Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Star Trek Continues: "The White Iris" - A Review

Before I begin this review of the latest episode of Star Trek Continues: “The White Iris” I believe a little background is necessary in order to fully appreciate what I thought of it and the rating I will be giving it at the end of the review.

When the original Star Trek series (TOS) began on television in 1966 I was a young man of 17 years of age starting his senior year in high school and with nothing much to look forward to after graduation the following June except active military service and a possible stint in a war in Vietnam that I really didn't want to participate in.

When the show began I watched from the very beginning and sat in front of my small black and white TV screen mesmerized at what unfolded before my eyes. I was instantly transported to a world in which war among humans on Earth was relegated to a barbaric past, starvation, want, poverty, hatred of others - all gone and replaced with a vision I longed to see become a reality. I became an instant fan and have remained such now for nearly 50-years.

I have seen every episode of TOS, including the original pilot with Jeffrey Hunter more times that I can remember or count. I know the dialogue inside out right down to the voice inflections and physical quirks of the actors involved and own every episode in multiple formats and presentations. I was also part of the hundreds of thousands who joined with Bjo Trimble and her nationwide movement to save Star Trek from cancellation and played an integral role with my duties in 2005 as executive news director for Slice of SciFi in aiding Tim Brazeal and his Save Enterprise movement to get Paramount to give the show “Star Trek Enterprise” another season.

I hate labels so really don't like being called a Trekker, Trekkie or any other such moniker. I simply love Star Trek and the philosophy of its creator Gene Roddenberry. I, like millions of others across this planet, believe that the only hope for us all is to embrace that philosophy and the whole concept IDIC.

I prefaced the review with that little side-rail so you will know that in this short review I speak from experience, knowledge, passion and commitment to Star Trek and its vision.

Star Trek Continues episode #4 titled “The White Iris” is the best episode centering on the original series I have ever had the pleasure to view. Why? Was it the superb acting by it primaries? No, even though they were exquisite. Was it the direction or the well written script? No. James Kerwin did an outstanding job at the helm as did his screenplay co-writers Chris White and Vic Mignogna. What made this the best episode of Star Trek I have ever seen was that for the first time in an episodic storyline we were given an inside, indepth panorama of the pain, heartache, regret and loneliness that grip and indwell Starfleet’s greatest Captain.

The lack of closure with Kirk was so deep and visceral on so many levels that anyone with even half a heart could feel its intensity made more real by the wonderful performance of Vic Mignogna.

Any follower of Star Trek knows that James T. Kirk had a lot of unresolved issues in his life. He loved and lost more times than should be humanly possible. He sadly has stood over the bodies of loved ones, friends, and fellow crew members that died because of his command decisions that had to be made. He was part of the problem as well as being the solution. Those who watched Kirk week after week and then later on episode after episode on our VHS, DVD’s and DVR’s came to accept that this was an exceptional man who grabbed duty, dedication to principle and life by the tail (and sometimes neck) and did what had to be done to make the universe a better place to live in. However, what many of us failed to witness was the cost to the man himself and in “The White Iris” we get a glimpse of just how precious that cost was to our famed Captain.

I won’t offer any spoilers of the episode in this review except to say that throughout it a small girl is present. I had my own ideas of what she represented to Kirk. How wrong I was in the end. The revelation caught me by complete surprise and tugged at my heart so deeply that I literally shed tears ... and that is a rare thing to happen to an old Trek war horse like myself.

Bravo to the brave cast and crew of Star Trek Continues for showing the world that original Trek is still very much alive, well, and only getting more vibrant with the passing of five decades. I give “The White Iris” * * * * * out of 5 stars.

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