Jammer's Review

Star Trek: The Original Series

"The Lights of Zetar"


Air date: 1/31/1969
Written by Jeremy Tarcher and Shari Lewis
Directed by Herb Kenwith

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Lt. Mira Romaine (Jan Shutan), whom Scotty has fallen for, takes an important role when she is somehow connected with the bizarre non-corporeal entities called the Zetarians, who were responsible for deaths on a Federation outpost. Romaine suddenly begins having visions of the future, including one in which Scotty is dead.

While "Lights" is not an incredibly insulting episode, it is surprisingly devoid of substance. Really, there's not much that happens in the story. The lights appear, cause strange visions and take control of Romaine's body, and are destroyed when Kirk puts Romaine in a high-pressure chamber to expel them from her body.

Much of the episode consists of lackluster scenes where the crew attempts to determine the nature of the Zetarians and their hold over Romaine, and a few scenes analyzing Romaine herself as a crew member having trouble adjusting her attitudes to her new assignment. There's simply not much here worthy of mention for good or ill (though the inability for an understanding to be reached between humanity and the Zetarians is perhaps a telling sign of the decline of the series' idealism). Overall, a tolerable but fairly pointless episode.

Previous episode: That Which Survives
Next episode: Requiem for Methuselah

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5 comments on this review

Grumpy - Mon, Jan 7, 2013 - 10:57pm (USA Central)
Y'know what might've given this episode a smidgen of substance? If it had been the Uhura vehicle that fans were promised in 1967. I mean, who cares about a guest character??

For that matter, wouldn't it have been cool to see *Sulu* think his way out of the trap in "The Mark of Gideon"?
Lorene - Wed, Sep 18, 2013 - 8:55am (USA Central)
Excellent insight, Grumpy. Perhaps the reason this series died was the unwillingness to develop any other characters besides the big four.
Stallion - Wed, Apr 23, 2014 - 2:27pm (USA Central)
I was thinking the same thing. A lot of episodes would had be better if they rewritten a whole bunch of roles in season 3 for sulu, chekov, and uhura instead of having an unknown crewmember. That would had made season 3 better. Despite the behind the scene changes im surprise the writting staff didnt suggest instead of having an unknwown crewmember play this part why not make it someone the audience know and care about like sulu, chekov, or uhura.
Grumpy - Wed, Apr 23, 2014 - 5:43pm (USA Central)
According to Memory Alpha (named, of course, for this episode), Shari Lewis -- yes, the ventriloquist -- wrote the story so that she could play the lead. So there was never any contemplation of putting a regular cast member in the role.

Although Trek fanfic had been printed since 1967, this story is, in a way, the first to become canonical. Even has a classic Mary Sue!
Alex - Sat, May 3, 2014 - 2:06pm (USA Central)
The theme of non-corporeal beings invading the bodies of living people is a major Trekkian theme, so it's interesting to compare it to other episodes like this.

On a different note, I found it kind of annoying that they kept referring to Mira as "the girl". Seems unnecessarily patronizing, especially given that the actress who portrays her is closer to 30 than to a more obviously youthful age.

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