And here’s another reference to Shakespeare, always a favorite of Star Trek. After having used it “openly” in The Conscience of the King in the first season, the title of this 22nd episode of the second season is By Any Other Name, taken from the following sentence in Romeo and Juliet by the English author of the XVI and XVII centuries: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet“. The phrase is used by Juliet to demonstrate that names are not important (although in her case they were, and tragically so), and here it’s used by Captain Kirk in a dialogue with some arrogant and aggressive aliens. But let’s start from the plot!
The Enterprise responds to a distress call but once it arrives to the planet where the call originated, it seems that it was a trap: four powerful beings (their power derive from gadgets that make ridiculous noises and have various effects, from causing paralysis to transforming living beings into small three-dimensional easy-to-crush figures) want to take possession of the ship to return to their home galaxy, Andromeda, and prepare a full-scale invasion. The journey, however, is far from simple, given that the ship’s engines must be modified and upgraded in order to overcome the barrier at the edge of the galaxy (already seen in Where No Man Has Gone Before, in the first season). Thus, during the journey our heroes have plenty of time to dissuade the evil aliens (and they are evil: ask the poor Yeoman Thompson, Julie Cobb, yet another redshirt) from their plans and convince them that human beings are nice creatures and should be left alone…
And how to do that? Well… Scott gets drunk with Tomar (Robert Fortier), McCoy angers Hanar (Stewart Moss), Kelinda falls in love with Kirk (she’s played by Barbara Bouchet! She would then appear in some fantastic Italian movies such as Milano Calibro 9 and Don’t Torture a Duckling by Fernando Di Leo and Lucio Fulci, respectively, and also in a series of terrible B-movies) and the the alien chief Rojan (Warren Stevens) discovers jealousy. As soon as the four beings are convinced that living as humans is the best thing to do in the whole universe, they are quickly forgiven for their wrongdoings and everything ends up with the usual smiles and laughs (apparently forgetting poor Thompson who died in the process).
Although it’s yet another episode with powerful beings who do whatever they want of Kirk and friends, By Any Other Name in my opinion is enjoyable thanks to the innovative final solution that makes the four main characters of the series work as a team (by the way: we haven’t seen Sulu in a while, where did George Takei go?). Also, the surprise of finding Barbara Bouchet in Star Trek was a pleasant one, I admit, and she doesn’t even offer the worst acting among the guest stars (Warren Stevens is particularly woody)! Ciao!
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Next episode: The Omega Glory