Thursday, 9 June 2016

TREK REVIEW: Star Trek Continues - Come Not Between the Dragons

The latest and sixth episode of the Star Trek Continues fan series is one of the best so far. Unlike the majority of episodes in the series - indeed, in fanfilms in general - "Come Not Between the Dragons" doesn't focus on returning characters, recognisable aliens and continuity points. Instead, it embraces the spirit of Star Trek by exploring the universe and encountering strange new life forms. In this case, the dragons of the title: gigantic "nomadic extremophiles", or cosmozoa (utilising Christopher Bennett's word there), one of which breaches the hull of the ship in order to hide out.

While the episode starts as a monster hunt, it isn't long before one of the crew makes contact with the alien, Usde. The crewman in question, Eliza Taylor, is played by Gigi Edgley, who I didn't recognise straight away because she wasn't painted grey. It's great to see the series continue to utilise actors from multiple sci-fi series. After faces from Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers and Doctor Who (the Doctor himself), we get a guest spot from FarScape's Chiana. She's a great addition to the crew, which takes time to feature more of the regular cast than usual. Usde itself is a brilliant creation, a mix of puppetry and CGI used to create the metallic creature and its much larger, space-dwelling assailant.

The episode takes a turn towards "The Naked Time" territory in the second half. Every Trek series has an episode with the regulars acting out of character (usually at least two, one of which is a Mirror Universe ep). This time, energy waves emitted by Usde's pursuer drive the crew to distraction, beginning with irritability and ending with irrational acts of rage. It's a more cliched aspect to the episode, but it feels very Trek and makes for a tense situation in which to embed the alien contact story. Add in a little of Star Trek's perennial obsession with father figures, and you've got what would have made a classic episode of sixties Trek.

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