Star Trek TOS S1E27: The Alternative Factor
The Cold War: pointless, boring, endless.
See the Star Trek TOS Rewatch Index page for links to all the episodes covered so far.
“THE ALTERNATIVE FACTOR” Rating: 2.5/10
Embarrassingly, I skipped this episode and rewatched “City on the Edge of Forever” (s1ep28) out of order. That’s how much I didn’t want to see this clunker again.
The end of Star Trek’s first season has a remarkable run of high quality episodes. “Space Seed,” “A Taste of Armageddon,” “This Side of Paradise,” “The Devil in the Dark,” and “Errand of Mercy” are all highlights of the original series, of the franchise, and I’d argue of television in general. The show could do no wrong.
And then, it could.
With 29 episodes in a season, it’s inevitable that there’s a clunker or two. It’s kind of amazing that the first Star Trek season managed to get almost all the way through its run before it hit a real stinker.
But that doesn’t make “The Alternative Factor” any more fun to watch. Don Ingalls turns in a repetitive talky script, which Gerd Oswald directs with a stylelessness veering between static tedium and incoherence.
Buried in there is a half-baked Cold War parable about the moral necessity for endless war. But it’s hard to be too irritated by that given the incompetence with which the message is delivered.
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