Star Trek: The Original Series

"The Enemy Within"

3.5 stars

Air date: 10/6/1966
Written by Richard Matheson
Directed by Leo Penn

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Unbeknownst to the Enterprise crew, a transporter malfunction creates a duplicate of Captain Kirk, which somehow receives all of the real Kirk's darker, "negative" qualities. The story documents Kirk and Spock's attempts to track the faux Kirk through the ship as the impostor runs around causing trouble—particularly in one episode where he has a rather nasty encounter with Yeoman Rand.

"The Enemy Within" epitomizes why TOS could be so much fun. We have mood and attitude injected into the anti-Kirk scenes, thanks to a wonderfully bombastic score by Sol Kaplan. We have William Shatner chewing scenery like there's no tomorrow ("I said give me the brandy!" "I'M CAPTAIN KIRK!" "I want to live!") in delightfully entertaining scenes.

And we have an effective balance of good dialog utilizing Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. Keeping the story grounded in the intelligent is the idea of the real Kirk's slow demise of will and his eventual inability to function as captain because he has been drained of the aggression that his counterpart possesses. It's an effective revisit to Jekyll and Hyde lore, and even though it can be campy at times, it's quite engaging along the way.

Previous episode: The Naked Time
Next episode: Mudd's Women

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54 comments on this review

Fri, Jun 1, 2012, 8:09am (UTC -5)
This is one thing I loved about this show--the men were all masculine. It did seem to struggle with the whole idea of women, but the men were strong, tough, and had that edge of masculine control and aggression--even Spock, who could take command, throw a punch, or take a risk with the best of them. Give me manly men any day!
Sat, May 25, 2013, 8:23am (UTC -5)
So you want to be fisted by manly men? If you say so, sailor. ;)
Nathan G
Sun, Aug 11, 2013, 10:30am (UTC -5)
Sun, Aug 11, 2013, 9:58pm (UTC -5)
Blah blah... Some problem in the atmosphere... Not enough, I dunno, ohms or something.
Mon, Sep 16, 2013, 4:06am (UTC -5)
As a Kirk-fan, this is one of my favorite episodes from the first season. Also, this episode highlights why I have come to love Star Trek - it's at its best when it raises interesting philosophical questions.
Wed, Apr 2, 2014, 8:29am (UTC -5)
One of the best. Like how the "good half" could not function without the "bad half" sometimes we need that.
Mon, Sep 8, 2014, 8:37pm (UTC -5)
I don't like the premise of the episode -- that a transporter malfunction could make a duplicate, one good and one evil.

HOWEVER, once I get past that, it's one of TOS' better efforts for reasons already discussed, especially for something early on in the show's run. (Maybe too early if you ask me).

Overall, a quite a good episode.
Tue, Oct 7, 2014, 10:37pm (UTC -5)
Yeah, the premise is a bit goofy (and the notion that Sulu and the other guys on the surface could survive at such LOW temps, AS IF, even with the best blankets and phasering all those rocks), but this is one of the better TOS episodes, for fun, and for philosophical value.

I laughed SO HARD when "Evil Kirk" was introduced in shadow, with an evil grimace. X-D All the scenes with Evil Kirk are so much fun to watch. This is what Shatnerian acting is made for.

But all the scenes with "Good Kirk" were well done as well. The notion that we "good" people all need our "evil" sides is a little hokey. (What they should really be saying is that we need our animal instincts, our ID, and we also need our prefrontal cortex, our reasoning, cooperation, compassion, our EGO and SUPEREGO - and that neither the ancient parts of our brain nor the more recently evolved parts are good or evil, they just are).

Oh well, it all makes for good drama. Except for the stuffed dog, I just LOL'd at how dumb it looks.
Tue, Oct 7, 2014, 10:38pm (UTC -5)
I should add that I really wanted to slap Spock for being so insensitive to Yeoman Rand. I mean, she was nearly raped by Evil Kirk! But oh the '60s - who needs counselling for attempted rape, right?
Wed, Oct 29, 2014, 2:07am (UTC -5)
Huh, I was underwhelmed by this episode. (My kids and I are going through and watching, in order, all the episodes Jammer has given three or more stars to; many of them I saw years ago in syndication but I don't recall seeing this one.)

Some of it may be just that certain elements are off because they are still working out the kinks: no acknowledgment that there are shuttles; strange, convoluted terminology to talk about the simple act of setting phasers to stun; the fact that Nimoy seems to be taking longer to settle into his character's groove than the other two of the main trio.

But that sort of points to part of the problem: we are only in the fifth episode, yet this is our second consecutive episode involving people being made to act differently from normal and run amok. And in fact, it is the fourth of the first five episodes in which at least one of the main actors deviates from the typical way they would play their character: either because someone or something was causing them to act nutty, or because they were playing an imposter. Shouldn't they have spent longer establishing their characters' normal behavior patterns first?

It was cool to hear that first "he's dead, Jim" though.
Jeff Bedard
Thu, May 14, 2015, 5:24pm (UTC -5)
@Nathan G: the behind the scenes reason for no shuttlecraft is that this early in the series the idea of the Enterprise having shuttlecrafts hadn't been created yet. So for the original audience of this episode it wouldn't have been a concern. But all these years later anyone viewing this episode will have a difficult time letting this in-universe gaffe slide.

I enjoy this episode, especially Spock's explanation of what is happening to Kirk and comparing his own inner battle with his Vulcan and human sides. I do wish the "evil" Kirk could have been more talkative. I understand that he is meant to personify Kirk's anger and rage, but EK still has intelligence and reasoning as well.

A few filming gaffes (some of the EK scenes are clearly reversed from how it was actually filmed) tend to annoy me a bit, but I like how even for 1966 and just a few episodes in TOS was tackling some wonderful philosophical and ethical issues. And William Shatner (for all the acting bashing he gets) does a superb job (in my opinion) of embodying two diametrically opposed versions of himself.
Wed, Mar 2, 2016, 3:41pm (UTC -5)
- I think this is the first aired episode with Spock and McCoy arguing on either side of Kirk. Fun to watch the Trek cliches snap into place. Bonus points for McCoy saying, "He's dead, Jim" about the space dog.
- Shatner's overacting in this episode is delightful.
- A good Star Trek twist on the idea of split personalities. So good they did it with Xander on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

- This always bugs me on Star Trek, but particularly in this episode it seems ridiculous that they can beam people up from a planet but can't track somebody on their own ship. No security cameras in the future, I guess.
- Spock's last line is way out of line and way out of character.
- The pacing drags a little, as per usual. Shows now are much more exacting in how much they reveal to the audience over the episode. I've noticed with this early going in Trek that the audience knows everything all the time, often long before the crew does.

While I like Shatner's hamminess, I could do without his screams.

Three stars of four.
Sun, May 29, 2016, 11:56am (UTC -5)
@Nathan G


The shuttlecrafts weren't available until Tuesday.
Wed, Jun 22, 2016, 9:35pm (UTC -5)
Well, it had to happen eventually. It was only a matter of time before William Shatner went full-ham. And what a hamfest it was. "I'm Captain Kirk!!!" indeed. I like to imagine that nowadays he does that whenever he sees Christopher Pine.

Anyway, I bring that up because, unfortunately, that was probably the worst part of the episode. Yeah, a split personality like that isn't exactly the most original idea in the world, but it had potential. Unfortunately, the dramatic BAD GUY! music every time evil-Kirk shows up, along with the over the top acting, kinda ruined it for me. I would have appreciated a bit more subtlety in his actions and in his interactions with good-Kirk.

For example, the scene in sickbay when evil-Kirk tricks good Kirk into freeing him. Good scene! Evil Kirk was cunning, manipulative, and took advantage of goodKirk's indecisiveness and inability to lead. Likewise, the scene in Engineering where good Kirk discovers he isn't afraid while evilKirk realizes he is paralyzed with fear. So there are some good scenes here. Why did they have to ruin it with the over-the-top portrayal as well?

Likewise, I was surprised that the goodKirk vs evilKirk plot was so thin and finished about half-way through the episode; I seemed to recall the battle in Engineering to be a lot closer to the end than it actually was. So I guess it was a bit weird that there wasn't much focus on action or intrigue, given that they set up the imposter as being a big deal. Instead, it was mostly some philosophizing about the nature of human duality and worrying about Sulu and company freezing to death.

At least those scenes were ok. I mean, I could have done with less Sulu (we know he's in peril, no need to pad it out). But fortunately, while evilKirk was hammy, goodKirk was pretty subdued. I like the lack of ability to command, as if all his testosterone went to evilKirk. He simply looked so drained talking to Sulu, barely able to keep up that task. If the point was to show that a person couldn't function without their base animalistic side, even if said side needed to be properly controlled, then I guess the episode worked. Good Kirk really did seem like half a man, and you could see why he desperately wanted to return to his previous self.

It's a bit of a shame that Spock's character wasn't fully established yet. Spock, of course, completely suppresses his emotions, believing them to be a detriment to functioning in society. Yet here, it is shown that Kirk's base emotions are required to function, even if they must be seriously controlled. It shows that Spock perhaps has the right idea to some extent, but helps to explain why Kirk is the captain and he is not. Of course, with Spock's character not fully fleshed out, this comparison to his own nature, which one think could be an obvious parallel, is ignored.
Wed, Jun 22, 2016, 10:19pm (UTC -5)

I've just started my TOS recap so I'm not here yet, but to your point about evil Kirk's presentation;

1) the show is a product of it's time, the 60's. The days of stereotypical mustashe twirling villains who tied women to train tracks wasn't relatively long ago. It was still an acceptible and legitimate way to portray the Evil characters. Probably in accordance with the Hays Code, which dictated these things.

2) While likely a concept many sci-fi fans had seen before, during the 60's an evil identical duplicate seperated from our main good character was probably completely new to the general TV audience of the 60's. They probably needed that level of handholding to keep the story straight for them.
Wed, Jun 22, 2016, 10:41pm (UTC -5)
Pfft, recap, I meant rewatch. I was also going to mention not quite remembering the episode, instead of implying it, so take my counterpoints with a grain of salt though I think they do stand up.
Peter G.
Thu, Jun 23, 2016, 12:49pm (UTC -5)
@ Skeptical,

I would suggest to you that 'evil Kirk' was portrayed over-the-top because he wasn't mean to be evil, but rather animalistic and wild. Imagine a directive from the producer that you're supposed to basically be a crazed wildcat or some other vicious animal with no ability for self-reflection. How would you portray that? Animal-Kirk can't even be described on the sanity/insanity scale since he literally lacks higher reason and the ability to contemplate. Have you heard the expression "to go apes**t"? That applies here, especially if you're seen videos of territorial and angry apes.

I've seen people IRL or caught on video who were crazed beyond all reason, sometimes about trivial stuff. They still had the capacity to reason but didn't or couldn't; animal-Kirk can't. What seems like 'over-the-top' on TV is probably a product of whitewashed gentile behavior as normally shown on TV, where even 'evil' people are controlled and rational in some sense. But in real life people do go haywire and it can look over-the-top too. Sometimes I observe people IRL and say "wow, that behavior looks so fake" even though it's 100% real. It just means our sense of 'realistic' as defined by TV and film is bogus.

I buy Kirk's behavior in this episode, and although I think it's only middling Star Trek my main problem with it isn't how Shatner portrayed the wildness.
Thu, Jun 23, 2016, 8:35pm (UTC -5)
Nolan and Peter (and spoilers below as a word of warning for Nolan),

The one problem with a counterargument that hammy evil-Kirk is ok is that evil Kirk was not always hammy. The scene in sickbay has evil-Kirk slowly succumbing to good-Kirk's arguments, seemingly agreeing with him while showing fear about the future. But as soon as good-Kirk lets him free he betrays him. He then calmly went through several steps to try to trick the crew into thinking he was good Kirk, like changing his shirt, putting makeup over his scratches, etc. His second attempt to get into Rand's pants was a lot more civilized than the first (even if it was only because they were still in the hallway).

What this means, to me, is that he's not just a base, animalistic, primal side. He does show the ability to plan, to think ahead, and to bide his time. Those are signs of intelligence. It's basically a more subtle villain than the I'M CAPTAIN KIRK we saw 20 minutes ago. So I don't think you can just blame this on 60s-era TV making villains wear black hats (besides, Balance of Terror and IIRC Errand of Mercy will show more subtle villains this season). And I don't think you can claim evil-Kirk has no reasoning capacities given his subterfuge.

I guess if the entire episode was hammy evil-Kirk, I would just sit back and enjoy it for what it is. But the fact that there were signs of him not being so crazy just ended up frustrating me...
Peter G.
Thu, Jun 23, 2016, 9:50pm (UTC -5)
I didn't say animal-Kirk had no ability to reason, Is specifically said he lacked self-reflection. He could reason on a tactical level as well as any animal. Have you seen some of the strategies animals in the wild use to hunt? It's better than what most people could come up with if they sat down and planned it out. It's done by instinct, but on the fly they improvise and implement tactics using the powers of their reason. They are not therefore without intelligence, but merely without the ability to conduct abstract self-examination or to question their choices. Animal-Kirk may have employed various strategies to get what he wanted, but in the end his entire motivation was based on the fear of a trapped animal. In that sense I think we're supposed to eventually see him as pitiable, which is why I refrain from calling him evil-Kirk. He has no moral status because he's not capable of moral judgements. He has just enough wherewithal to see reason in the end - barely.
Mon, Dec 26, 2016, 8:24pm (UTC -5)
Did no one catch the horribly dated social norm, when Yeoman Blonde is nearly raped and swears that she wasn't going to tell on the captain, because she didn't want to get him in trouble? Are we supposed to give her a thumbs-up for her loyalty?
Mon, Jan 16, 2017, 3:38pm (UTC -5)
The most cerebral of the 1st 5 Star Trek TOS episodes - a take on Jekyll/Hyde and an interesting choice to air so early in the series. Shatner does a good job portraying the 2 Kirks. Spock's character is still evolving -- he seemed to show a bit of excitement theorizing what has happened to Kirk to McCoy; also not a fan of his final line to Rand - very out of character. I guess they didn't take attempted rape very seriously in the 60s.
Through 5 episodes, Rand plays nearly the most significant role after the big 3.
Have to assume the Enterprise didn't have shuttlecraft yet.
The most important thing is that it puts forth a concept of what characteristics might go with good vs. evil, a good subject for Trek to weigh in on.
For me, I'd rate it 2.5/4.
Sun, Mar 19, 2017, 10:21pm (UTC -5)
Great episode, but as Lal mentioned, that last line by Spock was completely out of line. Whoever added that should be taken out and shot.
Mon, Mar 27, 2017, 7:09pm (UTC -5)
Brilliant, a very important acknowledgement of the uncomfortable part of ourselves being actually very useful, and I think present day people could learn a lot from this.

I apologise if this is insulting or something but I think the two Kirks can be argued as similar to "the left" and "the right" - the carer/nurturer and the red blooded go getter, and rather than being at each other's throats we need each other. We're living in a time when we're pretty much Kirk vs Kirk right now.
Similar with Spock and the battles he shows between his Human and Vulcan sides.

I feel sorry for Yeoman Rand - constantly the subject of sexual harassment in I think every episode she's appeared in so far!
Mon, May 1, 2017, 8:19pm (UTC -5)
OMG! Tuvix! I’d forgotten about this episode. Through a transporter accident Kirk is divided into Kirk1 (the Good) and Kirk2 (the Evil). When it comes time to merge the entities together again, Kirk2 begs for his life: “I want to live!” he cries again and again. Just like Tuvix! Kinda.
Thu, Jun 1, 2017, 8:11pm (UTC -5)
This is an entertaining episode, but there are some problems with it.

Spock states that thermal heaters were beamed down to Sulu & party, but they were duplicated and inoperable. So, Kirk and a canine-like animal, complex biological organisms, can be duplicated and still function (albeit not perfectly), but a fairly simple piece of equipment cannot function?

Also, Spock says that the real nature of the evil Kirk must be kept hidden from the crew. By the end of the episode, at least 3 people (Spock, McCoy, and Rand) besides Kirk himself, know what happened to Kirk. As the old saying goes, 3 men can keep a secret if 2 of them are dead. And while not 100% certain, it appears Scotty know what happens when refers to beaming up Sulu & Company, when he says "they might be this animal" (referring to the dog like animal, but obviously hesitating to mention Kirk). Also, wouldn't Sulu & the landing party figure this out, after the aforementioned heaters duplicated? Finally, toward the end of the episode, good Kirk says to evil Kirk, "Can half a man survive?" Wouldn't the members of the bridge crew then understand what happened? (Not all the bridge crew would be close enough to hear this, but at least some of them should be.)

However, my main problem with this episode is the same as Grace Lee Whitney's. In a book she wrote, she stated the central premise of this episode, that we need our evil half, is just plain wrong. I totally agree with her. What kind of message does this episode send, especially to impressionable young children. That being evil is just part of being human, and not something we should try to eliminate?
Thu, Jun 1, 2017, 10:12pm (UTC -5)
An enjoyable episode, but highly implausible, that Kirk could be divided into 2 functional beings. I’m inclined to think the episode was going for a yin-yang moment: trying to show that opposite and contrary forces are really complementary, interconnected, and interdependent.

I also wasn’t swayed by Spock’s advice to Kirk (the good) not to reveal the truth to the crew:
Spock: You're the Captain of this ship. You haven't the right to be vulnerable in the eyes of the crew. You can't afford the luxury of being anything less than perfect. If you do, they lose faith, and you lose command.

It may only be the fifth episode of the series, but I’m pretty sure that the crew knows that Kirk is very human, and still an excellent captain.

And I found it funny that Kirk (the evil) is in Kirk’s quarters and finds makeup to cover the scratches. So men of the 23rd century wear makeup. Good to know.
Peter G.
Thu, Jun 1, 2017, 10:44pm (UTC -5)
@ Richard,

"However, my main problem with this episode is the same as Grace Lee Whitney's. In a book she wrote, she stated the central premise of this episode, that we need our evil half, is just plain wrong. I totally agree with her. "

I would suggest that perhaps GLW was mistaken about the theme of the episode. Even granting that the episode states that we are inseparable from our 'evil half' it doesn't follow from this that we need it or that this fact should be embraced. I mean, ok, Kirk literally does embrace his other half, but to be fair it could be seen as him having compassion for himself over recognizing his own weaker parts. Christian teaching, for instance, is that man is inseparable from his sinful qualities, however this is certainly not celebrated in their view, even though it's acknowledged that there's no way to eliminate the worse parts entirely.

That being said, my opinion is that the 'evil' Kirk wasn't meant to be understood as evil at all in a moral sense. They more or less state verbatim in the episode that he represents aggression, instinct, passion, and ultimately Kirk's command ability. He is the primal, action-oriented part of Kirk, which, left uncontrolled, would be a terrible beast, but which is kept in check by Kirk's morality, compassion, and logic. I can see no negative connotation whatsoever to the traits associated with the wild Kirk, other than the fact that if they aren't subject to discipline they would be dangerous. But this is exactly what the utopian setting is supposed to show: that enlightened thinking and culture can use the aggressive and instinctive parts of us to good ends, such as commanding starships and exploring the galaxy. Without those passions and drives the people exploring the galaxy would be little more than placid drones. It's the wild side that probably gives us the need to explore in the first place, and I definitely see this episode as showing that while we may never eliminate the darker parts of ourselves as Dr. Jekyll hoped we could, this fact is redeemed by the knowledge that we shouldn't want to do so anyhow. It would rob us of our energetic spark. Instead we should try to find ways to harness those energies and use them constructively.
Sun, Jun 11, 2017, 9:36pm (UTC -5)

You raise an excellent point, which I had not considered.

Yes, the crew should know that Kirk is not perfect (after all, who is?), and both Kirk and Spock should know this. However, a certain amount of artistic license has to be allowed for these shows to work. Attempting to keep the crew uninformed of the real nature of the "impostor" makes for a more entertaining episode. (Even though, as I stated in my previous post, it don't think his real nature actually could have been kept hidden for very long.)
Sun, Jun 11, 2017, 9:54pm (UTC -5)

You are entitled to your opinion, as I am entitled to mine.

I wouldn't want to live in a world where everyone agreed with me all the time - that would be boring. I definitely enjoy Jammer's reviews, and the related comments. (I suppose this would be an appropriate time to thank Jammer for hosting this web site, which enhances my (and presume others') enjoyment of the Star Trek experience.)

However, I must respectfully disagree with you that GLW did not understand the point this episode was trying to make. The book I am referring to is "The Longest Trek: My Tour of the Galaxy" (which, btw, I have read and highly recommend). The relevant discussion is on page 94 of this book. You can read it and decide for yourself if GLW understood but disagreed with the basic premise of "The Enemy Within". (I thought about reproducing her narrative here, however, that might be a copyright infringement. Also, it is a little long - six paragraphs.)
Tue, Aug 1, 2017, 7:26pm (UTC -5)
Why couldn't they transport some tents and some hot food and some heaters to the planet? The problem was transporting something up not down.
Wed, Aug 2, 2017, 12:47am (UTC -5)
Hello Everyone!


I believe they mentioned something about transporting heaters or something to the surface, but they duplicated and would not work. On the other hand, tents might still work duplicated, or 100 blankets might still work if they were duplicated. Oh, I found the heater lines:

KIRK: Isn't there any way we can help them?
SPOCK: Thermal heaters were transported down. They duplicated. They won't operate.

But I'm fairly certain blankets would work. Heck, they should be able to burn them as well. :)

Perhaps take the warhead out of a photon torpedo, fill it with heaters, and find a way for it to make a soft landing...

Regards... RT
Trek fan
Sun, Sep 17, 2017, 10:22pm (UTC -5)
There's a lot of psychological complexity to this Jekyl/Hyde tale in space, as we see how Kirk requires his dark side -- anyone remember Shatner's "I need my pain!" line from Star Trek V? -- to be whole. Indeed all of us have our dark side and need to work with it if we are to be effective at all; we cannot function with only the light side of our idealized selves. And the director uses a lot of shadows in the lighting scheme -- like several of the first episodes, the ship interiors here are not brightly lit -- in achieving some nice atmosphere fitting to the story.

But let's face it, folks, the genius of this one is the Shatnerian acting -- Shatner punching himself, fighting himself, talking to himself, screaming with mascara pouring down his face. Wow. It's hard to look away; say what you will about Shatner, but the man delivers when called upon to go full Shatner. His take on a man struggling to maintain control with his personality split literally into two persons is a joy to watch, buttressed by the really intelligent dialogue -- kudos to Spock's analysis in sickbay -- typical of classic Trek. Richard Matheson was one of the best Sci Fi/fantasy writers of the 20th century and it shows here.

In "The Naked Time" and "Miri," we learn Kirk suppresses his attraction to Yeoman Rand, who in turn flirts with him (cf. "I tried to get you to look at my legs" from Miri) intentionally herself. But what's interesting about their mutual attraction is that we learn here in "The Enemy Within" that neither Rand nor Kirk actually wish for their personal relationship to go beyond flirting -- Rand rebuffs the dark half of Kirk and the reunited Kirk maintains his professionalism at the end of this show. Altogether, Rand is actually a character of great dignity in Trek from these early TOS episodes to The Motion Picture and The Undiscovered Country, despite being the subject of many unwanted advances. She and Kirk are adults who choose not to act on their mutual attraction for the sake of professionalism; there are no juvenile seduction games here beyond what occurs through the effects of space phenomenon. Honestly, she's not any worse (and sometimes even better) in this regard than Seven of Nine and Jolene Blalock on later Trek shows which often exploit their looks more egregiously through similar gimmicks. And I think many of the "sexism" accusations people level at TOS overlook how pioneering the show was on gender equality compared to everything else on TV in that era. Trek pushed the limits and it seems self-righteous and anachronistic for us to watch it today and cry sexism, overlooking the even more blatant sexism on some later Trek TV series.

There have been times in my life that I failed to appreciate "The Enemy Within," but the more I see it, the more I tend to think it deserves it's place on many lists as top-tier Trek. It's a smart space allegory about what it takes to be psychologically whole and in command of one's own life. I would give it 3 1/2 or 4 stars.
Wed, Sep 20, 2017, 1:37am (UTC -5)
This is it. This is why everyone watches Star Trek. We love to laugh at Kirk and make fun of him, and wanting to be him, and wonder what our own dark and light sides are.

That's why the best of TNG is like reading a fine, dusty old book.
Thu, Oct 5, 2017, 9:04pm (UTC -5)
This incident was never mention in TNG's "Second Chances" ... they seemed to act like this was totally unprecendented. But VOY's "Faces" would seem to be an even closer nod to this story.
Sat, Oct 7, 2017, 1:28am (UTC -5)
Haven't watched this one in a long time, but I still remember its profound message that we all have positive qualities and character defects and that both are necessary in making us who we are.
Just another fan
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 1:36am (UTC -5)
Whatever people want to say about Bill Shatner's acting, he does know how to hold the screen, right from his first appearance in this series.

I did find the scenes with Yeoman Rand unnerving. What would you do if your boss basically attacked you in your bedroom? Even if you were attracted to him, you wouldn't want to be jumped like that. And her recounting of the story afterwards to Spock and Kirk was also troubling, with Kirk just saying over and over that it wasn't him. And she adds she wouldn't have told anyone that he attacked her! Considering the time period when this was written, it does seem to explain the mindset at the time and why we are just now hearing all these reports of women coming forward with incidents that happened 40 years ago. In this episode, no one believed Yeoman Rand until her male colleague confirmed her story. And this was supposed to be on the enlightened, forward-thinking starship. Afterwards, Spock dismisses her as though she had just fallen and scraped her knee. Sigh, some things never change.
Peter Swinkels
Sat, Nov 11, 2017, 1:09pm (UTC -5)
Nice episode. But no shuttles? How cold did it get down there? Can people survive that? Those creatures were quite obviously dogs in a costume. Did some one say one was a stuffed animal? :-)
David Pirtle
Sun, Nov 19, 2017, 2:37pm (UTC -5)
This is one of those episodes that I loved as a boy but has somewhat less appeal to me as a middle-aged viewer. Partly it has to do with Shatner's acting as Negative Kirk. The only scene where he really pulls it off is the final confrontation on the bridge, which almost makes up for the rest. The biggest problem of course is how they handle Rand's character, basically having her repeatedly apologize for being attacked and practically raped, starting with almost immediately after it happened, and culminating in one of the most stomach-churning moments in TOS history, when Spock actually implies that she secretly liked it. 30 years ago I probably would have given this full marks. Now, it still deserves 2 1/2 out of four on the strength of its concept and most of its execution. But I can't say I still think it's one of the best.
Mon, Dec 18, 2017, 6:22am (UTC -5)
Did anyone else notice that the Enterprise symbol patch was missing from Kirk's shirt in the first couple of scenes (the evil Kirk as well)?
Mon, Dec 18, 2017, 6:41am (UTC -5)
Didn't Spock have the same choice to make in "What Are Little Girls Made Of?"
Mon, Jan 8, 2018, 12:09pm (UTC -5)
This is the first time I have ever watched TOS in order from the beginning (and I only ever saw relatively few TOS episodes as a child 40 years ago). I have mainly watched TNG. The strong sexual undertone is really striking - more 'Mad Men' than TNG - as is the militarism. It seems to reflect (what I imagine to have been) the atmosphere of a US military unit in WW2 or Korea.

These episodes tackle much more directly than I remembered the challenge of dealing with sexual attraction and sexual harassment in a mixed sex working environment. This was an emerging problem in the 1960s and of course remains one today. Kudos to the writers for putting the issues front and centre even we cringe today at some of the results.
Tue, Aug 7, 2018, 5:22pm (UTC -5)
Was this the episode where Kirk said, "Alas, my ship, whom I love like a woman, is ... disabled."?
Wed, Nov 21, 2018, 1:09am (UTC -5)
must-watch on my trek screening party playlist (i’m captain kirk! books--argh! monitor--take that! oh sweet sweet shanter bringin it home). who says melodrama has no place in ST? Pfft. my ale-pong buddies disagree heartily. anyway.

always felt that this episode kind of undermines its own essential claim a bit by leaning too heavily to one side of its ying/yang duality-of-the-soul argument. It posits quite clearly, and then reinforces/reiterates/actively demonstrates how poskirk cannot be a successful captain (human) without his ‘negative’ drives, but really fails to drive home the implied reverse with equal success. for all the profundity it seems to be after in posing its SERIOUS PHILOSOPHICAL QUESTION, it never quite manages to sell the (arguably necessary) fact that wildman kirk could not really have run a starship with any more success in the long term than dithering-fence-sitter kirk.

perhaps the implication would be enough if negkirk wasn’t ultimately such a cunning impostor for that end bit, but honestly i rather like that he is. it doesn’t have to destroy the exploration of human duality (though duality as a conception for understanding the human mind produces its own limitations) the episode sets up, but without him losing his cool BEFORE the jig is up via poskirk’s entrance on the bridge, it does somewhat. perhaps seeing negkirk’s ability to control his problem qualities gradually degrade in parallel to poskirk’s ability to command decisively might have balanced the scales here and made a stronger case for their eventual reintegration, the realization of their interdependence dawning on both sides independently if not simultaneously.

another reading might interpret the personality division in the freudian sense of the unconscious. psychoanalysis’ heyday was 50/60s in the US; so regardless of validity there would have been recognition and a basic understanding of the id-ego-superego paradigm common to most viewers. i mean the obvious kirk-spock-mccoy dynamic alone makes it pretty plain that the freudian triad was a familiar framework for personality deconstruction (appraisal of the human mind and all that) to the original audience. poskirk functioning as superego (intelligence/higher reasoning/long-term planning) to negkirk’s id (bodily needs/animal passions & drives/instant gratification) fits rather better with the end of the story we are given--i.e. Poskirk’s taming of the beast within (who just wants to LIVE!) using reason, convincing him, soothing him, comforting him back into the stable, the gentle embrace on the transporter pad, etc.

problem there is that as nicely as the ending aligns with freud’s unconscious, that is NOT what the episode sets up with its patently stated “positive/negative” dichotomy thesis. It asks us to view/decode kirk in specifically binary terms (spock: “appraise the human mind, in human terms, to examine the roles of good/evil in a man” [paraphrasing] etc), and from that stance, even the classic angel-vs-devil-on-the-shoulder personification of the id-ego-superego triangle becomes a stretch in the practical depiction of the conflict as it is presented to us. with kirk’s ego (unified self) totally absent and out of frame, his superego (poskirk) has to do double-duty and function as both in order to resolve the conflict while the id (negkirk) must also act outside the paradigm to get to the bridge in the first place--which to me ultimately creates the same sort of lopsided feel to the action as the failure to balance the intended binary split.

still love seeing any trek that is trying this hard to do SOMETHING with itself other than tread water--no one can ever take away the fact that shatner was ALL IN with this before any other part of trek was yet steady on its feet.
Wed, Nov 21, 2018, 1:12am (UTC -5)
typo--yin/yang #notthatignorant
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 9:29pm (UTC -5)
A transporter accident causes Kirk to split into wimpy nice Kirk and decisive nasty Kirk.

Some good stuff along with some silly stuff. Shatner really hams it up as nasty Kirk. That little sweet dog in the alien costume is very cute and funny, especially when he's being ferocious. Sulu in his thin little uniform, face exposed, saying it's 20, then 40, then 75, then 140 below isn't very believable. Why aren't they sending a shuttle down?

The story is gripping and kept my attention. Spock and McCoy spoon feed us the notion that a man needs all parts of himself, even his animal instincts, to function as he's should. But that's ok.

I like the way Spock compares Kirk's situation to his own half human, half Vulcan experience. Nimoy does a good job.

I could do without the super-duper, extra-cringy Rand stuff, especially at the end when Spock seems to be almost teasing Rand about her near-rape - but it is what it is. I can't get through this rewatch if I can't put that stuff aside.

A good one overall.
Wed, May 1, 2019, 10:56pm (UTC -5)
Great episode with only one minor nitpick,They shouldnt have shown the reason kirk behavior that early in the show,it would be interesting to string the viewers along as long as they can,thinking that kirk really had lost his mind.
Jim Seigler
Sun, Jun 30, 2019, 9:29pm (UTC -5)
Just rewatched this.
Interesting how they called "evil Kirk" an imposter.
He was a part of Kirk, not a fake version.
I recall reading the novelization of all 1st season episodes, and in that, Spock actually noted that "evilKirk" is just as much Captain Kirk as "goodKirk", or that goodKirk was just as much imposter as evilKirk, point being, that neither goodKirk nor evilKirk were the real James Kirk; both had equal claims, and yet while separate, neither was the real artifact.
Anyway, interesting the novelizations.
Mon, Nov 11, 2019, 8:08pm (UTC -5)
@Jim Seigler

I agree completely! Your comment is basically the one I came to make: Neither one of them should be considered an "impostor."
Mon, Feb 3, 2020, 10:36pm (UTC -5)
Re-watched this episode (for the umpteenth time -- but 1st time in a long while) and thought the Spock/McCoy dynamic was atypical here as it related to how they assessed Kirk's situation. Normally it's Spock who comes across as more rational and obviously logical whereas McCoy comes across as emotional, impulsive.

But it really appears to me that Spock's just talking out of his ass when he speculates that the alien dog was killed by the shock of being transported back together because it didn't have the mental strength to know what was happening, but that with Kirk's mental strength he'll be able to handle it. I think it should really be a transporter mechanical thing. [But this is Star Trek of course.]

The part about his human half and Vulcan half being at war inside himself is flawed as they are biologically combined whereas the 2 Kirk's are going to get combined via a transporter. It is at best an analogy, though hardly practical. It really seemed to me here that Spock was wildly speculating -- as he would again do in "Requiem for Methuselah" when he conjectures what killed Rayna. Like how did he surmise that??

Meanwhile, Bones wants to do an autopsy on the alien dog and is suggesting that it's not about mental power or strength that may or may not keep Kirk alive, but that the transporter may just wind up killing him when trying to recombine the 2. That seems far more logical and rational to me - and even so from a sci-fi standpoint.

Of course, Bones doesn't have time to do an autopsy because Sulu & co. are freezing their asses off and so they go with Spock's plan.

But I think Spock's reasoning comes across as wild fancy here even though I don't think this episode was meant to be a reversal of the usual Spock-McCoy dynamic like "All Our Yesterdays" was.

So this episode has its sloppy moments and requires a bit of suspension of disbelief, but it should be considered for how the Spock/McCoy dynamic isn't always Spock rational/logical and McCoy emotional.
Peter G.
Mon, Feb 3, 2020, 10:48pm (UTC -5)
@ Rahul,

I'm gonna disagree with you about Spock and McCoy on this one. Unlike TNG and other shows where it often came down to the facile "science guy vs humanitarian argument" (or Worf's security vs diplomacy disagreements) McCoy usually takes the 'humanity' route via being the champion of human values and compassion. Spock, on the other hand, is a cold rationalist who does not especially value human nature as such (not yet, anyhow) and in fact views it as an impediment. So in this instance, when Kirk is facing a conflict that Spock knows all too well - having a dark human side in conflict with the rational self - this is his wheelhouse and he knows that the darkness of humanity is a problem. Bones on the other hand wouldn't be so ready to agree that humanity is inherently in conflict with itself; he is too much of an optimist for that. He would rather suggest that people may have things to be cured of, like depression or pain, but I doubt he would cynically state that beating the dark side is a lost cause. Spock, on the other hand, would be completely in character to speak harshly of that dark half, knowing it cannot ever really be defeated; otherwise he would presumably have defeated his own human dark half, given his advantages in intellect and reason over humans.

For McCoy to take the "it's a transport problem" seems to me a way of avoiding having to confront the fact that his precious humanity is a flawed and irreparable organism, whereas Spock's zeroing in on humanity itself as the problem - which Kirk needs to overcome with reason - is not only in character but more or less his life's struggle. If I were to complain about something here it would be that this point was barely addressed in the episode since the writers wanted it to be about Kirk; but they did have a missed opportunity to give Spock and important moment and explore it a bit.
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 9:30am (UTC -5)
@ Peter G.,

I think you're missing a couple of things. The main one is that, I believe, *both* Spock and McCoy acknowledge the need for the "dark" or "evil" side of Kirk as it relates to making him the captain that he is. Without it, the "good" or "timid" Kirk is indecisive and weak and unable to take command, which Spock especially jumps on. Your comment doesn't seem to acknowledge that the dark half is given some merit by Spock/Bones.

That Spock is always at war internally but mostly suppresses the human side is besides the point -- like I said, it is an analogy at best with questionable applicability given the type of combination Spock is and what Kirk has been separated into.

The other thing is, I really don't think that McCoy is unprepared to accept humanity's weaknesses -- as a doctor he knows it all too well and I really do think that, from a scientific standpoint, he could well believe that the shock from the transporter recombining 2 beings could simply be fatal. I think it is a good counterpoint to Spock's line of reasoning here where Bones appears to be the more scientifically rigorous one for a change and Spock's arguments are more based on wild faith.
Peter G.
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 10:42am (UTC -5)
@ Rahul,

I'll try to give it a watch tonight if I can to see what comes across to me most on screen.
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 4:10pm (UTC -5)
I think Spock is really just saying only a humanoid brain is capable of sorting out right and wrong, rising above instinct and conflicting emotions instead of drowning in it. I don't think it really takes much of a leap to acknowledge that an animal's brain is less complex than a homosapiens'. I.e. Kirk could almost certainly handle the stress of this incident better than the dog.
Fri, Jul 10, 2020, 6:55am (UTC -5)
Nimoy: Bill, the Transporter Special Effect has split your acting self
Shatner: What do you mean?
Nimoy: There's the classical trained actor doing Shakespeare, Ibsen, and Chekhov. A well-reviewed supporting role in "Judgement at Nuremberg" ...
Nimoy: And then there's the diva, the scene-chewer, a man for whom no line can be under-acted...
Shatner II: I'M CAPTAIN KIRK!!!!!
Shatner: What do I do? Help me.
Nimoy: We need another Transporter Special Effect to put you back together. The series needs both of you: the classically-trained actor and the over-acting diva.
Shatner: What if we just got rid of him?
Nimoy: Bill, you couldn't even land a job as a game show host.

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