2012.01.11 in The Original Series
The Enterprise finds a nice little planet and frankly they’ve been working hard out there in space. Kirk decides it’s time to give the crew some time off, but odd events on the surface make that difficult.
Kirk has a kink in his back and a yeoman (that seems to be code for attractive lady) just starts massaging it out. Let’s chalk it up to the perks of being the captain, and not to a recent torrid evening.
Sulu and Bones are on the surface, marveling at the beauty of the landscape. Sulu runs off to catalog some wildlife and suddenly there’s a dude in a bunny suit and plaid jacket talking to himself in front of McCoy. Immediately follows Alice – though more from the Disney iteration than the original Carroll. Feh. At this point, if I were Bones, I wouldn’t worry about what Jim might think, I’d beam right the hell back up and drag a doubter with me. From that point on, only one group of folks all travels together on the surface until something else odd happens. Or I’d just get out of Dodge.
Instead, McCoy reports himself unfit for duty and midway though relating the tale, Kirk guesses the rest – but thinks it’s all a joke to get him off the ship. Spock relates the medical details of a crewman desperately in need of rest. As soon as Kirk threatens to reprimand the troublesome shipmate, Spock tells him that he’s talking about him, our good Captain. Jim finally gets the point.
On the surface, a rock slides out of the way of a revolver. There are two unknown cast members on the planet; I’m guessing one or both will die on this idyllic planet. Kirk beams down with the cute new yeoman from earlier, and they track down the doctor. He’s spotted some giant rabbit tracks in a patch of mud. His hackles raised, Kirk decides to cancel shore leave. Suddenly, they hear a loud bang and go running toward it. Sulu’s found the gun and is just firing off into the distance. He’s always wanted one like that one, he says, but Jim takes it away. Man! What a buzzkill!
Kirk and Bones take off tracking the rabbit; we see an antenna lurking. I’m not exactly sure how an antenna can lurk, but there it is, doing just that. Jim starts to reminisce about his days at the Academy, telling McCoy about a bully that used to torment him. Continuing in the tradition of terrible decisions in space, the two split up when the girl’s tracks diverge from the rabbits. No sooner does the camera cut from the doctor to the captain than we see the bully he LITERALLY JUST MENTIONED. Said bully lands a solid punch on Kirk’s jaw, which seems to be a pretty rare occasion. He wouldn’t know that, though, since he hasn’t been in (or seen) the previous fifteen episodes.
A lady shrieks in the distance! Jim takes off running (there’s a lot of that in this episode) and meets up with McCoy to find the Yeoman – Yeoman Barrows, they call her – crying in a torn dress. At this point, I’d wager there’s probably a protocol that says “okay, everybody, back to the ship, we’re getting the eff off this rock.” But rules are made to be broken. She describes a man with a cloak and a bejeweled dagger. Kirk, fresh off this bully experience, asks if she’s imagining it. NO JIM THINK BACK HALF A MINUTE. Based on that ridiculously oversimplified description, Bones guesses “Don Juan” because I’m sure everybody in the future is more familiar than I am with middling literature references from a couple hundred years ago in today’s time.
Kirk runs off to find Sulu, and instead meets an old love named Ruth. Good gracious why are you not beaming up. She hasn’t aged in fifteen years, but she looks the same age as Jim. Was this a teacher at the academy? He’s so struck by her presence that the questions he gets through his communicator just wash away like dust off a window. He calls, at least, for everybody on the planet to rendezvous. Finally, a better decision.
Spock reports a power field possibly located under the surface of the planet, and Kirk takes off in the wrong direction. Bones and Barrows are walking through the woods and look like they’re developing feelings for one another. That was quick. She finds a dress hanging in a tree and he talks her into wearing it. Tone down your perv dial, dude. While she’s changing, his communicator beeps with the rendezvous order.
The redshirts on the planet are trapped by a tiger. I’m going to let that sit there on its own.
Out comes Barrows, wearing the dress and the ridiculous kind of hat that only exists in fairy tales, with the cone and two points and streaming fabric. Because the dress isn’t complete without the hat, I guess. Ouch, I just rolled my eyes so hard it hurt.
Sulu is attacked by a samurai, and the communicators basically aren’t working. The phasers are all dead too. Spock beams down, but so slowly as to be suspect. He’s going to find that power field and fix the problems.
I guess I can see where they’re goi- oh come on, a mounted knight in full armor with lance in hand? Attacking Bones? This shit is so disjointed. He kills Bones, and Kirk shoots the knight with the gun he took from Sulu.
An imaginary knight just killed Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy. I think I’m starting to understand why I never came across this episode in reruns.
Sulu investigates the knight and finds a fake head under the helm’s visor. Spock tells us that the plants too are fake, made of the same stuff as the fake head. Oh come on, a World War II fighter plane? McCoy and the knight have disappeared.
Spock guesses that the strange occurrences are related to the recent thoughts of the landing party members. He asks Kirk what he was thinking of before he saw the unfamiliar people. Explaining, the bully called Finnegan re-appears, and Kirk chases him into Vasquez Park, where he would later fashion a gun to shoot a lizard man.
Kirk and Finnegan fight for too long and too dirty and Kirk’s shirt gets torn again. Finally, Finnegan acquiesces that this experience has made up for a lot of things, and that he’s being what Jim expects. Spock finds Jim, and they realize roughly what’s been going on: their thoughts are being read, and made real via rapid manufacture, to provide some kind entertainment, no matter how dangerous. They race back to the rendezvous to make sure everyone clears their minds.
A dude in a robe appears and explains that the whole thing is an amusement park, created for his race of people. Bones appears with a couple of interstellar playboy bunnies and vouches for this caretaker’s word. Barrows gets possessive which is awfully intense for a relationship that started earlier this afternoon. Bones relents and the girls sidle up to Spock and the redshirt; Spock sloughs his off to Sulu, which is probably even less fulfilling for her.
The caretaker invites Jim to have the whole crew down, provided some guidelines are worked out. Spock returns to the ship; before Kirk can refuse, in walks Ruth, and Jim says “cool Spock yeah um see you in uh” and jets.
This episode is pretty dreadful. It spirals out of control until it has to be explained by a not-quit-Deus ex exactly-machina. If there’s a theme at all, it’s that you’d best be careful what you waste brainpower on, that sometimes it can bite you in the ass. I’m just glad it’s over.