Episode: This Side of Paradise – Season 1, Episode 24 (1967)
Director: Ralph Senenski
Teleplay: D.C. Fontana
Story: D.C. Fontana and Nathan Butler (Jerry Sohl)
The Enterprise visits a defunct agricultural colony on Omicron Ceti III to retrieve the remains of a bunch of irradiated colonists – but they’re not dead! Not only have Berthold rays failed to liquefy Elias Sandoval (Frank Overton) and the rest of his blissful band, but the colonists are in perfect health. If three-quarters of a season of Star Trek have taught us anything, it’s that a man in perfect health has got to be hiding something.
Spoiler: it’s super-passive-aggressive flowers. A snoot-full of the explosive local bud induces peaceful contentment, a communitarian sensibility, and a kick’n pea-green jumpsuit. The first blast isn’t enough to convince Kirk, but Sulu takes to it like a drunk with his morning Schlitz. McCoy defaults to the “Ol’ Country Doctor” persona, complete with back-holler accent for some reason? With Spock’s latent hippie side on display, he’s too busy climbing trees and rolling in the hay with Leila (Jill Ireland) to follow orders. Pretty soon our Captain is the only one not in carefree mutiny.
Episode: A Taste of Armageddon – Season 1, Episode 23 (1967)
Director: Joseph Pevney
Teleplay: Gene L. Coon and Robert Hamner
Story: Robert Hamner
The Enterprise is on a diplomatic mission to Eminar VII when it “accidentally” becomes embroiled in an interplanetary war. I say “accidentally” because the planet sends them a message to please, please stay away, but dick diplomat Robert Fox (Gene Lyons) makes Kirk go anyway.
Transporting to the planet, Kirk and Spock learn that Eminar VII is at war with its neighbor Vendikar, but hostilities take place entirely inside computer simulations. The casualties are very real: ancient treaty obligations require that “killed” citizens report for voluntary disintegration. It isn’t long before the Enterprise falls victim to a purely figurative Tri-Cobalt Satellite and the whole crew is marked for death! Kirk and the landing party are taken hostage to assure compliance, but with Scotty in charge back on the ship, you can guess how that plays out.
Spock, you’ve gotten into a bad habit as of late. Habit? Get it?
Episode: The Return of the Archons – Season 1, Episode 21 (1967)
Director: Joseph Pevney
Teleplay: Boris Sobelman
Story: Gene Roddenberry
The Enterprise drops by Beta III to find out what happened to the Archon, a ship that disappeared in the system almost a century before. Instead, in the tradition of tourists everywhere, Kirk and the gang perpetrate the greatest crime of all: violation of the Prime Directive!
The episode opens with Sulu on the surface with Lt. O’Neil (Sean Morgan), running from robed assailants on what looks like an empty Midwestern street. Because that’s what you do in a first contact situation: send your helmsman with some panicky NCO. It doesn’t take Miss Cleo to predict which one makes it back to the ship.
“You Captain Kirk are guilty — of stealing my heart.”
Episode: Court Martial – Season 1, Episode 20 (1967)
Director: Marc Daniels
Teleplay: Don M. Mankiewicz
Story: Don M. Mankiewicz and Stephen W. Carabatsos
We’re back in the lap of the Star Fleet bureaucracy. The Enterprise retires to Starbase 11 for repairs after sustaining damage during an ion storm, an event that also saw the death of a single crewman: Lt. Commander Ben Finney (Richard Webb). As far as Gene Roddenberry is concerned, nothing spells trouble like an Irishman, and it isn’t long before Captain Kirk is on trial…for Murder!
Kirk bides his time before unleashing the fists of fury (and some half-cocked theories about quantum physics).
Episode: Tomorrow is Yesterday – Season 1, Episode 19 (1966)
Director: Michael O’Herlihy
Writer: D.C. Fontana
This episode starts awesome: the Enterprise being chased by an F-104 Interceptor through the skies of late-sixties Earth! But how? And WHY? Attend the tale, true believers:
I’ll see your sharp teeth, superhuman strength and six-inch talons and raise you a Shuffle Off to Buffalo.
Episode: Arena – Season 1, Episode 18 (1966)
Director: Joseph Pevney
Teleplay: Gene L. Coon
Story: Frederic Brown
The Enterprise drops by the remote Cestus III outpost for a dinner engagement, but upon beaming down with his tactical team, Captain Kirk finds that the base has been destroyed by an unknown enemy. Soon the landing party itself is attacked, and I hope you didn’t get too attached to the redshirt, ’cause he gets it first.
Simultaneously, the Enterprise is under attack in orbit. Sulu manages to drive off the alien ship and beam back the still-living members of the landing party, and then Kirk gives chase at warp 5. You know how your stick shift knob has a little pattern on it, and fifth gear is the one on the far right – the fastest gear? Well just imagine that using your car’s fifth gear made it so fast that at any second your car might EXPLODE, killing you and everyone you care about! That’s how bad Kirk wants the invading alien ship. He justifies this lunacy to his first officer with:
Nope. Not Liberace.
Episode: The Squire of Gothos – Season 1, Episode 17 (1966)
Director: Don McDougall
Story: Paul Schneider
The Enterprise is on an 8 day supply mission to Colony Beta VI, moving through a particularly vacant area of space, when they come across a solitary, uncharted planet. After Sulu and Kirk are “disappeared” from the bridge, it’s up to Spock to find them on the planet below.
Of course it’s just Trelane. Trelane! For years, and I mean up until watching this episode just now, I thought he was played by none other than Liberace in all of his effete bombast. Look at him rocking the harpsichord! But no, we owe our appreciation to William Campbell for this stellar performance.