Star Trek 2.23: The Omega Glory

The Omega GloryBack into the reviews after my vacation! Unfortunately, the next episode is “The Omega Glory“…

It starts promisingly enough, with the Enterprise arriving at planet Omega IV to find the USS Exeter in orbit, apparently abandoned. Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Lieutenant Galloway beam over to investigate and find the crew apparently dehydrated into crystals within their uniforms. A nice juicy mystery! The fact that the beaming party later discover they have been infected with the agent causing this makes one wonder why beaming over, without protective suits, was the first option – even before so much as a scan of the Exeter. Starfleet has a lot of regulations, but apparently very few of them cover routine crew safety.

Checking the last log recorded on board, they see the Exeter‘s medical officer warning anyone on board to beam down to the planet immediately. The party does so, right into the middle of an execution scene, with Asian-looking natives attempting to behead a belligerent Caucasian-looking man and his fur-bikini-clad partner. Captain Tracey of the Exeter appears to break up the scene (amazingly, with an entire planet to choose from, they beamed down within a few metres of him). Tracey explains that the villagers, known as Kohms, have to deal with the threat of attack by the primitive and savage tribespeople known as Yangs. He also explains that the planet provides a natural immunity to the infection that killed his crew. Although they are now safe, they can never leave the planet.

Tracey is glad to have McCoy, because he thinks the immunity factor on the planet can be isolated and used to cure them, then be marketed to the Federation as a fountain of youth. Kirk objects, pointing out how Tracey is violating the Prime Directive by helping the Kohms defend themselves against the Yangs. After the obligatory fist fight, Tracey kills Galloway and throws Kirk and Spock into prison with the two spared Yangs from earlier. McCoy is assigned to work on a serum.

McCoy discovers there is no fountain of youth – the natives simply have naturally long lives. He also learns that the Kohms and Yangs were great civilisations, but fought a bacteriological war that reduced them to primitive states. When Kirk mentions the word “freedom” while discussing escape with Spock, the Yang male stops attacking him and starts talking, saying that “freedom” is a Yang worship word. Kirk deduces that this is a parallel of Earth, with Yankees (Yangs) and Communists (Kohms). This inverts things, with the peaceful Kohm villagers now revealed to be oppressive, while the primitive Yangs are in fact noble savages. Kirk helps the Yangs escape, but they knock him out.

Kirk and Spock escape later. In a showdown fight with Tracey, Kirk indulges in a couple of needless acrobatic dives over a wall and behind a large jar. Tracey corners him, but when firing the fatal shot discovers his phaser is out of power. Cue more fighting, while in the background the massed Yang forces conquer the Kohm village. The Yangs capture all the Starfleet personnel. The Yangs are now revealed to be the rightful owners of this territory, and bring in a battle standard that bears an uncanny resemblance to the Stars & Stripes, complete with “Star Spangled Banner” musical motif. The Yang leader begins reciting some holy words, which Kirk recognises as a garbled version of the Pledge of Allegiance, and finishes off in a rousing speech.

Tracey counters that Kirk is a devil. The Yangs decide to settle the matter by forcing Kirk and Tracey to fight to the death. Kirk wins, of course, but shows mercy, of course. The Yangs are impressed and declare Kirk a god. Kirk looks at their holy documents – a copy of the US Constitution, and declares that the words and concepts therein should apply to everyone, not just Yangs. The Yangs don’t understand, but say they will heed Kirk’s wise words. In the denouement, Spock raises the extremely pertinent question of whether Kirk himself has violated the Prime Directive. Kirk brushes it off, saying he was doing the right thing.

Wow, what a lousy episode. The set up is intriguing, but it devolves into a reality-suspender-busting mish-mash of ridiculously parallel history, racism, and jingoism. Spock even lampshades the uncanny nature of the parallel history with Earth, stating, “the parallel is almost too close.” But even this trick doesn’t work to make the story believable. And the last few minutes, with Kirk spouting patriotic Americanisms to a bunch of space savages is truly painful. It’s just horrible.

Tropes: Red Shirt, Skeleton Crew, Empty Piles Of Clothing, Fur Bikini, Fountain of Youth, Alien Non-Interference Clause, Training The Peaceful Villagers, All For Nothing, Bat Deduction, Space Romans, Red Scare, Noble Savage, That Sounds Familiar, Involuntary Battle To The Death, God Guise, Screw The Rules, I’m Doing What’s Right, Lampshade Hanging.
Body count: Over 400 crew of the USS Exeter (turned into crystals off-screen, pre-credits), Lieutenant Galloway (phasered by Captain Tracey).

One Response to “Star Trek 2.23: The Omega Glory”

  1. The Ridger says:

    Not that it affects the substance of your review of this accurately labeled “lousy episode”, but it was the preamble to the Constitution, not the Pledge of Allegiance.

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