TREK-A-DAY: The Omega Glory
EPISODE FIFTY-ONE: The Omega Glory
Now here’s a spot of weirdness: yet another ‘parallel development’ episode, wherein the Enterprise eventually stumbles upon a Yankee/Communist society that almost wiped itself out during a chemical war (like ours, of the 1990s, remember that? Right around the time Khan was ruling most of Asia and Europe. Dark days, those.) and now had be one tribal, while still worshipping artifacts of their lost civilization. Watching a bunch of white ‘Yangs’ (short for Yankee) broadly stereotyped ‘native’ outfits slur and mumble versions of the US constitution evoked Kevin Costner’s seminal The Postman. I appreciate the idea, but the awkward declaration of Kirk of the true purpose of the spirit of the US constitution was awfully out of place; for a society existing in a post-national future, they sure are proud to be American (with a nod to other alien cultures’ versions saying roughly the same thing, just not quite as well).
The episode itself is strangely structured, beginning with the finding of an abandoned ship filled with dead crewmen (who had lost all moisture in their bodies) only to beam down to the planet with the aforementioned Yangs (and their Asian Communist counterparts the ‘Conns’-who won the bio war). On the planet, they find a crazed Starfleet commander blatantly disregarding the Prime Directive by killing the Yangs with his phaser while ruling the Conns (whom he believes have found the secret to eternal life). Then there’s some weirdness involving Kirk having a rage-in-the-cage style fight with a couple Yangs in jail cell…this all eventually boils down to a fight between the rogue captain and Kirk bound together at the wrists, and Kirk’s eventual triumph…but the villain never really reaches his potential.
The whole episode basically boils down to a bunch of sci fi trappings to stall and build the reveal of the American flag and constitution…neat, but weird. A little jingoistic for my tastes, but then again, there’s no Cold War going on right now…so that makes a pretty big difference. Nevertheless, the pacing is strange though the rogue captain is a good villain. Strange episode.