S3, E1-5, Star Trek: The Original Series

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And we’re back with another group of TOS episodes. This kicks off season three, which bring changes in the title sequence (the titles are blue now, instead of yellow) and Scotty’s appearance (he looks totally different now; he lost a lot of weight and changed his hair). So far season three is not coming off to a great start, but there a couple of good episodes in here.

Season 3, Episode 1: “Spock’s Brain”

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Original Airdate: 20 September 1968
Directed by: Marc Daniels
Written by: Lee Cronin
Wikipedia synopsis: “Captain Kirk pursues aliens who have stolen Spock’s brain.”
Favorite quote: “We just want to talk to somebody about Spock’s brain, that’s all!”
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I don’t know why, but I feel as if this was rumored to be a really bad episode of TOS. I’m not sure how or where I heard that or if it’s even widely considered to be true, because I didn’t hate this episode by any means. I thought it was an average to good episode. Sure, Spock’s brain getting stolen is nonsense, but so is a guy falling in love with a woman possessed by a cloud. Trek is ridiculous. The idea that a bunch of knowledge can be transferred through a helmet and then quickly forgotten is obviously a plot contrivance, but nevertheless I really loved the scene on the Enterprise before they beamed down to the planet. The team, figuring out how to get Spock back, it was pretty great.

Season 3, Episode 2: “The Enterprise Incident”

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Original Airdate: 27 September 1968
Directed by: John Meredyth Lucas
Written by: DC Fontana
Wikipedia synopsis: “The crew of the Enterprise attempts to steal a Romulan cloaking device.”
Favorite quote: “Did you hear the sound of human integrity?”
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This was actually a really good episode. Kirk and Spock go undercover to try and steal a cloaking device from the Romulans, which involved Kirk disguising himself as one and Spock seducing their commander. It’s a very adventurous episode, even if it doesn’t delve into a lot of sci-fi concepts or anything. It feels a lot like a storyline that would be in one of the old movies, and I was a fan.

Season 3, Episode 3: “The Paradise Syndrome”

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Original Airdate: 4 October 1968
Directed by: Jud Taylor
Written by: Margaret Armen
Wikipedia synopsis: “A mysterious alien device on a planet with a predominantly American Indian culture erases Captain Kirk’s memory, and he begins a life with them as a member of their tribe.”
Favorite quote: “I always wondered why there were so many humanoids scattered across the galaxy.”
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I wasn’t sure I could handle another episode of the crew stumbling onto a planet that is just like Earth with a society modeled after it, but I guess I was wrong because “The Paradise Syndrome” was actually really good. McCoy is kind of annoying in this episode, and obviously there are some things that are assumed about Native Americans that are kind of strange from a modern perspective, but Kirk losing his memory was different. Spock in command was cool (even though his logic was proven wrong ultimately, like usual), and there were a few funny bits that I enjoyed as well. Most importantly of all, they finally figured out why their are so many Earth-like societies around here.

Season 3, Episode 4: “And the Children Shall Lead”

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Original Airdate: 11 October 1968
Directed by: Marvin Chomskey
Written by: Edward J Lakso
Wikipedia synopsis: “The crew of the Enterprise rescues a group of children stranded on a planet, along with their evil “imaginary” friend.”
Favorite quote: –
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This is one of those episodes featuring creepy kids and something taking hold over the enterprise that makes everybody mysteriously loose their shit. In this case, the creepy kids are able to put everyone on the Enterprise under mind control and make them see their worst fears. This isn’t the entire point of the episode, but I’m a giant fan of the crew looses their shit type of episode, so all that talk about evil using the innocent children kind of played second fiddle to the main attraction. When I say everyone looses their shit, I do mean everyone, as even Kirk and Spock fall victim to the creepy kids’ spell, though Spock is able to pull himself out of it because he’s a Vulcan and help Kirk, who then help the rest of the crew. Though it does make me really sad that Uhura’s worst fear (expressed on more than one occasion) is getting old and ugly, and is really the only continuity the character has at this point.

Season 3, Episode 5: “Is There in Truth No Beauty?”

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Original Airdate: 18 October 1968
Directed by: Ralph Senensky
Written by: Jean Lisette Aroeste
Wikipedia synopsis: “The Enterprise travels with an alien ambassador who must travel inside a special black case because his appearance causes insanity.”
Favorite quote: “There’s somebody nearby thinking of murder.”
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There was somebody nearby thinking of murder for this entire episode, and it was me as a viewer. I’m not the hugest Star Trek fan out there, I do consider myself a fan but I recognize the franchise has serious limitations. Most of the time these limitations are funny to me on a “so bad it’s good” level. This episode straight up angered me though. I know that Trek is sometimes doing the best it can with being socially progressive, but there really is so excuse for the constant sexism present in this episode. The episode introduces a professional competant woman only to tear her down for wanting to do her job again and again, with variations on the theme “she’s too pretty to do such an important job.” It’s an episode could be counted as “good” in that I payed attention to it the whole way through and was very invested in hating it, but I did really hate it. Also of note, Nimoy gets to emote in this episode so I suppose I’ll grudgingly give it a plus for that.

All in all, season three is not off to a great start. “Spock’s Brain” was pretty meh. “The Enterprise Incident” was good and actioney, “The Paradise Syndrome” and “And the Children Shall Lead” were fun and silly and pretty decent. I really, really hated “Is There in Truth No Beauty?” as probably the most frustrating example of Trek’s aspirational depiction of social progress and harmony completely failing, but it was engaging on that level and Nimoy got to smile which was cool.

Click here to read reviews of the next group of episodes! (S3, E6-10)

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