The Lights of Zetar
Overall Ep :
First Aired :
31 Jan 1969
Season Ep :
Do the Federation buy Romulan hardware? The control room on Memory Alpha has a Romulan control box on the desk.
Worst Moment :
The idea of Memory Alpha was silly, surely each federation outpost should contain this information. Have these people never heard of a backups.
Body Count :
Barbara Babcock, who does the Zetar voices, also did the Tholian voices in "The Tholian Web".
Enterprise crewman Mira Romain is posessed by an alien being, and the crew must struggle to free her. The Enterprise is transporting Lieutenant Mira Romaine to Memory Alpha, a planet which houses the Federation's central library, so that she can install some new equipment. Whilst en route the ship encounters a mysterious energy cloud, apparently not a natural phenomenon. The briefly penetrates the ship before leaving and moving on to engulf Memory Alpha. It kills the entire staff before moving off.
On the Enterprise it is discovered that Romaine has developed some form of mental link to the cloud as a result of her exposure when it boarded the ship. She predicts that it will return to the Enterprise, which it subsequently does. The cloud posesses Romaine; on investigating the crew find that it is a group of intelligent beings from the planet Zetar. The beings refuse to relinquish control of Romaine, but Scotty uses the ship's hyperbaric chamber to expose her to high pressures. The Zetarians, having become accustomed to the vacuum of space, are destroyed. After recovering Romaine proceeds on to Memory Alpha to restore the library to functional status.
Not one of the better efforts, even by season three standards. The idea of Memory Alpha doesn't make a lot of sense - why put this library out in the middle of nowhere, rather than on Earth or Vulcan or some other Federation planet? I suppose the members might want a neutral site for the facility so it is not under the control of any one member (though the episode never says this), but we have seen many times that communications across interstellar distances can involve significant time lags in Trek. Do we really want a library that takes hours to give anybody an answer to any question by subspace radio, and which everybody has to take a ship to get to in person?
I'm no great fan of Romaine's character either. The sudden instant romantic relationship with Scotty seems forced - it's manufactured entirely to make us care more about her, but it's so awkward to have a relationship pop up like that that it never really involves us. I know in the days of TOS long term character developments were very much the exception rather than the rule, and more than a few instant romances came and went, but having such a thing as such a major element of the show just turned me off.
The Zetarians are also a little thin. They seem to be stereotypical bad guys, entirely unconcerned with what they do to others so long as they get what they want. It would have worked much better if the writers had sought some way to make they a bit more sympathetic.