Many are calling it one of STAR TREK CONTINUES’ best episodes yet! I’m sure some will complain, as someone always does, it seems. And admittedly, the first half of the episode does move more slowly than the second half…but oh, what a second half it is!
Without stepping into spoiler territory, this episode heartens back to the golden age of TOS when many of the episodes provided viewers with a mirror from which they could see and examine one or more of the complex issues of the day: the war in Vietnam, racism, the hippie movement, the ever-growing spectacle of television itself.
“What Ships Are For” does just that with one of the most controversial and divisive political dilemmas of today…told in a creative and ultimately poignant way. Unlike many fan films, this episode of STC doesn’t rely on space battles or some threat to the ship but rather focuses on a society facing a crisis of change—a change that could quite literally tear them apart. And right in the middle of it all are Captain Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise. Sound familiar? If you named just about any of the original series episodes, you’d probably be right! And for me, that’s the reason “What Ships Are For” worked so well.
The episode also worked well because of the amazingly strong performances of their guest cast for this episode. Anne Lockhart will be familiar to sci-fi fans as the actress who played Lt. Sheba in the original Battlestar Galactica. (She is also the daughter of Lost in Space star June Lockhart). Elizabeth Maxwell is an accomplished voice-over actress. But most impressive was a tour de force performance by actor John de Lancie, best known to fans for his portrayal of omnipotent intergalactic troublemaker “Q” on TNG, DS9, and Voyager.
Despite this being “only” a fan film (HA!), de Lancie gives his all to this role, delivering his lines with a poignancy that makes the plight of this alien society feel real and tangible to the viewer rather than simply being some plot contrivance intended to comment on a currently charged political issue. De Lancie’s performance, I believe, elevated other performances in the episode, especially that of star Vic Mignogna, who delivered a magnificently powerful Kirk speech at the end. The two performances together actually bought a tear to my eye.
See for yourself how good the episode was, and then feel free to post comments with spoilers below. And if you don’t want spoilers, please watch first before reading the comments on this page…