Captain’s Log: Stardate 1672.1
“I’m Captain Kirk!”
A story by Richard Matheson, which didn’t mean much to me as a kid, but now, of course, I know exactly what that means for a story, and The Enemy Within is that. Having an original airdate of 6 October, 1966, this superficially simple story is a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde tale for our dear captain, James T. Kirk (William Shatner), but it’s deeper than that because it explores the duality of our very nature, how both our compassionate and darker sides combine to form who we really are, or in the case of Kirk, combine to form a strong leader.
When a transporter accident causes the separation of the captain (not to mention the removal of the Starfleet insignia on his chest, though it’s back in the next shot) all transporter operations are brought to a halt, marooning poor Sulu (George Takei) on the planet below, which is home to costumed dogs, and a plunging thermometer.
Once again, Kirk’s log reflects knowledge of events that he doesn’t have. I guess we can only believe that he made his logs after the events and they are spaced through the episode for dramatic intent.
This was a favourite when I was a kid, the idea of fighting yourself, and needing both sides of your personality to be whole.
Unfortunately, it does let out Kirk’s lecherous side as he goes after his Yeoman, Rand (Grace Lee Whitney), getting as close to rape as it could, I’m also troubled by the fact that Rand later says she wouldn’t even had mentioned it, and that he’s the captain. It’s so wrong, and it’s bothersome that it got through to the screen.
It’s troubling, and disturbing, and seeing your hero in such a light at such a young age, bothered me a lot, especially when we know it’s a part of his real personality.
While Sulu and his team suffer on the surface below (and I don’t recall any mention of shuttles being used to rescue them) Kirk and Spock (Leonard Nimoy) organise search parties to find his double, and find someway to reunite the two parts of the captain.
Now, of course, it’s easy to see the stand-in is not William Shatner, but the editing of their confrontations, and the use of the body double works fairly well, and allowed for my suspension of disbelief.
It’s still amazing how some lighting effects, some eyeliner and a transporter accident can let your dark side out.
It used to be, as a youngster that my favourite scenes were the confrontation scenes involving the Kirks, but now, I love the moments between Kirk, Spock and McCoy (DeForest Kelley) as they discuss human nature, and the need for balance in our souls.
Both parts of Kirk begin to die, separated from one another, the darker side before the compassionate side, and it will take some miracle working, cue Scotty (James Doohan) for the transporter to combine the two again.
This is classic Trek, a simple premise, a thrilling adventure story on the surface, bit with a deeper meaning under it.
Captain’s Log: Stardate 1329.1
Mudd’s Women. This is an episode that I have never cared for. Originally airing 13 October, 1966 it was penned by Stephen Kandel from a story by Gene Roddenberry. The moral of the story is that if you believe in yourself you can be beautiful, successful, and that’s how others will see you if you see yourself that way.
On the upside, the episode does introduce the delightful Harry Mudd (Roger C. Carmel). Mudd, and his ‘cargo’ try to outrun the Enterprise, and when the starship blows a number of (di)lithium crystal circuits, they have to find a planet close enough that has a (di)lithium mine. Rigel XII.
Upon arriving, Kirk learns that Mudd has brokered a deal with the miners, they want his cargo, three lovely women (made so, they think, by pills Mudd gives them) in return for the (di)lithium.
I don’t like the story, Mudd is recruiting wives for settlers, and thinks he can pull a fast one on them by selling them less than desirable women after the pills have worn off.
And while it may be fun to see the effect that the women have on the male members or the crew, the story itself is rather sexist, and rather unenjoyable. He’s selling brides. There is Eve (Karen Steele), Magda (Susan Denberg) and Ruth (Maggie Thrett) and only Eve seems to have any real issues with what is going on.
Our main characters are solid, already confident in their roles, though Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) appears in command yellow in this episode – wonder what that was about. Spock also seems to take some enjoyment from Kirk’s shock when he shows Mudd and the ladies into his quarters.
Somehow this one ends up being fairly popular, and like I said, while I enjoy the character of Mudd, I’m not the biggest fan of the story, I think it would be done in a bit of a different way today. The theme is important, but there must have been a better way to do it.
The journey continues next week!