Monday, December 09, 2019

Star Trek -- Season 2 Episode 11 (Friday's Child)

I always wonder if things really were simpler back in the 1960s.  If television is to be believed, men worked outside the house and women took care of the house and children.  Children were usually happy and obeyed their parents.  (I suppose that by this same reasoning, people might look back on today’s media and assume the opposite is true.)

Star Trek, on occasion, also tended to present things simply.  The United Federation of Planets represented the good guys.  The Klingon Empire represented the bad guys.  And by good guys and bad guys, I mean Americans and Soviets.  Thus, when Captain Kirk shows up on Capella IV, it’s troubling to find Kras, a representative of the Klingons also vying for the planet’s resources.

The Capellans are a warrior race.  This would seem to give the Klingons an advantage, as they would seem to have similar values.  When Kirk offers medicine, it’s of little value.  (Those that lose in battle are usually left to die.)  What’s a Starfleet Captain to do?  I will say that it does require a rather interesting solution wherein McCoy has to gain the trust of the mother of the future leader of the Capellans.

It’s been pointed out that races on Star Trek tend to be a little monolithic.  It’s something I’ve noticed myself.  It’s not like there’s one sect of Capellans that value aggression.  It would seem that they all do.  There’s not a scientific class of Klingons.  All Klingons are conquerors.  It would seem that only the Federation has diversity.  I’m not sure if this is a product of the era or if the episodes usually tried to focus on the message.

My only real complaint about the episode is the side plot of the Enterprise being called away by a ship in distress.  It seemed like it was a way to fill time.  The landing party didn’t seem to be in any real danger, not that a main character would have been killed off anyway.  The distress call was a decoy, but it wasn’t clear to what end.  I’m sure there’s an explanation for it.

I can see why this was one of the episodes I didn’t recall.  You have a basic culture of the week with a stereotypical enemy and the good guys win.  In the end, the Capellans grant the mining rights to the Federation.  It would appear that the only one unhappy would be Kras.  Of course, that’s to be expected.  I don’t recall the good guys losing too many times in The Original Series.

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