Star Trek: The Original Series (1967) – Mirror, Mirror and The Apple

Captain’s log: stardate unknown.

The iconic episode, Mirror, Mirror is up first this week. Written by Jerome Bixby, this episode first aired on 6 October, 1967.

The story is a lot of fun, Kirk (William Shatner) and a landing party, including Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), Scotty (James Doohan) and McCoy (DeForest Kelley) are victims of a transporter mishap. Attempting to beam up from a planet where they are conducting trade negotiations, they end up on a different Enterprise, and discover they are in an alternate universe.

An evil universe.

You can tell this because Evil Spock (Leonard Nimoy) has a goatee. In fact the entire crew behave in a barbaric way, and the negotiations in their universe give way to violence in this one.

Can Kirk and company find a way back to their own universe, or will they fall victim to the alter-egos of their friends, including a vicious Sulu (George Takei) and a conniving Chekov (Walter Koenig).

The mirror universe uses assassination to advance in rank, and pain-inducing ionizers to keep crew people in line, as well as the terrifying agony booth.

Of course, our heroes can more easily settle into barbaric roles, than their counterparts now in the prime universe. Spock quickly susses out that something is going on, and contains them, while Kirk in the mirror universe tries to find a way home.

The episode adds to the tension of the situation by giving Kirk a countdown. It seems if he doesn’t destroy the inhabitants of the planet below for not giving them dilithium crystals Spock is supposed to kill him in four hours, and Scotty says they actually have thirty minutes.

Will Mirror Spock help Captain Kirk, or will Sulu and his cohorts eliminate the landing party before they can effect their escape?

This is a highly enjoyable episode and is a lot of fun. This was probably my first encounter, as a child, with the idea of a parallel universe, which would of course lead me to the ideas of the multi-verse. My little mind was blown. In fact the idea of the mult-verse still blows my mind, and raises all manner of questions in my brain.

I love this episode, and this was yet another one that inspires my play as a child, I ran around, encountered alternate versions of myself while I pretended to be Captain Kirk. It’s amazing how many of these stories fired my imagination and developed my creativity.

How many afternoons, winter, spring, summer and fall did I spend imagining myself on the Enterprise bridge or exploring a far distant planet?

Stories like this filled my youth, made me think and dream, and revisiting them here again, is an unparalleled delight.

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Captain’s log: stardate 3715.3

The Apple. I have to say, this episode has never really appealed to me, Chekov acting all flrty with a yeoman, Martha Landon (Celeste Yarnall), and then getting chastised by Kirk, the red shirt body count, and another super computer controlling a race of humanoids.

Written by Gene Coon and Max Ehrlich the episode premiered on 13 October, 1967.

There are some interesting things about the planet, though no real explanation is given for them: the dangerous plants, the exploding rocks…

All we know for sure is that the humanoids of the planet Gamma Trianguli VI are kept under control and in a primitive state by their god, Vaal, and it has ordered its children to kill the Enterprise crew. The supercomputer is also draining the Enterprise’s power, and it now finds itself trapped in a diminishing orbit.

Kirk may have to violate the Prime Directive if he and his crew, to say nothing of his ship, are to survive.

Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t moments I like in the episode, Chekov’s appropriation of any and every invention or historically important event and making them Russian. Some great banter between our triumvirate, and the look Kirk gets when he mentions that the Children of Vaal will have to propagate their own species from now on.

In fact, for me, it is the dialogue between Kirk, Spock and McCoy that really save this episode. I loved watching them discuss with one another, the existence of the Children of Vaal, and whether their culture, their species in fact,  was stagnant because of the computer ruling them,  and whether they had the right to interfere with it.

This episode, coming quickly on the heels of Mirror, Mirror doesn’t quite entertain as much, as the previous episode, and this is one of the episodes that I remember seeing countless times as a child, but for some reason, it never really stays as a cohesive whole in my head.

Oh well, as we will discover in the future, not all of the episodes can be winners. Still, they are a lot of fun to watch, and, as always, the Human Adventure is just beginning…

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