Star Trek: The Original Series



Air date: 10/27/1966
Written by Adrian Spies
Directed by Vincent McEveety

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

The Enterprise encounters a planet that is an exact duplicate of the Earth, but a place where all the adults are dead, leaving behind children who age incredibly slowly ("one month every 100 years"). The problem: These children all have a disease causing them to die the moment they surpass puberty. The other problem: Kirk and the landing party have now contracted the disease, and must race against the clock in finding the cure before they die. Unfortunately, it's not much of race. "Miri" feels long, slow, and surprisingly uneventful (to the point where Kirk's speech near the end is particularly hard to sit through), and has far too many lapses in logic to make the emotional core ring true.

The notion of an "exact duplicate of the Earth" is put to absolutely no interesting use, and exists, apparently, for no other reason than so the plot could have a setting of "Earth, 1960." I had too many questions involving the children, like, just how is it they've managed to survive so long, yet don't have the capacity to grow beyond their childish ways? That's the paradox, and the story even acknowledges it at one point, but not effectively or believably on the given terms.

Still, just to hear Spock ominously say, "Without [the computer analysis of the vaccine], it could be a beaker full of death" [cue music of doom], makes it almost worth the hour spent.

Previous episode: What Are Little Girls Made Of?
Next episode: Dagger of the Mind

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21 comments on this review

Tue, Jul 17, 2012, 8:20pm (UTC -5)
I liked the "And I do want to return to the ship, Captain," Spock moment.

Another great moment was when McCoy tests the vaccine on himself and collapses. Spock runs to him and can't really do anything, but just stays with him. Then he's got that great line, "I will never understand the medical mind." It's a good Spock-McCoy moment, building up that third side of the triangle.

By the way, should this be a vaccine? Shouldn't it be an antidote? Isn't it a little late to vaccinate them against the disease?
Tue, Jan 8, 2013, 12:42am (UTC -5)
I wonder how many exact duplicates of Earth are located in, say, the Klingon Empire. 'Cause there's plenty in Federation space.
Mon, Sep 16, 2013, 4:13am (UTC -5)
I thought this was one episode I basically would have to suffer through - annoying children, an unbelievable plot set on a planet that looks like earth ca. 1960 - but it turned out I liked it much more than I expected. Particularly I enjoyed the scenes with Miri and Kirk - her infatuation was completely credible and well acted and he showed great character in dealing with her. I guess I still remember what it's like to be a young girl with a crush. Sometimes plots and scenes that deal with females motions come across as incredibly awkward or even silly in Star Trek (I won't make a guess as to why that is....), but this was well done by all involved.

But weren't those kids just terribly annoying! Kirk is a much better human than I could ever be. I would have left the annoying brats to die (kidding... sort of...)
Mon, Sep 16, 2013, 4:14am (UTC -5)
*with females motions*

make that "female emotions". Sorry.
Sat, Oct 5, 2013, 7:34pm (UTC -5)
This is also the episode that gave us Kirk's immortal line "No Blah Blah Blah!" which rivals "Brain and brain, what is brain?" for the best of the worst lines of the entire series.
Fri, Mar 7, 2014, 3:43pm (UTC -5)
The episode was Ok overall.

But what bugs me the most is the whole "exact duplicate of Earth" thing, which they never even tried to discuss further, let alone explain. I mean the continents were the same and everything, and they commented on it leading up to the opening credits. . .and then they never discussed it again. Why?

Why not just have the same plot on a planet that happened to NOT be an exact duplicate of Earth? And the children could be aliens that are only slightly different from humans. Just seemed odd that they introduced and hilighted this huge plot detail and completely left it alone.
Fri, Mar 14, 2014, 10:02am (UTC -5)
I found this to be an excellent episode. Very grotesque, creepy and horrific, especially for 1960s TV. Note too that the episode's post apocalyptic zombie themes predate even Romero's "Night of the Living Dead".
Wed, Apr 2, 2014, 2:20pm (UTC -5)
Agreed... the whole creepy kid thing worked well to me. I can see where many would be put off by this ep and rate it low but its always been 1 of my favorites. Somebody should take clips from this and set it to a rob zombie song. Id pay 99 cents for that. 3+ stars.
Mon, Sep 8, 2014, 11:04pm (UTC -5)
Minus the unnecessary and bizarre duplicate Earth thing, I liked "Miri" pretty good. It was well-acted, especially by the two lead children.

In fact, it might be one of the best children-focused Trek episodes in all five series.

I liked how our crew encounters all sorts of dangers -- beings of godlike powers, but also a wild band of kids could bring them down if they didn't keep up their guard.
Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 9:52pm (UTC -5)
Actually Jammer, the psychology and brain makeup of children is demonstrably, significantly different of that of adults. Even after 300 years, their society might still differ from what we would expect of adults...though I agree this episode doesn't render the concept in a way that rings true.
Fri, Nov 21, 2014, 3:47am (UTC -5)
Just watched this episode. I, too, was annoyed by the whole unnecessary "duplicate earth". And also pretty annoyed that the entire crew left their "cell phones" when they walked out of the room. Really?!?!

But other than those two things, I liked it overall. Though there were times they didn't ask questions that I thought they should. Also… seemed like the Doc would have been more involved with things, but perhaps I'm nitpicking now.

That said… I seem to remember running into a bunch of kids like this in Fallout 3 (or maybe New Vegas). Not sure if it was a direct homage to this episode, but I found it interesting.
Wed, Jan 21, 2015, 8:30pm (UTC -5)
Captain I was always trying to get you to look at my legs, captain look at my legs!!! (Kirk looks upon legs with diease with doom music in background)......oh the burdens of being the captain!!!! Makes me laugh everytime!!
Mon, Mar 23, 2015, 10:42pm (UTC -5)
I should have listened to Jammer. I am doing a selective rewatch of the series with my kids, using these reviews as a guide, but I think there was something in the premise and in the comments that gave me hope that we should try this one. But both my kids fell asleep halfway through, and I had to fight off the drowsiness myself. Just slow and boring.

Also, the interaction between Kirk and Miri was kind of creepy; and Yeoman Rand exuded all kinds of sexist stereotypes.

The only thing that really held my interest was that some of the kids looked familiar. Particularly Miri and the older boy; and to some extent the bucktoothed younger boy.
Fri, Mar 27, 2015, 2:06am (UTC -5)
@SlackerInc: Funny you mention that; one of the little girls was Bill Shatner's daughter.

See Memory Alpha, "On the Set":
Sat, Apr 18, 2015, 11:56am (UTC -5)
I'm re-watching TOS , and started with the most well-regarded episodes and with my personal favorites. Now I'm going through the rest of the not-so-hot episodes. This one is dull and creepy, with an "ick" factor regarding Kirk's manipulation of Miri's crush on him. Looks like he's grooming her for something. I agree with others that the "duplicate Earth" thing was a clanger--all they had to do was say the planet was an M-type, and they could have made it look a little like Earth without showing the continents…and it would have been fine. Also thought that all four leaving their communicators in the empty room was an obvious device to move the plot forward. The crew never would have done that. (And didn't the two redshirts have communicators? Where did they go, anyway?)

But it's worth watching, sort of, for Spock's line about the "Beaker of Death!!" Hahahahaha.
Thu, Apr 14, 2016, 11:22am (UTC -5)
I pretty much agree with what others have said--I'd just like to point out that Miri is played by the talented Kim Darby, well-known for her Oscar-worthy performance in "True Grit." I think her nuanced performance shines in this otherwise tedious episode.
Sun, May 29, 2016, 12:04pm (UTC -5)

"I wonder how many exact duplicates of Earth are located in, say, the Klingon Empire. 'Cause there's plenty in Federation space."

The writers created the fictitious "Hodgkin's Law of Parallel Planetary Development" to "explain" why all the aliens were humanoid and all the "town" location shooting ("Miri," "Return of the Archons," "The City on the Edge of Forever") was done on the studio's back lot. Notably, this "Hodgkin's Law" was never mentioned in any of the subsequent incarnations of Star Trek.
Sat, Jul 16, 2016, 12:50pm (UTC -5)
I'm with Jammer on this one; this episode is slowwwww. Everything was boring, whether it be Bones and Spock trying to find a cure or Miri crushing on Kirk or the other "kids" (seriously, the oldest one looked about 30 years old) threatening Kirk. Yes, this is probably a matter of preference, but I think part of the problem was that the plot can't really sustain a full episode.

For the overall plot, it's a tale as old as dirt. Seriously, mankind tries to gain godlike powers and fails miserably; just how often can you find that story? That's not to say that you can't come up with a new version of this plot, but the show doesn't actually do anything with it, given that everyone's dead. None of the children seem to know anything about what happened, so we don't see any insight into the people who worked on this doomed project. Ever read the Bible story about the Tower of Babel (another example of this plot)? It's about 8 sentences long. That's pretty much the extent of the depth we have on this story. It's understandable, given the approach this episode has. But it means that the sci-fi concept of "and man grew proud" has all the merit for this episode as the infamous "dual earth" part of it.

What about the planet of children aspect? Well, the kids were freaking annoying. Was their plot regarding attacking the Enterprise crew worthwhile? Was Kirk convincing them to stop antagonizing them really a worthwhile plot? Honestly, it all just felt like padding. We didn't really see enough of them to get a true Lord of the Flies like atmosphere, so never felt like enough of a plot. They are antagonistic because, well, grownups are scary I guess, then kidnap Kirk, then listen to Kirk. Hooray, I guess?

That leaves the finding a cure plot and the Miri crush plot. The first is necessary but frankly boring (not sure how to make it more exciting, but some more interplay between Spock and Bones would have helped, showing them working together despite their animosity. I guess the drama about McCoy testing the cure on himself redeems it somewhat.). The second is a little bit disturbing, given the age of Miri (emotional and physical age, that is). I guess they tried to just play it off as cute, but, it still didn't seem to be able to carry an episode. Miri has crush, then gets jealous, then does something stupid because of the jealousy, then gets better. That's about it.

So not the most exciting stuff here. And that's not to factor in all of the oddities of the episode as well. Yes, everyone mocks the mirror Earth thing, but what a coincidence that the children survived all along at the city that sent out the distress signal, and was also the city that had all the research to find the cure! Also, pretty useful, plot-wise, that one kid got the disease just before the Enterprise arrived so we could see what would happen and create some mystery, and that Miri was just about to get the disease too. What are the odds? Also convenient that Rand came along for absolutely no reason other than to get Miri jealous. Did she or any other yeoman ever go on another away mission? Also, what's with the security guards? They just disappear and reappear at random times throughout the story. Are they not cool enough to get communicators of their own? Pretty convenient that they weren't around providing security when the kids stole the communicators, and also convenient that they didn't have their communicators with them wherever they were.

One last point that was never brought up during the episode, which did seem kinda curious. These kids are 300 years old. The brains of children are, of course, quite adept at learning. Have they really just been playing games for 300 years? I realize that there are no adults, and that they probably weren't that mature when this plague started, but no one tried learning how to be an adult in all this time? There wasn't a quiet kid who liked school in the bunch? I wonder how a 300 year old child would really act, because I doubt it would be like this. Oh well, can't fault the episode for not going in that direction.
Wed, Aug 31, 2016, 3:40pm (UTC -5)
I quite liked this episode, but the oldest male "child" looked about 30!
Thu, Jan 19, 2017, 7:29pm (UTC -5)
Just saw the episode for the 2nd time in the last 3 months or so. I liked it more the 2nd time than the 1st time but it's not a particularly strong episode.
The kids are annoying and I'm not sure why they need to band together under the leadership of the oldest male kid.
I liked the Kirk-Miri-Rand subplot and Kirk reasoning with the kids with Miri's help. Rand has played a high-profile role in the first few episodes of Season 1 - she's a good actress though not particularly useful.
Of course, plenty of questions about what 300-year-old kids would actually be like - maybe the virus prevented them from learning and maturing despite still being in kids bodies? It would have been good to get more insight into the grown-ups who created the virus.
Anyhow, 2.5/4 stars for me -- interesting idea, some good parts but kind of a slow episode with not that much happening.
Wed, Mar 29, 2017, 12:30am (UTC -5)
I would venture to guess those complaining about the Miri-crush on Kirk as "disturbing" or "creepy" are a) men (who have no idea what this feeling is, because they conveniently forget when they had this exact same thing when they were young teens with a very good-looking adult woman in their life) and/or b) have never worked with kids of that age before (as a teacher, etc.), because a young girl getting a puppy-love crush on an older man, especially one she looks up to, is entirely believable, real, and occurs every day with human beings. The "disturbing" or "creepy" part would be if the man used that crush to take advantage (romantically, of course, or even with just plain power-abuse, like using her infatuation to con her out of money, etc.), which Kirk patently does NOT do in this episode.

So, I guess, I'd just say to all the witch-hunters: pack your torches and pitchforks and go home, because every interaction between an adult male and a female child is NOT the sick and perverted fantasy created by your own minds that you think it to be.

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