Our very first transporter malfunction! Originally broadcast on October 6, 1966 this is The Enemy Within.
Captain’s Log Stardate 1672.1
During a geological survey of Alfa 177 Kirk is beamed up after issues with the transporter only to have him split into two people, undenounced by the crew. Soon people begin believing that Kirk has lost his mind as two very different versions of the Captain stalk the halls, one less sure of himself and one who is determined to do what he wants. Soon, after Janice Rand is attacked by Evil Kirk, and an alien dog is duplicated, Spock realizes that there are two Kirks on board and discovers that the ore that was beamed aboard could be the cause of their problem. Spock finds a way to reunite the two but The Evil Kirk pretends to be The Good Kirk in order to prevent this from happening. In the end Spock is able to reunite the two halves of Kirk restoring the Captain to his true self. Solving the problem, the remainder of the away team are recovered and Enterprise continues on it’s journey.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
When taken from the perspective of when this was first aired this would have been quite a surprising episode. While this sort of thing has become rather trope-ish in modern scifi, at this point audiences then had never experienced a Transporter accident before. That being said, you have to acknowledge that this episode plays off of the old Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde story in a rather masterful way but, instead of being in the same body, we find this one a Tale of Two Kirks.
Shatner himself does a marvelous job playing the two versions of Captain Kirk creating two very unique versions of this character. One interesting thing is the use of makeup, body doubles and trick photography giving the perception of Shatner fighting himself in a rather clever way. ‘Evil Kirk’ has much heavier eye makeup and is given a darker more sinister tone while, ‘Good Kirk’ has lighter more clean cut look. Shatner himself takes in his physicality into consideration as well with the Negative version being almost more hulking and sinister while the Positive version is more relaxed and unsure. While his body never changes shape in any way, this is a testament to Shatner’s acting ability which, while sometimes a little extreme, is quite fantastic when tempered.
Overall, this is a very solid episode and one that honestly is quite poignant when given any thought. There is an old saying that in every person there are two wolves and the one that dominates the person is the one that is fed the most. This idea evokes the concept that every person has a good and evil side within them but what most people don’t consider is that, while you may feed one more than the other, they are both very much a part of you. This is where this episode really shines showing that every person, no matter how honorable and good, has a dark side that, if controlled, can be utilized to make oneself stronger as needed. However, much like the saying that absolute power corrupts absolutely, when the ‘evil’ side goes unchecked, it has the tendency to go completely unhinged.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- This is episode has many ‘firsts’ in it: The first Vulcan Nerve Pinch, the First Transporter accident and even the first statement of ‘He’s Dead Jim’ from Bones.
- Sulu gets a chance to shine as he tries to keep the away team from freezing on the planet.
- It is of note that the use of Shuttles to save the away team is never considered even though Enterprise clearly has a shuttle bay. It is assumed that the shuttle bay is under repair during this episode.
- We also see the iconic ‘Dog Alien’ in this episode.
- Redshirts killed: 0:0
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: The Man Trap
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Late To The Game 12/10/2021
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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