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|Series :||The Original Series||Rating :|
|Disc No :||1.1||Episode :||7|
|First Aired :||29 Sep 1966||Stardate :||1704.2|
|Director :||Marc Daniels||Year :||2266|
|Writers :||John D. F. Black||Season :||1|
|Guest Cast :||
|Plotline :||The Enterprise is in orbit of Psi-2000, a world that was M Class in the distant past but is now disintegrating. Spock and Lieutenant Tormolen beam down to a laboratory on the surface to investigate the deaths of the personnel there. They find the lab frozen and chaotic, with no real explanation for the deaths. Whilst there, Tormolen removes the glove of his environmental suit, and some liquid drips onto his hand.
Back on the ship Tormolen is decontaminated and cleared by Doctor McCoy, but he seems anxious and very upset over the deaths. As he goes to try and relax, the senior staff discuss their mission. The break up of the planet is causing large shifts in gravity, making it difficult to hold a stable orbit. The crew need to be on top efficiency to complete their studies. Kirk asks if the disaster on the planet could be repeated on the ship, but with no idea of what caused it there is no way to tell.
Tormolen sits in a recreation area, listening to the others relaxing and enjoying themselves. He becomes more and more agitated, until he finally becomes hysterical, jumping to his feet and announcing that humanity has no place exploring space. He brandishes a knife as he talks, then turns it on himself and stabs himself with it. Although the wound does not appear all that serious, the man dies soon afterwards. McCoy cannot understand it, saying that it was as if he just lost the will to live on.
Shortly afterwards Sulu and Riley begin to show signs of unusual behaviour themselves. Sulu abandons his place on the bridge, heading off to get some exercise. Riley becomes insubordinate towards Spock, who sends him to sickbay. Their behaviour continues to worsen, with Sulu stripped to the waist charging around the halls with a sword laughing maniacally. He comes to the bridge and propositions Uhura, before being rendered unconscious by Spock.
Things go from bad to worse. Riley has locked himself in engineering and shut off the helm controls, leaving the ship unable to maintain orbit. He begins singing an Irish song over the intercom system over and over again, much to the displeasure of the crew. Meanwhile the strange behaviour begins to spread wildly amongst the crew. Scotty attempts to burn his way into engineering with a phaser, but this will take a good deal of time. Nurse Chapel approaches Spock and professes her love, which he cannot return. But she infects him during the conversation and he stumbles off, struggling to maintain his composure. He finds a quiet room and slowly begins to break down as his emotions overwhelm him.
Scotty finally burns through into engineering only to find that Riley has shut down the engines completely. They are stone cold and will take a minimum of half an hour to restart. The information dooms the Enterprise, as it will burn up in eight minutes. McCoy finally finds the cause of the infection, which turns out to be an odd form of long chain water molecules that make the infected person behave as if they were heavily drunk. He devises a cure and begins to treat the crew, though it can do little good now.
Kirk finds Spock and manages to get him to focus by literally slapping some sense into him. Although Kirk himself is now suffering from the infection, causing him to lament the grip the Enterprise has on his life, both officers are able to force themselves to concentrate. Spock admits that there is a theoretical equation which could allow matter and antimatter to mix cold, creating a controlled implosion within the engines to restart them, but it is untried and hugely dangerous.
With no time remaining, they try Spock's formula and the ship tears itself away from the planet and roars off into space. An unexpected side effect of engaging the warp engines in the intense and shifting gravity field throws the ship back in time by three days, a trick that Kirk thinks might prove useful at some point.
|Analysis :||Not a great episode, but at least it's original... something the Next Generation rip off can't say. I've read that the purpose of this episode was to let the viewers get an insight into the characters by removing their inhibitions and showing their underlying drives and desires. On that level it works well; this is the first time we see Spock breaking down and confessing his inner turmoil, and when he says to Kirk "When I feel friendship for you... I feel ashamed!" you really feel the constant war against himself that is his life.
Where the episode struggles a little is in the sci fi trappings used to evoke these effects. The idea of water becoming a long chain molecule and acting like alcohol in the body is kind of stupid, to be honest. So is the idea of a planet that collapses for no apparent reason; stars might collapse at the end of their life one way or another, but planets don't. It's also a bit of a credibility strain that Scotty finds it so hard to get into the engineering room. Why not risk intraship beaming? And even if not, can it really take that long to phaser a little hole in the wall? It's all just a little bit contrived.
|Guest Reviews :||
|YATI :||When the water infects Tormolen it runs up hill to get to his hand.
Okay, you want to be really nitpicky? When Kirk is under the influence of the water virus, he is fantasising about being on a beach with a woman... 'a few days, no braid on my shoulder.' Well, Kirk's uniform doesn't have braid on the shoulders. Yeah, I know, poetic license and all that.
McCoy rips Kirk's uniform open to inject straight into his skin. First off, the uniform rips awful easily. No wonder Kirk was forever going shirtless, the uniforms fall apart at a touch! Secondly, it's been seen on several occasions that hyposprays can inject through clothing.
When he's all distraught in the recreation room, Tormolen says to Sulu "You don't rank me!" In fact since Sulu is a Lieutenant and Tormolen is a Lieutenant JG, Sulu does indeed rank him. We can forgive this one, I guess, since Tormolen wasn't exactly in his right mind.
|Great Moment :||Sulu charging down the corridor with his sword.|
|Body Count :||Six|
|Factoid :||The time jump the Enterprise experienced at the end of the episode was originally meant to throw it back to twentieth century Earth, making this a two parter. The second part ended up becoming "Tomorrow is Yesterday".
A couple of first - this was the first episode to state that the warp drive of the Enterprise is powered by a matter/anti-matter reaction. It also features the first use of the tricorder.
The environmental suits worn on the planet are made from shower curtains!
Director Marc Daniels visited Takei in his trailer and asked to see him shirtless. After examining his physique, Daniels said they would do the sword scene shirtless. Takei then spent the next three days exercising as much as he could so that he would look his best.
|Quote :||"I can't change the laws of physics!" - Scott to Kirk in a much parodied quote
"My mother... I could never tell her I loved her." - Spock to Kirk
"This vessel. I give, she takes. She won't permit me my life. I've got to live hers." - Kirk to Spock
"Never lose you. Never." - Kirk to the Enterprise
Sulu : "I'll protect you, fair maiden!" Uhura : "Sorry, neither!"
"No beach to walk on." Kirk, bemoaning the demands of Starfleet life
|Copyright Graham Kennedy||Page views : 44,436||Last updated : 12 Mar 2013|