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Two Earths? It’s SCIENCE!
The Enterprise received an “Earth-style distress signal,” which is just a fancy way of describing “SOS.” The crew is astonished to find a planet that is identical to the planet Earth…it’s even got an oxygen and nitrogen-based atmosphere. How is this duplicate possible? Did someone teleport it here, or is it manmade? Well, I’d love to tell you, but they never really explain it.
They beam down to a desolate 1960s-era town that looks like it’s been hit by a nuclear bomb. Where my Fallout 3 nerds at!? Welcome to the Capital Wasteland. It’s dangerous out here!
Bones finds a decrepit bicycle laying on the ground. Suddenly, a ghoulish figures rushes out, tackles Bones, and begs him to fix the bike. Kirk knocks the ghoul out, it starts gibbering, and then it dies.
Bones analyzes the body, explaining that “It aged a century in just the past few minutes!” Sounds like a fad diet gone awry.
They search through the ruins while Spock scans the environment, noting that it’s over 300 years old. I kept worrying that irradiated roaches were going to attack, Fallout style.
Revolt Against the Grups
They find a pre-teen girl named Miri, hiding out in a closet. She yells, trying to escape the landing crew, and screaming “I remember things you grups did! Burning, yelling, hurting people!”
What the hell are grups? Well, if you gotta ask, then you’re not a hip tween anymore. Don’t you even pay attention to SnapApp and Whatschat?
L33t Netspeak in Year 2266 / futuristic 1960s
grups = grownups
onlies = kids
fooley = game
Oh these young’uns…
Miri describes how the grups were responsible for the fall of their civilization, and how children are the only survivors on this planet.
Spock and the security team searches the ruins. They hear the creepy sound of children taunting them with that “Nya na na na na nya, you can’t catch me” song. All I could think of was Children of the Corn meets Lord of the Flies.
The children throw rocks from building roofs, scaring Spock and the security guards back indoors. That’s when Kirk discovers that he’s got doom zombie rash!
All the adults are coming down with the disease, and Miri informs them that it leads to rage, then death. Gee, thanks for not mentioning that sooner Miri! Luckily, Spock seems immune to the disease.
The landing crew frantically searches through the planet’s research facility. They discover that the grups were trying to create a “life prolongation project.” But they failed miserably, and unleashed a zombie rash plague instead.
The Kids Are All Right…In Fact, They’re Geezers
Spock and Bones use their fancy future tech and floppy disks to answer a pressing questions: How does the human race continue for 300 years on a planet without adults?
They avoid any awkward reproduction issues by discovering that 100 years = 1 month for children living on this planet.
But once they hit puberty, the kids start dying of zombie rash!
The crew points out that Miri seems to have this weird crush on Captain Kirk. Instead of getting freaked out, he decided to bat his eyes at Miri to get more information. Ughhhh weird. Spock tells Rand not to worry about how creepy this is, because Miri’s actually 300+ years old! Hmmmm…
The Lord of the Flies
The computer says that the crew only has seven days until they die of zombie rash. While they try to find an antidote, some kids spy on them.
John, an older brat with blond curls, is like the Peter Pan leader of the group. The boys distract the crew, while John sneaks into the lab, stealing all of their communicators.
Rand’s Awkward Crush
Tempers are rising in the lab. Kirk’s bitching people out left and right, and he crashes into Rand. She goes full primal, screaming, and running out the door. Kirk rushes after her.
The writers keep trying to build sexual tension between Rand and Kirk, but they’re not sure how. Rand flails around, telling Kirk, “Back on the ship, I used to try and get you to look at my legs.”
Kirk looks down and discovers that oh noes, Rand’s got the zombie rash!
Miri watches this exchange and gets super jealous. So what does she do? Miri runs to the Children of the Corn to backstab Kirk and his crew! She reports back to John, and the children kidnap (adult-nap?) Rand.
Time to Grow Up
Bones cracks the code and brews up a prototype antidote. But without the communicators, they can’t find out if the antidote is really safe. Spock points out that “it could be a beaker full of death.” The Enterprise needs to scan it with their computers first.
Kirk rushes off to save Rand, begging Miri for help. He explains that she’ll die of Zombie Rash once she grows up, and that she has to believe him.
This is kinda like the Peter Pan story in reverse — the kids have to believe in grown-up concepts (like Zombie Rash and dwindling food supplies), or else they’re doomed. Miri looks down and discovers that she’s infected. Shit just got real.
Rallying the Youth
Miri and Kirk rush into a classroom, where the kids are holding Rand hostage. Stephen King totally nailed it with Children of the Corn — these brats are dangerous!
That creepy scene…
The mob descends on Kirk, beating him with sticks and bowling pins and sharp objects.
Kirk screams at the kids, explaining that they’re becoming just like the grups, “yelling, screaming, and hurting.” And that they’ll one day grow up to die of Zombie Rash, just like Miri. The kids shut up and quit attacking.
Trial and Error
Bones gets too impatient and injects himself with the antidote. For a few seconds, Kirk and Spock think that the doctor is about to die. But his zombie rash fades. The vaccine worked — the crew is saved!
The Enterprise jets outta there, leaving the entire planet of children to a Starfleet medical team.
Rand points out to Kirk, “Miri really loved you, you know.”
Kirk responds with “I never get involved with older women, Yeoman.”
And Spock’s like….
Growing up, I had never watched a Star Trek episode all the way through. My family members weren’t huge sci-fi fans, and they’d flip the channel whenever Star Trek came on. Now I am embarking on an epic nerd rite of passage, chronicling my reactions to every episode of Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS).
Header by Rory Midhani