How Social Media Saved the World

It cannot be understated that we are living through a history-making difficult time. Hundreds of thousands of people are falling victim to a global pandemic and everyone is else either staying home or acting brazenly stupid. It shouldn't be surprising, though, that one of the upshots of all of this is that there has been a rise in meme-making.

First defined by Richard Dawkins in 1976 as a cultural idea that takes on a life of its own and is passed down through generations much the same way that genes are, the word "meme" has itself taken on a life of its own to define pictures made and passed around on the Internet that often lampoon various aspects of life. I don't think I've seen any new memes in the past few days that weren't about the COVID-19 epidemic. But this isn't the first time a global catastrophe has been made fun of in what could be described as a "childish" fashion. In fact, one of the memes I've seen compared the uptick in Cor…

Star Trek: Asterisk "The Man Trap"

Vital Information
Series: The Original Series
Episode: S01E01
Air Date: September 8, 1966
Written by: George Clayton Johnson
Directed by: Marc Daniels

When the Enterprise visits Bones' old girlfriend, people start dying. Turns out a shape-shifting salt monster is to blame and Bones is the only one who can kill it, despite its beautiful form.

Kirk, Bones and Ensign Rickey Crewman Darnell beam down to planet M-113 in order to deliver supplies and perform routine medical exams to Dr. Robert Crarter and his wife Nancy. The catch? Nancy is McCoy's ex-girlfriend. Which would be awkward for the old country doctor, but humanity has evolved beyond romantic awkwardness, right? ...Right?

When they get down to the planet, something is amiss because Kirk, Bones and Darnell all see different people when they look at Nancy. Kirk sees Nancy as she should be, Bones sees Nancy as though she hadn't changed since the last time he met her, and Darnell sees a hooker he once bought on a pleasure planet. Having embarrassed himself, Kirk dismisses Darnell, but when Nancy leaves to purportedly get Dr. Crarter, she turns into that hooker again and lures Darnell away. That's when Dr. Crarter comes in and Bones insists on performing a physical on him, due to Starfleet regulations. Dr. Crarter, however, is pretty argumentative and insists that they leave immediately leaving them only some salt.

Back outside, the blood-curdling screams of Nancy catch everyone's attention. And when they go to investigate, they find Crewman Darnell with red rings of death all over his face.
Thus the first redshirt is blue.
Nancy says he had eaten a poisonous plant, but Bones obviously has to perform an autopsy anyway.

Back on the Enterprise, Uhura is basically throwing herself at Spock. She tries to start a conversation with him, but apparently they had broken up by this point, so he's unemotional and short with her. Speaking of unemotional, when the landing party gets beamed back up, the report one dead and Spock acknowledges with no more than a glance. And Uhura's all like "Boy, you did not just blow off the fact that someone just died!"

But that's the odd part, because when Bones examines Darnell he can't find anything wrong with him at first. In fact, he should just get up and walk away. Well, Bones brings Kirk back into sickbay later and tells him that he discovered that Darnell had been completely drained of salt (which you'd think would have a more visible effect than just red rings of death). So Kirk and a couple other redshirts go back down to the planet in order to bring Dr. Carter and Nancy back up to the ship. And that's when Nancy kills both of the redshirts and takes the form of Crewman Green.

Back on the ship, Crewman Green runs amok, creeping around and following Yeoman Rand who's carrying a dinner tray with a salt shaker. Then he turns into a random black crewman and stalks Uhura. Frustrated that he can't lure anyone in carefully, he finally attacks someone at random. Then he turns back into Nancy and goes looking for Bones.
To be fair... who wouldn't want to stalk this?
When the random guy turns up dead, Kirk and Spock beam back down to the planet to retrieve Dr. Crarter, but he's not willing to join them. Some phaser fire ensues and then Kirk successfully stuns Dr. Crarter. That's when Crarter explains that the creature they knew as Nancy was actually the last salt monster on the entire planet. It had killed the real Nancy and now he and it were in love and living very happily together. And all it really required was salt. And love. Salt and and love.

In the briefing room, Kirk holds a conference with department heads and Professor Crater. The salt monster appears at this meeting as Bones. Crater explains that he and the last surviving salt monster have formed a symbiotic relationship. Crater provided it with the needed salt and, in turn, the creature gave the professor companionship, something Crater craved since the it murdered his wife, the real Nancy, for her salt.

After the meeting, the salt monster, in the form of Bones, goes off with Spock and Crater. And then kills Crater, seriously injures Spock and changes into Nancy Crater, nearly killing the real McCoy [see what I did there?]. Kirk rushes to the doctor's quarters to convince him that this is not the real Nancy, but the salt monster paralyzes Kirk and goes in for the kill. At that moment, Spock rushes in, seeing the salt monster going for Kirk and Bones just standing there, phaser in hand. Spock freaks out and tries to beat up on the salt monster who is in the form of Nancy, but it's too strong for him. When Bones is satisfied that it's not really Nancy, In an emotionally painful move, he kills the creature, saving himself and the Enterprise crew.

And then Kirk evokes the extinct buffalo and everyone happy and that's the end.

Overall Thoughts
This was the very first episode that was introduced to the public at large, and it had pretty much everything it needed to have: a mystery, a beautiful woman, a monster and some crazy sci-fi stuff. And besides that, it had some pretty great character development for most of the crew, but especially for Bones. More importantly, everyone is in the kind of uniform they ought to be in! All is as it should be now! Excellent episode.