22017 "Once Upon a Planet"

(airdate: November 3, 1973)

Writer: Chuck Menville and Len Janson
Director: Hal Sutherland

Master Computer: James Doohan

Stardate: 5591.2

Captain's Log: The Enterprise returns to the planet from "Shore Leave" for some R&R, but things quickly turn dangerous; McCoy is attacked, while Uhura is kidnapped. It turns out the Keeper of the planet has died, and in his absence the computer that controls everything has become dissatisfied with its life, wanting to head out into the galaxy via the Enterprise and not cater to the "slaves" of all the ships that come here. Kirk and Spock convince the computer that they aren't slaves to their ships, but rather that they coexist with them, and that allowing others to come to the planet would be an easier way for the computer to learn about the galaxy. The computer agrees and lets the Enterprise crew use the planet unmolested.

Whoops!: There are a couple shots where Sulu is shown on the bridge next to Arex while he's down on the planet's surface.
     Spock states that the Queen of Hearts and the other playing cards are from Through the Looking Glass, but they're actually from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Classic Lines: McCoy, after a huge two-headed dragon appears: "Sulu!" Sulu: "Not in my wildest dreams would I think of that!"
     Uhura: "There is no shame in serving others when one does it of his own free will."

Library Computer: The shore leave planet [from "Shore Leave"] is still located in the Omicron Delta region. Its purpose - to provide fun and amusement to passing space travelers - remains unchanged from last time, and indeed it looks the same as before [well, except for the animation bit - but McCoy comments on how things are unchanged]. The planet has a moon, and was run by a Keeper, but between "Shore Leave" and this episode he died. He was the last of his race, having died on the fifth day of the twelfth moon in the year 7009 of the planet [thus implying that that's how long the planet has been around]. A monument was built for him, with a message explaining when he died in several different languages.
     In the wake of the Keeper's passing, the planet has been run by the giant computer that's located underground, in a complex made of a combination of granite and a metal alloy that the Enterprise's sensors can't penetrate. There are several hidden entrances to the complex, where the manufactured robots emerge on the surface. The complex has several arrays of computer banks, and the computer can speak to humanoids in a room dominated by a giant round screen, flanked by two smaller trapezoidal screens that display images from the outside world. This computer monitors emotionally charged thoughts [presumably so it can create whatever the thinker is thinking about]. Without the Keeper around, the computer began to grow in power and intelligence and became unhappy with its role of service. It decided it wanted to head out into the galaxy, to encounter fellow computers. The computer believed that the organic life in the ships that came along were the slaves of the ships, and it had no need of them. The computer could control the Enterprise, moving it around to get a feel for it, cutting the artificial gravity, and taking over the main computer as necessary. It could also block transporter beams and communications. Assisting the computer were flying white vaguely triangular-shaped robots, with an extendable, flexible tendril ending in a claw at each point and an orange light on each side, with a large round orange dome, split into three equal sections, on top.
     Things the computer creates this time include a Southern-style plantation home, Alice and the White Rabbit (again), the Queen of Hearts and six playing card soldiers (including the Jacks of Spades and Hearts), signs pointing the way to the underground entrance, purple pterodactyls with black patterning on their backs (one of which actually appears to be a pteranodon, with the bone crest on its head), a giant cat, a huge two-headed fire-breathing dragon, and a picnic scene.
     10 ccs of melenex results in brief unconsciousness (roughly five minutes) and skin discoloration (turning Spock's skin a jaundiced yellow). It takes ten seconds after being administered for it to take effect.
     A phaser bore is a hand weapon, looking somewhat like a phaser rifle, with two grips and a round barrel end. It can cut through twenty meters of rock a minute.
     Four shuttlecraft are visible in the Enterprise shuttlebay, including a standard shuttlecraft, registry NCC-1701/9; what appear to be two sleeker models (longer and slightly less boxy, with smaller engines also visible on the side); and a much more rounded affair (rather like a flattened cylinder from the back), with two engines sticking up above the main body, rather like the nacelles on the Enterprise. [This last one looks very similar to Carter Winston's vessel in "The Survivor" - in fact, it could be the same ship.]
     The chairs on the Enterprise bridge are equipped with white seat harnesses, in case the artificial gravity cuts out.
     Spock's mother was particularly fond of the work of Lewis Carroll.

Final Analysis: "Our amusement park no longer seems content to amuse." The second of the Animated Series' three direct sequels to be broadcast, "Once Upon a Planet" is a decent return to the shore leave planet, ending up being less redundant than one might initially fear. The computer storyline isn't too bad, and everything moves at a good pace. This is a reasonably diverting episode, even if it's not a classic.

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Page originally created: July 22, 2016
Page last updated: March 2, 2018

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