My thoughts on The Animated Series – “The Survivor” by Gail Gerard

Episode 6–“The Survivor”

StarTrekTheSurvivorSo here we are again folks–episode six of the animated series. I hope you’ve enjoyed the articles I’ve written so far in this series because it was a lot of fun to write them.
So..episode six is titled “The Survivor”. According to the synopsis, the Enterprise goes looking for a missing trader slash philanthropist but uh oh..things are not exactly what they seem. They never are, are they? Just when you think things are going smoothly, no problems whatsoever, Mother nature (or God or Allah or whoever you happen to believe in, The Great Bird of the Galaxy perhaps) goes and smacks you upside the head to remind you exactly who is in charge. Because it’s not you, that’s for sure.

Ok. Here we go. The Enterprise is sent on a routine mission to hang out along the edge of the Neutral Zone (which I always envisioned as a sort of Vietnamese Demiliatrized Zone in space) when they’re told to change course to go rescue a one man vessel which has fallen victim to a meteor swarm. I didn’t even know meteors could do that. I knew they could fall to Earth, of course. And I knew there was such thing as a meteor shower, but a swarm? Really? I guess the writers just decided to go by that old axiom, “If you can’t think of a good answer, start making crap up.”. The sensors indicate the occupant has managed to survive, so yay for that. It turns out the ship belongs to a Mr. Carter Winston, a trader slash philanthropist who’d gone missing five years earlier. Scotty beams him in and I have to say, his handlebar mustache and that mustard colored jacket is just faaaaaabulous. Carter acts surprised that Kirk and crew recognize him but Kirk tells him there aren’t many people who DON”T recognize his face. I guess he’s like a Federation celebrity or something. I wonder if they have paparazzi in the 24th century? Bones nearly wets himself gushing about how Carter used his personal fortune to save a colony on Cerebus where his daughter was going to school (wait..Bones has kids? Since when?). Spock says that security officer Anne Nored should be especially happy to see Carter alive…his fiancee’. From the look on Carter’s face, I gather this isn’t exactly good news. But we shall see.

Spock asks to see his identity tapes, so they can verify he is who he says he is. I guess the identity tapes are the future’s version of your driver’s license..never leave home without it. Bones goes off on him, calling him a cold-blooded pain in the ass, but then again..Bones DOES like to bait Spock whenever possible. It’s kind of a thing, you know? Spock, who slips into enforcer mode (something we’ve seen before in the original series), reminds the good doctor that a security check and medical exam are standard procedure. Kirk backs him up and Carter mumbles something about agreeing as well. Probably because he doesn’t want to get in the middle of Spock and McCoy’s longstanding feud. They were the best of frenemies, they were the worst of frenemies..with apologies to Charles Dickens, of course. Carter hands over his tape, as if eager to prove that he really is Carter Winston.

While making a log entry, Kirk states that Winston is the foremost space trader of their time, a man who’s acquired a dozen fortunes only to turn around and give them away as charitable donations. Kirk puts the tape into the computer, who confirms that the mustachioed man is in fact Carter Winston. Kirk sits there, watching as the computer verifies the various information encoded on the tape, his hands on his fists like a teenage girl drooling over a One Direction video. Oh dear lord….

Down in the sick bay, Dr. McCoy is giving Carter a full diagnostic checkup but his instruments seem to be a little off because his readings indicate that his patient may not be entirely human. Carter laughs it off and an embarrassed Bones blames it on the fact his tools need to be recalibrated. Nurse Chapel walks in and asks for a report. Bones says he’s finished and she also tells him that Lieutenant Nored wants to see Carter the moment he’s been given a clean bill of health. Bones tells her to show the good lady in, which Chapel does. Nored is overjoyed to see Carter, but he’s less than enthusiastic about seeing her. He says he honestly didn’t think he’d ever see her again. He was, of course, GOING to come back and marry her but oh darn..his spaceship crashed on Vendor (now there’s a creative name if I’ve ever heard one. Insert eyeroll here please). Oh well..that doesn’t matter. He survived, he’s alive and he’s there. LET”S GET MARRIED RIGHT NAOW! He tells her no..he’s changed. He’s not the man he used to be. What on earth is he hiding?

It seems that after the crash on Vendor, he was put back together again..they had the technology. They could rebuild him. He was…the Six Million Dollar Spaceman. I have to admit, Carter’s face does look truly strained when he tells his fiancee’ what was happening to him, as if he doesn’t want to relive any of it. He admits that he was nursed back to health by a male Vendorian…maybe he fell in love with the Vendorian. You know, the Florence Nightengale effect or something like that. Nored seems incredulous…he’s changed, but how? She can’t see anything different about him but clearly, things are over between them. Carter’s remorseful but he says he can’t really explain why he can’t marry her…ever. Like every other girl who’s ever had her heart broken by a guy saying “Oh baby it’s not you, it’s me.” she immediately flees to go lick her wounds and get really, REALLY drunk (I’m guessing).

Meanwhile, Kirk is off completing a report on Carter’s miraculous rescue when there is a knock at the door. It’s Carter and he’s in the mood for a talk. A serious one. Carter says he went to go check out his damaged ship in the shuttlebay and Kirk tells him it’s hardly worth saving since it’s not even in good enough shape to sell for scrap metal. This really starts to piss off Carter who crosses his arms over his chest, starts to shimmer and making a noise like an annoyed tea kettle. This cannot be good.

Holy freaking crap…Carter just turned himself into Cthulu! Eeep. Only Kirk, who has his back to Carter, has no idea. When he turns around, he’s going to get quite a shock. Only he doesn’t get the chance, since Carter wraps one of his tentacles around the captain’s neck in a pseudo Vulcan nerve pinch, knocking him out. He picks up the prone Captain Kirk and lays him on the bed…I guess he’s managed to retain some veneer of civility after all this time. Carter crosses two of his tentacles over where his chest would be if he were human and shimmers again. This time he turns himself into a copy of Captain Kirk. Hoshit. We all remember what happened the LAST time one of Kirk’s doubles was running around the ship, right? Mayhem..mayhem EVERYWHERE.

Back down in sick bay, Nurse Chapel assures Dr. McCoy there’s nothing wrong with his instruments which means there MUST be something wrong with Carter. Bones is sure that human error is at fault for the wacky readings and he insists they run the tests all over again to double check the results. On the bridge, Not-Kirk orders Sulu to lay in a direct course for someplace called Rator III. Wait..don’t you have to go through the Neutral Zone to get there? And isn’t crossing the Neutral Zone a violation of the tenuous peace treaty between the Romulans and the Federation? If they get caught, the Romulans are going to tear them limb from limb. Probably while smiling at them a nd singing drinking songs. Not-Kirk says “Screw it. Imma the captain. DO EET!”. Sulu has no choice but to comply, so here we go again…straight from the kettle into the fire.

Spock tells Not-Kirk that there’s SOMETHING out there, even though he can’t exactly tell what it is because it’s so far away. Well that’s helpful..not. It could be almost anything, so let’s not go into the Neutral Zone and say we did, hmmm? Not-Kirk is having none of it, saying that Carter has told him it is essential they sneak over the border and run hell for leather to Rator III. The entire planet’s population may depend on it. Spock says “Well that’s all well and good but if we get caught, we’re in deep doody.” Not-Kirk snaps back that he wouldn’t be doing this if he felt it was too dangerous and that the last time Carter passed through the Zone, there weren’t any Romulans. Spock is duly chastised and goes back to staring into the viewport of his science station. Kirk orders Sulu to point the ship at Rator III anyway and leaves the bridge.

Spock takes over the conn and decides to make a log entry, stating his uneasiness about being ordered deep into the Neutral Zone. Meanwhile, back in his quarters, Kirk (the real one) wakes up, a bit confused as to what’s been going on. He marches up to the bridge (or is it Not-Kirk? I can’t tell) and takes over from Spock. Kirk stares at a readout on the bridge and Spock asks if he’s ok. Of course he isn’t…he was knocked silly by Cthulu-Winston in his quarters, although he doesn’t recall being knocked out. He thinks he was just asleep. How very odd, says the good Captain. Spock tells him they are on course through the Neutral Zone..wait what? “I didn’t order that!” says Kirk and Spock tells him he did. But of course, Spock has no way of knowing that Cthulu-Winston has taken the form of Kirk and is running willy-nilly around the ship. Kirk remains incredulous but Spock replays a video recording of the last few minutes and Kirk (or rather Not-Kirk) did in fact give the order. Kirk orders Scotty to take over the bridge while he and Spock go investigate. Oh, and by the way Sulu..get our asses out of here. Warp 8.

mress_288x288This episode is the first time that Lieutenant M’ress, the felinoid communications officer, happens to show up. Kirk orders her to put the ship on yellow alert and takes off to see if he and Spock can’t figure out this little mystery they’ve got on their hands. In the turbolift, Kirk tells Spock he didn’t give those orders because he went to his quarters, tried to make a report and fell asleep. If Kirk didn’t give those orders..then who did? Ruh roh Raggy…re’ve rot a roblem! Spock suggests they pay a visit to good ol’ Bones, to see if there’s anything medically wrong with him that might be a reason why he can’t remember giving the order to head to Rator III. Sounds like a good idea to Kirk who (after only one black out) is suddenly ‘prone to blackouts’ which makes him a danger to the crew and their mission.

Down in sick bay, McCoy tells Winston he’s just finishing up the results from the tests he ran earlier when..uh oh. Winston does that arm-crossing thing again and turns into Cthulu-Winston. He wraps his tentacle around McCoy’s neck, knocking him out so he can then assume his form. A few seconds later, in comes Nored wanting to see Bones. Not-Bones is leaning in a doorway, looking very suave and a little bit like The Sexiest Man in the World (who doesn’t always hang out in Sickbay but when he does, it’s because he looks really hot in a doctor’s uniform. If you have NO idea what I’m talking about, google “Sexiest Man In The World Dos Equis”). Nored doesn’t know what to do..she still loves him even though he’s rejected her. The Anti-McCoy assures her that Winston would like to feel the same way about her, but it just ain’t happening. It’s not you, it’s him. Seriously. “But I haven’t changed! HE MUST LOVE ME!” Nored pouts. “Forget him…” Not-Bones tells her. Nored says he can’t possibly be lying about not loving her anymore because he’s so kind and gentle. Awww…how sweet. “Dude..look. He said to forget about him.” Not-Bones reminds her.

Just at that moment, in walks Kirk and Spock. Nored, feeling a little embarrassed I’m sure, flees the room, tears in her eyes. Not-Bones asks the dynamic duo what’s up and Kirk tells him he wants a full body scan. Something weird is going on and he wants to get to the bottom of it. Not-Bones goes into panic mode and says he uh..can’t do it right now. Yeah..that’s it. We’ll do it..later. Spock raises his eyebrow and you can almost hear him go “What the fuck?”. If Carter Winston’s tests came back normal, as Not-Bones insists they did, then what’s the hold up? Suddenly, Spock is suspicious.

Out in the hallway, Kirk and Spock decide to discuss this. Spock thinks McCoy is hiding something and of course, he is. But they don’t know just what that something is..not yet anyway. It’s not like him to be so secretive, so they make like a couple of outer space spies and sneak back into Bones’ office. As they try to figure out where exactly he might be hiding, they hear a moaning from the closet. And it’s not the good kind of moaning either. It’s McCoy waking up, thinking he too had passed out and taken a nap. Just like Kirk. Although he’s a ‘man of curious habits’ (as Spock says) he’s not really into taking naps in storage closets. They need to get to the bottom of this and soon, before anyone else decides to ‘take a nap’. Kirk takes a cursory look around and notices there’s something wrong with one of the bio-beds. He rushes towards it and demands that Carter come out right now. Ollie ollie oxen-free.

270px-SurvivorTasAs Kirk stands there berating the bio-bed, McCoy comments that if anybody is off his rocker, it’s Kirk. But maybe not..there used to be only two bio-beds in that room and now there’s three. Where’d the extra one come from if Winston isn’t a shape-shifter? Kirk reaches up onto a shelf and grabs a bottle of acid which he threatens to throw on Winston if he doesn’t get up and stop acting like a piece of furniture. The bio-bed starts to flash and it turns itself back into Cthulu. Bones, Spock and Kirk stand there looking shocked while the creature waves its arms about. Kirk apparently forgets he has a bottle of acid in his hand with which to defend himself because he makes no immediate move to capture or kill this thing. Bones can’t believe his eyes and Spock reminds him that the Vendorian world is, in fact, quarantined. And for good reason–not only are they shape-shifters but they’re horrible liars too and the Federation wants nothing to do with them. I think we security down here..fast. They need to grab this thing before it turns into anyone else. Cthulu picks up Bones and Spock and throws them against the wall before hurling Kirk across the room and taking off at a run (or a really fast wiggle anyway). Spock calls for a security team to get that goddamned thing..NOW.

There are shadows of redshirts (or at least I’m assuming they’re redshirts, since those guys always get sent into these kinds of situations) racing down a corridor while Cthulu changes himself back into the form of Carter Winston. Spock, on ship’s audio, reminds them he can take any form or identity so trust no one and nothing. Carter realizes he’s really screwed and takes off. He thinks he’s safe when he’s suddenly confronted by Lieutenant Nader who shoves a phaser in his face. “No no..what the hell are you doing?” he asks her and she tells him, “Well duh. It’s my job.” Carter then karate chops her wrist, causing her to drop the phaser and make a face. “Like, Oh Mah Gawd! How did you, like, do that?” she asks and he takes off without a word, leaving her standing there gaping like a fish. She manages to pick up her phaser, but she still doesn’t fire.

Kirk enters the room just as Not-Carter flees. The good Lieutenant is left standing there, very sad-faced, like somebody has just been kicking tribbles in front of her and laughing about it. Kirk gets up in her face and asks her why she didn’t shoot at Winston. “I..I couldn’t because DAMMIT I LOVE HIIIIM!” she wails. Dude..he’s not that guy you were in love with. That dude is gone, wormfood. Shrugged off the mortal coil. The dude you saw isn’t the guy you think he was. He’s friggin Cthulu. She knows that..of course she does. But she still couldn’t shoot him. Spock enters, reporting that the intruder hasn’t been seen on this deck. Well no kidding. He probably (as we used to say growing up) beat feet right on outta there and with his ability to change shape, he’s hiding among the crew. Probably as a red shirt.

Wahooga! Whaooooga! The alarm starts going off. Red alert! Red alert! Danger, danger Will Robinson! Kirk hits a comm panel and asks the bridge what the fuck is going on. Scotty reports there is not one but two (two count them ah ah ah!) Romulan battle cruisers coming up fast. Oh great..that’s all they need on top of all this mess. Kirk says that because they violated the Neutral Zone, the Romulans have every right to seize the Enterprise and take it home as a prize. Cthulu-Carter is also still running around the ship. Kirk assures the Romulan who’s contacted them they didn’t intend to violate the Neutral Zone. Honest! The Romulans aren’t buying his excuse though. The Romulans tell Kirk if he doesn’t give up his ship, it’s gonna mean war so he’d better hand it over. He and the rest of the crew will be dropped off at a starbase and Kirk requests a few minutes to let the crew know what the hell has just happened. The Romulans give him the thumbs up. Kirk calls security and wants to know where the hell that damn Vendorian is. Nobody knows. Kirk begins to suspect that the Vendorian is actually a Romulan spy and Spock agrees.

Kirk requests an open hailing frequency and Lieutenant M’Ress (a felinoid who, up to this point, hasn’t yet been introduced. Though she’s kinda cute for a cat-lady and she purrs. How sweet! Awww..I want to pet her and love her and squeeze her and call her George) purrs a reply. “Hey dude..you gonna give up your ship now or what?” asks the Romulan and Kirk is all “Screw you. I’m not giving my ship up, asshole.” “But Captain, dude..we’re bigger than you and we’ve got more guns.” the Romulan reminds him. “Dude…you lured us here in direct violation of the treaty.” is Kirk’s answer. “Did NOT!” says the Romulan. “Did so neener neener neener.” shoots back Kirk. “Like, whatever. How could we lure you into the Neutral Zone?” asks the Romulan and Kirk tells him they were using the Vendorian posing as Carter Winston to spy for them.

Kirk reminds the Romulans that using a Vendorian as a spy is a violation of the fragile treaty that keeps the peace in this sector. The Romulans, of course, are furious. They have honor, they have integrity. They would not stoop so low as to use a VENDORIAN as a spy! Kirk is ordered to either give up his ship or there’s gonna be a smackdown. Kirk, being Kirk, choose to start a rumble rather than give up the Enterprise.

Down in Engineering, there’s an unnamed red shirt pulling out wires from a panel when Scotty happens to catch him at it. The red shirt gives Scotty the Vulcan neck pinch and knocks him out and continues to yank at the wires in the panel, which have the effect of putting the deflector shields out of commission. At the same time, the shuttlebay doors are opening, which Sulu surmises means that Not-Carter is trying to make his escape. Kirk orders him to override and keep him from going anywhere. Kirk tells Spock to try and calm the Romulans down while he goes to Engineering and a security team goes down to the shuttle bay.

Scotty is, of course, confused. He went down there to check on something and had his lights put out. The unnamed red shirt has, of course, disappeared only to be replaced by another red shirt. Down in the shuttle bay, Lieutenant Nored has a phaser trained on the Vendorian posing as Carter Winston. “I am SO gonna shoot you now. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice..I can’t be fooled again.” she tells him and he just looks with a pleading look. “Oh yeah, dude said you were JUST like that. Practical and affectionate but such a pill.” replies the Vendorian. He tells her Carter did have feelings for her, DEEP feelings he couldnt’ always express. You can make your own joke about that, I suppose. After Winston crashed on the Vendorian planet, he lived for almost a year before kicking the bucket and afterwards the guy who took care of him decided to take his form. Nored almost falls for it..he’s so much like her fiancee in every single way. The Vendorian tells her the longer they stay in another form, the closer they become to being that person by taking on memories, attitudes, everything. Almost like losing themselves in that particular form. He even admits to loving the good lieutenant and she kinda finds herself falling in love with him even though she knows he’s not really Carter Winston.

The Vendorian decides to show her what he REALLY is and asks her if she can love him when he is this hideous thing. She bows her head as he takes on the form of Winston again and you can just almost hear the sound of her heart cracking because she knows she can’t love him the way he is. She wants the real Carter Winston back, even though she can’t have him. Back on the bridge, the Romulans are shooting at them, causing the ship to rock and he makes his escape. Again. Kirk (or is it?) goes back up to the bridge while Spock and M’Ress tell him that the Romulans have decided to try and kick their asses. Kirk (or maybe not) is very calm and says that they should probably give in. Spock agrees that this is a logical decision.

Just then, the deflector shields come up, giving them a fighting chance of beating back the Romulans. Kirk tells Sulu to shoot a combination of phasers and photon torpedos at the main propulsion drive on the Romulan ship. Pew pew pew! One vessel is down but the second one starts firing on them. Pew pew pew! They fire at the second ship and it starts running away. Cowards.

thesurvivor_158“Dude..I didn’t even finish fixing the damn shield.” says Scotty. “Say what?” replies Kirk. If Scotty didn’t fix the shields..than who did? It must have been…Winston. I mean, it is theoretically possible because he DID rearrange himself into a bio-bed. Why not a shield? Suddenly the doors swoosh open and the Vendorian wriggles himself onto the bridge, tentacles flying. He’s really sorry he put anybody in jeopardy..he didn’t MEAN to do it. You see, among the Vendorians, he’s the equivalent of a slacker. A non-producer, a lazy layabout. The Romulans offered him a chance to do something other than be useless, so he took it. Unfortunately for him, there was more of the philanthropic Winston about him than he knew and he just couldn’t let the Romulans blow up the Enterprise. Kirk, while grateful, tells him they’re still gonna have to throw his octopoid ass in the klink. Not-Winston says “Yeah. I can dig it.” and shuffles off with Nored, who suddenly doesn’t care that he’s a Cthulu..she loves him anyway. Awww…isn’t that sweet? True love conquers all. Bones observes that it’s a good thing he’s been caught because if he’d taken on Spock’s identity, nobody could’ve handled TWO Vulcans aboard ship. Spock is, understandably, unamused. Spock does note, however, if there had been two McCoys then the level of medical care on the ship might just get put back up to standard. It’s Bones’s turn to be all butt hurt, which is kind of amusing.

I really liked this episode..it was one of the better ones I’ve seen so far and the story was really well fleshed out. I liked that they had an alien taking on other forms for reasons we think are nefarious but turn out to be good in the end. You end up feeling sorry for the Vendorian, really. And once again,t he writer clearly shows that he (or she???) has written for Star Trek before because the main cast (Bones, Scotty, Kirk and Spock) are handled very well which I think is important.

Sina Alvarado

Author: Sina Alvarado

I live in Houston, Texas, and while I don’t own or ride a horse, I do occasionally say “Y’all” and even “All Y’all.” I am married and have one daughter. I started watching Trek regularly with TNG and got absolutely hooked after watching “Yesterday’s Enterprise.” Trek has been a big part of my life ever since then and I am happy to share my love for it with all y’all.

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