The Doomsday Machine
Episode

035

The Doomsday Machine

The Enterprise encounters an obsessed commodore and a planet eating device. It’s a cornucopia of destruction when we put “The Doomsday Machine” in the Mission Log.

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Discussion

  • Low Mileage Pit Woofie

    Such an awesome, action packed episode, even before it had been remastered. My lingering quibble with it is the contrived way Decker was allowed to take command of the Enterprise. Come on, McCoy, you found the man slumped down, crying and ranting on his own ship! How can that not be evidence of mental incapacity, however temporary? (I know, I know, if it wasn’t for that we’d have had a shorter episode)

  • Arvis Jaggamar

    – FIRST OBSERVATION: I love how willing McCoy was to abuse his power for the sake of getting rid of a senior officer he didn’t like. I did NOT love how Sulu adopted a “I’m just following orders” stance. I expected better. Nobody on that bridge should have been listening to that jerkwad.

    – Wait a minute… where WAS Uhura?? I fully expect an explanation here.
    *waits*
    Crap, no explanation.

    – No Chekhov in this one either. Hmm. I guess they gave the week off to a few people?

    – I knew you guys would go after that “They say there’s no Devil” line. I don’t think I ever would have paid any attention to it if it weren’t for The Mission Log. And I love that. This podcast has completely changed the way that I view, not only Star Trek, but ALL television.
    As for Christians who don’t believe in the Devil, it’s a very human thing to call yourself something that you aren’t. The term “Christian” has honestly reached the same vernacular levels as a term like “philosopher”; a person can call themselves one, but by any objective measure (or as close to objective as we can get) they really don’t qualify. This could probably go for all religions.
    Fortunately for them, for myself, and all of us, I don’t get to decide one way or the other what a person is or is not. Phooey.

    – Loved the talk of Scotty’s attitude in this episode. Shades of Tony Shalhoub in Galaxy Quest. 😛

    – Matt Decker’s Crisis Management, an excerpt:
    “GGGAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! The End.”

    – I guess that doesn’t qualify as “an excerpt” if it’s the whole book…

    – YES! “I found the one quite sufficient” I was so thinking that was a purposeful reference to Who Mourns For Adonais! The script of The Doomsday Machine compared its Big Bad to the Devil, and then Kirk said THAT LINE about it. I feel very comfortable saying that this is intentional. And they really lingered on the line, too.

    – Ken, I am completely with you when you say that the “ship shaking” antics with the actors falling all over the place felt “more real” in the episode. I was specifically taking notice of that, especially when Scotty and Kirk activated the engines on the Constellation. I could almost feel the Gs they were struggling to move against. I completely bought it.

  • Jason Williams

    this wouldn’t be the last time leonard nimoy would tangle with a planet killer – he also voiced Galvatron in the 1986 animated CLASSIC Transformers facing off against Orson Welles’ (?) Unacron

  • Chris C

    I shared the audience’s visceral frustration with Decker, and the satisfaction of seeing him relieved of command, but in retrospect I give Decker some serious slack here. I don’t see how you can train a captain for this experience, and it’s way too soon to expect self-forgiveness. Yeah, Decker’s a Commodore (by the way I dig that Starfleet has revived this intermediate rank), but he’s not a pencil-pushing bureaucrat, he’s still a starship captain. Think of how (granted it is VERY inconsistently depicted) Captain Kirk is affected by crew deaths, the look that washes over his face when he kneels down to look at the charred imprint of his shipmate left by the horta. Think of what lengths he’s willing to go to in order to protect the ship. Decker has not only lost his ENTIRE crew, he made the unlucky choice he thought would protect them and sacrifice himself, and exactly the opposite happened. A starship captain, having to listen to the cries for help from his entire crew, as every one of them is killed, owing to a decision he made. I wonder if that experience wouldn’t at least come close to driving Kirk just as insane as Decker.

    I don’t think it’s fair to judge or assess his leadership or crisis management skills in the usual terms of those qualities. You have to assess him at this point in terms of mental health. He has suffered the ultimate living nightmare for a starship captain. I think Picard would opt for his torture in Chain of Command, even again and again, rather than survive the loss of his entire crew. Decker is incompetent only secondary to having been shocked into a psychotic break. I think he deserves more empathy from us even as he deserves no one’s obedience at this point. Once Decker is relieved of being in a position to piss me off because he’s endangering our crew, I feel so sorry for him. I agree that William Windom was phenomenal in this role.

    • The Spock Unit

      I find their comments about Decker and his bad “crisis management skills” almost offensive and definitely uninformed and ignorant. He’s shell-shocked and deeply traumatised, to expect him to make any reasonable decisions is completely ridiculous. With all due respect, to even discuss whether he’s a “jerk” or not is stupid. We don’t know anything about Decker as a person, we never see his untraumatised, normal personality. Maybe they should read up on CSR (combat stress reaction / battle neurosis) and PTSD some time?

      McCoy should have immediately declared him unfit for further service. Period! I love DeForest Kelley as an actor, but McCoy is so painfully incompetent half of the time, I wouldn’t let him wash my dog, let alone diagnose and treat humans. He seems to get “high on his own supply” frequently, too… Spock comes off rather badly in this situation, too!

      Now that that’s out of the way… Nichelle Nichols isn’t in this episode (“booooo…”) because she had a singing gig in New York. Elizabeth Rogers as Lt. Palmer who replaces her also voiced “The Companion” in the second-season episode “Metamorphosis” that introduces Zefram Cochrane. Lt. Palmer returns in the deliciously terrible third-season episode “The Way to Eden”.