The Enterprise happens upon a disabled vessel and rescues Carter Winston (Ted Knight), a human entrepreneur who has been missing (and presumed dead) for five years. It seems like an impossible miracle, and it might be, because some things are amiss: Winston's medical scans are slightly off, and he immediately informs the woman who was his fiancee (who is a member of the Enterprise crew) that he can no longer marry her.
Winston is, in fact, an imposter from an alien species called the Vendorians, who have the ability to shapeshift into anybody or anything with a similar mass. We learn this when he renders Kirk unconscious in his quarters and then takes his place on the bridge and orders the ship into the Romulan neutral zone. Sulu and Spock question the unorthodox order that's in violation of the treaty, but ultimately follow it.
Later, Winston impersonates McCoy, in an attempt to bury the suspicious medical scans. The plot thickens when the Enterprise encounters the Romulans inside the neutral zone, who intend to exercise their right in the treaty to impound Kirk's ship. The Vendorian is actually a spy who has been recruited by the Romulans to provide intelligence.
"The Survivor" is one of the better-executed examples of a straightforwardly plotted story in TAS so far. While no episode of TAS would probably be complete without an ending that features something crazy or unlikely — in this case, Winston shapeshifing into a deflector shield to protect the ship during the battle with the Romulans — I liked the idea that the Vendorian arrives at empathy for the crew as a result taking on Winston's form for an extended period.
M'Ress, a cat-woman alien voiced by Majel Barrett, makes her first appearance as the communications officer subbing for Uhura — although I'm uncertain why she is in this particular role. (Nichelle Nichols does the voice of most every other woman on the ship, including Winston's fiancee here, so it's not like she was unavailable to provide the voice.) Overall, not too shabby.
Like this site? Support it by buying Jammer a coffee.