Jammer's Review

Star Trek: The Original Series

"Obsession"

***1/2

Air date: 12/15/1967
Written by Art Wallace
Directed by Ralph Senensky

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Kirk becomes convinced that a gaseous cloud that is killing his landing-party crewmen is an intelligent creature—and the same intelligent creature that killed 200 crew members aboard the USS Farragut, on which Kirk served 11 years earlier.

"Obsession" is perfectly titled, showing Kirk at the mercy of his past when he makes the questionable decision of keeping the Enterprise in planetary orbit to search for this creature even while a vital rendezvous with the USS Yorktown has been requested. There's obviously a lot of guilt residing in Kirk's memory of the encounter 11 years ago—which is nicely demonstrated when he levies harsh discipline upon Ensign Garrovick (Stephen Brooks) for hesitating to fire phasers upon seeing the creature. Meanwhile, McCoy and Spock confront the captain for his unexplained decisions in a powerfully executed scene that exemplifies just how well the "big three" work together when the dialog is sharp and performances on target.

The plot is tight, the use of all the characters is effective, and the punchy finale and exciting Sol Kaplan score sends the show out just right. But it's the study of Kirk's feelings of that terrible encounter long ago that sets "Obsession" well above average.

Previous episode: The Deadly Years
Next episode: Wolf in the Fold

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4 comments on this review

NCC-1701-Z - Sun, Apr 1, 2012 - 4:49pm (USA Central)
I consider this to be one of TOS's unsung gems, right up there with "City on the Edge of Forever", "Doomsday Machine" and "Enterprise Incident".

Really, stripping the episode down to a straightforward action premise only made it better. I love TOS-style morality plays, but I also love well-executed action shows too.

What is there to be said? Everything is pitch-perfect. Shatner does an excellent job of portraying an obsessed Kirk, which goes to show how much mileage you can get out of acting if you put genuine passion into it (1st season TNG could have learned from this, although I see they are slowly getting better). The development of Ensign Garrovick (one of the few redshirts to not die within the first 10 minutes--GASP--blasphemy!) was very well done, for a disposable secondary character. Of course, the guy playing him was excellent too at portraying a young, inexperienced person.

And the music. Even though you can hear where it was reused from previous eps, it's still very effective, energetic and powerful. 1st season TNG could learn from this too (I'm currently going through it right now).

And of course, this ep is also awesome because it holds the record for number of redshirts killed in one ep- 2 guards and Rizzo, then one wounded and one dead, then another wounded and another dead when the creature entered the Enterprise. 2 wounded, 5 dead at the end.

And, it gave us the classic McCoy line "What a stupid way to travel! Spilling a man's molecules all over the damned universe!". Heh.

All in all, 4 stars.
Moonie - Sun, Dec 1, 2013 - 8:31am (USA Central)
One of the better season 2 episodes.
Alex - Sat, Dec 21, 2013 - 9:38am (USA Central)
I'm wondering if the antagonist entity in this episode served as inspiration for LOST's smoke monster, especially considering the famous redshirt reference in one of the episodes
Stallion - Thu, May 22, 2014 - 3:47am (USA Central)
I enjoyed this episode. Great use of the cast. I know he was off filming the green beret, but this episode would had been perfect if it was sulu instead of garavick

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