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STAR TREK
The Original Series


   

Spock's Brain


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 3
Episode #: 61
Original Airdate: 9/20/1968

Writer(s): Lee Cronin
Director(s): Marc Daniels

Guest Stars
Marj Dusay as Kara
James Daris as Morg
Sheila Leighton as Luma

Stardate: 5431.4

Synopsis
The U.S.S. Enterprise is on a routine mission in deep space when a beautiful young woman beams onto the bridge. Without a word, she touches a band on her wrist and everyone is rendered unconscious. She moves around the bridge until finally she comes to Spock. Smiling, she lays a hand on the Vulcan's head, as if she's found what she was looking for.

When Kirk awakes, Spock is gone from the bridge. Before the captain can find out where his first officer has gone, McCoy calls, demanding his presence in sickbay immediately. Spock's body lays on a diagnostic table, on full life support. McCoy explains that his brain is gone ... miraculously removed with some technology that the doctor has never seen before. Every nerve was sealed and there was no blood lost. However, McCoy tells him if the Vulcan's brain isn't returned to his body within 24 hours, Spock will die.

Kirk orders the starship in pursuit of the woman's ship. By following their ion trail, the Enterprise arrives at the sixth planet in the Sigma Draconis system. When Kirk and party beam down, they find a rough, frozen world inhabited by two peoples: the Morgs, who are comprised solely of men, who live on the surface in a primitive culture, and the Eymorgs, an all female group who live deep under the planet's surface. While the Eymorgs live in a highly technological society, they don't understand that technology and are trained to perform various tasks - like the operation enabling them to steal Spock's brain - by what is known as the "Great Teacher." This "teacher" was left behind by ancient technologists who once lived on the planet.

McCoy, having fashioned a device which will control Spock's body without the aid of his brain, beams down with the Vulcan to join Kirk and his party. They find Kara, the woman who beamed aboard the Enterprise. They quickly realize that Kara doesn't have the skill or knowledge to have performed the operation on Spock, and she tells them about the Great Teacher.

Finally, Kirk finds Spock's brain. The Eymorgs have hooked it up to run their central control system. The brain is now revered as the "Controller," which they hope will control their central systems for the next 10,000 years. After trying unsuccessfully to get Kara to repeat the operation on Spock in reverse, McCoy submits to the Great Teacher device and gains the knowledge needed to restore Spock's brain and save the Vulcan's life.

Without their Controller, the Eymorgs fear for their existence. Kirk suggests they share their greater knowledge with the Morgs and live together on the surface.
Review
Talk about a headache. Wait. Sorry. Bad pun. "Spock's Brain" is famous (infamous) for three things.

1. It's considered one of the worst episodes of the original series run.
2. It's the first episode in the third and ultimately final season of Star Trek.
3. It's a technological mish-mash from the laughable brain transplants segments to the applaudable reference of Ion power from the Eymorgs' ship.

You know, one - no, make that two simple changes to this episode would have saved it from its infamy. First, change the name from "Spock's Brain" to almost ANYthing else. Second, instead of 'stealing' Spock's brain, kidnap him altogether.

The rest of the episode would work. The story line would be believable and even interesting. It could have been - there I go again, with my "could have's" - should have been a better episode. But in the end you have sexy, dominating women in flashy outfits who are as dumb as the day is long stealing a Vulcan's brain.

I just don't get how this episode ever made it past the producers. A bad sign for the beginning of the third season.

A bad sign indeed.

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The Enterprise Incident


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 3
Episode #: 59
Original Airdate: 9/27/1968

Writer(s): D.C. Fontana
Director(s): John Meredyth Lucas

Guest Stars
Joanne Linville as Romulan Commander
Jack Donner as Subcommander Tal
Majel Barrett as Christine Chapel

Stardate: 5027.3

Synopsis
Seeming tense and erratic, Captain Kirk takes the U.S.S. Enterprise into Romulan space and the ship is immediately surrounded by Romulan warships. Kirk and Spock beam aboard the Romulan flag-ship and confront the Romulan Commander, a woman. Kirk explains that his ship entered Romulan territory because of equipment malfunction. Spock, however, denounces this explanation, saying Kirk ordered them here, due to his reduced mental stability. This, not surprisingly, enrages the Captain. The Romulan Commander orders the U.S.S. Enterprise be taken to the Romulan base. Scotty, placed in command of the starship, refuses. McCoy is beamed aboard the flag-ship to tend Kirk, who has become irrational to the point of violence. When he arrives, Kirk attacks Spock who reacts, without thinking, by using the Vulcan death grip, killing Kirk.

McCoy returns to the U.S.S. Enterprise with Kirk's body, while Spock remains on the Romulan ship. Unknown to the Romulan Commander, this has all been a ploy to sneak the officers on board and steal the Romulan cloaking device. After Kirk's body has been removed to his ship, the Romulan Commander begins to try and entice Spock into defecting to the Romulan side.

Disguised as a Romulan, Kirk returns to the Romulan ship and steals the vessel's cloaking device and returns with it to the U.S.S. Enterprise. When the Commander discovers the theft, she feels betrayed and in retaliation decides to execute Spock. The Vulcan pretends to confess to her and ultimately stalls until Scotty is able to install the cloaking device on board the U.S.S. Enterprise. Spock is beamed back aboard the starship, but since the Romulan Commander was standing near him, she is also beamed aboard.

The Romulan Subcommander, now in charge of the flag-ship, gives chase, ordered by his commander to destroy the Federation ship. Fortunately, the newly-installed cloaking device works and the U.S.S. Enterprise makes good her escape, with the Romulan Commander on board a their prisoner.
Review
Ok, let's just pretend that "Spock's Brain" didn't start off the third season. Let's just move right past that, assume it was a joke and get to the heart of the final season of Star Trek. That heart and soul is perfectly reflected in episodes such as "The Enterprise Incident" where, finally, the Romulans return.

This is a great episode worthy on inclusion on anyone's top ten TOS list. You have no idea whether or not Kirk has really lost it. You have no idea what the Romulans are up to or capable of. You're confused - purposely - about Spock's apparently disloyal actions.

All of this ending up in a secret mission that only Kirk and Spock are privy to until it all blows up in the face of the Romulans with the Enterprise using the Cloaking device to escape their would-be captors.

Great fun. Great action. Great suspense. Ah, "Spock's Brain", you had me worried there for a minute.

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The Paradise Syndrome


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 3
Episode #: 58
Original Airdate: 10/4/1968

Writer(s): Margaret Armen
Director(s): Jud Taylor

Guest Stars
Richard Hale as Goro
Sabrina Scharf as Miramanee
Rudy Solari as Salish
Peter Virgo Jr. as Lumo

Stardate: 4842.6

Synopsis
Investigating a planet in danger of collision with an asteroid, Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, and Dr. McCoy discover both Native American inhabitants and a strange alien obelisk. While examining the obelisk, Kirk is accidentally trapped inside. Trying to escape, he inadvertently triggers a device that gives him amnesia.

Unable to locate the Captain, Spock and McCoy return to the U.S.S. Enterprise to try and stop the asteroid from hitting the planet.

Now free from the obelisk, Kirk is found by the natives, who come to believe Kirk (calling himself Kirok with his damaged memory) is a god. Kirk both becomes the tribe's medicine chief and marries the priestess Miramanee.

Meanwhile, the U.S.S. Enterprise fails in its attempt to destroy the asteroid. Spock is able, however, to translate the obelisk's carvings. He learns that an alien race known as the Preservers transplanted the Indians to this world, and provided an asteroid deflector inside the obelisk to protect them.

Returning to planetary orbit, Spock and McCoy beam down. They find the natives, frightened that Kirk does not know how to use the obelisk to protect them, stoning Kirk and Miramanee. Rescuing the pair and restoring Kirk's memory, Kirk and Spock enter the obelisk and activate the deflector. The planet is saved but Miramanee, pregnant with Kirk's child, dies from her injuries.
Review
Don't ask me why. Really, don't. But "Paradise Syndrome" has always been one of my favorite TOS episodes. I always felt that the story line was exceptional, the acting spot-on, the sets beautiful and the cast of characters perfectly selected.

The heroic Kirk loses his mind - literally - and has the burden of his captaincy simply melt away as he takes on a new burden, one of a Native American healer. Not being a historian of Native Americans, I can't comment to the accuracy of the tribe portrayed, but I always felt that they were reflected accurately and honorably.

Perhaps that's why I like this episode so much. It feels 'right'. Now, granted, many people point out that Shatner's over-acting comes to the surface in spades in "Paradise" but I feel just the opposite. I think his portrayal of Kurok, and the building love he shows for Miramanee is beautiful.

The element of suspense, with the impending asteroid on a collision course with this planet plays a perfect backdrop to the overall episode, but it never detracts from the love-story that holds "Paradise" together. The tragic ending may feel a bit like "City on the Edge of Forever" but the fact that Miramanee dies with Kirk's unborn child clearly sets it apart.

Despite all their technology, McCoy couldn't save Miramanee and the episode ends with the beautiful score that haunts and highlights this episode from beginning to end.

I told you not to ask. But it really is a nicely told story.

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And The Children Shall Lead


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 3
Episode #: 60
Original Airdate: 10/11/1968

Writer(s): Edward J. Lasko
Director(s): Marvin Chomsky

Guest Stars
Melvin Belli as Gorgan
Craig Hundley as Tommy Starnes
James Wellman as Professor Starnes
Pamelyn Ferdin as Mary Janowski
Eddie Paskey as Mr. Leslie
Brian Tochi as Ray Tsingtao

Stardate: 5029.5

Synopsis
When the U.S.S. Enterprise finds that all the adults in the Starnes Expedition to Triacus have killed themselves, they beam to the planet's surface to investigate. The children, however, are alive and well and strangely oblivious to their parents' fates.

They are beamed aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise while Kirk searches for an answer to the strange occurrences. The children summon their "friendly angel" Gorgan, who tells them to take the U.S.S. Enterprise to a planet he can control. By garbling Kirk's words and deceiving Spock, the children are able to take control of the starship. Finally, seeing Kirk's anxiety at the loss of his ship, Spock realizes that something is wrong and helps the Captain regain control.

Kirk shows the children tricorder tapes of their parents ... and their graves, demonstrating to them that Gorgan is not a "friendly angel" but an evil force. The loss of his believers renders Gorgan impotent and he fades into oblivion.
Review
I don't know. I just don't know. You've have impressive episodes starting off the third season like "The Enterprise Incident" and "The Paradise Syndrome" which seem to be completely offset by clunkers like the aforementioned "Spock's Brain" and now this mess: "And the Children Shall Leave".

Smack the kids already, snap them out of their childish, brat-filled behavior and move on to a more rewarding and befitting episode for Star Trek.

There's a reason why this episode falls to everyone's "worst" list. It's poorly written. Wait. Strike that. The writing is fine. The story itself is atrocious. (There is a difference). The acting is stale. The suspense is non-existent (does anyone ever really think that the crew of the Enterprise is in danger?). And this is one of those episodes that you just can't wait to end.

Which I rarely do. I move on to the next episode or change the channel whenever it comes on.

Just a mess.

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Is There in Truth No Beauty?


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 3
Episode #: 62
Original Airdate: 10/18/1968

Writer(s): Jean Lisette Aroeste
Director(s): Ralph Senensky

Guest Stars
Diana Muldaur as Dr. Miranda Jones
David Frankham as Lawrence Marvick

Stardate: 5630.7

Synopsis
In an attempt to adapt Medusan technology to Federation use, and vice versa, the U.S.S. Enterprise picks up Medusan ambassador Kollos, instrument specialist Laurence Marvick and telepath Dr. Miranda Jones. The Medusans have a great beauty of character, but their physical appearance causes shock to the point of insanity in humanoids.

When Dr. Jones turns down her co-worker, Lawrence Marvick's, proposal of marriage in favor of staying with Kollos, Marvick tries unsuccessfully to kill Kollos. Instead, he is driven insane by a glimpse of the Medusan. He takes over the U.S.S. Enterprise engines, which he helped design, and drives the ship out of the galaxy into an indeterminate region. The crew experiences acute sensory distortion and Marvick finally dies.

While the crew cannot pilot the starship back to the galaxy, it is possible that Kollos can, with Spock forming a mind meld. Kirk distracts Dr. Jones, who jealously objects to Spock contacting Kollos in this manner. Kirk discovers why Dr. Jones is able to gaze upon Kollos ... she's blind.

Using Spock's body, Kollos pilots the U.S.S. Enterprise back to its galaxy, but the Vulcan forgets to wear his protective visor when restoring Kollos to his box, and goes insane. Dr. Jones mind-links with Spock and draws the Vulcan's mind back to reality. She then makes a permanent mind link with Kollos and transfers with him to the Medusan vessel.
Review
Why would a race name themselves after Medusa? A Greek God known for turning men into stone when they look upon her wretched face?

Ok, the Medusans are a race of 'ugly' creatures. They've established that. But can't the writers be a little more creative? I mean, come on.

Ok, that slight gripe aside, this is an interesting episode with some nice twists to it. Ms. Muldaur's performance is exceptional, as usual (though I disliked just about all of her performances during her second-season stint on "The Next Generation") and Nimoy's reluctance-filled acting is nicely portrayed.

But in the end, this epside feels forced in many ways and just doesn't hold water to some of the finer episodes the original series put out. It's not among the worst, just kind of middle ground.

Nothing special. Just 'okay'.

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Spectre Of The Gun


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 3
Episode #: 56
Original Airdate: 10/25/1968

Writer(s): Lee Cronin
Director(s): Vincent McEveety

Guest Stars
Bonnie Beacher as Sylvia
Rex Holman as Morgan Earp
Ron Soble as Wyatt Earp
Charles Maxwell as Virgil Earp
Sam Gilman as Doc Holliday
Bill Zuckert as Johnny Behan
Charles Seel as Ed
Ed McCready as Barber
Gregg Palmer as Rancher
Richard Anthony as Rider
James Doohan as Melkotian Buoy voice

Stardate: 4385.3

Synopsis
Kirk ignores an alien buoy that warns the U.S.S. Enterprise that it is trespassing into Melkotian space and continues forward when the Melkots transport Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, and Chekov to a recreation of Earth's wild west. Here their instruments will not function and they are forced to relive, in "a manner befitting their heritage for trespassing," the shoot-out in Tombstone, Arizona on October 26, 1881.

The U.S.S. Enterprise party is transported to the OK Corral, but as they will not fire on the "Earps," the gunfighters cannot hurt them. Chekov, in the role of Billy Claiborne, is killed and Spock realizes that these events are not really transpiring. Through a series of mind melds, Spock is able to reject the illusions of the hostiles enabling the crew to succeed without shooting at the others. The Melkots are impressed by the peaceful behavior of the U.S.S. Enterprise party and return them, including Chekov, who had been killed in an earlier altercation, to the U.S.S. Enterprise. The Melkots agree to establish contact with the Federation.
Review
Since the beginning, Gene Roddenberry advertised Star Trek to be akin to a 'Wagon Train to the Stars' type of television show, hoping to build off the success of TV Westerns. Here, in the third and final season, Star Trek actually becomes a western as it nicely manages to recreate the infamous shoot-out at the O.K. Coral in Tombstone, Arizona.

What makes this episode so interesting is the surreal portrayal of Tombstone and the characters within. The 'incomplete' sets are in such direct contrast to the very 'complete' Tombstone residents that you're always kept a little off-center when watching this episode - which adds to the appeal.

I also always like how Kirk dismisses Spock's logic time and time again in this episode, almost frustrated by it until he realizes - as he should have all along - that his Vulcan friend and science officer ultimately has the answer to their situation.

It's true that this episode borrows themes from others (e.g. Arena, Gamesters of Triskelion, etc.) but it does manage to hold its own and will always be consider among the better episodes from season number three.

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Day Of The Dove


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 3
Episode #: 66
Original Airdate: 11/1/1968

Writer(s): Jerome Bixby
Director(s): Marvin Chomsky

Guest Stars
Michael Ansara as Kang
Susan Johnson as Mara
David L. Ross as Lt. Johnson
Mark Tobin as Klingon
Majel Barrett as Computer Voice

Stardate: Unknown

Synopsis
A U.S.S. Enterprise landing party beams to a human-colonized planet in answer to a distress call. A Klingon ship, apparently damaged, is detected and a group of Klingons accuse Kirk of having damaged their ship. Kang, their leader, claims the U.S.S. Enterprise as a prize and Kirk beams the Klingons on board, reluctantly. However, Spock is warned by Kirk and quickly takes the Klingons prisoner. Both ships seem to have received the same, false, distress call.

A malevolent entity has entered into the U.S.S. Enterprise computer and excites both sides to aggressive behavior. It forces the ship out of control, rushing toward the galactic rim, while isolating a number of Klingons and U.S.S. Enterprise crew, heightening their sense of paranoia and violence turning them against each other. Phasers become swords and the battle begins.

Spock finally realizes that the entity feeds off hatred and emotional excitation and has acted as a catalyst to provoke combat, keeping the numbers on both sides even. Kirk is able, in the end, to make a common-cause truce with the Klingons and they drive the creature out of the ship with their laughter.
Review
The first episode to showcase the Klingon species was "Errand of Mercy" where the Organians, through their peaceful existence, forcibly stopped the war between the Federation and their ruthless enemies.

"The Day of the Dove" is essentially the antithesis of that episode in that another entity/species, one of a malevolent nature, attempts to spur on the Federation and Klingons into war for its own amusement.

We are introduced to Kang in this episode, perhaps one of the most genuine and well-portrayed Klingons in the original series - a credit to Michael Ansara's ruthless performance.

All in all, "Day of the Dove" offers some interesting conflicts between the crew of the Enterprise and the Klingons. At first, you see the hatred that the two species have for one another, but by the episode's end, you realize that despite that hatred, they choose not to fight JUST to fight. Enemies or not, they will not be the pawns to someone else's motives.

A sign that despite their long-going feud, the Klingons, as the Organians stated back on season one, would one day be fast friends with the Federation.

Kor may have argued "Never!" to that claim, but Kang clearly reveals the truth to that eventual direction.

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For The World Is Hollow, And I Have Touched The Sky


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 3
Episode #: 65
Original Airdate: 11/8/1968

Writer(s): Rik Vollaerts
Director(s): Tony Leader

Guest Stars
Kate Woodville as Natira
Majel Barrett as Christine Chapel

Stardate: 5476.3

Synopsis
At the same time McCoy discovers that he has a year to live, the U.S.S. Enterprise encounters the asteroid Yonada which is determined to be artificially propelled. Its center is occupied by humanoids, whose ancestors built the asteroid "vessel" in an effort to escape the destruction of their solar system. However, the controls have become defective and Yonada is heading for collision with a Federation planet.

The people are ruled by Natira, a priestess who takes her orders from the central computer. While Kirk and Spock search for the central controls that will redirect the ship, McCoy and Natira fall in love. Kirk and Spock return to the U.S.S. Enterprise but McCoy, wishing to spend what little time he has left with the woman he's come to love, stays behind, marries Natira and accepts the "Instrument of Obedience" which punishes wrong thinking.

Soon after the marriage, McCoy calls Kirk, telling him that he may have found the controls for the asteroid. However, he is struck down by the "Instrument of Obedience" before he can tell them where. Kirk and Spock beam back to Yonada, remove the sensor from McCoy, and locate the controls. They manage to put Yonada back on course. In deciphering the computer's library, Spock finds a cure for McCoy's disease, and the doctor returns to the U.S.S. Enterprise. Natira must stay on Yonada to guide her people and so bids McCoy good-bye.
Review
While DeForest Kelley was clearly one of the most popular and beloved characters not only in the original series, but all of Star Trek, its surprising that it took until the third season for him to be really showcased in an episode. Sure, he was a key figure in most of the other episodes from the original series, but it wasn't until "For the World is Hollow..." that the story line truly centered around him.

It's a shame, though, that his time in the spotlight had to be dimmed by a lackluster story line with almost no suspense and an all-to-obvious ending.

Ok, so the episode begins with the discovery that McCoy is dying. And, naturally, he now wants to stay with Natira - his new love from the asteroid-planet Yonada. It's just not convincing enough to believe that 1) he would die and/or 2) he would stay on Yonada.

Were this impacting a lesser character, it would have worked out better. But, obviousness aside, this episode does have some merit and interesting aspects to it - especially the entire notion of a world inside of an asteroid. While I can buy - and appreciate - that concept, it's a little less believable that the inhabitants would have no idea concerning their true situation.

I guess the builders of Yonada didn't have the foresight to think about what might happen during the 10,000 year journey. Either that or I'm just being too picky.

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The Tholian Web


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 3
Episode #: 64
Original Airdate: 11/15/1968

Writer(s): Judy Burns & Chet Richards
Director(s): Ralph Senensky

Guest Stars
Sean Morgan as Lt. O'Neil
Barbara Babcock as Tholian Voice
Barbara Babcock as Cmdr. Loskene's voice

Stardate: 5693.2

Synopsis
The U.S.S. Enterprise arrives in an uncharted area of space to answer a distress call from the U.S.S. Defiant. The starship is visible on their viewscreen, but sensors on board the U.S.S. Enterprise say it's not there.

Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Chekov beam aboard and spread out to investigate. Everyone aboard is dead ... apparently killed in a bizarre mutiny, although there are no life readings aboard. McCoy, in the ship's sickbay, tells Kirk that he can find no clue as to why the crew died, but has taken readings to study. Then, as his hand passes through a body and exam table, McCoy realizes the U.S.S. Defiant is dissolving.

Quickly Kirk orders them beamed back to the U.S.S. Enterprise, but Scotty explains that due to the poor stability of the space around them, he can only beam three aboard. After the usual debate, Kirk stays behind while the others beam back. When Scotty tries to bring Kirk aboard, his image wavers, and disappears. Interphase, Spock calculates, will occur in a little over two hours. In the meantime, they must wait. If the captain is still alive, they should be able to retrieve him then.

Complications arise when Chekov goes berserk and attacks Spock on the bridge. Slowly, more members of the crew fall prey to the "illness," attacking their crewmates. McCoy and his staff work round the clock to find a cure. When the doctor suggests Spock "put some distance" between the U.S.S. Enterprise and the U.S.S. Defiant, Spock explains that any movement in the weakened space could disturb both ship's positions and jeopardize Kirk's rescue.

At a little over an hour before interphase, a Tholian ship appears, telling Spock that the U.S.S. Enterprise has violated Tholian space. The Vulcan explains that they were answering a distress call and are waiting until they can retrieve Kirk. The Tholians agree to wait until the appointed time before taking action.

Unfortunately, when the interphase occurs, Kirk is not where he should be. Spock suspects that the Tholian's entrance into the area of space disturbed the U.S.S. Defiant's position. A funeral service is held for Captain Kirk, following which McCoy insists they view the Captain's last orders. Spock reluctantly agrees and the two men go to their friend's quarters and listen to Kirk's touching advice.

Uhura is the first to see Kirk's image floating before her, and for a time, McCoy thinks she's contracted the disease. But when he and Spock see the Kirk on the bridge, they realize that he is, in fact, still alive.

The Tholians decide that Spock has, in fact, lied to them and opens fire. Making a decision, Spock orders the phasers fired at the ship. The Tholian ship is disabled, but soon another ship joins it and they begin 'building' a sort of web made of shining filaments. Spock analyses the web and announces that if they don't bring Kirk aboard and leave before the web is completed, they "won't see home again." At the last minute, Spock orders full power against the web and the U.S.S. Enterprise is thrown outside the Tholian's trap, several parsecs from their former position. The hope is that Kirk, caught in the U.S.S. Enterprise tractor beam when they changed position, was brought with them.

Tensely McCoy waits with a hypo of tri-ox for Kirk, whose air is running out as he's successfully beamed on board the U.S.S. Enterprise, alive and unharmed. In a humorous tag, McCoy and Spock convince Kirk that there had been no time to view his final orders and Kirk, somewhat disappointed that his wisdom had gone unheard, says that he hopes there isn't a similar circumstance where the two men will view the tape.
Review
Contrary to popular belief, there are quite a number of gems during the third season (no, I'm not referring Gem from to "The Empath") and "The Tholian Web" is clearly among the top entries of that list. This episode has all the components that make for an exceptional ride. The action, the drama, the tense situation and, yes, the exceptional special effects all lend a favorable hand to this award-winning episode.

And why not? You've got an entire starship that simply winks out of existence, swallowing Captain Kirk along with it. You have a new alien spices that's slowly building a photonic filament based 'web' to capture the Enterprise. You have the crew slowly losing their minds because of the odd influence that the area of space is exerting on them. Uhura sees Kirk. No one believes her. The Spock sees Kirk. Everyone believes him.

People screaming. Kirk pleading in interphased space. Scotty worrying. Spock pushing his logic and all of McCoy's buttons. Ah, this just has it all.

It all clicks in this episode. It highlights the crew, their emotions and overwhelming dedication to Kirk. And it does real justice to the genre by injecting the episode with genuine scientific oddities that aren't silly and dismissible.

Great entertainment. Great TV. Great Star Trek.

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Plato's Stepchildren


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 3
Episode #: 67
Original Airdate: 11/22/1968

Writer(s): Meyer Dolinsky
Director(s): David Alexander

Guest Stars
Michael Dunn as Alexander
Liam Sullivan as Parmen
Barbara Babcock as Philana
Majel Barrett as Christine Chapel

Stardate: 5784.2

Synopsis
When the U.S.S. Enterprise receives a distress call from the planet Platonius, Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down to the planet's surface. There they find the planet's leader, Parmen, with a badly infected leg. The Platonians, while powerful psycho kinetics, have no resistance against physical injury. As Parmen's wife tells them, a cut or break in the skin can literally cause death. The only resident of Platonius that doesn't have "the power" is Alexander, a dwarf, who is everyone's jester and slave.

When Parmen's wound has healed and the landing party prepares to leave, they find the U.S.S. Enterprise's controls are frozen. Parmen has decided that it would be beneficial for them to have a resident doctor and tries to convince McCoy to remain. When he refuses, Parmen and the others try to convince him by subjecting Kirk and Spock to several humiliating scenarios. Still the doctor refuses and the three officers are locked away to ponder their plight.

After questioning Alexander, McCoy determines that the Platonians probably got their mental powers from eating the local foods. Something about Alexander's metabolism has kept him from acquiring those powers as well. McCoy prepares concentrated doses of kironide, the substance in the local food, and injects it into Kirk and Spock. Alexander, given the chance, refuses an injection. He doesn't want the same powers that his masters have.

As they discuss their next move, the shimmering of a transporter beam appear in the room and Lieutenant Uhura and Nurse Chapel appear. Without a word, they are jerked out of the room, as if controlled with invisible strings, and disappear. Kirk comments grimly that the men were apparently not entertaining enough for the Platonians.

Later, Uhura and Christine join the other officers, dressed in sparkling gowns and lavish makeup. Christine's is even vaguely Vulcan with slanted eyebrows and partially covered ears. What follows is a series of "games" designed to humiliate the U.S.S. Enterprise crew members and entertain the Platonians. McCoy, seated in a place of honor beside Parmen, is expected to accept the leaders offer to stay and serve as their physician.

Kirk and Spock are forced to fight each other and Spock is made to sing "Maiden Wine" to the two women. Finally, Spock is paired on a loveseat with Christine, while Kirk shares one with Uhura. They are forced to make advances on the women. The play gets nasty then, as Kirk and Spock take up whips, which they snap at their respective partners. By now, however, the doses of kironide are beginning to take effect and both officers now resist the Platonians powers and throw down their weapons.

Kirk tells Parmen that they can recreate this power whenever they want and if the Federation finds that Parmen and his people have fallen back to their old ways, there will be trouble. With this, Kirk calls for the U.S.S. Enterprise to beam them aboard ... along with Alexander, who will be coming with them to start a new life.
Review
There are remnants of other episodes that clearly fed into "Plato's Stepchildren". Perhaps most notably "Who Mourns for Adonais?" and "Gamesters of Triskelion". But regardless of what borrowed themes "Plato.." may have taken from earlier episodes, this third season offering will forever be famous for apparently displaying the first inter-racial kiss on American TV.

As most of us know today, the kiss never really happened (at least in the version that was released) but just 'appeared' to have happened due to some clever camera angles. Amazing how something so insignificant today would create some a quandary a few decades ago.

But Kirk/Uhura kiss aside, this episode offers little else than a bunch of spoiled, arrogant brats who have nothing better to do that use their minds to move objects, exert their will on others and essentially degrade the human condition. It's especially painful to see what they force Spock to do, and it's so perfectly portrayed by Nimoy as he clearly didn't seem to enjoy the dance routine - exactly how you'd expect Spock to react.

However, in the end, it's nice to see Kirk & Spock beat the Platonians at their own game, but ultimately the story feels worn out and tired.

Barbara Babcock, who shined in the first season episode "A Taste of Armageddon" comes off a little stale in this offering, but still is pleasant to behold.

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Wink Of An Eye


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 3
Episode #: 68
Original Airdate: 11/29/1968

Writer(s): Arthur Heinemann
Director(s): Jud Taylor

Guest Stars
Jason Evers as Rael
Kathie Browne as Deela

Stardate: 5710.5

Synopsis
The U.S.S. Enterprise responds to a distress call from the planet Scalos; the call shows several Scalosians asking for assistance. Arriving at Scalos, however, the crew find only an empty city, with no life forms registering on tricorder scans. Compton, a young, inexperienced crewman samples the local water and disappears.

Beaming back up to the ship, the crew investigates while the U.S.S. Enterprise experiences a series of strange malfunctions. When an alien device is found in engineering, the ship is put on full alert. Back on the Bridge, Kirk sips coffee and suddenly finds himself "accelerated" far beyond the rest of his crew. After acceleration, he is able to see and interact with the missing Scalosians, who are now on his ship.

Kirk meets Deela, the Queen of the Scalosians, who specifically chose Kirk to be her consort. Deela reveals the Scalosians' plan to cryogenically freeze the crew of the ship so that they will have a ready gene pool to integrate into their radiation-contaminated one. Kirk also finds his missing crewman, Compton, and sees the effects of rapid acceleration - any damage to cells causes an accelerated death.

Kirk manages to send a message to Spock and McCoy warning them, and delays the Scalosians long enough for Spock to join Kirk in his accelerated state. Spock brings a possible antidote with him, and after stopping the Scalosians, and returning them to their planet, Kirk takes it. The Captain returns to normal, and Spock uses the advantage of his acceleration to repair several of the ship's systems, before he too returns to normal speed.
Review
"Wink of an Eye" is the type of episode and story line that probably would have benefited had it been made into a movie or 2-hour episode. Consider this: A technologically and sociologically advanced civilization is on the brink of extinction. That society has been 'accelerated' to the point where people in 'normal' space can not see or hear them, save for a whining, buzzing sound. In order to perpetuate the society, then must kidnapped people, accelerate them to their 'speed' and force them into essentially sexual labor.

Not a bad premise for an episode, but there's so much to cover, so much background information to explore - like the nature of the planet and what led it to its near-extinction. Ultimately, in its episodic format, Star Trek 'accelerates' the story line, skipping over key points to delivery the ultimate punch-line solution.

The secondary story that covers the love interest of Kirk and Deela with the jealousy of Rael thrown in for good measure is also a nice addition to the episode - and perhaps just a bit of an obvious one. Kathie Browne as Deela does a wonderful and sexy job of portraying the Scalosian queen, with Jason Evers as Rael putting forth a believable performance as the jealousy-crazed leader.

All in all, "Wink.." is a good episode that could have been great had it had a little more room to develop the characters and story line. But I guess you could probably say that about any episode.

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The Empath


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 3
Episode #: 63
Original Airdate: 12/6/1968

Writer(s): Joyce Muskat
Director(s): John Erman

Guest Stars
Kathryn Hays as Gem
Alan Bergmann as Lal
Willard Sage as Thann

Stardate: 5121.5

Synopsis
The U.S.S. Enterprise goes to pick up research personnel on the second planet of the star Minara. While Kirk, Spock and McCoy are on the surface, a radiation storm endangers the starship and Scotty takes the Enterprise out of orbit, sure that the planet's atmosphere will protect the landing party from radiation.

The three officers find themselves in an underground chamber shared with a mute humanoid which McCoy names "Gem." Two other humanoids, different from Gem, appear to them. They tell the men they are Vians, and take Kirk as a test subject to torture. He is assured, however, that it isn't he who is being tested. Gem, who turns out to be a fully functional empath, heals Kirk's wounds. The Vians tell the captain he must choose one of his men to be the next text subject. Each man volunteers, but McCoy wins, managing to anesthetize both Spock and Kirk, and is taken away by the Vians.

When he is returned to them, McCoy is near death. Gem attempts to cure him, but is frightened by the severity of his injuries. The Vians explain to them that they are testing Gem to see if her people are worthy as a species to be saved from their doomed sun. They are testing Gem's capacity for compassion and self-sacrifice. Overcoming her fears, Gem heals McCoy and the Vians decide that her species is to be saved. The officers are returned unharmed to the U.S.S. Enterprise.
Review
The philosophical issues of "The Empath" are the driving force behind its storyline and success. This is an episode of friendship, self-sacrifice and God-like abilities.

Stranded on the planet, Kirk, Spock and McCoy's friendship deepens as they are faced with possibly torture and death at the hands of the Vians. But instead of being concerned about their own individual well-being, they are all drawn to 'Gem' and feel a need to protect this seemingly week and helpless creature.

The idea that the Vians, who ultimately come off as the 'good guys', are testing Gem to see if she alone can justify the safety of her entire planet is a bit overboard. As advanced as the Vians appear to be, it seems odd that they would judge an entire race based on a single individual.

But judge they do, Gem proves her worthiness (and her species worthiness) and the Vians leave to save a world while Kirk, Spock and McCoy - who nearly lost one another, return to the Enterprise.

This isn't an action-packed adventure-filled episode. This is a more cerebral view of Star Trek, one that was likely dismissed during its original run but is now considered one of the better episodes.

Kudos to Kathryn Hays who beautifully portrays Gem without uttering a word. Her facial expressions spoke volumes.

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Elaan Of Troyius


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 3
Episode #: 57
Original Airdate: 12/20/1968

Writer(s): John Meredyth Lucas
Director(s): John Meredyth Lucas

Guest Stars
France Nuyen as Elaan
Jay Robinson as Lord Petri
Tony Young as Kryton
Lee Duncan as Evans
Victor Brandt as Watson

Stardate: 4372.5

Synopsis
Two United Federation of Planets members, Elas and Troyius, suffered war for centuries. With Klingon Empire expansion approaching the planets' system, Tellun, the Federation sends the U.S.S. Enterprise to lend assistance in a peace negotiation. The peace treaty is to be completed by the bonding in marriage of the two planets' leaders, the Dohlman of Elas and the leader of Troyius. The starship provides transport for the Dohlman to Troyius, while also offering a time and place for the Dohlman to learn the duties and customs of Troyius.

Upon her arrival on the U.S.S. Enterprise, it is clear that the Dohlman, Elaan, is an arrogant and reluctant bride. Ambassador Petri from Troyius attempts to educate Elaan in preparation of her wedding, but is rewarded with a knife wound. Captain Kirk must step in as Elaan's tutor to insure that the alliance takes place. Kirk takes a strong hand in Elaan's education, but his efforts are compromised when she begins to cry and he touches one of her tears. The Elasian tears of a Dohlman carry an infectious agent which acts as a powerful aphrodisiac.

While the captain fights the effects of Elaan's tears, a Klingon battlecruiser appears. In the ensuing melee, it is apparent that the Klingon captain is attempting to lure the starship into warp speed which, as Scotty soon discovers, would destroy the ship. A saboteur from the Elasian party has damaged the dilithium crystal chamber, rendering the crystal inert, and the ship nearly powerless.

While under attack, Spock detects strong energy readings which emanate from a crystal necklace of Elaan's - made of dilithium. Fitting the raw crystals into the anti-matter chamber, the ship is able to fend off the Klingons and continue to Troyius. Kirk and McCoy discover the one true cure for the Elasian tears - prior infection - in Kirk's case, the starship Enterprise had infected him even more powerfully than had the Dohlman.
Review
"Elaan of Troyius" is one of those episodes that you either hate or just kind of like. I doubt many find this episode one of the best, despite a partially interesting story line.

Elaan herself, as the powerful Dohlman is beyond arrogant, beyond tolerable and a sight to behold. I'm not sure if this was a wonderful acting job by France Nuyen or a marvelous casting job. She's that believable as a brat that I suspect fantasy mirrors reality.

But Ms. Nuyen's actual personality aside, this diplomatic episode smacks of the far better "Journey to Babel" with a silly love-potion story line thrown in for good measure.

There are suspenseful moments in the episode worthy of Star Trek. There's mystery and intrigue worthy of good episodic television. And there's seemingly good acting although, well, let's just leave it at that.

But for some reason, the sum of all those plus lead to an overall mediocre offering that's fun to watch a couple times, but grows old soon after.

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Whom Gods Destroy


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 3
Episode #: 71
Original Airdate: 1/3/1969

Writer(s): Lee Erwin
Director(s): Herb Wallerstein

Guest Stars
Yvonne Craig as Marta
Steve Ihnat as Garth of Izar
Keye Luke as Governor Donald Cory

Stardate: 5718.3

Synopsis
Elba II, a planet with a poisonous atmosphere, also has a facility beneath its surface for the incurably, criminally insane. The U.S.S. Enterprise is bringing a new medicine with which they hope to eliminate mental illness forever.

When Kirk and Spock beam down to the facility of 15 inmates, they find that the asylum has been taken over by Garth of Izar, who was once a famous starship captain. He was driven insane by the terrible injuries he received while rescuing others. Garth convinces them that he is the head of the facility, in an attempt to gain control of the U.S.S. Enterprise and conquer the galaxy. He crowns himself, "Master of the Universe," and, when the officers won't be tricked into beaming him aboard the starship, he tortures Elba II's governor and then Kirk. He then sends his Orion mistress, Marta, out to the deadly surface above, only to "mercifully" spare her by blowing her to bits.

Spock, who had become separated from Kirk, returns to help the captain but finds two James Kirks. Garth learned the power of shape-shifting from a gentle race of beings that were unaware of his madness. When one of the Kirks offers to sacrifice himself to stop Garth, Spock realizes that this is the real Captain Kirk and subdues Garth. Garth is given the healing medication brought by the Enterprise crew and begins the long road to recovery.
Review
Some find "Whom Gods Destroy" a silly and dismissible episode. I actually find it intriguing and interesting. The dementia that Garth, expertly played by the late Steve Ihnat, exhibits with bouts of clarity and genius is amazing and frightening to behold. Silly shape-shifting abilities aside, this is a look inside the troubled mind of a one-time galactic hero.

One could say that Kirk may have been looking at a future version of himself, and you can almost see that possibility crossing Kirk's mind during the episode. Yes, aspects of "Whom Gods Destroy" border of the extreme, but as is often the case, you have to look beyond the histrionics to get to the core message of an episode.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely - a notion touched upon before in Trek - is one that seems to hold true here as well.

As for the ending of the episode, with the unfortunate loss of Marta and the personality castration of Garth, one has to wonder if this truly is a better way to treat the apparently criminally insane. Was Garth insane, or just so far ahead of his time that he couldn't relate to 'ordinary people'? Just one of the questions we're left with at the close of this episode.

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Let That Be Your Last Battlefield


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 3
Episode #: 70
Original Airdate: 1/10/1969

Writer(s): Oliver Crawford
Director(s): Jud Taylor

Guest Stars
Frank Gorshin as Bele
Lou Antonio as Lokai

Stardate: 5730.2

Synopsis
The U.S.S. Enterprise intercepts a stolen Federation shuttlecraft which contains a humanoid named Lokai. Taken aboard the ship, Lokai tells the crew he is from the planet Cheron, and asks for asylum on the U.S.S. Enterprise. His most distinctive feature is that he is half black and half white, starkly separated down the middle of his body.

The U.S.S. Enterprise tracks another vessel, pursuing at great speed. The ship's only passenger beams on board and is discovers to be another humanoid from Cheron. The difference in this man, Bele, is that his black and white skin is reversed from Lokai's. Bele claims to be Cheron's chief officer sent out to bring in political traitors, and has been pursuing Lokai. The more the two men are aboard the starship, the more Kirk realizes that the basic problem between them - and their entire race, apparently - is their opposite color. Tiring of their bigotry, Kirk decides to ignore the two guests and concentrate on his original mission; to decontaminate the planet Ariannus, plagued with a bacteria that endangers billions of lives.

When Bele takes control of the U.S.S. Enterprise in a desperate attempt, Kirk sets the ships auto-destruct sequence instead of allowing the hijacking to continue, and the alien returns command to the captain. However, once planet Ariannus is decontaminated, Bele takes back his control over the starship and leads it back to Cheron. What they find is a long-dead planet, annihilated by their interracial bigotry. Lokai beams down to the surface to escape Bele, who follows. The U.S.S. Enterprise leaves them on the surface, to decide their own fates.
Review
Messages. Star Trek's all about messages and morality. But in the 1960's, censorship was a tough entity to fight with, but this didn't stop Roddenberry from finding loopholes around the stranglehold of censorship.

Roddenberry wanted to showcase an episode about the nonsense of racial prejudice, but that wouldn't fly. So, instead of black vs. white, he came up with white/black vs. black/white.

Sure, on the surface, this almost immediately looks like a corny episode. I mean, come on, how/why would a species evolve where they were perfectly black on one side and right on the other. And not just any type of black or white. Vibrant, glossy black and white. Clearly make-up based colorization.

But therein lies the genius of Roddenberry for he knew the censors would only look at the surface of this sci-fi episode and leave it at that. The topical and heart-wrenching story line, however, would be left to the audience to absorb and enjoy.

It doesn't get any more real that this. Two men from opposing races chasing after each other, to the bitter end. Their blind hatred for each other setting aside all else, and all others - including their home world which ultimately was destroyed.

Yet even that destruction doesn't lessen their hatred. It intensifies it.

Strong message. Strong episode. Excellent Star Trek.

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The Mark Of Gideon


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 3
Episode #: 72
Original Airdate: 1/17/1969

Writer(s): George F. Slavin & Stanley Adams
Director(s): Jud Taylor

Guest Stars
David Hurst as Hodin
Sharon Acker as Odona
Gene Dynarski as Krodak

Stardate: 5423.4

Synopsis
The planet Gideon appears to be a haven - the inhabitants are healthy and no one seems to ever die in the totally germ-free environment.

The United Federation of Planets sends the U.S.S. Enterprise to Gideon, in the hope that the Gideons will accede and become a member. Reluctantly, the Gideon council allows Captain Kirk alone to beam to their council chamber, and he transports off the ship. When Kirk apparently fails to arrive on the planet, the Gideon council refuses to allow more people on the surface, even for a search party.

Kirk finds himself on his own ship, where all of his crew have seemingly vanished. After searching the ship, he finds one lone, beautiful woman, Odona. Kirk determines that Odona is from Gideon, and that they are on a false ship, built on the planet's surface. When Odona becomes ill, the Gideon's plan is revealed: using Kirk's blood, Odona was infected with a disease which Kirk had recovered from - Vegan choriomeningitis. The infection is fatal, and the Gideons hoped to spread it across their world to reduce the population.

Spock beams down, discovers the false Enterprise, and returns to the real starship with Kirk and Odona, who - while cured - is still able to infect her people. Odona, the daughter of Gideon Council leader Hodan, is returned to her people delighted that she will cause a lethal plague to reduce the overpopulation.
Review
Where "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" dealt with the damaging issues of prejudice, "The Mark of Gideon" takes a Star Trek spin on the problem of over-population, though the overall approach towards the issue doesn't quite work.

Imagine, a world so over populated that its nearly impossible to find any appreciable amount of space to stretch in. Yet, with all of their problems, all of their worries, the leaders of Gideon manage to perfectly reproduce the entire Starship Enterprise in order to trick Captain Kirk. They want a sample of his blood to help infect some of their population so as to wean it.

Why the charade? Why the cover up? Why deal with an off-world disease to control your own population. As Kirk even argues at the end, there are so many alternatives to the problem that it seems almost laughable that the Gideons chose the course of action that they did.

So, is this a silly episode about a serious problem, or an interesting twist reflecting a desperate race dealing with a serious problem?

I guess that's left to the viewer to decide...

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That Which Survives


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 3
Episode #: 69
Original Airdate: 1/24/1969

Writer(s): John Meredyth Lucas
Director(s): Herb Wallerstein

Guest Stars
Booker Bradshaw as Dr. M'Benga
Arthur Batanides as Lt. D'Amato
Lee Meriwether as Losira
Naomi Pollack as Lt. Rahda

Stardate: Unknown

Synopsis
As a landing party prepares to beam down to a previously unexplored Class-M planet, a beautiful woman, Losira, appears. She touches an ensign and kills him. Already dematerializing in the transporter beam, Kirk and the rest of his party are helpless to stop her. Losira then disappears.

The surge of power that Losira's appearance caused hurtles the U.S.S. Enterprise 990.7 light years away from where they were. Spock calculates that it will take 11.33 hours at warp 8.4 to return to the planet.

On the surface of the planet, Kirk, McCoy, Sulu and geologist D'Amato discover the vegetation is poisonous to humans and the rocks are made of an alloy that did not develop naturally. Losira appears again and kills D'Amato, again, by merely touching him. She vanishes, then reappears, this time for Sulu, but he avoids her and they realize she can only harm the person whose name she calls.

Kirk, Sulu and McCoy band together to keep her from killing them. Losira reappears on the Enterprise, in engineering, and kills another crewman. When Scotty insists that something "feels" wrong with the ship, they discover that Losira had sabotaged the matter/antimatter integrator. Scotty repairs the device before it has a chance to explode.

On the planet's surface, the landing party finds a chamber in the rocks that houses a computer. They realize that this is where Losira appears from. Losira appears to them again, this time in threes, so that she can touch each officer at once.

Spock and a security team arrive and destroy the computer that was projecting Losira's image. A visual recording triggered by the computer shows that the planet was once an outpost of the Kalandan race. It was ravaged by a deadly organism which supply ships unknowingly carried back to their home world. With the computer destroyed, the last of the Kalandans' civilization is also dead.
Review
"I am for Adama".

Don't ask. Just a warped melding of Trek and Battlestar Galactica.

So, "That Which Survives" is about as typical a third-season episode as there is. Weak story line, limited set production, mediocre acting, little, if any, action or sense of peril and a plethora of scientific inaccuracies.

When the Enterprise is thrown nearly 1,000 light years away it should have taken them roughly a year to get back to the Class-M planet, not 11.33 hours at Warp 8.4. And, while we're at it, consider the incredible power it would take to fling a starship that distance. All that power, and they can't create a sentry that can destroy multiple would-be invaders?

I am for Adama.

Please.

Beautiful computer image or not, this is more of a piece-meal episode that borrows situations from other story lines in hopes that something cohesive may stick in the end.

Guess what - nothing sticks.

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The Lights Of Zetar


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 3
Episode #: 73
Original Airdate: 1/31/1969

Writer(s): Jeremy Tarcher & Shari Lewis
Director(s): Herb Kenwith

Guest Stars
Jan Shutan as Lt. Mira Romaine

Stardate: 5725.3

Synopsis
The U.S.S. Enterprise's mission is to take Lieuenant Mira Romaine to Memory Alpha, the central library for the United Federation of Planets. There she will supervise the transfer of new equipment to the facility. Mr. Scott is immediately attracted to the pretty lieutenant, and the feelings are returned.

While in orbit, an energy storm destroys all the inhabitants of Memory Alpha, wiping its computer memory banks. As a result of the storm, Romaine can predict where the storm will strike next; the Enterprise.

Despite evasive tactics by the starship, the storm enters the Enterprise where it is seen as brilliantly flashing colored lights. The lights enter Lieutenant Romaine and there is no way to remove them without killing the officer. Perusal of her file reveals a high susceptibility to empathic transmissions, making her an excellent home for the lights. The lights turn out to be non-corporeal entities from the long-dead planet, Zetar. They maintain that they have the right to inhabit Romaine's body, but Kirk doesn't agree. When Mira is placed in a pressure chamber, the Zetars, who are used to the vacuum of space, die. Lieutenant Romaine is free and presumably returns to Memory Alpha to help rebuild the great library.
Review
As a Scotty-centric episode, "The Lights of Zetar" really can't hold a candle (pardon the pun) to "Wolf in the Fold". The story is weaker, the suspense is minimal, but as usual, James Doohan puts forth a believable performance to lift this episode out of the mundane.

Actually, I like the premise of the episode on a simpler level. A bunch of bodiless aliens invade the body of a crewman/woman in an attempt to take over the ship. Nothing new here, and certainly a direction we've seen in later-day Trek series, but one that warrants some attention.

The problem with "Zetar" is that the Zetarians - like all non-corporeal entities hell-bent on domination are malevolent to a tee. Every time we see some type of being that has the ability to take over another body, that being is, ultimately and almost unconditionally evil. The only exception seems to have been Sargon and Thalassa from "Return to Tomorrow".

So, along the lines of 'what if', it would have been ultimately more satisfying had the episode utilized the obvious vast amount of knowledge and experience that the Zetarians possessed and someone parlayed it into the building of the Memory Alpha Library.

Another missed opportunity to show more good from the 23rd century... Perhaps. But instead the Zetarians are killed, Romaine is saved and Scotty is happy in the end.

I guess it isn't all bad - but it could have been better.

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Requiem for Methuselah


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 3
Episode #: 76
Original Airdate: 2/14/1969

Writer(s): Jerome Bixby
Director(s): Murray Golden

Guest Stars
James Daly as Flint
Louise Sorel as Rayna Kapec

Stardate: 5843.7

Synopsis
Rigellian fever, an extremely deadly plague, strikes the U.S.S. Enterprise crew. Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down to a supposedly uninhabited planet, Holberg 917-G, in search of the only known antidote, ryetalyn. To their surprise, they encounter Flint and his daughter, Rayna. Not pleased to have visitors, Flint orders his robot to gather and process ryetalyn, while the three officers are entertained by his daughter. Due to the robot contaminating the first batch of antidote, McCoy tells it another must be made. In the meantime, Kirk and Rayna have become attracted to each other, to Flint's jealous objection.

Spock has discovered, to his puzzlement, old masterpieces on modern supplies, i.e. a da Vinci painting done with modern oils on new canvas and an unknown Brahms waltz, written on new paper. Flint explains that he is an immortal, who wandered the Earth for centuries in various personas, including Brahms and da Vinci. He came to this planet to retire in peace and built the "Rayna" android as his companion. He had hoped that her involvement with Kirk would speed up her emotional growth, but now he has become hopelessly jealous. Not understanding such intense emotions, Rayna short-circuits and "dies."

The landing party takes the ryetalyn and returns to the Enterprise. McCoy tells them that Flint, too, will soon perish because what made him immortal was the atmosphere of Earth. Leaving it robbed him of that power.

In a surprisingly compassionate gesture, Spock uses a Vulcan mind touch to erase the painful memories of Rayna from Kirk's mind.
Review
There is a very basic flaw in this episode. One that, for me at least, ruins it on some level. But more on that in a moment.

"Requiem for Methuselah" is part mystery, part love story, part suspense story.

The suspense story; the need for medical supplies (Ryetalyn) to help combat an outbreak of Rigellian Fever onboard the Enterprise is a valid one, but only serves as a foundation for getting Kirk and company down to the planet. You never feel any real suspense or sense of urgency with this particular story line, and you know in the end that McCoy will get the required drugs to treat the Enterprise crew.

The mystery, of course, centers around Rayna for the most part and Flint to a lesser, but no less important degree. Who are these two people? How did they come to be? The answer to Flint's true identity (or identities as it were) is less of a shock that Rayna's. This is the best aspect of the episode, but still not what was really at the forefront of the story line.

That would be the love story, and here's where it goes south for me. Clearly, we are asked to believe that Kirk falls helplessly in love with Rayna, even after discovering her secret. The problem is there's just not enough history between them in this short time for us to accept this.

When you look at "City on the Edge of Forever", the love that builds between Kirk and Edith is tangible, it's perfectly laid out, and the viewer can see it form. With "Requiem..." it almost catches you by surprise, which makes it less believable.

In the end, Kirk losses the girl and must be consoled by Spock in an admittedly touching scene, but I still can't believe that Kirk would have fallen so hard, so quickly - especially for an android.

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The Way To Eden


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 3
Episode #: 74
Original Airdate: 2/21/1969

Writer(s): Arthur Heinemann
Director(s): David Alexander

Guest Stars
Skip Homeier as Dr. Sevrin
Mary-Linda Rapelye as Irini Galliulin
Victor Brandt as Tongo Rad
Charles Napier as Adam
Deborah Downey as Mavig
Elizabeth Rogers as Lieutenant Palmer

Stardate: 5832.2

Synopsis
Chasing the stolen vessel Aurora, the U.S.S. Enterprise rescues the thieves just before the Aurora is destroyed. The group is led by Dr. Sevrin in a search for a mythological planet named Eden, a planet reputed to be a paradise.

Since one of Sevrin's group is the son of a Federation ambassador, Sevrin is held in protective custody while his followers are permitted to be free aboard ship. But when Spock is able to deduce Eden's location, Sevrin's followers free Sevrin and take over the starship.

Reaching Eden, Sevrin takes his people down to the surface in a shuttlecraft. When Kirk leads a landing party in pursuit, they find that the planet's vegetation all secretes deadly acid, and the fruits are all poisonous. Madly refusing to believe Kirk, Sevrin bites a piece of fruit and dies immediately. With his death, his followers are taken back aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise.
Review
I've been rubbing my temples for 10 minutes in an attempt to come up with something meaningful to write about this episode.

I can't.

I absolutely LOVE the episodes "Spock's Brain" and "And the Children Shall Lead" in comparison to "The Way to Eden".

This is just plain awful on so many levels that I don't even know where to begin.

Ok, let's look at it this way. Unfortunately, there are a lot of similarities of this episode to Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. The reason that movie worked (despite it's critical panning) and this episode failed miserably is not in the story telling, but in the woefully dated representation of those seeking Eden.

Obviously I know that Star Trek was written in the 60's, where hippies ran free. But to think that hippies - and let's not mince words, here - Sevrin and his followers are hippies (not that there's anything wrong with that) - would still be around and dressing the same way in the 23rd century is absurd. Plain and simple. STV:The Final Frontier didn't have Sybok running around in a dated outfit. The sets and production was consistent with the Star Trek universe. "Eden" in every way was not.

It was as close to blasphemy against the Star Trek mantra as I've ever witnessed. I may have this episode on VHS and DVD, but I will never consciously watch it again.

Pretty rough, eh? You know I'm right...

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The Cloud Minders


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 3
Episode #: 75
Original Airdate: 2/28/1969

Writer(s): Margaret Armen
Director(s): Jud Taylor

Guest Stars
Henry Evans as Midro
Diana Ewing as Droxine
Charlene Polite as Vanna
Jeff Corey as Plasus
Fred Williamson as Anka

Stardate: 5818.4

Synopsis
The U.S.S. Enterprise comes to the planet Ardana to acquire zienite, a rare mineral needed to stop a planet-wide plague on Merak II. The zienite is not available, however, because the miner class Troglytes are rebelling against the rulers of Ardana, who live in the cloud-city of Stratos.

The Stratos-dwellers insist that the Troglytes are naturally inferior beings, but Kirk discovers that the Troglytes are being affected by a gas emitted during mining.

Unable to get both sides to settle their differences, Kirk traps the Troglyte leader Vanna and the High Advisor of Ardana's Ruling Council, Plasus, inside a mine. When the gas takes effect, Plasus realizes what is happening and promises to help the Troglytes. With peace restored, the U.S.S. Enterprise is able to secure the zienite it needs.
Review
Usually when Trek attempts to be topical, it works. It almost works here in 'The Cloud Minders' where slavery and separation of classes is the moral of the story. The problem is it is all to obvious a problem for Stratos and it's hard to believe a society so advanced wouldn't be able to see it until forced to by Kirk & Company.

Still, there are positive aspects of this episode. Diana Ewing as Droxine plays the perfect, na´ve daughter of the high Advisor who ultimately understands the issue at hand better than any other Stratos dwellers.

Or at least I think she does. It's hard to figure out when looking at, er, watching her performance.

Yea, that's it.

Is it any wonder that Spock was taken aback by her beauty?

A good story, not a great one, that throws you some curves, but not enough to keep you interested (especially when Droxine isn't in the scene).

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The Savage Curtain


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 3
Episode #: 77
Original Airdate: 3/7/1969

Writer(s): Arthur Heinemann & Gene Roddenberry
Director(s): Herschel Daugherty

Guest Stars
Lee Bergere as Abraham Lincoln
Barry Atwater as Surak
Phillip Pine as Colonel Green
Arell Blanton as Lt. Dickerson
Carol Daniels Derment as Zora
Robert Herron as Kahless
Nathan Jung as Genghis Khan
Bart La Rue as Yarnek's voice
Janos Prohaska as Yarnek

Stardate: 5906.4

Synopsis
The U.S.S. Enterprise is scanned by a powerful energy source coming from the planet Excalbia. The starship had been sent to survey the planet, but it was thought to consist of nothing but a lavalike surface without inhabitants.

The image of Abraham Lincoln appears in space and requests to be beamed aboard, claiming to be the genuine Lincoln. Against McCoy's objections, Kirk and Spock beam the entity aboard. They accept his offer to visit Excalbia, where a rock-like creature named Yarnek appears. Yarnek declares that the Enterprise officers are to participate in a battle between good and evil. This is to teach the Excalbians about humanoid concepts. Fighting for the "good" are, Kirk, Spock, Lincoln and Surak, founder of the present Vulcan culture. On the "bad" side are, Genghis Khan, Colonel Green, Zora - a vicious killer, and Kahless, father of the Klingon Empire as it was now known.

When the Enterprise officers refuse to fight, Yarnek freezes the starship's engines, starting a breakdown of the matter/antimatter shielding. If Kirk doesn't win, the ship will explode in four hours. There is much plotting and counter-plotting, until only Kirk, Spock, Khan and Zora remain alive. After some philosophical discussion regarding "good" and "evil," Yarnek returns Kirk and Spock to the U.S.S. Enterprise and frees the ship.
Review
When Star Trek originally aired, I was between 3 and 5 years old. While I know my father watched the show from time to time, I can't quite remember - or confirm - whether I ever saw an original run of an episode.

Pity, really. But when I think back to the first taste of Trek that I received, it invariably falls upon "The Savage Curtain". I don't know why, but I'm relatively certain that this is the first piece of Trek I was introduced to. I'd like to think it was when I was 5 during the original run, but I'll never know.

So, now that I've wasted your time on that little useless bit of information, let's talk about one of the more underrated episodes of the Original Series.

"The Savage Curtain" is simply a galactic and time-spanning battle of good and evil. What a clever idea it was to bring characters out of time renowned for their ruthlessness or kindness to do batter with one another.

Will good prevail or evil? That's the simple question. Of course Kirk objects to the fight until the fate and future of the Enterprise is put in the mix, but this is still a fun episode to watch.

Yes, on a high level, this is just a retread of "Arena" but because it deals with fictitious and actual icons from Earth history, it does provide for solid entertainment.

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All Our Yesterdays


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 3
Episode #: 78
Original Airdate: 3/14/1969

Writer(s): Jean Lisette Aroeste
Director(s): Marvin Chomsky

Guest Stars
Ian Wolfe as Mr. Atoz
Mariette Hartley as Zarabeth

Stardate: 5943.7

Synopsis
The crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise investigate the planet Sarpeidon whose sun is soon to go nova. Upon beaming to the surface, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy discover the inhabitants gone and a library containing the planet's accumulated knowledge.

Kirk, Spock and McCoy are surprised to find a lone inhabitant on the surface, Mr. Atoz, the librarian, who mistakes them for citizens of Sarpeidon. Mr. Atoz has been transferring people into the planet's past using a machine called the "atavachron." While investigating this unique technology, Kirk leaps to rescue a woman he hears screaming and ends transported to a period fraught with superstitions and witchcraft. Attempting to follow Kirk, Spock and McCoy enter the atavachron's portal to find themselves in a different time - Sarpeidon's ice age.

McCoy, who is close to freezing to death, and Spock are rescued by a beautiful woman, Zarabeth. While close to the portals they entered from, Kirk, Spock and McCoy can communicate with each other but little more. However, this is enough to get Kirk arrested for practicing witchcraft.

Spock increasingly finds himself attracted to Zarabeth, and disturbingly more emotional and irrational, and even goes against Vulcan custom by eating meat. McCoy convinces Spock that this time in Sarpeidon's past is linked to Vulcan's primitive past and that they must return to their own time. Zarabeth insists they cannot return to the present without dying.

In jail, Kirk is befriended by a lawyer, another traveler of Sarpeidon's present, who helps him escape to find the portal, and return to the library.

Zarabeth helps McCoy and Spock to the place where she found them. By following the sound of Kirk's voice, they find their portal and leap back into the library. Mr. Atoz leaps to his own designated past and the Enterprise, with Kirk, Spock, and McCoy safely aboard, warps from orbit just as the sun explodes.
Review
By this point in the Original Series' run, some of the story lines were getting stale so reusing or rehashing older, successful story ideas was common place. So it's refreshing to see a genuinely unique idea pop up as the second to last episode of the third and final season.

"All Our Yesterdays" uses time travel, of a sort, as the technological background of the story, perhaps akin to the Guardian from "City on the Edge of Forever". However the idea that an entire planet, upon the knowledge that their sun would soon go Nova, escaping to their own past is truly intriguing.

First, the technology to accomplish such a feat should have garnered more attention, especially since the "atavachron" had to prepare all travelers for their journey. But that aside, it was interesting to see how Kirk, Spock and McCoy reacted to the environments - and time - that they all accidentally fell into.

The Kirk story line was interesting at best, but the real meat and potatoes fell upon the struggles of Spock and McCoy in their ice-age setting with the stunning Mariette Hartley as Zarabeth as their only companion.

Without the 'atavachron' situation, it would have been far less believable to see Spock slowly lose control and battle McCoy for Zarabeth, but that's what makes this an interesting story.

And, while it didn't have the impact of Kirk losing Edith in "City..." it was still touching to see Spock struggling to leave Zarabeth once he and McCoy found a passage back to their own time.

A strong episode on many fronts and another example of the quality that did show itself during the final season.

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Turnabout Intruder


Series: Star Trek: The Original Series - (1966-1969)
Season: 3
Episode #: 79
Original Airdate: 6/3/1969

Writer(s): Arthur Singer
Director(s): Herb Wallerstein

Guest Stars
Sandra Smith as Dr. Janice Lester
Harry Landers as Dr. Arthur Coleman
Majel Barrett as Christine Chapel
Barbara Baldavin as Communications Officer
David L. Ross as Lt. Galloway
John Boyer as Guard
Majel Barrett as Computer Voice

Stardate: 5928.5

Synopsis
Dr. Janice Lester, who was once involved with Captain Kirk, harbors a deep hatred of the captain, because she, herself, has never been able to captain a starship. On their way to Beta Aurigae, the U.S.S. Enterprise receives a call for help from Camus II. The landing party finds only Janice Lester and Dr. Coleman, who claim that the everyone else was killed by celebium radiation. In fact, Janice is quite ill from it.

Unaware of Lester's feelings of hatred toward him, Kirk sits with her, recalling their days together. Kirk is suddenly trapped into a life-entity transfer with Janice. His personality is in her body, while she takes over his, finally becoming captain of a starship. Kirk, with Janice's essence, tries to kill her victim, but fails. McCoy transports Janice, with Kirk's essence, to sickbay to try and treat her illness. While Kirk, trapped in Janice's body, tries to convince everyone that he's really the captain, Janice takes control of the ship and diverts it to the Benecia Colony. There she plans to leave her body, that houses Kirk's essence, thereby eliminating all her problems.

The crew becomes suspicious of her actions and, when Spock tries to question her, she charges him with mutiny. They realize something is wrong and Janice/Kirk is relieved of duty. When the transfer weakens and finally breaks, Kirk returns to his body, as Janice's essence returns to hers. Janice makes a last attempt to hurt Kirk, then collapses. Dr. Coleman, in love with Janice, requests that he be allowed to care for her. The U.S.S. Enterprise and her crew return to their mission, with their rightful captain at the helm.
Review
So, here we are. The end of an era. And yet, a beginning of sorts. But before I go philosophical on you regarding the final episode of The Original Series, let us focus on the episode itself, hmm?

We've seen a plethora of other episodes dealing with the hostile take over of a body from another entity, but despite that overused plot, "Turnabout Intruder" puts a new spin on it due to the aggressive and hateful behavior of Dr. Janice Lester.

Kudos, by the way, to Sandra Smith who did a fantastic job not only as Lester, but more so as Kirk. She nailed Kirk to a tee which made this story even more believable and enjoyable. Shatner as well should be credited for playing the appropriately insane Lester who slowly loses control of her/him/whatever self as he/she/it loses control and the faith of the crew.

Sure, we know how this is going to eventually end, but it doesn't take away from the suspense we experience and the ultimate pity we feel for Lester and the man who loves her, Dr. Coleman.

On a side note, it is hard to believe that Kirk would have ever gotten involved with her, but hey, that's just me.

So, with the final line of "If only...", the original run of Star Trek draws to a close but begins a journey that would last for decades more.

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