TOS Season 3 Write Ups

The Enterprise Incident

Acting apparently restless and irrational, Captain Kirk inexplicably orders the Enterprise into Romulan space where the ship is quickly captured by the enemy and Kirk held captive aboard their flagship.

After season two, a year where it felt like so many episodes were based on “near Earth-variants” and more ethereal themes like war and companionship, it’s nice to get a simple action episode with some familiar aliens as the antagonists.

I like the fact that the Enterprise Incident doesn’t spoil the story too quickly. If you’re familiar with the show, you can be confident in the fact that something sketchy is going on, but the script does a good job of disguising exactly who knows what. Is Kirk really crazy? Has Spock gone rogue? It’s only at the halfway mark where the true plan is revealed, and it’s a credit to the show that it had the confidence in its audience to draw out the mystery for that long.

The plot itself is fun, but it also doesn’t hold up well under too strenuous an examination. The plot to steal the cloaking device is filled many opportunities for complete failure: what if the Commander was not enamored with Spock? What if the Romulans saw through the “Vulcan death grip”? What if the Enterprise was attacked by the three Romulan ships? It’s a bit much when you add it all up, but it works during the viewing. The pace is lively and the problems not so obvious that they distract.

Less enjoyable, in my opinion, is the romance between Spock and the Commander. Not only does it weaken the female Commander to have her judgement be so swayed by the hunky Spock, but Spock admitting at the end that he fell for her feels lame and unearned. The romance comes out of nowhere, develops at light speed, and then ends so oddly that the viewer never gets a sense that any of it was real, despite what the characters say.

4/5

The Paradise Syndrome

Kirk loses his memory and joins the descendants of a tribe of Native Americans.

One very odd thing about TOS is the insistence the series has about mentioning how many planets they find are extremely similar to Earth. Every few episodes the characters  will beam down to a planet and remark about how Earth-like everything is, and Spock will chime in with the odds of this happening as being impossibly low.

Most of the time, this doesn’t amount to anything and the plot ignores it (which makes it all the more strange that it’s even brought up in the first place). Sometimes, however, it does serve a purpose. And most of the time, that purpose is a little silly.

Yes, this episode deals with The Preservers, a race of ancient aliens who seeded different worlds in order to protect species from extinction. I guess the episode tells us that Native Americans were seeded on this distant planet, and the Enterprise just stumbled upon them. It doesn’t really amount to much. It’s simply another TOS episode that feels the need to explain the low budget alien design.

The Paradise Syndrome is uninspired. One of the few episodes to have a strong B plot (it might even be better than the A plot), it’s mostly a collection of tired TOS cliches (Kirk fights, Kirk loves, McCoy is a dick with a dumb opinion, Spock works through the problem). The portrayal of the Native Americans is stereotypical (the original title of the episode was “The Paleface”) and features a pointless love triangle buried underneath a bunch of symbolism for the white man being divine, and brown skinned people being unintelligent savages.

I also can’t get over how silly the McCoy-Spock interactions can be. The scene where Spock explains, for 5 minutes, why they need to divert the asteroid on a collision course with the planet is one of the dumbest scenes in the series.

I might give it credit for the ending. Kirk is attacked with stones by the fearful natives, but he shrugs it off. Unfortunately, his lover and unborn child are not so lucky and they’re killed. It’s a very dark turn for the show.

2/5

And the Children Shall Lead

A group of children on the Federation outpost Triacus, under the influence of an evil spirit, commandeer the Enterprise.

The second “children are monsters” episode, with Season 1’s “Miri” being the first.

I actually liked this episode until about the halfway point, when its internal logic started to unravel. The first half is genuinely creepy, with a colony of dead adults and the seemingly undisturbed youth who are playing among the bodies of their dead parents. It feels like a Star Trek episode. It has a unique central mystery, hints at a dangerous alien influence, and creates a situation where the Enterprise crew is against each other (even if it’s for reasons beyond their control).

The episode falls apart, however, once the children start to take over the ship. Using (far too often) a sort of exaggerated jerk off hand gesture, the children can apparently control the perception of reality of many of the crew. Fortunately, they don’t perform this take over in a manner that would prevent Kirk and Spock from fighting back, but it also seems that Kirk and Spock are somehow beyond the control of the kids. For one reason or another. But mostly because the plot demands it.

Another big downside is the alien. This could have been a creature like Pennywise from It, but instead it’s just a fat green guy. He’s not threatening at all, and it’s never made clear why he has so much influence over the children.

I do have to give the episode credit for a) having a scene with Kirk considering the murder of children, b) the cruelly blunt dismissal of severe childhood trauma, and c) the use of home video tape to forward the plot.

3/5

Is There No Truth in Beauty?

A beautiful woman escorts an alien ambassador so hideously ugly that the sight of him can drive a Human insane.

This was an interesting episode because, while I’m not sure it was very good, it held my attention the entire time. I think it did a good job of tricking me into nearly finding it profound.

On a technical level, I really appreciated the unique direction decisions made here. The fisheye “crazy-vision” look when Spock and the Enterprise designer have gone mad is really fun and memorable. The long tracking takes down the hallways of the Enterprise have a great, spooky vibe to them. The design of the Medusans is also a nice compromise between fiscally conservative and unsettlingly alien. S3 has done a good job of making aliens “alien”. As opposed to previous seasons where the aliens are almost always humanoid, S3 has used budget limitations to expand the possible appearance of lifeforms.

On the other hand, the story itself feels half baked. Dr Jones and her relationship to the Medusan ambassador and every other male on the ship is something that feels like it’s trying to be profound but I’m not sure I understand what the greater point was. The episode seems to be a parody of ’60s sexism, but if it is, it’s so subtle that the episode sometimes seems sexist even for the standards of TOS (the dinner party scene where all the men in the room can’t shut up about the hotness of Dr Jones is one of the ickiest scenes the show has ever done – feels like it ends just before a group rape). It’s almost as if you have to watch the episode from an outsider perspective: is this what being a woman on the ship feels like?

The problem boils down to the fact that Dr Jones ultimately doesn’t do anything. She doesn’t solve the problem until Kirk roughs her up, she doesn’t take much of a stand against the sexism she faces (although she is remarkably strong in the face of it), and the point of the episode feels like it slips away before the end of the hour.

I don’t think this is bad, but it had some real potential to be great and never seized on it.

3/5

Day of the Dove

An extremely powerful non-corporeal being brings the Enterprise and a Klingon ship in direct conflict with one another.

Another script that wisely uses the lack of budget in S3 to its advantage. Stuck on board the ship? No problem. Can’t afford phaser effects? No problem. We’ll have a story where the ship is a prison and the more violent the fighting, the better.

This might be the best Klingon episode in TOS. Kang is a superb villain, and plays the best Klingon commander we’ve seen so far (second place would be the guy from Errand of Mercy). He’s a foil to Kirk in that he’s violent and driven in his Klingon ways, but he’s also smart and capable of understanding nuanced situations. He’s also got some really great lines.

The story itself is good, if not innovative. It’s an anti-war story that uses alien mind control as an allegory for political elites manipulating populations into a hawkish frenzy. Once a society is caught up in the violent manipulations of racism and nationalism, it’s easy to see how it can sweep through the entire group and lead to a cascading effect.

On the downside, it’s yet another energy being. At least it’s not testing humanity (at least in terms of it wishes to see how we respond, not in terms of testing our mettle).

Oh, and the episode ends with everyone laughing at the alien antagonist. And that’s amazing.

4/5

For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky

The Enterprise finds an asteroid that contains a generational ship on a collision course with an inhabited planet.

Awesome title. Really awesome. The Original Series has had some really great, pulpy titles during its run, but this might be my favorite so far.

The episode, however, is pseudo-functional while neither making a whole lot of sense nor being very exciting. McCoy, while performing routine physicals, has determined that he’s terminally ill with an incurable disease and only has a year to live. At the same time, the Enterprise discovers an asteroid-ark ship that is hollow and filled with the descendants of a long lost race.

This script is fairly remarkable in how it brings up issues and then does nothing to resolve them. McCoy’s illness adds nothing to the plot, and is cured by a laughable deus ex machina ending. There’s a year before the asteroid ship crashes into a planet, so there are no stakes. There’s a god-computer (of course) which controls the society of the asteroid ship (of course), but it has neither an organized list of rules to follow nor a purpose outside of being a general nuisance.

I’m just about done with the Trek cliche of a primitive race ruled by a computer-god. This episode doesn’t even explain why the society doesn’t seek knowledge about their situation. Why did the elders create this computer? Why not keep the society informed of their mission? How did they not realize that engines can’t run for 10,000 years without maintenance?

I watched this one on the train home from work. The guy sitting next to me watched my screen for a minute before saying “This is ‘For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky’. I know all these episodes.” I said, “Yeah, that’s right but it’s too bad it’s not a very good episode.”

He paused for a moment, and then said, “… well, at least Bones got laid”.

2/5

The Tholian Web

While trying to rescue the Starfleet ship USS Defiant, Captain Kirk disappears when the dead ship is pulled into interspace. The Enterprise is then attacked by a mysterious local race, the Tholians.

First off, the Tholian Web seems to be a devastating weapon – as long as you have a target that has to remain stationary for a few hours.

This is a decent to good episode that has a good pace and a central concept that makes sense on a narrative level. Kirk goes missing in a parallel universe, Spock takes command and McCoy is a pain in the ass for the new captain. It balances action and suspense against good character drama, feels like it belongs in the universe of the show, and does a good job of holding the audience’s attention. It’s a good episode that is indicative of the series.

I think the major problem is that the conflict between Spock and McCoy doesn’t make a lot of sense when you look at the details. It’s interesting that the cliched argument they normally have is flipped (Spock wants to stay in danger to find Kirk while McCoy is trying to save the ship and crew), but it feels like McCoy is unnecessarily petty with Spock. When things go wrong, McCoy seems to exist simply to rub it in Spock’s face. Of course, they manage to bond over an incredibly specific videotape of the last set of Kirk’s orders (which seem tailor made to fit this exact situation) and save the day.

I think this is an above average episode for the series, but has the usual problem of the mechanics of the concept not working at 100%. I do, however, really like the Tholian design. The budget cuts of season 3 have opened up the alien design a bit.

4/5

Wink of an Eye

The Enterprise is hijacked by hyperaccelerated, sterile aliens who want the crew for breeding stock.

A completely average episode of the show. If it were shown in the first or second season, it would be even less memorable and generously received. In the third season, it sticks out as a dull drone in the background, much like the noise the aliens make.

I will admit that the idea of “hyperacceleration” is neat, and as I write this in 2017 it reminds me of Quicksilver from the most recent X-Men movies. The effect in the X-Men movies is much more impressive, but the concept in this episode is still strong. It doesn’t really add much outside of a way for the aliens to avoid detection, but it’s a neat enough idea where it doesn’t really bother you.

Continuing our trend of “everything people remember about how Star Trek worked comes from the third season” , Kirk plays a womanizer here to great effect.

It’s not a bad episode, but by this time in the series it’s too generic to be memorable and not enjoyable enough to consider watching for any reason.

2/5

Elaan of Troyius

The Enterprise transports Elaan, Dohlman of Elas, to an arranged marriage on Troyius.

A pretty sexist episode. But it’s also got a script that moves, some good comedy, and a nice action/battle scene at the end.

This brings to mind “The Perfect Mate” from TNG. The Enterprise is tasked with bringing an alien female to meet her future husband, however things to awry and Kirk falls in love with her during the mission. In the Perfect Mate, the alien had the ability to become a perfect match with whoever was in her presence, but Elaan of Troyius has magical tears that act as, in McCoy’s words, a “super love potion”.

I guess this is something of a take on The Taming of the Shrew? I have to say that I found the script to be well written. It balanced comedy and action very well, and kept scenes moving while also layering a few plots on top of each other (the alien wedding, the Klingons, Kirk in love). The Elaan character is definitely poorly written: she’s written as a powerful female character who might have doubts about her role in this arranged marriage, but the portrayal comes across like a spoiled child. Kirk even threatens to spank her if she misbehaves! Kirk also has a dated line about Vulcan females being the only logical females in the galaxy. I admit that it gave me a chuckle.

This is a slightly above average episode that I found to be enjoyable to watch despite how dated the material feels. Also, this is the episode that definitively proves that Kirk would rather fuck the Enterprise than a woman.

3/5

Whom Gods Destroy

Kirk and Spock are held captive in an insane asylum by a former Starfleet hero.

This one feels like a comic book version of Star Trek. The planet/asylum that Kirk and Spock visit reminds me of Arkham Asylum from Batman. I suppose it also has a Silence of the Lambs vibe, at least at the start, but where that film has a creepy and unsettling vibe, this episode is mostly goofy and comical.

I think this one starts out stronger than it ends. Kirk and Spock being captured by an interesting villain gives me shades of The Dagger of the Mind, and the campiness of the entire affair keeps you engaged and watching. After a while, though, the episode runs it’s course and you start to notice a few issues: how does Garth shape shift – he learned this? Why has this security code never been used before – it seems very logical and useful!

I think your opinion of this one might depend on your mood. It’s very goofy and over the top at points, but it also feels very much like a standard Star Trek episode (which would be enjoyable for many people).

3/5

Let That Be Your Last Battlefield

The crew of the Enterprise find themselves caught in the middle of an intractable conflict with a bizarre fugitive alien and his equally belligerent pursuer.

If people think that Star Trek can be preachy, then this is patient zero for that experience.

That said, I actually like this episode. It is indeed an hour filled with overly dramatic monologues and speeches about equality and persecution, but the central idea is smart enough to carry the hour. The idea of prejudice between “black and white” aliens would be a bit too on the nose, but I think that the show made a smart decision of blurring the difference for as long as possible. the fact that Bele and Lokai judge each other based on which side of their bodies is which color is a smart twist that is not obvious until the show points it out. If the aliens were simply one black and one white, the allegory would feel too blunt. By slightly hiding how the aliens are judging each other, it makes their prejudice seem all the more absurd when it is revealed.

To me, this episode is pure Star Trek (and maybe to a fault). It deals with a modern issue (racism) in a playful, absurd way. Kirk gets to preach equality and the futility of hatred. Spock and McCoy get scenes that examine the point of the episode, and both feel natural in their roles.

Sure, it’s a bit over the top (the last scenes of Lokai and Bele running through the ship is absurd and features some of the worst running-acting I’ve ever seen), but it feels right that their planet obliterated themselves in a civil war over something as silly as which side of your face is black and which is white. It’s an episode that, through it’s absurdity, highlights the inane nature of most racial prejudice. It might not be good enough to recommend, but it’s a solid hour of the show.

3/5

The Mark of Gideon

Kirk is held captive on an empty duplicate of the USS Enterprise.

Is this the only episode of Star Trek where Kirk’s solution involves suggesting the use of condoms?

Hot off the heels of “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”, this is another message episode aimed at challenging your beliefs and convincing you to be a better person. Instead of racism, however, the topic at hand is overpopulation!

Continuing a theme of season three, this is an episode that starts out pretty strong and then gets progressively weaker as everything unfolds. The deserted Enterprise is fun, Spock getting frustrated by a diplomat is something new, and the faces that appear in the windows of the empty Enterprise are CREEPY AS FUCK.

Eventually, the tropes of the show rear their ugly heads. Kirk falls in love with a woman in approximately 10 minutes, the core idea of the story starts to become ridiculous (can’t they just ship some of the people on this planet somewhere else? They respect life above all else, yet their plan involves indirect mass murder?), and then everything just ends in an unsatisfying manner.

I did really enjoy this one at the start because the central idea is creepy and had potential. I didn’t even mind the overpopulation storyline, but it doesn’t hold my attention like the creepy mystery at the start. It’s pretty memorable, though.

3/5

That Which Survives

Enterprise crew members are stranded on a ghost planet and terrorized by the image of a beautiful woman.

The most memorable thing about this episode is how big of a dickhead Spock is to the rest of the crew while he’s in command.

It’s an interesting (and logical) take on the character, and we’ve seen hints of it before. However, this episode has a script that lays it on thick: Spock seems downright contemptuous of his shipmates. His comments border on cruel and over the top. His need to have numbers given to him precisely is insatiable. It’s a personality trait that makes sense from a Vulcan, but it goes to excess here and rubs me the wrong way.

Outside of that, I think this episode sucks. Other reviews (such as Tor.com and the AV Club) are more forgiving, and even charitable to this one as a good science fiction story, but I was bored the entire time. It’s yet another computer running a planet episode, but with a long, drawn out narrative that features a mysterious woman who kills by touch and a tedious 10 minutes where Scotty slowly sticks a wrench into something. It all feels so melodramatic and tedious that I could barely keep my eyes open.

The mystery woman plot ends up half baked, as the woman is a creation of the computer that runs the planet. She’s designed as a self defense mechanism (against what exactly is never stated), and her “catch” is that she is only designed to kill a specific person at a time. We get a lot of playground tag defense, with two people standing in the way of the marked third.

I dunno, maybe I missed something here but I thought this one was the dregs.

1/5

The Lights of Zetar

At planetoid Memory Alpha, an Enterprise crew member’s body is taken over by mysterious energy lifeforms.

As we move into what seems to be the down stretch of the last year, Season 3’s tropes are starting to show. So many of this season’s storylines have been pseudo-mysteries. So many have featured a poorly calibrated female guest star. And so many of them have been plodding and dull, to the point where I consider turning the episode off and simply faking these reviews based on what Wikipedia says.

But you can rest assured that I finished The Lights of Zetar, although I wish I hadn’t started it.

I think the issue here are two fold. First, the plots central mystery is not interesting enough to carry 50 minutes, so we get endless scenes where the Enterprise tries to dodge the alien cloud, transporter “accidents” end up meaning nothing, and countdowns to the climax as Spock turns a knob (still my least favorite cliche from all the Trek series). It all drags.

Secondly, the female guest star is horrible. Her characterization is a misfire (the relationship-told-in-an-hour thing has maybe a 10% chance of success), the acting is poor, and I don’t feel any sense of relationship or empathy for her. It feels very paint by numbers.

The Zetarians are yet another alien cloud creature trying to body snatch a crew member, and the resolution to defeating them makes no sense. I might have blacked out, but why does a pressure chamber cause them to be defeated?

The one positive here is that this episode coined the term, “Memory Alpha”.

1/5

Requiem for Methuselah

While the Enterprise searches for the rare cure to a deadly disease, the landing party is confronted by a reclusive man who is willing to kill to preserve his privacy.

I admit it, I spent a good deal of this episode grinning like an idiot. The problem is that I’m not sure why – was it the slight return to form of the show, or was it the melodramatic campiness?

While I don’t think this is a great episode, I do think that it’s off-beat enough to be considered good. For once, the mystery at the heart of the narrative is effective and intriguing. The character (and actor) of Flint is solidly enjoyable, and the weird Spock that we get throughout, drinking brandy and playing piano, is off kilter but still recognizable as the character. There’s a definite “Star Trek” thing happening in this episode, and that’s good enough for me, especially after a run of pretty poor episodes.

However, the episode does start to spill over into camp at some point. The twist that Flint had previously existed as several extremely famous individuals, from Da Vinci to Brahms, seems unnecessary (but I still found it cool). The final fight scene and the death of Rayna read more like a bad high school play than a touching allegory. Flint’s entire motivation is flimsy and doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. If he needs Kirk to “stimulate” Rayna, why does he try to push him away in the cold open?

The big problem is the fact that the relationship between Kirk and Rayna is completely DOA. The script asks too much from too short a time to get us invested, and Kirk comes across as juvenile. It’s not just that we get another wonderful scene of men awkwardly hitting on a woman, but the build up of Kirks romance feels as if he’s had a spell cast on him instead of him arriving at that point naturally. The reveal that she’s an android feels correct, but that causes the theme to be confusing: what’s all this about?

I did enjoy watching this one, despite its flaws. It’s melodramatic and over the top, but it has fun being just that.

Oh, and I saw a lot of criticism that the end scene with Spock erasing Kirk’s memory is out of character. I disagree with that and find his actions to be… logical. He’s aided his suffering captain, likely experienced some version of Kirk’s emotions, and helped the ship. Makes sense to me!

3/5

The Way to Eden

The Enterprise picks up a group of renegades who have rejected modern technological life to search for the mythical planet Eden.

Here are some reasons that this episode is… not bad.

It’s one of the few S3 episodes to make me laugh and keep watching. The 50 minutes actually flew by, I didn’t check my phone once to see how much longer we had. It deals with a societal issue. The actors are OK. The music is goofy as hell but I have to admit I kept singing them ironically for the rest of the day; they’re catchy!

Here are some reasons that this episode is terrible.

Much like how The Changeling inspired The Motion Picture, this seems like an inspiration for The Final Frontier? But anyway…

Space hippies. Do you think that the author of this script had a problem or two with the ’60s counter-culture? The script itself is hugely problematic in that it tries to discuss an issue of which it seems to have zero understanding. Real life hippies are annoying and frequently irrational, but the space hippies are on a level all by themselves. They’re almost Manson-like in their cultish nature, they have ridiculous outfits, none of them amount to anything (even Chekhov’s girl!). They have no motivation beyond speaking vaguely and trying to get to Eden, but even then only their leader has any reason to try to get there.

The episode also contains about 10 minutes of singing. I said above that I laughed my way through that, but I’d imagine on rewatch it gets really old.

The big problem here, however, is Spock. His arc through this story was done so clearly as a way to get the breakout character into a situation where he could bond with the youth demo. Spock has absolutely no reason to sympathize with the space hippies: they are complete opposites in ideology. He has no reason to jam out with them. He has no reason to claim to understand their nature. It’s so transparently obvious that they’re pandering.

This is a bad episode. However, it’s the kind of bad that almost becomes “good” because the story is so idiotic.

2/5

The Cloud Minders

Kirk’s efforts to obtain a vital mineral are complicated by terrorists striking at the beautiful cloud city Stratos and its virulent apartheid policies.

The show has just given up on thematic subtlety at this point.

I normally don’t mind when Trek gets a little sledgehammery with its message. It’s a 50 minute show, and sometimes the best way to make the message clear is to be blunt and obvious with it.

At this point, however, the bluntness of the message feels like a weakness of the show. The writing is simply not good. The characters living in the cloud city have no grounding in the narrative. They torture and argue endlessly, which takes away from their perspective as an “advanced” society. The Trogs on the surface are similarly weak, and in the end I didn’t care much for the conflict.

This isn’t a terrible episode, and I appreciate the point they’re trying to make, but it’s not firing on all cylinders.

2/5

The Savage Curtain

Kirk and Spock are forced to fight alongside such historical figures as Abraham Lincoln of Earth and Surak of Vulcan by rock-like aliens who want to understand the concepts of “good” and “evil.”

You probably only need to read the Memory Alpha episode description above to understand everything you need to know about this episode. You might also need to know that this episode features the last appearance of dress uniforms on the original series.

Written by the one and only Gene Roddenberry, this one calls to mind both Arena and The Omega Glory. Arena because it’s the same “capture crew members and force them to fight” plot, and the Omega Glory because it again relies on American history to tie everything together. It’s not as good as Arena, and it might not be as balls out crazy as The Omega Glory, but it’s still a very odd episode that feels like zero effort was put into it. How many times can Roddenberry write a show where powerful beings test the morality of humanity?

On the plus side, it’s nice to introduce both Surak and Kahless. The founding “prophets” of Vulcans and Klingons, both characters reappear in later series and are extremely important, at least in canon. Surak comes across as more fleshed out, as he opposes the violence Kirk pitches. Kahless is not important at all, and the only character trait we learn about the man who united the Klingon people is that he’s really good at impersonation.

The other plus is the performance of the actor playing President Lincoln. Given the fact that he’s playing an imaginary version of the greatest US president, he carries the role with gravitas and humility. He comes across very well (which also makes sense in story since he’s a realization of Kirk’s memory of the man).

The show ran out of gas a while back, and it’s just about rolled off a cliff.

1/5

All Our Yesterdays

Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are trapped in a planet’s distant pasts, where Spock finds love with an exiled woman.

I liked the bones of this one, but I think there are a lot of problems with the connective tissue.

To start, I think that this is one of the stronger episodes from the third season. It’s a little bit of a Spock version of City on the Edge of Forever (but not nearly as good). Like many third season episodes, it has a great concept, this time involving using time travel to escape a planets destruction. I also really enjoyed the Spock and McCoy interactions in the Ice Age. Nimoy does a great job at showing Spock losing control of his emotions as he reverts to a more primitive form of a Vulcan, while Kelley is masterful at using McCoy’s irritating nature to get under Spock’s skin and make the Vulcan realize what is happening to him. The two characters have had many interactions, but I truly feel like this was one of their best. It’s a bit of a role reversal, as McCoy gets to play problem solver and Spock reacts illogically.

I think that, overall, this is a neat little story with a lot of potential. I love the time travel aspect. I love the characters being separated into different eras. I love the fact that the librarian is named Mr. Atoz (A to Z). I love the fact that it seems like Spock might stay behind, only to learn that in order to return McCoy to the present he also needs to go. The episode has a lot of nice moments that feel like a good way for the series to be reaching its conclusion.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of logic problems to the story. Why does Spock “devolve”, but McCoy doesn’t? Have Vulcans really changed that much in 5,000 years? What was the point of Kirk’s adventure to space France? It mostly seems to occupy the character for 10 minutes in order to prevent him from helping, but his escape from that situation is also silly. Why would other time travelers be against helping him?

I feel like the story also brings up a great concept regarding time travel, but abandons it and takes up a romantic relationship that the show will always have trouble selling in 50 minutes. The science fiction core is excellent, and while the romantic subplot isn’t that bad it certainly isn’t as strong as The City on the Edge of Forever.

I think this all balances out to be a pretty good episode, but not a great one.

3/5