I’ve been looking forward to this one. McCoy and Sulu have beamed down to investigate this paradise planet where they hope to spend some time resting and recuperating for a while. Bones mentions that where they’ve landed reminds him of Alice In Wonderland. Almost immediately he sees a man-sized rabbit, looking suspiciously like a character from Alice In Wonderland, closely followed by a girl who looks suspiciously like the title character from Alice In Wonderland. But with an American accent. That’s a great, and unusual opening. And having just watched Jonathan Miller’s version of Alice last night, I’m feeling a Lewis Carroll theme to this Christmas…
The episode certainly stands out from the ones we’ve seen so far, especially with its ‘real’ locations (no coloured lights and artificial rocks here).
Kirk has a new yeoman to do menial tasks, massage his shoulders and tell him he’s handsome. This one’s called Barrows. She and the captain beam down to join the others. Barrows has been daydreaming about Don Juan for some reason, and off camera she gets her wish and he appears before her. On hearing her scream the others go running to help. Don is evidently not what she expected as he attacked her and tried to rip her clothes off. Never meet your heroes.
It’s not long before Kirk goes running off on his own and McCoy is left to team up with Barrows. We see another side of McCoy this week as the doctor takes a liking to the new yeoman, and they end up holding hands and frolicking through the countryside with her role playing a fairy-tale princess, and he the chivalrous hero. Except it all goes a bit wrong when a black knight on horseback appears from nowhere and lances him through the chest. By this point they’ve established that what they are seeing can’t be real, but I don’t quite understand how McCoy can be so confident that the knight is a hallucination when both he and the yeoman can see it. So that’s the end of McCoy. What a shocker. Barrows becomes slightly hysterical at this point, and I wonder if the captain is having second thoughts about hiring her. Perhaps Rand will be back next week.
Meanwhile, Sulu encounters a samurai (of course – obviously being Asian he daydreams about them all the time), and our two additional characters Rodriguez and a woman called Angela (who was both married then widowed during the last episode, and this week has a new surname – fast mover) get menaced first by a tiger (a real live tiger mind you, not a stock footage one!) and then a war plane.
While everyone else is dreaming up fantasy, the down to earth Kirk is imagining real people from his past (yawn). A chap called Finnegan who I presume from the Irish style music is supposed to be from that country, though I can’t tell from his rather unusual accent. He has an extremely irritating high pitched laugh so I completely sympathise with the captain being desperate to punch him. Later Kirk meets his second past memory, an attractive lady called Ruth. It’s never made clear who she is or what their relationship is but they seem to get along very well.
There’s a really long drawn out fist fight between the captain and the squeaky-laughed pretend Irishman which reminds me of the chicken fights in Family Guy (whatever that is). For a man who knows it’s all an illusion he’s really going for it. We don’t get fights like this in Doctor Who. The captain ends up completely pulverised and his shirt actually rips itself to shreds between camera angles.
It all gets wrapped up when a chap calling himself the Caretaker appears and tells them the planet is like a giant amusement park where dreams can come true. Bones isn’t even dead and arrives back to join them beaming all over his little face. He’s missed the yeoman so much he had to dream up a couple of sexy chorus line girls to compensate. He doesn’t even look guilty, but Barrows is clearly unhappy and immediately one of the dream girls latches on to an unappreciative Spock.
A battered, bloodied and bruised Kirk raves about what a marvellous time he’s had and decides to stay a while longer to catch up with the pretend Ruth. It all ends with a big laugh on the Enterprise as the funny Vulcan finds the whole episode “most illogical”.
I wonder who Ruth was.