Stardate 6923.4: During the investigation of the effects of an ion storm in the Kalandra sector, the Enterprise discovers a radio transmission from the pre-industrial planet Navarra II and an alien ship in orbit of that planet. Kirk agrees to help the owner of the alleged courier, Revik, with necessary repairs after the ion storm. Spock soon discovers inconsistencies, as Revik's vessel is too slow and has too much cargo capacity for a courier. Further investigation comes to the result that the ship has been in orbit for many years. A landing party beams down to Navarra II and finds some kind of church with a rudimentary transporter. This is apparently used to transfer the population's offerings to a god named "Reevok". In the meantime Scotty has discovered a cloaking device on Revik's ship. It is now clear that Revik has been exploiting the Navarrans for decades by posing as their "invisble god". But there is nothing the Enterprise can do against him because of the Prime Directive. Kirk orders Arex to break orbit, but then to head back to Navarra II and assume a position directly ahead of Revik's ship. Revik attacks, so that Kirk is allowed to return fire. Sulu fires the phasers, just destroying the cloaking emitter that allowed Revik to fool the Navarrans.
The episode is built on a rather conventional "false god" plot, and the crew handles the situation somehow as if it were a TNG episode, rather than one of TAS or TOS. Still, everyone is perfectly in character and almost everyone contributes a bit to the story.
Overall "And Let the Heavens Fall" appears to be a bit more mature than most TAS episodes from the 70s. It does not have knee-jerk action but thrives on well thought-out dialogues with a little dose of humor. Of course, this may have been a necessity to a certain extent, because stock footage of general bridge duty is comparably easy to re-use, as opposed to action scenes that usually have a specific setting. This may also be the reason why the rather dialogue-heavy story needs some time to gain momentum. But it never becomes boring. I actually like how the true story of Revik is gradually being revealed, instead of Kirk or Spock drawing premature conclusions just because an animated episode is slated to be fast-paced.
The episode relies on a good deal of stock footage, which is quite understandable because creating an animation is a huge effort still in the digital age. And the re-use does not impair the viewing pleasure in any fashion, considering that already the original TAS used lots of stock images. Overall, "And Let the Heavens Fall" shows us almost perfect composites of old and new TAS imagery, and all this with lip-synchronous animation. For someone who doesn't know TAS it would be hard to tell what is old and what is new. There are only very minor technical shortcomings, such as Spock's jittering viewer. I like the new imagery created for the episode, such as the character of Revik and the courier ship, whose style is spot-on. The best of all is the engineering on Revik's ship and the village on the planet. They are well designed and beautifully pictured, as it seems with somewhat toned down colors compared to similar images in the original TAS.
More praise goes to the new voices, which suit the familiar characters very well. I was under the impression that there were about four or five different actors speaking, but to my amazement the end credits revealed that Curt Danhauser voiced all male characters, while Phoebe Danhauser lent her voice to Lt. Uhura. James Doohan would be proud of you!
Summarizing, Curt Danhauser doesn't promise too much when he announces "And Let the Heavens Fall" as the first TAS episode in 35 years. He has produced a fan film single-handedly, and he has done a terrific job. If this were an authentic old TAS episode (avoiding the word "canon"), it would rank well above the series average.
Continuity: I like how the crew quotes precedents of aliens posing as gods on
Earth, namely Kukulkan (TAS: "How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth") and Apollo (TOS: "Who Mourns for
Inconsistency/oddity: Spock fails to catch the famous quote from Hamlet, "Something's rotten in Denmark." But he is familiar with the rather obscure Latin quote "Fiat justitia, ruat caelum." ("Do justice, and let the heavens fall.") He can translate it and knows its exact history.
Remarkable dialogue: "Yes. Something's rotten in Denmark." - "I fail to see how the situation of the courier ship relates to conditions on a small nation in a Nordic region of Earth." (Kirk and Spock)
|Last modified: 10.04.12|