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Star Trek TOS - Season 2 - Episode 23

Star Trek TOS - 2x23 - The Omega Glory

Originally Aired: 1968-3-1

Synopsis:
The Enterprise finds a planet devastated by disease that appears to treat the American flag with great reverence. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

My Rating - 0

Fan Rating Average - 3.34

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 81 22 10 8 7 11 18 19 12 11 12

Filler Quotient: 3, bad filler, totally skippable.
- One of Star Trek's worst episodes and complete filler.

Problems
- An alien race on an alien planet developing a nation exactly like the 20th century United States, complete with the American flag, a verbatim copy of the U.S. constitution, and "asiatic" communist enemies as shown in this episode is completely impossible. I might have accepted this if they attempted some kind of explanation, like they did in Patterns of Force, but they don't even try.

Factoids
- This episode is a candidate for my "Worst Episode of TOS Award."
- This episode establishes that Constitution class ships have a standard compliment of 4 shuttles.
- This episode establishes that there was biological warfare on Earth during the 1990s in Star Trek's timeline.
- This episode establishes that the common cold still exists, according to McCoy.
- Morgan Woodward, who plays Captain Tracey in this episode, also played Simon Van Gelder in Dagger of the Mind.

Remarkable Scenes
- Tracey killing Galloway.
- Nice to see another Constitution class ship.
- McCoy discovering that there is in fact no fountain of youth on this planet.
- Spock using Vulcan telepathy to manipulate a spectator into interfering with the fight.

My Review
It's bad enough that Star Trek rehashes previous episodes occasionally, but it's even worse when they rehash a bad episode. The Omega Glory is a rehash of one of Star Trek's worst episodes: Miri. Just like Miri, we once again have an alien planet with a parallel Earth culture with absolutely no explanation given at all for how the aliens developed a parallel United States, complete with a parallel American flag and a parallel verbatim copy of the U.S. constitution. I suppose it's possible that John Gill from Patterns of Force (or someone like him) stopped by this planet on his way to go make a parallel Nazi culture on that similar planet full of aliens which look exactly like humans, but without the episode at least trying to explain this nonsense, or at least one character questioning how all this came to be, I'm afraid I can't award the episode any points, due to the fundamentally unsound nature of the premise.

Worse yet, the episode has plenty of other details to be annoyed with as well. For starters, at one point Kirk claims that a captain would give his life, or even the life of his crew, before violating the prime directive. Yet he has previously violated the prime directive many times. Likewise, it seems like a hasty error in judgement for Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Galloway to have ever beamed down to that planet at all given that the decision was based on nothing more than the recommendation of a hysterical log entry of a dying bridge officer on the Exeter, especially since it is clear that they knew there was a primitive culture down there to begin with. If they had to beam down there, the least they could have done was beam down to a location that wasn't so densely populated so as to avoid the conflict that ensued with the locals.

That said, it's totally unclear why the entire crew of the Exeter didn't evacuate themselves to the planet, since they appeared to have the knowledge that there was a cure for them on the surface, given that they took the time to leave log entries testifying as to the fact that there's a cure on the surface. But I suppose stupidity is a prerequisite for being a member of the Exeter's crew, if Captain Tracey is to be taken as representative of the average level of intelligence for a member of that ship's crew.

But that's not all. Among other annoying gaffes, McCoy incorrectly stated that the human body is 96% water when the actual figure is closer to 70%, and Kirk claimed to be unable to learn how to do the Vulcan neck pinch, despite the fact that we've already seen him perform it in The Return of the Archons. Likewise, both the shoddy construction of the Kohm prison as well as the extent to which Spock could manipulate the Yang woman with Vulcan telepathy also pushed the bounds of what is believable. Finally, Spock's reasoning that the only two posible causes for why the Yangs' advanced civilization could have regressed so much being either nuclear war or biological warfare is a painfully obvious logical error. There are any number of reasons why a civilization could experience a regression with a war being only one such reason.

But perhaps the most striking detail of the episode is its blatantly racist and nationalist qualities. This isn't like Patterns of Force, where the racist nationalism is confined to a few misguided characters. In this episode the racist nationalism seems to ooze from the plot itself. The Yangs (Yankies) are Caucasian, revere the American flag, and the U.S. constitution's texts are holy words. The Kohms (Communists) are Asian and clearly depicted as the bad guys. At one point Tracey mentions that the Yangs "look like us" and the Kohms do not, as if there are no Asians in the Federation. Kirk even refers to the Kohms as "yellow" people and claims that had his ancestors been forced out of the cities, they'd end up living like "the Indians," by which he was referring to Native Americans.

The score of the episode even begins conspicuously playing the national anthem of the United States whenever the U.S. flag appears on screen and Kirk at one point states in a moment of nationalist pride that "no words have said this thing of importance in quite this way" when referring to the text of the U.S. constitution. I wonder how he feels about the Federation charter.

Do yourself a favor and skip this one.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Matt on 2010-02-08 at 6:25pm:
    The race is not alien. It's implied that this civilization is an old human colony whose origin has become a mystery to its own people. Therefore the morphological and cultural similarities you bemoan are actually quite...logical.
  • From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2010-07-09 at 11:12pm:
    It's amazing that it takes Kirk and Mccoy so long to discover that the crystals inside the crewmembers' outfits are human remains. Were they thinking, "gee, all the crewmembers must have taken their clothes off and sprinkled salt on everything"?

    Also, since in the previous episode, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy all saw the entire crew turned into crystals, it's insulting to the viewer that Kirk and company can't figure it out.

    That's as specific as I'm going to get about this episode. It's doesn't deserve analyzing because it's just a mountain of stupid jibberish. And to think, this story was one of the original pilot episode ideas.

    Just a note about the issue of the inhabitants looking human: A deleted scene had McCoy, Kirk, and Spock saying the races on the planet were the descendents of early human space travelers. It's not cannon, but it's a little interesting, and probably would have helped the episode.

  • From Scott on 2011-06-01 at 10:24am:
    I'm watching season two episode by episode, and this is easily the worst so far. Actually, the first half is not too bad. But then it degenerates into execrable Yankee-doodle-dandy cold-war jingoism that is utterly out of place for a series in which humans have supposedly moved on from nationalism. The reverence with which Kirk fawns over the US flag and constitution almost made me puke. I suspect that many Americans would feel the same.

    Urgh.
  • From warp factor 10.1 on 2012-08-10 at 7:05pm:
    I'm confused. Didn't the original inhabitants of the United States look like the Kohms? Didn't the people who almost wiped them all out look more like Kirk? Aren't they the ones that wrote the constitution of the U.S.A. and had the 'stars and stripes' as their flag?

    OK, so maybe history was getting distorted but if so why did Kirk come over so moist eyed?

    More questions than answers here but given what I had always thought was an ahead of its time 'equality premise' to Star Trek this was disturbingly racist.

    Why didn't George Takei walk off the set? Sorry, another question.

    Is it possible to give it a negative score? (another question)


  • From Glenn239 on 2012-09-29 at 11:46am:
    Um, sorry to interrupt the end-of-episode feel good romp guys, but there is an unmanned but fully operational Constitution Class starship still in orbit. Shouldn't you be towing it back to starbase or something? I’m pretty sure it’s still valuable.”

    Ok. I grant you parts of this one are cringeworthy, but I got over the ham sandwich of the American flag popping out from nowhere pretty quickly. This episode makes a prescient prediction; American core values tested under the most extreme societal conditions will emerge intact and victorious over rival totalitarian ideology. ‘Omega Glory’ means that at the end of the struggle American principles will stand long after communism is buried. So this episode called the outcome of the Cold War and even has something to say about the ideological struggle underway in the Middle East right now. Normally when Star Trek hit the bulls eye it got a pat on the back. ‘7’.
  • From Tooms on 2013-11-09 at 5:05pm:
    How dare Kirk admire the flag of his homeland and one of the greatest documents ever written. Huh? Yes this episode took a very cheesy turn, but all the preaching in the comments is far more annoying than the plot.
  • From Vandervecken on 2014-01-10 at 12:17pm:
    People are way too harsh on this episode. It's awesome for Morgan Woodward's Captain Tracey alone.
  • From jd_juggler on 2015-03-24 at 6:35pm:
    The episode ended without telling us what happened to Captain Tracy. He murdered thousands; shouldn't he pay for his crimes?

    I hope someone reminded Sulu and the rest of the landing party to wait a couple hours before beaming up, to have a chance to build up an immunity.
  • From Martin on 2015-03-30 at 1:59am:
    As someone who is not American and has studied history, political science as well as having seen many documentaries on political philosophy and American history on you tube and PBS, I feel a lot of people misinterpret this episode.

    In the final scenes this episode shows the American flag and people think that it is an example of American jingoism.

    I hear Kirk's recitation of the preamble of the Constitution and believe that the episode is an excellent defense of the values of the enlightenment and Rule of Law.

    The enlightenment produced a number of political philosophers that have established the democratic societies that we value today. They were not just American philosophers like Jefferson, Adams, and Madison but also European philosophers like Adam Smith, Locke and Rousseau.

    What's wrong with the preamble?

    "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

    These are the words that can establish peace between the Yangs and the Kohms and reestablish individual rights and rule of law.

    Move over this episode remains relevant today given how laws are changing throughout the western world as we try to find a balance of individual freedom and the need for order as the West tries to find a way contain Islamic terrorism.

    There are many things that American have a right to be proud of.

    I don't harp on the so-called "racism" as you do. We are living in an age where these centers in the world could possibly destroy each other.

    The world has a lot of challenges to overcome in the next 100 years.

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