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Part III: Second Tier TOS Episodes of 'Star Trek'

The Next Level of 'Star Trek' Greatness

Photo by Gage Skidmore   

Here’s my third installment of second tier episodes of the TOS that are not "Mirror, Mirror," "Space Seed" and "City on the Edge of Forever"

The Enterprise Incident

Starfleet is on a mission of peace, but when the security of the ship or the Federation is at stake, Jim Kirk and the boys are always ready to go into action. They’ll even involve subterfuge, and "The Enterprise Incident" let us know they won’t hesitate to leave a large part of the command structure out of the loop.

Jim Kirk admonishing his crew and rushing into the neutral zone, had the Captain’s "Mirror, Mirror" returned? Quickly accosted by the Romulans and Spock is clean shaven in revealing the logic and logistics. “The strain of command has worn heavily upon him. He's not been himself for several weeks,” Spock explains the the incursion.

You feel the tinge of betrayal nonetheless. That’s until Spock kills Kirk. Wow, we knew the ratings were low. Of course, the ruse reveals itself in sick bay. “He's alive, alive,” Nurse Chapel gives us the collective sigh.

But it’s Spock who takes our breath away.

Like any good espionage play, someone needs to turn on the charm and the Romulan commander’s previous knowledge of Spock provides the hook. Eat your heart out Sean Connery, Spock makes sure to keep the upper hand and kills with a Vulcan deadpan. “Are the guards also invited,” he coyly accepts dinner invitation.

Oh my, the finger play that follows—how did that get passed the censors?Nonetheless, Spock must stall for time and not make it seem like it. So Spock works his advantage by reminding Commander Tal that expediency isn’t a necessity and the transfer of the Enterprise can wait. “An hour from now will do even better. Would it not, Commander?”

Pon Farr be damned, logic is so sexy.

Of course, Spock and Kirk win out. But Spock doesn’t deny the feelings, and the strategic minutia that switched hands in the process. “Military secrets are the most fleeting of all. I hope that you and I exchanged something more permanent.”

The sincerity almost brings us to tears, so keep your shirt on Captain Kirk, because Spock is the real ladies man on this ship.

The Enemy Within

The idea that the human mind is evenly divided into good and evil parts is simplistic. But it’s still pretty damn cool when Captain Kirk becomes the subject of the experiment. The divvy up also gives cause to explore and delineate the gaps that have long existed between the sexes.

But first, we’re well aware that Kirk knows how to have a good time. So are we shocked as our always amorous Captain goes right  for Yeoman Rand’s quarters with a bottle of Saurian Brandy?  No longer held back by the constraints of human decency, Kirk becomes the all too familiar portrait of a powerful man whose subconscious teeters on the verge of sexual assault.  Sadly, a transporter malfunction has long proven not to be a necessity in that arena.

Unfortunately, we only get a passing nod to the tenuous position that women occupy between personal survival and powerful men. “Well, he is the captain. I couldn't just,” Rand lays out the reality.

But on the good side of “the force,” we actually see the real power of the dark side, and Spock is there to show the way. “We see indications that it's his negative side which makes him strong, that his evil side, if you will, properly controlled and disciplined, is vital to his strength. Your negative side removed from you, the power of command begins to elude you,” Spock implores.

Kirk is forced to agree that goodness and reason aren’t enough, and this brings me to the perplexing history of the human gender gap.   Little boys are the ones who are actually a mass of conflicting impulses and their impulses often get the better of them.  Little girls, on the other hand, are in much more control of their emotions and navigate the environment with greater ease.  So why have men ruled the world? 

Ambition, control, competitiveness, lust and greed all simmer at the bottom of the human soul.  The worst of us ruthlessly rise to  power, run corporations without conscience and become masters of dehumanizing others in pursuit of personal aims. 

Men more typically occupying these positions, is it possible that our internal rage comes much closer to a boil?  The evolutionary prerogative to propagate the species compounds the problem, and the more reckless the pursuit, the better it is for the cause. 

Of course, most of us remedy a balance as Spock defines, and achieve more benign positions of strength, power and wealth. But the gap exists. Could it be that the mediation on the female dark side is diluted by a more empathetic prerogative? That would be the nurturing of the species that encompasses motherhood.  

Still, we know the worst of women will not hesitate to hitch their star to the worst of providers. So these types certainly have an internal H2O that rages around 212 degrees Fahrenheit too. But maybe remedied women are still held back by the weakened state we see in the good Jim Kirk.

Nonetheless, the obvious has been left out of my equation. Brute force probably gave men a very large leg up and, regardless of the evolutionary differences and social advancement, women have never been able to catch up.

Either way, Spock knows the philosophical disciplines and even rubs it in.  "The, er, impostor had some interesting qualities, wouldn't you say, Yeoman?" He dismisses the attempted rape. 

“The very flower of humanity,” how about we give the motherlode a chance and see how well that works as a human remedy.

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