Star Trek: The Original Series

"Operation--Annihilate!"

***

Air date: 4/13/1967
Written by Steven W. Carabatsos
Directed by Herschel Daugherty

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Alien life seizes control of a Federation colony and its inhabitants, leaving the Enterprise as the last defense from a species of parasitic invaders that induces anguish, madness, and even death in its victims. Among the victims: Kirk's own brother, sister-in-law, and nephew. While investigating on the planet, Spock is attacked by one of the creatures, leaving him in agonizing pain—which he is barely able to control with his Vulcan mental disciplines.

The most appealing aspect of "Operation—Annihilate!" is Spock's struggle of mind over matter—nicely conveyed through Nimoy's balance of wincing, writhing, and snapping back into control. Still, the way TOS plays with the galactic doublespeak can be corny, especially when Kirk and Spock talk about the lifeform coming from another galaxy where "our physical laws wouldn't apply." Come again? Just what galaxy are we talking about? Never mind.

As a body-snatching alien plot, the show is certainly entertaining, if not exactly inspired. I question, however, the wisdom of having an officer say, in regard to one of the fake-looking plastic creatures, "Captain, it doesn't even look real!" Perhaps not, but you never show your cards.

Previous episode: The City on the Edge of Forever
Next episode: Amok Time

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11 comments on this review

Stubb
Thu, Apr 14, 2011, 1:29pm (UTC -5)
One question. What happens to Kirk's nephew in "Operation: Annihilate"? Both his parents (Kirk's brother and sister-in-law) are dead. Assuming the kid survived -- which we aren't told -- shouldn't Kirk feel obligated to care for him? Oh well. It Takes A Village, I guess.
kmghorse11
Wed, Aug 10, 2011, 10:54pm (UTC -5)
I'm with Stubb, I'm dying to know what happened to Kirk's nephew in "Operation: Annihilate!". The last we hear about him in the episode is that he still has an alien living in him, is heavily sedated, and would be in tremendous pain if he woke up. Seems like a pretty significant loose end to me...
Penguinphysics
Wed, Apr 25, 2012, 12:51pm (UTC -5)
Although it is by no means canon, Kirk's nephew is given a large part in the episodes from James Cawley's PHASE II episodes.
Strider
Fri, Jun 1, 2012, 1:29am (UTC -5)
I agree with your comment about watching Spock overcome his pain minute by minute. That was great to watch. I did wonder about Peter, too. I also wondered why the heck McCoy and Spock himself, the ship's Science Officer, didn't know enough about scientific method to wait (what, 10 seconds?) for the results of the first experiment before setting the parameters of the second?
Nic
Sun, Aug 25, 2013, 6:22pm (UTC -5)
The "Captain, it doesn't even look real!" line has got to be one of the greatest laugh-out-loud moments of the entire franchise.
William B
Tue, Mar 18, 2014, 2:25pm (UTC -5)
Well, I didn't write that much on TOS season one, but since I finished it as I did for the TNG seasons I'll include my ratings of episode, where they disagree with Jammer's, with the difference between mine and Jammer's in parentheses.

Charlie X: 3 (-0.5)
The Naked Time: 3.5 (+0.5)
What Are Little Girls Made Of: 2.5 (-0.5)
Dagger of the Mind: 3 (-0.5)
The Corbomite Maneuver: 3.5 (+0.5)
The Menagerie: 3.5 (+0.5)
The Conscience of the King: 3 (+0.5)
Balance of Terror: 3.5 (+1)
Arena: 2.5 (+1)
Tomorrow is Yesterday: 3.5 (-0.5)
The Return of the Archons: 2 (-0.5)
Space Seed: 4 (+0.5)
A Taste of Armageddon: 2.5 (-0.5)
This Side of Paradise: 3 (+0.5)
Errand of Mercy: 3.5 (+0.5)
The Alternative Factor: 1 (-1)

This is a really good season.
Stallion
Tue, Mar 18, 2014, 3:29pm (UTC -5)
Season one was a very good season. They came up with great concepts, alien, and characters. McCoy was obviously the break out character. Sulu and Scotty had some good moments. I actually liked Rand. It's a shame her character left. Uhura did had some good moments in season one, but also got the short stick. I feel like a few roles that went to guest stars could had gone to her character. To be fair season two did do a better job of giving the supporting characters more to do.

Top five episodes of season 1

Where No Man Has Gone Before - A good Kirk and Spock episode and they killed it with the pilot.
The Corbomite Manuever - A good crew under pressure episode.
Errand of Mercy - A good introduction for the Kligons and Kor was a great villian.
The City On the Edge of Forever - Classic nuff said.
Operation --Annihilate - A great way to end a great season.
redshirt28
Thu, Apr 3, 2014, 10:28pm (UTC -5)
Recently watched this, last known condition of peter he was in sick bay stabilized. If he had died im sure we would have found out when kirk did, since they found way to kill parasites its safe to assume he survived. As for kirk caring for his nephew, ncc1701c wont be around for some while.

to me this ep was a bit slow, just ok. 2 stars
stallion
Tue, Nov 18, 2014, 11:14am (UTC -5)
A strong season, but I got a little bit ahead of myself with my top five list.

Top five Season.

The Corbomite Manuever.
The City On The Edge of Forever.
Balance of Terror.
The Enemy within
Tomorrow is Yesterday.
Honorable mention goes out to The Naked Time and Shore Leave.
navamske
Sun, May 29, 2016, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
@Stubbs

"One question. What happens to Kirk's nephew in 'Operation: Annihilate'? Both his parents (Kirk's brother and sister-in-law) are dead. Assuming the kid survived -- which we aren't told -- shouldn't Kirk feel obligated to care for him? Oh well. It Takes A Village, I guess."

In at least one of the (non-canon, of course) novels, it is stated that Peter was sent to Earth to live with and be raised by his paternal grandmother, Winona.
CaptainMetron
Sat, Sep 10, 2016, 4:43pm (UTC -5)
In a scene that was shot but not included, Peter is seen on the bridge in an adorable miniature Captain's uniform sitting in the command chair talking to his Uncle Jim. So he definitely survives. If you search the internet you can find still photos from it but I don't believe the footage exists to be seen.

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