Star Trek 101: How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth

101. How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth

FORMULA: Who Mourns for Adonais? + The Eye of the Beholder + The Paradise Syndrome

WHY WE LIKE IT: Beautifully designed and based on a culture we rarely get to see.

WHY WE DON'T: The bit about an alien "god" that came to Earth and influenced human culture is just so overdone by now.

REVIEW: How Much Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth benefits from its Mayan/Aztec influences in a number of ways. For one thing, despite the "space astronaut" connection, it just doesn't turn up in television sf very often. For another, everything here is gorgeously realized, including Kukulkan's ship and city. A lot of new artwork appears in this episode. Definitely not the cartoon equivalent of a bottle show.

The plot about one (or more) of humanity's gods being an alien visitor has been seen before, but Kukulkan's story isn't quite Apollo's, though like the Greek god, he can be a sympathetic character. It was fun to see a Native American character, Dawson Walking Bear, take Sulu's place for an episode, though it's too bad his presence had to be tied into the plot so closely. I would have liked to see this guy develop. I don't know if that would've happened anyway, since Arex and M'Ress never did, and a similar character on Voyager would eventually remain pretty static too ;-).

LESSON: Legend? Myth? All the major religions? Aliens.

REWATCHABILITY - High: With lots of great artwork, a fair mystery, and a "guest star" that proves to be a valuable crewmember, I can see why this one would have won some acclaim. (It was even sent to the International TV Film Festival in Monte Carlo.)