Little Red, The Early Years: "Miri" is the first episode of classic Star Trek I can ever remember seeing in my whole entire life. I loved it, though I couldn't figure some things out. How did the food stores on this planet last for 300 years? What the heck was wrong with that hysterical blonde yeoman? Why did no one think to investigate why another planet looked EXACTLY LIKE EARTH, if Earth had absolutely no weather!?!?? Yeah, none of these things are ever explained. As Kirk says in his log, regarding the Earth-duplicate planet, "It seems impossible, but there it is." I'm glad no one feels the need to explore the science of that at all.
If you look closely, you can see the SWATH ACROSS FLORIDA.
Kirk: Oh, Captain Kirk is in FINE form in this episode. As the pride of Starfleet, he fistfights with children, supports crew morale by hugging junior officers, and flirts inappropriately with a pre-teen girl for THE ENTIRE EPISODE. I'm reasonably certain that ANY OTHER CHARACTER would have probably come up with a way to relate to Miri, a child who has not seen an adult in three hundred years, in a way that didn't involve grabbing, suggestive looks, or stroking her face and creepily repeating that she's a "very pretty young woman." EEP. Despite his success with the jailbait set, Kirk doesn't do very well when he tries to out-act an entire angry mob of feral children, and is routinely upstaged by the weirdest-looking kid EVER. When his shirt remains intact through three whole fight scenes, Kirk gets fed up and dramatically rips open his own sleeves. Sometimes, if you want something done right, you just have to do it yourself.
I'm fairly sure that any caption I could write for this would not do it justice.
Spock: You know, the more episodes I see, the more I'm convinced that Spock is always making fun of everyone in his head. His humor comes out in strange ways -- pointing out to McCoy that being human isn't so great after all if you're going to DIE OF PLAGUE isn't the most tactful thing in the universe, and it's a little weird to refer to the children on the planet as being "like mice," but mocking Janice for getting jealous of Miri? AWESOME. (Kirk inappropriately asks Miri, "Wanna go somewhere with me?" Janice looks shocked and betrayed. Spock points out that, technically, Miri isn't underage if she's three hundred years old, and then tells her, "THINK ABOUT IT." HA.) He also gets the priviledge to utter one of the best lines of the first season: "It could be... a beaker full of death."
Also, the lesser-known test tube full of death.
McCoy: Bones continues to be awesome. He busts out his old-country-medicine act as he concocts a vaccine with basically just an old-fashioned microscope and some technobabble, and when he's sick of Spock not fully grasping the urgency of the situation, he injects himself with a Hypo Full of Death to test the vaccine. LOVE. However, his old country school of medicine continues with its weird diagnoses -- he uses "attraction to Kirk" as his primary barometer for how far through puberty Miri is, as though it's a universal constant that all women of childbirthing age will be in love with Kirk. (However, we've seen no evidence to the contrary so far in this series, so I'll grant him a pass on this.) When Kirk demands that he and Spock come up with a vaccine that no one on the entire planet could figure out, McCoy deadpans, "Is that all, Captain? We have five days, you know." He's probably not the best of the Star Trek doctors, ability-wise, but I'd still put him on my Fantasy Trek Crew for the lols.
WTF Props of the Episode: Spock's portable computer is maybe two steps up from a typewriter, and in the background, McCoy pushes the bounds of medical science with something that looks like a toaster.
I Dream of Janice: It's not explained why Janice is on this away mission in the first place. Sulu, Uhura and Scotty are all conspicuously absent in this episode, with various yellowshirts filling Sulu and Uhura's bridge roles, so I am going to assume that Janice poisoned their coffees so that Kirk would have to take her on the away mission instead of one of the more useful crewmembers. While on the planet, she cheerfully fills the generic female-crewmember-on-away-mission role by hiding behind McCoy during a fight scene, getting jealous of a beautiful (twelve-year-old) alien woman, sobbing that the plague is making her ugly, and getting kidnapped. Still, I adored every minute that she was on-screen. At one point, she completely loses it in front of Kirk and tells him that she always wants him to look at her legs. Kirk atones for not ogling her enough by touching her inappropriately for the rest of the episode, like any good commander would do.
I totally thought she had plague-marks on her face, but it turns out it was just electric blue eyeshadow.
Miri: Not only is she the politest feral child you'll ever meet, Miri is also better behaved throughout much of the episode than pretty much everyone except Spock. It makes complete sense that she falls for Kirk, despite the "NO, KIRK, NO!" nature of it all, and it also makes sense that she betrays him, then changes her mind, because she is TWELVE. It's unclear whether the vaccine will make the children now age at a normal rate, but I hope so, because otherwise poor Miri is going to be a teenager for more than eight thousand years, and that is way, WAY too much time to spend writing angsty love poems about your first love James T. Kirk.
Jim, consent is not a defense.
Lord of the WhatTheFlies: If we're to believe the surely well-researched conclusions that the writers of this episode came to regarding what would happen if children were left unsupervised for THREE HUNDRED YEARS, we would conclude that they would at no point try to create a sustainable way of life, gain any personal responsibility, or develop any games more creative than "olly-olly-oxen-free." Also, they would all either wear masks or be frighteningly unattractive.
We Have Got To Come Up With A Better Name For This: Hilariously, no one has yet thought of the term "Starfleet Command," so at the end of the episode, Kirk alerts "Space Central" to send specialists to help the kids on Miri's planet. I really, really hope that Space Central is actually in the dead center of space.
Ways In Which This Episode Totally Fails At Star Trek: On a planet with deadly plague and mobs of bloodthirsty children, we have a 100% redshirt survival rate. Not to mention, when a crazed teenager keels over in front of McCoy, he totally skips over announcing "He's dead, Jim," and moves right on into medical "!?" However, we are saved by the awesome moment in which Kirk dramatically orders the mob of children to stop mocking him by yelling "No! No blah blah!"
No poll today. Honestly, I feel like that last screencap of Kirk is entertainment enough.
ETA: all caps from tos.trekcore.com, as per alwayzz!