Pure imagination gets the best of the Enterprise crew on the episode that originally aired on December 29, 1966. This is Shore Leave,
Captain’s Log Stardate 3025.3
The crew take advantage of an idealic planet for shoreleave only to discover that it is a planet that can fulfill anything from your imagination. At first it seems pleasent with people experiancing events from Alice and Wonderland and other fantastical places. Things turn bad when crew members, including Kirk, begin experiancing some of their darkest fears making them all realize that the planet can get into their minds. Kirk encounters a past bully, Sulu imagines a Samurai and McCoy imagines the Black Knight. After Kirk battles and defeats his old bully, Finnegan, Kirk meets the planets caretaker who tells them that this was constructed as a playground for his people and that they are welcome to stay, as long as they mind what they imagine of course. Kirk dubs the planet The Shore leave Planet and decides to stick around a little longer.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
So, basically, it’s a planet sized holodeck that can read your mind that we only see once more and is never mentioned again after the animated series, even though this would have been great to see in STNG and beyond. Oh well. Unlike most of the episodes this season so far, Shore Leave takes a chance to actually allow itself to be a little more light hearted than most. There are constant jokes amongst the crew members regarding their exhaustion levels and the things they are ‘seeing’. Not only this, it also gives us a glimpse into what is on the mind of some of the crew members from McCoy’s interest in Alice in Wonderland, to Kirk seeing his old bully to even other crewmembers imagining Don Juan or Attacking Aircraft. In a way this episode lets us see some of the characters deepest hopes and desires, even if it is just for a few brief moments.
One very interesting vision is that of Kirk’s vision of Ruth, showing us a past love that got away in his past. While not a lot is revealed about Kirk’s relationship with Ruth or how the two of them separated, it is abundantly clear that this was one of the biggest losses in Kirk’s life as it is a vision of her that entices him to remain a while longer on the planet. I would love to know more about Kirk and Ruth’s past and what their story was, sadly, it is one thing that is lost in time.
Overall, This is one of the more fun episodes and one that gives the viewers a nice reprieve from the intense story lines as much as it does for the crew of the Enterprise. Again, I do find it rather disappointing that this planet has never really been revisited in any of the later series so far, but who knows, maybe Lower Decks will give it it’s due.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- We see the Shore Leave Planet once more in the Animated Series.
- McCoy implies that there are 433 crew members aboard Enterprise.
- Doctor McCoy has a ‘moment’ with one of the female crew members.
- No actual deaths this episode which has to be some sort of record for this series so far. Unless, of course, you count McCoy’s ‘fake’ death but we dont.
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Late To The Game 1/7/2022
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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