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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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35

Star Trek Re-Watch: “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”

Let That Be Your Last Battlefield
Written by Oliver Crawford (Story by Lee Cronin)
Directed by Jud Taylor

Season 3, Episode 15
Production episode: 3×15
Original air date: January 10, 1969
Star date: 5730.2

Mission summary

Enterprise is on an important humanitarian mission to decontaminate Ariannus, which has succumbed to bacterial invasion that will kill billions of people without their timely intervention. But a funny thing happens on the way to the planet: they encounter a damaged Starfleet shuttlecraft which was jacked from Starbase 4. The lone pilot is injured and unable to respond to their hails, so they bring the shuttle onboard. Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock meet it at the hangar deck with a security team and a man in blackface stumbles into the corridor. But wait! He collapses and rolls over to dramatically reveal that the left side of his face is white!

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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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14

“Surely the best of times.”

This news is only tangentially related to Star Trek, but I’m thrilled to announce that I have just sold my first novel, Fair Coin, to Lou Anders at Pyr! Lou has some history with Trek, and it’s very likely that one of my favorite episodes of the original series may have influenced some elements of the book. It’s young adult speculative fiction, but I don’t want to divulge too much about the plot right now; however, I think I can safely say that some of our re-watch community here will get a kick out of it when it’s published. And who knows, perhaps one day a careless starship crew will leave a copy of my novel behind on an impressionable planet and inspire a whole new way of life. What an awesome responsibility. I accept it gladly.

There’s a little more information over at my author website.

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31

Star Trek Re-Watch: “Elaan of Troyius”

Elaan of Troyius
Written by John Meredyth Lucas
Directed by John Meredyth Lucas

Season 3, Episode 13
Production episode: 3×02
Original air date: December 20, 1968
Star date:4372.5

Mission summary

Enterprise is on a top-secret mission to deliver Elaan, the Dohlman of Elas, to the nearby planet Troyius, where she is to marry the Troyian leader to avert nuclear war between their peoples. The Elasians are reportedly “vicious and arrogant,” like the neighboring Klingons who dispute the Federation’s claim over the Tellun system. On the other hand, McCoy has heard that Elasian women have a “subtle, mystical power that drives men wild.” It’s up to Troyian Ambassador Petri to civilize the savage Elaan and instruct her in the customs of her new home.

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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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53

Star Trek Re-Watch: “Wink of an Eye”

Wink of an Eye
Written by Arthur Heinemann (story by Lee Cronin)
Directed by Jud Taylor

Season 3, Episode 11
Production episode: 3×13
Original air date: November 29, 1968
Star date: 5710.5

Mission summary

Enterprise visits scenic Scalos in response to a distress call. While Mr. Scott keeps the captain’s seat warm, Kirk takes a landing party to investigate the source of the transmission, a seemingly abandoned Scalosian city. Ship’s sensors seem a little buggy, and although Uhura can see the Scalosians on the viewscreen, she can’t see the Enterprise team standing at the same coordinates. Meanwhile, the landing party doesn’t see anyone either, and Dr. McCoy’s scanner doesn’t register life–not even the insect Kirk hears buzzing around his head. Spock’s eyes and years of training tell him there was an advanced, humanoid civilization here, and he must have better apps on his tricorder than McCoy:

Instrument readings indicate life-forms, but of a highly unusual and intermittent nature. They have no discernible form or location. A most puzzling phenomenon, Captain. I shall have to study it further.

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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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42

Star Trek Re-Watch: “The Tholian Web”

The Tholian Web
Written by Judy Burns and Chet Richards
Directed by Herb Wallerstein and Ralph Senensky (uncredited)

Season 3, Episode 9
Production episode: 3×09
Original air date: November 15, 1968
Star date:5693.2

Mission summary

On the Enterprise bridge, Chekov and Sulu look like they regret whatever they had for lunch, but it turns out that space itself is disagreeing with them–Spock reports that it’s “literally breaking up.” Kirk is used to bad breakups, but this is causing all sorts of wonky sensor readings and the warp engines are inexplicably losing power. Then Chekov notices a ghostly ship ahead on the main viewscreen: the U.S.S. Defiant, a Constitution-class Federation ship which has been missing for three weeks. In this case they can only trust what they see with their own eyes, because sensors indicate their sister ship isn’t actually there. There’s no response to hails, so there’s only one thing to do–beam aboard to check things out.

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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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