CBS All Access (Original TV network: NBC)
September 14, 1974
Run Time: 24 minutes
Episode 2 – “Bem”
The Enterprise is on a scouting mission on a planet with some new lifeforms. They have a guest, Commander Bem, an independent observer, assigned to monitor how they handle encounters with new and/or unknown alien species. Bem chooses to beam down to the planet with the landing party against Kirk’s concerns for his safety.
Once down on the planet, Bem separates his body underwater and seizes and replaces the phasers and communicators of the landing party. What is Bem up to? Is he conspiring with the aliens on the planet? Whose side is Bem on? You’ll have to stream in to find out.
I chuckled when Bem is literally able to rip himself into pieces. This type of episode could only be animated (at least in the 70s) — and I loved it. Both humorous and entertaining. This is like the spirit of the tribbles with a very weird and unusual alien. Somebody was smoking a lot of pot and listening to a bunch of 70s classic rock when they conceived this episode.
Bem Bem? Is this a nod to Bam Bam from The Flinstones?
But is the story any good? It’s crazy creative, that’s for sure. It’s one of the weirder episodes of the entire animated series, so giving it three stars just for the eccentric theme and story. Adding another star because of Commander Bem’s character. He almost deserves his own series, because his unusual race could lend itself to all sorts of odd, imaginative stories.
“How come we always end up like this?” said a caged Captain Kirk. That sums up this episode.
With Paramount+ now in action and the former CBS All Access gone, this is the first episode reviewed under the new banner. I’m bummed thinking there are only 4 more episodes left in the series after this to review. The series only made it a short time and one thing it doesn’t have much time to do is provide any sort of ongoing substories that arc across multiple episodes. These are standalone stories.
Episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️