Thu Mar 15, 2012, 08:51 PM
salvorhardin (9,995 posts)
A brief review of He Walked Among Us
He walked Among Us is an unused screenplay by Norman Spinrad for the never produced fourth season of the original Star Trek television series. Spinrad wrote it in 1967, and only recently rediscovered it.
The premise is simple, and somewhat stereotypical for Star Trek. A renegade Federation citizen, Theodore Bayne, has installed himself as a god to rule over a primitive civilization. However, Spinrad's story very quickly deviates from other hackneyed Star Trek stories via a series of clever plot twists, and sparkling, intelligent dialogue (samples below) -- perhaps a bit too intelligent for Shatner's Kirk.
Bayne does not rule as an vengeful god, and despite the dire predictions upon which the Federation's noninterference directive is based, initially appears to have had a beneficial effect on the civilization. Bayne's rule has bestowed peace, doubled food production, and advanced knowledge.
On closer inspection though it is discovered that Bayne is an anti-scientific fanatic with quack medical beliefs. His vegetarian dictum has led to his people becoming malnourished, improper crop rotation techniques have left the arable land depleted, and his commandment forbidding polygamy has resulted in social unrest.
Clearly the Enterprise crew must remove Bayne from the planet, but they quickly realize that it's an impossibility. The way Bayne has pitted the secular rulers against the religious rulers, the civilization would collapse without Bayne to keep the balance. Finding a way to excise the Jugali's god while avoiding doing more harm, and keeping their heads attached, form the bulk of the third act and Spinrad's resolution does not disappoint.
It's a shame that Gene L. Coon dropped Spinrad's screenplay. Supposedly Coon was afraid the controversial religious theme -- never has humanism been so strongly voiced by the original Trek characters than in He Walked Among Us -- would provoke negative reactions from viewers and studio executives alike. With a little polishing (such as toning down some of the sexism) this could have been one of the greatest Star Trek episodes and might have established Bayne among the most memorable of Star Trek characters. Sadly, only elements of He Walked Among Us were ever used to cobble together other episodes.
You can find out more about Star Trek's unproduced fourth season here: http://www.fastcopyinc.com/orionpress/articles/startrekmyths6.htm
You can buy an official copy of He Walked Among Us direct from Norman Spinrad here: http://normanspinradatlarge.blogspot.com/2012/02/star-trek-he-walked-among-us-norman.html
Some dialogue samples
He's one of those screwballs who thinks he can cure cancer with lots of cold water baths. A diet of fruit and nuts. He's been thrown off of every civilized planet he ever landed on...
By blind, stubborn, misleading and mistaken colleagues of yours, Doctor. Oh, how little you know. If you would only realize that nature heals, nature cures, that in the great order of things all mistakes are eventually put to right. You and your pills and potions... poisons, Captain! Vile chemicals, ill-smelling liquids...
Gods! More Gods! I am up to my kneeplates in Gods! Well, then... we will let the people see whether or not their Gods can die!
37 ANGLE KIRK 37
Surrounded by three or four lusty, handsome women, who are eying him appreciatively.
I don't quite understand. You look healthy and happy...
We are unhappy because we are healthy, oh brother to Bayne. There are three female children born to every one male child here. Before the coming of the Great Bayne, each man had three wives, and all were happy.
But the Great Bayne tells us this is evil. Now each man has but one wife... and most of us do not know the love of a man.
(touching Kirk's upper arm)
Tell me, oh brother to Bayne, are all of Bayne's brothers so handsome, with such muscles?
It might be better. I will not argue with you, Theodore. Leave Jugal... or I will bury you here.
I am Bayne. These people are my people.
A dead god serves only the roots of the grass he feeds.
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A brief review of He Walked Among Us (Original post)
Response to salvorhardin (Original post)
Fri Mar 16, 2012, 09:28 AM
YankeyMCC (8,292 posts)
1. Sounds a bit like a DS9 episode
I don't recall the title, Sisko and the Chief crash land on a planet and find a woman leading a colony that has rejected technology.