Star Trek

Season 2 Episode 10

Journey to Babel

Aired Unknown Nov 17, 1967 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (7)

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out of 10
179 votes
  • A superb piece of drama-in the classical sense.

    Probably the best stay-aboard-the-Enterprise episode of all three seasons. Story, direction, casting, and acting all go together to make this a superb piece of drama-in the classical sense. Spock's teaser just before the title sequence break-"Captain, Ambassador Sarek and his wife ARE my parents."-would have pulled in any remotely interested watcher of Star Trek who was, perhaps, considering watching something else that Friday evening, back on November 17th 1967. In fact, the whole string of dialog leading up to that final line is effectively designed to pique the viewer's curiosity. Why doesn't Sarek return Spock's Vulcan salute? I mean, he gives it to McCoy, who only makes a half-assed attempt to return it. And why would the Ambassador prefer another guide to show him around the Enterprise? Then, there are the little touches-details of direction and acting that still catch me off-guard nearly every time I watch it. Gav, the Tellarite Ambassador-slightly inebriated and undoubtedly looking for a fight-confronts Sarek at the bar (Star Wars cantina-style) for a rematch. When Gav goes for him, cool-breeze Sarek performs his little Aikido/Vulcan/Jedi deflection move that shows us that Gav would never have stood a chance-"Gentlemen, gentlemen! Whatever arguments you have…!" Then, later, when McCoy, Spock et al are in sickbay having their discussion about Vulcan/Human blood transfusion matters, the scene cuts to a fight-already in progress-between Kirk and (who we later learn to be a faux) Andorian Aide to Ambassador Shras. Even after 30-plus years, it still catches me by surprise. It's the kind of scene change we might see in a Tarantino film today.

    And speaking of casting-where did they dig up that (lovely) old fossil? Reggie Nalder, perfectly believable as an alien-in any definition of the word-what with his old-world Transylvanian accent (actually it's Austrian/Hungarian; I looked him up), and his face-so full of time-worn character: "My people are a violent race, but we've no quarrel with Captain Kirk." Nalder's characterization is just one more subtle layer of icing on the cake that makes this such an exquisite episode. I even like the make-up job. It worked for me back then, and it still does today; I don't even care that his antennae don't move. Even ("Daddy, that guy's a piggy!" as my 4-year-old son pointed out) Gav doesn't bother me too much. But those two little golden-skinned Ambassadors-you remember-the ones with the Shriner's hats who are making mixed drinks with those silly little colored ice-cubes? Come on!
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