Episode 72 – TOS 3×17: “That Which Survives”

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Buckle up, nerds, because this week’s episode brings together two of our favourite things: 1. Star Trek and 2. a cozy murder mystery! We’re so excited.

(Okay, 2/3 of us are excited. But Kim was loudly overruled because DEMOCRACY.)

There’s no contrived excuse for tossing our crew into the mystery this time: it’s a straight-up scientific investigation of a weird planet that shouldn’t exist in nature. Hallucination? Artificial planet? Sensor ghosts? Actual ghosts? But Kirk decides the most sensible method of investigation is to actually beam down.

Losira tries to warn off the away team
Go away, we don’t want any!










That’s maybe his moment of most questionable judgement in the episode (as evidenced by the Ghost of Purple Space Christmas Past popping on board to scream a too-late warning), but we want to give points from then on. A TOS episode in which nearly everyone, nearly all of the time, thinks things through before acting? In which we not only make verbal callbacks to previous episodes, but learn the lessons of previous failures? Impossible!

Kirk, Bones and Sulu sit down and remember past episodes
“Remember that thing that time?” “Oh, shit, you’re right.”











There’s a weird through-running series of out-of-place “oh, she’s killing us one by one but she’s soooooo beeeeeeoooooootifulllll” comments by the male characters, but… it actually turns out to make relevant sense, in a kind of subversive, roundabout kind of way. It took us most of the ep to work this out, and we’re really really mad about it.

This is actually a really enjoyable episode, given that not all that much happens? There’s a murder mystery; there’s a cultural puzzle to be solved; there’s a lot of problem-solving that requires extensive use of logic and deduction; there’s a plethora of crisis-reaction shots which are mainly women; there’s Lee Merriweather aka Catwoman as our female guest star! There’s a character clearly intended to be Indian who was played by a Jewish-American actress which really threw our POC count into a tizzy but we decided to come down on the side of who does a hell of a lot of out-loud problem-solving in a command position on the bridge of the Enterprise. Like, there are some weird, potentially-problematic bits of the type and in roughly the proportions we have come to expect them from TOS, but for the most part, it is good?

Losira's outfit, full-body. Pants, a weird belly-button cover, and All of the Purple.
It’s like a space pants suit. For murder.










Strange. Confusing. Surprising. Especially given the magnificent insanity of this outfit.


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