Where Many Men Have Gone Before
Star Trek- “The Immunity Syndrome” (Original air date: January 19th, 1968)
Written by Robert Sabaroff
Directed by Joseph Pevney
Star Trek did a lot of what I like to call “space anomaly” episodes, but “The Immunity Syndrome” is, in my view, the gold standard. Spock “senses” the all Vulcan starship Intrepid has just been destroyed—400 voices cried out and were suddenly silenced. Kirk decides to investigate, and the Enterprise is soon being pulled in by some space anomaly which Spock posits to be a giant 11,000 mile wide amoeba, and the cause of the Intrepid's destruction. The ship is quickly losing power, and Spock must infiltrate the amoeba to figure out how to destroy it.
"The Immunity Syndrome" is about as tense as Trek ever got; a delirious swirl of preparations for failure and suicide missions. It’s a very important episode for Dr. McCoy, who gets schooled by Spock near the beginning of this episode.
"You find it easier to understand the death of one than the death of a million. You speak about the objective hardness of the Vulcan heart, yet how little room there seems to be in yours."
Crushed.

Star Trek- “The Immunity Syndrome” (Original air date: January 19th, 1968)

Written by Robert Sabaroff

Directed by Joseph Pevney

Star Trek did a lot of what I like to call “space anomaly” episodes, but “The Immunity Syndrome” is, in my view, the gold standard. Spock “senses” the all Vulcan starship Intrepid has just been destroyed—400 voices cried out and were suddenly silenced. Kirk decides to investigate, and the Enterprise is soon being pulled in by some space anomaly which Spock posits to be a giant 11,000 mile wide amoeba, and the cause of the Intrepid's destruction. The ship is quickly losing power, and Spock must infiltrate the amoeba to figure out how to destroy it.

"The Immunity Syndrome" is about as tense as Trek ever got; a delirious swirl of preparations for failure and suicide missions. It’s a very important episode for Dr. McCoy, who gets schooled by Spock near the beginning of this episode.

"You find it easier to understand the death of one than the death of a million. You speak about the objective hardness of the Vulcan heart, yet how little room there seems to be in yours."

Crushed.

Star Trek- “A Piece of the Action” (Original air date: January 12th, 1968)
Written by David P. Harmon and Gene L. Coon
Directed by James Komack
Star Trek would often explore historical periods from the first half of the 20th century (“City on the Edge of Forever,” the forthcoming “Patterns of Force”), but never more ridiculously than in “A Piece of the Action.” The Enterprise is sent to check in on Sigma Iotia II, a planet which was visited one hundred years ago by the starship Horizon. Because the Iotians are an “imitative” people, a book about gangland Chicago which was left by the Horizon has shaped their entire culture like a bible.
Kirk gets caught up in a conflict between two bosses, which causes him to start speakin’ der’ language, ‘less he wants to get hit. This results in many hilarious scenes where Kirk must negotiate with the bosses, while still making sense to Scotty over his communicator. A delightfully humorous episode.

Star Trek- “A Piece of the Action” (Original air date: January 12th, 1968)

Written by David P. Harmon and Gene L. Coon

Directed by James Komack

Star Trek would often explore historical periods from the first half of the 20th century (“City on the Edge of Forever,” the forthcoming “Patterns of Force”), but never more ridiculously than in “A Piece of the Action.” The Enterprise is sent to check in on Sigma Iotia II, a planet which was visited one hundred years ago by the starship Horizon. Because the Iotians are an “imitative” people, a book about gangland Chicago which was left by the Horizon has shaped their entire culture like a bible.

Kirk gets caught up in a conflict between two bosses, which causes him to start speakin’ der’ language, ‘less he wants to get hit. This results in many hilarious scenes where Kirk must negotiate with the bosses, while still making sense to Scotty over his communicator. A delightfully humorous episode.

Star Trek- “The Gamesters of Triskelion” (Original air date: January 5th, 1968)
Written by Margaret Armen
Directed by Gene Nelson
Seemingly every science fiction show has their gladiatorial combat episode, and for Star Trek, it’s “The Gamesters of Triskelion.” Kirk, Uhura, and Chekov are mysteriously transported to the planet of Triskelion, run by a group of “higher” beings called the providers, who control a legion of thralls whom they’ve collected from across the galaxy to compete against each other.
Meanwhile, Spock, McCoy, and Scotty are back on the Enterprise, desperately searching for their missing companions. I preferred this part of the episode to the rather rote science fiction trappings of Kirk’s story. Spock and Bones have the best dynamic on the show, and “The Gamesters of Triskelion” demonstrated that ably.

Star Trek- “The Gamesters of Triskelion” (Original air date: January 5th, 1968)

Written by Margaret Armen

Directed by Gene Nelson

Seemingly every science fiction show has their gladiatorial combat episode, and for Star Trek, it’s “The Gamesters of Triskelion.” Kirk, Uhura, and Chekov are mysteriously transported to the planet of Triskelion, run by a group of “higher” beings called the providers, who control a legion of thralls whom they’ve collected from across the galaxy to compete against each other.

Meanwhile, Spock, McCoy, and Scotty are back on the Enterprise, desperately searching for their missing companions. I preferred this part of the episode to the rather rote science fiction trappings of Kirk’s story. Spock and Bones have the best dynamic on the show, and “The Gamesters of Triskelion” demonstrated that ably.

Star Trek- “The Trouble With Tribbles” (Original air date: December 29th, 1967)
Written by David Gerrold
Directed by Joseph Pevney
If you’ve only seen one episode of Star Trek, it’s probably this one, at first glance a goof, although some of its more serious elements are often forgotten. The Enterprise is ordered by the Federation to provide guards for a space station near Sherman’s Planet, an area claimed by both the Federation and the Klingons. A group of twelve klingons are also aboard the station on “shore leave.” While aboard this space station, Lieutenant Uhura procures a cute, fuzzy creature known as a “tribble” from a shady huckster named Cyrano Jones. She brings it back aboard the Enterprise, but little does she know that the tribble is a fertile beast, multiplying at an alarmingly exponential rate, culminating in the classic scene in which Kirk is covered in tribbles falling out of an air vent.
Though the klingon story is also littered with ridiculous humor (“I meant to say it should be hauled away AS garbage!”), it grounds “The Trouble With Tribbles” so as not to veer off too far into the realms of cuteness or camp.

Star Trek- “The Trouble With Tribbles” (Original air date: December 29th, 1967)

Written by David Gerrold

Directed by Joseph Pevney

If you’ve only seen one episode of Star Trek, it’s probably this one, at first glance a goof, although some of its more serious elements are often forgotten. The Enterprise is ordered by the Federation to provide guards for a space station near Sherman’s Planet, an area claimed by both the Federation and the Klingons. A group of twelve klingons are also aboard the station on “shore leave.” While aboard this space station, Lieutenant Uhura procures a cute, fuzzy creature known as a “tribble” from a shady huckster named Cyrano Jones. She brings it back aboard the Enterprise, but little does she know that the tribble is a fertile beast, multiplying at an alarmingly exponential rate, culminating in the classic scene in which Kirk is covered in tribbles falling out of an air vent.

Though the klingon story is also littered with ridiculous humor (“I meant to say it should be hauled away AS garbage!”), it grounds “The Trouble With Tribbles” so as not to veer off too far into the realms of cuteness or camp.

Star Trek- “Wolf in the Fold” (Original air date: December 22nd, 1967)
Written by Robert Bloch
Directed by Joseph Pevney
"Wolf in the Fold" is Robert Bloch’s third and final Star Trek episode, and I’m somewhat surprised how separate “What Are Little Girls Made Of?,” “Catspaw,” and this episode feel from the rest of the series. Bloch was given the chance to really play around with the show’s format and to use it as a platform to explore all of his favorite themes. This episode is actually a loose adaptation of Bloch’s classic short story “Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper.”
Kirk, Bones, and Scotty are on shore leave on Argelius II, a super hedonistic pleasure planet where jealousy is basically against the law and cafes have exotic dancers. Scotty is smitten with one of these dancers, so Kirk, being the great captain that he is, sets up a rendezvous between his chief engineer and this reputable lady. The woman is later found stabbed to death with Scotty passed out nearby. Kirk insists on allowing Scotty to be tried by Argelian methods, a move which predicts the Prime Directive obsessed days of The Next Generation. “Wolf in the Fold” has it all—Kirk/Bones banter, courtroom drama, and genuinely spooky seance in which the screen goes black, but the screaming never stops.

Star Trek- “Wolf in the Fold” (Original air date: December 22nd, 1967)

Written by Robert Bloch

Directed by Joseph Pevney

"Wolf in the Fold" is Robert Bloch’s third and final Star Trek episode, and I’m somewhat surprised how separate “What Are Little Girls Made Of?,” “Catspaw,” and this episode feel from the rest of the series. Bloch was given the chance to really play around with the show’s format and to use it as a platform to explore all of his favorite themes. This episode is actually a loose adaptation of Bloch’s classic short story “Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper.”

Kirk, Bones, and Scotty are on shore leave on Argelius II, a super hedonistic pleasure planet where jealousy is basically against the law and cafes have exotic dancers. Scotty is smitten with one of these dancers, so Kirk, being the great captain that he is, sets up a rendezvous between his chief engineer and this reputable lady. The woman is later found stabbed to death with Scotty passed out nearby. Kirk insists on allowing Scotty to be tried by Argelian methods, a move which predicts the Prime Directive obsessed days of The Next Generation. “Wolf in the Fold” has it all—Kirk/Bones banter, courtroom drama, and genuinely spooky seance in which the screen goes black, but the screaming never stops.

Star Trek- “Obsession” (Original air date: December 15th, 1967)
Written by Art Wallace
Directed by Ralph Senensky
"Obsession," much like "The Doomsday Machine," is inspired by Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, though less obviously so. In orbit of Argus X, the Enterprise comes across yet another cloud-like space being whom Kirk had encountered eleven years prior, when he was a lieutenant aboard the USS Farragut. Kirk blames his own indecision for the death of his then captain, whose son is now an ensign on the Enterprise. Kirk obsessively pursues this creature, even at the expense of his crew’s current mission to deliver life saving drugs to the USS Yorktown.
At first, I was a bit wary of another Moby-Dick episode, but I wound up liking this one more than “The Doomsday Machine.” It has a great scene in which Spock and McCoy confront Kirk about his obsession. The red tinted lighting lends it an atmosphere which makes it one of the most intense scenes of the series thus far.
Note: Sorry about my four month absence. School unfortunately got in the way. Since the next Star Trek movie now has a firm release date of May 2013, I have a goal to work toward (though it’s quite possible I won’t hit it). I’m going to try to get through as much as I can before I go back to school in a few weeks, and I promise to keep it up more on the weekends next semester.

Star Trek- “Obsession” (Original air date: December 15th, 1967)

Written by Art Wallace

Directed by Ralph Senensky

"Obsession," much like "The Doomsday Machine," is inspired by Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, though less obviously so. In orbit of Argus X, the Enterprise comes across yet another cloud-like space being whom Kirk had encountered eleven years prior, when he was a lieutenant aboard the USS Farragut. Kirk blames his own indecision for the death of his then captain, whose son is now an ensign on the Enterprise. Kirk obsessively pursues this creature, even at the expense of his crew’s current mission to deliver life saving drugs to the USS Yorktown.

At first, I was a bit wary of another Moby-Dick episode, but I wound up liking this one more than “The Doomsday Machine.” It has a great scene in which Spock and McCoy confront Kirk about his obsession. The red tinted lighting lends it an atmosphere which makes it one of the most intense scenes of the series thus far.

Note: Sorry about my four month absence. School unfortunately got in the way. Since the next Star Trek movie now has a firm release date of May 2013, I have a goal to work toward (though it’s quite possible I won’t hit it). I’m going to try to get through as much as I can before I go back to school in a few weeks, and I promise to keep it up more on the weekends next semester.

Star Trek- “The Deadly Years” (Original air date: December 8th, 1967)
Written by David P. Harmon
Directed by Joseph Pevney
Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Scotty are subjected to a radiation poisoning which rapidly advances them in age, both physically and mentally. Their search for a solution is slowed down by their oncoming senility, and a visiting Commodore Stocker must take command of the ship, despite his lack of any starship experience.
Seeing Kirk, Spock, and Bones as nearly senile old men is a little funny and a little sad. It’s melancholy episode about aging and determining one’s relevance as time goes on, a theme further and more deeply explored in the Star Trek films.

Star Trek- “The Deadly Years” (Original air date: December 8th, 1967)

Written by David P. Harmon

Directed by Joseph Pevney

Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Scotty are subjected to a radiation poisoning which rapidly advances them in age, both physically and mentally. Their search for a solution is slowed down by their oncoming senility, and a visiting Commodore Stocker must take command of the ship, despite his lack of any starship experience.

Seeing Kirk, Spock, and Bones as nearly senile old men is a little funny and a little sad. It’s melancholy episode about aging and determining one’s relevance as time goes on, a theme further and more deeply explored in the Star Trek films.

Star Trek- “Friday’s Child” (Original air date: December 1st, 1967)
Written by D.C. Fontana
Directed by Joseph Pevney
On a mission to convince the leaders of Capella IV to trade topaline, the crew of the Enterprise must contend with a Klingon representative who also seeks the mineral. In the process, the leader of the Capellans, the Teer, is killed by one of his people. By custom, the former Teer’s wife must be killed because she is with child. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy flee with her and attempt to deliver her baby safely. Meanwhile, Scotty is in command of the Enterprise and must leave orbit to answer a (what turns out to be) fake distress call and do battle with a Klingon ship.
This is pretty much the perfect Star Trek episode. You’ve got both sides of Kirk: one luring the Capellans in favor the Federation through their peaceful tendencies while craving revenge on the Klingon a few scenes later, you’ve got McCoy acting as a father figure to the baby and spouting one of his best lines ever, “I’m a doctor, not an escalator!” and you have Spock’s long-suffering attitude toward them both.

Star Trek- “Friday’s Child” (Original air date: December 1st, 1967)

Written by D.C. Fontana

Directed by Joseph Pevney

On a mission to convince the leaders of Capella IV to trade topaline, the crew of the Enterprise must contend with a Klingon representative who also seeks the mineral. In the process, the leader of the Capellans, the Teer, is killed by one of his people. By custom, the former Teer’s wife must be killed because she is with child. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy flee with her and attempt to deliver her baby safely. Meanwhile, Scotty is in command of the Enterprise and must leave orbit to answer a (what turns out to be) fake distress call and do battle with a Klingon ship.

This is pretty much the perfect Star Trek episode. You’ve got both sides of Kirk: one luring the Capellans in favor the Federation through their peaceful tendencies while craving revenge on the Klingon a few scenes later, you’ve got McCoy acting as a father figure to the baby and spouting one of his best lines ever, “I’m a doctor, not an escalator!” and you have Spock’s long-suffering attitude toward them both.

Star Trek- “Journey to Babel” (Original air date: November 17th, 1967)
Written by D.C. Fontana
Directed by Joseph Pevney
The Enterprise is transporting ambassadors from all around the Federation to Babel for a diplomatic conference. The Vulcan ambassador happens to be Sarek, Spock’s estranged father.
When Sarek falls ill and needs a blood transfusion, Spock is the only one who can give it to him. Sadly, due to his damnable Vulcan logic, Spock insists on taking command of the ship when Kirk gets attacked.
Seeing Vulcan family interaction is fascinating. Spock’s human mother is furious with both her son and her husband and Kirk and McCoy are amused by the whole thing (at least when lives aren’t in danger).

Star Trek- “Journey to Babel” (Original air date: November 17th, 1967)

Written by D.C. Fontana

Directed by Joseph Pevney

The Enterprise is transporting ambassadors from all around the Federation to Babel for a diplomatic conference. The Vulcan ambassador happens to be Sarek, Spock’s estranged father.

When Sarek falls ill and needs a blood transfusion, Spock is the only one who can give it to him. Sadly, due to his damnable Vulcan logic, Spock insists on taking command of the ship when Kirk gets attacked.

Seeing Vulcan family interaction is fascinating. Spock’s human mother is furious with both her son and her husband and Kirk and McCoy are amused by the whole thing (at least when lives aren’t in danger).

Star Trek- “Metamorphosis” (Original air date: November 10th, 1967)
Written by Gene L. Coon
Directed by Ralph Senensky
While transporting a sick Federation commissioner in the Enterprise’s shuttlecraft, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy get dragged to a small planetoid with one inhabitant: Zefram Cochrane, the creator of the warp drive who supposedly died 150 years ago. He’s been kept alive all this time by a creature known to him only as “the companion.” Bored of immortality, Cochrane decides to help Kirk devise a plan to get off the planet and back to the Enterprise before the commissioner dies.
“Metamorphosis” is a fascinating examination of the history of the Federation and the changes in attitude toward inter-species relationships in the intervening 150 years. A monologue in which Kirk explains the developments since his “death” to Cochrane sums up the episode (and all of Star Trek) quite well.
“We’re on a thousand planets and spreading out. We cross fantastic distances and everything’s alive, Cochrane. Life everywhere. We estimate there are millions of planets with intelligent life. We haven’t begun to map them. Interesting?”

Star Trek- “Metamorphosis” (Original air date: November 10th, 1967)

Written by Gene L. Coon

Directed by Ralph Senensky

While transporting a sick Federation commissioner in the Enterprise’s shuttlecraft, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy get dragged to a small planetoid with one inhabitant: Zefram Cochrane, the creator of the warp drive who supposedly died 150 years ago. He’s been kept alive all this time by a creature known to him only as “the companion.” Bored of immortality, Cochrane decides to help Kirk devise a plan to get off the planet and back to the Enterprise before the commissioner dies.

“Metamorphosis” is a fascinating examination of the history of the Federation and the changes in attitude toward inter-species relationships in the intervening 150 years. A monologue in which Kirk explains the developments since his “death” to Cochrane sums up the episode (and all of Star Trek) quite well.

“We’re on a thousand planets and spreading out. We cross fantastic distances and everything’s alive, Cochrane. Life everywhere. We estimate there are millions of planets with intelligent life. We haven’t begun to map them. Interesting?”