“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
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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