EPISODE FIFTEEN: Shore Leave
Oh sweet Jebus, what a mess. Before I get to the bashing of this train wreck, I will take a moment to point out that for all it’s flaws, this episode is the precursor to ALL the amazing Holodeck stuff to follow, so that’s a point in its favour. Without it, we wouldn’t have Sherlock Data, Gangster Picard, and the bevy of random DS9 and Voyager episodes I have yet to see, as well as the much derided Enterprise finale. Holodeck episodes tend to be a bit of a mixed bag, but they always gave the writers a chance to explore the acting ability of their cast as well as play with genres. While this sometimes fails (as it does in “Shore Leave”) it is at least an interesting failure. There’s a Bradbury-esque tone to these sorts of episodes, but this one doesn’t quite get there…
So, “Shore Leave.” Everyone needs a break, they beam down to a perfectly Earth-like planet and proceed to have their every thought appear to them and interact with them. Think Gozer’s offer in Ghostbusters to choose the form of the Destroyer. Ray thinks of the Staypuft Marshmallowman and the result is all kinds of awesome. In this episode, we don’t get a giant pissed-off marshmallow. Instead we get the following buckets of fun (presented with pictures where appropriate):
McCoy mentioned Alice in Wonderland. It’s still better than Tim Burton’s.
-Sulu finds a gun, starts wildly shooting it (as you do).
-Kirk thinks of the practical joker Finnigan from the academy (who is Irish, naturally, so they can use their ‘quirky asshole Irishman’ theme from “The Enemy Within” again) who punches him then runs off laughing
-New Yeoman thinks of Don Juan (why not) who rips her uniform. So she thinks of a princess dress and gets that.
-Random ensign thinks of a tiger. So there’s a clearly chained up tiger. He later thinks of WWII fighter planes which strafe them with gunfire. He’s an idiot.
-Kirk thinks of his old girlfriend. Giggaty.
-Sulu encounters a samurai. He’s in two scenes, one of which involves Kirk run-by punching him. Spock was there too.
-New Yeoman thinks of a knight, so one shows up and jousts McCoy to death. (No joke.)
-Kirk fights “”””””””20 year old””””””””””(many quotes because he’s 20 in a 35 year old way) Finnigan, in the laziest ‘cut back and forth between stuntman and Shatner’ fight I’ve ever seen. This whole damn episode is SO LAZY! At one point, Finnigan flips stuntman, who lands on his back, shirt intact. When we cut to a close up of Shanter, his shirt is torn damn near half off. Magic, just like magnets.
Here are the before and after shots. We go from the stunt man being thrown, to Kirk’s shirt looking like this.
-Speaking of uniforms, Random Yeoman puts her uniform back on, now torn on the other side.
-Caretaker shows up (presumably a Mr. Jenkins, if Scooby Doo is accurate) and explains it’s an amusement park planet, where your thoughts are manufactured in a factory underground and sent up for you to love/fight/get killed by. Kirk responds something akin to WTF you killed Bones! To which Bones replies something like, “Did he?” And stands there with a huge shit-eater’s grin with these two marvels of costuming:
-And then they all leave the planet, well rested and laughing at Spock, who I can only represents the audience because he seems to be confused as to WHAT THE FUCK JUST FUCKING HAPPENED. They all laugh because he wants logic. Yeehaw.
And to think yesterday I had to put up with awesome Cold War parallels.