Let me preface this by saying that it feels like every time I try to watch “Miri” I always am starting or end up with a splitting headache. I’m sure this isn’t true for EVERY time I’ve watched the episode, but it does feel like it happens most of the time. And maybe that’s why I don’t think “Miri” Is exactly a great episode of the original series.
Or it could be that “Miri” is simply one of the least enjoyable segments of the original run of Star Trek.
It’s not for lack of trying, however. The script feels like it’s throwing in a lot of ingredients that could make for something good – from the concept of a parallel Earth (as ludicrous as it may sound) to the unintended side effects of developing an ultimate weapon. But the big issue becomes that many future missions delve into these issue far better than “Miri” does, even the rather silly idea that a planet would develop exactly like ours down to having the same continental drift.
I get that sometimes in television production, you’ve got to have a hook to keep viewers from flipping stations as the opening credits roll. But I’m not necessarily sure this one works all that well.
Part of that could be that once we get past the first act, the whole parallel Earth angle is pretty much dropped and has no impact on the events that unfold in the first three-quarters of the story.
I suppose at this point, I should point out that until we get to Deep Space Nine, Star Trek doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to children on screen. That little cliché get off to a big start here with the Onlies, who it turns out are the universe’s oldest children because of a side effect of a biological weapon that killed the adults on this world. On paper, that sounds like an intriguing idea and one that could be explored in some depth and maybe could offer some interesting social and societal commentary.
But beyond Kirk’s comment that he doesn’t date older women in reference to Miri’s crush on him (more on that in a moment), it’s like the parallel Earth concept – not really explored enough. For one thing, it’s hard to figure out how these kids survived this long considering they apparently do nothing but play all day long and have little to no interest in working. You’ve got to figure they’re going to have run up against a food shortage long before the Enterprise warps into orbit, right?
It’s one of those little details that you’re better off not thinking about, I guess.
I’m also guessing the episode doesn’t want you to think about just how disconcerting the triangle of Rand-Kirk-Miri really is. Long before we had sparkly vampires, we have Kirk hitting on Miri and his off-putting flirtation with her. Physically she may be 300 years old, but emotionally and mentally, she’s 12. I could see Kirk trying to be a father-figure to her as he was a few episodes ago to Charlie Evans. But whereas Charlie’s crush is seen as something that has to be nipped in the bud, here Kirk uses it to manipulate Miri.
Not exactly the finest moments for my favorite captain.
Meanwhile, if you’re in the security detail, you’re not earning your pay for the week either. The two nameless security guys add nothing to the landing party besides standing around and wearing red.
Think about it. They let the Grup attack McCoy and do nothing and then later they can’t even stand guard over the phasers and communicators effectively. In fact, they pretty much disappear from the scene once we get past the discovery of the lab. Did they succumb to the infection faster for some reason? Or are they off doing a patrol for food? Or did they just decide to join the Onlies because they seemed to be having more fun?
If I missed this line of dialogue due to my splitting headaches, let me know.
Another point against this one is that the entire resolution happens on-screen. We cut from Kirk begging the Onlies for the communicators to him running in with them at the last second. I feel like there must be an extended cut of this one somewhere with a few scenes from the resolution…but honestly it’s not one I’d necessarily want to see more of. In fact, if you wanted to remove a few scenes (notably any where Kirk flirts with Miri, please) I’d probably be more inclined to like this one.
I do recall the Star Trek Compendium tried to build this episode up a bit by pointing out how effective the effects sequence where McCoy loses his blemishes is. It felt then (and still does now) like a bit of a reach in trying to find anything to compliment about this episode.