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Bem

Review

Series : The Animated Series Rating : 2
Disc No : 10 Episode : 18
First Aired : 14 Sep 1974 Stardate : 7403.6
Director : Hal Sutherland Year : 2269
Writers : David Gerrold Season : 2
Guest Cast :
James Doohan as Commander Ari bn Bem Nichelle Nichols as Alien Entity
YATI : How does Bem control the other parts of his body? A telepathic link?
Great Moment : I'm going to go with Bem. While I have issues with the execution, I love that the writers are trying to give us characters who aren't just a Human with a ridge on their head.
Body Count :
Factoid : This episode is the first to give Kirk's middle name as Tiberius. The name would finally be given canonical confirmation in 'Star Trek VI : The Undiscovered Country'.Bem's name is an acronym, short for 'Bug Eyed Monster'.

This is one of a group of TAS episodes set after the last known Stardate for TOS.


Plotline

The Enterprise is visited by Honorary Commander Ari bn Bem of the planet Pandro, who is acting as an independent observer. Bem joins a landing party on the planet Delta Theta III. Unfortunately the pacifist Bem steals the landing party's weapons and communicators and sets off to establish contact with the locals himself. When the contact goes badly, Kirk must establish friendly relations with the natives whilst simultaneously convincing Bem that he does not need to commit suicide to atone for his actions.

Analysis

This episode is most notable for it's attempt to depict a really alien alien; Bem not only has very different physical capabilities to a Human, but also thinks and reacts in quite a different way. While the effort is appreciated, it's not really executed all that well. For instance, Bem's different parts can suddenly float - if he has some kind of natural antigravity capability, why doesn't the whole float when unified? Also, his decision to commit suicide over his failure is a bit silly - if his people make this decision so lightly, you would hardly expect their species to last long! And if it's just that Bem is a particularly suicidal individual, it seems unlikely that he could have achieved his position.
Copyright Graham Kennedy Page views : 4,270 Last updated : 24 Nov 2014