Introduction To The Episode
This is the most recent of the episodes created by the folks at Star Trek Continues. They're releasing one episode per year, on average. Given the production values of this fan production and that this is a labour of love from people working part-time, it's no surprise that quality takes time.
To get some funding for producing further episodes, Star Trek Continues ran a Kickstarter campaign which proved to be hugely successful. Hot on the heels of that financial victory comes this fourth episode - The White Iris - which you can watch below (the 5th episode is already in production and due for public release on September 26th 🙂 ). If you haven't heard of Star Trek Continues, read this post.
Here, Kirk (Vic Mignogna) is acting as a representative for the Federation on the planet Chalcis which is seeking Federation membership. It's leader, Minister Amphidamas (an almost unrecognizable Colin Baker, the Sixth Doctor from Doctor Who) has grave concerns about the threat posed by the neighbouring planet, Aretria, which opposes Chalcis' plans.
At this meeting, Kirk receives a serious head injury that leaves him in a coma. Given the time constraints for resolving the quarrel between the two planets, McCoy must use an experimental drug to pull Kirk from his coma so that he can mediate between the two factions. The experimental nature of the drug naturally dictates that things don't go smoothly and Kirk begins to see some very strange things.
I won't give any more plot details away as it would spoil your enjoyment of the episode, which is possibly the strongest of the four produced so far (though I still favour Episode #2, Lolani myself).
That said, The White Iris sets the stage for the Star Trek Continues series to continue for a long time to come.
The iconic characters continue to be represented with care and finesse. All the actors have upped their game again. It's uncanny watching Vic Mignogna playing Kirk, his portrayal is so nuanced and accurate.
The Other Star Trek Continues Episodes:
I mentioned in my first post about Star Trek Continues (STC) that it's always jarring seeing new actors playing the iconic Trek characters but for me seeing Todd Haberkorn playing Spock was the most jarring. However, over STC's 4 episodes his performance has really grown on me. By the second episode, I was having only a few moments where seeing him took me out of the episode. By Fairest of Them All (third episode), he was Spock (even if it was Mirror Universe Spock). Here, in The White Iris he is, simply, Spock.
I'm more ambivalent about the Dr. Elise McKenna character, the ship's Counselor. This has nothing to do with Michele Specht's performance - she's a good actress; I just don't like the idea of a ship's Counselor. I never have. What ship's Captain would really want the threat of a psych-evaluation hanging over every command decision? It's all too touchy-feely for my tastes. I always thought Deanna Troi on TNG was a pointless character who slowed down the pace of episodes. She was essentially a "filler" character with little to offer other than "I feel great pain". A character like that might fit in better in the TNG time as the Enterprise-D didn't do much exploring and included families among it's crew/passengers. In TOS's time, the Enterprise is out on the frontier, not cosseted by the trappings of comfortable, permeating civilization. A Counselor just doesn't fit in with that frontier/pioneer mentality.
But a Counselor there is on the Enterprise now. Given some of Kirk's decisions over the 5-year mission, he's probably the last one who should undergo a psych-evaluation. The White Iris shows us how he deals with Dr. McKenna’s psychological inquiries, showing us aspects of Kirk we haven't seen examined in detail like this since the original The Enemy Within episode. The scenes between the two characters do provide some memorable character-driven moments though.
Thanks to that successful Kickstarter campaign, some of the money raised was used to create an Engine Room which you may or may not have noticed was missing in previous episodes. Like the other STC sets, this was built using the original Enterprise blueprints. And there's even an early version of a Holodeck which shows that STC is beginning to bridge the technology gap between TOS and TNG.
What we have in Star Trek Continues is an innate understanding of The Original Series and why it appealed, and continues to appeal, to so many people. The episodes they create reproduce the look and feel of the original episodes and that familiarity draws you in to each of their episodes. It really does feel like the 5 year mission wasn't aborted after 3 years and Star Trek Continues is showing us what happened with the Enterprise and her crew in that 4th year of the mission.
The White Iris doesn't disappoint and with each new episode, the quality ratchets up. What's more, the writers, actors, and producers of this series have the ability to make their series feel completely new and refreshing. This is real Star Trek. It's heart, ethos and values are all in the right place unlike the new Star Trek movies which cast all that aside in favour of action set pieces and explosions.
Watch The White Iris now...
Watch The White Iris bloopers on the next page....
Filed under: Star Trek Fan Productions