|||[Boldly Going]||| Star Trek: The Original Series—Season One: Ep. 1.8 “Miri” – (Original air date: Thursday, October 27, 1966)

 

TrekMiri

Welcome to my rewatching of the original 79 episodes of the series that launched the franchise. Below are the bulletpointed notes I jotted down while watching “Miri.”

  • The U.S.S. Enterprise comes across an exact duplicate of Earth hundreds of light-years from their Earth. It has the same mass, circumference, density, atmosphere and topography. An Earth-style distress signal is being broadcast from the planet’s surface. SOS.
  • This is intriguing, however unlikely it may be. In a theoretically infinite universe, an exact duplicate of Earth would be highly probable. What is unlikely is that it would be only hundreds of light-years from Earth.
  • Yeoman Janice Rand gets a solo close-up saying “Earth!” so I think it’s safe to assume that the episode will feature her in some way.
  • This is it for the teaser. And that’s a good teaser.
  • Then Shatner is on talking about the final frontier again, and we get that classic Alexander Courage theme song that sounds like it should be playing on a show where washers and dryers are given away as prizes.
  • John Farrell is sitting in Uhura’s chair at communications. He’s not wearing a miniskirt.
  • There’s no Uhura or Sulu on the bridge. I wonder if they appear in the episode at all.
  • Kirk, Spock, Rand and McCoy are in the landing party, along with two redshirt security officers. They materialize on the planet surface near where the distress signal originates. Spock says the architecture is identical to Earth’s from the mid-1900s, approximately 1960 (convenient, since they are on Earth in the 1960s as they film this).
  • The place is rundown and appears uninhabited. There are rusted out automobiles everywhere and McCoy is checking out a rusty discarded tricycle when he is attacked by a wild man. The man is disfigured and violent, probably insane. The attacker has a seizure of some sort and dies. When McCoy checks him with his tricorder, he says his metabolic rate was impossibly high, as if it aged a century in just the past few minutes.
  • The landing party hears noises that lead them to an apparently abandoned building. They go inside. They discover a teenaged girl named Miri hiding in a closet.
  • Miri is afraid of the members of the landing party. She calls them “Grups,” which they figure out to mean “grownups.” She remembers the Grups doing mean things—yelling, burning, hurting. But they all got sick and died.
  • A plague, then. One that killed only the adults.
  • I don’t remember this appealing to me as a child. I knew how cruel kids could be and the concept of a world without adults frankly scared me. And this was many years before I was forced to read Lord of the Flies.
  • Spock discovers the evidence that other children exist in the form of falling stones and the “Nyah nyah nyah” chant of children.
  • Kirk asks Miri where to find the buildings where doctors used to work. Or, hospitals, as we call them, Jim.
  • Miri agrees to take them there. She also asks Kirk’s name, and says she likes it when he tells her. I believe Miri has a little crush on James T. Kirk.
  • Then both Miri and Kirk see the lesion on his palm. He has the Grup disease. Soon, it will spread all over him, and then he’ll yell, try to hurt everybody, and then die. He’s a goner, is old Jim Kirk.
  • With our next Captain’s Log update, we’re at the building Miri led us to. It also houses the automatic transmission station that sent out the signal that brought the Enterprise to the planet. During the break, they’ve discovered that the blue blotches have appeared on everyone except for Spock. Dr. McCoy is using the lab in the building to attempt to isolate the organism responsible.
  • Kirk forbids anyone else to beam down from the ship for assistance. He’s trying to protect the rest of the crew. I assume that means Scotty is in charge at the moment, even though Farrell is the only one talking to the landing party.
  • The landing party discovers that the now-deceased adults were working on a Life Prolongation project. McCoy comments that they didn’t seem to have had much luck.
  • McCoy has a biocomputer and a portable electron microscope beamed down from the ship to assist him in studying the virus.
  • Together, Kirk, Spock and McCoy deduce that the children get the disease as they enter puberty. Since all of the adults on the planet died 300 years ago, it seems that the Life Prolongation project did have some success. The children on the planet have been children for 300 years.
  • They also deduce that Miri likes Kirk because she’s in the process of becoming a woman. Because no grown woman can resist James T. Kirk.
  • Kirk orders Miri to clean off a desk, to which she gladly complies because she’s obviously a submissive. Then Spock says what the originators of the Life Prolongation project were trying to achieve was to age only one month for every 100 years. This implies that the children on Earth II are only about three months older than when the adults were wiped out. Now, as they are entering puberty, like Miri apparently is, they fall victim to the disease.
  • Kirk decides that they need to do something about the other children as well and asks Miri to go with him.
  • Cut to: an old toy shop, where Jahn, the leader of the children, is hiding with a group of children. Jahn knows there are other Grups, up in the sky maybe. He has an idea to get the little boxes that the Grups use to talk to other people away from them, cutting them off from help.
  • They see that Miri is with Kirk as they approach the building. Jahn orders them all to run and hide.
  • As Kirk and Miri enter the building, they are attacked by another changing adolescent. This, according to Miri, was Louise, who is about Miri’s age. Louise attacks Kirk, and all the children scurry out of hiding like mice, running away. When Kirk attempts to stun Louise, he ends up killing her instead. I hate it when that happens.
  • The landing party determines that they have seven days to find the cure before it kills them. The clock is ticking.
  • Oh, and Mr. Spock is a carrier, even if he’s not exhibiting symptoms. He may not die, but he can’t go back to the ship without a cure. And, he would like to go back to the ship.
  • On day two, the children under Jahn’s command manage to distract Kirk, McCoy and Spock with their teasing chant “Nyah nyah nah nyah-nyah” just long enough for Jahn to sneak into the lab and steal the communicators left conveniently behind.
  • McCoy points out the obvious that without their communicators, they have no computers, and without the computers, they don’t have a chance.
  • With three days and seven hours left, food supplies are running short in the area, so the children will die soon if the cure isn’t found. Also, Yeoman Rand wants Kirk to look at her legs, which are now covered in blotches. Sexy. Unfortunately, Miri sees this leg-looking exchange and is jealous and hurt.
  • Then, McCoy finds something. It is the disease created three hundred years ago. Now they have a chance, even though McCoy said the didn’t have a chance without the computers.
  • Miri goes to Jahn and the Baker Street Irregulars. Her plan is to separate Yeoman Rand from the rest by playing on her concerns for the children. Eliminate her perceived competition, in other words.
  • McCoy synthesizes what could be the vaccine, or, as Spock puts it, a “beaker full of death.” They can’t test it without the computers, so they need their communicators. Kirk notices that Rand is missing and intuits that Miri knows where she is. Also, Miri has a splotch on her arm. She’s got the disease now.
  • Janice Rand is being held captive by Jahn and the kids, bound by what appear to be poorly tied ropes. Miri leads Kirk to the group. The children taunt Kirk. Lots of “bunk bunk,” “blah blah” and “Tell them, Jim.” He appeals to them for help, to save themselves as well as the landing party.
  • Back to that golden oldie “Nyah nyah nyah-nyah nyah.” The children mob around Kirk. Then they start the beat-down. He gets away, lets them know they have only about six months left of their 300-year-old food supply (good preservatives there), then he says they’re the ones hurting, yelling, maybe killing now, not the Grups.
  • Not able to wait for the communicators, McCoy injects himself with the vaccine, risking his own life to see if it will save the rest. His reaction doesn’t seem great as he falls into unconsciousness.
  • Communicator in hand, Kirk leads the children to the laboratory where McCoy lies unconscious. Through the miracle of time-lapse photography, we see the lesions vanish from McCoy’s face. He’s discovered the cure!
  • Jahn asks Miri is this is supposed to be a good thing. Of course it is, she says.
  • The Enterprise departs, leaving the children behind. Starfleet is sending people to the planet, but Kirk feels like the 300-year-old children will be able to continue taking care of themselves for a little while longer.
  • Janice Rand comments that Miri really loved Kirk. Kirk quips that he never gets involved with older women. Ahead warp factor 1.

I know that “Miri” is highly regarded by many Trek fans, but it’s never been one of my favorites. I find it extremely slow moving, even by Trek standards, and the “blah blah blah”s and “nyah nyah nyah”s grate on my nerves. It may even be that I don’t like children that much, I don’t know.

I feel like I’m being generous when I give this one 3 out of 5 stars.

You could safely skip it, if you wanted to.

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