Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Enemy Within: TOS Season 1 Episode 5

Plot Synopsis

While down on a planet a crewman hurts himself and has to beam back up to the ship for some medical attention. He was covered in what appeared to be dirt, but it turned out to be some mysterious substance that screwed up the transporter. Kirk beamed up shortly afterwards and Scotty (who had beamed him up) walked off with him leaving the transporter room unmanned. While no one was there to see, an evil Kirk materialized on the transporter pad

Of course nobody realized there were two Kirk's at this point and mischief can easily be had. Evil Kirk went to sickbay and insisted on getting some booze from Bones. He then headed off to Yeoman Janice's quarters and waited for her to finish her shift. When she came in he attacked her and tried to rape her. She defended herself quite well and scratched his face, at one point they were close to the door, which opened, and someone outside was able to see what was going on and helped her. Evil Kirk then proceeded to beat the crap out of that guy. This scene was intense.

Meanwhile, good Kirk was coming across confusing situations where people were claiming he did things he hadn't done and been places he hadn't been. Then Scotty shows Kirk and Spock the dog who had beamed up and was doubled, one very docile and the other aggressive. We then see a scene where Janice is explaining what had happened to Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. Kirk obviously denies that any of this took place, and uses the fact that his face isn't scratched as evidence. Janice was very obviously traumatized and confused that Kirk would do this to her, it was a really powerful scene to watch, and excellent performance. My only real issue was that they should have been able to piece things together at that point, they shouldn't have been so hard on Janice. It actually made me wonder if the duplicated dog scene was supposed to have taken place after this scene.

But they did eventually put the pieces together, partly due to the corroboration of the crewman whose ass was kicked by evil Kirk. They soon realized that good Kirk was also having problems. Without his dark side he was a poor leader and was unable to make decisions. They realized they would need to capture evil Kirk alive and find a way to merge them back together. After some hijinks they are able to capture evil Kirk and it is just down to getting them put back together with the transporter. They try first with the dog, but it doesn't work and the dog dies. They think Kirk could survive a similar trip, but they can't be sure until they do some lengthy study of the dog. Ultimately, Kirk decides to take the chance and try the trip sooner rather than later and he is obviously okay.

Why was he so eager to do this now rather than wait? There was a side plot running through the episode that a team still on the planet needs to get back up to the ship before it gets too cold during the planet's nighttime. (-140 degrees if I recall correctly) Obviously once they realized the transporter was doubling it was out of commission. I don't really understand why they couldn't send down a shuttle craft, maybe they haven't decided that the Enterprise has shuttles yet. Also, they were also just hanging out in the cold, you would think they would find a cave, or at least sit in some sort of tent for a little bit of protection. Not that this would solve the problem, and it probably was easier to get the point across this way, but it still made me laugh


Yeoman Janice: She was amazing in this episode. When she was attacked she was very strong in the moment and was able to fend off her attacker. Later on she was very vulnerable emotionally and showed that she felt very betrayed by Kirk. Great stuff.

McCoy and Spock: In the comments of previous episodes, Troubleshooter has mentioned that Spock and McCoy sometimes represent logic and emotion respectively. With this in mind, I couldn't help but notice that they seemed to epitomize those things in this one shot

Also, I would argue that they still seem to hate each other. Even when he is agreeing with McCoy, Spock can't just say that, he has to say "For once, I agree with you"

Spock: Apparently they haven't worked out the details yet about what he is. At one point in the episode he mentioned that he is half human and half alien. You would think he would have said half Vulcan.


I just had one, it was from Dr. McCoy. When the dog came back on the transporter pad and was dead, he delivered the line
He's dead Jim
This is one of those simple lines that gets repeated over and over. I'm guessing McCoy says it many times in the series as it is something people seem to reference quite a lot. This was either the first instance, or I just didn't notice it before.



I liked this episode quite a lot. I was deciding between putting it at 7 or 8, I  think Janice's performance pushes it up to 8 for me.

How would you rate it?


  1. I am of that school of thought that says that William Shatner CAN act, given the proper material. As evidence, consider the following sequence:

    Aggressive Kirk: I'll kill you.
    Benevolent Kirk: Can half a man live?
    Aggressive Kirk: Take another step, you'll die.
    Benevolent Kirk: Then we'll both die.
    Aggressive Kirk: Please. I don't want to. Don't make me. Don't make me. I don't wanna go back. Please. I wanna live.
    Benevolent Kirk: You will. Both of us.
    Aggressive Kirk: I wanna live!

    "Can half a man live?" Killer line right there, and a large part of the focus of this episode.

    Is it overacted? Maybe. Does it make the necessary point? Absolutely.

    The whole point of "The Enemy Within" is a consideration of the multiphasic nature of human personality, in this case, simplified down to good and evil, and the essential nature of both of those halves. It is worth noting that this episode was penned by Richard Matheson, who teamed with Rod Serling and Charles Beaumont to be the primary three writers of the classic television series, The Twilight Zone. His talented, creative chops show here in no uncertain terms.

    Good call on Grace Lee Whitney's performance here as Yeoman Janice Rand. Ordinarily, her character would be no more than window dressing, but when she was called upon to act, she delivered and damned well.

    Not a leading favorite episode of mine - most of those are to come yet - but a damned good one, nevertheless.

  2. And while I think about it, here's another statement which is rather revelatory, both of the nature of the situation with the split Captain Kirks and of his first officer:

    Mr. Spock: [to Dr. McCoy] Being split in two halves is no theory with me, Doctor. I have a human half, you see, as well as an alien half, submerged, constantly at war with each other. Personal experience, Doctor. I survive it because my intelligence wins out over both, makes them live together.

    Star Trek was a young series at this point, with the characters still sorting out exactly who they were, yet Matheson demonstrates a remarkable understanding of perhaps the most difficult member of the regular cast here with that one statement. Damned admirable, IMHO.

  3. I would tend to agree about Shatner. Overacted a little? Perhaps. But he's certainly not the only person on this show to do that. And what little I've watched from other old shows (twilight zone for example), it seems like it was pretty much the way it was back then. It makes me wonder if people just pick on Shatner because he is so iconic and therefor an easy target that people will recognize. Also, that rocketman thing that he did works against him a fair bit :)

    And yeah, the 2 sides of your personality thing was definitely an interesting idea to base an episode. I like the way they did it where the good part of him was worthless without the bad part. I think it is a natural thing to wish away our "bad" impulses, and this was an exploration of that showing how it wouldn't work out as well as you would probably imagine.

    I gotta say, before I started watching these I was mildly afraid that they would kind of suck. That the show might have been built up on people's nostalgia of it or something, that kind of thing can easily happen with old shows. But the writing is great, even now when you can tell the writers haven't even really gotten to know the characters yet and hit their stride. This show totally holds up.

    1. Consider something, guy:

      Fifty years after it was first aired, people still talk about The Twilight Zone. Sure, it has some clunkers and unevenness, but it remains honored among the great television series of all time.

      By the same token, Star Trek is also honored in much the same way, and we are fast closing on half a century of its existence as well. Such honors don't happen in a vacuum; they happen for a reason.

      I said a while ago that there isn't a modern-day (post 1960s) science/fiction series that doesn't owe something to Star Trek, if for no other reason than the fact of its existence, that someone dared to try to deliver ADULT science-fiction to the general public, to make it relevant and intelligible. Gene Roddenberry did that, and he changed not just the face of science-fiction but of television in general because he dared.