Star Trek: The Animated Series: The Jihad   Rewatch 
July 28, 2020 3:22 PM - Season 1, Episode 16 - Subscribe

The Vedala, the oldest known spacefaring race, summon Kirk and Spock to recover the Soul of the Skorr, a stolen religious artifact that has the potential to ignite a holy war across the galaxy. (Season finale)

Memory Alpha stores some green memories about this one.

Background information
Story and script
  • This episode's writer, Stephen Kandel, also wrote "Mudd's Passion", as well as the two Harry Mudd episodes of TOS: "Mudd's Women" and "I, Mudd". Kandel was also a writer and story editor for Mission: Impossible, a series that shares the same basic concept of this episode: a team of specialists brought together to handle an "impossible" mission. He recalled his idea for this installment; "'Jihad' was an idea I'd had for a long time. It was a message story and difficult to sell on network television. Network executives would have said, 'My God, what are you doing? That's a message story!' I jumped at the opportunity to drop it into a Star Trek format, which we did." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 99)
Cast and characters
  • This is one of two TAS episodes that do not feature James Doohan voicing the character of Montgomery Scott (the other installment being "The Slaver Weapon", in which the character does not appear), although Scott does appear here and Doohan did voice two other characters for this installment (namely, Sord and Tchar).
  • David Gerrold, who was a writer on both Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Animated Series, voiced the character of Em/3/Green for this episode. "It was my idea to do a voice," he recollected. "I asked [Director] Hal Sutherland. I said, 'You know, I need my SAG card. Please let me do a voice.' He said, 'We don't really have it in the budget to do guest stars, but come on, you brought in Stanley Adams for 'Tribbles' and Roger Carmel for 'Mudd.' We've got enough in the budget for one little voiceover.' It was like $75, but it was enough to get me my SAG card." Despite rumors to the contrary, this is the only episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series for which Gerrold voiced a role. He later cited the facts that he "got to do a voice" and "got an SAG card" as personal highlights of working on the series. Ultimately, he was not, however, completely pleased with the type of voice he created for Em/3/Green. "I wasn't all that happy with how it turned out," he said. "I figured out a better voice two days later."
  • The four starships seen in orbit of Vedala were drawings reused from "The Time Trap".
  • The birdlike mechanized sentinels that launch an attack against the team of specialists were a recycled character design that was previously used to portray both the swoopers in "The Infinite Vulcan" and the Maravel dragons in the episode immediately before this one, "The Eye of the Beholder". New backgrounds were added for the reuse of the footage, though the actual animation remained the same, a standard shortcut in the animation industry. (The Star Trek Files: The Animated Voyages End, p. 29)
  • The animated design of Tchar was another reuse, having previously been used for the look of the Aurelian Aleek-Om in "Yesteryear". The reason for this reuse was simply that it saved money. (Star Trek Magazine issue 158, p. 52)
Poster's Log:
Majel Roddenberry was pregnant with Eugene "Rod" Roddenberry during the creation of TAS Season One and morning sickness made it impossible for her to record parts for this episode. Filmation staple Jane Webb (who also voiced Ginger and Mary Ann for the animated "New Adventures of Gilligan's Island") filled in, voicing both Lara and the Vedalan who gives them their mission. This is the only TAS episode for which she provided voices

This is one of only 3 episodes in Season One with multiple guest voice actors, the others being "Yesteryear" and "The Ambergris Element". One more such episode will pop up in Season Two.

In a couple of places, we come back from what would have been a commercial break to an image of the Enterprise, despite the action in this episode not taking place on the ship at all.

Lara is remarkably... uh... thirsty, shockingly so for a children's cartoon. This echoes some of the adult-ness in Kandel's other TAS outing, "Mudd's Passion".

There's some places where expository dialog would have been helpful. There's no discussion of how the crew is to return to the Vedalan asteroid until Lara activates the recall device. Similarly, no mention is made of any weapons inside the structure holding the Soul of Alar until Kirk points out that Tchar controls "the fortress phaser bank".

The Soul of Alar is first illustrated as floating just above the same floor on which the crew is standing, despite supposedly being a thousand feet in the air.

Kirk not remembering that he and Spock just engaged in null-gee combat training last week does not bode well for Kirk's mental acuity.

Educational moment for 1974: learning that a 'jihad' was a 'holy war'.
posted by hanov3r (3 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
In a couple of places, we come back from what would have been a commercial break to an image of the Enterprise, despite the action in this episode not taking place on the ship at all.

A cue to let the audience know 'hey this is Star Trek' when they're switching channels, perhaps?

New characters, new voice gives it a certain freshness not every TAS episode receives. It's like the ultimate fusion of Star Trek and the styling of animated adventure shows of the time. I keep expecting the Herculoids to show up.

Saturday Morning Trek 33: Green Memories(podcast) This series does a pretty good dive on The Animated Series in general, exploring the cultural context. There are also interviews with Walter Koenig and the late great DC Fontana, among others, in its run.
posted by StarkRoads at 4:58 PM on July 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

It's a pretty good dungeon delve story, with a decent enough balance for an RPG party, even having some rogue talents in Em/3/Green. (I'm a bit tempted to rewatch it, knowing that Gerrold did the voice.) I liked Lara's frankness--I don't think that that was one of the things I noticed as a child, but now, boy howdy, what were the coordinates to that planet again?--and especially that she was interested in Kirk. I could see one of the nu-Trek series (especially LOW) having a bit of a revisit to her or her people.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:06 PM on July 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

This might be the first TAS where I thought the denouement wasn't too rushed. Kudos to the writers also on sketching out some quick, clear personalities for the new party members.

Fancasting for the live-action version: Em/3/Green is played by this guy.

I think that where Lara went wrong was in styling her eyebrows like a Klingon, which, for Kirk, is bound to be a turn-off, if anything is.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 9:45 AM on July 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

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