Star Trek TOS – Episode 3 – Where No Man Has Gone Before [Remastered]


Why NBC originally decided to air two episodes that featured humans with similar mental powers wreaking havoc on the ship back-to-back is beyond me, but this feels like Charlie X times two. Except I really didn’t want to murder these characters. And yet, Charlie got to live, and [spoiler alert] these two characters had to die. Is there no justice in this world??? As usual, the main meaty parts of the review are after the jump.

Watch this episode at CBS.com.

SUMMARY

Two crewmembers get telepathic and telekinetic powers. Captain Kirk doesn’t like people who are more awesome than he is. Explosion, explosion, zap, zap. The body count continues to climb. It’s the (second) original pilot episode, so it’s more like Bizarro World than the Enterprise.

Click the picture for a full summary from the startrek.com database.

REVIEW

The Enterprise has picked up a distress signal, which is generally how 80% of Star Trek episodes begin, but since this is technically the pilot episode, it’s a REALLY BIG DEAL™. Spock and Kirk are playing another rousing game of 3D chess. Not only are their uniforms completely different, but here’s another clue that not everything was fully figured out by the time they taped this episode:

SPOCK: In fact, one of my ancestors married a human female.

Ummm, Spock? Your mom is human.

They transport aboard an HVAC unit on a tripod, which is supposedly the black box recorder and distress becon for the ship that sent the distress signal and exploded. The recording reveals that the crew was frantically searching for information on ESP before setting the ship’s self-destruct.

Captain Kirk decides to keep investigating outside of the galaxy. The ship encounters a large band of pink… stuff… that makes consoles explode and two people on the bridge, Gary Mitchell and Elizabeth Dehner, go photo-negative, and are knocked unconscious. When they wake up, Mitchell’s eyes are silver. I found out that what the special effects team did was sandwich tin foil between two contact lenses for that effect. It looks pretty awesome, but I would never want to put something like that in my eyes.

Mitchell starts getting creepy and threatening the crew with his new abilities. He even starts messing with Dehner, who was sent to watch over him, by stopping his heart to scare her. He begins reading people’s minds. He starts moving controls on the ship’s bridge and getting more and more powerful.

SULU: If you want the mathematics of this, Mitchell’s ability is increasing geometrically. That is, like having a penny, doubling it every day. In a month, you’ll be a millionaire.

I would say “exponentially” instead of “geometrically”, but eh, whatever.

Spock offers Kirk two alternatives, either strand Mitchell on the abandoned planet Delta Vega, or kill him:

SPOCK: Then you have one other choice. Kill Mitchell while you still can.
KIRK: Get out of here.
SPOCK: It is your only other choice, assuming you make it while you still have time.
KIRK: Will you try for one moment to feel? At least act like you’ve got a heart. We’re talking about Gary.
SPOCK: The captain of the Valiant probably felt the same way, and he waited too long to make his decision. I think we’ve both guessed that.

Damn, Spock. They’re pushing the “logical to the point of heartless” angle hard here, and it’s grating to me. This is not the Spock that I like to see.

This is.

They finally get to Delta Vega and transport down to the planet’s surface. They put a sedated Mitchell in the brig, and when he wakes up he pulls a guilt trip on Kirk, recalling a time that he took a poison dart for him and saved his life. Then, he proclaims that, as a godlike being, he’s better than all of them. He tries to get through the forcefield, which drains his powers and makes his eyes turn back to normal.

The next scene made me laugh as Spock strolls in with a kinda goofy looking phaser rifle. I’m guessing that they didn’t come up with the concept of the all-powerful Vulcan nerve pinch yet, because you never see Spock wielding the heavy artillery again.

Scotty sent me a pew-pew

Mitchell uses his powers to strangle one of the officers guarding him [Lieutenant Kelso], and zaps Kirk and Spock. We see that Dehner’s eyes have turned silver, too. When Kirk comes to, Dr. Piper (who is not nearly as awesome as McCoy or Dr. Pepper) tells him that they ran off. Kirk tells him to beam himself and Spock back to the Enterprise, and:

KIRK: If you have not received a signal from me within twelve hours, you’ll proceed at maximum warp to the nearest Earth base with my recommendation that this entire planet be subjected to a lethal concentration of neutron radiation. No protest on this, Mark. That’s an order.

Mitchell is impressing Dehner with his crazy-awesome god powers. Kirk tries pleading with her. She won’t listen. She’s convinced that they’ve transcended their humanity. Mitchell starts being a pompous asshole. Kirk fires at him with his pew-pew phaser rifle… and it does nothing. Mitchell materializes a grave and tombstone that reads “James R. Kirk”.

Wait… Captain Kirk’s middle name is Tiberius. This is what Wikipedia says:

Kirk’s middle initial is given as “R.” in “Where No Man Has Gone Before” and is seen clearly on the gravestone fashioned by Mitchell for Kirk; subsequent episodes use “James T. Kirk”, and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country later made official the middle name “Tiberius” (used previously in “Bem”, an episode from the animated series). Various suggestions have been made to explain this discrepancy; Michael Jan Friedman’s My Brother’s Keeper trilogy speculates this results from an in-joke between Mitchell and Kirk. Roddenberry cited human error on Mitchell’s part. Peter David’s novel, Q-Squared, placed the events of this episode in a parallel universe in which, among other differences, Kirk’s middle initial was indeed R.

Can’t they just admit that they hadn’t figured out the backstory for the characters yet? Sheesh.

Dehner all of a sudden gets a flash of compassion for the measly human Kirk, and begins zapping Mitchell. He zaps back. It’s the most anticlimactic zapping I’ve ever seen. It consists of them pointing their hands at each other and going “pew pew”.

Kirk and Mitchell get into a fight, and it’s better than last week’s grapple-fest. Kirk throws Mitchell into the grave and causes a rockslide that buries him. Then, for no real apparent reason, Dehner dies. I guess it was all the pew-pews.

Back on the bridge:

KIRK: Captain’s log, Star date 1313.8. Add to official losses, Doctor Elizabeth Dehner. Be it noted she gave her life in performance of her duty. Lieutenant Commander Gary Mitchell, same notation. I want his service record to end that way. He didn’t ask for what happened to him.

What about the other guy? Lieutenant Kelso? You know, you lost another crewmember on that planet!

The End. RIP Kelso.

MORAL OF THE STORY

You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.

RATING

I’m going to give this episode the rating of Lieutenant Commander. 2.5 pips out of 4. I was going to rate it lower, but it’s really an entertaining episode. My only problem with it is that most of the pilot cast ended up being replaced with the regular cast. I missed McCoy and Uhura.

TOMORROW ON THE STAR TREK CHALLENGE: The Naked Time [Bow chicka wow wow]

Thanks again,

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6 Responses to Star Trek TOS – Episode 3 – Where No Man Has Gone Before [Remastered]

  1. Jason Knize says:

    Scotty sent me a pew pew!

  2. Ya know, if I got God like powers, I’d be an asshole, too. 😛

    #GaryMitchellIsMyHero

  3. Denim says:

    Will the animated series be part of this challenge?

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