About Author: Torie Atkinson & Eugene Myers

Website
http://www.theviewscreen.com
Description
TORIE ATKINSON is a NYC-based law student (with a focus on civil rights and economic justice), proofreader, sometime lighting designer, and former Tor.com blog editor/moderator. She watches too many movies and plays too many games but never, ever reads enough books. EUGENE MYERS has published short fiction in a variety of print and online zines as E.C. Myers. He is a graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop and a member of the writing group Altered Fluid. When he isn’t watching Star Trek, he reads and writes young adult fiction. His first novel, Fair Coin, is available now from Pyr.

Posts by Torie Atkinson & Eugene Myers

81

Star Trek Re-Watch: “Turnabout Intruder”

Turnabout Intruder
Teleplay by Arthur Singer
Story by Gene Roddenberry
Directed by Herb Wallerstein

Season 3, Episode 24
Production episode: 3×24
Original air date:  June 3, 1969
Star date: 5928.5

 

Mission summary

The Enterprise has arrived at Camus II where a team of researchers exploring a long-lost civilization have sent out a distress signal. When they beam down they find that only two scientists have survived the mysterious circumstances: Dr. Coleman, the surgeon, and Dr. Janice Lester, the expedition’s leader and an old flame of Kirk’s. Dr. Lester is bedridden from radiation poisoning and seems on the brink of death. Kirk goes to her, but she can barely speak. (He’s just that impressive.) He stays with her as Spock, McCoy, and Dr. Coleman detect weak lifesigns elsewhere on the station and exit in pursuit.

While Kirk and Dr. Lester arbor some residual tenderness towards one another, they have some resentment issues like you wouldn’t believe:

JANICE: I hoped I wouldn’t see you again.
KIRK: I don’t blame you.
JANICE: The year we were together at Starfleet is the only time in my life I was alive.
KIRK: I never stopped you from going on with your space work.
JANICE: Your world of starship captains doesn’t admit women. It isn’t fair.
KIRK: No, it isn’t. And you punished and tortured me because of it.
JANICE: I loved you. We could’ve roamed among the stars.
KIRK: We’d have killed each other.
JANICE: It might have been better.

Kirk, in his wisdom, doesn’t respond to that particular remark. Instead he explores the room he’s in a little bit. Short attention span, that captain. Against the back wall of the sick room is a lighted structure, with some kind of alien markings all over it. With his back turned to Janice, Kirk inspects the strange wall. Seems… wall-y. Yep. Well, that was productive. Meanwhile, Janice pulls out a remote control and points it at Kirk. With a buzz from the remote he is pulled against the wall and immobilized. It’s a trap!1 Dr. Lester, smiling, gets out of bed easily–so much for radiation sickness–and walks toward him. On the side of the structure are two switches, and she flips one and then stands beside Kirk against the wall. Thanks to the wonders of crappy special effects, we see a shadow of Kirk lift out of his body and overlay onto hers, while a shadow of Lester lifts out of her body and onto the captain’s. They’ve switched bodies!

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26

Star Trek Re-Watch: “The Savage Curtain”

The Savage Curtain
Teleplay by Arthur Heinemann and Gene Roddenberry
Story by Gene Roddenberry
Directed by Herschel Daugherty

Season 3, Episode 22
Production episode: 3×22
Original air date: March 7, 1969
Star date: 5906.4

Mission summary

The Enterprise is in orbit around a molten lava-coated and poisonous planet that nonetheless reads carbon-based life. Seems like a classic mission for our bunch, but unfortunately the mysteries of Excalbia will have to go unexplored because the molten planetary surface isn’t suitable for a landing party. Just as Kirk turns that starship right around so no one can go to Mordor, the Enterprise jumps to red alert: they’re being scanned. “A deep probe, incredibly swift,” Spock says (miraculously without giggling).

On the viewscreen, a man in a black suit, seated in a leather chair, and wearing a stovepipe hat appears to float.

ALIEN THING: No need to check your voice telegraph device. Do I gather that you recognize me?
KIRK: I recognize what you appear to be.
ALIEN THING: And appearances can be most deceiving, but not in this case, James Kirk. I am Abraham Lincoln.

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78

Star Trek Re-Watch: “The Way to Eden”

The Way to Eden
Story by Michael Richards and Arthur Heinemann
Teleplay by Arthur Heinemann
Directed by David Alexander

Season 3, Episode 20
Production episode: 3×20
Original air date: February 21, 1969
Star date: 5832.3

Mission summary

The Enterprise is chasing a small re-used Tholian dart cruiser that’s heading for Romulan space. Despite repeated hails the cruiser will not turn back, and so Kirk engages a tractor beam to tow them to safety. They seem to really want to get to Romulan territory (must be the ale) because they struggle against the tractor beam. Soon their engines begin to overheat (we know this because it turns red, like an electric stovetop) and when it becomes obvious they’re going to explode, Kirk orders Scotty to beam aboard the crew of six to the Enterprise. He will regret this is fairly short order, as will we all.

In the transporter bay six space hippies, covered in floral body paint and flowing robes, materialize before us. They sit down on the transporter pads and refuse to move when Scotty tries to take them to the briefing room. Instead, they shriek like new age banshees, “No go! No go! No go!” Let’s just hope Nurse Chapel doesn’t have to play babysitter again.

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69

Star Trek Re-Watch: “The Lights of Zetar”

The Lights of Zetar
Written by Jeremy Tarscher and Shari Lewis
Directed by Herb Kenwith

Season 3, Episode 18
Production episode: 3×18
Original air date:  January 31, 1969
Star date:  5725.3

Mission summary

The Enterprise has some newly designed hardware for Memory Alpha, the central repository for all Federation knowledge both cultural and scientific. To help with the installation is Lieutenant Mira Romaine, a beautiful young specialist that Scotty has taken quite a liking to. This concerns Kirk:

KIRK: When a man of Scotty’s years falls in love, the loneliness of his life is suddenly revealed to him. His whole heart once throbbed only to the ship’s engines. He could talk only to the ship. Now he can see nothing but the woman.

Good thing he’s archiving that thought in a log for the bureaucrats back home!

But before they can give him any dating advice, a series of strobe lights flashes across the viewscreen. It seems at first to be some kind of storm, but the speed and precision with which it moves betrays a kind of intelligence.  It closes in on the Enterprise and engulfs the bridge and her crew in sparkly lights.

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46

Star Trek Re-Watch: “The Mark of Gideon”

The Mark of Gideon
Written by George F. Slavin and Stanley Adams
Directed by Jud Taylor

Season 3, Episode 16
Production episode: 3×17
Original air date: January 17, 1969
Star date: 5423.4

 

Mission summary

The Federation has been trying to negotiate the admittance of Gideon, a secretive and isolated planet that assures us it has absolutely nothing to hide. In the spirit of mysteriously acquiescing to terms it should never otherwise agree to, Central Command has consented to allow only one delegate to beam down to the planet: Captain Kirk. But don’t worry, the planet doesn’t have any dark secrets. They’re a veritable paradise, say secondary sources. Phew.

Kirk beams down to the coordinates the council leader, Hodin, gives them. But when he arrives… he’s in the transporter room. Still. Only Spock’s not there anymore. In fact, no one’s there anymore. Kirk uses the transporter console to try and contact Spock or the bridge, but his first officer is nowhere to be found. In fact, no one responds. Kirk searches the ship and doesn’t find a single soul anywhere.  I’m sure his party invitation just got lost in the mail, right? Even more strange is that his arm hurts and he can’t remember the last ten minutes–which for anyone else might indicate something pretty awesome happened, but for Captain Kirk probably points to foul play.

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28

Star Trek Re-Watch: “Whom Gods Destroy”

Whom Gods Destroy
Teleplay by Lee Erwin
Story by Lee Erwin and Jerry Sohl
Directed by Herb Wallerstein

Season 3, Episode 14
Production episode: 3×16
Original air date:  January 3, 1969
Star date: 5718.3

Mission summary

Kirk and Spock beam down to Elba II, a planet that houses an asylum for the “few remaining incorrigible criminally insane of the galaxy.” The asylum is in a sealed complex because Elba’s atmosphere is poisonous: presumably a feature and a not a bug. Kirk and Spock are bringing Dr. Donald Cory, the governor of the so-called colony, a medicinal cure for the crazy people left there. (I’d guess Dr. Cory was on someone’s shit list since all he governs is a group of 15 psychopaths, but maybe the alternative was Triacus?)

The newest arrival to the funny farm is Garth of Izar, a former fleet captain for the Federation and a hero of Kirk’s. Kirk would like to meet him, so Dr. Cory leads his visitors through the Rogue’s Gallery: an Andorian rockin’ a bright red pimp coat, a pig-faced Tellarite, and a green Orion slavegirl named Marta who seems perfectly rational until she tries to explain that Dr. Cory isn’t Dr. Cory at all. Silly girl. But when they reach the last cell, they find a battered and beaten Dr. Cory inside, suspended in mid-air! A broing and camera shake later, the Dr. Cory they thought they knew appears in his true form: Garth of Izar, or as he prefers to be addressed, “Lord Garth, Master of the Universe.” He locks Kirk in the cell with Dr. Cory, releases the other inmates, and has his droogs drag Spock away.

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50

Star Trek Re-Watch: “The Empath”

The Empath
Written by Joyce Muskat
Directed by John Erman

Season 3, Episode 12
Production episode: 3×08
Original air date: December 6, 1968
Star date: 5121.5

Mission summary

Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are on the second planet around the star Minara, doomed to nova in classic stars-nova-left-and-right Star Trek style. A research crew was dispatched there six months ago to take some last minute readings, but now that the Enterprise has arrived with their ticket out of there no one’s around. The station is covered in dust and cobwebs and hasn’t been inhabited in at least three months. Scotty, at the Enterprise’s helm, alerts the captain that a solar flare is about to dump cosmic plot device rays that force the ship to retreat a safe distance from the planet, leaving the trio all alone.

As soon as our heroes are stuck and the Enterprise is out of range, they play a videotape lying around. In it, two scientists bitch and moan about “this godforsaken place”–which seems to have infuriated some locals, because a high-pitched screech and cheesy camera effect later, both scientists have disappeared into the ether. Then Kirk, Spock, and McCoy hear the same sound themselves and in just moments, vanish one by one.

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47

Star Trek Re-Watch: “Plato’s Stepchildren”

Plato’s Stepchildren
Written by Meyer Dolinsky
Directed by David Alexander

Season 3, Episode 10
Production episode: 3×12
Original air date: November 22, 1968
Star date: 5784.2

Mission summary

In response to some distress signals, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy beam down to the surface of an unknown planet. They’ve beamed right into a hall of some kind, adorned with Greek columns and statues. Contrary to the sensor readings, the building seems to indeed be inhabited–by some horrible monster! An intimidating shadow greets them, but ominous music cues aside it’s really just a lighting trick and it turns out to be Alexander, a chipper and talkative dwarf.

KIRK: Who are the inhabitants of this planet?
ALEXANDER: Oh, Platonians. I’m sure you’ve never heard of us. Our native star is Sahndara. Millennia ago, just before it went nova, we managed to escape. Our leader liked Plato’s ideas Plato, Platonius. See? In fact, our present philosopher-king, Parmen, sometimes calls us Plato’s children, although we sometimes think of ourselves more as Plato’s stepchildren.

Now that the premise, background, and title are explained, you don’t even need to see the episode!

No really. Don’t. Please don’t.

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38

Star Trek Re-Watch: “For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky”

For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky
Written by Rik Vollaerts
Directed by Tony Leader

Season 3, Episode 8
Production episode: 3×10
Original air date: November 8, 1968
Star date: 5476.3

Mission summary

With Spock in the captain’s chair, six archaic, sub-light speed missiles are headed straight for the Enterprise. Kirk quickly takes command (where was he, exactly?) and orders the missiles destroyed. Easy enough, but where did they come from? Sulu plots a course to the missiles’ origin to answer just that question.

Meanwhile, Dr. McCoy and Nurse Chapel are having it out in sickbay. Kirk arrives just in time to break up the fight–but Chapel looks sad, not angry, and McCoy asks her to leave.  Kirk notes tactlessly that that “was quite a scene” (lack of subtlety will be a hallmark of this episode) and wants to know what the emergency is:

MCCOY: I’ve just completed the standard physical examinations for the entire crew. […] The crew is fit. I found nothing unusual, with one exception.
KIRK: Serious?
MCCOY: Terminal.
KIRK: What is it?
MCCOY: Xenopolycythemia. It has no cure.
KIRK: Who?
MCCOY: He has one year to live.
KIRK: Who is it?
MCCOY: The ship’s Chief Medical Officer.

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45

Star Trek Re-Watch: “Spectre of the Gun”

Spectre of the Gun
Written by Lee Cronin
Directed by Vincent McEveety

Season 3, Episode 6
Production episode: 3×01
Original air date: October 25, 1968
Star date:4385.3

Mission summary

En route to establish relations with the Melkotians–a reclusive, papier-mâché-mask-wearing race–the Enterprise is intercepted by a space buoy with a very serious warning:

Aliens, you have encroached on the space of the Melkot. You will turn back immediately. This is the only warning you will receive.

Kirk hears it in English, but Spock hears it in Vulcan, Chekov hears it in Russian, and Uhura hears it in Swahili. It’s using some kind of telepathy to communicate to all of them. Though he understands the message perfectly, Kirk decides to disregard it pretty much immediately because “Our orders are very clear. We’re to establish contact with the Melkotians at all costs.”

Involuntary peace ahoy!

After some failed attempts at hailing them, Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, and Chekov beam down to what they think is the planet, but is actually just a giant fog machine because planets are expensive. Worse, they quickly discover that their communicators no longer work and the Melkotians don’t like trespassers. A Melkotian appears and calls the men “outside, a disease,” and says that because Kirk ordered his crew to do this thing, “yours shall be the pattern of your death.”

They are then instantly transported to a low-budget, flimsy Hollywood set of the Old West.

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