While delivering medical supplies to the alien world of Dramia, McCoy is arrested and ordered to stand trial for causing a deadly plague 19 years ago during a previous visit. It turns out the plague occurred right after an inoculation program McCoy initiated for a Saurian virus on Dramia II, and now the Dramens accuse him of willfully causing the plague. Obviously, he didn't willfully cause the plague, but could the inoculations have had some sort of hugely unintended consequence? (In the era of increased vaccine skepticism, this storyline takes on a new subtext.)
"Albatross" is a tried-and-true medical mystery episode, and feels very much like TAS occupying the classic Trek zone. There's nothing here that's groundbreaking or even really compelling, but it has an understated competence to it that's commendable. The justice on this planet is swift, so Kirk must act quickly to open his own independent investigation into the plague to clear McCoy's name. This leads Kirk to "recruit" a Dramen named Demos to help in the investigation.
They go to Dramia II, site of the plague's decimation, and they even find survivors here, who roam the wasteland like zombies. Kirk follows a Dramen back to an ice cave where they meet a man named Kol-Tai, who was off the planet when the plague struck and returned to a ravaged world. (They decided to stay, for some reason, even though there were nearly no survivors and society had collapsed.) McCoy saved Kol-Tai's life when he treated him for the Saurian virus 19 years ago, and he was not adversely affected by the treatment, so he agrees to testify on McCoy's behalf.
The plot takes a turn in the last act as the Enterprise returns to Dramia I with Kol-Tai, only to learn the plague has been unleashed upon the ship. The entire crew begins turning blue and falling ill. Spock, who as a Vulcan is immune to the disease, breaks McCoy out of jail so Bones can find a cure. This is illegal, of course, but necessary to stop widespread death. In a plot turn that one might call "extremely coincidental" the same aurora that passed the planet 19 years ago is nearby again, and is the cause of the outbreak on the Enterprise. This time, Bones is here and can stop it.
"Albatross" also makes room for some character interplay, with Spock needling Bones, adding a little personality to the procedure. I don't have much else to say, except that this is the sort of outing the word "fine" was invented for.
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