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STAR TREK
The Original Series


   

The Cage


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 0
Episode #: 1
Original Airdate:

Writer(s): Gene Roddenberry
Director(s): Robert Butler

Guest Stars
Majel Barrett as Number One
Meg Wyllie as Keeper
Malachi Throne as Keeper's voice
Susan Oliver as Vina

Stardate: Unknown

Synopsis
Thirteen years before James T. Kirk takes command of the U.S.S. Enterprise, Captain Christopher Pike and his starship crew receive a distress signal from the planet Talos IV and beam down to investigate. Tracking the beacon, the landing party discovers crash survivors from a missing scientific expedition; among the survivors is a beautiful human female, Vina. Pike is concerned for the woman's safety, yet allows himself to become distracted by her beauty and is subsequently captured by the Talosians who live beneath the planet's surface. The distress signal and expedition survivors, except for Vina, are revealed to be but illusions created by the Talosians to lure the Enterprise and Pike to the planet.

The Talosians are a strong race, yet after decades of illusory indulgence, they have physically atrophied and need sturdy beings to rebuild and repopulate their barren planet. In Pike, with Vina, the Talosians hope they have finally found the one being who can serve as their breeding stock for a healthier and even more powerful race.

The Talosians use their power of illusion to interest Pike in Vina, presenting her in various disguises: a Rigellian princess in distress, a green Orion animal woman, and a loving, compassionate companion. When Pike resists, the Talosians lure Pike's female first officer and yeoman from the Enterprise to offer further temptation. By then, however, Pike has discovered that primitive human emotions neutralize the Talosians' ability to read minds, and he eventually escapes to the surface of the planet along with his fellow prisoners.

The Talosians confront Pike and the three prisoners before they can beam up, but the captain refuses to negotiate, threatening to kill himself and the others rather than submit to the Talosians' demands. Frightened at losing their only source of repopulation, the Talosians inspect the U.S.S. Enterprise's records and discover that the human race is far too independent to be of adequate service to them.

Faced with no other choice, the Talosians release the humans. After the first officer and yeoman beam up, Pike remains behind with Vina, urging her to leave with him. Despite her growing attraction to the captain, Vina is unable to leave the planet. It is revealed that an expedition had indeed crash landed on Talos IV. Vina, the only survivor, was greatly injured and disfigured. With the aid of the Talosians' illusions, however, she is able to appear beautiful and feel healthy.

The Talosians pledge to continue to provide Vina with the appearance of health and beauty while allowing her to roam the planet free of intervention. Realizing that she will be in good hands after all, Pike returns to the U.S.S. Enterprise. The Talosians, in an act of good will, send the captain an image of Vina on the starship's viewscreen. Not only is she beautiful again, aided by the Talosians' illusory powers, but by her side is another illusion - that of the handsome Christopher Pike.
Review
The first.

The original.

The first episode of Star Trek ever made, and never officially aired. This was the quintessential pilot that truly started it all. And for my money, this was a fine, thought-provoking episode. Witness the all too human Captain Christopher Pike who was contemplating retirement (at an early age) instead of having to deal with making decisions on "Who lives, and who dies?"

And experience a young Mr. Spock, emotions not fully in check, he Vulcan mysticisms that were later explored, clearly not well defined here.

And the mysterious 'Number One' played by Majel Barrett, who would later go on to play Nurse Chapel in the original series as well as Lwaxana Troi in The Next Generation.

The cast, consider they were together for this single project, worked well together. The story line, while cerebral in nature, packed enough punch to show that Star Trek wasn't just another kiddie space show. This was a drama will real-life issues set in a futuristic tone.

This was the beginning that set the stage for what Star Trek was all about. Even though it was used as the official pilot, the mold was set for what Star Trek would be about.

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The Man Trap


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 1
Episode #: 6
Original Airdate: 9/8/1966

Writer(s): George Clayton Johnson
Director(s): Marc Daniels

Guest Stars
Jeanne Bal as Nancy Crater
Alfred Ryder as Professor Robert Crater
Grace Lee Whitney as Janice Rand
Bruce Watson as Crewman Green
Michael Zaslow as Crewman Darnell
Francine Pyne as Blonde Nancy
Sharon Gimpel as M-113 Creature

Stardate: 1513.1

Synopsis
The U.S.S. Enterprise arrives at planet M-113 to deliver supplies to Dr. Robert Crater and his wife, Nancy, whom Doctor Leonard McCoy was once romantically involved with. The Craters have been on M-113 for five years conducting an archeological survey of the planet's ruins. They are the only known inhabitants of the planet.

Crater tells Kirk that the only thing they need are salt tablets. Otherwise, they want to be left alone. Kirk debates this, insisting they must need other supplies and must at least allow McCoy to give them physicals. While this is happening, Darnell, one of Kirk's landing party, meets a beautiful young woman and wanders off with her.

When Kirk goes looking for the young man, he finds him dead, his body scarred with suction cup-shaped marks. The Captain orders the Craters to beam aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise. On ship, Dr. McCoy is amazed at how little Nancy has changed since he last saw her, several years earlier. Her close proximity on board the starship begins to reawaken old feelings for the doctor that somewhat shadow any suspicions of her that he might normally have had.

However, the woman McCoy sees as Nancy Crater is a shape-shifting creature, the last survivor of M-113, and can literally appear as a different being to each person 'she' meets. By reaching into their minds and drawing on their memories, the creature can lull her potential victims into a false sense of security before she kills them.

The problem facing the M-113 creature is the need for sodium chloride ... salt. Without it, the being will die and its home planet is running out. The rest of its race died due to this shortage, and this final survivor formed a symbiotic relationship with Professor Crater. Crater provided the M-113 creature with the needed salt and the creature in turn gave the professor companionship ... something he had craved since the salt creature murdered his wife, the real Nancy Crater, for her body's salt.

Let loose on board the U.S.S. Enterprise, the M-113 creature begins killing members of the crew, first luring them by posing as someone they know and trust, then draining their bodies of their precious salt. Finally, the creature kills Crater and changes into Nancy Crater, nearly killing McCoy. Kirk and Spock, who have figured out the creature's secret, rush to the doctor's quarters and convince him that this is not the real Nancy. In an emotionally painful move, McCoy kills the creature, saving himself and the U.S.S. Enterprise crew.
Review
As the first official episode ever to air on TV, 'The Man Trap' showed 1960's America a side of Star Trek that the early days didn't exploit as much as they should have - the death of a planet and its people.

The M-113 creature - the last of its kind - was analogous to our own species and how we may be headed towards ultimate annihilation if we're not careful with what we do with our planet. The gave this surface-level horror episode some real messages for the viewer to think about.

It's a shame they didn't expand on the history of this creature and its kind. A race of shape shifting salt-vampires isn't something you come across every day in Sci-Fi, and I suspect there was a noble quality to the creatures that, had it be explored, could have served the episode even more.

Still, for the first taste of Trek to the general public, this was a solid episode to choose.

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Charlie X


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 1
Episode #: 8
Original Airdate: 9/15/1966

Writer(s): Dorothy Fontana
Director(s): Lawrence Dobkin

Guest Stars
Grace Lee Whitney as Janice Rand
Robert Walker Jr. as Charlie Evans
Charles J. Stewart as Captain Ramart

Stardate: 1533.6

Synopsis
As Charles Evans, the lone survivor of a crashed colonizing expedition to the planet Thasus, comes aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise from the S.S. Antares, but when Captain Ramart of the Antares contacts Kirk about Charlie, the S. S. Antares is suddenly destroyed.

Charlie shows not only a lack of grief for the people who had become his benefactors, but almost an indifference to their deaths. He seems only concerned that his new "family" like and accept him. Unfortunately, teenage hormones and an isolated upbringing make that difficult.

Strange events occur whenever Charlie is angered - he makes Yeoman Rand disappear when she rebuffs his advances, he breaks Spock's legs when the Vulcan tries to discipline him, and he causes injury and discomfort to anyone who he thinks is laughing at him.

Charlie demands that the U.S.S. Enterprise take him to the nearest inhabited planet, but Kirk fears that his uncontrolled temper and dangerous powers will create havoc for any civilization. Charlie gains control of the ship, but Kirk shortly overcomes him. Suddenly, an alien face appears on the bridge. It is that of a Thasian, the race who raised Charlie and gave him his extremely powerful psionic powers.

The Thasians had realized that Charlie has left their planet and thus sent their own starship to intercept the Enterprise. Despite Charlie's tearful pleas to remain, the Thasians take the lonely child back to Thasus. Before they depart, the beings restore the U.S.S. Enterprise and her crew to normal.
Review
That spoiled brat Charlie Evans with God-like powers touches too closely to the 'second' pilot "Where No Man Has Gone Before". What makes this worse is that, during the original run of the series, "Charlie X" aired BEFORE "Where No Man..."

But small similarities aside, this early episode showcased, at least in part, Sulu and the underused Yeoman Rand which in hindsight was a welcomed plus for Trek fans.

Charlie, played aptly by Robert Walker, always came off as a spoiled rotten pre-teen to me which, while I realize was the point, never quite worked.

Ok, so he had super-natural powers.
Ok, so he had a hell of a temper.

But you knew in the end that he would get the space-equivalent spanking of a lifetime. It was just a matter of time.

But, as many early first season episodes did, "Charlie X" helped to showcase more of the Enterprise crew and their daily activities - both on and off duty - which made you begin to care about them more.

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Where No Man Has Gone Before


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 1
Episode #: 2
Original Airdate: 9/22/1966

Writer(s): Samuel A. Peeples
Director(s): James Goldstone

Guest Stars
Sally Kellerman as Dr. Elizabeth Dehner
Gary Lockwood as Lt. Comm. Gary Mitchell

Stardate: 1312.4

Synopsis
Some years before this second pilot, the S.S. Valiant had encountered a unknown energy barrier at the rim of the galaxy. Something had then made its captain destroy his ship.

The U.S.S. Enterprise finds the Valiant's disaster record-marker, which reveals that just prior to its destruction the crew had been searching library tapes for any information on psionics.

The U.S.S. Enterprise arrives at the edge of the galaxy and the same force affects the ship's drives that must have affected those of the Valiant. Kirk notices a strong personality change in his good friend, Lieutenant Gary Mitchell, whose latent psionic abilities are heightened by the force field. Soon Mitchell has gained enormous extrasensory powers, displaying many talents which include moving objects with his mind and controlling his own heart rate. To a smaller degree, Dr. Elizabeth Dehner is also affected by the force field's power and the two are drawn together by their common powers.

As Mitchell's powers grow, he becomes more dangerous. Spock believes that when the Valiant experienced the same phenomena, it destroyed itself to prevent the power from taking over the galaxy. Gary Mitchell confirms his fears when he informs them that he is becoming a god who will rule the humans. Spock feels that Mitchell's death is the only solution, but Kirk is unable to kill his old friend. Instead, he exiles him to an uninhabited planet. However, once on the planet's surface, Mitchell kills his guard and escapes, taking Dr. Dehner with him. Kirk follows with a phaser rifle and Mitchell attempts to kill Kirk with his psionic powers.

Witnessing this display, Dr. Dehner realizes how inhuman and dangerous Mitchell has become and tries to help Kirk defeat him. Without remorse, Mitchell kills Elizabeth Dehner. Before he can refocus his psi powers, Kirk creates a rockslide that entombs Mitchell, killing him.

Afterwards, Spock admits to Kirk that for the first time in his life, he felt something akin to human emotion.
Review
The unprecedented second pilot gave the network execs what they were looking for - an action oriented swash-buckling type of adventure that the general public could really sink their teeth into. Little did they know that action and adventure were not the only ingredients that made for a good Star Trek episode.

Still, "Where No Man..." showed us a lot of nice interaction between Kirk, Spock and Gary Mitchell who, I believe, may have made for an interesting on-going character where he not killed off by the episode's conclusion.

Spock, still not settled into his logical self, seemed more annoyed and closed-minded than anything else. Thankfully that changed in the episodes to come. But Kirk, interestingly enough, came off pretty much like he remained through the 3 seasons of Trek; Confident, brave, playful - but deadly serious when he needed to be.

"Where No Man..." despite being the second - first episode of Star Trek, and clearly showing its age in comparison to later-day Trek episodes still holds up well from an acting and story-telling point of view. It's always enjoying to watch.

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The Naked Time


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 1
Episode #: 7
Original Airdate: 9/29/1966

Writer(s): John F. D. Black
Director(s): Marc Daniels

Guest Stars
Bruce Hyde as Lt. Kevin Riley
Stewart Moss as Joe Tormolen
John Bellah as Dr. Harrison
Majel Barrett as Christine Chapel

Stardate: 1704.2

Synopsis
Spock and Joe Tormolen beam down to planet Psi 2000 to pick up a research party before the planet disintegrates. They find everyone has died, frozen when life support was turned off. Even stranger, the positions of the researcher's bodies show they were out of their minds when they perished and some died by suicide.

Unknowingly, Tormolen carried what is later termed the "Psi 2000" virus, back to the U.S.S. Enterprise and it spreads among the crew at an alarming rate, reaching into their souls and pulling out their deepest desires for public display. The virus is water borne and spread by perspiration in a touch. While trying to stop Tormolen from killing himself, Sulu and Kevin Riley are infected with the virus.

The crew begin displaying actions that are humorous exaggerations of their desires, like Sulu threatening the bridge with a fencing foil and Kirk becoming overly romantic toward the crew. Others are more heart-wrenching, like Christine Chapel admitting her love for Spock and the Vulcan weeping uncontrollably. The deadliest result, however, is when Riley declares himself captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise and locks himself in Engineering. Unfortunately, he also locks everyone else out. Once in command of the ship's engines, Riley shuts them down and the U.S.S. Enterprise is pulled toward Psi 2000 by its erratic gravity.

McCoy manages to avoid contracting the virus and finds an antidote which cures the crew.
Review
A 23rd century mystery is abound, and the crew of the Enterprise is soundly tested in the episode which is truly highlighted by some superb acting by Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner. Faced with utter destruction, but holding on to their humanity, Kirk and Spock fight their onslaught of emotions to save this ship in the nick of time.

Clichéd story line? Perhaps to a point. But this is an action-filled and edge-of-your-seat adventure that shows how Star Trek could effortlessly combine such action-oriented episodes with heart-felt drama. We're finally treated to what it's like to be Vulcan by Spock's collapse.

And we clearly see how much the Enterprise means to Kirk as he utters the spine-tingling lines "Never lose you - Never!"

Over acting some say, but I saw accurate acting. Perfect presentation of the battle of emotions and chemical reactions surging through Kirk's body.

One of the series' best episodes.

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The Enemy Within


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 1
Episode #: 5
Original Airdate: 10/6/1966

Writer(s): Richard Matheson
Director(s): Leo Penn

Guest Stars
Grace Lee Whitney as Janice Rand
Jim Goodwin as Lt. John Farrell
Edward Madden as Tech. Fisher

Stardate: 1672.1

Synopsis
While orbiting the planet Alfa 177, the U.S.S. Enterprise experiences a transporter malfunction when Technician Fisher is beamed up from the planet with some magnetic ore on his clothing. Scotty checks the transporter and finds nothing wrong, so Captain Kirk beams aboard. Kirk leaves with his officers and when the transporter room is deserted, a second Kirk materializes on the pad.

When a space animal is beamed aboard the starship and splits into two entities; one tame and one vicious, it is discovered that the same thing has happened to Kirk. While one Kirk is good and honorable, the other is evil and runs amok on his ship, committing violent acts, including the attempted assault of Yeoman Janice Rand.

Meanwhile, the transporter continued to split objects into two entities, thus forcing the remainder of the ship's landing party to remain on the planet's surface. Alfa 177's approaching night promises certain death from exposure and freezing temperatures to the unprotected landing party.

As time passes, the "good" Kirk is weakening, losing his ability to make decisions, while his "evil" half is dying. Neither Kirk can survive without his other half. Time is running out, not only for Captain Kirk, but for the landing party on the planet's surface.

Scotty effects repairs on the transporter, but there's no time to test it. McCoy is fearful because the "space dog" which had been split earlier, had gone through the repaired transporter and, while joined into one animal, was dead. Kirk takes the chance and beams down with his counterpart and returns to the U.S.S. Enterprise whole and alive. Quickly the landing party is beamed aboard, worse for the cold, but alive.
Review
"The Enemy Within" is another first-season classic episode that perfectly mixes thrilling action with thought-provoking issues for the crew and, most importantly Captain Kirk, to deal with.

Split into two separate beings - one good, one evil, is nothing new to literature (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde being the quintessential example of the predicament) but Star Trek takes is a step further by really exploring the fact that a man can not exist without his opposing counterparts.

I always found that message someone refreshing. We all have a dark side, but out strengths come from how we control it; our weaknesses from our lack of control over it.

The sub-story of Sulu & Company being stranded on the freezing planet was just that - a sub-story to add to the tension of the episode. But in my mind, it was superfluous. (Use the damn shuttlecraft already?!)

Still, superfluous sub-plots aside, this episode is another early classic that showcases every positive aspect of Star Trek and William Shatner does another superb job in portraying the both sides of Kirk.

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Mudd's Women


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 1
Episode #: 4
Original Airdate: 10/13/1966

Writer(s): Stephen Kandel
Director(s): Harvey Hart

Guest Stars
Roger C. Carmel as Harry Mudd
Gene Dynarski as Ben Childress
Karen Steele as Eve McHuron
Maggie Thrett as Ruth Bonaventure
Susan Denberg as Magda Kovacs

Stardate: 1329.8

Synopsis
The U.S.S. Enterprise pursues an unknown ship into an asteroid belt to save its crew before it's destroyed. The four people aboard are beamed on to the U.S.S. Enterprise; former nemesis Harry Mudd and three beautiful, sultry women: Ruth Bonaventure, Eve McHuron and Magda Kovacs. Mudd was transporting the three women to Ophiuchus VI to marry settlers there.

The Enterprise computers reveal that Mudd has been charged with a number of infractions of the law. In pursuit of Mudd's ship, the U.S.S. Enterprise has burned out its lithium crystals, which power the starship's engines, and Kirk orders them to proceed as quickly as possible to the nearest lithium mining planet. That planet is Rigel XII, which is inhabited by only three lithium miners.

Mudd manages to contact Ben Childress, the head miner, and make a deal with him. Mudd promises to deliver the three beautiful women to the lonely miners in exchange for lithium crystals and their help in escaping Kirk.

Upon reaching the planet, Eve tries to escape, having fallen for Kirk and not wanting to marry one of the miners, but Ben Childress brings her back. They discover that the women are using an extremely illegal Venus drug to make them beautiful and without which they become quite plain. By the time the fraud is discovered, Magda and Ruth are already married to the miners, to the satisfaction of all parties involved. Eve, who realizes that Kirk is married to his career and to his starship, settles for marrying Ben. Kirk gets the lithium crystals he needs for the U.S.S. Enterprise and Harry Mudd, on whom he has filed criminal charges.
Review
It had to happen - and we knew it would considering the era Star Trek was made in. T&A had to enter the 23rd century. Well, maybe not quite T&A. How about long legs and short skirts?

On the very surface of this episode, with Harry Mudd essentially pimping three women to a miner's colony, the viewer is treated to just that - a peep show of three gorgeous women strutting their stuff and essentially turning the Enterprise male crew to jelly.

But that silly sub-plot aside, "Mudd's Women" actually focuses on a better story line about the price of beauty and whether it really is just skin deep. It even touches upon the deadliness of drug addiction to a degree which adds to the overall message and moral of this story.

Acting by Mudd's women was capable, and the miners came off as they should, particularly Gene Dynarski as the head miner Ben Childress.

All in all, a decent story with some unfortunate circumstances on the Enterprise crew. Hey, they were pretty and all, but a crew of officers shouldn't become THAT affected by them. Ah, maybe it's just me...

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What Are Little Girls Made Of?


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 1
Episode #: 10
Original Airdate: 10/20/1966

Writer(s): Robert Bloch
Director(s): James Goldstone

Guest Stars
Michael Strong as Dr. Roger Korby
Sherry Jackson as Andrea
Ted Cassidy as Ruk
Harry Basch as Dr. Brown
Vince Deadrick as Matthews
Budd Albright as Rayburn
Majel Barrett as Christine Chapel

Stardate: 2712.4

Synopsis
The U.S.S. Enterprise arrives in orbit around Exo III, to search for exobiologist Dr. Roger Korby. When Kirk asks Spock if Korby could possibly still be alive, Spock glances at Christine, then quietly shuts off his monitor. Christine Chapel, McCoy's chief nurse, is Korby's fiancée. Chapel had signed on with the U.S.S. Enterprise in the hope of finding him. Korby is known as the "Pasteur of archeological medicine."

At Dr. Korby's request, only Kirk and a very excited Christine Chapel beam down to the planet. They find the doctor living in an underground cavern built by what is known as "The Old Ones," the extinct natives of Exo III. He tells them that he discovered the caverns while suffering from severe frostbite, five years before.

Using equipment left behind by these now-dead beings, Korby has learned how to construct androids who look and act like humans. His android companions, Ruk and Andrea, amaze Kirk and Chapel with their realness. Although, Korby explains, Ruk existed long before he arrived - a product of "The Old Ones."

Christine recognizes Dr. Brown, Korby's aide, but is mystified by his failure to recognize her. The reason for his behavior becomes clear when they discover that he, too, is a sophisticated android. Korby's plan is to slowly replace key people in the Federation with androids, integrating the machines into other worlds.

Taking Kirk prisoner, Korby creates a perfect duplicate of the Captain, which fools even Nurse Chapel. During the duplication process, however, Kirk plants false memories and ideas in his double's brain which makes Spock realize that something is very wrong. Korby, convinced that his android will fool the U.S.S. Enterprise crew and allow him to take over the starship, has the double beamed aboard. The false Kirk is to look over their proposed route and pick a likely planet on which to begin colonization.

Spock immediately becomes suspicious of his captain until finally, after spewing an ethnic slur at the first officer, Spock is certain that this is not Captain Kirk. He orders a landing party to meet him in the transporter room after the Captain has beamed down to the planet. Meanwhile, on Exo III, Christine Chapel realizes that somehow Roger Korby has changed; he's no longer the wonderful man she'd fallen in love with. He's become somehow distant and unfeeling ... though he obviously still has a great fondness for his fiancee.

Separated from Christine, Kirk is being guarded by Ruk. The Captain convinces the hulking android that Korby is a threat to his continued existence and must be destroyed. Ruk attacks Korby and is eliminated. It is discovered, to Christine's horror, that Korby has housed his essence inside an android body. Kirk convinces the doctor that he's become more machine than human. In front of his horrified fiancée, Korby grabs Andrea and fires a phaser blast that kills them both. Spock arrives with a landing party to find only Kirk and Christine remaining. Chapel announces that she would like to stay with the U.S.S. Enterprise to complete her tour.
Review
Despite most episodes aptly delivering a message or overall moral, somehow that effort failed with this story. The message, of course, was "...what makes us human...?" Is it the sum of our experiences, memories and intellect, or is it something more?

Dr. Korby, who essentially froze to death, transferred his intellect into an android who was a near-perfect replica of himself. Near-perfect enough to have his love, Nurse Chapel, fooled as well as Kirk. One has to wonder why Dr. McCoy didn't beam down with them to check the status of Korby & Company, but that would have ended the suspense and eliminates the moderately anti-climatic ending.

This episode just feels disjointed to me. Is Korby trying to prove that he's human? Is he trying to make a plan to take over the universe with his androids? Does he just want to get it on with Andrea?

I don't know, but in the end, the Enterprise crew loses two red shirts, Nurse Chapel realizes that her love was gone long ago, and Kirk calls Spock, indirectly, a half-breed.

No real cohesion to this episode which is why it falls flat.

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Miri


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 1
Episode #: 12
Original Airdate: 10/27/1966

Writer(s): Adrian Spies
Director(s): Vincent McEveety

Guest Stars
Kim Darby as Miri
Michael J. Pollard as Jahn
Grace Lee Whitney as Janice Rand
Jim Goodwin as Lt. John Farrell
David L. Ross as Lt. Galloway

Stardate: 2713.5

Synopsis
The U.S.S. Enterprise answers an old distress signal to find an unnamed planet that is almost an exact duplicate of Earth in the 1960s. A landing party beams down and discovers that 300 years before, the natives of the planet conducted experiments to prolong life, but had instead created a deadly virus. The virus killed all adults by rapid aging and madness. In children, the virus slowed the natural aging process greatly, leaving them in a state of prepubescence for centuries.

There are no adults on the planet, only children, and they survive the best they can without adults to aid them. The landing party contracts the virus, except for Spock, who becomes a carrier of the disease. Until a cure for the disease can be found and created, the landing party is confined to the planet. To return to the U.S.S. Enterprise would mean a rapid spread of the disease.

The landing party attempts to make friends with the children, but they vividly remember the horrible deaths of their parents and refuse to have anything to do with them. One of the older children, Miri, falls in love with Kirk and tries to help him with the other children until she begins to see Yeoman Rand as a rival for the captain's affections. Stung, Miri helps Jahn, one of the boys, to lead the children in a campaign to harass the U.S.S. Enterprise crew members. When Kirk tries to reason with the children, he is badly beaten.

One of the older children begins to exhibit symptoms of the disease and Kirk convinces them that they all will get the virus and die horribly, when they finally reach puberty. Using himself as a guinea pig, McCoy creates an antidote from old research notes found in the planet's lab, and finds the cure. The doctor says that the Federation will probably send supervisory personnel to colonize the planet and take care of the children.
Review
Where "Mudd's Women" poses the question about the price of beauty, "Miri" poses the question about the consequences of eternal youth. And on a lot of levels, "Miri" soundly answers that question, which makes this a very interesting episode.

Unfortunately, most of the positives of the episode are offset by some annoying issues.

Why does this planet geographically look identical to Earth? There's no reason for it, it's never explored and certainly never explained.

Why are those kids so damned annoying - honestly? After living for 3 centuries, regardless of the fact that they didn't have any parental supervision, you think they would have 'grown up' a little. Faced with surviving on your own, I question if they truly would have been acting as they did.

As touching and well done as some of the scenes are, most notably the reaction of Yeoman Rand to contracting the disease, this episode weighs a little to heavy on the mischievousness of the children and the misplaced love Miri has for Kirk.

Bonk, bonk on the head indeed.

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Dagger Of The Mind


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 1
Episode #: 11
Original Airdate: 11/3/1966

Writer(s): Shimon Wincelberg
Director(s): Vincent McEveety

Guest Stars
James Gregory as Dr. Tristan Adams
Marianna Hill as Dr. Helen Noel
Morgan Woodward as Dr. Simon Van Gelder

Stardate: 2715.1

Synopsis
When Dr. Simon van Gelder of the psychiatric staff at the Tantalus Penal Colony escapes to the U.S.S. Enterprise exhibiting signs of manic insanity, an enraged McCoy insists that Kirk investigate the colony. The Captain reminds McCoy of Tantalus' excellent reputation, but McCoy is unconvinced.

Kirk and Dr. Helen Noel, the U.S.S. Enterprise's psychiatrist, tour the facility. They discover that the Colony director, Dr. Tristan Adams, has been using a brainwashing device, the neural neutralizer, to control not only the colony's inmates, but his staff as well. When the doctor realizes that Kirk has discovered his secret, he convinces the captain to try the machine for himself, to prove that it is perfectly safe. The result is that Kirk falls madly in love with Helen Noel and the two remain on the Colony as Adams' prisoners.

Meanwhile, on board the U.S.S. Enterprise, van Gelder is in such a distraught state from the neural conditioning that he is unable to explain to Spock what is going on at the penal colony. The Vulcan attempts a mind-meld with van Gelder and discovers what has been happening on the planet below. On Tantalus, Dr. Noel escapes through an air-conditioning duct to the power room, where she lowers the planet's defense shields, enabling Spock to beam down a security team.

Kirk recovers enough to fight Adams, who falls into his torturous machine. Weakened by the conditioning and his fight with the doctor, Kirk stumbles away, not knowing that Adams is still in the neutralizer. Adams is later found dead. Dr. van Gelder is made sane again and returns to direct the Tantalus Colony.
Review
"Dagger of the Mind" offers a series of firsts for the Star Trek series.

First, we are treated to the Vulcan Mind Meld for the very first time. Leonard Nimoy does a wonderful job of making the audience believe he is really connecting with the mind of another; an aspect he didn't quite repeat in future episodes of Trek.

Second, we see how much of a lady killer Captain Kirk is, and will be, during the next 3 years of episodes.

Finally, we see Dr. McCoy really shine in this episode in regards to his concerns over the goings-on down at the penal colony and how Dr. Van Gelder has been treated.

The brain-washing chair is certainly a scary apparatus, but one can also see the appeal of such a device when used in differently circumstances. Certainly 'tricking' Captain Kirk to be madly in love with Dr. Noel was an interesting gimmick, even a funny one on some levels. But it hide, temporarily, the true nature and devastating effects of the device.

Seeing the Captain truly tortured when exposed to the higher levels of the neural neutralizer really gets you squirming in your seats. And the ultimate fate of Dr. Adams, killed by his own invention, is ironic and sad in the end.

And interesting episode overall, but not a memorable one.

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The Corbomite Maneuver


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 1
Episode #: 3
Original Airdate: 11/10/1966

Writer(s): Jerry Sohl
Director(s): Joseph Sargent

Guest Stars
Anthony Call as Lt. Dave Bailey
Clint Howard as Balok

Stardate: 1512.2

Synopsis
While exploring an uncharted region of space, the U.S.S. Enterprise comes upon an alien space buoy which is cube-shaped and spins, warning ships away and blocking the starship's path. Kirk's orders the phasers to destroy the buoy but immediately an alien's ship, the I.S.S. Fesarius, shaped like a large, glowing crystal traps the starship.

A ghostly, almost skeletal face appears on the viewscreen, identifying itself as Balok. He tells Kirk that the U.S.S. Enterprise has trespassed and committed hostile actions, and therefore, must be destroyed. Employing a trick from the Earth game of poker, Kirk tries a desperate bluff by convincing Balok that if the Enterprise is fired upon, the corbomite in the starship's hull will self-destruct and destroy both ships.

Believing Kirk, the Fesarius instead takes the starship in tow, but Kirk wrenches his ship away so suddenly and with such force that Balok's ship is apparently disabled. When the Fesarius transmits a distress call, Kirk, McCoy and Lieutenant David Bailey, still nervous about the bluff played against the powerful alien, beam aboard the Fesarius.

They find that the Fesarius is manned by only one entity, a friendly, child-like being who projects the 'Balok' image to potential enemies, knowing his own stature would be far less daunting. They also find that Balok's ship has not been damaged, but that the alien was merely testing the U.S.S. Enterprise crew to see if they were as peaceful as they claimed to be. A kind of diplomatic relationship is formed over drinks of tranya, and Lt. Bailey offers to remain with Balok as a sort of exchange student to learn the alien's ways and teach him about the Federation.
Review
Ah, "The Corbomite Maneuver". Truly, one of the early classic episodes and the first episode filmed after "Where No Man..." It's fun to see how some of the characters, most notably Spock, were still not as refined as they would come to be. But this episode introduces the fact that, as advanced as the human race has become, they're still just another species in a galaxy filled to the brim with life. Life that, in this is, is far more technologically advanced that we are.

Some of the best aspects of this episode shows how man reacts under pressure, and how Captain Kirk exhausts all alternatives before throwing diplomacy to the wind to save his ship.

His now famous corbomite poker "bluff" is another sign reflecting the intelligence of the Captain. He's not just brawn and bravery. He's a keen intellect and a worthy opponent to any space faring species who wants to match wits with him.

In the end, when Kirk & company realize that the entire situation was simply a test of their character, they respond by accepting the situation and making the best of it by offering a crewman to help research more about Balok's people and their 'First Federation'.

A fun episode that holds up well, despite Spock's order barking. I just wonder what Tranya tasted like. Looked like Tang to me...

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The Menagerie, Part I


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 1
Episode #: 16
Original Airdate: 11/17/1966

Writer(s): Gene Roddenberry
Director(s): Marc Daniels

Guest Stars
Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Christopher Pike
Sean Kenney as Injured Pike
Julie Parrish as Miss Piper
Malachi Throne as Com. Jose I. Mendez

Stardate: 3012.4

Synopsis
The U.S.S. Enterprise and her crew are diverted by a signal from the former captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise on Starbase 11, and proceed to the call. When they arrive they find Captain Christopher Pike, who is severely crippled by radiation burns, confined to a moving chair and his ability to communicate limited to the answers "yes" and "no."

Unbeknownst to Captain Kirk, Spock abducts Pike on board the ship. Captain Kirk returns to the U.S.S. Enterprise with Commodore Mendez, and soon discovers that Spock has locked the ship's controls on a course set for the planet Talos IV - a planet to which a visit carries the death penalty. Forced by the extreme actions of the Vulcan first officer, the two convene a court-martial against Spock.

During the proceedings, from an unknown source, they watch the events that transpired when Captain Pike was in command of the U.S.S. Enterprise. They are shown Pike's initial contact with the Talosians, a race of beings eager to study human beings in their natural state, and who can provide illusions to make things appear exactly as they would like. The transmission relays Captain Pike's entire mission surrounding the Talosians and their bizarre experiments while holding him in a powerful cage. The Talosians are telepathic beings, able to dig deep into the memories to find whatever illusion will be most effective. They attempt to hold Pike captive until his passion and fury force them to release him.

As the proceedings end, the entire court-martial is found to be meaningless, a result of Commodore Mendez being an illusion created by the Talosians for Kirk's benefit. The events, as well, which depicted Pike on Talos IV were also found to originate from the Talosians.

Because of Pike's condition, Spock has risked his career and freedom to bring his former captain to a place where he will be able to live an illusion of a pleasant life, rather than the tragically limited one he lives now. Kirk allows Pike to beam down to Talos IV and all charges against Spock are dropped.
Review
Gene Roddenberry had a masterful way of slipping certain story lines by the hard-nosed censors of the 1960's. He did an equally good job of maneuvering his exploits around the studio executives so that Star Trek would be true to his vision. Roddenberry always admired the original pilot, "The Cage" and he was not about to let those first two hours of Star Trek history fall to the cutting room floor. So, enter the masterful, suspenseful only 2-part original series episode "The Cage".

Spock is court-martials for stealing the Enterprise and kidnapping Pike, but he knows in the end that his motives are justified - at least to him.

What we learn here, though we've suspected it all along, is the stout devotion the Vulcan has for his commanding officers. Spock served for years under Pike and it was touching to see what lengths he would go to to insure the Captain's happiness.

That message of honor and devotion married with the truly suspenseful court room scene and retelling of the story of Talos IV bring this two-part episode perfectly together. A great episode and a deserving way to showcase the true beginnings of Star Trek.

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The Menagerie, Part II


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 1
Episode #: 16
Original Airdate: 11/24/1966

Writer(s): Gene Roddenberry
Director(s): Marc Daniels

Guest Stars
Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Christopher Pike
Sean Kenney as Injured Pike
Julie Parrish as Miss Piper
Malachi Throne as Com. Jose I. Mendez

Stardate: 3013.1

Synopsis
The U.S.S. Enterprise and her crew are diverted by a signal from the former captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise on Starbase 11, and proceed to the call. When they arrive they find Captain Christopher Pike, who is severely crippled by radiation burns, confined to a moving chair and his ability to communicate limited to the answers "yes" and "no."

Unbeknownst to Captain Kirk, Spock abducts Pike on board the ship. Captain Kirk returns to the U.S.S. Enterprise with Commodore Mendez, and soon discovers that Spock has locked the ship's controls on a course set for the planet Talos IV - a planet to which a visit carries the death penalty. Forced by the extreme actions of the Vulcan first officer, the two convene a court-martial against Spock.

During the proceedings, from an unknown source, they watch the events that transpired when Captain Pike was in command of the U.S.S. Enterprise. They are shown Pike's initial contact with the Talosians, a race of beings eager to study human beings in their natural state, and who can provide illusions to make things appear exactly as they would like. The transmission relays Captain Pike's entire mission surrounding the Talosians and their bizarre experiments while holding him in a powerful cage. The Talosians are telepathic beings, able to dig deep into the memories to find whatever illusion will be most effective. They attempt to hold Pike captive until his passion and fury force them to release him.

As the proceedings end, the entire court-martial is found to be meaningless, a result of Commodore Mendez being an illusion created by the Talosians for Kirk's benefit. The events, as well, which depicted Pike on Talos IV were also found to originate from the Talosians.

Because of Pike's condition, Spock has risked his career and freedom to bring his former captain to a place where he will be able to live an illusion of a pleasant life, rather than the tragically limited one he lives now. Kirk allows Pike to beam down to Talos IV and all charges against Spock are dropped.
Review
Gene Roddenberry had a masterful way of slipping certain story lines by the hard-nosed censors of the 1960's. He did an equally good job of maneuvering his exploits around the studio executives so that Star Trek would be true to his vision. Roddenberry always admired the original pilot, "The Cage" and he was not about to let those first two hours of Star Trek history fall to the cutting room floor. So, enter the masterful, suspenseful only 2-part original series episode "The Cage".

Spock is court-martials for stealing the Enterprise and kidnapping Pike, but he knows in the end that his motives are justified - at least to him.

What we learn here, though we've suspected it all along, is the stout devotion the Vulcan has for his commanding officers. Spock served for years under Pike and it was touching to see what lengths he would go to to insure the Captain's happiness.

That message of honor and devotion married with the truly suspenseful court room scene and retelling of the story of Talos IV bring this two-part episode perfectly together. A great episode and a deserving way to showcase the true beginnings of Star Trek.

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The Conscience Of The King


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 1
Episode #: 13
Original Airdate: 12/8/1966

Writer(s): Barry Trivers
Director(s): Gerd Oswald

Guest Stars
Arnold Moss as Anton Karidian
Barbara Anderson as Lenore Karidian
Grace Lee Whitney as Janice Rand
Bruce Hyde as Lt. Kevin Riley
Karl Bruck as King Duncan
Marc Adams as Hamlet
Eddie Paskey as Lt. Leslie
Majel Barrett as Computer Voice

Stardate: 2817.6

Synopsis
Twenty-two years before stardate 2817.6, the governor of Tarsus IV, Kodos, evoked emergency martial law and ordered half of the planet's population executed. His intent was to address a severe food shortage on Tarsus IV, and it earned him the name "Kodos the Executioner." It was believed that Kodos died on the planet, but there is some belief that he may have escaped and assumed another identity.

James Kirk, Lt. Kevin Riley, and Dr. Thomas Leighton are the only surviving witnesses to Kodos' previous evil deeds; others who might have known Kodos have been mysteriously killed in various accidents.

A traveling theatrical troupe arrives at Planet Q, and a Dr. Leighton contacts the U.S.S. Enterprise regarding a new synthetic food concentrate. When he is beamed aboard, he tells Kirk that his real reason for contacting him was to tell the captain that he suspects Anton Karidian, the head actor in the theater troupe, is really Kodos.

When Dr. Leighton is murdered, Kirk agrees to transport the Karidian Players to the Benecia Colony on board the U.S.S. Enterprise. His real motive is to study Karidian and his daughter in an attempt to learn if he is, indeed, Kodos and responsible for Leighton's death.

When Riley is poisoned, the young man learns of Kirk's suspicions and goes to the theater on board the U.S.S. Enterprise to kill Kodos. Kirk stops him and takes the actor as his prisoner. Then he learns that Karidian's daughter, Lenore, has been killing anyone who might know of her father's past life. Karidian, who has been trying to forget his past, is horrified to find what his daughter has been doing. Lenore aims a phaser at Kirk, but her father steps into the line of fire and is killed. Lenore goes completely insane at having killed her father.
Review
"Kodos the Executioner." Hearing Dr. Leighton utter the title in the opening sequence sets up this episode nicely. At that point, we have no idea who Kodos is, or the Doctor for that matter. But the fact that he's pointing this out to Kirk seals the importance of the statement.

This is a combined decades-old murder mystery along with a present day one that seem to circle around Kirk, Leighton and Lt. Bailey. Realizing that they were the only 3 surviving people from Tarsus IV who witnessed Kodos during the famed executions, Kirk begins to believe Leighton's accusations that the actor Karidian is, indeed, Kodos.

But Kirk has his doubts and his attention wanes as he begins to court Karidian's daughter Lenore. This is the perfect set up that Star Trek handled so well, especially in a future episode.

Kirk is partially blinded by the beautiful woman, but realizes something truly is wrong when Leighton ends up dead. It's clear that Karidian is Kodos to the audience. And it seems clear that he is killing the only remaining witnesses to his mass executions.

But the twist comes in the end during the final performance of Hamlet when Leonore admits to the killings to protect her father. A perfect, twistful, suspenseful episode that clearly showed that Star Trek didn't focus on science fiction and space battles. It focused on stories.

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Balance Of Terror


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 1
Episode #: 9
Original Airdate: 12/15/1966

Writer(s): Paul Schneider
Director(s): Vincent McEveety

Guest Stars
Mark Lenard as Romulan Commander
Lawrence Montaigne as Decius
Grace Lee Whitney as Janice Rand
Paul Comi as Lt. Andrew Stiles
John Warburton as Centurion
Stephen Mines as Spec. Robert Tomlinson
Barbara Baldavin as Spec. 2/C Angela Martine

Stardate: 1709.2

Synopsis
The marriage of Angela Martine and Robert Tomlinson is interrupted when a Romulan warbird attacks and destroys Outpost 4, which guards the Neutral Zone between Federation and Romulan space. Kirk learns that the Romulan ship has also destroyed three other outposts and is now running at full speed towards home.

The U.S.S. Enterprise pursues the warbird, hampered by the fact that the Romulans have constructed an invisibility screen which shields them from view. While the screen protects the Romulans from detection visually, it also prevents them from using their weapons or visual aids. The Romulan Commander, therefore, isn't sure whether his radar is detecting a Federation ship in pursuit or a harmless space echo.

The U.S.S. Enterprise is able to pick up a visual from the Romulan bridge, which shows the previously unseen Romulans to look very much like Vulcans. This sparks an old prejudice in Lieutenant Andrew Stiles, whose family fought in the Romulan wars. He is instantly suspicious of Spock, whose physical characteristics are remarkably similar to the Romulans they are chasing.

After every attempt to lose the U.S.S. Enterprise fails, the Romulan Commander is forced to turn and fight. Both ships are damaged; when the U.S.S. Enterprise's phaser banks are damaged, they emit a poisonous gas which disables Stiles and Tomlinson, who are manning the weapons. In a tense race against time, Spock manages to fire the only remaining phaser manually, disabling the Romulan ship. The Vulcan manages to save Stiles, but Tomlinson is killed. Stiles, realizing by Spock's actions that his bigotry was misplaced, admits that he was wrong.

The Romulan Commander contacts the U.S.S. Enterprise and, in a stirring moment, tells Kirk that under other circumstances, he suspects they might be friends. Rather than let himself and his ship be taken prisoner, the Romulan self-destructs the warbird.
Review
Unquestionably, one of my favorite episodes in all of Trekdom. The "Balance of Terror" masterfully works on so many levels that I feel it single-handily raised Star Trek to the next level. Our first glimpse of a true for in the Star Trek universe; The Romulans; is an exceptional one.

Once again, relevant social issues and tremendous story telling and suspenseful action are the key to this exceptional episode. Between the prejudice of Lt. Stiles against Spock, to the submarine-like silent running battle sequence, to the matching of wits between Kirk and the Romulan Commander, this is the type of episode that Star Trek flourished on, and fans craved.

As was often the case, the acting in this episode, most notably by the guest stars, was superb. Mark Lenard's portrayal of the Romulans set the tone for the entire species, as Spock did for the Vulcans. Stiles seething prejudice was perfectly balanced to his shame when he realized that prejudice was misplaced.

It was also important to see that Kirk was human, in some of the errors he made. But the fact that he learned from them instantly was a quality we could all appreciate it. The line "I won't under estimate him again..." is a true Kirk classic. You get the real sense that he did learn from the encounter and he grew from it.

On all levels, "Balance of Terror" was simply one of the best Star Trek episodes period.

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Shore Leave


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 1
Episode #: 17
Original Airdate: 12/29/1966

Writer(s): Theodore Sturgeon
Director(s): Robert Sparr

Guest Stars
Emily Banks as Yeoman Tonia Barrows
Shirley Bonne as Ruth
Marcia Brown as Alice in Wonderland
Perry Lopez as Lt. Estaban Rodriguez
Bruce Mars as Finnegan
Oliver McGowan as Caretaker

Stardate: 3025.3

Synopsis
A U.S.S. Enterprise landing party beams down to an uncharted planet. The planet seems like a perfect candidate for shore leave with its "Earth-type" characteristics. Kirk sends McCoy down with the party to check it out.

McCoy's first encounter on the new world is with a life-sized white rabbit in a waistcoat, being chased by a little girl in a pinafore. Kirk answers McCoy's somewhat odd call for help and beams down himself to find his old rival from his academy days, Finnegan. While trying to catch his old enemy, Kirk meets Ruth, an old girlfriend. He notices that neither Finnegan nor Ruth have changed in appearance since he's last seen them. Elsewhere, Sulu is attacked by a Samurai Warrior while others are chased by tigers and aircraft.

McCoy, who has paired off with Yeoman Tonia Barrows, is killed by a black knight on horseback. As the perils become more and more deadly, Kirk and Spock realize that their thoughts are somehow coming to life around them.

An old man appears, explaining that this planet is designed as an "amusement park," and he is the Caretaker for the world. The planet is not meant to be hostile, and the results of one's fantasies are not lasting. McCoy appears, healed, with a Rigel Cabaret girl on each arm. Tonia disengages the good doctor and they go off to spend what promises to be an enjoyable vacation together. The Caretaker invites Kirk and his crew to spend their leave on his planet. Kirk agrees, realizing that once warned, it would provide a most diverting vacation spot. As he makes his decision, Ruth appears.
Review
"Shore Leave" takes Star Trek to a new, comedic level. After over a dozen of episodes that took, for the most part, a very serious tone, "Shore Leave", while containing some serious moments (Heck, McCoy gets killed...) really just has the crew in a relaxed, if not perplexed, state of mind.

This is a fun episode, one not to be taken too seriously (even with McCoy's death and resurrection). But at the same time, it's a bit annoying from a technological point of view. I mean, if some type of machinery can nearly instantaneously read your thoughts and create items - and living beings - based on your thoughts, then it would be the closest thing yet to God.

But that aspect of this episode isn't explored, but it does make one wonder.

Still, this is episode does shed some light on the earlier days of Kirk's Starfleet career, as well as McCoy's keen eye for the ladies. It's a Star Trek romp, if nothing else.

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The Galileo Seven


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 1
Episode #: 14
Original Airdate: 1/5/1967

Writer(s): Oliver Crawford & S. Bar David
Director(s): Robert Gist

Guest Stars
Buck Maffei as Creature
Peter Marko as Lt. Gaetano
Don Marshall as Lt. Boma
John Crawford as High Commissioner Ferris
David L. Ross as Transporter Chief
Reese Vaughn as Lt. Latimer
Grant Woods as Lt. Commander Kelowitz
Phyllis Douglas as Yeoman Mears

Stardate: 2821.5

Synopsis
On its way to deliver medical supplies to plague-ridden Makus III, the U.S.S. Enterprise passes Murasaki 312. Since they are under Starfleet orders to inspect galactic phenomena such as this quasarlike star group, McCoy, Spock, Scott and four crewmen take a shuttlecraft, the Galileo, for a closer look.

Without warning, the shuttlecraft is pulled off course and out of sensor range of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Spock manages to crash land the shuttle on a foggy, rocky area of Taurus II which is inhabited by giant, hostile humanoids. Between attacks by the war-like residents and quarrels among themselves, the crew attempts to repair the shuttle and get off the planet.

Because of an ionization of its instruments, the U.S.S. Enterprise is unable to find the craft. On board, Commissioner Ferris demands that Kirk abandon the search and proceed to Makus III. Two of the crewmen from the Galileo are killed by the giant humanoids and Lt. Boma demands, irrationally, that Spock stop his repairs in order to bury the dead men. Spock's logic will not permit him to comply with the lieutenant's wishes in the face of their present situation.

As the U.S.S. Enterprise prepares to leave the area without finding the missing shuttle, the Galileo manages an unsteady orbit around the planet, but is unable to pull away from its gravitational pull. Knowing it will send them crashing to the planet's surface if his plan fails, Spock ignites the remaining fuel. The U.S.S. Enterprise sees the meteor-like flare of the burning fuel and beams the crew aboard as the Galileo disintegrates in the planet's atmosphere. Later, Spock stubbornly insists that his desperate act was not a human instinct to gamble, but a logical Vulcan approach to their problem.
Review
The Galileo Seven was an important and disappointing episode for the first season. Its importance was based on the fact that Spock took a commanding and leading role in an episode, one that pushed many of his Vulcan logical arguments to the limits. It also showed that Spock was, above all else, as human as he was Vulcan - to a point.

But what could have been a stellar episode, with some (then) nice visual effects is overshadowed by some really poor acting across the board. John Crawford as Ferris was simply abysmal with some of the driest acting ever witnessed on Trek. Shatner, unfortunately, wasn't much better as he seemed genuinely annoyed through most of the scenes - but clearly out of character. And Nimoy seemed to bark his lines more than anything else, again coming off out-of-character.

Acting aside, the story line was interesting, if not terribly original. And the fact that, in the end, several people did perish shows that Star Trek wasn't about happy endings. Just survival.

A fair episode overall that could have been a magnificent one save for the acting.

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The Squire Of Gothos


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 1
Episode #: 18
Original Airdate: 1/12/1967

Writer(s): Paul Schneider
Director(s): Don McDougall

Guest Stars
William Campbell as Trelane
Michael Barrier as Lt. DeSalle
Venita Wolf as Yeoman Teresa Ross
Barbara Babcock as Trelane's Mother's Voice
James Doohan as Trelane's Father's Voice

Stardate: 2124.5

Synopsis
The U.S.S. Enterprise must cross an empty sector of space on their way to deliver supplies to colony Beta VI. In this space, they find an uncharted planet whose presence can't be explained. After Kirk and Sulu disappear without apparent reason, Spock orders McCoy and geophysicist Lt. Karl Jaeger to the planet's surface to begin a search.

They find Trelane, a humanoid with tremendous psionic powers and a passion for Earth's 18th-century military history. It is he, they discover, who impulsively kidnapped Kirk and Sulu, wanting to add them to his arena of the Napoleonic era that he has created on this planet, Gothos.

While Trelane has great powers, he has little self-control and is spoiled, willful and impetuous. When McCoy and Jaeger appear, Trelane invites them all to join him at his party.

Spock manages to beam them aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, but Trelane, determined to have his way in all matters, transports the entire bridge crew to Gothos for a banquet. Kirk challenges Trelane to a duel and in the process, destroys the device the alien uses to create his illusions. However, Trelane repairs it and prevents the U.S.S. Enterprise from leaving orbit until he can punish Kirk for his rash actions.

In exchange for freedom for the U.S.S. Enterprise and her crew, Kirk offers himself as the prey in a "fox hunt." Suddenly, as Trelane is about to kill the Captain, two noncorporeal beings appear. They explain to Kirk that they are Trelane's parents, and apologize for letting their child play such dangerous games. They then scold the errant child for his selfish behavior and temper tantrums. They inform Trelane that he will not be allowed to have another planet to play with until he learns how to treat other beings with respect.
Review
Something interesting about Star Trek in general is the ability for certain episodes to actually improve over time, akin to a fine wine. It took nearly 20 years for this episode to really shine and that was, in part, thanks to The Next Generation.

Since TNG premiered with the omnipotent "Q", speculation has run rampant about the possibility that General Trelane (retired) was, in fact, a "Q" himself. For some reason, that speculation placed Trelane in a more favorable position and, as such, he doesn't come of as a childish brat - but a typical "Q".

Ok, so perhaps that's pushing it too far, but it always bothered me that Trelane, with all his powers, could act so spoiled and rotten. Yes, I realize that was the point, but I think it was taken a bit too far.

That quibble aside, this is an interesting and moderately entertaining offering, but alas lacks some real substance, save for the link to "Q" caused by The Next Generation.

Let's call Trelane a pre-Q and leave it at that. Makes this episode all the more fun to watch.

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Arena


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 1
Episode #: 19
Original Airdate: 1/19/1967

Writer(s): Gene L. Coon
Director(s): Joseph Pevney

Guest Stars
Carole Shelyne as Metron
Vic Perrin as Metron's voice
Gary Coombs as Gorn Captain
Bobby Clark as Gorn Captain
Vic Perrin as Gorn's voice
Grant Woods as Lt. Commander Kelowitz
Sean Kenney as Lt. DePaul
Eddie Paskey as Lt. Leslie

Stardate: 3045.6

Synopsis
The U.S.S. Enterprise is in pursuit of an unknown alien ship which has destroyed a Starfleet base on Cestus III. In an uncharted area of space, both the alien ship and the Enterprise are caught by an advanced race called Metrons. The Metrons are angry at the two ships for trespassing into their space and believe that physical combat is the answer to finding justice.

They transport Kirk and the alien captain, a lizard-like creature called a Gorn, to an uninhabited asteroid to fight to the death. The Metrons promise that the victor and his ship will be set free, while the loser will be destroyed, along with his ship and crew.

The Gorn informs Kirk that the base on Cestus III was destroyed because it was believed to be a hostile intrusion on Gorn space. The Gorn is seven feet tall and much stronger than a human, with an extremely aggressive nature, but Kirk has the advantage of speed and agility that his opponent lacks. Kirk manages to keep out of the Gorn's way long enough to mix local minerals into gunpowder, which he uses in a primitive cannon to wound the Gorn captain.

When Kirk refuses to kill the Gorn, the Metrons decide that there may be some hope for the human species after all. Both captains and their ships are set free.
Review
With "Arena", Star Trek delivers an exciting, captivating and ultimately thought-provoking episode that's considered one of the series' stand out offerings. This is a knock-down, drag out fight of an episode that showcases Kirk's heroics and leadership skills while presenting an ultimate foe in the Gorn.

And while Kirk tries to fend off brut strength with his own, he ultimately realizes that he can only win this challenge through his resourcefulness and intelligence. This further exemplifies the completeness of Kirk as a commanding officer of a Starship.

And despite the barbarism of the entire episode, it ends with a message that humans have (or will) evolve to embrace life - in all forms - as proven by Kirk's unwillingness to kill off the Gorn - despite the risks to his own life.

Star Trek is about sending a message - as most every episode does. "Arena" does this very well despite its low-brow premise.

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Tomorrow Is Yesterday


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 1
Episode #: 21
Original Airdate: 1/26/1967

Writer(s): D.C. Fontana
Director(s): Michael O'Herlihy

Guest Stars
Majel Barrett as Computer Voice
Roger Perry as Captain John Christopher
Ed Peck as Colonel Fellini
Hal Lynch as Air Police sergeant

Stardate: 3113.2

Synopsis
When the U.S.S. Enterprise is thrown into a time warp by a black star, it ends up orbiting Earth in the 20th century. Omaha Air Base detects a peculiar UFO and sends a fighter plane, manned by Captain John Christopher, to investigate.

The starship accidentally destroys the plane, caught in their tractor beam, so the pilot is beamed aboard. The problem now, of course, is to prevent Captain Christopher from returning to tell others on Earth. In order not to change history, in which Christopher's son will prove important, Kirk must return the captain to Earth without knowledge of the ship.

In an attempt to remove all records of the U.S.S. Enterprise sighting, Kirk and Sulu beam down to the air base. Kirk is almost immediately captured by the Air Police, though Sulu manages to escape and gets the stolen records to the U.S.S. Enterprise. Spock and Captain Christopher beam down to help get Kirk away from the Air Police. At the same time, an Air Police sergeant has been accidentally caught in the U.S.S. Enterprise's transporter beam and is reeling as he finds himself on a 23rd-century starship.

Spock and Scotty manage to recreate the conditions of the time warp that brought them to this time, with a slingshot effect around the Sun. The confused Air Police sergeant is returned to Earth a second before he was transported to the Enterprise, so he will remember nothing of his astounding experience, and the starship returns to the 23rd century.

This time, the pilot sees nothing and the Air Force concludes that the sighting was a mistake ... a UFO. In effect, everything that had happened, never happened.
Review
"Tomorrow is Yesterday" marks another important turning point in the history of Star Trek: Time Travel. Without going into how the notion of time travel has exploded in the Star Trek universe, it is important to note that this episode begins to explore the importance - and dangers - that time travel can pose to the universe. This notion would be further explored - and felt - in future episodes, most notably "City..."

But to see the Enterprise flying (drifting) around in the Earth's sky, and to see the Enterprise crew react and interact with Captain John Christopher - a man from 200 years in their past - is truly entertaining.

From the problems the Enterprise is having with their computer's personality, to Kirk being captured by guards who threaten to lock him up for 200 years ("That would be just about right..."), this episode is a genuinely fun romp that sets the stage for many more Trek adventures in the future and the past.

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Court Martial


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 1
Episode #: 15
Original Airdate: 2/2/1967

Writer(s): Don M. Mankiewicz & Stephen Carabatsos
Director(s): Marc Daniels

Guest Stars
Elisha Cook Jr. as Samuel T. Cogley
Joan Marshall as Lt. Areel Shaw
Alice Rawlings as Jamie Finney
Percy Rodriguez as Commodore Stone
Richard Webb as Lt. Comm. Ben Finney

Stardate: 2947.3

Synopsis
When the U.S.S. Enterprise puts in at Starbase 11 for repairs caused in an ion storm, Kirk gives his report of the circumstances of Lieutenant Commander Ben Finney's death to Commodore Stone. All goes well until Spock arrives with the computer visual tape of the bridge during the crisis. Spock tries to warn Kirk about what is on the tape, but the Commodore takes it and plays it. Kirk's statement claims that Finney went into the U.S.S. Enterprise's ion pod to take vital readings. When the storm made it necessary to jettison the pod, Kirk warned Finney during a yellow alert; he eventually switched to red alert before jettisoning the ion pod. This event occurred with Finney, apparently, inside.

What the computer tapes show is Kirk pressing the pod-release switch while still in a yellow alert status. As a result of this, the Commodore informs Kirk that he will have to stand trial for possible court-martial for the death of Finney. Things are complicated even more when Finney's daughter, Jamie, blames Kirk for her father's death.

When Kirk meets an old girlfriend, Lt. Areel Shaw, that evening she tells him that she's arranged for a lawyer to come and see him. Unfortunately, she's been assigned to prosecute his case and will try her best to bring him down. Dejected, Kirk goes to his room to find that Samuel T. Cogley has moved in, books and baggage. Kirk decides that he likes the quirky lawyer and they begin to plan the captain's defense.

On the U.S.S. Enterprise, McCoy reprimands Spock for playing chess with the computer while Kirk is on trial for murder. Spock explains that he has won several games straight ... a feat he should not have been able to accomplish unless the computer is malfunctioning. McCoy's interest is piqued and the two men discuss what this development could mean to the captain's defense.

At the trial, just as the defense has rested, Spock appears with the information about the faulty computer. Cogley gives a stirring speech about the rights of men versus machines and the Commodore finally allows the jury to reconvene on board the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Spock explains that having programmed the computer for chess himself just months before, the best he should have been able to do is stalemate. Therefore, the officer explains, someone tampered with the computer, adjusting its memory. When asked who had the knowledge for such an action, the Vulcan admits that it could only have been himself, Kirk or Records Officer Ben Finney. Cogley then suggests that Finney is still alive and hiding somewhere on the U.S.S. Enterprise.

On the Bridge, the ship's sensors have been boosted to pick up any sound on the ship. Everyone but the bridge personnel and transporter attendant are beamed to the surface and the demonstration begins. Switching on the sensors, everyone's heartbeat on the ship is audible. One by one McCoy, using a white-light masking device, eliminates the sound of everyone's heartbeat ... except one ... Finney's.

Kirk goes after Finney and finds him hiding on the ship. Finney has harbored a grudge against Kirk since they were both ensigns, when Kirk had logged a careless and potentially dangerous mistake of Finney's, which the man claims has kept him from promotion over the years.

The two men fight, with Kirk finally winning. Finney had, however, damaged the ship's engines and the U.S.S. Enterprise is losing its orbit. Racing against time, Kirk manages to repair the damage and the U.S.S. Enterprise regains her previous position. Kirk is cleared of all charges and Samuel T. Cogley takes on a new client ... Ben Finney.
Review
"Court Martial" is another example of why Star Trek was and is successful. It may have been labeled as a Science Fiction series, but it relied on real-world events and problems, just set in a futuristic arena. There was no better example of this in the series original run that "Court Martial".

Kirk accused of causing the death of one of his crew.

A past lover is set to be the prosecutor.

An odd-ball attorney is set to defend Kirk.

And Kirk is convinced he is innocent, even though he can't dispute the evidence.

With Elisha Cook's quirky portray of Samuel T. Cogley being spot on, and the real sense of a mystery at hand, it's hard not to enjoy this episode even after repeated viewings.

This all makes for a great court-room episode with a very surprising ending that lends to the sci-fi premise of the show. Great acting, great writing and direction really helps to keep this episode as fresh today as it was decades ago.

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The Return Of The Archons


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 1
Episode #: 22
Original Airdate: 2/9/1967

Writer(s): Boris Sobelman
Director(s): Joseph Pevney

Guest Stars
Harry Townes as Reger
Torin Thatcher as Marplon
Brioni Farrell as Tula
Sid Haig as First Lawgiver
Charles Macaulay as Landru
Jon Lormer as Tamar
Morgan Farley as Hacom
Christopher Held as Lindstrom
Sean Morgan as Lt. O'Neil
Ralph Maurer as Bilar
David L. Ross as Guard
Miko Mayama as Yeoman Tamura

Stardate: 3156.2

Synopsis
The U.S.S. Enterprise is investigating Beta III, where the U.S.S. Archon disappeared over 100 years before.

When the landing party exhibits strange behavior, Kirk sends another party down to investigate. They find the culture on Beta III is quiescent, with no creative tendencies. The entire culture is controlled by a group of 'lawgivers' known as "The Body" which is, in turn, controlled by the omniscient Landru. The inhabitants change from normal, peaceful people to a violent mob at the coming of the Red Hour. This 'Festival' is the society's only outlet for the tyrannical hold that Landru has over them at all other times.

Meanwhile, the U.S.S. Enterprise is being pulled from its orbit, its crew to be absorbed into the Body. This, they discover, is what happened to the U.S.S. Archon, so many years before.

Archon survivors have formed an underground of sorts to fight the Body, and they help Kirk and Spock reach Landru. Landru turns out to be an incredibly complex computer built by Landru, a scientist who lived 6,000 years before, who wanted to guide his people into a peaceful, civilized progress.

Landru had affected the computer with his scientific thoughts and memories, but not his wisdom. For centuries the computer, 'Landru,' has been interpreting his suggestions to the point that no one is allowed independent thought. Kirk tells the computer that instead of helping to nurture the culture of Beta III, it has harmed it. Landru destroys itself, leaving the Betans to work toward the sort of culture Landru had wanted so many centuries before. With the promise of Federation help on the way, Kirk and his crew beam back to the U.S.S. Enterprise.
Review
"The Return of the Archons" is an interesting episode on several levels. First, from the "Barney" approach, it looks at how a society, brainwashed by a leader (Landru), acts and reacts to a controlled existence. Second, it begins to highlight the need for the Prime Directive.

True, Kirk & Company save the inhabitants from the computerized Landru, and its poor interpretation of its creator's wishes, but who was to say that living life on their own would result in a better society? In many ways, "Archons..." is quite similar to the second-season episode "The Apple" - both of which show how and why the Prime Directive is so important in the Star Trek universe.

But, of course, the existence of the directive never stopped Kirk, Picard, Sisko or Janeway to circumvent it when the need existed, thus lessening its overall importance. But the fact that it exists shows how in-depth the notion of an improved society Roddenberry envisioned for his Trek universe.

"Archons..." won't go down in history as one of the best Trek episodes, but it has its moments, it has its messages and it certainly is unique in many ways.

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Space Seed


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 1
Episode #: 24
Original Airdate: 2/16/1967

Writer(s): Gene L. Coon & Carey Wilbur
Director(s): Marc Daniels

Guest Stars
Madlyn Rhue as Lt. Marla McGivers
Ricardo Montalban as Khan

Stardate: 3141.9

Synopsis
A piece of one of history's great puzzles falls into place when Kirk's crew comes across the S.S. Botany Bay, an old-style, pre-warp sleeper ship from Earth that contains several bodies in stasis. Amongst these bodies is Khan Noonien Singh, a genetically engineered strongman and one of the great leaders of Earth's Eugenics War of the 1990s. Although he disappeared without a trace then, once Khan is aroused from his long sleep he soon reveals the ambition, strength and intelligence that helped him conquer a quarter of the Earth.

Once aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, Khan quickly befriends the beautiful Lieutenant Marla McGivers, the ship's historian who has a passion for strong-willed leaders. Together with his Botany Bay crew and new companion, they seize control of the Enterprise by capturing the engine room. Before it's too late, Marla has great misgivings about her newfound loyalties. With her help, Kirk and Spock regain control of the ship by flooding it with gas. Khan's men are soon overtaken and a due punishment is meted out. Khan and his crew, including Marla McGivers, are exiled to a planet where they must start life anew.
Review
"Space Seed" is aptly named for many reasons, many of which go beyond the original intentions of the creative staff of this episode. Of course, this led to the famed Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan motion picture, but it also established the existence of the third World War - the Eugenics War of the late 1990's (ok, so we now know that this never came to pass in reality). That 'history' is also being further explored by a series of novels and may be addresses in a 4th season episode of "Enterprise".

But aside from the proliferation of Trekdom this series created, on its own it is a prime example of a superb Star Trek episode that contains all the necessary elements to capture the audience and have them glued to the set.

The conflict between Kirk and Khan is an intriguing one. One, the advanced captain of a star ship, the other an advanced, genetically enhanced human. Both matching wits and brute strength. Both directed towards a goal they refuse to relinquish. Both respecting the abilities of the other.

In the end, though Kirk and company prevail, Khan does obtain something he was looking for. A new beginning - on a new world. Another reason why Star Trek was more than just a science fiction show. How easy would it have been to ship Khan away to a penal colony, where he could live out his days in captivity? Or to send him back to Earth or some science station to be studied?

Those would have been obvious solutions. Instead, Khan despite his evil doings, is given the opportunity to make something of himself, thus showing that life in Roddenberry's 23rd century truly is advanced on many levels beyond the technological one.

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A Taste Of Armageddon


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 1
Episode #: 23
Original Airdate: 2/23/1967

Writer(s): Robert Hamner & Gene L. Coon
Director(s): Joseph Pevney

Guest Stars
David Opatoshu as Anan 7
Gene Lyons as Ambassador Robert Fox
Barbara Babcock as Mea 3
Miko Mayama as Yeoman Tamura
David L. Ross as Lt. Galloway
Sean Kenney as Lt. DePaul
Robert Sampson as Sar 6

Stardate: 3192.1

Synopsis
The U.S.S. Enterprise is ordered to pick up Ambassador Robert Fox, who is headed to planet Eminiar VII on a diplomatic mission. Upon arriving at the planet, the ship is warned away.

Beaming to the surface with a landing party, Kirk and Spock are met by a young woman, Mea 3, who tells them that Eminiar VII has been at war with its neighboring planet, Vendikar, for over 500 years. Mea 3 takes them to the council chambers where they find banks of computers. Eminiar's head council Anan 7 informs them that the two planets have learned to avoid the complete devastation of war because computers are used. When a "hit" is scored by one of the planets, the people declared "dead" willingly walk into antimatter chambers and are vaporized. Anan 7 further tells Kirk that his ship and all the crew aboard her have been declared casualties and will be executed. When Kirk flatly refuses, the landing party members are taken prisoner.

The council members are unable to convince Scotty, in charge of the U.S.S. Enterprise, to lower shields without a direct order from Captain Kirk. Meanwhile, Ambassador Fox has beamed to Eminiar and is also taken prisoner, marked for death. Kirk and Spock escape and gain the council chambers where they destroy the computers. Kirk tells the council members that they have made this war too easy for themselves and that they will truly experience the horrors of war if they do not learn to make peace first. Ambassador Fox volunteers to stay behind and negotiate a peace between the neighboring planets.
Review
Kirk - the captain.
Kirk - the explorer.
Kirk - the lover.
Kirk - the computer killer?

It's funny how Kirk had a tendency to destroy computers during the 3-year run of the Original Series. Want to count the instances?

1. Landru (The Return of the Archons)
2. War Computers (A Taste of Armageddon)
3. The M-5 (The Ultimate Computer)
4. Nomad (The Changeling)
5. Vaal (The Apple)
6. Norman (I, Mudd)

Well, you get the idea and I'm sure I missed one or two. Beyond this need to destroy computers, "A Taste of Armageddon" sends an extremely important message, one that will likely be timeless. If you make war easy, you'll never have a reason to STOP making war.

The concept of this episode is a superb one as it fully exploits the science fiction genre with present day undertones. However, once again, one must wonder if the Prime Directive should have prevailed in this case.

True, Kirk had to act in order to save his own hide.
True, Kirk's action stopped a centuries old war.

But the Enterprise was warned not to approach the planet - a choice Kirk was willing to abide by if it weren't for the pesky Ambassador.

Still, prime directive aside, moral message about the perils of war aside, "Armageddon" is another stand-out episode that doesn't quite get the credit it deserves. It's a quick-paced story that builds and releases tension and truly has you wondering just how things will work out.

The superb and believable acting from the guest stars, most notably Barbara Babcock as Mea 3 and David Opatoshu as the stout Anan 7, really make this episode shine.

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This Side Of Paradise


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 1
Episode #: 25
Original Airdate: 3/2/1967

Writer(s): D.C. Fontana
Director(s): Ralph Senensky

Guest Stars
Eddie Paskey as Lt. Leslie
Jill Ireland as Leila Kalomi
Frank Overton as Elias Sandoval

Stardate: 3417.3

Synopsis
Expecting the colonists of Omicron Ceti III to be dead after three years of exposure to deadly Berthold rays, Kirk and Spock are surprised to find the colony alive and flourishing.

Spock beams to the surface and meets a young botanist, Leila Kalomi, that he'd worked with previously, and they renew the old friendship. When she worked with Spock six years before on Earth, Leila had tried to interest Spock romantically, and failed. Now she leads the Vulcan to a secluded section of the planet where a native plant sprays him with their spores. Leila tells Spock that the plant induces feelings of harmony and peace and love, along with a desire to remain on Omicron Ceti III and their paradise.

The spores serve to break down Spock's inhibitions and soon he has declared his love for Leila and his desire to remain on the planet. Some of the plants are beamed aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise and more of the crew are affected.

Captain Kirk, the last holdout, finally is affected by the power of the spores and discovers, through his own violent, adverse effect at leaving his beloved U.S.S. Enterprise, that strong, violent emotions are what reverse the effect of the spores.

Kirk manages to lure Spock back to the U.S.S. Enterprise where he goads Spock into a fight. The extra adrenaline in the Vulcan's system pushes the effect of the spores from Spock and he reverts to normal ... just short of killing Captain Kirk.

Using subsonic sound waves, the two officers manage to bring around the rest of the crew and colonists. Now that the colonists realize that the spores have prevented them from making any real progress and accomplishments, they plan to relocate where the plants do not grow.
Review
I actually have a lot of issues with this episode. So many so that this becomes a tough one for me to watch without voicing those objections. Let's run down those issues, shall we?

First, you have a planet bombarded by Berthold rays (radiation). Why didn't the colony detect these before selecting Omnicron Ceti III as a settlement?

Second, the notion that spores from a plant could somehow protect the colonists from the radiation is a little far-fetched, even in a sci-fi setting.

Third, while I like the fact that the spores have an intoxicating affect on the crew, I'm miffed as to how overwhelming the effect was, how it impacted Spock so easily - BUT - that Kirk was able to 'beat' the effects (once again).

In the earlier episode "The Naked Time", Kirk's reaction and ability to partially control the effects of the disease running rampant through the Enterprise was believable. Here, it seems a little far fetched that he alone finds the 'cure' after being infected for such a short time while the colonists never did (or tried to) not did anyone else from the gallant Enterprise crew - including Spock.

Granted, Kirk's passion towards his ship - and his duties - are extensive, but wouldn't you think that other Starfleet personnel would feel just as strongly? And what about Spock? With all his logic, one would think that he would have been able to combat - or make sense of - the spores as well. It seemed that way the moment he became infected, but then he through his life-long pursuit of logic to the wind so he could roll around the grass with his long lost love.

Yes, ok, so I take my concerns about this episode too seriously. What else is new. Aside from ALL of those objections about the premise of this episode, it does show an interesting, non-logical side to Spock; it shows a more cocky, southern McCoy and, well, that's about it.

A poor showing for an otherwise stellar first season.

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The Devil In The Dark


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 1
Episode #: 26
Original Airdate: 3/9/1967

Writer(s): Gene L. Coon
Director(s): Joseph Pevney

Guest Stars
Ken Lynch as Chief Engineer Vanderberg
Janos Prohaska as Horta
Barry Russo as Lt. Comm. Giotto
Brad Weston as Ed Appel

Stardate: 3196.1

Synopsis
The U.S.S. Enterprise arrives to investigate reports of an unknown monster deep in the mining tunnels of Janus VI. The being is apparently destroying machinery and killing the miners, and has the ability to burrow through solid rock. Janus VI is a source for the rare mineral, pergium.

Soon after the landing party arrives on the planet's surface, a reactor pump is stolen and the colony is in jeopardy from fluctuating life support functions. However, this convinces Spock that they are dealing, not with a mindless monster, but with an intelligent lifeform.

Kirk and Spock, along with members of the ship's security team, enter the mines to find the creature. They discover a large, rock-like creature that burrows easily through the stone walls, as a mole might burrow through dirt. Wounded in a phaser blast, the bulky creature manages to escape through the stone wall.

They continue pursuit and eventually Kirk is trapped by the creature. When it doesn't attack, Spock attempts a Vulcan mind meld with the entity and discovers that it is, in fact, an intelligent being. A native of the planet, the creature is normally peaceful, and called a Horta. It doesn't mind sharing the planet with the miners, but when the men broke into the Horta's hatchery and unknowingly destroyed many of her eggs, it attacked to protect its remaining unborn children.

With Spock acting as interpreter, the miners explain that they thought the eggs were some king of silicon nodules and that no hostility had been meant.

McCoy treats the silicon-based creature with a trowel and patch material, and heals it. An alliance is formed between the Horta and the miners; the young, newly-hatched Hortas will mine the pergium at a far faster rate than the humans could and the miners will be extremely rich. Kirk retrieves the missing reactor and the landing party leaves the inhabitants of Janus VI living in peaceful co-existence.
Review
This episode, often dubbed "Attack of the Killer Pepperoni Pizza Monster" is another prime example of how Star Trek can take a seemingly normal "horror" plot and turn it around on you. Lesser shows would have ended the episode with the death of the Horta (monster) and the victorious crew returning to another mission. But Star Trek was rarely so obvious or simplistic.

Instead Roddenberry and the creative staff made you see beyond the horrific appearance of the Horta, and the dreadful murders it committed and placed you - the viewer - in its shoes (ok, the Horta doesn't have feet, but you know I'm speaking figuratively). Seeing the Horta as a defending mother is the first step.

Recognizing that the Horta is an intelligent sentient being is quite another. Man is faced to realize that he caused the attacks through his own actions (the destruction of the Horta eggs). This episode is a nice analogy to the misuse of our own world, and the ecological disaster we too could be headed towards.

Social commentary disguised in a horror episode. Classic Star Trek.

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Errand Of Mercy


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 1
Episode #: 27
Original Airdate: 3/23/1967

Writer(s): Gene L. Coon
Director(s): John Newland

Guest Stars
David Hillary Hughes as Trefayne
Jon Abbott as Ayelborne
Peter Brocco as Claymare
John Colicos as Kor

Stardate: 3198.4

Synopsis
Kirk and Spock beam down to the surface of planet Organia to negotiate for the erection of a Federation base on that planet. Hostilities between the nearby Klingon Empire and Federation have reached alarming heights and it is feared that the medieval culture of the Organians will not be able to withstand a Klingon attack. However, the Organian Council, comprised of five seemingly pleasant, benign elderly men, insist that they prefer to stay with their more primitive culture.

When Kor and his Klingon force attack the planet, Kirk and Spock go undercover as Organian and Vulcan traders. They are captured by the Klingons, and to their surprise, the Organians free them with ease. In turn, the Klingon ship and the U.S.S. Enterprise square off to battle in orbit of the planet.

Displeased by the outbreak of violence, the Organians reveal themselves to be powerful creatures of pure energy who easily neutralize the weapons on both ships, thus ending the threat for the moment.

Back on the U.S.S. Enterprise, Kirk feels certain that the Organians will not only take care of themselves in the future, but monitor their surroundings for any hint of hostilities.
Review
"Errand of Mercy" is a landmark Star Trek episodes for two reasons. First and foremost, it is the first episode that introduces Star Trek's most famous (or would that be infamous) villain - the Klingons. Secondly, it introduces both the recurring "Organian Peace Treaty" and, in its own way, provided a dispute-view for the Prime Directive.

It's interesting to note that while this is the premiere episode for the introduction of the Klingon species, it really doesn't showcase or hint at the formidable enemy that they would soon become. In comparison to "Balance of Terror" which beautifully introduced the Romulans as a major foe, "Errand..." hints at what will become, but doesn't fully exploit - or explain - the decades of war between the Federation and the Klingon Empire.

Additionally, this episode makes a case for why the Prime Directive may not be the best 'all-encompassing' rule the Federation ever came up with. If the Organian had their own Prime Directive, then they could not have stopped the impending Federation/Klingon war and the 'future' of the Trek universe would clearly have been changed.

Sadly, the Federation and/or Star Fleet never made that connection. Fortunately, Kirk & Company did.

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The Alternative Factor


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 1
Episode #: 20
Original Airdate: 3/30/1967

Writer(s): Don Ingalls
Director(s): Gerd Oswald

Guest Stars
Richard Derr as Commodore Barstow
Robert Brown as Lazarus A and B
Janet MacLachien as Lt. Charlene Master

Stardate: 3087.6

Synopsis
While orbiting what should be a dead planet, the U.S.S. Enterprise experiences a moment of "nonexistence." Starfleet Command fears an enemy invasion and orders Kirk to find out what caused the stellar system disturbance.

On the planet below, Kirk finds a man called Lazarus, who tells Kirk that the effect was caused by his enemy. Lazarus has been chasing him with the aid of a time/space craft and wants the Enterprise's dilithium crystals to continue his search. The captain refuses.

When Kirk takes Lazarus aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, it becomes apparent that there is something strange about their visitor. He has incredible mood swings, one minute sane and rational, the next exhibiting violent rage. He also has a bloody head wound that disappears, then reappears moments later.

Lazarus manages to steal the ship's dilithium and return to the planet. Kirk follows and discovers that Lazarus is two people - one sane and one a madman, with one from an anti-matter universe. The sane Lazarus informs Kirk that the beings can only appear in either universe one at a time. Should both men be in the same place at the same time, both universes would be destroyed. Kirk helps the sane Lazarus trap his counterpart in an intermediate time corridor where they can hurt neither the matter nor anti-matter universe, but where the two will be trapped in fight until the end of time.
Review
"The Alternative Factor" has always been an episode that appealed to me, but truth be known, this is one of the few first season episodes that many people dislike with a passion. There is an overtone to this episode that is frightful to the core. That there could be a possible way to annihilate the universe - through hatred - is one that was clearly pointed to the war-torn 60's - but holds true today.

The reason I enjoy this episode is clearly linked to the performance put in by Robert Brown as both versions of Lazarus. Is he a maniac on the verge of a total breakdown, or is he completely sane - but on a mission of utmost importance? It becomes a paradox that Kirk and Spock have to resolve, and once they realize what's at stake - the universe itself - the episode and tension are delicious to behold.

In the end, Lazarus - perhaps both versions - become heroes. Trapping themselves in eternity to preserve the safety of the universe. That ultimate sacrifice is a fitting way to end this truly thought-provoking episode.

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The City On The Edge Of Forever


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 1
Episode #: 28
Original Airdate: 4/6/1967

Writer(s): Harlan Ellison
Director(s): Joseph Pevney

Guest Stars
Joan Collins as Edith Keeler
John Harmon as Rodent
Hal Baylor as Policeman
Bart La Rue as Guardian of Forever Voice
John Winston as Transporter Chief
David L. Ross as Lt. Galloway

Stardate: 3134.0

Synopsis
McCoy accidentally injects himself with an overdose of cordrazine, a drug which makes him exhibit signs of paranoia and madness, while treating an ailing Sulu on the Bridge. Delirious, he beams down to a nearby planet's surface, with Kirk and a landing party on his heels.

They are too late to stop the doctor from leaping through a living time machine called "The Guardian of Forever." At that moment, the U.S.S. Enterprise ceases to exist and the landing party is stranded. The Guardian explains that McCoy went back into Earth's history and changed it, thereby altering the future. Kirk and Spock go through the Guardian, to Depression-era America, a few days before McCoy is to arrive and change history.

They encounter a social worker, Edith Keeler, who helps them find work to pay for the equipment Spock requires to build a tricorder. Unknown to Kirk and Spock, Edith has taken in the recently-arrived and ill McCoy. Kirk promptly falls in love with Edith and is devastated when Spock completes his tricorder and discovers that in order to repair history, they must let Edith Keeler be killed in an auto accident. If they allow McCoy to save her - as he did before - she will start an effective pacifist movement that will delay the United States' entrance into World War II, thus allowing Hitler's Germany to develop the atomic bomb first and conquer the planet.

When the moment comes, a heartbroken Kirk stops McCoy from saving Edith, and the three officers journey back through the Guardian, where they find things as they should be again.
Review
Long heralded as one of the finest episodes for any incarnation of Star Trek, "City.." deserves all of the accolades it receives. The story-line is superb and, on this note I must add my two cents to the on-going debate as to its origin. Written by Harlan Eliison but modified by Gene Roddenberry, "City..." is perfect just as it is. For decades now, Mr. Ellison has claimed that had the script remained in his original format, the episode would have been ever better.

I could NOT disagree more. I've read the original script/story treatment a number of times and it clearly does not capture the essence of Star Trek. The characterizations are totally off. Kirk doesn't act like Kirk. Spock isn't even close. And the thought of on-going drug abuse - aboard the Enterprise even - just isn't in the 'Star Trek' recipe.

Roddenberry's adjustment to this story line (one that he could have rejected altogether) properly put all the characterizations in place and preserved the Star Trek universe that he created.

The result was an episode that highlighted Shatner's true appeal and acting abilities and Spock's clear understanding of human emotions.

This is a devastating love story with science fiction highlights. A prime and perfect example of how well Star Trek could work when it was firing on all cylinders.

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Operation -- Annihilate!


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 1
Episode #: 29
Original Airdate: 4/13/1967

Writer(s): Stephen W. Carabatsos
Director(s): Herschel Daugherty

Guest Stars
Craig Hundley as Peter Kirk
Dave Armstrong as Kartan
Joan Swift as Aurelan Kirk

Stardate: 3287.2

Synopsis
Arriving at the planet Deneva, home of Kirk's only brother Sam and his family, the U.S.S. Enterprise picks up a transmission from a Denevan pilot who has steered his craft into the sun to destroy some unknown menace.

Beaming down to the planet, Kirk finds his brother dead and Sam's wife in a fatal condition. Their only son, Peter, survives informing the landing party of what has occurred. It seems that Deneva has been infested with large, amoeba-like aliens that attack humans and intertwine their tentacles with the body's nervous system. They can move short distances through the air and use excruciating pain as a means of controlling their victims.

When Spock is attacked by one of the creatures, he uses his Vulcan mind control to overcome the pain and return to duty. However, a cure must be found; they must find a way to kill the parasite without harming its host.

Kirk remembers the pilot that flew into the sun and suggests that they may be sensitive to intense light. Spock volunteers to be McCoy's test patient and the doctor bombards him with light beams so strong that the Vulcan is blinded. Too late, the doctor realizes that only ultraviolet light is needed to kill the creatures.

Kirk sets off ultraviolet satellite flares over the planet Deneva, freeing its people from the parasites. Fortunately, Spock's blindness is temporary, due to a second eyelid developed by Vulcans to protect their eyes from the harsh sun on planet Vulcan.
Review
The first historic season of Star Trek ends on a somewhat softer note with "Operation -- Annihilate!" It's not that this is a soft, easy going episode. It's isn't. It's just not one of the season's best offerings, but it does offer what could have been a superb cliff-hanger ending. But season-ending cliff-hangers were a trademark of later-day Trek series, not TOS.

But the Spock-going-blind story aside, "Operation..." could have been a better episode had it focused more of the origins of the creature. If it truly resembled a brain-cell, then it would have been interesting to understand where the 'brain' was and how these creatures were able to traverse space to devastate system after system. Sci-fi plays a little too much into this story line as it asks the viewer to suspend all reality and just enjoy the ride.

That can work from time to time, but it falls just a little short here. But the season in a whole still stands out as the best in all of Trek.

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