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|Series :||The Original Series||Rating :|
|Disc No :||1.2||Episode :||5|
|First Aired :||6 Oct 1966||Stardate :||1672.1|
|Director :||Harvey Hart||Year :||2266|
|Writers :||Gene Roddenberry||Season :||1|
|Guest Cast :||
|Plotline :||The Enterprise is conducting a survey of Alfa 177, with a landing party investigating the planet. Geological technician Fisher falls from a rock, injuring himself and getting a powdered magnetic ore on his uniform. He beams up to the ship for treatment, prompting a strange overload in the transporter system. Minutes later Captain Kirk beams up, commenting that the process felt strange and has left him feeling odd. Everybody leaves the transporter, and moments later it activates again and produces an identical copy of Kirk.
The Kirk copy wanders the ship until he chances across McCoy in sickbay. He demands alcohol, and takes a bottle of brandy with him when he leaves. His manner seems crude and aggressive, prompting McCoy to contact Spock about it. Spock asks the first Kirk, who dismisses it as a practical joke. Swigging brandy, the Kirk copy goes to Yeoman Rand's quarters and tries to seduce her, becoming almost violent when she resists. She scratches his face badly and he leaves, angry. Nearby he assaults Crewman Fisher. When this is reported, Kirk is at a loss to explain it even though both Rand and Fisher directly identify him as their assailant. Spock concludes that there must be an impostor on board.
The Kirk copy continues to become more aggressive, whilst the first gradually becomes more and more indecisive. They manage to capture the copy and restrain him in sickbay. When a small animal from the planet is beamed up the same thing happens, with a second, aggressive creature appearing in front of witnesses. The crew deduce that the magnetic ore has changed the transporter in some way, prompting to split people into "good" and "evil" parts. Unfortunately this means the landing party can't beam up, and with night falling on the planet the temperature is plunging to a level that cannot be survived. They try beaming heating units down but they fail. The landing party are able to use their phasers to heat rocks for warmth, but the cold will eventually make them fail.
The crew manage to come up with a way to use the transporter to recombine the two parts, but when this is tried on the animal the process kills it. Spock thinks that a human might have the will to survive, since they would understand what is happening to them. But before they can risk this, it must be tested - on Kirk.
The original Kirk takes the copy to try the process but he escapes, disguising the scratches on his face and going to the bridge to order the ship out of orbit. The original Kirk quickly finds him and he collapses under the strain of trying to appear normal. Kirk goes through the transporter with his duplicate, emerging alive and well. The landing party are beamed aboard safely.
|Analysis :||Like Mudd's Women, the basic premise of this episode involves something that is far beyond the limits of plausibility. A transporter than can split people into good and evil, seriously? However a transporter works, one might imagine it producing two Kirks who had every other atom missing, which would kill them. Or producing two Kirks who are half the size, which would likely also kill them. Or a Kirk that had half of his organs and another who had the other half, which would also kill them. Or... well, you get the idea. But of all the things that could happen, this is about the most wild and absurd that I can think of. Still, like before, we just have to grit our teeth, accept it as a plot contrivance, and move on.
The whole good Kirk / bad Kirk thing is played out well enough. Shatner does a decent enough job showing both sides (hey, I like his acting. So sue me), and I rather like the resolution that the "weak" side is actually the one with the ultimate courage. One major issue crops up at the end of the episode. Spock looks to Yeoman Rand once the crisis is passed and says "The imposter had some very interesting qualities, wouldn't you say, Yeoman?" The implication seems to be a bit salacious... Spock is implying that she enjoyed the attentions of the Kirk copy. You know, the man who tried to rape her? And it's not like this is a case where the writers put a rape in there for comic effect, or even put one in there without really realising they'd done so - which can happen, amazingly enough, as the Enterprise episode "Unexpected" shows. No, this episode has an attempted rape in which the woman fights her attacker off physically, shows her to be emotionally wrecked and all but sobbing after this experience... and then has the first officer make a joke about it! As Grace Lee Whitney put it in her autobiography : "I can't imagine any more cruel and insensitive comment a man (or Vulcan) could make to a woman who has just been through a sexual assault! But then, some men really do think that women want to be raped. So the writer of the script (ostensibly Richard Matheson - although the line could have been added by Gene Roddenberry or an assistant scribe) gives us a leering Mr. Spock who suggests that Yeoman Rand enjoyed being raped and found the evil Kirk attractive!" It really is a very ugly moment in this episode.
Okay, let's get this part out of the way. Things they could have done to help Sulu : fly down in a shuttle and pick them up. Beam down a decent shelter for them to stay in. Beam down a pile of any flammable substance, and a match. Heat any object to a very high temperature on board the ship and beam that down. Use the shipboard phasers to blast a nearby area at a safe distance, producing a gigantic blast of heat just upwind. Put some heaters in a photon torpedo casing and fire it down onto the planet. Beam them up regardless, and lock their evil counterparts in the brig to await a way to recombine them. Nuff said.
|Guest Reviews :||
|YATI :||As alluded to in the review, the most commonly asked question regarding this episode is "why didn't the Enterprise just send a shuttle down?" The ship was presumably not carrying those handy little craft on this mission for some reason! In fairness, this wasn't so much a writer mistake. Rather, this was such an early episode that they hadn't decided that such a thing as a hangar full of shuttles even existed yet.
In a log entry, Spock describes himself as the "Second Officer". Subsequently he would always be called the "First Officer"
|Great Moment :||Kirk confronting himself in engineering.|
|Body Count :||1 dog|
|Factoid :||This episode features the first ever Vulcan neck pinch. The script called for Spock to simply knock Kirk unconscious by hitting him, but Leonard Nimoy suggested that they do something different and more in line with his character's intellectual foundation. He and Shatner improvised the move and showed it to the producers, who loved it.
Grace Lee Whitney had difficulty summoning the emotion needed for the attempted rape scene. When she had the same trouble whilst shooting the tearful accusation scene a few days later William Shatner slapped her across the face right before they started filming. Once the scene was shot he apologised to her.
When he blasts the rock for warmth, we see Sulu fit his little Type I mini phaser into the stock to turn it into a Type II. This is the only time that is ever shown in the whole of Trek.
|Quote :||"You can't afford the luxury of being anything less than perfect. If you do, they lose faith, and you lose command." - Spock to Kirk
"The intelligence, the logic - it appears that your half has most of that. And perhaps that's where most of man's essential courage comes from for you see, he was afraid and you weren't." - McCoy to Kirk
"He's dead, Jim." - McCoy to Kirk regarding the dog, the first use of the line in Star Trek.
"Being split in two halves is no theory with me, doctor. I have a human half, you see, as well as an alien half, submerged, constantly at war with each other. Personal experience, doctor. I survive it because my intelligence wins over both, makes them live together." - Spock to McCoy
|Copyright Graham Kennedy||Page views : 44,028||Last updated : 12 Mar 2013|