It’s Spores! The crew finds happiness in Spores in the episode that originally aired on March 2, 1967. This is This Side of Paradise.
Captain’s Log Stardate 3417.3
After discovering that a colony that had been thought destroyed is still intact, Kirk and his away team beam to the planet only to find that the colony is thriving despite not having any livestock or reasonable supplies. There Spock encounters a former friend, Leila, who had once fallen in love with him despite his inability to return her feelings. McCoy is shocked to find that the inhabitants are beyond healthy, in fact several show recovery from old wounds and scars.
Leila finally confides in Spock their secret and exposes him to the spores of a large plant which begins to alter his thoughts. Soon the rest of the crew is infected when an infected McCoy beams aboard the spore plants with the intent to infect more ships and starbases. Over time Kirk discovers that extreme emotion releases people from the effects of the spores and goes down to free his crew members. Spock, under the spore influence, fights Kirk, but is ultimately freed during the fight. They create a device that will induce intense emotions freeing the crew and destroying the spores.
In the end Leila admits she is still in love with Spock, but Spock is unable to return her affections. The head of the colony is saddened that all the work they accomplished in the past few years was for not and they will have to try again on another planet.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
Honestly, this is a rather forgettable episode that is basically used to make a joke at the end about humans being kicked out of paradise once again. The episode itself is one that attempts to explore ’emotions’ but does so in such a haphazard way that it’s almost laughable. That combined with the idea that the entire crew of the Enterprise is infected by alien spores with little resistance is also rather unbelievable as well.
I get it, it’s fun to play around with the emotions of a crew, especially one that suppresses their emotions on a regular basis. Okay, Sure, there is a mystery involved with an interesting explanation that kinda sorta works, a plant alien taking over people, but otherwise, meh.
Overall, this is one you can absolutely skip. It’s rather lackluster at best and very forgettable at worst. So, just move on and don’t bother with it.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- Spock is once again referred to as a Vulcanian, this is not something that lasts beyond this series.
- Leila mentions meeting Spock on Earth some six years prior which would fall sometime during his time serving with Captain Pike. I wonder if Strange New Worlds will cover that in any way?
- Oh and the spores….we never found out what they really were. Heck they could have even been a sentient life form.
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 Devil In The Dark
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Late To The Game 1/26/2022
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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