Early on, Kirk, Spock and McCoy meet with Vanderberg and the Chief Processing Engineer, Ed Appel. Appel has seen the monster and claims to have shot it with his phaser, but it "didn't even slow it down."
Appel even seems to have a grudge against Starfleet. He says to Kirk, "You're all pretty tough, aren't you? Starship, phaser banks. You can't get your starship down in the tunnels." You would think that all of this would make Appel the prime suspect in the murders, but apparently not.
We learn that the murdered colonists were killed by a powerful acid, leaving little behind. Soon there's an emergency in the reactor room.
And it doesn't.silicon-based life. He ultimately concludes they are "dealing with a silicon creature of the deep rocks, capable of moving through solid rock as easily as we move through the air."
|Does this remind anybody else of James Bond?|
Spock reluctantly agrees yet in the next scene when he is briefing more Red Shirts he says that they should surround the creature and try to capture it. Kirk is not pleased and tells Spock that it is to be killed on sight. Perhaps Spock is just trying to make up for what they did to the salt vampire in The Man Trap.
When Spock joins him he has his first mind meld with the creature. He feels its intense pain and then it burns this message into the rock.
|McCoy is a doctor, not a bricklayer.|
Kirk: Don't fire. First man that fires is dead.
Vanderberg: That thing has killed fifty of my men.
Kik: You've killed thousands of her children.
Spock explains, "There have been many generations of Horta on this planet. Every fifty thousand years, the entire race dies, all but one, like this one, but the eggs live. She cares for them, protects them. And when they hatch, she is the mother to them, thousands of them. This creature here is the mother of her race."
They negotiate a treaty of sorts and in the end Vanderberg reports that the eggs are hatching, the "little devils" have helped them discover huge new pergium deposits, gold, platinum & rare earths and that they aren't so bad to look at once you get used to their appearance.
This is what Star Trek is all about. It teaches us that things are not always as they seem. That an ugly murderous monster might not be what we think it is. If we could just understand it, we might be able to appreciate it for what it is. We can even work with what was once an enemy to achieve a greater good. These lessons are still of value today and that is why The Devil in the Dark is such a great episode of Trek. Besides, we have an alien that isn't a humanoid - very refreshing.
Like many of the recent episodes, there was no new music written here. It was all tracked in from other episodes.
You can watch the episode at StarTrek.com right here.
Next up, we get our first episode with Klingons - Errand of Mercy.