The Original Series
Disc No :
First Aired :
23 Feb 1968
Why does Kirk get so worked up when Scotty and Spock suggest destroying the ship? He threatens the very same thing himself when Bele seizes control in a few months time, and all he wanted to do was go to a planet in our own galaxy. And of course, he will ultimately carry out the destruction of the ship rather than let the Klingons seize it in Star Trek III.
Great Moment :
Scotty getting the Kelvan drunk in his quarters - a very funny scene.
Body Count :
One - Yeoman Thompson, who is killed by Hanar.
Kelvans, immense beings with 100 tentacle-like limbs and minds so sophisticated that each tentacle can perform a different function, are mentioned as having been defeated in combat by Worf in DS9.
This is one of only three occasions in which Kirk strikes a woman. The others are "The Gamesters of Triskelion" and "Elan of Troyius".
The Andromeda galaxy is some 2.5 million light years from our own. Reaching it in 300 years would imply that the Enterprise was averaging 8,300 times the speed of light. If the commonly cited formula of speed = Warp factor cubed for TOS warp factors is used, this would mean the ship was going at Warp 20.27.
The Enterprise arrives at an M Class planet in response to a distress call. Beaming down, Kirk and his officers are met by some Humanoid aliens who demand the surrender of them and the Enterprise. The aliens use small belt-mounted devices to paralyse the landing party in place, rendering them completely helpless.
The alien leader, Rojan, explains that his people are Kelvans, an advanced race from the Andromeda galaxy. The Kelvans were on a scouting mission to find a new home for his people in the Milky Way galaxy. Their ship was destroyed crossing the galactic barrier, and they need the Enterprise to return home. The Enterprise crew is quickly and easily subdued by the Kelvans, and the ship captured. Kirk states that it will take the Enterprise thousands of years to reach Andromeda at the speeds the Enterprise is capable of, but Rojan explains that with a little modification from Kelvan technology the trip will be made in just 300 years. Their original vessel was a multi-generational ship, and all the Kelvans were born in the interstellar void on the way to our galaxy - and all expect to die on the journey back.
Kirk offers peaceful cooperation between the Kelvans and the Federation, pointing out that there are plenty of uninhabited planets they could colonise. Rojan rejects this, stating that the Kelvans conquer rather than colonise. The landing party are imprisoned in a nearby cave behind bars made of an impenetrable metal and guarded by the Kelvan woman Kelinda. Spock attempts to use his telepathic ability to get Kelinda to release them, but the power of her mind overwhelms him. When she enters the cell to see what happened Kirk slugs her, and the party escapes.
Unfortunately they are quickly incapacitated again by Rojan. He uses his belt device to reduce two of the party to dehydrated solid blocks little larger than a fist; as a horrified Kirk watches, Rojan picks up the blocks and crushes one in his hand, destroying it and thus killing the person. He restores the other and informs Kirk that further acts of rebellion will be met with similar consequences.
With the officers returned to their cell, Spock ruminates on what he learned from his attempted mind meld. He says that although much of it is a confused jumble, one thing is clear - the Kelvans are not in their true form; in their natural state they are 'immense beings, a hundred limbs which resemble tentacles' with 'minds of such control and capacity that each limb is capable of performing a different function'. They have assumed a Humanoid form since such beings would have some difficulty operating on board the Enterprise.
Everybody moves back to the Enterprise, which has now been suitably modified. Kirk pilots the ship to the galactic barrier whilst his officers search for a way to disable the Kelvan modifications. Unfortunately this proves to be impossible, so they set up the only viable alternative - they rig the engines to flood the nacelles with positive energy at Kirk's command. If this is done as they penetrate the negative energy of the barrier, the reaction between the two will destroy the ship and the Kelvans both. However, when they reach the barrier Kirk hesitates and ultimately decides not to destroy the ship. Rojan informs him that the Kelvans had detected the plan in any case, and taken precautions to make sure it would not work. He explains that with the ship now safely through the barrier most of the crew are now superfluous, and so almost everybody on board is reduced to a dehydrated solid in order to conserve food and life support. Only Kirk, Spock, Mccoy and Scotty remain.
The officers are discussing their situation in the rec room when one of the Kelvans, Tomar, remarks that the human's consumption of food is most inefficient compared to the small nutritional pills that the Kelvans consume. McCoy suggests that he at least try the alternative, which Tomar does. He enjoys the food, prompting the others to wonder just how the Kelvan's new bodies might be affecting them. Spock comments that he is beginning to understand more of what he sensed during his mind meld with Kelinda. The Kelvans have vast intellectual capacity, but to achieve it they sacrificed anything which might distract them - thus they have no sense of taste, touch, or smell and, no emotions. But now they are in Humanoid bodies they are being subjected to normal Human senses, something that are clearly unused to. Kirk suggests a plan of action - each officer will choose a Kelvan and do everything possible to over-stimulate them in an attempt to confuse and distract them, and then try to steal their belt devices.
The plan goes into action. Scotty takes Tomar back to his quarters and starts a drinking binge with him, getting both of them massively inebriated. Meanwhile McCoy tells Hanar that he is a little anaemic, and injects him with a 'vitamin supplement' - in actuality a powerful stimulant. Kirk, naturally, targets the beautiful Kelinda and begins making amorous advances on her. All of the Kelvans are clearly increasingly affected by these overtures, and Rojan's control over them begins to break down. Spock plays on this, subtly provoking jealousy in Rojan about Kirk's relationship with Kelinda.
Rojan confronts Kelinda, forbidding her from seeing Kirk any further. She rejects this order outright, driving him to overt anger. Meanwhile Scotty and Tomar have gone through virtually all the booze the hard-drinking Engineer has, forcing him to resort to his most prized bottle.
The officers meet to talk tactics, noting that Scotty is still mysteriously absent. McCoy says that he has Hanar ready to climb the walls with the doses of stimulant he has been giving him. Kelinda interrupts the meeting, asking for some alone-time with Kirk. Whilst Kirk gets up close and personal with her Spock goes to the bridge to tell Rojan about it, provoking him further.
Tomar finally collapses, leaving Scotty delighted to have 'drunk him right under the table', though Scotty himself collapses moments later. Rojan finds Kirk and Kelinda together and launches into a fistfight with Kirk. The Captain taunts him openly, telling him that he's not acting Kelvan any more - and this is the result of just a few days in Human form. By the time his descendants arrive home in 300 years, they will be as alien to the Kelvans as Humans are.
Recognising the truth, Rojan admits defeat. Kirk again offers a partnership - the Federation would resist invaders but will welcome friends and allies. When Rojan wonders where they could live, McCoy points out that the planet they met on seemed pretty nice, and they could live there. Spock suggests a robot ship could be sent to the Andromeda galaxy with the proposal whilst the Kelvans prepare the planet for their people. Rojan accepts this, and turns the Enterprise back towards home.
I rather like this episode. The Kelvans make pretty good baddies, powerful enough that Kirk and crew are completely helpless against them - no matter what they try throughout the episode, it's made clear over and over that all their little tricks and ploys are totally useless against the Kelvins. The casual manner in which the Kelvin leader murders an Enterprise crew member is also pretty horrific, especially given that the one they kill is a woman. And seeing the entire crew reduced to powdered form, just sitting around the ship where anybody could accidentally step on them... icky indeed.
The final solution is also good, with the crew realising that the weakness of the Kelvans lies in not so much fighting them as assimilating them. I love the different approaches each officer takes to 'stimulating' the Kelvins, from Spock's careful needling to McCoy's constant dosing via hypospray, and Scotty's 'drink him under the table' approach. And the ultimate resolution of forming a friendship with the Kelvins rather than really defeating them, is a nice one.
All in all a great episode.
The remastered version has the usual improved effects throughout. Most notable is a new depiction of the planet, both in orbit and a wide landscape shot when the landing party beams down, a new energy barrier at the edge of the galaxy, to match the one seen in Where No Man Has Gone Before, and a new Andromeda galaxy depiction.