Enterprise tangles with a Vampire Cloud in the episode that originally aired on December 15, 1967. This is Obsession.
Captain’s Log Stardate 3619.2
Kirk and his away team are attacked by a strange cloud creature which results in two officers dead and one, Ensign Rizzo, badly wounded.
McCoy does all he can to save Ensign Rizzo but to no avail. Kirk soon learns that the new security officer assigned to replace Ensign Rizzo is in fact the son of one of Kirk’s former crew members from the USS Farragut. Returning to the surface to find the thing that killed their men, Kirk, with the new security officer Garrovick and four others, soon tangle with the Vampire cloud again resulting in the deaths of two more officers.
Kirk soon reveals that Ensign Garrovick’s father was in fact the former Captain of the USS Farragut and, under Captain Garrovick’s command, that ship lost eleven officers in a very similar situation. Now, even though they have an urgent mission to help resupply another ship, Kirk becomes obsessed in finding and destroying this Vampire Cloud creature.
Before long McCoy realizes that Kirk has become infatuated with this creature to the point it has become problematic and asks Spock to relieve the Captain of command until they are safely away. Things turn worse when the creature makes it onto the ship and begins attacking the crew itself. After managing to expel the creature using Spock as bait, as he could not be harmed due to his copper based blood, they begin to flee the creature even though it seems to be able to travel at warp.
Stopping at another planet with enough hemoplasm to bait the creature, the team use antimatter to destroy it freeing both Garrovick and Kirk from their obsession. In the end Kirk tells the son of his former Captain some stories of their past together.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
I love it when an episode not only has a solid story but also provides some very good backstory and character development in the process. For some reason, it seems the past few episodes, even though they were severely lacking, really wanted to explore both Kirk’s character and his past.
From revisiting Kirk’s earlier exploits in planetary exploration to seeing him fight against slave pits, we have really dove deep into Kirk’s persona only to learn even more this time around. In fact, we finally get a chance to witness what could be Kirk’s white whale at this point in his career.
After witnessing the loss of several of his crewmembers aboard the Farragut as a young officer, it seemed that Kirk never expected to run into the very thing that killed his friends on that ship. In fact, the idea that this creature was space faring was something that never dawned on him. However, apparently his experiences aboard the Farragut were so traumatic that his reaction toward it are nothing short of the episode’s title, an Obsession. While we have yet to see the events of the Farragut first hand, something that could easily be touched on in the new series Strange New Worlds, it is interesting to see Kirk in this situation as we have only seen him as a fairly rock steady, firm, leader. I really like that they gave James Kirk a chink in his armour this time around showing that he is, in fact, only human.
Overall, Obsession is a solid episode that explores the nature of said Obsession and how it can nearly drive a person mad. While this is far from the last time we see Kirk in this state, i.e. see Wrath of Khan), it is a learning experience for not only Kirk, but also his crew as well.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- We never learn the origin or the actual species of the Vampire Cloud Thingy.
- Even though it is established that Ensign Garrovick is a key connection to Kirk’s past, we never see him again. I wonder if he asked for a transfer after this mission.
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 Immunity Syndrome
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Late To The Game 3/18/2022
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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