Captain’s Log: Stardate 2712.4
There are two things that have always stayed with me for this episode when I was growing up, the big scary Ruk (Ted Cassidy) and the appealing, Andrea (Sherry Jackson).
Written by Robert Bloch (who also penned Psycho), although Gene Roddenberry touched it up while it was shooting, the original airdate of this episode was 20 October, 1966. The Enterprise arrives in orbit around the planet Exo-III and are shocked to discover that Nurse Chapel’s (Majel Barrett) fiance, Roger Korby (Michael Strong) presumed missing, is alive.
Eager to be reunited with her beloved, Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and Chapel beam down, to the surface, and find themselves in a mystery, and encounter the murderous Ruk. And I have to say, I get that Ruk’s scariness is caused by his makeup, and the padding of his costume to make him seem even more massive, but it totally works.
The problem watching these chronologically is that we just saw an episode with two Kirks, and in this episode we get another one, because, surprise, Korby is creating androids (albeit androids with pride and the ability to be confused with memories and feelings), and Kirk is duplicated!!
The music of Trek has always been important, and Fred Steiner’s score in this one, with musical cues that are reused throughout the series, are familiar, much-loved and were hummed and whistled constantly when I was a child, playing outside, or, embarrassing to admit, when I was sitting at my desk at school.
I would sit there, humming quietly to myself, while pretending the slightly angled surface of my desktop was a control board, perhaps helm control, and I would tap away at the buttons that my imagination had overlaid on the wooden surface.
Kirk gets to be a bit of Lothario this week, as well as a fighter, as he fires phasers, and smacks lips. Unfortunately, if you aren’t Kirk in this episode, you tend not to get lots of screen time or much to do. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) is stuck on the bridge, McCoy (DeForest Kelley), Scotty (James Doohan) and Sulu (George Takei) are non-existent.
With what we will learn about androids in the future, say, during The Next Generation, one has to wonder whether Korby was aware of Soong (Brent Spiner), or the other way around. Course Korby found the android-creating equipment, left behind by ‘The Old Ones,’ whereas Soong created.
It also brings to question the nature of existence, can you still be human, a person, if you are a programmable machine, are your feelings real, are your thoughts your own? Are you in fact, you?
And just as a fun moment, I love how Kirk slips a message to Spock. We also hear, for the first time about Kirk’s brother, George Samuel Kirk.
It’s also cool that Chapel gets to be highlighted a little in this story, filling out some of the supporting cast in a nice way.
Captain’s Log: Stardate 2713.5
“Bonk, bonk on the head!”
THIS was the first episode I ever saw. It was written by Adrian Spies and had an original airdate of 27 October, 1966. Of course, that’s not when I saw it. I saw it in the very late 70s 77 or 78), one Saturday morning.
I remember sitting first on the family couch, before moving to a chair, and finally the floor as close as I could get to the television, as I was intrigued by the characters I was being introduced to.
I also got to see this one projected, one summer, during one of our family trips that saw us staying for a couple of days at a KOA. On the back of the main building, by the swing sets, and other playground equipment, as the sun went down, a projector was fired up, and the Enterprise flickered to life on a red painted wall.
Arriving at a world that seems uncannily like Earth, seemingly having developed in the same way, right down to the shape and positions of continents, Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Rand (Grace Lee Whitney) beam down to the surface to investigate an old style SOS.
What the find is troubling, there are no adults, only children, and when they hit puberty, they suffer a brutal infection that is terrible to endure and behold, followed by death. And, it seems Kirk, McCoy and Rand have been infected by it.
Seeking help from some of the older children, specifically, Miri (Kim Darby) a young girl on the verge of womanhood who is quite taken by Kirk, they struggle to find a cure not only to save themselves, but perhaps return life to and progress to this other Earth.
I remember enjoying the interactions of Kirk, Spock and McCoy, and how the three of them work together in their own way, to resolve the problem that confronts them. I also love, how even at that age, without knowing anything about Spock, took the fact that he had pointed ears in stride.
That may have had something to do with the fact that I always had rather large ears as a child, or at least felt I did. Despite that, at my young age, I wanted to be Kirk. Now, I still want to be a Kirk, but find that part of me is a bit more McCoy now, and I’m ok with that.
This episode, also introduced me to the idea that children could be scary. I hadn’t thought of that before, children were my peers, but here, they were actively thwarting my new heroes, and their mocking calls were a little spooky.
But, happily, things are set right, and I was hooked on this new show (to me) that combined science, wonder, excitement, exploration, and adventure.
I was more than ready to boldly go!