ST:TOS — 1.5 The Enemy Within

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the writer Alice. Her five-year mission: to recap every episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, to post them to this blog, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

And as she goes, she’ll keep her eyes open for the following items:

  1. Kirk Fu wouldn’t actually help you; it’d probably get you killed instead.

  2. Roddenberry predicts SCIENCE!

  3. Space Husbands (Spock/Kirk), Space Boyfriends (Spock/McCoy), and Space Biffles (Kirk/McCoy), oh my!

  4. Doomed Crewmen Aren’t Always Redshirts (but they usually are)

  5. Someone actually does their assigned job.

  6. Social issues are addressed.

  7. Bones is adorable/grumpy (which is the same thing to me)

  8. WTF?! moments are my fav.

  9. WTF?! aliens are also my fav.

  10. They referenced this in the reboot films!

  11. Mark Jefferies was a genius!

  12. Catchphrase running tally:
    Bones – He’s dead
    Chapel – Doctor!/Doctor McCoy!
    Chekov – anything regarding Russia
    Kirk – Kirk out
    Scotty – the laws of physics
    Spock – Fascinating
    Sulu – repeats an order
    Uhura – Hailing frequencies open

  13. The Prime Directive doesn’t matter because Kirk knows best.

  14. Omg, costumes!

  15. The sexism is rampant and makes me feminist rant.

title card

The Enemy Within is one of those classic episodes in which you have to wonder just how much shenanigans happened while filming. Clearly, Shatner was having fun with this one since he got to be ridiculous. They probably didn’t get to the point of Supernatural cast shenanigans, but you have to wonder.

Surprisingly enough, this one doesn’t begin with one of Kirk’s log recordings and instead plunges right into the story with Kirk and the landing party on the surface of Alpha 177, collecting specimens for scientific study. Including this little guy:

#9 Space Dog is Best Dog.

#9 Space Dog is Best Dog.

Kirk and Sulu discuss how cold the planet gets after nightfall (-120* but it’s unclear if that’s in Fahrenheit or Celsius or Kelvin), so they set up how important it is to Not Be There After Sundown super early in the ep. Seriously, it’s the second and third lines.

But before they could really lay it on thick, there’s a crash and Kirk goes dashing off to see what happened. Turns out, Geological Tech Fisher fell off a small cliff of four or five feet and cut his hand. And got himself covered in yellow dust that they call ore. Kirk’s like, “No big. Just go get cleaned up in Sick Bay. You’ll be fine.”

Up in the Transporter Room, Scotty gets Fisher on the ship after a nearly failed attempt. Fisher kind of flickers like a candle before fully materializing and once he’s there, Scotty checks the yellow dust with one of his handy-dandy Chief Engineer tools and reports its magnetic. So we learn that the Transporter is sensitive to magnetism which is good to know since Kirk requests to be beamed aboard shortly after Fisher leaves the room. Scotty gives the Transporter a once over and sends Lt. Wilson to fetch a synchronic meter for further diagnostics before beaming the Captain up.

Once Kirk’s aboard, he doesn’t look too hot. Well, it’s young Shatner, so yeah he’s still hot, but I mean he looks ill. And he stumbles as he leaves the Transporter platform, looking all sorts of dizzy. Scotty offers to give him a hand back to his quarters and Kirk’s like, “You know the rules; don’t leave the Transporter Room unattended.” Which I super like. When people try to convince me that Kirk’s a maverick who doesn’t play by or even know the rules, it makes me want to scream. Anyway, Scotty’s all, “Wilson will be back in just a second; it’s cool.” And they leave.

And then a second Kirk materializes on the platform.

dun, dun, DUN!

dun, dun, DUN!

Captain’s Log, Stardate 1672.1. Specimen-gathering mission on planet Alpha 177. Unknown to any of us during this time, a duplicate of me, some strange alter ego, had been created by the Transporter malfunction.

In the Sick Bay, McCoy’s finishing up patching Fisher’s hand up and DeForest delivers one of my favorite McCoy lines in this episode with the best twinkle in his eye:

You picked a good day, Fisher. Business has been lousy. What’d you do, take a fall on purpose so you could get a little vacation?

See? McCoy isn’t above playing hooky, #7.

Duplicate!Kirk enters and begins demanding Saurian brandy, which breaks up the party in Sick Bay because McCoy sends Fisher on his way with the warning he has no sympathy for clumsiness, which is rich because he’s besties with Kirk who gets himself into trouble all the time.

As he leaves, Fisher tries to let Kirk know he’s doing better, which is a normal thing for people to do when they’ve been injured, but duplicate!Kirk doesn’t even acknowledge the Geo Tech’s even there and demands the brandy again, by manhandling McCoy (#3). McCoy hands it over and Kirk leaves, heading toward Yeoman Rand’s quarters.

In Kirk’s quarters, the original is currently shirtless and trying to wind down after his stint on the away mission. Spock stops by to visit.

Spock: Is there something I can do for you, Captain?

Kirk: Like what?

Spock: Well, Dr. McCoy seemed to think I should check on you.

Kirk: That’s nice. [beat] Come on, Spock, I know that look. What is it?

Spock: Well, our good doctor said that you were acting like a wild man, demanded brandy.

Kirk: Our good doctor’s been putting you on again.

Spock: Hmm. Well, in that case, if you’ll excuse the intrusion, Captain, I’ll get back to my work.

Kirk: I’ll tell him you were properly annoyed.

There is nothing about this conversation that doesn’t support my love for my original ot3, #3. Not only that, but it makes it apparent that the ot3 will quickly become aware that something screwy is happening on the Enterprise and it’s only a matter of time before they’re hip deep in weirdness. So, business as usual, really.

Scotty summons Kirk to the Transporter Room and is all, “The thing’s broke, Captain.” But with better grammar:

Kirk: What is it, Scotty?

Scott: Transporter breakdown. [to Wilson] Continue circuit testing. [to Kirk] We beamed up this animal [space dog] and, well, look for yourself. It’s in this specimen case.

[Scott opens the case to reveal a super-angry version of the Space Dog. It’s all growly and junk.]

Kirk: Yes?

Scott: A few seconds after they sent this one up through the Transporter, that duplicate appeared. Except it’s not a duplicate, it’s an opposite. Two of the same animal, but different. One gentle, this. One mean and fierce, that. Some kind of savage, ferocious opposite. Captain, we don’t dare send Mister Sulu and the landing party up. If this should happen to a man…

Kirk: Oh, my.

Firstly, every time someone says, “Oh, my,” I’m guaranteed to laugh because it’s such an understated way of expressing concern. Secondly, James Doohan, I’m so sorry they make you the Lord of Exposition with really awkward and repetitive dialogue. That’s no fun for anyone, especially actors. Thirdly, now Kirk knows there’s a problem because Sulu and the landing party are stranded on the planet until they can get the Transporter working again and it gets ridiculously cold at night, remember? The conflict is revealed! Part of it, at least.

In Rand’s quarters, duplicate!Kirk is being a creeper, waiting for her to return. And it’s not like he’s sitting at her desk, either. He’s hiding in the shadows and doesn’t reveal his presence to her until she’s already started to unpin her hair in prep for changing out of her uniform.

And things get really rapey really quickly:

duplicate!Kirk: You’re too beautiful to ignore. Too much woman. We’ve both been pretending too long. [grabs her] Stop pretending. Let’s stop pretending. Come here, Janice. Don’t fight me. Don’t fight me, Janice.

[he kisses her]

Rand: Captain!

duplicate!Kirk: Just a minute, Janice. Just a minute!

Then he forces her to the ground, but she manages to scratch his face and get away enough to open the door. Fisher is fortuitously passing by and sees duplicate!Kirk grab Rand as she shouts for him to get Spock. As Fisher tries to get the First Officer, duplicate!Kirk knocks him out with a karate chop to that curve where Fisher’s neck meets his shoulder. Not sure about you, but I’ve had the straps of bags dig into that curve and that hurts. I couldn’t possibly imagine what a karate chop there would feel like.

But later in Kirk’s quarters, Spock tells him about the attack on Janice Rand. And Kirk’s like, “Um, no. I’ve been here since you left. Couldn’t have been me.” So they head to Sick Bay to figure out what’s going on.

unhappy Janice

Rand: Then he kissed me and he said that we—that he was the Captain and he could order me. I didn’t know what to do. When you mentioned the feelings we’d been hiding, and you started talking about us–

Kirk: Us?

Rand: Well, he is the Captain. I couldn’t just—you started hurting me. I had to fight you, and scratch your face.

Kirk: Yeoman, look at me. Look at me; look at my face. Are there any scratches?


Rand: I was sure I scratched you. I was frightened. Maybe–

Kirk: Yeoman. I was in my room. It wasn’t me.

Rand: Sir, Fisher saw you, too.

Kirk: Fisher saw?

Rand: If it hadn’t been—I can understand—I don’t want to get you into trouble. I wouldn’t have even mentioned it!

Kirk: It wasn’t me!

Fisher: It was you, sir.

Kirk: Do you know what you’re saying?

Fisher: Yes, I know what I’m saying.

This scene—glob, this scene. I don’t even know what to do with it, really. Because they’re discussing a rape attempt against Rand, but while they’re not exactly victim-blaming here, Kirk’s not really listening to what she’s saying, either. And he’s getting angry with her. I mean, obviously she’s upset, why are you raising your voice? I know you’re trying to defend yourself, but, come on, dude.

I really don’t understand this sort of reaction in people who are accused of stuff. I get that it’s more than a little annoying to be accused of something you haven’t done, but getting angry and yelling at the person accusing you, when they’re clearly trying to not cry, isn’t going to help anything. In fact, it makes you look guiltier. Especially when there’s a witness.

I can’t believe all I can say about this scene is, “At least they’re not victim-blaming Janice.” (#6)

Captain’s Log, Stardate 1672.9. On the planet’s surface, temperatures are beginning to drop; our landing party there in growing jeopardy. Due to the malfunction of the ship’s Transporter, an unexplained duplicate of myself definitely exists.

In the Transporter Room, Kirk and Scotty discuss how this whole duplicates thing could have even happened, because it’s super weird, yo. And Scotty’s all, “Yeah, the Transporter works, but we can’t risk bringing up the landing party because they might be duplicated also and that’d be bad.” And Kirk’s like, “But they’ll die, dude.” And then Spock decides to be super helpful.

Spock: About your double, Captain.

Kirk: Yes, er, yes, we’ll have to find him. Search parties, Mister Spock. Organize search parties.

Spock: We can’t take a chance on killing it. We have no previous experience, no way of knowing what would happen to you.

Kirk: Yes, that’s right. We don’t know, but the men have to be armed. The men are to be armed, with their phasers locked, I repeat, locked on setting number one. There can’t be any chance of him being killed. He’s to be taken without—if the men are forced to fire, he can’t be killed.

Spock: How shall we explain it to them, Captain? The search parties are to capture you?

Kirk: Tell them…

Spock: The search parties, Captain.

Kirk: Yes, I’ll make an announcement to the entire crew, tell them what happened. It’s a good crew. They deserve to know.

Spock: Captain, no disrespect intended, but you must surely realize you can’t announce the full truth to the crew. You’re the Captain of this ship. You haven’t the right to be vulnerable in the eyes of the crew. You can’t afford the luxury of being anything less than perfect. If you do, they lose faith, and you lose command.

Kirk: Yes, I do know that, Mister Spock. What I don’t know is why I forgot that just now. Mister Spock, if you see me slipping again, your orders—your orders are to tell me.

Spock: Understood, Captain.

This is one of those scenes where I get giddy over the acting. Shatner does such a fantastic job conveying the budding insecurity of good!Kirk that I’m sitting here just wanting to hug him and make him a cup of coffee and tell him it’ll be all right. I mean, honestly, it’s a really interesting take on the whole “Jekyll and Hyde” concept that they’re exploring in this episode and the way they wrote the Golden Trio handling with this is just amazing. And this scene is one of those examples of Spock truly supporting and being concerned (though concern is a Human emotion) for Kirk’s well-being, #3.

Captain’s Log, Stardate 1673.1. Something has happened to me. Somehow, in being duplicated, I have lost my strength of will. Decisions are becoming more and more difficult.

After the commercial break and Kirk’s episode recap, he makes his announcement to the crew and he follows Spock’s recommendation to the letter and we see duplicate!Kirk freaking out because he honestly believes he’s the rightful Captain. Which is understandable because as I see it, it isn’t so much a question of Kirk being duplicated as it is a matter of him being split into two versions of himself—good and evil.

And it’s really interesting, really. I love this. Jekyll and Hyde is one of my favorite story-telling concepts. I cannot express how much I love it. There’s so much potential for stories that use it. And if they live up to potential, they’re epic stories. I really wish the Hulk films would live up to the Jekyll and Hyde potential because that would be phenomenal. Really. Maybe with the next Hulk feature.

Anyway. Duplicate!Kirk goes to Kirk’s quarters and puts makeup on to hide his face scratches. Why Kirk has makeup, I have no idea and it’s never explained. My only guess is that he uses it in away missions where he has to dress in fun costumes. When he leaves the Captain’s quarters, duplicate!Kirk bumps into Lt. Wilson and asks for his phaser. Then they chat a bit and duplicate!Kirk knocks him out. He’s got a bad habit of doing that to people.

In the Briefing Room, meanwhile, Kirk calls down to Sulu and checks on the landing party. They’re setting up a camp with some tents and tarps that look like oversized kites.

Sulu's Kite Tents

Kirk super wants to get these guys on the Enterprise because they could die if they stay on the planet much longer, but the Transporter’s still acting dodgey and Scotty doesn’t want to risk it. Especially since when they beamed some space heaters down, they duplicated and didn’t work. And at this point, I continuously talk to Kirk, reminding him that he has shuttlecraft at his disposal, but he seems to completely forget that fact for narrative convenience/drama.

It’s reported that Wilson reported that he was attacked by the duplicate Kirk, who called him by name and everything. So now they’re going to really worry because the duplicate shares the same knowledge as the nice Kirk and that could be very bad. But Spock, being logical, says the following:

Apparently, this double, however different in temperament, has your knowledge of the ship, its crew, its devices. This being the case, perhaps we can outguess him by determining his next movie. Knowing how the ship is laid out, where would you go to elude a mass search?

Which is actually helpful for once. I know I rag on Spock for pointing out the obvious and being relatively unhelpful in his observations and whatnot, but every once in a while, he is helpful in problem solving.

So Spock and Kirk go down to Engineering to try and flush out the duplicate. Spock makes sure Kirk’s doing all right and they set their phasers to stun and then they go on a Kirk hunt. Eventually Kirk and the duplicate come face to face with each other:

Kirk: You can’t hurt me. You can’t kill me. You can’t. Don’t you understand? I’m part of you. You need me. I need you.

duplicate!Kirk: I don’t need you.

Luckily, Spock is there, after a brief struggle that resulted in phaser damage to the ship, with a handy-dandy neck pinch and the duplicate goes down like a sack of bricks.

As a quick side track, this exchange reminds me of this:

Ladies and gentleman, that is the ridiculous talent of Anthony Warlow as Jekyll and Hyde in the concept cast recording of Jekyll & Hyde. And the animated storyboard is just adorable. I would love to see this show fully animated; it would make me really happy.

Anyway, back to the Enterprise. In the Sick Bay, duplicate!Kirk is strapped down to a biobed and the ot3 is discussing Human nature and I love it:

Kirk: What’s the matter with me?

Spock: Judging from my observations, Captain, you’re rapidly losing the power of decision.

McCoy: You have a point, Spock?

Spock: Yes, always, Doctor. We have here an unusual opportunity to appraise the Human mind, or to examine, in Earth terms, the roles of good and evil in a man. His negative side, which you call hostility, lust, violence, and his positive side, which Earth people express as compassion, love, tenderness.

McCoy: It’s the Captain’s guts you’re analyzing. Are you aware of that, Spock?

Spock: Yes. And what is it that makes one man an exceptional leader? We see indications that it’s his negative side which makes him strong, that his evil side, if you will, properly controlled and disciplined, is vital to his strength. [to Kirk] Your negative side removed from you, the power of command begins to elude you.

Kirk: What’s your point, Mister Spock?

Spock: If your power of command continues to weaken, you’ll soon be unable to function as Captain. You must be prepared for that.

McCoy: You have your intellect, Jim. You can fight with that!

Kirk: For how long?

Spock: If I seem insensitive to what you’re going through, Captain, understand it’s the way I am.

The ot3-ness is almost overwhelming, #3. This. This is why I love the dynamic between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. Because they balance each other so beautifully. I mean, this is a weird example of it because Kirk’s being really wishy-washy without his dark side, but McCoy’s emotional reactions against Spock’s logic is so gorgeous I can’t even express how much I love these characters. They tried doing this in later Trek serieses, Data and Troi in TNG and other, but it didn’t work nearly as well.

Down on the planet, the temperature is dropping even further and Sulu and his men are looking death in the face. But the Transporter’s so far gone with the weird magnetic ore damage plus the phaser damage, it isn’t looking very good at all for them.

Kirk: Engineering deck, Kirk here.

Scott [oc]: Scott here, Captain.

Kirk: That unit, Scotty, status report.

Scott [oc]: The Transporter unit ioniser. Nothing much left of it, sir.

Kirk: How bad is it?

Scott [oc]: We can’t repair it in less than a week.

What I love about Scotty is that he isn’t so much a miracle worker as they all say he is, but he overestimates the time it would take for him to do or repair something and that makes him seem like a miracle worker. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a genius and he’s one of the best Engineers that Starfleet has put through the Academy, but half of his miracle-ness is his reporting times and stats based on other people’s abilities.

He’ll look at something, determine how long it would take the average Engineer to fix/finish it and tell Kirk that’s long it’ll take him. And then he’ll go do it in less than half the time because he’s so good. That’s really why he looks like a miracle worker. He’s just super efficient and a genius. It makes me happy to know the Enterprise is in such good hands.

Captain’s Log, Stardate 1673.5. Transporter still inoperable. My negative self is under restraint in Sick Bay. My own indecisiveness growing. My force of will steadily weakening. On the planet, condition critical. Surface temperature is seventy five degrees below zero, still dropping.

Sulu and the landing party have been using their phasers to heat the surrounding rocks to try to keep themselves warm and then they bundle up in their kite-tent-tarps and huddle together. And they kind of look like brightly colored leftovers.

Sulu burrito

They call up to the Enterprise for a status report and are tied directly in to the briefing room with Kirk and Spock.

Kirk: Kirk here, Mister Sulu.

Sulu [oc]: Hot line directly to the Captain. Are we that far gone?

Kirk: I gave everybody the afternoon off. I’m watching the store.

Okay, despite the fact that he’s probably panicking because he’s losing his strength of will because of the separation from his negative self, Kirk realizes that there’s a lot of importance in keeping his crew’s spirits up when it’s likely they won’t be returning to the ship. This is just another example of Kirk being Best Captain. He’s putting his men’s peace of mind first before his own and trying to keep things light even though things are looking dire. Maybe I should add a #16, Kirk is Best Captain.

Kirk: How is it down there?

Sulu [oc]: Oh, lovely, except that the frost is building up. We’re using hand phasers to heat the rocks. One phaser quit on us, three still operating. Any possibility of getting us back aboard before the skiing season opens down here?

Spock: This is Spock, Mister Sulu. You’ll have to hold on a little longer. There’s no other way. Survival procedures, Mister Sulu.

Sulu [oc]: Per your training program, Mister Spock.

Okay, I want to address what exactly Sulu and his men are facing here, what sort of death they’re looking forward to, because the episode doesn’t exactly do a very good job at truly conveying the horror of dying of cold. According to Wikipedia, which is my favorite because medical websites don’t explain things clearly enough for my brain, severe hypothermia symptoms are:

 As the temperature decreases, further physiological systems falter and heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure all decrease. This results in an expected heart rate in the 30s at a [body] temperature of 28*C (82*F)

Difficulty speaking, sluggish thinking, and amnesia start to appear, inability to use hands and stumbling are also usually present. Cellular metabolic processes shut down. Below 30*C (86*F), the exposed skin becomes blue and puffy, muscle coordination very poor, and walking almost impossible, and the person exhibits incoherent/irrational behavior, including terminal burrowing or even stupor. Pulse and respiration rates decrease significantly, but fast heart rates (ventricular tachycardia, atrial fibrillation) can also occur. Atrial fibrillation is not typically a concern in and of itself. Major organs fail. Clinical death occurs.

And because I didn’t know:

An apparent self-protective behaviour known as terminal burrowing, or hide-and-die syndrome, occurs in the final stages of hypothermia. The afflicted will enter small, enclosed spaces, such as underneath beds or behind wardrobes. It is often associated with paradoxical undressing. Researchers in Germany claim this is “obviously an autonomous process of the brain stem, which is triggered in the final state of hypothermia and produces a primitive and burrowing-like behavior of protection, as seen in hibernating animals.” This happens mostly in cases where temperature drops slowly.

And paradoxical undressing:

Twenty to fifty percent of hypothermia deaths are associated with paradoxical undressing. This typically occurs during moderate to severe hypothermia, as the person becomes disoriented, confused, and combative. They may begin discarding their clothing, which, in turn, increases the rate of heat loss.

One explanation for the effect is a cold-induced malfunction of the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates body temperature. Another explanation is that the muscles contracting peripheral blood vessels become exhausted (known as a loss of vasomotor tone) and relax, leading to a sudden surge of blood (and heat) to the extremities, fooling the person into feeling overheated.

Check it out, we’re learning science!

But seriously? This episode does nothing to convey what’s actually happening to these men in sub-zero temperatures, leading me to believe the Humans of the 23rd Century aren’t actually full Human anymore. Or at least, they’ve evolved really, really well.

Anyway, back in Sick Bay, duplicate!Kirk isn’t doing too well. According to McCoy, he’s actually dying. Which is worrisome because will good Kirk die as well without him? And they honestly don’t know if Kirk can survive without his negative side. McCoy leaves to go speculate in his office (I actually have no idea where he goes; he just kind of… wanders away) leaving Kirk with duplicate!Kirk.

Kirk sits at his duplicate’s bedside, which is probably a dizzying experience, seeing yourself lying in a bed, and holds his hand, trying to comfort him and give him the strength to come back:

Don’t be afraid. Here’s my hand. Hold on. You don’t have to be afraid. I won’t let go. Hold on. You won’t be afraid if you use your mind and think! Think! You can do it. That’s it!

So basically, Kirk just motivational speech’d a man back from the dead, #8. My Captain is better than your Captain.

Well, apparently, McCoy had just stepped aside to give Kirk some time with himself (you have no idea how much that sentence made me giggle; seriously, I’m gathering stares from the other Starbucks patrons), because now that duplicate!Kirk is back from the dead, he’s back in the conversation.

Kirk: I have to take him back inside myself. I can’t survive without him. I don’t want him back. He’s like an animal, a thoughtless, brutal animal, and yet it’s me. Me.

McCoy: Jim, you’re no different than anyone else. We all have our darker side. We need it! It’s half of what we are. It’s not really ugly; it’s Human.

Kirk: Human.

McCoy: Yes, Human. A lot of what he is makes you the man you are. God forbid I should have to agree with Spock, but he was right. Without the negative side, you wouldn’t be the Captain. You couldn’t be, and you know it. Your strength of command lies mostly in him.

Kirk: What do I have?

McCoy: You have the goodness.

Kirk: Not enough. I have a ship to command.

McCoy: The intelligence, the logic. It appears your half has most of that, and perhaps that’s where man’s essential courage comes from. For you see, he was afraid and you weren’t.

Seriously, though, the biffle-ness is so thick in this episode that I could wrap myself in a blanket made of it, #3. And it makes me so happy.

Kirk and McCoy are summoned to the Transporter Room, where Scotty and Spock think they’ve fixed things enough to try an experiment. Basically, they’re going to send through the duplicated space dog and see what happens. There’s a little science speak before they do, though, that kinda-sorta explains how they jerry-rigged the Transporter:

Scott: We’ve found a way to get the Transporter working, sir.

Spock: We’ve attached some bypass and leader circuits to compensate for the difference. Tied directly into the impulse engines, there shouldn’t be more than a five point variation in the velocity balance.

Kirk’s concerned that they’re going to hurt the vicious space dog, but Spock’s like, “We’re just going to sedate him a little. It’ll be painless and quick.” And he’s right.

They put the sedated space dog and the sweet space dog on the same Transporter disc and dematerialize them, wait a half minute, then rematerialize them. When the doggie comes back, it’s just a single animal, with one problem:

"He's dead, Jim." #12

“He’s dead, Jim.” #12

Yeah, no bueno.

After the commercial break, the ot3 are in the Sick Bay with duplicate!Kirk, discussing how the space dog died. McCoy thinks it might have been a severe shock, but they won’t know until the full post-mortem is completed. But Spock says the autopsy isn’t necessary because it was obvious the space dog was scared out of its mind from being split into two then suddenly thrust back together again. It couldn’t understand what was happening to it. But, he says, Kirk could. Because he has a higher intelligence score than the space dog, or whatever.

Poor Kirk is so indecisive that he’s agreeing with both McCoy and Spock and they’re making opposite suggestions based on their expertise.

McCoy: Could be, if, maybe. All guesswork so far. Just theory. Jim, why don’t you give me a chance to do an autopsy and let Spock check the Transporter circuits again.

Kirk: That sounds… sounds reasonable. We should double-check everything.

Spock: Aren’t you forgetting something, Captain?

Kirk: No, I don’t think I’ve for–

Spock: Your men on the planet surface. How much time do they have left?

Kirk: Yes, that’s right. The men. We have to take the chance, Bones. Their lives.

McCoy: Suppose it wasn’t shock, Jim. Suppose death was caused by Transporter malfunction. Then you’d die. They’d die anyway. Jim, you can’t risk your life on a theory!

Spock: Being split in two halves is no theory with me, Doctor. I have a Human half, you see, as well as an alien half, submerged, constantly at war with each other. Personal experience, Doctor. I survive it because my intelligence wins over both, makes them live together. [to Kirk] Your intelligence would enable you to survive as well.

Kirk: Help me. Somebody make the decision.

Spock: Are you relinquishing your command, Captain?

Kirk: No. No, I’m not.

McCoy: Well, then, we can’t help you, Jim. The decision is yours.

So much ot3 goodnes, #3.

What’s really interesting here is that this is the first time they really acknowledge that Spock is a Vulcan-Human hybrid and that he really does have an internal struggle between the Vulcan logic school of Kolinahr and his natural Human emotional tendencies. Yes, in The Naked Time, he spoke about his Human mother living on Vulcan, but he never really said anything about how being Vulcan-Human really affected him mentally. Here, he’s being up front about it, saying that it’s difficult and it kinda sucks, but it’s doable to have your intelligence, your logic to overcome the internal struggle and to maintain your sanity. Honestly, in the real world where we’ve yet to have contact made from Vulcan, I don’t know how applicable this knowledge really is, but it something to remember when your emotional state threatens to take total control and tempt you into actions that may or may not kind ruin your life a little bit.

So McCoy goes off to perform his autopsy and Spock leaves to work on the Transporter with Scotty, and Kirk and his duplicate are left alone to receive a transmission from Sulu, who reports the planet’s temperature is -117* and two men are unconscious and he doesn’t think there’s much time or hope for the rest of them. The transmission ends and Kirk worries aloud about his men.

Kirk: Can’t wait. Can’t let them die.

duplicate!Kirk: What are you going to do?

Kirk: Go through the Transporter, both of us.

duplicate!Kirk: There’s nothing I can do to stop you.

Kirk: It’s what I have to do. It’s what I have to do. What we have to do.

duplicate!Kirk: I won’t fight you anymore. Oh, I feel so weak. I’ll be glad when this is over.

But it’s all a ruse because as soon as Kirk gets the duplicate unstrapped from his biobed and upright, the duplicate knocks good Kirk out and makes a run for it.

Duplicate!Kirk runs into Rand in the corridor and tells her what happened, that the Transporter made two of him and that the negative Kirk was the one who attacked her, but he’s the good one, and see, the negative one scratched his face to make them look alike. And once he’s charmed his way into obtaining permission to visit her in her cabin, he heads up to the Bridge.

On the Bridge, duplicate!Kirk gives the order to leave orbit and totally abandon Sulu and the landing party to die, an order that is questioned because, duh, it’s totally out of character for him to give up on his crew. And when Spock questions it, trying to remind him of their plan, duplicate!Kirk claims he changed his mind and orders his First Officer to man his station.

But then McCoy enters the Bridge with nice Kirk, and they’re both identically dressed, which is no end of confusing once they start arguing with each other.

Kirk, your body double has greying hair.

Kirk, your body double has greying hair.

Spock: We’ll let the Captain handle this.

duplicate!Kirk: I’m the Captain. Isn’t that obvious? Look at his face–remember the scratches? Look how he’s tried to hide them. He wants you to think that he’s Captain Kirk. You know who I am.

Kirk: Yes, I know.

duplicate!Kirk: You want to kill me, don’t you? Farrell, James, grab him. He’ll destroy the ship! I’m the Captain. Don’t you understand? I’m Captain of the ship! [starts attacking the crew] I’m the Captain! This is my ship! My ship! It’s mine! I’ll kill you.

Kirk: Can half a man live?

duplicate!Kirk: Take another step, you’ll die.

Kirk: Then we’ll both die.

duplicate!Kirk: Please, I don’t want to go. Don’t make me. Don’t make me. [Kirk takes his phaser] I don’t want to go back. Please! I want to live!

Kirk: You will. Both of us.

duplicate!Kirk: I want to live!

Then duplicate!Kirk has a miniature emotional break down and ends up crying on Kirk’s shoulder.

If this doesn't give you feels, you have no soul.

If this doesn’t give you feels, you have no soul.

In the Transporter Room, Kirk helps his duplicate onto a disc and holds him there. There’s a brief, “If this doesn’t work–” “I know.” sort of exchange between Kirk and Spock and it just looks like Spirk all over the place, #3. And Spock beams the two Kirks out, waits a little too long for McCoy’s taste (but we all know McCoy hates the Transporter anyway, right?), and then beams a single Kirk back. There’s a tense beat, and then Kirk’s back to his old self and I am so relieved, because honestly, this episode makes me really uncomfortable to see him so indecisive and scared.

Sulu and the landing party are quickly beamed aboard and sent directly to Sick Bay where McCoy makes them all better and things are back to relative normal.

What I loved about the episode:

They really solidified the relationship between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy and told us without any shadow of a doubt how devoted the three are to each other. That they would do anything for each other, even argue until they’re blue in the face. Their dynamic was established fairly early on in the series and I’m eternally grateful for that.

What I would change:

How they depicted what was happening with the landing party. I would have made it way more apparent that they were dying of hypothermia, frostbite, exposure, etc. Having them just huddle together and shiver as they spoke didn’t really speak to the direness of their situation. They could have done a bit more with it and made it a little more effective.

What I hated:

The fact that Rand seemed to totally forgive duplicate!Kirk for trying to rape her just because he was charming and she’s clearly attracted to the Captain. Let’s not do that, please.

Headcanons I developed because of this episode:

The Human race has obviously evolved a lot faster than is evident because the landing party was able to survive the ridiculous subzero temperatures that they shouldn’t have been able to.

Also, Janice Rand is in love with Captain Kirk. That is all.

Catchphrase Tally for this episode: 1

Bringing us to a total of 9.5 for Season One.

Awesome. Next Wednesday beings us one of my favorite characters in Mudd’s Women and I couldn’t be more excited!


About alicegracey

Writer, Actor, Advice Nerd. At least, that's what it says on my business card these days. Mostly, I just write in order to try to get my brain to shut up. I like to share what I write, but be warned, I don't do happy.
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