Captain’s Log: Stardate 3025.3
Shore Leave, written by Theodore Strugeon aired on 29 December, 1966, and was the first episode that showed me that sometimes Trek could take itself less seriously, wait until I discovered The Trouble with Tribbles (!), while also exploring the characters.
This is an episode, much like the Naked Time, which if done now, would be used to explore the depths of some of the main characters, have secrets revealed, and things changed, however, episodic television, at the time, didn’t work that way.
The crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise are due for a rest, and Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) sends Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelly) and a team down to a planet to investigate it’s worthiness for some R&R.
Unfortunately, things begin to turn strange, when McCoy encounters the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, and an investigation leads to deadly encounters with knights, Starfleet pranksters, wild animals, and other strange beings.
It seems the intelligent life that inhabits the planet have created it as a bit of a pleasure planet, it hears you voice your desire and then brings that to life for you.
There are moments that just shine, as McCoy and Kirk interact, and Spock (Leonard Nimoy) tricks the Captain into going on vacation.
Yes, a lot of it is silly, and yes, Kirk’s shirt gets ripped (again) but there are a lot of fun moments. And when I was a kid watching this one, I was delighted to see that a show that could usually take itself so seriously, could in fact, take a shore leave, and just be goofy fun, while still sugar-coated in a mystery (including the revelation that there is no animal or insect life on the planet), as the Captain puts it.
I do like the fact that McCoy gets closer to getting the girl in this episode than Kirk. A lovely yeoman, Tonia Barrows (Emily Banks), seems to be quite taken with the old country doctor, and Jim is far to busy taking on his old bully at the Academy, Finnegan (Bruce Mars).
Gerald Fried’s score for the episode, much like so many of the moments throughout the series, is iconic, and tells you that no matter what is happening on this planet, there can’t be too much to worry about, because the music is joyous and playful.
Sulu (George Takei) gets some welcome screen time, as he is part of the landing party, and has some interesting encounters of his own while they try to puzzle out what is going on. He shows a fashion for antique fire arms, something we learn, later on, that Kirk shares as well.
Watching the way Kirk runs about, and rolls and even fights, heavily influenced me as a child, and I spent countless hours running about the hills, rocks and gullies of CFBs Borden and Kingston pretending to be him – a homemade Lego phaser in one hand, and a Lego communicator in the other.
For me, this one will always be an entertaining romp.
Captain’s Log: Stardate 2821.5
Spock gets an overdue chance to shine in this episode. Spock, McCoy, Scotty (James Doohan) and a crew are aboard the shuttle Galileo, which is forced to crash land on a remote planet that will test their mettle, Spock’s logic, and his command abilities.
The Galileo Seven was written by Oliver Crawford and Shimon Wincelbergand aired 5 January, 1967.
While the crew of the Galileo struggle to survive on the planet, encountering a giant, aggressive race, Kirk is hindered in his search for his friends and crewmates by the interference of Commissioner Ferris (John Crawford) who demands the Enterprise keep to its schedule – he needs a collection of supplies the Enterprise is carrying to combat the outbreak of a plague on the planet Markus III.
Kirk tries to balance his duty and his loyalty, while McCoy tries to advise Spock as the First Officer tries to puzzle out his mistakes, and keep his crew alive long enough to affect an escape from the planet and be rescued.
This is one of those of the episodes that has grown on me over the years, and has become a favourite. When I was a child, first exploring the world of Star Trek on Saturday mornings as I sat in front of the television eating cereal, this episode didn’t interest me.
You see, Kirk spent the entire episode on the bridge, separated from his friends and not really doing much except arguing with Ferris. All the real action was taking place with Spock, McCoy and Scotty, all of whom I liked but, hey, they weren’t the captain.
Now I think this is one of the strongest episodes of the first season, and lets Nimoy get some important character development for Spock in. It’s also nice to see Scotty doing a little more, as the relationship between McCoy and Spock gets a little more substance.
Survival, exploration, sacrifice, discovery, logic and command. All of those things are touched on in this episode; explored and commented on, and now I truly enjoy the way the episode does it – even if the giant aliens look kind of goofy, and barely glimpsed.
The explorations of the U.S.S. Enterprise continues next week, as Kirk and crew continue to boldly go…