TREK-A-DAY: The Doomsday Machine
EPISODE THIRTY-SIX: The Doomsday Machine
A welcome return to form today, in an episode about mutually assured destruction careening out of control. When The Enterprise finds an entire solar system destroyed and the USS Constellation floating dead in space, they discover a massive doomsday machine from another galaxy has reached ours and is on a collision course for all the named planets we know of! (Not the Rygell System?!)
Kirk and Scotty attempt to get the Constellation back up and running while the disturbed Commodore of the ship beams aboard the Enterprise…and immediately goes all Ahab on the Doomsday Machine’s Moby Dick and seizes control of the ship to attack the giant space worm (which I can only assume launched from Arrakis…)
1 Part Paper Mache, 1 Part Planet Destorying Vortex of Awful. Let dry for 15 minutes then unleash on your enemies, kids! It’s easy and fun!
Eventually the Commodore commits suicide, Randy Quaid in Independence Day style and manages to damage the Machine, so Kirk and Scotty turn the Constellation into a bomb and fly it into the maw of the Machine…with a variety of last minute teleporter problems almost leaving Kirk stranded. It works, of course, and we get the most ‘on the nose’ Cold War commentary to date, as Kirk muses on the use of an H-Bomb (the doomsday of the 20th Century) to destroy the doomsday machine of another galaxy. It’s an interesting sentiment about what happens AFTER the war ends and one we’re still dealing with, particularly with the rising tensions about Iran developing nuclear weapons (which to their mind is a “Doomsday Machine” deterrent to the pre-existing nuclear cache of the Western world.) It is also a cautionary tale that sometimes what we intend only to destroy each other may have adverse effects on people we had never considered
A cool episode, with lots of danger, stakes, and the very first (but by no means the last) use of a Starfleet Vessel as a weapon. (Also certainly not the last crazed superior on a vendetta who hijacks the ship…by no means the last…)