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The Jihad

Review

Series : The Animated Series Rating : 3
Disc No : 7 Episode : 16
First Aired : 12 Jan 1974 Stardate : 5683.1
Director : Hal Sutherland Year : 2268
Writers : Stephen Kandel Season : 1
Guest Cast :
David Gerrold as Em/3/Green
James Doohan as Sord
James Doohan as Tchar
Majel Barrett as Lara
Majel Barrett as Vedalan
YATI : The Vedalan ground vehicle isn't a very good design. For one thing, you'd expect it to be an anti-gravity car. But even granting that it has wheels, it uses no less than three different types of wheel - which means you either have to carry three different types of spare, or you have to abandon your vehicle the first time a wheel gets broken.
Great Moment : I liked the Vedalans.
Body Count :
Factoid : My year for this episode is estimated from the Stardate; it is set between 'Is There in Truth no Beauty?' and 'The Tholian Web'.

This episode is a nominee for the DITL "Best of Trek" award.


Plotline

Kirk and Spock are summoned to an asteroid meeting by the Vedalans, a powerful alien race. The Vedalans invite Kirk and Spock to be a part of a team they are assembling to recover the "soul of Skorr", the preserved brain structure of a great Vedalan leader, Alar. Kirk agrees, and the team sets off on their mission. Unfortunately there seems to be a saboteur at work - one whose agenda may lead to a massive galactic war.

Analysis

The basic premise of this story is kind of interesting. I like the idea that the Vedalans are a much more powerful race than the Federation but are still not semi-gods like the Q or Organians. It's a failing of TOS that there seems to be a range of technological development in the different races of the galaxy through cave men up to the Federation, then a huge empty gulf until the semi-gods. I'd like to have seen this concept developed a bit more - are the Vedalans in the habit of ordering others around like this? Do the Federation obey them because of their great power, or simply because they have learned that when the Vedalans suggest something it's usually worthwhile to go along with it?

Unfortunately, once the premise is set up the episode descends into silliness. We're never told why the Vedalans aren't doing this work themselves - sure the aliens all bring different skills and abilities with them, but surely there are Vedalans who can do at least some of these things as well? And if not, then why don't they hire aliens on a permanent basis rather than going through this rather haphazard recruiting? Nor are we even told in detail what the importance of the Soul of Skorr is - how exactly will it allow the mass breeding of soldiers? Also, how did Tchar's get onto the team? Of all the Vedalans, the one person selected just happened to be the one plotting to use the Soul? Or did he have some influence to get himself chosen? What happened to the previous missions - were they infiltrated as well, or were they just unlucky? None of these are story-wrecking contradictions, but all these unanswered questions leave the viewer unsatisfied.

Special Edition


Copyright Graham Kennedy Page views : 5,429 Last updated : 22 Aug 2004