|Index||3 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The more we build machines in our image, the greater the chance these machines will one day outgrow their need for us. This being a central tenet of SciFi stories by many an author we are treated to yet another one. This time though its by SciFi master Harlan Ellison. In a huge starship of extremely advanced design lives the inter-mind computer that controls it and its sole human operator:Man. Man is often tasked with reparing the ship and so he has little time for leisure or foolishness. The slightest bit of insolence sends the inter-mind computer that he calls "Ship" into fits of anger and often times this means being placed in an electronic torture chamber for a punishment process known as being "Racked". Man knows his place all to well, that is until one day Ship meets with another of starship of his design. The operator of which is female. What becomes a forced coupling in order to perpetuate themselves with an offspring becomes a fulcrum for freedom and Man learns that like Ship he was meant to be free to pursue his destiny.
Sometimes, even though you feel a little cheated at the end, the basic premise of an episode works well enough to keep your interest. In this one, a young man has been groomed to be a human slave to a hunk of metal, an enormous ship that has the qualities of a sentient being. The young man is curious, but every time he tries to expand his knowledge, he gets "racked," that is subjected to incredible torture. He submits willingly because he has no basis for disbelief. He has always been there. The ship begins to realize that human's have a life span and something needs to be done to perpetuate the species. It brings in a female from somewhere and they are forced to couple (that is, explore their sexuality and ultimately to produce a child). The cold-blooded ship is unable to catch on to the signals that the couple is falling in love and questioning what is happening to them. They are becoming a threat to their master. There are several scenes of nudity and simulated sexual activity. The ship is only interested in one thing and doesn't realize that some sabotage is potentially at work. The story says it is in the natures of people to be free and chart their own courses, even if it brings about their destruction. This theme has been used frequently in this series. The weakness here has to do with how it all plays out. It's not bad but a little too pat for my tastes. Still, it's much less cynical than previous episodes have been.
The ship's computer orders two human occupants to couple in order to
create a new being who can keep the ship in repair. This happens again
Jack Noseworthy in this role is arguably the handsomest soft porn star of all time. He took my breath away.
This is an unusually kinky episode. Malcolm McDowell as the ship oozes contempt, menace and sadism.
The scenes that stuck in my mind most was the ship's computer ordering the humans into a chamber to be tortured. They voluntarily entered, even though the ship apparently had no means to coerce them there.
It is all a metaphor for how people submit to oppression, and the gradual mental shifts that make them break free.
I felt embarrassed watching the episode, and turned away several times. There is no getting away from it, it is in-your-face pornographic, though without frontal genital nudity.
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