Star Trek (TOS): The Ultimate Computer – SF Debris

Opinionated Star Trek Episode Guide watches a frustrated Kirk deal with a know-it-all computer that’s put in charge of the ship. Spoiler warning: Bones is unhappy with something newfangled.

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19 Comments on "Star Trek (TOS): The Ultimate Computer – SF Debris"

TheGreenMan
Guest

Sweet! One of my more favorite episodes.

TragicGuineaPig
Guest

“Several female yeomen who would disagree that being the case.” That is, until someone invents a fully-functioning android, right? “INTRIGUING!”

Let me guess: M-5 starts calling everyone “Dave” and sings about bicycles. That’s what they get for installing Windows 10.

Spike-Prime
Guest
One thing I wish you’d addressed here is my big problem with that ending. Literally hundreds of people are dead here, one ship’s entire crew is gone and many others killed on other ships. Kirk’s vessel was used to snuff out the lives of these people, and Kirk watched helplessly as it happened. So what the hell is everyone doing after the climax has happened laughing it up at the end?! They go off smiling and jovial, despite the fact that friends and colleagues, including a member of Kirk’s crew, have just been slaughtered!! That’s horrific and ridiculous. Kirk showed… Read more »
MavenCree
Guest

Was very impressed that in the 1960’s they cast the man who created the computers for Starfleet with a black actor. That shocked me the first time I saw it.

Chicken Puppet
Guest

For all his flaws and occasional cringe-worthy sexism (however common for the era), Roddenberry had very strong feelings about civil rights and racial equality.

The very idea of the Federation falls apart if we can’t get along as a species, much less with various extra terrestrial races!

9ansean
Guest

Children of the 1980’s might recognize his actor as the King of Cartoons from Pee Wee’s Playhouse.

Fran Ohmsford
Guest

Uh, They also made him a sociopath – Not really a good portrayal!

9ansean
Guest
He was depicted as somebody struggling with metal illness. Someone who did bad thing yes, but he had relatable motives. For that matter, why should a black actor playing a bad guy automatically be considered a bad thing for an entire race of people? If this guy was written as a crude caricature I might agree, but he isn’t. In fact I’d say he’s far better developed that most Star Trek villains of the week. Assigning black actors only saintly heroic roles is not what I’d consider a positive approach to diversity. Actors of all background should be able to… Read more »
babruzzo
Guest

They should have known there’d be trouble with the M-5, the first three having exploded and the M-4 mysteriously disappearing along with the entire crew. It made it Daystrom’s last, best hope for peace… of mind.

Rocketboy1313
Guest

That is a good reference. I will allow it.

Brad1ey Shaw
Guest

LOL !!!!!!!!!!! 😀

cdrood
Guest

This is another case of forgotten technology. As far as we’re told, M-5 only malfunctioned because Daystrom was unstable and that was passed to the computer through his engrams. Why not just do it with someone else’s?

MightyDavidson
Guest

Because there’s no logical reason to believe that would turn out any better then the first time? Seriously, this test resulted in three starships being destroyed with all hands and nearly required the Federation to blow up their flagship in order to stop it. It makes perfect sense for Starfleet to mothball the idea since, logically, they’d rather not have their personnel killed if they could prevent it.

9ansean
Guest

This is why the 23rd century Federation was likely aware of how much they’d benefit from from advances in holographic models that would one day lead to the Holodeck.

cdrood
Guest
With the crew assignment for the landing party, it’s likely that the Ensign geologist would have informed his superior, or his superior would have know it from his file, and simply suggested the replacement to Kirk. M-5 only really sped that up. Later Star Trek has made the arguments about the Captain beaming down, so in retrospect it’s nothing new. McCoy is an interesting case. You’d think some medical personnel would be standard on nearly any landing party, but obviously the CMO is probably overkill. Of course they didn’t have a doctor who specialized in Vulcans until season 3, so… Read more »
9ansean
Guest
At one point Spock even notes that “the most unfortunate lack in current computer programming is that there is nothing available to immediately replace the starship surgeon.” What’s funny is the future installments would revel Spock wasn’t wrong. The Emergency Medical Hologram would initially be deemed a failure and they’d test several before the finally gone something (or is that SOMEONE) they was fully functional. Of course Daystrom really fills the role of Star Trek other “Wesley” since he’d called a genius since he too called a child genius. Hence the reason he can’t let go of M-5 at first… Read more »
thespecialneedsgroup
Guest

Remember, though, that it’s been established that most forms of mental illness are very treatable–if not outright curable–by the 23rd century in Star Trek. I’d like to think that Dr. Daystrom recovered and helped make numerous other advances in his field after the M-5 disaster.

It’s also possible that the Daystrom Institute isn’t an honor conferred *on* him, but an act of contrition made *by* him–much like the Nobel Prize being created because Alfred Nobel didn’t want to be remembered solely for the countless deaths his inventions caused.

9ansean
Guest

Good possibility.

Chicken Puppet
Guest

Nice commentary as always.

I really enjoyed this episode, it was blunt but it was also economical. It trimmed the fat and focused on the concept and characters.

For it’s time this was a very fresh take on this topic.

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