Monday, January 14, 2013

Star Trek: The Enemy Within

The Enemy Within, aka The One with Two Kirks #1
The Enterprise is orbiting planet Alpha 117 on a specimen-gathering mission. An injured crewman is beamed up with a dusting of some sort of magnetic yellow ore on his uniform that, unbeknownst to the crew, causes the transporter to malfunction. The next one to beam up is Captain Kirk.

Kirk stumbles seams confused and is helped out. A short while later, an evil, Opposite Kirk (shown at right, with dramatic lighting) materializes in the transporter room. Kirk has apparently been split in to two opposing halves - Good and Evil.

An animal specimen is beamed up later and the same thing happens to it.
As Scotty says: "A few seconds after they sent this one up through the transporter, that duplicate appeared. Except it's not a duplicate, it's an opposite. Two of the same animal, but different. One gentle, this. One mean and fierce, that. Some kind of savage, ferocious opposite. Captain, we don't dare send Mister Sulu and the landing party up. If this should happen to a man..."

So Sulu and the landing party are stuck on the planet below where it gets really, really cold (-120). Meanwhile, Opposite Kirk demands Saurian Brandy from Dr. McCoy (he keeps the good stuff in Sick Bay) and heads for Yeoman Rand's quarters.
There Opposite Kirk attacks her. She narrowly escapes rape, scratching his face in the process of fighting him off. Unfortunately soon afterwards Rand has to explain the attempted rape to Spock, McCoy and Kirk, the person she is accusing. Wow, shouldn't there be a female security person or maybe Nurse Chapel available for her to talk tot? Apparently not.

When the scratches are described it is realized that there is a duplicate Kirk on board.
I'm Captain Kirk. I'm Captain Kirk! I'm Captain Kirk!! I'm Captain Kirk!!!
Kirk's duplication eventually leads to him to have problems making command decisions. Spock sees this as something to study:
Spock: We have here an unusual opportunity to appraise the human mind, or to examine, in Earth terms, the roles of good and evil in a man. His negative side, which you call hostility, lust, violence, and his positive side, which Earth people express as compassion, love, tenderness.
McCoy: It's the Captain's guts you're analyzing. Are you aware of that, Spock?
Spock: Yes, and what is it that makes one man an exceptional leader? 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.
Meanwhile, Sulu and the landing party aren't having much of a party as they learn that the shuttlecraft hasn't been invented yet.
Chases, the first Vulcan neck pinch, escapes and more ensue. Then comes the opportunity to reunite Kirk's two halves. It is tried first with the dog-like animal. It is made whole again but dies in the process.

Did it die of fright? Might human intelligence keep that from happening to Kirk? As Spock says: "Being split in two halves is no theory with me, Doctor. I have a human half, you see, as well as an alien half, submerged, constantly at war with each other. Personal experience, Doctor. I survive it because my intelligence wins over both, makes them live together. Your intelligence would enable you to survive as well."

Interesting that Spock says it is the Human half that we see and his alien half is submerged. Isn't that backwards? But then again, this is an early episode in the series. Earlier in the episode he is clearly annoyed, but the most out of character moment for Spock in the episode is a shocker.

At the very end, after *spoiler* Kirk is reunited with himself, Rand gives Spock something to sign. Now remember, Rand was nearly raped by the Opposite Kirk, right? Spock leers at her and says: "The impostor had some interesting qualities, wouldn't you say, Yeoman?"

Wait. What? That's right, "emotionless" Spock seems to get pleasure taunting her about this. It is almost like he is saying: "I'll bet you like it rough, don't you baby." Sheesh. Generally Spock is all kinds of awesome, but at this moment? No.

Wow. Moving on. I know that Shatner is famous in some circles for overacting, but I think that he does a fine job here. Everything here -the story, the lighting the music - is a bit over the top, but that is the point.

The episode is given greater oomph by its top notch music. Composer Sol Kaplan, who also scored The Doomsday Machine, wrote nearly 23 minutes of music for The Enemy Within. All of it is classic Trek. If you have seen the series, you will likely recognize all of it. Much of this music was tracked into other episodes as well. You can hear one track of this score, The Rock Slide/The Beam Up/Evil Kirk on La-La Land Records page for the complete release of music for the series. My favorite track title for The Enemy Within: Another Brandy/The Evil Grin/Double Dog Death.

By the way you can watch the entire episode on line right here. Next up? The Man Trap.

Finally, an accidental transporter duplication happened in TNG too. In an episode called Second Chances, we learn that a duplicate, but non-evil, copy of Riker was made from a transporter reflection. Maybe traveling by transporter isn't as safe as everyone says.

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