Star Trek: The Original Series S01E14 — Shore Leave

Where do we go from The Balance of Terror? Silly, because we have to. Shore Leave is one of those weird episodes like The Naked Time that breaks up the gravity of the series. There’s isn’t much to say about this one before we jump in.

Kirk’s got a new yeoman, and he’s also got a kink in his back. She’s all hands, immediately jumping in and massaging his back. His yeoman thinks he needs more sleep, and Spock agrees. Spock makes a comment about the last three months. Has all of this happened in three months? Seems like a tragedy about once a week.

Down on the planet’s surface, McCoy and Sulu are scouting the planet for how suitable it would be for shore leave. It’s a beautiful planet and McCoy notes that it’s so nice it’s something out of Alice in Wonderland. Sulu heads off to get cell structure records to get some biology readings. Interesting to keep Sulu’s roots to the first episode where he was wearing a blue uniform instead of a yellow one. McCoy walks a few steps and sees a white rabbit who appears to be running late for something followed by a little girl looking for the rabbit. Alice in Wonderland indeed. Sulu wasn’t paying attention and missed the whole thing. If I were McCoy? BEAM BACK TO THE SHIP IMMEDIATELY.

This is Star Trek, not reality. If McCoy beamed back up, this episode would be over already. Kirk and Spock don’t plan on taking shore leave. McCoy radios to Kirk what he just saw and reports himself unfit fort duty because of it. All scanners indicated the planet was inhabited. McCoy doesn’t seem to be one to crack jokes, but Kirk lets it slide anyway. Spock makes outwits Kirk to go down on shore leave.

Down on the planet, a male Blueshirt and female Yellowshirt are inspecting some plants when Kirk and his new yeoman beam down to find McCoy. McCoy’s found tracks on the ground from a giant rabbit. At least he’s not crazy, right? No he’s not. The answer is much worse in my estimation. They’re on a planet with a giant rabbit. Kirk halts shore leave until there’s some proof that the planet is harmless.

GUNSHOTS! Kirk, McCoy and the yeoman run to find Sulu shooting a gun. He’s always wanted one. Kirk takes Sulu’s toy away. Kirk sends yeoman Barrows with Sulu to track down the rabbit while Kirk and McCoy go looking around in a glade. No one has realized that these things have materialized while people are alone.

McCoy and Kirk discuss being picked on. Kirk brings up someone named Finnegan that would give him a hard time in academy. Kirk and McCoy split up. Remember what I just said about things happening to people when they are alone? Kirk encounters Finnegan, who immediately punches Kirk in the face. Kirk grapples with him a little bit before hearing yeoman Barrows (I assume) screaming and runs off. No mention of how weird it is to see someone he knew in academy.

Yeoman Barrows was attacked by a Don Juan type. Her uniform is torn and she’s hysterical. So almost everyone has been attacked on the planet or confronted in some weird way, but they stay on the surface? Kirk runs off to find Sulu, but instead encounters an old girlfriend from fifteen years ago who looks exactly like she did fifteen years ago. Kirk’s finally looking concerned and confused. That feeling gives way to a warm feeling for his old girlfriend and suddenly he seems to have forgotten his duties.

Spock breaks into Kirk’s haze to let him know that something on the surface is draining power from the Enterprise and communication may be the first thing on the ship to go. Also? There’s an antennae popping up here and there tracking the crew.

McCoy and yeoman Barrows talk about how the planet is kind of like a giant story book, and a dress shows up out of nowhere for Barrows so she can dress like a princess! McCoy seems to have fallen under the spell of the planet and convinces her to put the dress on.

“Dear girl, I am a Doctor. When I peek, it’s in the line of duty.” -McCoy to Barrows

Everyone is supposed to meet up back where they first beamed down, but the previously mentioned Yellowshirt and Blueshirt and cornered and stuck in a tree by a tiger. Funny story, Shatner wanted to wrestle the tiger on TV, but was convinced that it wouldn’t be a good idea.

Kirk and Spock have a chat about the experiences everyone is having down on the planet. At no point is beaming up brought up. Kirk says there hasn’t been any real danger, aside from the gun and the academy buddy who beat him up. Oh, and speaking of danger a samurai appears near Sulu and attempts to attack him. Sulu runs away and meets up with Kirk, and they both discover their phasers no longer work thanks to the energy drain the planet seems to be having on everything.

Everyone splits up looking whatever is making those tiger sounds (a tiger maybe), which seems like another bad idea. McCoy and Barrows encounters a knight. McCoy says hallucinations can’t harm them. The knight charges McCoy, which is when Spock and Kirk find him.

McCoy is killed by the knight! Maybe now everyone will believe that the danger is real. Kirk shoots the knight with Sulu’s gun, and when Sulu checks the knight, they find that he’s a wax dummy and was never alive. Everyone comes over to check on the knight, which appears to be some variety of a casting that was manufactured.

The Yellow and Blueshitrt are attacked by a Japanese fighter plane (why not?) and it seems that the Yellowshirt was gunned down in the process. Score another one for the mysterious planet. Speaking of mysterious, someone’s taken McCoy’s body. Spock finally makes the connection that everything that everyone is seeing was manifested by their imaginations. As Kirk is talking about how he was thinking about Finnegan earlier, Finnegan appears once more and Kirk runs after him, leaving Spock with the rest of the crew. That’s a PERFECTLY NORMAL thing for a ship captain to do. Finnegan knocks Kirk out during a fight and tells Kirk to sleep as long as he likes. Kinda weird, no?

Kirk comes to and wants answers from Finnegan after doing some negotiating with his fists. Finnegan is doing a bit too much licking of his lips for my comfort levels. Spock comes by and wants to know how Kirk enjoyed beating up the guy who he’s been fantasizing about beating up for the last fifteen years. Spock makes the assertion that something is manufacturing fantasies for them, and it seems the planet’s defense system kicks in to send the tiger and the plane after them.

This episode is just too weird to recap this way. There is an alien race underneath the surface of the planet that has been manufacturing all of these weird things for the crew of the Enterprise. Kirk and friends meet the caretaker of this planet that doubles as an amusement park. The planet was put together for an advanced race of people.

“The more complex the mind, the greater the need for simplicity of play.” -Kirk

McCoy appears with two ladies in furry bikinis from a memory of his from Rigel II. They repaired him under the surface.

The caretaker won’t answer Kirk’s questions because humans aren’t ready to understand what’s going on across the planet. Despite a human lack of understanding of the fundamentals of the planet, the caretaker invites the crew of the Enterprise to come and play on the planet’s surface. Kirk tells Uhura (the ship’s power came back on) to start beaming people down.

What a bizarre episode, and a return to the message from the earliest episodes. There is more out there that humans can’t possibly understand, no matter how advanced we believe we are and how far we have come. Whatever fun we can have on the amusement planet, we aren’t ready to understand it. It’s not knowledge we’re yet meant to have. Similar to Where No Man Has Gone Before and The Menageries Parts I and II.

What happened to the female Yellowshirt? She was shot and it was never acknowledged!

First aired December 29, 1966
Crew deaths: 0

Star Trek: The Original Series S01E13 —The Balance of Terror

The Balance of Terror brings us the Romulans, one of Star Trek’s long-standing adversarial aliens. Long time Star Trek fans will see the face of the Romulan captain in the episode and see an extremely familiar face in Mark Lenard, who played the Vulcan Sarek in two episodes of The Next Generation, four of the Star Trek films with Kirk’s Enterprise and even in a later episode of The Original Series. Put all of that out of your head because he’s not Sarek, he’s a Romulan captain.

If you’re looking for a good episode to show a friend who has never watched an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, this is a good one. The crew of the Enterprise never leaves the ship, but they still have a worthy alien adversary. Some of Kirk’s best adversaries are adversaries that he never sees face to face and only encounters via communications or view screen. When Kirk has to out maneuver and outthink his opponent rather than beat him with his fists, Kirk is at his best. Kirk beating an opponent with his fists is a close second. Also, we’ve got Spock, McCoy and Kirk in the same room and we’ve even got a bit of “it was the 60’s” when the Romulan ship is attacked.

This episode is a retelling of the 1957 film The Enemy Below
according to Memory Alpha.

In The Enemy Below Robert Mitchum and Curt Jurgens are respectively captains of a U.S. destroyer and a German U-boat whose vessels come into conflict in the South Atlantic. Both are good men with a job to do, the script noting Jurgens’ distaste for Hitler and the Nazis and engaging our sympathy with the German sailors almost as much as the Americans. Made at the height of the cold war of the 1950s, the film delivers a liberal message of co-operation wrapped inside some spectacular action scenes and a story which builds to a tense and exciting, moving finale.

This was a cold war era film, and it’s reflected in the way the treaty between the Romulans and the Federation has been drawn up, including a nice bit of paranoia on the part of Stiles accusing Spock of being a Romulan spy, due to the possibility of a commonality between Vulcans and Romulans. Had they wanted to push this further, the crew of the Enterprise could have begun to accuse each other of being spies while the Enterprise was adrift for over nine hours while each side waited for the other to make their move.

Two Earth Outposts have gone dark, but there’s a marriage on the Enterprise that captain Kirk is giving his attention to anyway. There’s a brief kneeling by the bride when she approaches the altar, which is an interesting choice to acknowledge that Catholicism still exists in some form or fashion deep into the future when all other mentions of specific religions have been non-existent for the most part, save a mention of a Christmas where Captain Kirk may or may not have slept with one of the ship’s doctors. In case you thought this was going to actually go through, we hit red alert before the “I do” moment and another Earth Outpost is under attack by an unknown vessel.

Just a thought, but what happens at the end of the five year mission? Does the ship and crew get a new mission? A new ship? A new crew? Just wondering.

Kirk brings up a two dimensional map of the neutral zone between Federation and Romulan space and addresses the ship to have Spock explain a brief history of the Earth-Romulan conflict and how the neutral zone came to be. Kirk lets the crew of the ship know that the Enterprise is considered expendable in order to prevent a war with the Romulan empire. Weighty stuff right after you’ve got to break up a wedding, no?

Stiles, the new helmsman, has a mouth on him regarding the Romulans. He’s got dead family in the Earth-Romulan War and he doesn’t seem shy about letting Kirk know about his dislike for Romulans. He also thinks that their ships have birds of prey painted on them.

The Enterprise goes to battle stations and gets phaser banks ready. There’s a bit more communications between the phaser crews and the bridge to draw the heavier comparison to submarines. Now that I’m on that line of thinking, the Romulan ability to cloak their ship also makes sense when you think about submarines and their sonar capabilities. It is somewhat possible for a submarine to stay hidden to sonar and these ships function solely on instrument panels. The comparison is apt when you consider the Romulans inability to remain cloaked while firing weapons or jumping into warp. Those actions underwater (except warp) would also create noise, which would be picked up by other submarines.

There’s a bit of a touching moment between the couple that didn’t get married, pretty much sealing the deal that one of them will be dead by the end of the episode.

Kirk gets radioed by Outpost 4, and Kirk gets visual of the Romulan ship before the outpost is completely destroyed by a disruptor blast. It’s not called a disruptor blast in the episode, but later on this is what we’d know it by. The Enterprise is out of range and can do nothing except watch the outpost be destroyed remotely. I would question why The Enterprise was still receiving a video signal after the outpost was disintegrated. Afterwards, Spock registers movement, but there’s nothing on the view screen.

The weakness of the cloak by the Romulans is discovered when the Romulans make a “leisurely maneuver” (Spock’s words, not mine) and head back towards Romulus. It appears that while cloaked, the Romulans can’t use their sensors on the Enterprise. The Enterprise should appear as a shadow of the Romulans. Stiles makes a plea that Romulans could have spies on board the Enterprise and Sulu backs that theory. I’m not too sure who’s in charge of security of the Enterprise, but shouldn’t that assessment be their job?

Spock hacks into the signal from the Romulan ship and we get our first ever look at Romulans, and they happen to look a whole lot like Vulcans. Stiles doesn’t look pleased that they bare a resemblance to Spock. This is the second time Spock has been able to hack into another ship’s video signals. There are two hackers aboard the Enterprise, Spock and Scotty. Spock is much more of the modern style computer hacker, and Scotty a hacker of the mechanical variety. When the Enterprise had to go from a cold start during The Naked Time, it was Scotty’s idea to mix matter and anti-matter, but it was Spock who came up with the ratio of matter to anti-matter to get it done.

Stiles makes another crack about Spock’s visual resemblance to a Romulan and Kirk cuts him off once more. If I were in Kirk’s position, I would have relieved Stiles of his duty on the spot for his multiple comments, but Kirk doesn’t have a great track record with people in that chair.

The Romulans drop their cloak long enough for the Enterprise to get a look at them. Aboard the Romulan ship, they aren’t sure what’s following them. The captain believes it’s an Earth ship and the helmsman believe it’s a shadow (why the use of “Earth” and not “Federation”? It’s a United Federation of Planets, not the Earth Federation of Planets.)

The Romulan captain has some thoughts about why the Enterprise isn’t attacking, and it’s mostly because he believes Kirk has a similar thought process that he does. He also seems to have some regrets about their mission and it’s potential to start another war between the Federation and the Romulans. Everyone aboard his ship seems to think opposite he does, and he’s the one holding them back from destroying the Enterprise.

“I find myself wishing for destruction before we can return.” -The Romulan captain on the futility of their mission.

Kirk calls a meeting and we’ve got Spock, Kirk, Stiles, McCoy, Scotty and Sulu. Stiles thinks the Enterprise should engage with the Romulan ship, and Spock gives a little background information saying that if the blood lines between Vulcans and Romulans are common the Enterprise needs to attack the Romulans before they can see weakness from the Federation. McCoy and Spock debate if a war can be prevented with an offensive attack. Uhura comes in to say that the Romulans have changed corse towards a comet. Kirk asks Spock about the composition of the comet and hands him a book on comets, which Spock swats away and begins to rattle off some statistics on the comet. If you’re watching the episode, look for Scotty’s tiny smile while watching Kirk and Spock react. There’s a pride that Scotty and Sulu seem to take in Spock’s abilities as a science officer that can go missed if you aren’t paying attention. Kirk hatches a plan to meet the Romulans on the opposite side of the comet trail if the Romulans pass through it.

Remember Kirk’s plan? Well it turns out the Romulan captain and Kirk have similar thought processes, because it’s easily seen by the Romulans. They never pass through the tail of the comet upon realizing the Enterprise will lose them in the debris from the comet. Kirk realizes that his move to outsmart the Romulans was outsmarted by the Romulans. The Enterprise makes some blind shots that detonate much like a torpedo would, and manage to hit the Romulan ship, but they don’t really know it. The phaser shots overloaded the phaser banks and the Enterprise has no phasers.

The Romulans get off a disruptor blast shot at the Enterprise, which is travelling slowly. The Enterprise heads backwards away from the blast while it loses the impact it would have. Looks like the disruptors are limited range. Janice Rand comes onto the bridge long enough to hold Kirk close at the sight of the disruptor blast and the Enterprise’s possible destruction. The blast peters out and the Enterprise goes back to shadowing the Romulan vessel. Aboard the Romulan vessel, some loose ceiling pieces fell on their second in command and killed him. I don’t know why the Romulan ship has so much ceiling dust and debris that could possibly fall from the ceiling. Isn’t this a starship? Should it be constructed of things that aren’t sheet rock and wood? Maybe some metal instead? Metal that won’t splinter and fall in the bridge?

The Enterprise shoots off a few more torpedo style phaser blasts at the Romulans, and more dirt falls from their ceiling. The Enterprise heads into the neutral zone following the Romulans and continually firing on them.

Kirk is trying to drain the Romulan ship’s energy while it travels under cloak for such a long journey. The Romulans jettison all possible debris into space, including “The Centrurion”‘s body (apparently the second in command has a name). The Romulans have made it appear as if they’ve been destroyed in hopes of making the Enterprise turn around and go home. Meanwhile aboard the Romulan ship, their cloak makes it impossible for them to see the Enterprise. Both ships wait nearly ten hours in a sick game to see who will make the first move.

While tending to his console, Spock makes a rare mistake and accidentally turns on one of his sensors, which alerts the Romulan ship as to where the Enterprise is waiting. The Romulans jettison ever more material, this time including a nuclear warhead. What the hell are the Romulans doing with a nuclear warhead aboard their ship? Apparently it’s a self destruction method. Kind of like a Corbomite device?

Kirk fires on the warhead, detonating it and killing 22 aboard the Enterprise. Instead of firing on the Enterprise once more, the Romulan captain commands the ship to head back to Romulus. Both captains are still trying to prevent an all out war, but Kirk still plans on using the phasers. The engineering crew took some casualties and now only the man who was to be married is manning the phasers. Stiles has experience with phasers and heads down to help him out. Okay, now we’ve got the two men most likely to die in the same room manning the weapons aboard the Enterprise. Uhura takes navigation in Stiles’ absence. Uhura? Okay Kirk, you’re the captain.

Down in the phaser area of the ship, Stiles refuses help from Spock and as Spock leaves the room starts filling with some variety of purple gas. Of course, this is just as the Romulans come out of cloak and the Enterprise needs to attack. Spock races back, fires the weapons and saves Stiles and Tomlinson. The phaser blasts appear to have disabled the Romulan vessel. Kirk attempts to save the captain, but instead the Romulan captain chooses suicide instead of salvation.

Boom goes the Romulans.

Of Stiles and Tomlinson, Tomlinson is dead. Stiles is alive only because Spock saved him. Seems that Stiles shouldn’t have been so bigoted of Vulcans! Everyone learns a lesson this time around, expect the dead guy.

Kirk meets the woman who didn’t get a chance to become a widow on her wedding day for an embrace. Remember kids, war leaves no winners.

“It never makes any sense. We both have to know there was a reason.” -Kirk on Tomlinson’s death

This is one of the best Star Trek episodes you’ll find. Mark Lenard is fabulous as the Romulan commander and Shatner is flawless in this episode. There’s even a nice relationship for the Romulan commander and The Centurion that plays out just as Kirk and McCoy does.

First aired: December 13 1966
Crew Deaths: 23
Robert Tomlinson and 22 unnamed crewman
Other Deaths: The entire Romulan ship, anyone aboard Earth Outpost 2, 3, & 4

Star Trek: The Original Series S01E11 — The Menagerie Part 2

I think that commenter Langley said it best when it comes to the two part episode The Menagerie:

I get why they did this ep (and part 2).. They had footage, why not put it to use. And they did it in a creative way. It works.. but for those of us who have already seen the pilot.. I found it a little long and tedious. And I’m only half way there!

Kirk does his best to catch us up on the last hour of Star Trek. It’s done quite well actually. I don’t even think that anyone would really need to watch The Menagerie Part 1 if you’ve seen the beginning of The Menagerie Part 2. It looks like they’ve cut out some of the bits about the other aliens in the Talosian cages. For the most part, it’s all the same.

Although I never picked up the horrible comb-over that Dr. Boyce was sporting during this episode. Majel Barrett has double duty as the voice of the Enterprise computers and Number One. Did she get paid double?

Spock breaks into the footage during the Rigel VII scene to let everyone know that the Talosians could make Captain Pike believe he was doing anything they wanted him to. They could make him experience anything they wanted him to. At this point, it’s starting to sink in that Captain Pike has a life that he can be living on Talos IV. For that matter, any paraplegic could live on Talos IV. Seems like a good solution.

Captain Pike fell asleep, so the Talosians stopped the broadcast. They also stopped the broadcast so everyone could go and get a snack or use the bathroom during the commercial break. It would have been nice to have someone aboard the Enterprise to make a comment about how things sure were different back then.

Also, is the fable that Christopher Pike heard in childhood a Bible reference? It certainly seems like he was in hell for a moment. Religion is rarely mentioned on Star Trek. Earth holidays have been mentioned twice. In Charlie X, it’s mentioned that it’s Thanksgiving and in The Dagger of the Mind, a Christmas party is mentioned. Don’t get too used to it, because that’s it for holiday mentions.

They add some talk about green Orion slave girls amongst Kirk, Mendez and Spock. Kirk seems especially transfixed, but we all know the famous scene that’ll come later in the series with Kirk kissing a green slave girl. It was so famous that J.J. Abrams included one in his Star Trek reboot. Makes me think about how the actress needed shots to stay awake in that heavy body makeup that made her temperature spike up.

There were so many people involved in this mission, I would imagine that it would be difficult to keep everyone silent about this mission and the Talosians. The Enterprise had over 200 people on board, and they would know something about what happened on Talos IV, or even talking to each other about rumors. The Starfleet coverup couldn’t have been so complete, could it?

I’m kinda surprised that all of Spock’s emotions were left in this episode. They could be written off by saying that he wasn’t able to suppress his emotions as well back then, but that would seem like a cop out. They could have edited around it regardless to protect the character. They edited out the weird sequence when the ship jumped into warp though. Thank goodness.

Back in The Original Series world, Mendez disappears! Looks like he was an illusion from the Talosians the entire time. The Talosians were the ones behind this rouse, using Spock to help their quest to get Captain Pike back to the planet. The court marshall was a distraction to prevent Kirk from interfering in the ship’s operation while they were on their way to Talos IV. It’s rare that Kirk is out maneuvered, but the Talosians have done it. They got Kirk to Talos IV and they used Spock’s knowledge of Kirk against him, planting Mendez on the ship because they knew Kirk would listen to a superior officer’s orders.

The Enterprise get a message that General Order 7, the order that carries a death penalty for anyone who goes near Talos IV has been lifted for Kirk and Spock. Somehow I think this is another trick on the Talosians’ part, but everyone seems to be going along with it so I’ll play along with it too.

Now it’s up to Captain Pike to decide if he wants to live the rest of his life on Talos IV. Pike says “beep” which means yes and Spock wheels his chair towards the transporter room.

Before we end, we see Pike and Vina heading towards their happy life together on Talos IV with Kirk watching on the view screen.

“Captain Pike has an illusion and you have reality. May you find your way as pleasant.” -Talosian

I wish I hadn’t seen The Cage first, because it really turned these two episodes into a boring set of episodes. I’d actually like to see the edited version of The Cage that the crew of the Enterprise got to see here.

Star Trek: The Original Series S01E11 — The Menagerie Part 1

The best foes are those who are already aboard the Enterprise. The drunken helmsman that assumes control of the Enterprise. The android whose personality, or lack thereof, manifests itself throughout the ship. The holodeck that creates a “living” breathing Professor Moriarty. I don’t think that Scotty ever turned against the Enterprise, but if he ever did it would be quite dangerous for the crew.

I think this is why it’s so enjoyable to watch Spock and Kirk go head to head in anything. Spock’s logic and strength vs Kirk’s intelligence are always a great match, especially with the knowledge each has against the other. In most battles strength is usually on Kirk’s side, but whatever makes that green blood flow in Spock also makes him exceptionally strong. Kirk’s mental advantage is his humanity and knowledge of logic. At the same time, Spock’s weakness is his humanity. His compassion, especially for his friends, usually bites him in the end.

If you were with us for The Cage, most of this episode will look familiar. Production on Star Trek was slow, especially for the special effects. Gene Roddenberry saw an opportunity to shoot one episode and get two episodes out of it and thus, the Menagerie Part I and II were born! The two part episode uses roughly 53 minutes of the original Star Trek pilot, so some of this will be redundant.

Kirk, McCoy and Spock beam down to Starbase XI, and there’s immediately some questions about why the Enterprise is here. Spock says he got a transmission asking him to go to Starbase XI, from Captain Christopher Pike. That doesn’t seem likely, seeing as Pike is an invalid thanks to some delta ray radiation and can communicate using only “yes” and “no” from his specialized wheelchair. For reference, Stephen Hawking received his PhD is 1966 and was not wheelchair bound.

Pike looks like a helmetless Darth Vader more than he did during The Cage. Pike isn’t particularly friendly, even in his binary answer state. Everyone but Spock leave the room, and Spock reveals some nefarious plans. I assume he means heading to Talos IV, but we’re not supposed to know about the events in The Cage yet.

Commodore Jose I. Mendez and Kirk are in the Commodore’s office when Kirk gets proof that no one from the base sent a message from the Enterprise, but doesn’t take the proof as proof. It doesn’t make sense to Kirk that someone would falsify the message. Instead, he thinks that the transmission was real and somehow it was erased or falsified.

Meanwhile Spock is monkeying around in the computer lab, gives one of the technicians a Vulcan nerve pinch and gets to work on some information tapes.

Mendez’ assistant recognizes Kirk because a mutual friend slept with Kirk and knew him from his description. Aside from that, she also let’s Kirk and Mendez know that there is no possible way that Pike sent the message, instead it had to have originated from Spock. Kirk doesn’t want to believe it Spock is capable of deceiving him because a Vulcan doesn’t know how to lie.

Meanwhile, Spock is in the computer lab making the computer say whatever he wants. In this case, it’s new order for the Enterprise that will be fed directly into the ship’s computers. If computer to ship transmission is possible, it makes Uhura’s job a little obsolete, no?

Spock is discovered and fights off a second lab technician with the nerve pinch and this time uses a information tape that mimics Kirk’s voice to say that Spock will answer any questions. Clever guy, that Spock. The Enterprise is going to warp out of orbit in an hour.

Sidenote: I recognize the piece of circuitry on the wall from previous episodes in main engineering and in The Dagger on the Mind it was on the wall in the transporter room.

Kirk is sitting and watching Pike say “no” with his flashing lights over and over when McCoy comes in for a conversation about how Pike is restricted to the wheelchair and can’t do anything but still has an active mind. Kirk brings up the Spock angle to McCoy and McCoy defends his fellow crewman just as Kirk did to Mendez. As it gets heated, McCoy is called to the Enterprise in a medical emergency. The good doctor leaves Kirk in the office and heads to the Enterprise.

Kirk gets a briefing book on Talos IV, which no ship is allowed to go to Talos IV for any reason under penalty of death. Pike is gone and the Enterprise is warping out of orbit without Kirk. Whoops.

The bridge crew gets a bit testy with Spock, as he announces that they will maintain radio silence and that Kirk is on medical rest leave. Spock keeps up his charade that this mission is official and reveals to McCoy that he’s taken Captain Pike aboard the Enterprise. Spock plays a fabricated tape from Kirk demanding that McCoy follow Spock’s orders.

Starfleet officers are loyal to a fault. Kirk believed Spock’s lie to a degree that cost him the Enterprise, McCoy trusted the medical call from someone who wasn’t aboard the Enterprise and everyone on the bridge is following Spock’s completely odd and secretive orders which includes ignoring a shuttlecraft that is trailing the Enterprise with Kirk and Mendez aboard. Uhura should hear their voices and understand that something is wrong.

The shuttlecraft that Kirk and Mendez are in is just past the halfway mark of fuel. This is where the game between Kirk and Spock really begins. With Kirk willing to go use more than half of the fuel in the shuttlecraft, Spock is left with the decision to either kill Kirk by ignoring him or to risk his mission. Spock shows his frustration with Kirk, seeming dismayed about the whole affair. The clock starts ticking and they’ve got two hours of oxygen left.

Mendez says Talos IV has nothing of value for humans, which doesn’t make sense if Spock is willing to risk his life to take captain Pike to the planet. I smell a coverup!

McCoy is arguing that he knows that Kirk is following them in a shuttlecraft. McCoy’s persistence never surprises me and his willingness to point out when he thinks he is right over someone else doesn’t either. I’ve gotten the feeling that he doesn’t much care about anything except his job, and even when it comes to the rest of Starfleet he doesn’t care. He respects Kirk and Spock and is friends with them, but if they get in the way of his job he’ll find a way to get them out of the way. So far it’s been making threats to Kirk about his medical logs, which would be seen by others and would have to be addressed by Kirk in his own log. would Starfleet trust the word of a doctor over a captain? It seems McCoy would take that chance.

Spock brings the shuttlecraft aboard the ship, largely ignoring McCoy. Spock stops the ship, puts Lieutenant Hanson in command of the ship, calls for security to the bridge and tells McCoy that he has to be arrested for mutiny. Surely Spock would know about the death penalty for visiting Talos IV, right? McCoy complies and confines Spock to his quarters.

Kirk and Mendez come aboard the Enterprise and learn that Spock is under arrest and the Enterprise is locked onto its navigation targets and can’t disengage. Spock’s cross circuited the navigation to life support systems. Nice touch Spock. With all technical ways out exhausted, it looks like Spock has won this round.

A preliminary hearing starts, and Spock wants an immediate court marshal. Three ranking officers need to preside over a court marshal hearing and it just so turns out that they have Kirk, Mendez and Christopher Pike on board the Enterprise. Thanks to compassion by Mendez, he never officially retired Pike from active duty and Pike can sit as the third judge for the trial. Whoops.

Kirk and Mendez are wearing fancy court marshal jackets for the trial. the first question from Mendez is “I want to know why,” which means that Spock needs to explain himself and he can present any evidence he sees fit to present. Good job Mendez. Spock wants the screen engaged so he can show a movie.

Amazingly. Spock shows a video from 13 years ago of The Cage. The movie magic of what they are seeing doesn’t escape Kirk and he wants to know how Spock is making it happen. No answer from Spock, but they push on thanks to the insistence of Kirk and Pike.

At this point, most of what we see is from The Cage. We don’t see Pike’s little diatribe about women on the bridge of the Enterprise, but they had to cut out about ten minutes of the show to make it flow better. Didn’t I mention during that episode that it moved slow and the fat needed to be trimmed? Here’s the trimmed version.

The Enterprise heads towards Talos IV while Spock stands trial and we watch the Star Trek pilot through the lens of the eleventh episode of Star Trek: The Original Series. Meta indeed.

Eventually, we learn that the video we’ve been watching isn’t coming from Spock at all, but instead it’s being beamed from Talos IV to the Enterprise. This is just as Captain Pike is captured by the Talosians. If I were Kirk or Mendez, I would want to know what happened on the planet pretty badly, and if Pike couldn’t tell us I’d keep watching.

As I said in the beginning, I love a good Spock vs Kirk episode in any form, and this one’s a doozy.

Star Trek: The Original Series S01E10 — The Corbomite Maneuver

The Corbomite Maneuver contains one of my favorite aliens in all of Star Trek, and does a great job at showing off Kirk, McCoy and Spock’s relationships. Sequentially, it was the second episode filmed with Kirk at the helm and was placed tenth when airing the episodes because NBC wanted to feature the Enterprise crew landing on a few planets first to set the stage for Star Trek. As a result, a few things stand out as odd in the episode. Noticeably is Kirk saying that he’ll never get used to a female yeoman, something he’s had for ten episodes. Kirk’s agitation with Bailey could have been expressed better had the show been aired sequentially by NBC, but alas.

It’s also a the rare episode of Star Trek that gives the year the series takes place as being 2266, 300 years in the future from the original air dates of the first Star Trek episodes. It was this episode that every other show would use as a reference point.

The Enterprise is doing some stellar cartography. While it’s an important job, it’s not very exciting. Currently, we send satellites to do this job, but I guess in 300 years it’s easier to send a ship full of people to do it. I suppose this is the other reason this episode was shuffled into the middle of the season. No one wants to watch a TV show about people who make charts and take photos. They’ve been at it for three days now and Lt. Bailey is clearly bored, despite this being the furthest out any ship has been before. This would make sense following Were No Man Has Gone Before’s breach of the edge of the galaxy. A few days of making charts could be a nice break after the death of eleven crewman.

Sulu is at the helm, and he’s dumped his science division outfit and he’s now wearing yellow. Uhura is also wearing yellow, but that’ll change in other episodes.

The Enterprise has made contact with… a spinning cube? Yup. A spinning cube. This is their first taste of “aliens” outside the galaxy, and it’s a spinning child’s toy. It’s larger than the Enterprise at 107 meters, which gives you an idea of the size of the Enterprise, and it is floating there and spinning.

The cube also has a musical theme to itself, which builds tension at the beginning of the episode and by the end is a bit much. The music must be too much for Lt. Bailey, who exclaims that they can’t get around it. Spock has the bridge, and declares a lack of need to raise voices. Oh you Vulcan.

We go to “condition: alert,” which isn’t a general quarters alert or a general alert. Kirk is ordered to the bridge, but he’s in sickbay taking his quarterly physical. McCoy ignores the red alert, which seems to be a mistake when it comes to the captain and red alerts. The captain is shirtless and sweaty through his physical tests, so if youre from the 60s there’s something for everyone in this episode. SciFi for the gentlemen and a little sexy shirtless Shat for the ladies.

McCoy’s attitude about the red alert? “What am I? A doctor or a moon shuttle conductor?” Thanks to their close relationship, McCoy rarely regards Kirk with the respect that the captain should probably get. The red alert signal shows up as a blinking light in sick bay rather than the siren that the rest of the ship has. Makes sense that a blaring siren not interrupt surgery. It also would make sense that McCoy would disable the siren based on his last line after Kirk has left sick bay.

“If I jumped every time a light came on around here I’d end up talking to myself.” -McCoy on red alert aboard the Enterprise.

Also, was he referring to the Enterprise as a moon shuttle? Does McCoy resent everything around him?

Kirk heads to the turbolift without his shirt on without anyone so much as batting an eye at the sweaty and topless captain walking through. That’s either a common occurrence, or Kirk is feared throughout the ship and no one would dare comment about his odd behavior. Also, it’s kind of odd to see him use his uniform as a towel.

Bailey appears to be falling behind and lets Spock know it was just something called an adrenaline gland, because HE’S a human being. Spock suggests he has it looked into a removed. I’m not sure if Spock is supposed to have a sense of humor, but he’s pretty good at cracking jokes about the human condition.

The cube is a truly weird thing to encounter in space. It’s simplicity is what makes it so disconcerting. Everyone aboard the Enterprise has nothing to offer about it. Sulu says it’s size, Scotty reports it’s a giant cube and McCoy’s got a whole lotta nothing. It’s just a cube in space that completely blocks off the Enterprise’s path.

Bailey is either a bad crewman, or Kirk is riding him hard. If you’ll remember, the last navigator was Gary Mitchell, someone Kirk had history with back to Starfleet academy. I could imagine that he’d be harder on the next guy to fill that chair.

The Enterprise can’t shake the cube, and now it’s emitting dangerous radiation and it’s getting closer. Great. Radiation exceeds dangerous levels before Kirk blasts the cube a few moments before it’s too late, with an extra second or two thanks to Bailey’s pause at the controls. I wonder who’s gonna get cancer thanks to Bailey’s pause? Good thing Sulu is enough man for two crewman and executes the phaser blast. Oh my.

This is the first I can recall phasers being used at the ship level. The phasers destroyed the cube with no damage to the Enterprise and no casualties on board. I would assume that radiation poisoning is a thing of the past in 2266.

Kirk and Spock have a discussion about the next step to take, with Kirk not listening to Spock’s advice. I’m not in the business of second guessing James Kirk, but Spock is.

“Has it occurred to you that there’s a certain inefficiency in constantly questioning me on things you’ve already made up your mind about?” -Spock
“It gives me emotional security” -Kirk, with a smirk.

I’d like to think that Kirk is saying that knowing that Spock would think “emotional security” is illogical.

Before leaving the bridge, Kirk orders that Sulu and Bailey run simulations to increase the ship’s response to threats. Doesn’t seem like a good thing to do while you’re in warp and headed towards uncharted territory, but again, don’t question captain Kirk. Kirk heads to his quarters with McCoy in tow, with McCoy warning Kirk about pushing Bailey too hard. Again, this would make sense if NBC showed the episodes in order and the script made some references to Gary Mitchell, Kirk’s friend since they were in school together. Jesus, it’s like NBC was the FOX of the 1960s.

Kirk and McCoy split a drink while the crew does drills and discuss how hard Kirk is on the staff of the Enterprise. Janice Rand makes a short appearance in the episode to debut Kirk’s new diet, thanks to McCoy. Kirk’s getting a bit testy and now says that he didn’t want a female yeoman. It’s a bit late for that, isn’t it? You’ve been on a few adventures with her already, why start loathing her gender now? The philosophizing comes to an abrupt end when Sulu announces all hands to battle stations and this is not a drill. There’s something much larger on the way.

Instead of a cube, it’s the New Year’s Eve ball. It’s a giant spherical ship, glowing in front of the Enterprise, and it’s not accepting hails. No, wait, it’s communicating over navigation channels. I don’t know why Uhura didn’t pick that up. Despite it not being her channel, she’s supposed to be monitoring all frequencies for communications. Hell, it’s her JOB.

The alien ship is captained by something named Balok, and he doesn’t seem terribly pleasant despite Kirk’s attempts to communicate with him. Fun note: Balok’s voice is Ted Cassidy, who you would remember as android Ruk from What Are Little Girls Made Of. Any of the Enterprise’s attempts to do anything are thwarted and are given “ten earth time periods” aka minutes to kiss their asses goodbye. Spock’s first instinct? Locate where the voice is coming from and see what this alien looks like.

“Those of you who have served long on this vessel have encountered alien life forms and you know the greatest danger facing us is ourselves. An irrational fear of the unknown. There’s no such thing as the unknown, only things temporarily hidden. In most cases we have found that intelligence capable of a civilization is capable of understanding peaceful gestures. Surely a life form advanced enough for space travel is advanced enough to eventually understand our motives. All decks, standby. Captain out.” -Kirk to the crew after the crew hears about their eventual destruction in ten minutes time.

Kirk plays everything by the book, trying diplomacy, appealing to the alien’s decency and eventually trying to leave the encounter completely. No use, the engines and weapons are dead. Whoops. Spock’s solution?

He’s got a video feed of Balok. As the image fades from the glowing ball to Balok, we’ve got one of the more iconic aliens to ever grace Star Trek’s screen. The screen is wavy and the image is distorted, but there is Balok. This triggers an anxiety attack on the bridge, screaming at everyone on the bridge. Kirk is PISSED and he relieves Bailey and gets him off the bridge to live out his last eight minutes.

Kirk continually opens hailing channels with Balok, pointing out that humans are generally peaceful, and if Balok scanned the Enterprise’s tapes and computers he would know it to be true. If the last nine episodes have proven anything, it’s that human’s AREN’T peaceful and don’t deserve to be thought of as a peaceful species.

Spock makes the point that it appears that the Enterprise is in a checkmated position in their game against Balok. They’re outmatched and that’s what is logical. You should know by now that Kirk’s chess game is illogical, and that when Kirk is at his best he can outwit Spock’s game of logic. It happened during Charlie X. Spock admitted Kirk’s game was illogical and frustrating. We should expect something just as tricky from Kirk in this predicament.

Meanwhile, McCoy wants to talk about Bailey’s record. What a great time to discuss something trivial. Three minutes remain when Kirk realizes that they’re playing poker, not chess. This is when Kirk’s irrational gameplay comes into being. Kirk warns Balok about corbomite, a substance and device aboard the Enterprise that will set off an explosion that destroy any attacker if the enterprise is destroyed. Instead of waiting, Kirk demands that they are attacked now.

Well played. It’s the same thing you would do if a bear is approaching you. Bluff. Get big, make noise and act like a wild animal that is ready to attack to ward off the bear. Throw it off it’s game. While waiting for a response, Spock talks about his father, McCoy apologizes to Kirk and Bailey is back and would like to sit back at his post. With less than 30 seconds to go, Kirk grants Bailey’s request.

Time runs out with no action from Balok. Balok wants to know about the device, but Kirk will give no proof. Everyone on the bridge seems to enjoy Kirk’s bluff. We get another look at Balok before he makes a threat to show how much more advanced he is than humans.

Completely at an inappropriate time, Janice Rand comes by with some coffee. Really? Just some coffee for Kirk to drink.

A small ship shoots off of the larger ship and begins to tow the Enterprise. It’s some glowing lights and looks like an LED throwie. It’s also gonna take the crew of the Enterprise to a nearby planet and destroy the ship.

Kirk surmises that Balok’s small ship will tire itself out while towing the Enterprise if the Enterprise fights back. Kirk is, of course, right. They use everything the ship has, nearly overloading the engines in the process, but it works and they break free. Scotty’s pretty pissed about how badly they just abused the engines and wants a few hours to make repairs.

The Enterprise has completely reduced Balok’s ship to a powerless state and he’s even sending a weak distress signal.Oh how the tables have turned Mr. Balok. Now we will show you what kind of a badass ship the Enterprise and Captain Kirk REALLY are. Wait, we’re not gonna blow him up to a million pieces? Wait, WE’RE GOING TO BOARD THE SHIP? Redshirts be on alert, this could get messy. The team will be Kirk, McCoy and… Bailey? This doesn’t bode well for Mr. Bailey.

The three beam over (while crouching, because the ship is small) and see the face of Balok! Well… they see a puppet that looks like Balok did. Behind a curtain is… Clint Howard?!? Yup. Clint Howard as a child with an adult that is not Ted Cassidy doing some voice overs.

Share a drink, which could easily be POISON, but instead it’s not poison. Balok points out that the puppet is Mr. Hyde to his Jekyll, but it looks a little more like the Wizard of Oz. Balok’s whole interaction with the Enterprise was a test, and it looks like our boys passed their test. It’s an interesting turn to have humans turn out to not be terrible once in a while. Kirk’s final show of compassion by boarding the ship was the finishing touch on the test. Even the distress signal was faked to test the Enterprise.

As we are all aware, space gets lonely even for Balok. He’d love to have some company. It’s not gonna be Kirk, that’s for sure. He’s the captain. Who else? Well, Deforest Kelley has a contract that extends for twenty more episodes this season. I know! The new guy! Bailey? Would you like to keep this little boy-man thing company and exchange some information with him? Of course you would. Plus, it would get you off the Enterprise. You didn’t really like being the helmsman anyway. You’d much rather spend 24 hours a day with Clint Howard.

This is an extremely fun episode. Despite the lack of “action” from the Enterprise, Kirk did a great job and any episode where Kirk can play off of Spock and McCoy in close quarters is a winner. Plus they introduced and got rid of a problem on the bridge (Bailey).

First Aired November 10, 1966
Crew Deaths: 0
Other Deaths: 0

Star Trek: The Original Series S01E09 — The Dagger of the Mind

If Captain Kirk has always wanted to meet a scientist, that scientist will try to kill him. If James Kirk finds himself underground and unable to communicate with the Enterprise, someone will try to kill him. If someone requests Captain Kirk’s landing party be as minimal as possible, they will try to kill him.

With those rules in mind, let’s discuss The Dagger of the Mind. The main weapon of the villain, Dr. Adams of the Tantalus Penal Colony, is a “neural neutralizer,” and when used in more extreme cases appears to have a similar superficial effect as a prefrontal lobotomy. There are more nefarious side effects in the case in the case of the neural neutralizer, but the general message is the same: don’t mess with what you don’t completely understand.

The Enterprise is doing one of their routine errands, dropping off some infra-sensory drugs and other wares to the Tantalus Penal Colony and picking up a piece of cargo headed somewhere else. The engineers behind the transporter console who are both not Scotty forget that penal colonies have a security force field. Good thing Kirk is there to remind them of their boneheaded move. The Enterprise beams up a box headed for the “central bureau of penology” in Stockholm. It should be noted that I have not yet giggled at any of this and I deserve a donut.

What’s inside the box you wonder? Clearly, an escaped prisoner is in the box. With one engineer getting a vault assignment for the box an the other with his back to the pads while checking a panel behind the console, the prisoner can easily incapacitate one crewman and escape into the Enterprise. No makeup on him, just the sweaty treatment. The studios must have been exceptionally warm to film the show. Everyone appears to be sweating all the time.

On the bridge Kirk and McCoy argue about penal colonies. Kirk thinks they resemble penal resorts, while McCoy thinks that a cage is still a cage. Doesn’t matter much, because the Enterprise is in trouble. Turns out someone on Tantalus V has noticed a missing prisoner and has hailed the Enterprise. I would hope that the second transporter engineer would notice his unconscious co-worker as soon as he got back from getting a vault assignment, but no dice.

We go to alert condition 3, which I’m not sure if this is the same alert as general quarters 3, which is a call for everyone to assume battle stations. A security officer is stationed on the bridge because the Tantalus colony claims this inmate is extremely clever and dangerous. Spock and McCoy debate the human nature to glorify violence on a massive scale, but imprison people who use it on an individual level. The Vulcans dealt with this by disposing of emotion and removing the motive for violence. I’m not entirely sure that’s rational, but who am I to challenge the logic of Spock? I’m no one. That’s who.

It’s a shame that the Enterprise doesn’t have a good security team because our intruder incapacitated the security guard on duty and quickly and takes the bridge hostage. With a phaser, he asks for asylum from the Tantalus penal colony. This is a weird asylum he’s asking for. He will disable the ship if he doesn’t get what he’s asking for. It’s not much of a request, is it? Spock and Kirk box him in, Kirk gives the phaser a kick and Spock uses the Vulcan nerve pinch to put him down. McCoy brings him to sick bay.

McCoy wants to study him further because of just how aggressive he was and each time he remembers certain things about himself or the penal colony, he goes into shock. Kirk wants to bring him back and dump him on Dr. Adams, but Van Gelder (he has a name!) convinces him otherwise. Van Gelder wasn’t a prisoner, he was a doctor on the penal colony. Something smells fishy. Van Gelder mentions something about erasing his mind. He gets too violent while strapped down and McCoy hits him up with a sedative to turn Van Gelder into Van Sleepy.

On the bridge, Spock is investigating Dr. Simon Van Gelder. Dr. Van Gelder was Dr. Adams’ associate on Tantalus. Dr. Adams lets us know that Dr. Van Gelder had done experiments on himself to know that what he was going to do to the prisoners would be safe for them. We’ve seen McCoy inject himself with questionable drugs to make sure they’ll work or if he’s unsure if the dosage is right. It’s always worked for him, right? McCoy doesn’t buy Dr. Adams’ story and Kirk pushes back on McCoy, letting his admiration for Dr. Adams cloud his judgement.

Spock stops the argument to suggest they ask Dr. Adams if he’d like Dr. Van Gelder returned to him. Once Dr. Adams says that they can leave Van Gelder pretty much anywhere, Kirk should be immediately suspicious.

Very rarely will McCoy stand his ground against Captain Kirk, and it’s always interesting to see him do so. He doesn’t do it on a professional level, but brings it down to a personal level. McCoy tells Kirk that once he makes note of everything n the medical logs, Kirk will have to answer in his personal logs, forcing Kirk to investigate further.

Reluctantly, Kirk radios to Dr. Adams that he’ll have to investigate the colony and Dr. Adams is all to happy to have him, but he’ll have to beam down with a minimal team. RED ALERT! RED ALERT! A minimal team in a penal colony where a man who recently worked there had portions of his mind erased in an experimental procedure? Sounds like a normal scenario, right? Kirk is all smiles and wants McCoy to find him someone with psychology experience to beam down with. No security assignment? Nope.

I’m a fan of the floating cameras that seem to exist all over the Enterprise. Kirk and Spock Skype down to sick bay, which is no longer called the dispensary, and McCoy is there with the violent and aggressive Van Gelder. McCoy’s camera changes focus and frame during their conversation, leading me to believe that Spock is either directing this shot for Kirk’s benefit or there are multiple cameras with different views all over the Enterprise. I’d like to believe in the second option. McCoy also lets Kirk know that Dr. Noël will be accompanying him to the surface.

Uh oh. Dr. Noël is someone that Kirk slept with during last year’s science lab Christmas party. Whoops. Spock is amused to no end, as he should be, and Kirk is clearly unamused.

“Mr. Spock, you tell McCoy that she better check out as the best assistant I ever had.” -Kirk on Dr. Helen Noël

This was a part that was initially written for Janice Rand, but her tension was growing with the producers and with the unnamed executive that sexually assaulted her during Miri’s wrap party that Noël was inserted into the story instead. It makes more sense that a doctor go with Kirk instead of his personal assistant anyway. Since Kirk has already slept with her, I doubt that she’ll be getting the dreamy treatment, but she is easy on the eyes regardless. High fives to Captain Kirk.

They take an elevator that startles them into a quick scared embrace. AWKWARD! They are met at the bottom by Dr. Adams. Remember how I mentioned about scientists and doctors working far beneath the surface of a planet? It;s a shame no one on the Enterprise reads my blog.

Kirk makes an attempt to communicate with the Enterprise and finds that he can’t get through the security screen, which was called a force field about twenty minutes ago. Dr. Adams temporarily disables the force field so Kirk can check in with Spock for a moment.

A blank faced woman walks in and Dr. Adams introduces her as Lethe. She used to be a prisoner and now she’s a therapist. Dr. Adams believes in burying the past, and looks to Helen for confirmation. It seems that Helen is a bit taken by Dr. Adams’ presence. Based on their past and Kirk’s reluctance to even be near Dr Helen Noël, he’s immediately suspicious. He’s also the odd man out between the three of them (Kirk, Adams and Noël) being that he doesn’t have a doctorate in some form of medicine. Dr. Adams toasts to “that we may not find hearts or minds so empty that we cannot fill them with warmth.” Weird, right?

During their tour, they come across some form of machinery operated by a blank-faced goon. It’s the neural neutralizer! Dr. Adams calls it a failure and Dr Noël suggests they move on. Kirk tells Dr Noël that despite asking for her advice, he doesn’t have to take it. ON SNAP! It just so happens that back on the ship, Van Gelder tells Spock about something called the neural neutralizer. but becomes so crazy when talking about it he needs to get sedated again.

Kirk gets a tour of the neutralizer and is told they despite being a failure, they still use it in hopes that it’ll work on someone (I’m paraphrasing here). Helen backs up Dr Adams, but he cuts her off. I think she is starting to feel a bit marginalized here. The mook at the controls tells Kirk about the buttons and dials with no real detail and in a monotone voice. There sure are a lot of people around here that seem to be playing slackjaw.

“Captain, you remind me of the ancient skeptic who demanded from the wise old sage to be told all the world’s wisdom all while standing on one foot.” – Dr. Adams on Kirk’s questions.

Dr. Noël assumes the captain that Dr. Adams hasn’t created a chamber of horrors. Dr. Noël appears to be caught up in a little bit of an appeal to authority here. Normally that’s Kirk’s position, but remember that Noël’s role was initially written for Janice Rand, so questioning authority wouldn’t be in her nature unless she was being threatened.

Kirk asks about Van Gelder’s injury, and Adams says that Van Gelder tried the neutralizer alone and no one was there when something bad happened. Kirk walks away and the slackjawed man speaks to someone in the neutralizer that if he remembers the conversation he just overheard, he will experience more pain than he has ever felt before. Van Gelder’s neurosis is starting to make sense suddenly. Something tells me that the good doctor wasn’t telling Kirk the truth.

Spock radios down to Kirk, but Kirk is with Adams so Spock is careful about his words. Kirk relays the message about Van Gelder’s injury and Spock sounds skeptical. Adams excuses himself and Spock says Kirk may be in danger, which is met by “that’s foolish” by Dr Noël. She doesn’t seem like she’s such a great benefit on this little trip. Kirk wants to spend the night and Van Gelder goes nuts about Kirk’s overnight stay. As he’s trying to warn Spock and McCoy, Van Gelder goes catatonic trying to explain what will happen to Kirk. Have I mentioned he’s sweaty?

Spock breaks out our first ever glimpse at the Vulcan mind meld. It seems a very… intimate way for two men to get acquainted. Morgan Woodward did a great job of seeming like a psychopath during this episode. No wonder his body of work is so vast.

Kirk goes to Dr Noël to discuss the blankness of the inmates in the colony. Noël pushes back, but Kirk wants to see the machine at work at the moment without Dr. Adams watching over. Seems like a horrible idea, but away he goes!

Back on the ship, Spock’s mind meld seems to be going well. Van Gelder says that Adams can fill someone’s mind with whatever thoughts he wants them to have and while you’re on the chair you feel nothing but loneliness and emptiness, begging for your mind to be filled with anything.

Kirk and Helen play around a little bit with the beam, playing around with Kirk’s thoughts. Kirk is suggested that he’s hungry, and he comes out of the beam exceptionally hungry. Helen’s next play is to rewrite his memories about when they slept together, but she’s interrupted by Dr Adams and his goons. During Kirk’s little fantasy, we’re treated to the weirdest and most awkward looking face-mashing I’ve ever seen. I’m sure they’re supposed to be kidding, but it looks like they’re trying to force their faces to become one. Dr Adams turns up the beam to full and puts the thoughts in Kirk’s mind that he is in crazy love with Dr. Noël and he would give up his career and reputation for her.

Dr. Adams makes Kirk drop his phaser on the floor in a demonstration of the power Adams has over Kirk. Next is Kirk’s communicator, but he fights Adams and instead calls up to the Enterprise while he writhes in pain from his attempts.

After a commercial break, Kirk and Noël are in private quarters and Kirk is demonstrating Adams’ controls over him. Noël tries to talk some sense into Kirk and Kirk snaps out of it exceptionally fast. Kirk is back to 100% and pries open an air conditioning vent and instructs Helen to find where the power supply for the security force field originates.

“Have you had any training in hyper-power circuits?” -Kirk
“No.” -Dr Noël
“Mega-voltage. Touch the wrong line and you’re dead.” -Kirk

So off she goes into the air ducts to hopefully not die and to possibly save the day. Kirk is taken for more treatments and the goons don’t realize that he’s alone in the room and the other Enterprise officer isnt present. Dr Adams and Kirk have another standoff in the neural neutralizer. Dr Adams starts to monologue when Lethe lets Adams know that Dr Noël is gone. Good to know that someone noticed that someone is missing inside of a prison.

Helen finds the power supply and picks the right switch without turning herself in a giant BBQ sandwich in the process. At the same time, Spock is trying to break through the force field to beam the captain aboard. Helen gets the power off long enough for Kirk to fight off Dr Adams and knock him out with a punch. Helen is discovered by prison security, but she kicks them onto the wrong wires and makes friend chicken out of them. Spock beams down now that the force field is disabled and immediately gets to work finding the captain.

Spock turns the power back on, which kicks the neural neutralizer back into high gear while Dr Adams is alone in the room. Oh the irony! Undone with his own weapon. Wait, that’s not irony, that’s being hoisted by one’s own petard.

Noël finds Kirk through the vents and gives her another face melding smooch while Spock walks in on the two of them. Enterprise security now has everything under control, except for Dr Adams. Kirk, Noël, McCoy and Spock find Dr Adams dead on the floor. Apparently he died of being alone and having an empty mind. If that were possible, there’d be large areas of dead Canadians (just kidding, love you guys!).

The happy ending here is that Van Gelder assumes control of the penal colony and destroys the neural neutralizer. On the bridge of the Enterprise, Kirk is surrounded by what are probably his two best friends in McCoy and Spock and they take off at warp factor 1.

The Dagger of the Mind is a Macbeth reference. Macbeth goes to reach for a dagger that isn’t really there, but a figment of his imagination. The title of the episode references that and the false memories that Dr. Adams was attempting to place in Kirk and no doubt in his other prisoners as well. While the episode may not be worthy of Shakespeare, it’s still a solid episode. Kirk deserves some time away from the captain’s chair after being tortured like that, but that’s not his style anyway. I don’t believe that we’ll be seeing Dr. Noël again, but she was the weakest part of this episode anyway. With Rand gone, I assume we’ll start to see random love interests for Kirk come and go, and probably be killed in the process.

First aired November 3rd, 1966
Crew Deaths: 0
Other Deaths: Dr. Adams Death by loneliness.

Star Trek: The Original Series S01E08 — Miri

The theme of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes I’ve watched to date seems to be the futility of making a perfect society and the compromises you have to make to achieve it. In What Are Little Girls Made Of, we saw Dr. Roger Korby attempt to infiltrate Federation planets to replace humans with androids in hopes of creating a perfect society. Korby and his androids saw humans as flawed and inferior, and wanted to replace them. In The Cage, and later The Menagerie, the Talosians wanted to create a new society for humans, but they’d have to remain in captivity.

The other focus of the show is that power corrupts, even when it’s necessary to have the power. In Charlie X Charlie Evans was given powers by the Thasians to stay alive, but abused them until he was hunted down by the Thasians. In Where No Man Has Gone Before Gary Mitchell was given the power of a god, but turned on his fellow man. The Talosians, with all their immense powers, couldn’t stay alive as a race and committed themselves to death after agreeing that no one should learn their powers.

This episode focuses on that first theme. There is no such thing as a perfect society, or even a pure society. This time, the Enterprise encounters a second Earth with similar geography, atmosphere, etc and with an “Earth style signal” of SOS. It just so happens that this Earth has been aging since the 1960’s, which is coincidentally when Star Trek was in production. If you recognize the planet that they beam down to, it’s because it’s the set of the Andy Griffith show, which was also shot at Desilu studios.

For some reason Farrell is on communication today, making me think that either the helm or communications is an easy job. Kirk decides that he’s going to beam down with two security officers, Janice Rand, Spock and Dr. McCoy. I have NO idea why Janice Rand is coming on this mission. She is a glorified paper pusher and an assistant to the captain. I can’t imagine what skills she’s going to bring to a potentially dangerous mission on a planet that Starfleet has no information about.

The team is attacked by a weird dude covered in some variety of a purple covering on his skin. This is, of course, because everyone decided that they wanted to touch an abandoned tricycle in the middle of the road. No one hits this thing with a phaser, they separate McCoy from it and Kirk punches it in the face a few times until it has a seizure and dies. Good job guys, not five minutes on the surface and you’ve managed to assault and possibly kill something.

In a nearby building, they find a young woman hiding in a closet who is fearful of all of them. We learn that the girl’s name is Miri, adults are called “grups” and they died off a long time ago. Ohhhh, I see where this is going. It’s Lord of the Star Trek Flies. Kirk gives Miri half an ounce of flirting and that’s all he needed to win her trust.

Spock goes out with two Redshirts and gets attacked when some kids on a roof throw some rocks down at them. They aren’t seen, but are heard taunting them. Kinda creepy. Kirk convinces Miri to take him to “where the doctors work” and lets her know that he has a name and it’s Jim.

Everyone on the away team is developing some purple and blue bumps on their bodies, which looks a whole lot like that guy who jumped on McCoy and then promptly died. It’s some variety of a bacteria and McCoy sends for some equipment from the Enterprise. Thrilling stuff. Star Trek wikis will tell you this is the first appearance of McCoy’s PORTABLE computer. So portable he has to send for it and can’t take it with him. I should show him my iPhone sometime.

It’s another “beat the clock” episode! Kirk makes it clear that from the Enterprise should beam down to the surface or else they’ll get sick too, so McCoy’s gotta find a cure before everyone dies! Except Spock of course, because he’s not human. Did you know that yet? Every episode of Star Trek might be someone’s first episode, so I suppose we need to keep telling the audience about Spock’s non-human-ness.

Roughly 300 years ago, the adults on the planet made an attempt to extend their lives and instead wound up killing themselves off. Spock follows that the logic that if the adults died 300 years ago, then something happened that is preventing these kids for being pretty dead pretty quickly. Each kid is aging only one month every for one hundred years they’re alive. Not one person says the words “Peter Pan” during this discussion.

“I think children have a distinctive need for adults. They want to be told right and wrong.” -Kirk on kids

Miri’s clearly got a thing for Kirk, and Kirk’s leading her on because he either loves kids or knows what needs to be done to get the mission done. Kirk and Miri leave to go look for the others, and Janice is starting to act a bit jealous of the attention that Kirk is giving to her. Did I mention that a side effect of whatever killed the adults is irritability?

With the exception of Miri and Jahn, the rest of the kids in this episode are played by the children of the people involved in Star Trek. Check out the Miri full cast list on IMDB and search for the familiar names. Jahn, who is the other child lead, kinda looks like a Garbage Pail Kid or a hobbit. He’s anti-grup and starts to rally the other kids behind him to steal the communicators.

Kirk and Miri go into the secret kid lair and are interrupted by another one of those purple-faced mooks running at them. The kids, who have been hiding all around the room, scatter and the purple thing jumps on Kirk’s back. If it weren’t a child (the purple thing at the beginning of the show was clearly an adult), I would expect Kirk to throw it off and possible punch it in the face, but probably not when it’s a little girl. Just a guess. Instead, Kirk hit sit with a phaser and KILLS IT.

Mark it at roughly 26:15 in S01E09, Kirk kills a little girl named Louise.

Back in the medical lab, Spock approximates that the team has roughly seven days to live. They’ll all die except Spock, who is unaffected. Miri is under Kirk’s spell and sharpening pencils. Kirk makes it Spock and McCoy’s job to create a vaccine. Good thinking. Those two were only farting around the planet before this. The kids outsmart all the adults long enough for Jahn (IMDB spells it that way) to steal their communicators. McCoy points out the obvious that they don’t have a chance without their communicators.

Three days later, Kirk is doing some excellent sweating and his face is slightly dirty to show the elapsed time. Everyone’s cranky, and Janice Rand runs off and away from Kirk.

“Back on the ship, I used to try to get you to look at my legs. Captain, look at my legs.” -Janice Rand, showing off her new purple scabs on her legs before hugging Kirk.

Miri joins up with the other kids and hatches a plan to get Janice and Kirk away from the adults and “go bonk bonk” on their heads. Hey Miri, jealous much?

Kirk turns on the charm on Miri and suddenly she gets the dreamy camera treatment. I think it’s finally clicked when that happens. People get the dreamy camera technique when Kirk is looking at them (and they’re female). Meanwhile, Kirk gives Miri the score about the sickness and her oncoming puberty.

The kids have Janice hostage when Miri bursts in with Kirk in tow. Kirk gives one of his impassioned speeches about how despite the kids’ attempt to create a perfect society, they have become exactly what they didn’t want to be. He wants the communicators back, and he’s trying to talk to kids, so there’s plenty of time to overact in this situation.

On this planet, the kids clearly aren’t learning despite their age. When I was a kid, I had a healthy desire to learn. These kids don’t have that desires, they just want to play. An over simplification, but I don’t think that children had been shown on TV as inquisitive or intelligent at this point. I could be wrong about that, so don’t tell me otherwise.

Spock grows tired of waiting for the captain and he leaves McCoy alone with the vaccine, but they don’t know the correct dosage. McCoy takes a chance and injects himself with what they’ve got. And here comes Kirk with Janice and the kids and the communicators! McCoy’s purple stuff begins to fade and it looks like we’ve got a cure for whatever this is.

“I’ll never understand the medical mind.” -Spock on McCoy injecting himself

The team gets the hell out of dodge and leaves the kids on the planet’s surface. Kirk says that he’s contacted “space central” and they’ll send teachers, advisors and truant officers for the kids.

“Miri, she really loved you, you know.” -Janice Rand
“Yes. I never get involved with older women yeoman.” -Kirk

They pull away from the planet and that’s all she wrote for this one. For those who have watched the later episodes and The Next Generation will ask the question “Where is the prime directive in all of this?” This is clearly a planet without warp technology and it doesn’t look like it’s getting there any time soon without any adults. By the books, the Enterprise should have left this planet alone after doing some scans to see if the technology existed.

There’s an interesting post-script to this episode. Grace Lee Whitney, who played Janice Rand, was sexually assaulted by someone who referred to as “The Executive” during the wrap party for this episode and was fired shortly afterward. This is from her book The Longest Trek: My Tour of the Galaxy.

This is one of the stronger episodes because Kirk, Spock and McCoy are all in the same place and able to play off of each other instead of being isolated in different parts of the ship or in a landing party.

First Aired: October 27th, 1966
Crew Deaths: 0
Other deaths: 2 Louise and the man at the beginning of the episode.

Star Trek: The Original Series S01E07 — What Are Little Girls Made Of

When someone makes an assumption about the plot of a Star Trek episode, they make that assumption thanks to episodes like What Are Little Girls Made Of. An alien planet, well known guest stars, ladies in skimpy clothing, meddling with something in the universe that we don’t fully understand, Redshirt deaths, overacting from William Shatner and a lesson about humanity. Also an appearance by Gene Rodenberry’s wife (naturally), and in the end, everything is set back to the way it was at the beginning of the episode.

Remember what I said about scientists on remote planets?

Here’s a rule for Star Trek: if a group of three or less people live or work somewhere remote and would prefer if they weren’t bothered by the Federation, one of them will attempt to kill you. Double if one of those people is a scientist.

The Enterprise is travelling to Exo III to find Dr. Roger Korby, the Louis Pasteur of archaeological medicine. He went missing years ago during an expedition on Exo III and the Enterprise is headed there to see if he might still be there. Also, Dr. Korby is Christine Chapel’s fiancée and she abandoned her career to take her post on the Enterprise to find him.

It’s been five years since his last message. Five years? Wasn’t Dr. Robert Crater on his planet for five years? Kirk says he always wanted to meet Dr. Korby. That’s a bad sign. If you’re on the Enterprise and you get to meet one of your heroes, you’ll be disappointed and they will probably try to kill you.

Dr. Korby responds to a signal from the Enterprise and Dr. Korby requests that only one person and one person alone beam down. Korby wants Kirk and Kirk alone. Kirk says that Christine will be joining the party. Don’t worry, this seems totally safe and something that Spock should let Kirk do. Spock assumes control of the ship and Chapel gets a congratulatory kiss from Uhura on her way out.

At some point during this scene, someone who appears to be a waitress comes onto the bridge with a tray full of cups. No wonder all the consoles keep shorting out. Everyone keeps spilling coffee in them. On a slightly and only slightly more serious note, every single console on the Enterprise is slanted. There is no where for anyone to easily put down their cups.

Kirk and Chapel beam down (and in the Netflix streaming version, this looks like the old effect, not the remastered one. I wish Netflix had some more information about what they made available) and thankfully they aren’t on the one hundred degree below planet surface, but instead behind some glass. They’re also alone with no signs of Korby. Kirk calls for two “security men” to meet them in the corridor. We get our security men and… they’re in Redshirts. Uh oh.

Instead of waiting, Kirk and Chapel walk ahead and are trailed by one of the Redshirts. The Redshirt doesn’t have his phaser out, something I’d consider doing if I were on security detail protecting the captain. They encounter Dr. Brown, who is Dr. Korby’s assistant. A moment later? REDSHIRT DEATH. It appears that SOMEONE has thrown Crewman Matthews down a bottomless pit. And that someone is a giant menacing looking thing, who has a passing resemblance to Lurch from the Addams Family. That’s because the creature is played by Ted Cassidy, the original Lurch. Kirk suspect’s something is up and warns crewman Rayburn about Matthews’ death. Shortly afterwards, Lurch gets to Rayburn and we have our second Redshirt death.

It should be noted that Matthews was the first real Redshirt to die in Star Trek.

Before getting to Dr. Korby, we meet Andrea, a scantily clad beautiful young lady who appears to be cold based on the current state of her outfit. It should be noted that she isn’t getting the dreamy treatment that Mudd’s Women or Janice Rand usually gets.

Dr. Korby encounters Christine Chapel and we get a very 60’s era embrace between them before Korby and Kirk shake hands. Kirk calls up to Rayburn, who is already DEAD. Korby turns a phaser on Kirk when he attempts to communicate with the ship. Korby sends Andrea after Kirk’s phaser, but Kirk manages to get away and blasts Dr. Brown with his phaser. On the ground. Dr. Brown is revealed to be a robot. Oh the humanity! Lurch runs in and lifts Kirk up against a wall, but Kirk is distracted by the robot innards of Dr. Brown.

Kirk messages up to the ship to hang tight and not to send a security team down. Turns out, it’s not Kirk but Lurch mimicking Kirk’s voice and that’s all from Spock. Lurch demonstrates his ability to mimic anyone’s voice. Korby gives the order to Lurch to never mock Christine and Kirk adds “or ever harm her.” Korby says Ruk is programmed to protect Korby’s research, and as a result he killed the two security officers.

Ruk was left here by “the old ones.” Kirk tries to escape and is thrown across the room by Ruk. There is some excellent wire work going on during this episode to allow Ruk to toss around Kirk like a rag doll. It happens a few different times in the episode where Kirk is easily picked up by Ruk and either tossed or held against a wall. At this point in America, Ted Cassidy must have been the only option for a man that large who could somewhat act. André the Giant didn’t come across the Atlantic for another six years, and he was the only other man in TV or movies who had that size.

As you watch this episode, try not to think about Dr. Korby as Ray Kurzweil.

Korby reveals that Andrea is also an android with “lifelike pigmentation, the flesh has warmth, there’s even a pulse and physical sensation”. Christine Chapel has some reservations about how “real” Andrea feels to the touch for Dr. Korby.

“Given a mechanical Dr. Brown, a mechanical geisha would be no more difficult.” Nurse Christine Chapel

OH SNAP. The extremely heavy implication that Dr. Korby has banged his robot creation is overwhelming and during the episode made me giggle. Dr. Korby keeps digging himself deeper too.

“She simply obeys orders, she has no meaning for me. There’s no emotional bond.” -Dr. Korby

In a really weird turn of events, Korby has Andrea kiss and then slap Kirk while Kirk is being held against his will by Ruk. Was this the first human Android kiss on television? I don’t think that people were paying attention back then, but I think Amber Case would probably have something to say about this episode. I’d love to watch and discuss it with her. The point of the excercise was so Kirk would understand that the robots are logical creations.

Kirk is strapped on a large wheel next to something that looks like a mummified body and told that “this is how you make an Android.” Funny, I don’t think that this is how Dr. Noonian Soong made androids. The wheel speeds up slowly and I think we’re supposed to think that this is how science works. Andrea spins one of four knobs and Ruk turns a dial. SCIENCE!

At this point in the series I’m starting to think that Kirk doesn’t get the credit he deserves for how clever he is. Dr. Kroby tells Christine he’s going to duplicate the autonomous system of his body and the mental patterns and the android will be so perfect that it’ll be able to replace the captain. Kirk says “Mind your own business Mr. Spock, I’m sick of your half-breed interference, you hear?” over and over until he’s zapped and the Android begins to become sentient. Some nice camera work, a few split screen shots of multiple Kirks laying there and a nice edit make it pretty seamless.

I’m interested in android Kirk’s ability to know that he’s an Android. It would mean that he’s not an exact copy, but Kirk’s knowledge was added to the programming of the android.

Kirk and Chapel sit down for a meal of little globs that look like clay and Kirk reveals that he’s Android Kirk. The real Kirk sits down with Android Kirk, and the double shots of Kirk are much better than the double shots from The Enemy Within. Shatner’s better at interacting with himself too, but then again these are two identical Kirks instead of a Positive Kirk and a Negative Kirk. Kirk challenges android Kirk to remember important parts of his life and finds android Kirk knows it all. Kirk makes mention that there are some important differences, alluding to his outburst about Spock while he was on the table being duplicated.

Korby talks about how he could transport someone’s consciousness or soul into an Android. Remember what I said about Ray Kurzweil? Korby talks about how he could improve humans and Kirk compares him to Genghis Khan, Julius Caesar, Hitler, Ferris, and Maltuvis. In the future, Godwin’s law applies to Ferris and Maltuvis. Korby wants to be dropped off at a planet colony to produce androids to infiltrate society. Kirk slowly dismantles his chair for the leather bindings, which without surprise he uses on Dr. Korby to take him as a hostage so Kirk can get away. Korby sends Ruk after Kirk and it’s only now that we can see how truly weird Ruk looks with all those pillows under his outfit to make him look bulky. He looks extremely comfortable to be held against. Kinda like being held against a very soft mattress.

Christine runs out after Ruk telling him not to harm Kirk. Kirk finds a stalagmite that unfortunately looks like a giant penis and holds it at his mid-section while he calls for Ruk to come closer. Ruk approaches and Kirk’s offensive attempt is useless as he’s almost knocked over the edge of a bottomless pit. Ruk pulls Kirk out because he was given orders from Christine.

Aboard the Enterprise, android Kirk walks by Spock unannounced. Spock follows Kirk into his quarters and is given that line from earlier about his half-breed interference. Spock backs off and waits for Kirk to leave before alerting a security team to meet him in the transporter room.

Down on the planet, flesh Kirk is tended to by Andrea and he instructs her to kiss him. She goes for the kiss followed by another slap, but Kirk blocks her and kisses her again. Well played Kirk. Well played. Interestingly enough, she’s given the dreamy treatment from the camera after Kirk kisses her. Kirk flirts with her some more and Andrea runs from the room confused. Kirk tries to leave and Ruk pushes him back into the room.

Kirk outsmarts Ruk with only a few minutes of conversation and convinces him to turn against Dr. Korby. The planet’s history is one that resembles the story of The Matrix. After the inhabitants of the planet realized the machines they built were too good, they started to deactivate them, and then the machines turned on them and killed them. Kirk says that one day Korby will turn on Ruk and the other androids as well.

Ruk realizes that survival must cancel out programming. Logic states that Ruk can’t protect someone trying to destroy him, and by bringing Kirk down to the caves he brought “the inferiors” back. Wow, turns out that Ruk was the Hitler amongst the group. Doesn’t matter, because Korby just blasts Ruk into non-existence anyway.

Kirk and Korby scuffle and Korby scrapes his hand on a door revealing that he’s an android too! Christine is horrified, as you’d expect her to be. Korby explains that he was nearly dead when he turned himself into an Android.

Spock sent down a security team after android Kirk, and the alarm has been tripped. Since Ruk is dead, Andrea is tasked with the mission. Andrea encounters android Kirk and wants a kiss. Android Kirk turns her down and makes her mad. Don’t make women mad! Especially women with phasers set to EXTERMINATE. Bye bye android Kirk!

Two Androids down and Korby and Andrea are left. Andrea comes into the room with meat sponge Kirk, Christine and Korby only to realize that she didn’t attack Kirk, but android Kirk. Turns out Kirk’s “irrational” behavior is the best defense against an android invasion.

Korby tries to prove he’s still human, but can’t do it. He wants to compute, solve or transmit and realizes that he’s losing himself to the programming of tha machine that he’s trapped inside of.

“I AM ROGER KORBY!” -Roger Korby, not realizing that Negative Kirk had this exact sentiment about being Captain Kirk.

New rule: If someone screams “I AM (XXXXXX)insert their name here),” don’t believe them.

Korby starts to slowly go crazy, realizing that he’s not perfect and that even as a machine he has acted exactly in the way that he was attempting to remove from humanity. He hands his phaser to Kirk. Kirk asks for Andrea’s phaser, but she won’t give it up. Instead, she wants to love and kiss Korby. They embrace and Korby pulls the trigger on her phaser, vaporizing them both (and the phaser).

Christine Chapel learned that her fiancée was alive, then not alive but instead his soul was put inside an android and then watched that android commit suicide all during one mission. That’s gotta be rough.

Spock finds Kirk and asks where Dr. Korby is, Kirk says he was never there. I sure hope that Kirk writes some detailed logs following his missions, because his explanations that we see to his crew and absolutely useless. Back on the ship Spock tips his hat that the use of the word “half-breed” was rather unsophisticated. Kirk makes note for the next time he’s in a similar situation. I’m not sure if it’s Spock or Leonard Nimoy’s acting, but Spock tries (and fails) to hold in a small smile at Kirk’s line.

This episode should prove that pretty much everyone underestimates Kirk, possibly even Spock. Kirk’s irrational behavior or cowboy diplomacy may not be who he really is, but it’s all an act or a ploy to manipulate the situations around him. In this case, he figured out that Korby was going to send the android Kirk to the Enterprise and made sure to implant the android with an easter egg false thought so Spock would become alerted that Kirk isn’t really Kirk. Following that he knows that whatever he does on the planet will not be known to android Kirk so he kisses Andrea and gets her used to the idea of kissing Kirk, assuming that if she encounters android Kirk she may turn on him. Don’t forget he also convinces Ruk to attack Korby, which eliminates Ruk from the equation as well. I think this is why I was so disappointed when I saw the Star Trek movie reboot and the Kobayashi Maru sequence. I know Kirk cheated to become the only person to beat the test, but I would have liked to see him outsmart the test instead of simply hacking it. I’ll talk more about that in 2015 when I eventually get to writing about that movie.

Without McCoy or Spock to play off, the load of this episode falls on Shatner, which has the potential to completely fall apart, but I loved it. The second watching was more enjoyable because I could see the little moments where Kirk was devising his plan. That’s probably thanks to director James Goldstone, who also directed the second Star Trek pilot, aka S01E03 Where No Man Has Gone Before.

Crew Deaths: 2 Crewman Matthews & Crewman Rayburn
Other Deaths: 5 James Kirk (android) Dr. Roger Korby (android), Dr. Brown (android, Ruk (android) & Andrea (android)

I’m counting sentient androids in the deaths column.

Star Trek: The Original Series S01E06 Mudd’s Women

Harcourt Fenton Mudd
Any episode of Star Trek is only as good as it’s antagonist. Each episode presents a new situation for the crew of the Enterprise, who serves as a canvas for the antagonist. This is especially true for The Original Series, which was more of a procedural show than the later Star Treks. The producers needed to rely on imagination over the technical ability of the production crew because there was little that had ever been done before, and how the crew reacted to any antagonist was what the show would be about.

There might not be a better antagonist for Kirk’s Enterprise than Harcourt Fenton Mudd. He has more charisma than Captain Kirk, is wily as a fox and is smart too. Plus his mustache and those pantaloons! Like a chubby Jack Sparrow. The perfect antagonist, especially when he comes with three foxy ladies with exceptional beauty and charm. Space can be a lonely place, and it certainly seems like the human men of the Enterprise are feeling the effects.

The Enterprise is chasing down Mudd’s ship into an asteroid field, and in order to protect Mudd’s ship, they’ve got to extend their deflector shields beyond his ship to protect it. Despite Scotty’s warnings, Kirk continues to use the deflector shields beyond it’s intended abilities and the Enterprise starts cracking their lithium crystals, which is the ship’s energy source. Right before the ship breaks up, Mudd and his women get transported to the Enterprise and it’s immediately time TO MAKE SOME SWEET LOVE TO YOUR FACES according to the looks that McCoy and Scotty are giving the ladies.

On the bridge, Kirk is at the science station. Could a crew of James Kirks run the Enterprise? He seems to know how to use each station on the bridge, although we haven’t seen him at the communication position just yet. Technically, whoever is in that position should be an expert, but the same goes for the science position, the navigator and the helmsman. Bottom line? Kirk is just that good.

Something is wrong with the ladies right out of the gate, and a scientific man like Scotty and a medical man like McCoy don’t realize this? They are absolutely transfixed on these women in a way that is certainly not normal or healthy, even for a bunch of men flying through space who rarely encounter women who aren’t Janice Rand, Uhura or Christine Chapel. As the ladies walk through the ship, every man stops to check them out.

“Men will always be men, no matter where they are, aye mister? You’ll never take that out of them. You’re part Vulcanian aren’t ya? Ah well then a pretty face doesn’t affect you at all, not unless you want it to. You can save it girls, this type can turn himself off from any emotion.” -Harry Mudd to Spock and his women

Spock intros Harry and the ladies to Kirk, and seems a bit smug in doing so. We’re seeing little leaks of emotion from Spock, mostly when something about the human condition amuses him and there’s plenty of amusement during this mission. Kirk manages to fight off his urges as he learns that the lovely ladies are the ship’s cargo, not the ship’s crew. Turns out Mudd, who is going by Leo Walsh, is running a futuristic Russian mail order bride business/con with these three lovely ladies. In an odd twist, Kirk calls for security and a Redshirt actually arrives to escort Mudd away.

On the bridge, I have a question answered that I’ve been wondering for a while. On Kirk’s far left is two pairs of consoles, and Scotty is hovering over one of them which indicates that it’s an engineering console. He’s rarely ever there, letting an unknown crewman man that station. Scotty let’s Spock know that he can’t bypass the one remaining lithium crystal because the converter assembly is blown out. They’ll have to head over to Rigel XII to get some crystals from a mine on the planet.

Harry preps the ladies for his hearing about his crimes and the lead lovely lady starts calling him Harry. Way to blow his cover! There are two security officers in the room who are overhearing all of this and somehow they don’t mention that the ladies are told not to submit to medical tests and they are calling him by the wrong name. Good job guys. How did you get aboard the flagship of the Federation with such wonderful skills? I sure hope you’re good with a phaser or could lift twice your weight.

According to the ship’s logs, Kirk is concerned about the hypnotic effect produced by the women, but they’re still allowed to roam about the ship freely.

Kirk, you and I need to have a talk about something. You are the man in charge of the USS Enterprise, not a brothel on the pleasure planet Risa. You’re a Starfleet officer, running a Starfleet vessel. You are seeking out new life and new civilizations and going where no man has gone before. As such, no matter how much it migh be inconvenient for anyone aboard, you can restrict whoever you’d like to their quarters. As such, you could keep the women in quarters to make sure that they don’t mess with the crew and also so they don’t conspire with Mudd against you. I fully believe that Picard would have seen these women causing trouble and restricted their movement through the ship.

Anyway, Mudd stands trial and we get a computer with a voice. Much like all computer voices in Star Trek, it’s Majel Barrett! We get the dirt on Mudd, including a little bit about his past. Mudd starts rambling, but the ladies start working their magic on Scotty and McCoy. A sensor probe of the room detects high respiration patterns, perspiration rates up and high blood pressure amongst the men. The ladies get the Janice Rand treatment from the cameras, and speaking of yeoman Rand, we haven’t seen or heard anything from her this episode. I assume we won’t see her if we’re supposed to notice the dearth of attractive women aboard the Enterprise. Speaking of, we haven’t heard much from Uhura about her loneliness since the first two episodes.

Mudd says he’ll be running the starship after learning that the last of the crystals have burned out and the Enterprise will be going to Rigel XII to meet up with the miners. Maybe he shouldn’t be saying this in front of security, but then again they’ve proven themselves to be incompetent of reporting strange behavior anyway. Why would they start being observant now?

Meanwhile, the lovely ladies begin snooping around the ship. One gets into sick bay and sets off an odd alarm or something similar just from being near the medical scanner. McCoy seems to snap out of his trance a little bit when this happen, as most nerds tend to get easily distracted when they’re around members of the opposite sex. McCoy is fixated on his scanner, despite the lovely ladies’ best attempts to distract him. She extracts some information from him about the miners on Rigel XII. Turns out there are three miners on Rigel XII and three lovely ladies. COINCIDENCE? I think not.

Kirk also has a lovely lady in his quarters. ARE THERE NO LOCKS IN THE FUTURE? Seems like the Captain’s quarters should be absolutely locked down at all times. His personal logs, weapons and communications equipment are all easily accessed from his quarters and should probably be protected. Eve, our lovely lady has a name, stops mid-seduction and declares that she can’t continue to seduce the Captain, no matter what Harry Mudd says. That’s the breaking point if I were Captain. March down, demand to know the truth and put them all in a confinement cell with Mr. Spock to keep guard to ensure they couldn’t use their charms to get out. That’s not what happens here. Instead, the women are able to get into Mudd’s quarters. One of them stole a communicator from the helmsman, so Harry can communicate with the miners when they arrive on Rigel XII.

Eve comes into the room with the other two lovely ladies and mentions something about it being “time.” I’m not sure what “that time” means in this case.

On the bridge, McCoy asks Kirk if the women are beautiful or they just act like they’re beautiful, which gets Spock’s attention. Are they actually more attractive? I like Janice Rand better, but that’s just me. That conversation is cut short, but it’s interesting to note that McCoy is thinking that there’s something false about their beauty. A well deserved question, because all of a sudden, the lovely ladies aren’t lovely anymore. Mudd is looking for something, which turns out to be pills. We’ll learn they are called “Venus pills” and can change someone’s appearance to accentuate a lady’s attractiveness or a man’s manliness. Mudd gives the ladies their fix and they go back to normal.

I used to watch Grey’s Anatomy, and every single episode starts with an exceptionally stupid monologue which hits you with the lesson that Shonda Rhymes wants us to learn in an extremely ham-fisted way. You might compare them to the Captain’s Log, but this is my blog so I’m not making that comparison. Anyway… Spock says “Even burned and cracked, they’re beautiful. Destroying them was a shame.” Which induced two eye rolls from me, because one didn’t fully express how over-the-top Spock’s line was.

The miners are here and they want to trade the crystals for Harry Mudd’s freedom and his ladies. What do you expect from some horny lonely miners? Spock takes a seat and cracks a smile. Kirk doesn’t play ball and instead flaunts a Starfleet blockade of his planet and condemns his crew to die. Mudd comes in with his ladies and lets the miners know that the Enterprise only has three days of battery power left.

Advantage: Mudd.

I’m not totally sure why, but Kirk beams down with Spock and Mudd. Why the hell would Mudd go down to the surface? Kirk’s given in already and the women are on the planet’s surface. Oh, did we tell you that the planet suffers from heavy winds and magnetic storms? I bet that becomes an issue with scanners and the wind and dust blowing around become an issue with finding people if they go outside. Naturally, Eve heads outside because she doesn’t feel appreciated by the miners. Whoops.

Kirk, Spock and Mudd head back to the ship and make an attempt to scan the planet’s surface for Eve, but they are having trouble probing through… you guessed it! The magnetic storm! It’s ionizing the planet’s atmosphere or something like that. It’s also blocking communications.

The lead miner, Childress, finds Eve and heads back to his quarters without sending a signal to the Enterprise, but they find him anyway once Eve cooks him a meal thanks to the heat from the stove. In the meantime, Childress and Eve become acquainted. Childress notices that Eve isn’t as pretty as she once was and isn’t happy about it. With less than 30 minutes left to lie, Kirk and Mudd go down to Childress to explain that Eve looks like she does thanks to the Venus drug. The other two men on the surface have already been married thanks to “subspace radio marriage.”

Eve takes another Venus drug pill and becomes beautiful after a short speech about how Childress really wants someone who doesn’t really exist. She becomes beautiful again and finds out she really took a placebo! Oh Kirk, you’re so clever. I wonder how far back the Venus drugs were discovered and replaced by McCoy. When Mudd couldn’t find his drugs, it’s possible they were replaced by a placebo.

“There’s only one kind of woman” -Kirk
“or man” -Mudd
“You either believe in yourself, or you don’t.” -Kirk

Kirk gets the crystals he needs and Chlidress is left on the surface with Eve to discuss the rest of their lives. Mudd leaves with Kirk, despite Mudd’s appeal to stay on the surface.

“It must have been quite a talk you gave down there. Ever try considered the patent medicine business?” -McCoy
“Why should I work your side of the street?” -Kirk
“I’m happy the affair is over. A most annoying, emotional episode.” -Spock
“Smack right in the ol’ heart. Oh I’m sorry, in your case it would be right about here.” -McCoy
“The fact that my internal arrangement differs from yours Doctor, pleases me to no end.” -Spock

Mudd is such a wonderful character, it’s a shame that he doesn’t appear more often through this series. Actually, he’s one of two non-crew characters that make a second appearance throughout The Original Series, so we’re lucky he comes back at all.

First Aired: October 13th, 1966
Crew Deaths: 0 Hooray!

Star Trek: The Original Series S01E05 — The Enemy Within

Remember when I was thankful that the plot of The Man Trap at no point had Kirk encountering a second Kirk? Forget it. The Enemy Within gives birth to the dual Kirk storyline. While there might be some Orion Slavegirls that would enjoy the idea, I’m not someone who is particularly looking forward to it. Kirk’s double has a Starfleet uniform, but no insignia on it.

How’d we end up with the double Kirks? There was a transporter malfunction that caused Scotty to give pause before beaming Kirk aboard. Kirk beamed aboard feeling a little woozy and Scotty left the transporter room while walking Kirk around. The transporter took too long for a usual transport, and Kirk was clearly feeling the effects or something like that. Without intervention or Scotty, a second Kirk was beamed aboard. Uh oh!

Kirk goes to his quarters instead of sick bay, which is probably a mistake. I would have figured that it was standard practice to head to sick bay, using The Naked Time as an example of protocol. Evil Kirk makes his way to sick bay and barks for Saurian brandy before McCoy can speak up. Also, his insignia is back. Kirk goes on his way, booze in hand, and I should hope that McCoy is going to speak up to someone about Kirk’s outburst. Next stop for Evil Kirk? Janice Rand’s quarters. It’d probably be my next stop too.

Spock checks up on Kirk, sent by McCoy. Spock gives some details and doesn’t seem concerned that Kirk was never in sick bay demanding brandy. He just let’s it go. Does McCoy seem like the kinda guy who would play jokes on Spock? Probably not, especially when showing concern about a crewman. Don’t worry, I’ve only been privy to a few hours of life aboard the Enterprise, Spock is living it 24/7.

Down on the planet before Kirk was beamed aboard, Sulu was holding some variety of a horned dog with antennae, and now Scotty’s got it aboard the Enterprise. Scotty explains that a second dog, much more mean that the first, appeared on the transporter despite a complete lack of a second dog being beamed aboard. It’s an “opposite”, which means we now have Kirk and Opposite Kirk, and I think Kirk is finally understanding what’s going on. I’m not too sure about Spock’s understanding of the situation. Hard to read a Vulcan’s face.

Janice Rand strolls into her quarters and begins to take her hair down when OPPOSITE KIRK appears, looking smarmy (and drunk). Janice is getting the dreamy treatment from the camera and Opposite Kirk lays it on thick. On TV, anytime a man who is a double or drunk forces himself on a woman, it’s always so awkward, like the actor doesn’t actually know what they’re doing. Opposite Kirk wrestles Janice to the floor before she scratches his face and scares him off, screaming for geological technician Fisher who was strolling by to call for Mr. Spock.

Why Mr. Spock and not security? I suppose Spock would be the person that would have to relieve Kirk of his duties and take command of the Enterprise. Opposite Kirk wrestles Fischer to the ground, and knocks him out.

Spock finally gives up the details of Opposite Kirk’s trip to sick bay, including the bit about the brandy. Folks, this is why it’s important to include details. Here’s another rule if you want to exist in the Star Trek universe: REPORT EVERYTHING. This goes for everything, not just Star Trek. Don’t tell me your iPad “doesn’t work” or that the TV is “acting weird” (Mom), give me some details please.

Opposite Kirk heads to Kirk’s quarters and Janice recounts her sexual assault by Opposite Kirk to Kirk, Spock and McCoy. At this point, the most sensible thing would be to put Kirk in a confinement cell and put a pair of trusted guards on duty to watch him at all times while Spock assumes control of the Enterprise and makes an announcement to the entire ship that former Captain James T. Kirk should be considered dangerous and reported immediately. Kirk shouldn’t be walking freely around the Enterprise at this point.

“There’s only one logical answer. We have an imposter aboard.” -Spock

The transporters are still malfunctioning, and Sulu and three other men are down on the planet while the temperatures drop towards 120 degrees below zero. Kirk orders phasers set to “setting number one” so no one aboard the Enterprise kills Opposite Kirk accidentally. Spock takes a weird point of view that no one aboard the Enterprise can know about Kirk’s double because he doesn’t want anyone to see Kirk as less than perfect, in case he could be viewed as weak. In Spock’s eyes, if the crew sees Kirk as anything less than perfect, they’ll lose faith in him and he’ll lose control over the ship. It’s a very Kingon way to look at the situation. Kirk orders Spock to speak up if Spock notices Kirk slipping.

Kirk lets everyone know that there’s an Opposite Kirk aboard the ship and he can be ID’d by the scratches on his face. Also, he’s wearing quite a bit of eyeliner and looks like he should be in a Good Charlotte video. Opposite Kirk does some wonderful over-acting, declaring himself Captain Kirk and ruining the Captain’s quarters in the process, and technically he’s right.

For some reason, Kirk keeps concealer and other makeup in his quarters, and Opposite Kirk simply applies some makeup and heads out to the hall and assaults the first person he can find, taking his phaser. Down on the surface, it’s twenty degrees below zero and Sulu isn’t looking terribly comfortable.

Kirk’s confronted with having to outsmart himself, and he decides to head to the lower levels to check for Opposite Kirk. Kirk and Spock are solo, and Kirk doesn’t want anyone else to assist in this portion of the mission. Based on the episode so far, I assume we’re supposed to learn that too much pride can come back to hurt you. Had Kirk followed proper procedure for an intruder, there would probably be a squadron of security looking for Opposite Kirk instead of the two most senior officers on the ship looking for him.

Now that I’m thinking of it, I’m not terribly sure that we’ve seen any security on board the Enterprise except the two guys who were tasked with taking Charlie Evans out of the rec room during Charlie X. Every other time they’ve been called for, we’ve never seen them.

Kirk and Opposite Kirk go face to face and Opposite Kirk is sweating pretty heavily. Sweating must have had a different meaning in the 60’s based on how much people sweat in certain situations. Kudos to Langley for calling that out in The Naked Time post.

“You need me, I need you.” -Kirk to Opposite Kirk

While Kirk is distracting Opposite Kirk by seemingly saying romantic things to himself, Spock has enough time to sneak up behind Opposite Kirk and administer the Vulcan nerve pinch. Halfway through the episode and we seem to have this all taken care of guys. Good job to everyone. Ice cream all around!

Kirk is losing his ability to make a decision and Spock sees this as a good time to examine the human mind. Spock sees that a man’s negative side is vitally important to a man’s strength. Spock reminds us that he’s not human and that’s why he’s being insensitive.

Down in Engineering, Scotty notices that Opposite Kirk blasted a hole in the transporter’s wiring doing his little scuffle with Kirk. Whoops! It’ll be at least a week before he can get it fixed. If you’ve watched the episode of The Next Generation where Scotty makes an appearance, you’ll know that his estimates are always full of crap.

If you thought Shatner overacted as Kirk, wait until you see Opposite/Negative Kirk overact. Then if you thought that Negative Kirk overacted, wait until you see Kirk and Negative Kirk overact and interact with each other!

“I have to take him back inside myself.” -Kirk about Negative Kirk

The jokes write themselves. McCoy and Kirk share some brandy and discuss the nature of man while it’s displayed right in front of their eyes. Negative Kirk is afraid, and maybe determination and decisions come from fear. Their little discussion over drinks is broken up by Spock in the transporter room. Sweaty Negative Kirk is all smiles at the idea of everyone leaving.

Scotty has miraculously found a bypass which will provide no more than a five point variation in the velocity balance. Somehow they’re using the impulse engines to assist in the warp procedure. I wonder if later ships would include backup transporter circuitry to avoid such a mess like this in the future. The dog-thing goes first to test the theory. Aren’t they beaming this thing down into super sub-zero temperatures? Kinda cruel if you ask me, but I guess Kirk’s life is at stake. Scotty pulls the dog back as quick as he can. I hope four dogs don’t appear. That would be a negative-positive, negative-negative, positive-negative and positive-positive dog or Kirk.

Too bad the Animal Liberation Front doesn’t exist in the future, because they’d be upset about the killing of the cute little dog with a horn and antennea aboard the Enterprise. Actually, Sulu might be upset. Down on the surface, he really liked this dog-thing. Anyway, it’s dead Jim. DRAMA!

The transporter is still being repaired, and Spock and McCoy are arguing about why the dog died. Kirk agrees to everything everyone is saying as he loses his ability to make decisions. It’s Spock’s logic vs McCoy’s emotion and Kirk can’t decide. Spock make the appeal to McCoy because, say it with me, HE’S ONLY HALF HUMAN. Kirk is forced to make a decision to potentially sacrifice himself to save the lives of Sulu and the other crewman stranded on the surface. Speaking of the folks on the surface, it’s 117 below zero and are going to die pretty soon if nothing is done to save them. Kirk doesn’t have anything elegant to say to Sulu.

Kirk wants to work with Negative/Sweaty/Evil Kirk, but is instead overpowered and outsmarted and Sweaty Kirk heads to the bridge and orders the ship to leave orbit. Then IT happens. DOUBLE KIRKS ALL THE WAY!

“Can half a man live?” – Kirk to Eyeliner Kirk

It’s all so dramatic! They turn their phasers on each other and Negative Kirk is lit to show his excessive sweating before he breaks down and decides he wants to go back to being one Kirk and they embrace! I think there’s something to be said about two portions of the same person touching, but this isn’t Back to the Future, it’s Star Trek! Physics is merely a convenient plot point and occasional antagonist.

Kirk and Spock share a moment of recognition that Kirk is possibly committing suicide, and away we go! Unlike the dogs, I suppose the Kirks want to go back to being one person and understand what is going on. Somehow their collective will can influence the machinery.

Amazingly (not amazingly) it worked! Spock works double time to get the guys on the surface aboard and I think that we’ve all learned something today.

Does Kirk retain the set of memories that Posi Kirk had, or does he have the memories of both Kirks? It’s not addressed in the episode, but it’d bet that someone’s written about it anyway. Janice has one last encounter with Kirk before the episode closes without getting anything of substance out to Kirk, and somehow Spock lets out a smile while talking to Janice about “interesting qualities” in Imposter Kirk. Nice to see Spock seeing the humor in the situation and exhale a little bit after nearly losing Kirk, Sulu and three more men aboard the ship.

A fun episode full of SciFi tropes. Dueling captains? Check. A lesson about the nature of man? Check. Breaking the laws of physics? Check. Some techno-babble and a made up solution? Check!

First Aired October 6, 1966
Crew Deaths: 0 (I’m not counting the dog)