“The Ambergris Episode” was a fun first contact episode that actually worked! Kirk and Spock having gills was not something I expected to work given how “Voyager” handled things in “Threshold” but this one was different as it focused on how complex first contact is that within a culture or people there are differing points of view.
The episode was directed by Hal Sutherland and written by Margaret Armen.
The episode involves the exploration of Argo where Kirk and Spock are attacked by a Sur-Snake leading them to be transformed into aquatic species by the younger generation of Aquans. When they attempt to reach the Elders they are left to die on the surface until one of the Council leaves to rescue them and Kirk and Spock seek a cure of their state and find out the history of the Aquans.
The Pros: The Aquans – The Aquans are fascinating! You have the Elders who fear surface dwellers because they were once them and fear the destruction that occurred and the younger generation who wants to change and are the biggest advocate for first contact. Eventually contact with the outside world is made after Kirk and Spock cure their state using Sur-Snake venom and the Elders stay below as the younger generation comes into the new galaxy.
Kirk – Kirk is the one always seeking contact with the natives and even after they are left to die still does diplomacy. This one really shows how driven he is to seeking peaceful solutions, even when wronged.
Spock – Spock is the one who helps them find the cure and shows how rough the reality is as if Kirk and Spock stayed in a tank their roles would be limited in what they could accomplish.
Raising the Fallen Continents – The Enterprise changes it’s phasers and sets them in such a way to raise the continents. It is really cool and shows how they are a force for change (for better and for worse) and help the Aquans become a part of the great galaxy.
Okay: The Sur-Snake – Okay enemy, but looked kind of stupid at times.
The Cons: Execution – The story could have been done better if we could have seen more of the point of view of the younger generation. This lack of perspective was the only thing that brought the episode down besides the main crew not being allowed to do much.
This was an episode worth checking out, not a favorite but it is solidly good. It explores the complexity of first contact and manages to turn a strange idea into it’s favor while giving a fascinating society in the process!
Final Score: 8.3 / 10