Episode 37: Activating alien artifacts (SNW 2×07 Those Old Scientists)

Kevin: Hello and welcome
back to Subspace Radio.

It's me, Kevin.

Rob: And me, Rob.

Kevin: And we are here with a
surprise episode of Star Trek.

This is the first time in history,
if I am not forgetting something,

Rob, that the powers that be at Star
Trek Incorporated have shocked us by

dropping in the middle of the night, a
new episode Star Trek with no fanfare.

And even better, the next episode is
coming out on schedule the following week.

So in two weeks, we're getting
three episodes of Star Trek, Rob.

It is a bounty of riches.

I don't deserve this much
Star Trek is all saying.

Rob: Yes you do, 'cause you are not a
toxic fan who likes to fill the internet

with prejudice and hate and oh, it
used to be better in the old days.

You are the type of fan who deserves this.

Kevin: I hope you are not telegraphing
some of the to Strange New Worlds

season two, episode seven, Those
Old Scientists, because I have

to say this is so well done.

I have no notes.

I have nothing but praise for
this crossover that shouldn't have

worked, but worked so, so well.

Rob: There is so much joy.

There is nothing but joy in this
entire episode from start to finish.

It is perfection.

It is absolute perfection and joy.

I think this episode was dropped, people
saying, it's connection to San Diego

Comic-Con 'cause they had a panel on the

Kevin: They, They aired it for the
audience and they were like, if we show it

to some nerds, it's gonna get out there,
so we might as well put it on there.

And that's a perfectly good
reason to air it early.

But they didn't just air it early,
they aired it as a bonus episode.

Rob: Yeah, so we had yeah, like
you said, three episodes in a week.

We had Thursday, Sunday, Thursday.

And we are doing our our Star
Trek crossover conga dance.

Kevin: Yes, we are.

Rob: I didn't think any crossover episode
tribute to the whole show could match

Trials and Tribble-ations but I had to
hold my beer because in walk Those Old

Scientists to definitively say it is the
definitive episode of showing what this

show is all about and celebrating it.

Kevin: I had a fairly unique experience
of watching this episode because

I, like yourself, like many or of
the Star Trek fans listening to us

right now, I had been aware that this
was coming for a year since it was

announced at Star Trek Day last year.

So we knew this was coming.

We had seen the teases,
we had seen the photos.

I was just like, please don't screw it up.

That was my level of excitement
was sitting down to find out

if they screwed it up or not.

Rob: Ha ha ha

Kevin: But I got to watch it with
my partner Jess, who swears by the

lifestyle of not watching the trailers.

So she was going in completely clean.

She had no idea this was coming.

And she, herself is a
big fan of Lower Decks.

She loves comedy, so comedy Star
Trek is perfect Star Trek for her.

So when it went from the Previously
On into a shot of the Cerritos and

Brad Boimler's log entry, she lit up.

Her eyes opened and she looked at me
like, did you know this was coming?

And I nodded back, yes,
I knew this was coming.

Rob: Just to let people know how much
Jess follows that to the letter, Jess does

not follow me on social media because how
much I share trailers and stuff like that.

Years ago, I shared a Doctor Who trailer
and she literally put the comment I can't

follow you anymore and so I do not keep in
contact with your loved one, because she

said I can't follow Rob on social media.

He compromises my philosophy.

Kevin: That's right, yes.

I will continue to be a dead
drop service between you.

If you have any messages for Jess
after the recording, you let me know.

I'll pass them along.

The other person I got to watch
this episode with was my mother

who does not care for Lower Decks.

Rob: Ah!

Kevin: Lower Decks is bridge too far.

She finds it noisy.

She finds it obnoxious.

Rob: Look, she's not wrong.

Kevin: She is not wrong.

So she watched the first episode, said,
I gave it chance, it's not for me.

So when this episode began, she
immediately kind of went, oh,

and she went and got her phone.

And we said, mom, come back.

Come back.

This is Strange New Worlds.

Trust me, you're gonna wanna stick around.

And she had a great time.

And that is one of the many magic tricks
this episode did, is you could be a fan of

either one of these shows and love this,
not knowing anything about the other show.

Rob: I will just say this, to have
Spock use the word, it's exhausting.

It was in relation to hanging
out with Mariner and Boimler,

is freaking exhausting.

I have so much more for Mariner's
mom now for putting up with that

crap day in, day out on the Cerritos.

Kevin: Yeah.

Just amazing that these characters
now embodied by the voice actors were

only hired for their vocal talents.

The fact that they kept up the heightened
characterization of those characters,

even though their bodies were not
capable of things that could not, that

could only be done in animation, now,
nevertheless, the energy was there.

I never stopped believing that they
were Brad Boimler and Beckett Mariner.

Rob: Look, you say that, but he did the
Boimler pace walk as he ran away from Una.

He did the Boimler run and he also
did the Boimler Power Walk when he's

Kevin: Yes, he did.

Rob: And I'm there going, Jack
Quaid, Jack Quaid can do no wrong.

He is incredible voiceover actor,
incredible straight actor as well,

and his physical comedy timing.

Is there, is there
anything that man can't do?

Kevin: Just the, yeah.

When Una showed up and he just, yelped
and power walked probably was the

biggest laugh for me in the episode.

Rob: There's just, oh I
can't even define one.

Just from opening with animation style,
and there's been so many reviews going,

oh, they opened boldly on animation.

I'm going, of course they're
gonna open in animation.

So the animation was great.

The opening titles, rendered.


Rendered to look

Kevin: Animated, but not simplified.

Like it is to me, it is just as
beautiful as the Strange New World

titles normally are, but in a new way.

The um the space bug hanging onto the
nacelle was a laugh, and then as it flew

over the fire planet and space bug caught
fire on nacelle made me laugh again.

Rob: And then as the end of the
opening credits, as the Enterprise

flies off in the horizon, the shape of
the space koala makes its appearance.

'cause of course it does.

Kevin: I both love and hate that
joke, that Space Koala is so stupid.

I want to hate it, but every time they
go back to that it gets slightly funnier.

Rob: Look, and it was a great
representation and it was done as

well in Trials and Tribble-ations.

And of course it was directed by
Jonathan Frakes, as if there was anybody

else who could direct this episode.

What Trials and Tribble-ations did
really well, and this does really well

in many ways, it's not a competition
of better or worse, but that case of

people within the Star Trek universe
are fans of the previous generations

because there's so much of gap.

We have Sisko nerding out about James T.


And in this we have boler just.

Adoring talking about his nerdy obsession
with Pike and Spock and all that stuff.

Of course Mariner is obsessed with Uhura.

And then we get to, the, they're
talking so cool on the Enterprise

going, oh, these guys, about them.

But they start nerding out about
Archer and the Enterprise crew.

Kevin: We sound just like them.

Rob: Enterprise has been, in many
ways the black sheep of the franchise.

And we let's, let's not mention the
war, let's not mention the Enterprise

crew, but to have name shout outs
for the crew and a plot device wholly

focused on a part of the original
Enterprise ship was a wonderful move

and a wonderful tribute to whole show.

So it's not only ties into NextGen
and the original series, and this

we go all the way back as well.

Kevin: And that was yet another example
of something they're doing so well, even

better this season in Strange New Worlds,
is that they seeded that previously.

Like you pointed out the other week,
that the Enterprise NX-01 was up on the

wall for us to see, to remind us of it
two episodes before they would actually

reference it and use it in the story.

And I feel like they keep doing that,
is they figure out what they're gonna

do later in the season and then they
jump back couple of episodes and say,

what can we plant there as a seed to
remind us of that, so that our audience

is cued up to recognize it and be
extra delighted by it because they were

reminded that thing existed two weeks ago.

Rob: And it pulled a beautiful
masterclass in being a joyous

celebration, funny, ridiculous nature.

As you said, it was far better than
it deserved to be, but then it pulls

out some, just pulls the rug out from
under you with, Pike having absolute

exasperated frustration with them.

I'm gonna drop you off at the space Space
Station 12 and they'll deal with you.

And then it just slips into this
home truth about him and his dad and

his upcoming birthday and it just,
and to have the great work of Tawny

and Jack being able to shift from
ridiculousness, and have a gag in where

she mimes the chair that Pike's gonna
be to just taking on this information.

Go, oh, you know about the, and the…

Kevin: I counted three those gut
punch scenes in this episode.

One was, one was that question
from Boimler saying don't you think

there are people on this ship that
would love one more day with you?

Rob: Yeah.

Kevin: There was La'an and her
extra rule for time traveling of no

attachments from personal experience.


And there was of course, the
scene with Chapel in the turbo

Rob: Oh my God.

I mean, we know it.

Of course we know it.

There's no happy

Kevin: Of course we know it.

Rob: course, know but she

Kevin: But it's, gonna be extra sad now.

It's sad.

Even before it's sad.

How can they have any
kind relationship now?

He, how many times did Boimler rattle off
the highlights reel of Spock's history,

and there was no mention at all of a
pretty young nurse on the Enterprise.

Rob: Not even mention of a gorgeously
dressed, wonderful outfitted T'Pring.

Ah, this man's going alone.


Kevin: He's going alone and is going stone

Rob: And he is going stone faced.

I don't, yeah, I always, what I
love about Nimoy's performance

is he's, there's a logic to him,
but it's never cool, robotic.

There's always there's just
something behind Nimoy.

Even like from, even from the classic
series, when I watch back, I watch it

back and I go, Just the, what he can
get out of holding back is it just

elevates him to one of the greatest
actors who ever has done the show.

And especially in the movies,
which was my first contact,

he was never robotic for me.

He was never unemotional.

His emotions were there.

They were just controlled.

So he did beautiful stuff in Star
Trek II and IV, and even V and VI.

You're just going, no one can tell
me that he is being robotic, but.

Kevin: And Ethan Peck is doing
a great job of that as well.

Just the fact that when he did
smile and the score comes in with

the creepy horror movie chord over
it, it was, it worked so well, just

how wrong it was seeing him smile.

Rob: For me, I see it as it's
all from Boimler's point view.

That is just this horrifying
Shining type moment.

But everyone works so well together.

So you've got, Quaid obviously has
a bit more time on set because Tawny

doesn't come in until a bit later
the episode, but great bonds with or

with Ortegas and Chapel for Boimler.

Boimler with Spock was

Kevin: I dunno if I'd call it bonds.

They were teasing the out of him.

Rob: Well, you know, I love a good tease.

Maybe that's something
saying something about me.

Maybe that causes a stronger
bond, but him just going Crap.

Oh crap.

And his work with Peck was great and
Ethan Peck was great, and Peck is

such a great comic actor as well.

Goes, should that be exploding?

Kevin: No seek cover.

Rob: seek cover.

Kevin: Yeah.

We heard every version of
Boimler's scream or yelp or shrill

exclamation in this episode.


Rob: Did, you like it?

You've gotta love reference
to Beverly Crusher as he is

being sucked into the portal.

Remember me!

Kevin: Yep.

So good.

Rob: And little drop stuff in with the
Orions as well, which didn't need to

be done, but they've dropping stuff
in for Tendi as well and seeing the

Orions in live action for the first
time in Strange New Worlds, I believe.

'cause obviously they've been
playing the Orions on Lower Decks

as just big hulking masses of

Kevin: Yeah.

That's how you could tell they
were nerdy scientist Orions because

they weren't football players.

Rob: Yeah, exactly.

I was there going he's
not big, he's not a jock.

He's gotta be a scientist deep down.

And he seems begrudgingly
doing the piratey thing.

Kevin: What a guest star role
to be that Orion captain.

Like you are such a minor part of
episode where everyone's gonna be talking

about it and paying attention to every
other part of this episode, and yet

he did so well with that character.

The thing where he says, it's
just so hard talk to you with

all your weapons pointed at us.

I was, I just loved the texture and
the subtlety with that, with which that

character was played when it could have
been a mustache twirling villain role.

Like the episode would've worked
just fine with a bigger, less subtle

performance, but brought the subtlety
and I really appreciated that.

Rob: And love the, how stories grow and
how facts shift from who's telling it.

So at the end, when Boimler goes back and
says to Tendi, the Orions did discover and

he goes, yeah, and my mom discovered it.

My grandma discovered it.

What, go, yeah, was there.

She discovered the whole thing.

Goes well, she was on the crew, but yeah.


No, that's That's okay.



That's right.

Kevin: That's right.

Rob: The tantalizing moment at
the end, when you hear the voice

of Rutherford and Tendi going,
should we come through as well?

I'm going, no, no.

Kevin: Someday.


Rob: Someday.

I'm not sure the actor playing
Rutherford could, because, Quaid

and and Tawny Newsome look so much
like their characters, despite the

fact that Boimler is stretched.

Jack Quaid is a huge,
tall, bean pole of man.

Kevin: Yeah.


Rob: Yeah, I don't know
if Boimler's that tall.

Probably with the Boimler animated
hair it matches, but yeah.

Kevin: Noël Wells could pull it but I
think you're right that Rutherford's actor

looks the least like his onscreen persona.

Rob: Yes.

Which is a shame.

Oh, I forgot to mention just
the image and everyone's talked

about this in reviews, okay.

The moment of Jack Quaid looking
at Christopher Pike's saddle.

This scene is directed by Jonathan Frakes
and Jack Quaid is Boimler, hoisting his

leg over the saddle and saying "Riker".

Kevin: Just Riker.

We are led to believe that
was improvised, and he did it

just for the man in the room.

Rob: And then we finished
episode of course with, which

I was shocked when it happened.

I was surprised.

But part of me going, of
course they're doing this.

How could they not end the moment with the
Strange New Worlds cast, being animated.

Pike's hair wasn't as high as I thought it

Kevin: No, that's the thing.

That's thing.

His hair is more cartoonish in real life.

This is an episode that bears rewatching.

There is just so much going on.

It's hard catch it all on first viewing.

Rob: I have already
re-watched it two times.

Kevin: So the big challenge or
mystery in this episode is how are

we going to reactivate that portal?

They end up harvesting heronium from
under the floor of engineering where

there is a part of the original
Enterprise NX-01, a beautiful idea and

addition to Star Trek tradition that
each ship would be made with, a part

from the previous one to hold the name.

I love that idea.

But it led us to thinking about other
hard to activate alien artifacts history.

And that's what gonna talk about here.

I have something from the original series.

Do have anything before that?

Rob: I do.

I have an episode from
Discovery season one.

Kevin: Excellent.

Hit me up.

Rob: I am focusing on season one,
episode seven, Magic to Make the Sanest

Man Go Mad, with the return episode of
Harry Mudd in our time loop episode.

Now, it isn't clearly defined whether
it's alien or manmade, but there

is the McGuffin of this that keeps
everything together is the time crystals.

Kevin: Yeah, before they gave
Pike a glimpse of his ill-fated

future, we had time crystals
at the command of Harry Mudd.

Rob: Yes, we're well and truly
in the middle of the Klingon War.

And we have Lorca in charge of the
Discovery played by the great Jason Isaac.

And two episodes previous, he had
been thrown into prison and had

been introduced to Harry Mudd.

That's where he also met Ash,
who becomes his security officer.

And this is the old trope, like Strange
New Worlds has done multiple times,

ticking off, whether it be body swap
episodes or time travel episodes

or crossover episodes, Star Trek
Discovery did the time loop episode.

And for me who is not big fan of season
one of Discovery at all, this was one

that stood out for me that I really
loved this episode when I saw it.

And it still holds up.

Rewatching it last night.

I went, yeah the, I really enjoyed this.

The characters aren't annoying in this.

Burnham is not as annoying as normal.

Stamets really stands up as
incredible in this episode.

Ash is quite delightful.

Tilly is used sparingly.

Lorca isn't as full on
nasty as he normally is.

Saru is good.

And the genius that is Rainn
Wilson is such a good Harry Mudd.

So yes, basically the episode is
they're stuck a 30 minute time loop.

Mudd is trying to find out the secrets
of how to take over the ship and

control the spore drive so he can sell
the Discovery to the Klingons, so they

have the power of spore drive, and that
would, the Klingons would win the war.

However, he only has this 30
minute time crystal jump, so

he redoes it all the time.

He's the only one knows
that he's in a loop.

But also Stamets does as well.

And so he's desperately trying to connect
with Burnham and give her all this

information so that they can gradually
develop their knowledge of the situation,

and become victorious in the end.

So it's quite dark.

There's a lot of moments where Mudd
is just killing crew members left,

right and center, there's a darkly
comedic section where you see all

the times that Mudd has killed Lorca.

Kevin: The death montage.

Rob: death montage, which is
which is still quite funny.

But then as in true Star Trek
fashion, which I really love, it

ends with no one being killed.

And it ends in quite a
hilariously, having Mudd declawed.

So the time crystals are what we relate
to, and control this on a wrist device,

and they, their properties and powers
are openly vague, but it creates that

gimmick that we need to slip in and out
of 32 minute time loop whatever it is.

Kevin: It's almost a video
game of an episode, this.

Like that experience
of I need perfect run.

And infinite lives.

I'm gonna start over as many times
as it takes, but one of these

days I will find the perfect,
don't-touch-the-sides path through this

gauntlet and have the perfect ending.

It is, it very much replicates
the feel of mastering a video

game that I love about that.

It's lovers of Groundhog Day
that is such a successful and

well loved movie for a reason.

The formula works.

Rob: Yeah.

Kevin: The thing at the heart of this
episode, the impossible thing that

makes this go, is that time crystal.

And I remember at the time thinking
time crystal, that sounds like

something that's gonna be problem.

If that exists in this universe,
what other things possible?

It's like that is a game breaking
weapon that really should not be

allowed to exist, but we'll allow
it to exist for the conceit of this

one comedy episode, and we'll go
back to pretending it never existed.

But it does come back.

It comes back and shows Pike his
future and the return of the time

crystals in the Klingon monastery.

I remember that really bothering me
because it was like, oh, we're not

going to forget the time crystals.

We're pretending that's something
the Klingons have had all this

time and they've just been too
religious to use it as weapon.

Seems unbelievable to me.

Rob: Yeah, it was very much a case of
what, watching it again, going, this could

be something that we never see again.

That's okay.

Let's just put out there.

It's too much of the ramifications
of it, just like within the

Harry Potter world of the time
turner, you're there going really?

No, this could cause some
really serious messed up stuff.


My, my dread of going back to watch
an episode of Discovery was tamed

slightly because this is actually very
good Star Trek episode and all those

other elements they tried to overdrive
in Discovery are quite turned down.

Kevin: I remember that being the
experience when I first watched

this episode is that's more like it.

Finally, an episode that stands alone
and feels like an episode and feels

like a complete story, beginning,
middle, and end that is satisfying.

Rather than leaving us dangling
yet again until the next week.

Rob: And it is that case of at
the end, it's the entire crew

of Discovery against Mudd.

It's not just Burnham doing all the work.

It's Stamets, burnham,
Ash, Lorca, even Saru.

The entire crew have sorted
this out and they won together

and I'm there going, that's, to

Yeah, that's Star Trek.

And to quote Burnham at the end, that
made me want punch myself in the face,

that's Starfleet right there, Burnham.

It does get a little bit over the top
when, you know, tell me a secret that

you've never told anyone, and that
secret is I've never loved anyone, or

no one's ever loved me or, and you there
going oh, violin a bit more, Burnham.

But it's genuinely a great episode and
it's, for me, it's the episode I, the only

episode I really loved about Discovery.

And little hint of Georgiou as well
in there as well, which I always

think they, they took away original
Georgiou played by the wonderful, now

Oscar winning, Michelle Yeoh too soon.

Kevin: I miss Lorca as well.

Like this was what Lorca could be as
a admittedly hard-ass, but proactive,

productive member of a Starfleet crew.

Bring back good Lorca.

Rob: Good Lorca who was killed
in the mirror verse or…?

Kevin: As far as we know,
he's still out there.

And with just one season of Discovery
left, please bring back Jason Isaacs.

I could understand why it would be like
maybe a bridge too far, like straining

credulity, but when has Discovery
been afraid to strain credulity?

Rob: Exactly, and to prepare ourselves
for season five, I am two episodes

in to season four of Discovery.

Kevin: Oh, it's just
getting good, isn't it, Rob?

It's just getting good.

Rob: Kevin, now I could see what you're
doing there and you're a cheeky monkey.

Kevin: It's not all bad.

That's I'll say Discovery season four.

Rob: So tell us, where are you
going for your alien artifact?

Kevin: This is the original series,
season three, episode three, The

Paradise Syndrome which fans will
remember as the time Captain Kirk lost

his memory and joined an Indian tribe.

Rob: Okay.

Go on.

Kevin: To their credit, for the time,
they call them American Indians, but

they don't call them Native Americans.

We were not that enlightened,

Rob: Haven't got to that point

Kevin: point the sixties.


But a lot of speaking of straining
credulity, a lot of unbelievable

things happen at start this episode.

Kirk, Spock, and McCoy beamed
down to a planet that looks

like beautiful national park.

They immediately remark on the pine
trees, the smell of honeysuckle and

just how improbable it is that a planet
here on the other side of galaxy would

evolve so precisely to match Earth.

This is something that happens more
than once in the original series,

the conspicuously Earth-like planet.

I think they, they go outta their way
to remark on just how unlikely it is.

Rob: It's like MASH how the
hills and bushlands of Korea

look remarkably like California.

Kevin: So they walk around the
pine tree and immediately come face

to face with this stone obelisk
that they didn't know was there.

This is coincidence number two, that
they beam down to this surprisingly

Earthlike planet and surprisingly
of the entire planet, they happened

to beam down next to this stone
obelisk that they cannot explain.

It is high tech device that the natives
at the planet who are, we learn, American

Indians to all appearances, could not
have built such a high tech device.

They look around, but they don't
have long to spend here because the

reason they're here is to avert the
destruction this planet by an asteroid.

They have five minutes to look
around and they've gotta beam up

and warp out in order to intercept
the asteroid at the point where they

can still divert it far enough to
not smash the planet smithereens.

But in those five
minutes, tragedy strikes.

Kirk says, oh, before we leave, I wanna
get one more look at that obelisk.

He walks out on his own, stands on the
surface of the obelisk and flips open his

communicator, says Kirk to Enterprise,
and the hatch beneath his feet opens.

He goes tumbling down a hole.

Hatch closes.

Kirk like clambers up onto a
surface that he is not looking at.

It turns out to be full of buttons
that he has pressed by accident, and a

ray of light hits him in the forehead.

He collapses to the floor, end cold open.

As a result of this, it turns out
Kirk has had his memory wiped.

Rob: Aaah.

Kevin: This is another case of amnesia
that we could have talked about in our

episode about amnesia not too long ago.

Spock and McCoy have lost their captain,
but they don't have time to look for him.

They get up on the ship and warp out.

That half of the episode continues
with, it's another case of Spock and

McCoy having to lead the Enterprise
together without Kirk around.

And they have a similar kind
of debates about whether Spock

knows what he's doing or not.

Meanwhile on the planet for the months,
the three months that they're away.

This is like an interesting kind
of timeline in Star Trek episode,

that episodes rarely lasted that
much in in-universe time, but the

asteroid needed to be deflected so
far away that they had to warp away.

And then as they are trying to divert the
asteroid, they burn out the Enterprise's

warp engines, and they have to limp
back on impulse power, which is why it

takes them three months to get back.

During that time, Kirk who can't
remember who he is or what he is

doing on that planet is discovered
by the natives who in, true white

savior style, embrace him as a God
and award him the hand in marriage

of the high priestess of the tribe.

The interesting element of this
episode is just how happy Kirk is when

relieved of the pressures of captaincy
in a low tech agrarian society.

They highlight this at the start of the
episode with McCoy talking about how

this kind of planet could lead to what
they used to call Tahiti syndrome, which

is when you didn't wanna come back from
your holiday uh, the bushes and trees and

the bodies of water captured your heart.

But yeah the alien artifact that we're
meant to be talking about here is that

obelisk, and ultimately, it is revealed
that obelisk is a asteroid diverter.

And when the Enterprise fails to divert
that asteroid in time it is up to

Kirk in form of Kirok, the God of this
American Indian tribe, he is expected

by the tribe to find his way into
that obelisk in order to activate it

and make the blue lightning come out
as they say, to divert the asteroid.

But of course, Kirk has
no idea how to do that.

And ultimately, he is stoned by
his own tribe, along with his, very

shockingly, his pregnant wife on
the steps they are both stoned and

Spock and McCoy beam down just in
the nick of time to save Kirk's life.

But Kirk's wife to be dies along with the
unborn baby at the end of this episode.

Rob: What?!

Kevin: Yeah, it is completely shocking.

She like, for no plot reason
whatsoever, she reveals that

she is pregnant with his child.

The only thing that serves is
to further deepen the tragedy

when she is killed at the end.

Like you could, I don't think you
could do that uh, on TV these days and

not deal with it more than they did.

But yeah, very tragic.

Rob: And especially the
episodic nature of the show.

Like they can't carry on with that within…


That is, yeah.

The double whammy of not only am I your,
wife to be, we're pregnant as well.


And now I'm gonna die.

Kevin: That's right.

Rob: Deal with that for five minutes.

Kevin: So how do we get back inside
the obelisk is the tricky thing.

Spock is able to decipher, in the three
months that they come back, Spock is able

to decipher his recordings of the markings
on the surface of the obelisk and is able

find out that they are musical notes.

So as far as he knows, if there is
way into the obelisk, it probably

has to do with music or a sequence
of sounds or something like that.

Once they uh, restore Kirk's memories
with a mind meld he tries to remember

what he did in the moments before falling
down inside the obelisk, and it was

literally to flip open his communicator.

Have it go deet-dee-dee and
then say Kirk to Enterprise.

And that is the magical passcode or the
magical sequence of sounds that opens

the obelisk, completely coincidentally.

That is the third complete
coincidence in this very unbelievable

episode of the original series.

But I always remember that I just, I
love that idea that this alien artifact

that is completely impenetrable to
modern science, that it could be opened

just by Captain Kirk flipping open
his communicator and saying, Kirk to

Enterprise, this thing he does casually
every other episode of this series.

It was delightful there that
like the key was right in front

of us all along in, in that way.

Rob: There you go.

And then the next episode, they
never talk of any of that ever again.


Kevin: I think it's difficult as
a Star Trek writer to come up with

a hard to activate alien artifact,
where the mystery is satisfying.

That the way it ends up being able to
be activated is hard enough that it, you

believe that they had a hard time figuring
it out, but not so arbitrary as to be

completely unsatisfying or unbelievable
that they do eventually figure it out.

So this week, the heronium, the substance
that is like completely out of supply in

this quadrant of the galaxy and is very
difficult to synthesize, but just happens

to have been a part of the hull of the
original Enterprise, NX-01, it's another

example I think of them just deftly
making just hard enough to be satisfying.

Rob: And you also don't wanna have an
artifact that's too powerful that it

becomes a problem, like with the time
crystals in Discovery, you're there

going, what are the ramifications of this?

Like within Deep Space Nine, one
of the possible ones I gonna focus

on with Deep Space Nine was all
the orbs, all the prophets' orbs.

You've got a of prophecy and change.

You've got an orb of time.

You've got an orb of this and that.

Or The artifact that's broken by Sisko
and the pah wraiths come out of that.

It's that case of finding an artifact
that has a problem, an issue that you need

to solve, and can be moved on as opposed
to the larger ramifications, which could

affect the whole franchise universe.

Kevin: It was always very unclear to
me, those orbs, how you activate them.

Like they, they are these extremely
powerful devices, but their saving grace

is apparently the way you activate them
is you pray them in a worthy enough way.

Rob: You open a box.

You open a box, Kevin.

Kevin: Do they work every
time someone opens the box.

Has anyone accidentally dropped
a, an orb box and it's opened

on floor and they're like, oh

Rob: Oh

Kevin: We've gotta fix time.

Rob: Oh, I've ended up on the Enterprise.

Oh God.

Kevin: Those obelisks that diverted
the asteroid in this episode of the

original series, they do uh, do a bit
of interesting world building where

Spock says one of the other things
was able to decipher from the writing

on it is that it was placed there by
a super race known as The Preservers.

And I remember in my early days as
Star Trek fan, even before Next Gen

had come out, that this idea of The
Preservers, that there was this race

that went about galaxy seeding planets
with apparently pine trees and Native

Americans and that they would leave a
asteroid diverter in order to protect

them, spreading humanoid life throughout
the galaxy is a very rich idea.

There is a, there is an episode of The
Next Generation that has like multiple

races racing for the secret of this
shared code that is in their genomes.

And you need the genomes of
all the different races to,

to assemble the message.

And it is ultimately a message
from The Preservers you all get

along, you're actually related.

But yeah it's a nice bit of world building
that, that alien artifact way back in

season three of the original series.

Rob: Well, there you It's nice
to have those little especially

those almost omnipotent beings,
being referred to again.

'cause like we've talked about in
previous episodes, these big aliens

are huge entities that we have no real
comprehension of without our limited

understanding of knowledge and language.

They're touched on just as an idea and a
concept for an episode, but to have that

no, they are, there is a legacy there.

It's nice to have that addressed.

It's a nice little Easter
egg for us long-term fans.

Kevin: Well, There you go.

That was our bonus episode for
our bonus episode of Star Trek.

So much Star Trek coming, Rob,
we have another one in of days.

Rob: And from the joy and hope and
silliness, it seems like just from

the title, this might be going
into a bit more darker territory

with the, the Cloaks of War.

Kevin: Yeah, I am, I am tipping Romulan
cloaking device, something, something.

All I, that's all I can gather.

Rob: We shall see.

We are less than a week away
from seeing a new episode.

And then just around corner is
the musical episode as well.

Kevin: Well, bye for now, Rob.

Rob: See you, Kev.

Episode 37: Activating alien artifacts (SNW 2×07 Those Old Scientists)
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