Recaps, Star Trek, Television

Star Trek Recaps: TOS, “The Enemy Within”

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Images from trekcore.com

I keep wanting to call this “The Evil Within,” but that’s something else entirely.

Anyway, in this episode, we get the first instance of the beloved transporter malfunction trope.

We open with a shot of the Enterprise majestically flying past a planet, and then an establishing shot of the planet itself. A science team is hanging out near a very brightly colored canopy as Kirk approaches Sulu. Who is holding an alien that’s obviously an adorable dog dressed like a unicorn.

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Aaaaaaaaaaw

They converse a bit, and Sulu notes that the temperature appears to be dropping.  Kirk responds that it can get to 120 degrees below zero at night, and Sulu says “That’s nippy.” Just a bit.

They hear crashing noises and shouts in the distance, and run over to find a crewman (named Fisher) who had fallen and cut his hand pretty badly.  Kirk orders him to head back and report to sickbay, with Sulu standing in the background holding Unicorn Dog the whole time.  Anyway, I should also note that Fisher is covered in some kind of yellow dust.

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Back on the ship On the ship, Scotty and a transporter technician (who we later learn is named Wilson) beam Fisher back up. This, of course, does not go too smoothly. Scotty mentions something about a “cadjular engagement” and eventually manages to beam Fisher explains about the dust on his uniform, and Scotty says that it’s apparently magnetic, ordering Fisher to decontaminate his uniform. Scotty notes that what was going on was like a burnout. At this point, Kirk calls in saying he’s ready to beam up. Scotty tells him that it’ll be a moment, and looks at the controls for a bit. He determines that it seems to be working, and sends Wilson to get some technobabble device as he beams the captain up.

This seems to go off without a hitch, though Kirk seems a bit wobbly.  Scotty goes to see if he’s all right, and Kirk responds that he’s fine, just a little dizzy. Scotty offers to escort him. Kirk responds that he shouldn’t leave the transporter room unattended, but Scotty brushes that off, since Wilson should be back shortly.

This is, of course, when the shit starts to hit the fan. The transporter activates on its own and beams up…Captain Kirk. Except evil. And with the goofiest facial expression ever.

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What even is that?

The credits roll, and then we see Evil Kirk skulking about the transporter room for a bit. As he’s molesting the transporter console Wilson reenters the room and asks him if he’s all right. Which, considering what he just walked in on the captain doing, is a valid question. Evil Kirk walks towards the door, then turns and gives Wilson a smirk.

We cut back to Kirk and Scotty outside Kirk’s quarters. He dismisses Scotty by saying he can make it , and Scotty suggests he have McCoy take a look at him. Kirk promises that he’ll “have [his] engines looked to” before entering his quarters, where he finds Yeoman Rand waiting for him with the ships’s manifests. She tries to elaborate on them to Kirk, but dismisses her and lays down after she leaves.

We then cut to sickbay, where McCoy is treating Fisher’s hand. He quips that Fisher hurt himself on purpose to get some vacation when Evil Kirk then walks in, demanding Saurian brandy. Fisher lets Evil Kirk know that his hand’s better. Evil Kirk, of course, could not give less of a shit. He’s just here for the brandy. McCoy’s a little concerned about this unusual behavior, which Evil Kirk doesn’t take too kindly to.

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McCoy, for his part, manages to somehow not punch him in the face and simply complies. Evil Kirk takes the brandy bottle and leaves, as McCoy stares at him, completely dumbfounded.

We then follow Evil Kirk into the hallway, making more goofy facial expressions and drinking the brandy straight from the bottle. That’s how we know he’s evil. During his travels, he comes across Yeoman Rand’s quarters. And promptly lets himself in, creepily touching her belongings.

We then cut to Kirk’s quarters, where he is shirtless, thus fulfilling the shirtless Shatner requirement. After being admitted by the captain, Spock enters, looking rather concerned.  It turns out that McCoy had asked him to check up on the captain, because of the brandy incident. Kirk laughs this off, and tells Spock that McCoy was just fucking with him. Spock tells Kirk that he’ll be getting back to work then, with an expression that states he’d like to smack McCoy upside the head. Kirk says he’ll tell McCoy that he was “properly annoyed.”

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And then we have a scene that really doesn’t fit with the continuity of the episode.  Kirk and Spock enter the transporter room, where Scotty has determined that there is indeed a fairly major transporter issue. He explains that they had attempted to beam up Unicorn Dog, and well, it was split into two critters. One of the critters is docile, while the other’s an asshole. Scotty then points out that beaming up the landing party is probably not a good idea at this point.

And now we get to the part of the episode that I really don’t want to talk about. Remember how Evil Kirk had gone into Rand’s room earlier? Well, Rand comes back. And Evil Kirk tries to rape her. I’m only going to say two things about this scene, as it is genuinely upsetting: Rand scratches Evil Kirk’s face, and Fisher witnesses this (which earns him a beating from evil Kirk).

We then cut to Kirk and Spock, talking about the previous scene. Kirk asks why Rand had accused him, since he had been in his quarters during the assault. Spock points out what McCoy had told him earlier about the incident with the brandy, and that the bottle had been found in his quarters. Kirk suggests that they go to sickbay. They enter the turbolift, just missing Evil Kirk going into Kirk’s quarters.

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Mmmm, knuckle blood.

Now, if the earlier scene is upsetting, this next one just pissed me off. So, we have Kirk, McCoy, and Spock questioning an obviously distraught Rand. She describes what had happened in her quarters, and mentions that she had to scratch Evil Kirk’s face at one point. Kirk, rather brusquely, points out that there are no scratches on his face, and that he was in his room when all that went down. Rand points out that Fisher had seen him in her quarters. Kirk reiterates that it wasn’t him, and Fisher staggers into the room saying that it was. There’s a bit more back and forth, and McCoy herds Fisher back to bed as Spock dismisses Rand. Spock and Kirk look at each other meaningfully, and Spock points out that there’s an impostor on board.

And here’s why this scene bugs the shit out of me: first, there’s the tone that Kirk and Spock take with the woman who was just the victim of sexual violence. Plus, there’s the fact that she’s basically being interrogated by the guy she’s accusing, which I really hope isn’t Starfleet protocol.

Then we get another scene where where Scotty explains the whole duplication thing again. Kirk asks how long it will take to get the transporter up and running again. Scotty responds that they can’t say, and Kirk responds that if they can’t get the away team back, they’ll die. Scotty assures him that he’ll do everything that he can, and I just want to point out that Kirk’s been holding Unicorn Dog like a teddy bear this whole time.

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Spock points out that Kirk’s duplicate is still running around, and Kirk orders a search party. Spock tells the captain that they can’t risk killing the double, since they don’t know what will happen to Kirk if they do. Kirk says that the search party still needs to be armed, but that their phasers should be locked on setting one. Spock asks him what they should tell the crew, and Kirk basically responds with “the truth.” They have a back and forth about how that’s a bad idea since Kirk can’t afford to look weak, and Kirk hands Unicorn Dog to Spock. Kirk tells Spock to let him know if he’s slipping as he leaves, and we get a shot of a pensive Spock holding Unicorn Dog that almost made me laugh out loud in the middle of a coffee shop.

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We then get a captain’s log where Kirk talks about how making decisions is becoming more difficult for him.

We then cut to Kirk giving announcements regarding Evil Kirk, and then Evil Kirk’s reactions to said announcements. These announcements mainly repeat the orders to use minimal force, as well as the face scratches courtesy of Janice. So now Evil Kirk knows that everyone’s on the lookout for him and how they’re going to identify him.

Anyway, Evil Kirk to starts freaking the fuck out. He starts pushing things off shelves and screaming about how he’s Kirk, with all the requisite ham we’ve come to know and love from William Shatner.

He then immediately goes to a drawer and pulls out makeup, and uses it to cover up the scratches. The fact that it perfectly matches his skin tone seems to imply that it’s his. But, hey, who am I to judge.

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Gotta cover up them blemishes

So, Evil Kirk goes to leave, and runs into Wilson (the transporter operator from earlier). He orders Wilson to give him his phaser, and he somewhat bemusedly complies. Evil Kirk asks how he is, and then punches him out.

We then cut to the planet, where a rather cold-looking Sulu reports that it’s now 20 below on the planet, and that he “can’t exactly call it balmy.” Kirk asks Spock if there’s anything else that they can do, and Spock says that they tried to beam down thermal heaters. Said heaters were also duplicated and don’t work.

I have a question about this: don’t they have shuttles on the ship? I mean, it’s possible that they don’t, as I don’t think they’ve been mentioned up to this point, but wouldn’t you think that they’re a good thing to have just in case of something like this? Not to mention that it might have been a good idea to at least send some cold weather supplies with them in the first place, just in case. But maybe I’m just nitpicking.

At any rate, Kirk reiterates that they need to get the away team back to the ship when they’re interrupted by a crewmember reporting that Wilson was found injured by Kirk’s quarters. Spock orders them to continue searching.  Kirk isn’t sure how they’ll track down his double, but Spock points out that Evil Kirk still has Kirk’s knowledge, so they should be able to guess what he’ll do next. He then asks Kirk where he would go to hide, and Kirk responds that he would go to the engineering deck.

We then cut to the two searching the aforementioned engineering deck. Spock makes sure the captain’s phaser is set to stun, and asks if it wouldn’t be a good idea to get some backup. Kirk responds no, because he doesn’t want anyone else to see Evil Kirk. Spock reminds him of his order to let him know when he slips, and that he needs to start acting like the captain. The two then split up as we get a shot of Evil Kirk lurking on top of a bunch of consoles like Gollum, narrowly avoiding Spock’s notice.

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Evil Kirk skulks about a bit, and the two eventually come face-to face. They stare at each other for a bit, as Kirk approaches. Evil Kirk backs up, aiming a phaser at Kirk. Kirk points out that he can’t hurt him, considering the fact that he’s a part of Kirk and they need each other. Evil Kirk rebuttals that he doesn’t need Kirk, and Spock comes up behind him and demonstrates the Vulcan nerve pinch.

Unfortunately, as Evil Kirk goes limp, he discharges his phaser and damages a conduit.

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Hope that wasn’t something important!

We then cut to sickbay, where McCoy reports to Spock that tranquilizing Evil Kirk is probably a bad idea, and that they should restrain him physically. Kirk agrees, somewhat listlessly, and asks what’s wrong with him. Spock, however, has some answers, and points out that Kirk’s been losing the ability to make decisions. McCoy asks him if he has a point, and Spock responds that Kirk’s having trouble making decisions because a human’s negative side is what makes them strong. Yeah, I’m not buying this.

Anyway, Spock points out that if this whole thing isn’t fixed soon, he eventually won’t be able to command the ship anymore. They discuss this for a bit with McCoy talking about how Kirk can use his intellect to continue on, and Kirk wonders how long. Spock gives a non-apology for coming across as kind of a dick. At any rate, the conversation is interrupted by Scotty, who calls to let them know that even more shit has hit the fan.

Remember how earlier Evil Kirk hit a conduit with a phaser blast? Yeah, it turns out that was a part of the transporter. That it kind of needs to run.

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After a brief shot of the Enterprise, we cut to Sulu and the away team huddling for warmth. Sulu calls up for a status report, citing that it’s now 40 degrees below zero. Kirk tells them they’ve located the problem, and that it shouldn’t be too much longer. Sulu jokingly asks if they could find a rope to lower them down a pot of coffee. Kirk responds that he’ll see what he can do.

Kirk then calls down to Scotty, to get a status update on the repairs. Scotty states that the issue is with the “transporter unit ioniser” and that it’s going to take at least a week to fix. So, more bad news then.

We go back to the planet, where Sulu is warming a rock with a phaser. He says that they should make another call to room service, since the coffee’s taking too long, before calling back up to the ship. Kirk, who is alone in the briefing room, answers. Sulu remarks, “Hot line direct to the Captain. Are we that far gone?” Kirk responds that he gave everyone else the afternoon off, and is “watching the store.” Kirk asks how things are, and Sulu reports that they’ve been heating rocks with phasers, and only have three that are still working. He asks if there’s any way they can beam them back on board “before skiing season opens down here.” Spock walks in and tells Sulu that they need to hold out a little longer, and should follow survival procedures. Sulu answers in the affirmative and they close the connection.

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We cut to sickbay, where Evil Kirk is now awake and screaming. Kirk comes in and asks what happened, and McCoy responds that the duplication process has caused Evil Kirk’s body to weaken. Basically, he’s dying. Kirk manages to get his vitals back up through the power of hand holding. After this interlude, McCoy says that Kirk “can use that brandy now,” and that he thinks he’ll join him. As McCoy goes off to get the brandy, Kirk mulls over the dilemma: he doesn’t want to remerge with his duplicate, but can’t live unless he does. McCoy returns with the beverages, and tells Kirk that’s he’s no different from anyone else, and that everyone has a dark side to them.

He goes on to talk about how he basically agrees with Spock, but also reassures him that while his evil duplicate may have the aggression, he has the bravery. Spock then calls to sickbay, and asks Kirk to meet him in the transporter room. McCoy and Kirk go to leave, we get a shot of Evil Kirk grinning for some reason.

We then cut to Kirk going into the transporter room, where Spock and Scotty are waiting for him. Scotty says they may have found an answer, and Spock gives a rather technobabbly explanation which boils down to they bypassed some systems.  Spock suggests running a test on Unicorn Dog. Scotty and McCoy work together to sedate the aggressive Unicorn Dog. That task done, they take both unicorn dogs to the transporter and run him through it. The good news: Unicorn Dog is now one dog. The bad news: Unicorn Dog is now also dead.

So, yeah. Doesn’t really bode well for Kirk.

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Goodnight, sweet dog, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

We get a captain’s log from Spock this time, explaining that while Kirk’s still in command, he’s becoming more and more wishy washy, and things are getting worse for the away team. We then cut to sickbay, where McCoy orders an autopsy of the unicorn dog. Spock walks in, and McCoy tells him that Unicorn Dog could have died from shock. Spock says that for once he agrees with McCoy, but McCoy counters that they won’t know for sure until they get a post mortem. Spock counters that they don’t need an autopsy to know that it was terrified, and he thinks that’s why it died. Basically Unicorn Dog was not capable of understanding what was happening, but that Kirk is. Kirk concurs, and says to get the transporter room ready.

Spock and McCoy argue while Kirk flip-flops on his decision. At one point, Spock tries to argue that he knows what it’s like to be split in two because he’s half human and half Vulcan, and that it’s his intellect that makes the two sides play nice. That makes no sense, since he’s not split in two, he’s just biracial. (Bispeciesal? Which would be the correct term for someone who’s half human and half something else?)

Anyway, poor Kirk is so confused at this point and begs for someone to make a decision. Spock gives this utterly exasperated look and asks him if he’s relinquishing command, and Kirk says no. McCoy tells him they can’t make this decision then, and that he’s going to have to. Kirk compromises: he has Spock prepare the transporter and McCoy continue the autopsy. Uhura calls in to tell him that she has Sulu on the line, and we know the situation is dire now because he’s stopped making jokes.

We cut to the planet, where the away team is covered in frost. Sulu haltingly reports that the temperature on the planet is now 117 below, two of the team are now unconscious, and that they can’t hold out much longer. The line goes dead, and Kirk tries to get him back. Evil Kirk asks him what he’s going to do, and Kirk comes to a decision: he and Evil Kirk are going through the transporter now. Evil Kirk says there’s nothing he can do to stop him. Kirk removes his restraints, and Evil Kirk starts fronting that he feels weak and will be glad when it’s over…and proceeds to knock Kirk out.

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Sulucicle. 

We then cut to Evil Kirk, now wearing Kirk’s shirt, walking down the corridor, where he runs into Rand. He says that he owes her an explanation, and basically tells her about the transporter accident, and says that the duplicate scratched him so they would look even more alike. He then asks if it’s OK if he comes by her quarters later to explain further, and she says OK. He gets on the turbolift and heads for the bridge. All throughout this exchange, Rand looks extremely uncomfortable, for which I do not blame her.

So, Evil Kirk gets to the bridge and the pilot (named Farrell) reports that they’ve lost contact with the away team. He sits in the captains’ chair and orders him to break orbit and head out, to which Farrell objects, since Sulu et al are going to, you know, die. Evil Kirk says they can’t be saved, and once again orders him to leave orbit. Spock approaches the captain, and asks about the plan. Evil Kirk says that he’s changed his mind, and tells Spock to go back to his station.

McCoy and Kirk then come onto the scene, and Evil Kirk says that the other is the impostor and to grab him. McCoy says no, and Evil Kirk says that he’s been fooled by the impostor. McCoy, who’s mama didn’t raise no fools, points out that the one in the chair is the duplicate. Evil Kirk tells Spock that he knows who he is, and Farrell asks what they should do. Spock, who is also not stupid, walks over to McCoy and Kirk and says they’ll let the captain handle it.

Evil Kirk begins freaking out about how he’s the captain again, and points out the scratches on Kirk’s face (which we know by now that he put there), and that they all know who he is.  Kirk responds that he does, and this causes Evil Kirk to fly into a rage, once again ordering the crew to grab Kirk and ranting about how he’s the captain, at one point throwing a crewmember to the side. He points his phaser at an approaching Kirk, saying he’ll kill him if he comes any closer, eventually breaking down about how he wants to live. Kirk says that they both will, and pulls Evil Kirk into a hug.

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Hug it out, man. 

We cut to the transporter room, where Spock escorts the two Kirks to the pad. He tells Kirk that he’ll have to hold onto his double. Kirk starts to tell Spock something about what would happen if this doesn’t work, but trails off. Spock says that he understands, and goes to the controls and beams them out, and then beams Kirk back, as one person and not dead. Kirk, now back to his old self, tells Spock to get the away team back on board, and Spock is happy to comply.

We cut to a scene of the away team being taken out of the transporter room on stretchers. McCoy says that they’re suffering from severe exposure and frostbite, but that they should be all right. He asks Kirk how he is, and Kirk responds, “I’ve seen a part of myself no man should ever see.”

We then cut to Kirk walking onto the bridge, where Spock reports that all sections are ready to go. Kirk responds with a thank you “from both of us.” Spock dryly asks if he should pass that on to the rest of the crew, and Kirk suggests that they just forget about the duplicate. Rand approaches and says that the duplicate explained what happened, and it seems like Rand is going to apologize (for what, being fucking assaulted?), but Kirk just thanks her and sends her on her way. She goes to give a report to Spock, who says, “The, er, impostor had some interesting qualities, wouldn’t you say, Yeoman?”

Hey, Spock. Hey. Fuck you.

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Anyway, the episode then ends with Kirk ordering the navigator to set a course and the helmsman to start heading out.

So, this episode isn’t particularly bad. It’s well written and (mostly) well acted. There’s that one weird part where they basically repeat a scene, but I think that’s more an editing error than anything else. It asks some fairly interesting questions and has a lot of tension. There’s just one thing that basically ruins it for me.

The attempted rape of Yeoman Rand.

I’ve bitched about it before, but I think I’ll go into a little more detail on why it bugs me so much. See, a lot of fiction has a bit of a tendency to rely on rape as a plot device. In this instance, the only purpose of the scene is to show how evil Kirk’s duplicate is. I also just feel it was totally unnecessary, since we’d already seen Evil Kirk acting in a way that was out of character for Kirk.

So, the next episode on the agenda is “Mudd’s Women.” Yaaaaay?

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