy, but they do respect his nuclear missiles, so Kirk tries to hold the cute, old-fashioned little interceptor at bay with the tractor beam, but when the tractor beam causes the fragile 20th century craft to start breaking up, Kirk feels obliged to beam the pilot aboard, in order to save his life.
The guy turns around, looks around and is suitably astounded. He's a handsome, hunky, clean-cut, young all-American type. Kirk looks him over ~real good~, and apparently approves.
[NOTE: this is not me humorously exaggerating. There *is* a close-up of Kirk's face as he looks the guy over, and he really does look him ~all over~, if you know what I mean.]
Captain John Christopher bristles at Kirk's blatantly fruity examination and introduces himself in a formal and properly military manner. Kirk smiles and introduces himself in a casual, friendly manner. Kirk tells the pilot that he's among friends, that he's a guest, and escorts Christopher through the halls toward the bridge.
The first thing that Christopher is startled by is a crew-woman in the typical gold female's uniform which to him looks like a babe in a tiny little short dress.
"A woman?" He is amazed.
"A crewman" Kirk corrects him.
[NOTE: From Kirk's point of view there is nothing to get excited about. He doesn't even think of his scantily clad shipmate as a woman. Or maybe he just doesn't understand why Christopher thinks she's exciting...it's hard to tell.]
While running around the Enterprise, Christopher sees much that is very strange to him. Kirk takes him to the bridge, and there he is introduced to "Lt. Commander Spock" (that's what he calls him, folks). He is suitably impressed. Christopher passes muster with Spock, so he's then allowed to nose around the bridge while Kirk and Spock quietly decide together to keep him as a pet, and the next thing you know, Kirk is asking Christopher to get out of that flight suit and into something more comfortable.
[NOTE: There Kirk goes again... undressing and dressing men and playing with them like they are big dolls. He's probably planning on confiscating the guy's flight suit to add to his collection. He can hang it next to the suit and fedora he stole in Piece Of The Action, the Nazi regalia he grabbed in Patterns Of Force, and the slave harness he kept at the end of Gamesters Of Triskelion.]
[Special NOTE: Man, when Halloween rolls around, HE'S going to be Ready! You know what they say... "A good scout is always prepared!"]
[Bonus NOTE: I know some people think nothing about asking a guest whom they've just met to doff their clothes in favor of something you'd rather see them in, and confidentially, I like to do that sort of thing myself, now and then, but it IS kind of unusual. Confidentially, I think Kirk imagined that guy without his flightsuit on from the moment he first looked him over, if you know what I mean.]
Next thing you know, Christopher and Spock arrive at Kirk's quarters for a private little chat, and our 20th century hunk has been stripped of his baggy old flightsuit and is now clad in a snug-fitting 23rd century uniform, and he looks so ~cute~! And he has the most adorable anachronistic 20th century mannerisms n stuff! Like when he sits, he yanks his pant legs up a bit as if to preserve the crease...which isn't there. LOL. [Nice detail]
Kirk acts annoyed when the computer addresses him in a seductive voice and calls him "Dear". It is explained to Captain Christopher that the computer technicians of female-ruled Signet 14 gave the shipboard computer a sexy personality when they performed some routine repairs - apparently as a little prank.
[NOTE: Apparently the domineering ladies of Signet 14 wanted to keep yanking Jim's chain long after his shore leave was over! I guess he made a lasting impression, and they wanted to return the favor.]
About the computer's new personality, Jim sez: "I wouldn't mind so much, if it wouldn't get so...affectionate."
[NOTE: Kinko Kirk doesn't mind having his chain yanked, what bothers him is that the computer is too nice about it.]
Because Christopher now knows too much about the future, Kirk explains to him that he cannot return to Earth. Well, since they are trapped in the past, Kirk and crew can't go home either. That's this week's crisis du jour in a nutshell.
Christopher tries to escape - Kirk stops him (with his fist) and puts the guy in sickbay in the process. While waiting for Christopher to come to, Kirk and McCoy discuss the crisis du jour some more. Then Spock arrives just in time to thicken the plot. A computer analysis has shown that Christopher's son, Sean Jeffrey Christopher, is destined to lead the Earth-Saturn probe mission. So Christopher (who doesn't have a son yet) MUST be returned to Earth after all...which he's very happy to learn about.
Now the problem becomes how to accomplish this thing in the least intrusive way possible. Kirk finally decides to recover all evidence of the "UFO encounter" so that even if Christopher talks, there will be nothing to back him up. Spock also has a theory about how to return the Enterprise and crew to the proper timeframe. By now the dazzled pilot is so taken with the spaceship from the future that he volunteers to spill his guts about all he knows concerning the layout of the air force base.
[NOTE: Excellent! Our evil plan worked! Capitalist American pigs are so gullible!]
Kirk and Sulu beam directly into the heart of the US Air Force base with their usual insouciance. They effortlessly locate the incriminating stuff they are looking for.
Meanwhile, back in the transporter room, McCoy as usual bugs Spock for no damn reason.
"Shouldn't you be working on your time warp calculations, Mr. Spock?" Bones carps, since Spock seems to be hanging around doing nothing.
"I am." Spock serenely replies.
[NOTE: isn't that a nice detail? Spock can calculate incredibly complex things in his head and carry on a conversation at the same time. Cool! Or, maybe this is another case of Spock bullshitting, just to have a little evil fun with McCoy. Either way, cool! You DO realize that either explanation is possible, right? It's well established that Spock can either work fantastic sums in his head, or that he has a lot of evil fun letting his human comrades think he can. I personally think he's got the computer working on it so he can play Ms. Pacman in his head - to distract himself from worrying about Jim.]
Meanwhile, back at the 498th air command base, a guard earns his paycheck by catching Kirk and Sulu red-handed. He divests them of their booty and gear at gunpoint, hand shaking only slightly. Kirk and Sulu humor the guy. He accidentally sets off the emergency signal on one of the communicators, and gets beamed up, to be confronted by the very exotic-looking Mr. Spock, much to his horror.
Great. Another complication. Kirk shrugs. He and Sulu get right back their berry-picking without hardly breaking stride.
[NOTE: it's not really that strange that they can be so carefree about it all. You've got to remember that they regularly confront much tougher things and opponents than this. I mean, after you've killed Gods and befriended homicidal, rock-eating, acid-secreting hortas, what's left that can *possibly* thrill you?]
Our boys locate the last of the film they seek, and just as they are about to beam up, three guards catch Kirk taking a last look around. Kirk reacts quickly, reflexively doing the one thing that ~to only him~ seems like the proper thing to do in situations like this: instead of rushing back to Sulu's side to beam up lickedty-split and make a clean getaway, Kirk in a flash sees that he's outnumbered and hasn't a prayer, and dives headlong into the midst of these three guys that he knows damn well will probably beat him up and incarcerate him.
[NOTE: Well, there's your answer to the question I recently posed you. Kirk has found a way to get a few laughs out of this dull little side trip after all. Oh, Lord, Jim, that is ~so~ typical of you!]
[Extra-Special NOTE: Now look, people - the other two complications were just plain unfortunate, but this one was not only completely unnecessary, but it's also without a doubt TOTALLY KIRK'S OWN DAMN FAULT. Kirk's sick compulsion to get kicked around is a true Achilles' heel for him. Seriously, it's a potentially fatal flaw in his character that not only causes him problems, but causes problems for his beleaguered crew, too.]
Well, this is just ducky. Now Kirk is fighting three guys at once.
[NOTE: AGAIN! And he's having fun doing it. You can tell, because the Kirk-having-fun-fighting music that played when he was farting around with Finnegan in Shore Leave is playing in the background here too!]
Kirk fights, and fights, and fights, (and makes a point of humiliating his opponents by obviously having too much fun) and FIGHTS some more, and gets all banged up, and in the process he leaves the room in a shambles and his attackers in a very foul mood. Meanwhile, Sulu gets the hell out of there like any *sensible* person would.
[NOTE: Spock confirms the correctness of Sulu's choice moments later]
OK, next, Kirk's in custody and the same angry colonel who got shoved around by him moments ago is now interrogating him, while an armed guard looms threateningly near. Kirk decides that the time has come to proceed carefully NO HE DOESN'T. He has even more fun trying to frustrate his already pissed off antagonist, as is 100% typical of him. He's like a kid in a candy store: can't seem to decide which tactic would madden his already angry interrogator more, so he tries everything. He tells the truth, plays evasive, offers a half-truth - at which point the Air Force officer verbalizes his awareness that Kirk seems to think this whole situation is some kind of game. Kirk denies this, because to him it isn't a game. To Kirk, the art of convincing an otherwise peace-loving person to want to open up a man-sized can o whup-ass on him is something he takes dead seriously. And he's no amateur at it, either. He's a friggin connoisseur; a gourmet of getting gut-punched. He's had his little brawl appetizer, and once we clear the palette with a little infuriating dead-end conversation, he'll be ready for the main entree.
As is typical of the poor schlubs who go up against Kirk in these no-win scenarios, his victim has no idea that he's being masterfully manipulated past his own wit's end by an expert. In the name of pity for the poor colonel's sake, I'll skip all but a couple of the details.
When queried about his uniform, Kirk gayly replies, "This little thing? Something I slipped on!"
His interrogator growls, "Kirk, maybe you don't realize how serious this is".
The interrogation scene climaxes with this telling exchange:
Kirk (brightly): "The truth is, I'm a little green man from Alpha Centauri - a beautiful place, you ought to see it!"
The Colonel (enraged): "I'm going to lock you up for 200 years!"
Kirk (philosophically): "That oughta be just about right."
[NOTE: it's 300 years to Kirk's time, so that's not what he's referring to. He's speaking of how long it would take for him to feel like he's had enough.]
Now Spock, Christopher and Sulu beam down to "rescue" Captain Kirk. This is accomplished fairly easily. Spock walks in, neck-pinches the guard, and Kirk takes his chance to knock the other guy out with a solid punch to the jaw, hurting his hand in the process.
"Don't you find that painful, Captain?" Spock gently chides him.
"Yes, I do." Kirk cheerfully replies.
Just as they are about to beam back up, Christopher pulls a gun he borrowed off the unconscious guard, points it at Kirk, and refuses to come with them. While Kirk tries to reason with him, Spock discreetly beams up to the ship from the next room, and then back down again *behind* Christopher, and takes him out with another convenient neck-pinch. Voila!
Handy guy, Spock.
Blah, blah, blah. The rest of the episode is taken up with the whole time-warp-and-put-the-guys-back shenanigans, all of which is wildly improbable, of course, but in Kirk's universe, what isn't?
Copyright L. Goodwin
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