Star Trek 1×01 – “The Man Trap”
One of the more solid and compelling episodes of the series that I have seen so far. It was certainly a good one to start with. An alien of a dying race takes the form of various members of the Enterprise crew, manipulating some and draining all of the salt from the bodies of others.
Star Trek 1×02 – “Charlie X”
Apparently this is the look psychics give when they unleash their crazy mind powers. Easily one of the weaker episodes in the series thus far. The day is saved when Charlie goes back to live with the Wizards of Space Oz (not really, but that’s what they looked like). At least I got to see a shirtless 35-year old William Shatner wearing spandex, so no complaints there.
Star Trek 1×03 – “Where No Man Has Gone Before”
Of the two back-to-back episodes revolving around the psychic phenomenon, this was the stronger one. This is also the second pilot of the show, re-edited to become the third episode of the series. When the ship passes through a bizarre electric storm, members of the crew with high ESP (extra-sensory perception) are affected in varying degrees. What unfolds thematically is a question of what humanity is lost when the full potential of the brain is unveiled. How can a being as powerful as a god relate to his former human counterparts? The answer is that nothing matches the sheer unpredictable wit of Captain James Tiberius Kirk.
Star Trek 1×04 – “The Naked Time“
While investigating the mysterious demise of a Federation outpost, an invisible plague sweeps through The Enterprise, driving its crew to various levels of madness. The highlight of this part is the shirtless fencing Sulu. The time warp, in the end, was pretty cool, but I couldn’t help but wonder why they didn’t use that to go back and save the crewman they lost.
Star Trek 1×05 – “The Enemy Within”
Something goes wrong with the beamer (Trekkers correct me, I’m not that good with the technical terminology) and Captain Kirk is beamed up as two separate consciences. One is his evil half, the other just his good half. I like that the theme was centered around how the captain needs his light side and his dark side to keep each other in check, as opposed to good triumphing over evil. I also really liked that the brief cameo alien in this episode was basically a dog unicorn.
Star Trek 1×06 – “Mudd’s Women”
If you’ve ever wondered what future Space Pimps will look like, then you should meet Harcourt Fenton Mudd. Moral of the story: real beauty is on the inside. Unless you’re Harcourt Fenton Mudd. In that case, all beauty is in the mustache.
Star Trek 1×07 – “What Are Little Girls Made Of?“
Even though this is one of the better episodes so far, I have to admit I was somewhat captivated by the floral patterning on Ruk’s costume. A giant ancient robot of a deceased civilization who wears a giant bathrobe and a floral shirt — what is there not to be captivated by? In the picture above, we see Captain Kirk attempting to flee from Ruk while wielding and undeniably phallic rock as a weapon.
The primary theme of the episode focuses on what makes us human, hence the title. When a machine replica of Kirk and his memories is made against his will, he fills his own head with xenophobic thoughts about Spock. This allows Spock to recognize something is wrong when the replica Kirk beamed about the ship repeats these things. It’s a testament to how this show was progressive for its time. In the end, it turns out that robots are not only capable of learning love, but also murder-suicide.
Star Trek 1×08 – “Miri“
The Enterprise happens upon an exact replica of Planet Earth somewhere out in space. When they beam down they find it to be largely abandoned, the remaining buildings dating sometime in the mid 20th century. Eventually, they find out that the people of this Earth had found a means to slow the advance of the aging process drastically. The only problem is that it only works on children. All others catch a plague that drives them mad and ages them rapidly. Now the crew (except for Spock) has been exposed, and it’s a race against time to find the cure and save the children (each in excess of 200 years old by our standards) before they succumb to madness. And Miri is the only child ho can help them.
Also, Captain Kirk gets beat up by a room full of children whom he (unfortunately) can’t just punch in the face. I really like it when Kirk punches people in the face. There is some excellent face-punching earlier though, just not involving the children. Overall, I really enjoyed this episode and the themes revolved around. The only frustrating thing was that they never explained how an exact replica of Earth, where people speak English and everything, came to be in existence.
Star Trek 1×09 – “Dagger of the Mind“
Captain Kirk opens an investigation into the rehabilitation practices of a penal colony after one of the inmates escapes onto The Enterprise. The plot is pretty solid, delving into the psychology of mind control and raising a lot of ethical questions as to how inmates should be treated. The 1960s sexism rears it’s ugly head when Kirk openly admits to his mistrust for female psychologists (though she ends up saving his ass in the end). I love the close-ups of people’s faces in this series (even when William Shatner isn’t punching them, which happens a lot).
Star Trek 1×10 – “The Corbomite Maneuver”
A game of brinkmanship goes down between The Enterprise and an unknown alien race. Most of this episode’s appeal is in the tense plot pacing and the sort-of chess match between Captain Kirk and the aliens. The end result is one of the (unintentionally) creepier scenes of the show, pictured above. An alien child (played by Ron Howard’s younger brother) with a bizarrely dubbed overgrown man’s voice. One of the more celebrated episodes of the series, but admittedly not my favorite.
Star Trek 1×11 – “The Menagerie, Part I“
Netflix prompts you to watch “The Cage” as the first episode of Star Trek. While this is technically true, I’d suggest skipping it as the episode was cut and spliced into this two-parter. “The Menagerie” was concocted by Gene Rodenberry as a means of buying the series more time in post-production. It works out quite nicely and gives us our first glimpse into the inner workings of Starfleet beyond the deck of The Enterprise. It is the only two-part episode in the entire original series of the show.
Star Trek 1×12 – “The Menagerie, Part II”
Captain Pike attempts to strangle one of the Talosians who is holding him captive. The Talosians are probably my favorite looking aliens so far in the series. In the conclusion of “The Menagerie,” we learn the true intent behind Spock’s bizarre behavior and get ourselves a (SPOILER ALERT) nice happy ending.
Star Trek 1×13 – “The Conscience of the King”
Star Trek invokes Shakespeare as Captain Kirk is alerted to the possibility that a wanted war criminal has been hiding out as an actor in a traveling theatre group. The way they carried the Shakespearean influence throughout the plot to up to the conclusion was pretty solid. It threw a nice twist in there as well.
Star Trek 1×14 – “Balance of Terror”
This is the first real space battle we get to see in the original series of Star Trek and marks the first appearance of The Romulan’s. While limited by its time period and budget for special effects, this episode ends up being a more realistic interpretation of how a battle between two warring space ships might actually play out. It’s more of a chess match than a fast-paced explosive adventure, one that pits Kirk and his crew against the Romulans and their Bird of Prey. It’s an important and consequential episode. For those of you who have only seen the 2009 and 2013 reboot Star Trek films; this episode explains why the Federation ship at the beginning of the first film does not recognize the Romulan ship that attacks them.
Star Trek 1×15 – “Shore Leave”
Bones might be inclined to tell you that he’s a doctor, not a ladies man. He would, of course, be lying (he is clearly both). This is Star Trek at it’s campiest, with lots of Captain Kirk punching people in the face. One of my favorite things about this show is how often Captain Kirk punches people in the face.
Star Trek 1×16 – “The Galileo Seven”
Spock’s cold-hearted logic comes under fire when he and a small crew crash land a small exploration vessel on a remote planet, and have no means of radio contact due to electromagnetic activity in the surrounding area.
Star Trek 1×17 – “The Squire of Gothos“
For anyone who has seen the Futurama episode ”Where No Fan Has Gone Before,“ this is the episode it is largely based on. At least the plot twist part of it. I am told it also is loaded with tons of Star Trek references that I probably missed. Overall, it’s one of the show’s sillier and more whimsical stories. It did get me looking forward to re-watching “Where No Fan Has Gone Before” when this is all done.
Star Trek 1×18 – “Arena“
I dozed off early on while I was first watching this episode, and this was the exact moment I woke back up to. When I saw the glitter in this dude’s eyes, I knew I had missed something vitally important. I promptly skipped back to where I last remembered and gave it my fullest attention. It was a pretty solid episode featuring the first appearance of the Gorn, an enemy alien species that never became as prominent in the Star Trek canon as the Romulans or the Klingons. This is unfortunate because they look incredible.
Star Trek 1×19 – “Tomorrow is Yesterday“
The first of several time-travel themed episodes, this one opens with the Enterprise being pulled into a time warp and ending up with damaged engines above mid-20th-century earth. In this screencap, the military officer from the 1960’s marvels at the chicken soup he just observed the ships intelligent microwave system whip up out of thin air. The best thing the future has to offer is instant chicken soup. It’s all downhill after that.
Star Trek 1×20 – “Court Martial”
A courtroom drama ends in an epic fight scene with Captain Kirk. I found the most ridiculous part of this episode to be that Kirk is suddenly held liable for the death of one of his crew members. I suppose it was because he didn’t wear a redshirt.
Star Trek 1×21 – “Return of the Archons”
The Enterprise crew investigates a planet that appears to be under the control of some mysterious puritanical regime. The episode pits order and peace against free will and violence, which is a fairly common theme in this series. The episode is most notable for being the first to reference the (often neglected) Prime Directive of the United Federation of Planets.
Star Trek 1×22 – “Space Seed”
This is one of the most significant episodes in the Original Series, which is revisited later in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. It also served as source material for the reboot Star Trek Into Darkness. It was a great concept that provided some insight into the history of the Star Trek universe. I particularly like Khan’s cunning charm and tastes in attire. He also does some fantastic stretching when Dr. McCoy thinks he’s still asleep. As I have never seen any of the Original Series movies, I am now very much looking forward to seeing it’s most infamous one.
Star Trek 1×23 – “Taste of Armageddon“
It goes without saying that this episode wins for best hats. I also rather enjoyed the story. It was a good demonstration of the futility of war.
Star Trek 1×24 – “This Side of Paradise“
Splooging flowers infect the Enterprise crew with their spores, causing them to turn into hippies. They abandon their ship for the planet below. Carefree Spock, for instance, enjoys climbing trees and smiling. Kirk, unable to reverse the spore’s effect finally gets splooged himself. He eventually overcomes the spores when a relic from his past reminds him of his purpose and is able to coerce the rest of the crew into doing the same.
Star Trek 1×25 – “The Devil in the Dark”
A subterranean silicon-based life form is terrorizing a mining colony on Janus VI, and the Enterprise is dispatched to investigate. It is definitely one of the more solid episodes, and notably one of William Shatner’s personal favorites. After injuring the creature with their phasers, Kirk and Spock attempt to communicate with it and eventually succeed. The Vulcan Mind Meld really comes in handy in times like these.
Star Trek 1×26 – “Errand of Mercy”
Another episode centered around the futility of war and also features the first appearance of the now notorious Klingons. “Errand of Mercy” was produced during the Vietnam War, as was this entire series. I am watching it in the wake of the Iraq War and during the seemingly endless war in Afghanistan. War is a very common theme in this show, and it is never romanticized with patriotism or portrayed as anything greater than unfortunate. It consistently holds humanity to a higher ideal.
Star Trek 1×27 – “The Alternative Factor“
This is the first episode to delve into the existence of parallel dimensions. In it, Captain Kirk and the Enterprise crew are tasked with finding the source of a massive energy pulse that seems to have caused the entire galaxy to momentarily “wink” out of existence. In their search, they encounter Lazarus, a man on a crusade to catch and kill his identical alternate personality from a parallel universe. The two men are difficult for McCoy and the crew to differentiate, as they are never seen together and they have the same ridiculous goatee.
Star Trek 1×28– “The City on the Edge of Forever“
Penned by Harlan Ellison, this is probably the most celebrated episode of the original series. It is a time travel story in which Bones accidentally injects himself with a massive amount of cordazine thanks to Enterprise turbulence. He then escapes through a time portal and essentially ruins everything. Kirk and Spock have to go back to depression-era New York City to discover what he did and prevent it from happening. All in all, I would say the episode is worthy of its praise.
Star Trek 1×29 – “Operation: Annihilate!“
This is the final episode of the first season and the source of my current Facebook picture. Amoeba-like creatures with a hive mind have destroyed the entire population of several planets, infecting members of Captain Kirk’s family as well as his own First Officer – Spock. Interesting fact learned: Vulcan’s have an extra set of inner eyelids.