Star Trek: The Original Series

"Shore Leave"


Air date: 12/29/1966
Written by Theodore Sturgeon
Directed by Robert Sparr

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Crew members beam down to a beautiful planet, where they slowly realize that their thoughts are magically manifested into reality. After a number of apparent misfortunes, the crew learns the world they're on is a magical alien amusement park, capable of making dreams come true.

"Shore Leave" isn't a wonderful story, but it does have an undeniable sense of fun. Kirk is beat up by his academy-days tormentor, and later gets to return the favor (it's fitting for the captain that his idea of fun is having the chance to "beat the tar out of Finnegan"); Sulu gets to fire off a few rounds with a six-shooter; and Bones gets to chase a white rabbit, then die, and then come back to life. This episode maintains enough balance between adventure, danger, comedy, and silliness that it manages to be a pleasant hour of rather non-cerebral fantasy.

Previous episode: Balance of Terror
Next episode: The Galileo Seven

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13 comments on this review

Fri, Jun 1, 2012, 2:06am (UTC -5)
I always wondered why we never see Finnegan again (do we?). He's a Star Fleet officer somewhere!
Sat, Jun 1, 2013, 9:18am (UTC -5)
@Strider. No we never see Finnegan again on the series. No mention is ever made of him again after this episode. I read in somewhere that the writers had planned on bring the real Finnegan into another episode, but for whatever reason it never happened. It would have made for a fun scene though.
Thu, Dec 26, 2013, 5:35am (UTC -5)
My only problem with this episode was that it took them so long to figure out that what they think will become reality.

Seriously, how could even Spock be so dense?

Wed, Apr 2, 2014, 8:52am (UTC -5)
Understood this was supposed to be a fun ep.
But it wasnt. 1 star to be generous.
Mon, Sep 8, 2014, 11:22pm (UTC -5)
I LOVED "Shore Leave" as a kid. Now, not so much. It's Trek and sci-fi for kids.

But episodes like "Shore Leave" got me hooked on the series. I didn't appreciate something like "City on the Edge of Forever" until later.
Sat, Nov 29, 2014, 7:10am (UTC -5)
So this is a 3/4 for you, eh? Meh, It's a 2/4 for me. A fun episode, but the crew are pretty dense for not getting the connection between their thoughts and what was appearing. It also seemed like as soon as Kirk encountered Ruth or Finnegan, he completely lost all sense. But I suppose that's the machinations of these menageries at work. And the big reveal at the end was okay, but not earth shattering or anything. It's a middling episode for me.

One thing I'll say - I rather envy that chick who caught McCoy's fancy. DeForest Kelley was pretty dang hot! (Nimoy and Shatner are pretty shaggable too, I'd say).
Tue, Mar 3, 2015, 8:58am (UTC -5)
I always wondered about the character of Yeoman Barrows (described above as "the chick who caught McCoy's fancy"). The episode really seemed to invest a lot in creating her character, giving her a personality beyond "miniskirt crewgirl No. 17", and yet we never see her again. And the actress who played her, Emily Banks ... she doesn't show up much in IMDB afterward. Realize this doesn't count for much in Trek's extremely loose canon, but author David George was struck enough by the Barrows character to invent a decades-long relationship, culminating in marriage that is still going strong at the start of TNG, for her and McCoy in "Provenance of Shadows."
Fri, Jul 10, 2015, 11:24am (UTC -5)
Ah, pity the poor brunette at the end. First Spock. Then Sulu.

Of course, she was a plant. So...
Sat, Jul 11, 2015, 11:25am (UTC -5)
The bit where Spock tricks Kirk into ordering himself on shore leave is one of the funniest moments in all of Star Trek period.
Some of Jammer's other reviews pointed out that the TOS cast had a natural chemistry that none of the other series' casts were ever able to duplicate; moments like this definitely support that argument.
Thu, Sep 10, 2015, 5:46am (UTC -5)
3 stars? Really? For what? There was no mystery, no science, no adventure. I was 11 when I first saw this and I had it figured out by the time McCoy saw the rabbit. I spent the rest of the hour wondering how these trained Starfleet officers -- these ADULTS -- could be so clueless.

Earth to Kirk: your old Academy nemesis pops up out of nowhere still 20 years old, then your old girlfriend later. and you still don't get it? Hint, hint: you were JUST thinking about them a moment before they appeared.

In "Mirror, Mirror" you had the entire theory of parallel universes figured out like freakin' Einstein in under a minute. 1 and half stars. I'm done.

The Man
Sun, Jul 3, 2016, 11:36am (UTC -5)
Thank God your done miichael. Anyway great episode.
Tue, Jul 26, 2016, 9:33pm (UTC -5)
I seem to recall hearing that the Yeoman who had eyes for McCoy was due to a hasty rewrite after Yeoman Rand got written out of the show. Originally, there was supposed to be some romantic interactions between Rand and Kirk, and presumably that got rewritten into a combination of this random Yeoman and McCoy as well as Kirk and Random Girl From Past #573.

I have to agree that the repetitive nature of the plot and the fact that the crew were completely clueless does kinda render the whole situation rather absurd. Just how many times does someone need to say "I'm reminded of X..." and then X appears for someone to get the hint? And isn't it convenient that practically everything that appeared after the White Rabbit was a threat to the crew? No one was thinking any sort of happy thoughts? Even in the beginning before everyone was worried about all the threats? Heck, even afterwards no one was thinking to themselves how much better it would be back home or with a book or anything else? Pretty convenient to keep the "action" side of things moving along.

For that matter, wasn't it just a week ago that Martine's fiancee died? Shouldn't she have thought about him? Yeah, I know, this is before continuity was important, but still... Actually, more egregiously, did anyone else notice that Martine died and she was never brought back, unlike McCoy? Or at least she disappeared... I guess they intended to show her getting shot by the plane, but it looked like she just ran into a tree and fell down instead. Maybe the fact that she doesn't show up again is just her being too embarrassed to show herself after being that stupid.

I guess the twist in the end that this is just a holodeck-like experience and that they get to enjoy their shore leave after all was kinda nice, and the mystery at the very beginning was ok, but the middle just dragged on way too long. Arsenal of Freedom had a similar idea in TNG, but because the danger was real there it ended up being a lot better. That's kinda sad, being beaten by a Season 1 TNG episode...
Mon, Sep 12, 2016, 3:36pm (UTC -5)
You seriously thought this episode was better than Balance of Terror, Jammer?

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