It’s time for Star Trek Saturdays #33!
This week’s episode is ‘Friday’s Child,” and I actually should’ve covered it last week. Oops! Anyway, here we have an episode that has great music and stellar direction in service of an awesome “on-the-run” story!
We open with the Enterprise approaching the planet Capella IV to negotiate mining rights of a rare mineral for the Federation with the natives. In the briefing room, McCoy, who did an anthropological survey of the natives years ago, shows footage of them to the senior staff and explains that Capellans follow a complex rule system and that they can very easily anger.
Leaving Scotty in charge, Kirk, Spock, McCoy and a redshirt beam down to be approached by a party of Capellans led by Maab (Michael Dante) who seem to be escorting a Klingon (Tige Andrews). The redshirt pulls his phaser on the Klingon, who is never named, and is promptly killed by a killer boomerang thrown by a Capellan.
The others are told to surrender their weapons and taken back to the main encampment, where they are taken to meet Akaar (Ben Gage), the Teer–leader–of the Capellans. The Klingon tries to convince Akaar to align with them, but McCoy fools him at every turn with his cultural knowledge. Akaar comments that in all their dealings with Earthmen, the Capellans have never been lied to. Maab cryptically states that there are those who will not bargain with Earthmen, which Akaar takes as a threat.
Suddenly, a violent coup breaks out. Kirk & co. rush back to their tent to grab their weapons only to find the Klingon there. They subdue him and find out that the Klingons are after the rare mineral too. Suddenly, Maab enters, declaring himself the new Teer with Akaar’s death.
Meanwhile, Scotty and the Enterprise receive a distress signal from the S.S. Dierdre, a freighter claiming to be under attack by a Klingon vessel. But are they? And what does Maab have in store for Kirk & co.?
The unfortunate thing about this episode is that the HD really does bring out the limitations of early Trek and of ’60s television. Specifically, the Medieval-style costumes of the Capellans look really goofy and chintzy in high-def. But despite that, they’re certainly an interesting race, combining medieval pagentry with brutal savagery.
What helps sell the throwback feel of it is the music by episode composer Gerard Fried. It’s stirring and original, with some nice Middle Ages instrumentation underscoring the traditional Trek themes.
The cast is swell from top to bottom. We finally get to see how competent McCoy is as a physician, Shatner gets to be headstrong and Spock proves to be as witty as ever. As the Klingon, called Kras in the script, Tige Andrews is phenomenally slimy, oozing smirk and venom with every scene. As Maab, Dante, looking somewhat like Death from The Seventh Seal, is clever and quietly threatening. In another time, he could stand equal to, say, Littlefinger on Game of Thrones.
Episode writer D.C. Fontana gives us a great story, with palpable tension in both plots, well-drawn characters and propulsive action beats. My only problem with it is that, when Akaar’s wife becomes involved, things get a little bizarre with some mixed messages on gender and motherhood. This is where the ’60s aspect rears its ugly head.
Unsurprisingly for such a tight episode, Joseph Pevney directs again and is as stellar as ever. He never lets up, even for a moment.
Overall, this is a terrific episode with great action, fun characters and a cool plot. Check it out.
Thanks to Memory Alpha, the official Star Trek wiki for the pics and episode information, as well as Amazon Instant for hosting the show. We’ll see you next Saturday and until then, live long and prosper.