This week, a transporter accident creates a duplicate of our good captain. But the duplicate is... well... not so good, as Captain Kirk must face...
First, sorry for being late again... again! Perhaps for the time being, we should all just expect that these will come up sometime on the day after broadcast. But I do hope eventually to get back to the night of broadcast as planned.
Now, on with this week’s episode! We encounter the crew as they are exploring Alpha 177, the planet of the cuddly space dogs. Those dogs must have very warm coats, as Sulu comments on the temperature and Kirk replies that it can get down to -120° at night. I don’t know what scale they’re using, but whatever scale it is, that’s bloody cold! I’m sure this will have no relevance on the plot, however, so let’s continue.
Geological Technician Fisher has a bit of a fall, injuring himself and getting a strange yellow ore all over his clothing. He is ordered up to the ship for medical attention. Scotty beams him aboard, but the transporter starts acting up in the process.
Scotty is concerned that the ore may have affected the transporter. Kirk requests to come back aboard. Scotty gives the system a quick check, and everything seems okay. He does wish to do a more thorough check later, but beams his captain aboard.
Kirk feels a bit dizzy, so a concerned Scotty walks him out leaving the transporter room unattended. The second the door closes the transporter starts up again, and Kirk materializes aboard. Wait... what?
And it isn’t just any Kirk... It’s EVIL Kirk!
I mean, just look at that suddenly dark lighting in the just seconds ago brightly lit transporter room! And just look at that shifty look on his face! That’s some super shifty Shatner going on there!
After the credits, Captain Kirk makes a log entry about how, unbeknownst to anyone, a transporter malfunction created a duplicate of him. These log entries must be made after the fact, otherwise, it’d be hard to make an entry about something even Kirk just said that they didn’t know yet!
Good Kirk returns to his quarters to find Yeoman Rand waiting for him with some ship’s business. He thanks her, and she leaves as he goes to have a lie down. Meanwhile, in sickbay, McCoy is tending to Fisher when Evil Kirk walks in and without any preamble begins demanding Saurian Brandy. He gets very aggressive in his demands, even grabbing McCoy in the process, before leaving with the whole bottle and frantically wandering the halls of the ship swigging away. His wanderings bring him to the quarters of one Yeoman Janice Rand.
A concerned Spock, having gotten a most curious report from Dr. McCoy, goes to Kirk’s quarters to check up on him. Spock is rather diplomatic at first, but eventually has to elaborate upon why he and the good doctor are concerned. Kirk is amused, thinking McCoy has been pulling Spock’s leg. He promises Spock he’ll tell McCoy that the Vulcanian was properly annoyed, and Spock excuses himself to return to his duties.
Meanwhile, Scotty had been transporting aboard various samples from Alpha 117, including the aforementioned cuddly space dog. Alas, even though they beamed up only one dog, they now have two: the docile, cuddly one Scotty is holding and, in a specimen case, a snarling, barking, and decidedly less cuddly one.
Sulu and the rest of the landing party are still on the planet’s surface. But Scotty doesn’t dare beam them up. After all, if this should happen too a man...
Yeoman Rand returns to her quarters, and is very startled to find Captain Kirk lurking there. He starts getting very familiar. Very familiar. Then things get a bit... well... rapey.
Rand is able to fight him off, giving him a good scratch in the process, but the incident leaves her very shaken. Fisher (because, even in a crew of over 400, why pay more actors to have lines then you need to?) is walking by, and witness the attack. When he tries to call for help, Evil Kirk assaults him, too, knocking him out cold.
News of this is brought to Kirk’s attention. A very sensitive Kirk decides to question Rand directly. The poor woman is on the verge of tears, while Kirk just stands there questioning her! I know this Kirk is actually ignorant of what happened, but good lord! Mind you, when Rand mentions having to fight him off and scratch his face, it is certainly convenient for him to have an unscratched face right there to point out... But still, have some tact, man!
The lack of scratches doesn’t do much to dissuade her, and she and Fisher both insist it was him. Spock concludes that they must have an impostor aboard. The malfunctioning transporter. They need to capture the impostor. But how to explain this to the crew?
A visibly uncertain Kirk decided to just announce the full truth to the crew. Spock cautions against this: a captain cannot afford to look vulnerable in front of his crew. But vulnerable he is becoming. Command decisions are not coming to him as quickly as they should.
Kirk does make an announcement to the crew, but just to the effect that there is an impostor, not how that impostor came to be. Evil Kirk, meanwhile, hears the announcement,including that the impostor can be identified by scratches on his face, and after having a bit of a rage about, “I am Captain Kirk!” grabs some convenient cosmetics that Kirk has (a captain has to look good, yes?) and covers the scratches up.
Sulu and his men are getting pretty cold. They tried to beam down some heaters, but even the equipment was duplicated, and failed to work. Sulu is able to use his phaser to heat up some rocks to help keep them warm, but that is only a temporary stopgap measure. The temperature is continuing to drop, and if a way cannot be found to safely beam these men aboard, they will die.
Based on some of the actions Evil Kirk has taken trying to evade capture, Spock realizes that this “duplicate” has all of Kirk’s knowledge and experience, and surmises that Good Kirk can use that to try and guess where Evil Kirk may have gone to hide. Thus, the two of them head down to the engineering decks in the ship’s lower levels. There, the two Kirks meet. Good Kirk tries to talk Evil Kirk down. “You can’t kill me. I’m a part of you. You need me, I need you.” Evil Kirk is having none of it, however, and tries to shoot the good one. Fortunately, Spock comes up behind him and, just in the nick of time, uses the same neck pinching move we saw him use on Sulu in last week’s episode to render him unconscious.
The captured Evil Kirk is brought to sickbay and restrained. Good Kirk continues to become more indecisive, and Spock surmises that it is the qualities that one typically sees as “negative” that, in fact, make Kirk a good, strong leader. His “evil” side, properly controlled and disciplined by the influence of his “good” side, is vital to Kirk’s strength of character. Without his negative side, Kirk is loosing his power of command.
Scotty rushes to complete repairs, but it is further hampered by additional damage to the system caused by that stray phaser blast from Evil Kirk. Scotty estimates at this point that repairs won’t be completed in less than a week!
In sickbay, McCoy notices that Evil Kirk’s body is in bad condition. Apparently, the duplication process weakened Kirk physically, and it is only a matter of time before both of them begin to die. Evil Kirk begs for help, and Good Kirk attempts to comfort him.
He promises not to let go, and begs Evil Kirk to hold on, to think, and to not be afraid. And this actuality manages to stabilize Evil Kirk. Good Kirk realizes that he has to recombine with his doppelganger in order to survive, but is put off at the thought of the ugliness within Evil Kirk. McCoy says he hates to agree with Spock, but that those qualities within the “Evil” Kirk aren’t evil, they are human. They are a part of who he is, and he needs them.
“Good” Kirk is further put off. His command ability comes from his “Evil” self, so what does he contribute? But McCoy points out that he needs the intellegence, kindness, and logic of his “good” side just as much to be the man he is. And maybe that is where man’s true courage comes from. “For you see, he was afraid, and you weren’t.”
Scotty manages to jurry-rig a work-around to get the transporter system operating again. The man must be some sort of miracle worker. (Or the writer needed to manufacture some tension earlier in the episode, and then just figured, “What the hell?” rather than coming up with an actual solution.) They send both cuddly space dog and non-cuddly space dog through to see what happens. The two dogs do manage to recombine into one... but while the two dogs are recombined, there is one small problem. They now have a dead cuddly space dog.
It is surmised that the shock of recombining was just too much for the dog. Kirk’s command ability continues to deteriorate, and Sulu and his men continue to get colder. They don’t know for sure if it will be safe for Kirk, but Spock suggest that with his intelligence to control his fear, he may be able to survive the procedure.
McCoy is aghast, saying Kirk can’t risk his life on a theory. Spock counters that for him, being split in half isn’t just a theory. The constant war within himself between his human and alien heritages gives him personal experience in such matters. He survives it because his intelligence wins out over both sides and makes them live together, and he is convinced that Kirk will be able to do the same.
Kirk, meanwhile, does not know what to do. Should he be cautious as McCoy suggests, and wait for more tests to be done on the body of cuddly space dog? (Knowing that any further delay could be deadly for Sulu and the others on the planet?) Or should he risk his own life on a completely untested procedure? Can’t someone make the decision for him?
Spock and McCoy insist the decision is his, however. A call from Sulu on the verge of death is overheard by both Kirks. Good Kirk says he can’t let them die. Evil Kirk asks what he will do.
Good Kirk has made a decision. He says they’ll go through the transporter. Bad Kirk claims he won’t fight it, and he’ll be glad when this is over. But of course it is a ruse. He attacks good Kirk and switches places with him. He then musters enough strength to act “normal” and make his way to the bridge, even fooling Yeoman Rand on the way.
Alas, Evil Kirk just can’t keep up the act very long. Upon arriving on the bridge, he orders preparations to leave orbit. When an objection is raised, he just callously says that those on the surface can’t be saved. When McCoy arrives seconds later in the company of Good Kirk, it is obvious that something is amiss. When Evil Kirk starts ranting and attacking crewmen while protesting that he is the captain, the jig is somewhat obviously up. But this time, Good Kirk is successful in talking Evil Kirk down. Half a man cannot live, and Evil Kirk is terrified, not wanting to die. Good Kirk embraces him as the stress overwhelms him and he falls unconscious in his arms.
The two Kirks are brought to the transporter room and sent through the transporter. One Kirk returns. The Captain Kirk. He confidently strides forward. “Get those men aboard, fast!” he commands.
Sulu and his men are brought aboard. They’re in bad shape, but McCoy is confident they’ll make it. Kirk reflects that he saw a part of him self no man should ever see. Yeoman Rand, knowing who the “impostor” was, tries to express something (understanding?) to Kirk, but just can’t find the words. Kirk, however, is grateful nonetheless. Spock, meanwhile, decided to one-up Kirk’s earlier insensitivity towards her by asking her, “The impostor had some interesting qualities, wouldn’t you say, Yeoman?” Way to go about mocking someone who was almost sexually assaulted, Mr. Spock!
And with that, Enterprise flies off towards her next adventure.
Not sure what to make of this episode. On one hand, it was a very interesting character study about the duality of man and the character traits needed to make up a complete individual. How some traits seen as negative, properly tempered by the positive traits, are essential to who we are.
On the other hand, the almost caviler attitude displayed towards what Rand went through is kind of shocking! I know we’re less then half a dozen episodes in, but this is the kind of attitude I almost expect from characters on Game of Thrones or something. Certainly not on Star Trek!
Hopefully such behaviors were an anomaly in this episode. Guess we’ll just have to see what happens in the next few weeks!
We meet a few more members, but in rather minor roles. Geological Technician Fisher, of course, who’s clumsiness set off this adventure. Wilson assisted Scotty in the transporter room, and was later attacked by Evil Kirk. Farrell is driving the ship while Sulu’s unavailable, and he and James are on hand when Evil Kirk attempts to abandon those trapped on the planet.
Assuming everyone beamed up at the end survives as McCoy suspects they will, there are no deaths in this episode. (Cuddly space dogs, aside.) So the Death Count remains where it was last week, with 4 Blue, 3 Yellow, and 0 Red.
We see Kirk wearing the alternative wrap-around tunic at various points in this episode. Often, it is a convenient shorthand on knowing which Kirk we are looking at.
We see a lot more of the ship’s engineering room this week, We find out they are located in the lower decks.
The signage outside Yeoman Rand’s door reads, “YEOMAN JANICE RAND 3C 46.” What “3C 46” is I could not say. A room number perhaps, indicating something like deck 3, section C, room 46? Or Rand’s serial number, if they have such things?
Once the ship’s transporter was repaired, why did they have to wait until Kirk was recombined before beaming Sulu and the others back up? Did they want to just make sure it was working properly? They didn’t need to recombine Kirk to do that, did they? Earlier, the malfunctioning transporter even duplicated equipment, and it wasn’t working properly. So beam down some equipment, beam it back up, and confirm there is only one piece of equipment and that it still works! If they’re still worried, and want to make sure it works with organic material, then beam down some sort of lab animal or, if they don’t have those on the Enterprise, beam down Sulu’s rather expressive plant from The Man Trap. I’m sure Sulu will get over the loss if it gets him back onto the ship!
Phasers are versatile things, able to be used to heat rocks. They seem to be able to fire in a spray pattern, seeming to emit multiple beams at once. Their settings can be locked on stun.
The Written Adaptation:
I’ll be honest... It’s getting late on Friday (after 11:00 p.m., Eastern) and I want to get this posted online! Yet I haven’t had a chance to give it a read yet. I’ll do so before next week, however, and if there is anything significant to report, I’ll do so immediately prior to next week’s recap.
Well, that’s all for this week, folk’s. See you next week with... Space hookers? What was that I was saying about hoping certain attitudes were an anomaly? Oh boy... Fingers crossed!
See you then!
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