Sodom and Gomorrah
Original Premiere: April 26, 2002
As far as I’m concerned, aside from the season finale, this episode is the only gem in the latter third of Star Trek: The Final Frontier’s third season. The fatigue of constantly writing TFF was beginning to show, and while just about every other late third season episode suffered horrendously, THIS one managed to produce a fairly decent yarn. It wasn’t quite up to the level of season two’s phenomenal streak… but for the fatigued season three, this was some good stuff—and the driving force behind the sudden, if brief, increase in quality, was the dreaded and evil NIMDA-E virus.
About a week into writing the episode, I suddenly noticed Windows was taking a LONG time to load. At first, I simply dismissed it as my sluggish computer, but when Microsoft Word refused to load due to insufficient system resources, I knew something was wrong. After a fair amount of digging, I discovered my computer had somehow become infected with the NIMDA-E virus, a rare variant of the NIMDA-A virus. The bug specifically attacked Microsoft Word, and resulted in the complete and total corruption of just about every DOC file on my computer, a long with a slew of other unpleasant things. I was, sadly, forced to format my hard drive and purchase a copy of Windows XP (you know, just for the hell of it). It was terrible. Really… But with “Sodom and Gomorrah” trashed, I was forced to start over from scratch—and for the first time in TFF’s history, delay the episode. The subsequent version of the episode was actually a vast improvement over the original, so really, I can’t complain.
Episodes tend to spawn out of weird places. Sometimes I’ll go somewhere (like the bathroom) and be inspired. Other times, I’ll just have a cool title and build an episode around THAT. But “Sodom and Gomorrah” came from the History Channel. I’m hardly a frequent viewer of the History Channel, but one boring afternoon, I was channel surfing and just happened to stumble upon the tragic tale of two slovenly Biblical cities, Sodom and Gomorrah. And as I watched events unfold, I immediately realized that this was a TFF episode. It was supposed to be the beginning of an epic new story that would run throughout the rest of the series, but after “A Touch of Darkness,” I didn’t like where the whole Ghaib/Drusari/Elorg thing was going. So when “The Odyssey” came along, I used Xi'Yor as little as possible… giving him just enough episode-space to get himself back to the Elorg Bloc, where he belonged.
While most people thought my interpretation of Sodom and Gomorrah was a decent enough, some of TFF’s more religious readers duly reminded me that in the original tale of these two cities, there was a great deal of prostitution and thievery going on, along with plenty of OTHER immoral acts. I was well aware of this, but for obvious reasons, prostitution just didn’t fit into the overall theme of the episode. This is “Star Trek” for crying out loud, and while I may attempt to push the envelope, I’m not going to push it THAT far.
As stated in the episode, the look for the Ghaib was based upon Gastornis, a hideous “terror bird” the size of a man that lived on Earth some 50 million years ago. This marked the first of MANY alien cultures to get their features from some prehistoric beast. The Corthyans and Inguari in “The Odyssey” arc were based upon two hadrosaurs—the Parasaurolophus and Iguanodon, respectively.