53. The Omega Glory
FORMULA: Miri + A Private Little War + The Doomsday Device + Return to Tomorrow + Patterns of Force
WHY WE LIKE IT: Starts out well, with a spooky mystery and some good action.
WHY WE DON'T: Parallel history story gone too far.
REVIEW: Well, The Omega Glory begins well enough, with an eerie visit to a ship where every one's been crystalized. It remains interesting when the crew finds the ship's captain the only survivor and he's convinced he's found the secret of immortality. But it all seems a bit familiar. Be that as it may, the episode moves at a good pace, with plenty of action and another engaging "mad" performance by Morgan Woodward, this time as Captain Tracey. Spock's hypnosis skills are also of note (and kind of creepy after he's been called the "evil one").
Unfortunately, it really falls apart when it's revealed that the planet's history is a close parallel to our own. We're supposed to believe that a world with very different continents still bred a United States of America, with the same flag, the same exact pledge of allegeance, the same consititution, written in the same script? Yankees and Communists? And that this all happened way before us, if it's true that some of the natives are over a 1000 years old. Really stretches the bounds of suspension of disbelief! They probably should have done it as a parallel universe or time travel story or something, but here it's ridiculous.
I also don't think it's a good idea to draw too much attention to the Prime Directive at this point, since Kirk is technically as guilty as Tracey in that department (though his changes might be considered "good"). How the Omegans will apply a document they read as jibberish is also an ill-answered question. And while I'm citing objections, how about the fact that this episode is so violent? Thousands of Omegans die offscreen, while onscreen, there's incessant fist-fighting. Some of it is pretty good by the series' standards, but after a while, it's a bit tiring. Tracey disintegrates a man he could have stunned, attacks Kirk with an axe, it goes on and on.
May I also point out the shoddy direction? There are way too many cheap video zooms that try to bring attention to certain scenes and events. Oh, they work all right, but they look terrible. Same goes for slowing down some footage, like Kirk's tied up wrists. What, did he break the ropes too quickly? When on the ship, the scenes of empty rooms aboard the Exeter include one of engineering where the crew is supposed to be! And I have to admit the final patriotic shot and cue do nothing for me, being a foreigner, but I don't want to start a political argument. Let's just say I like Star Trek better when it isn't blatantly americano-centric.
LESSON: I better start learning Chinese soon!
REWATCHABILITY - Low: Not boring, I'll give it that, but by the end, I've groaned so often, I couldn't possibly give it a good review. It just wasn't a good idea to start with.