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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128 comments on this post

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Strider
Fri, Jun 1, 2012, 8:09am (UTC -6)
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!
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Strider
Sat, May 25, 2013, 8:23am (UTC -6)
So you want to be fisted by manly men? If you say so, sailor. ;)
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Nathan G
Sun, Aug 11, 2013, 10:30am (UTC -6)
WHY THE HECK DID NOBODY THINK ABOUT A SHUTTLE CRAFT?!?!
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Grumpy
Sun, Aug 11, 2013, 9:58pm (UTC -6)
Blah blah... Some problem in the atmosphere... Not enough, I dunno, ohms or something.
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Moonie
Mon, Sep 16, 2013, 4:06am (UTC -6)
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.
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redshirt28
Wed, Apr 2, 2014, 8:29am (UTC -6)
One of the best. Like how the "good half" could not function without the "bad half" sometimes we need that.
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William
Mon, Sep 8, 2014, 8:37pm (UTC -6)
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.
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Lal
Tue, Oct 7, 2014, 10:37pm (UTC -6)
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.
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Lal
Tue, Oct 7, 2014, 10:38pm (UTC -6)
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?
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SlackerInc
Wed, Oct 29, 2014, 2:07am (UTC -6)
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.
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Jeff Bedard
Thu, May 14, 2015, 5:24pm (UTC -6)
@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.
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John
Wed, Mar 2, 2016, 3:41pm (UTC -6)
Good:
- 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.

Bad:
- 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.

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

Overall:
Three stars of four.
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navamske
Sun, May 29, 2016, 11:56am (UTC -6)
@Nathan G

"WHY THE HECK DID NOBODY THINK ABOUT A SHUTTLE CRAFT?!?!"

The shuttlecrafts weren't available until Tuesday.
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Skeptical
Wed, Jun 22, 2016, 9:35pm (UTC -6)
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.
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Nolan
Wed, Jun 22, 2016, 10:19pm (UTC -6)
@Skeptical

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.
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Nolan
Wed, Jun 22, 2016, 10:41pm (UTC -6)
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.
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Peter G.
Thu, Jun 23, 2016, 12:49pm (UTC -6)
@ 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.
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Skeptical
Thu, Jun 23, 2016, 8:35pm (UTC -6)
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...
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Peter G.
Thu, Jun 23, 2016, 9:50pm (UTC -6)
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.
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Kayoss
Mon, Dec 26, 2016, 8:24pm (UTC -6)
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?
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Rahul
Mon, Jan 16, 2017, 3:38pm (UTC -6)
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.
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Rick
Sun, Mar 19, 2017, 10:21pm (UTC -6)
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.
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Cloudane
Mon, Mar 27, 2017, 7:09pm (UTC -6)
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!
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Linda
Mon, May 1, 2017, 8:19pm (UTC -6)
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.
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Richard
Thu, Jun 1, 2017, 8:11pm (UTC -6)
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 duplicated...like 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?
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Linda
Thu, Jun 1, 2017, 10:12pm (UTC -6)
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.
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Peter G.
Thu, Jun 1, 2017, 10:44pm (UTC -6)
@ 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.
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Richard
Sun, Jun 11, 2017, 9:36pm (UTC -6)
@Linda,

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.)
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Richard
Sun, Jun 11, 2017, 9:54pm (UTC -6)
@PeterG,

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.)
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Brian
Tue, Aug 1, 2017, 7:26pm (UTC -6)
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.
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RandomThoughts
Wed, Aug 2, 2017, 12:47am (UTC -6)
Hello Everyone!

@Brian

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
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Trek fan
Sun, Sep 17, 2017, 10:22pm (UTC -6)
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.
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Davidw
Wed, Sep 20, 2017, 1:37am (UTC -6)
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.
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Dave
Thu, Oct 5, 2017, 9:04pm (UTC -6)
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.
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Derek
Sat, Oct 7, 2017, 1:28am (UTC -6)
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.
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Just another fan
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 1:36am (UTC -6)
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.
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Peter Swinkels
Sat, Nov 11, 2017, 1:09pm (UTC -6)
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? :-)
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David Pirtle
Sun, Nov 19, 2017, 2:37pm (UTC -6)
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.
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Tanner
Mon, Dec 18, 2017, 6:22am (UTC -6)
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)?
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Tanner
Mon, Dec 18, 2017, 6:41am (UTC -6)
Didn't Spock have the same choice to make in "What Are Little Girls Made Of?"
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digitaurus
Mon, Jan 8, 2018, 12:09pm (UTC -6)
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.
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Drake
Tue, Aug 7, 2018, 5:22pm (UTC -6)
Was this the episode where Kirk said, "Alas, my ship, whom I love like a woman, is ... disabled."?
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JTIBERIUS
Wed, Nov 21, 2018, 1:09am (UTC -6)
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.
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JTIBERIUS
Wed, Nov 21, 2018, 1:12am (UTC -6)
typo--yin/yang #notthatignorant
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Springy
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 9:29pm (UTC -6)
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.
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hifijohn
Wed, May 1, 2019, 10:56pm (UTC -6)
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.
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Jim Seigler
Sun, Jun 30, 2019, 9:29pm (UTC -6)
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.
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Trish
Mon, Nov 11, 2019, 8:08pm (UTC -6)
@Jim Seigler

I agree completely! Your comment is basically the one I came to make: Neither one of them should be considered an "impostor."
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Rahul
Mon, Feb 3, 2020, 10:36pm (UTC -6)
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.
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Peter G.
Mon, Feb 3, 2020, 10:48pm (UTC -6)
@ 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.
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Rahul
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 9:30am (UTC -6)
@ 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.
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Peter G.
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 10:42am (UTC -6)
@ Rahul,

I'll try to give it a watch tonight if I can to see what comes across to me most on screen.
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Chrome
Tue, Feb 4, 2020, 4:10pm (UTC -6)
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.
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SouthofNorth
Fri, Jul 10, 2020, 6:55am (UTC -6)
Nimoy: Bill, the Transporter Special Effect has split your acting self
Shatner: What do you mean?
Shatner II: GIVE ME THE BRANDY!!!!
Nimoy: There's the classical trained actor doing Shakespeare, Ibsen, and Chekhov. A well-reviewed supporting role in "Judgement at Nuremberg" ...
Shatner II: THERE'S A CREATURE ON THE WING! WE'RE GOING TO CRASH!!!
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 II: ARRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!
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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Mal
Fri, Oct 23, 2020, 12:57am (UTC -6)
The Enemy Within
Star Trek season 1 episode 5

"The impostor had some interesting qualities, wouldn't you say, Yeoman?”

- Spock.

3 Stars (out of 4)

Spock’s last line is shocking.

As my namesake Mal might ask, “define interesting.”

As Wash might respond, “Oh God, Oh God, we’re all going to die?”

https://youtu.be/PBEUQSpRvSI

I’m amazed at how clearly TOS was able - in just 5 episodes - to create a very clear arc for the series that actually takes us forward for decades. As I mentioned in my review of The Man Trap, Spock is emotionally stunted and leans heavily on logic. His failure to even react to news of the death of a crew mate in The Man Trap is an absolute shock to Uhura. It might have been logical. But shocking. On the opposite side, Kirk has to berate Bones in sickbay for being equally unmindful about the cause of death of that crewman - so caught up is Bones in his own infatuation with his ex-girlfriend.

Both Spock’s lack of emotion, and Bones’ excessive emotion are liabilities. And Kirk relies on both of them to give him some balance.

In my review of Where no One has Gone before, I point out that once again Kirk needs Spock to be a heartless bastard. That doesn’t mean that Kirk will follow Spock’s advice (he does not kill Gary Mitchell when Spock tells him to, only later when he has no choice). But it does mean that Kirk finds Spock’s perspective valuable in coming to his own independent conclusion.

And now here with The Enemy Within, we have the natural progression of that Spock/logic versus Bones/feelings dichotomy, with an actual split in Kirk himself.

Kirk’s two sides, passion and calculation, are split in two, and neither can do its job without the other. Kirk is a great captain, yes. But he is great because he can be sympathetic to Spock’s heartless logic and sympathetic to Bones’ emotional excesses. Kirk contains both sides.

There is line from an old poem by Whitman: I am large. I contain multitudes. A Nobel laureate recently put similar thoughts to music: https://youtu.be/pgEP8teNXwY A key line: I fuss with my hair, and I fight blood feuds. I contain multitudes.

@Linda asks about makeup. Well, the man fusses with his hair, and fights blood feuds. He contains multitudes.

I completely respect @Richard’s reading of Whitney’s book. But I find myself with a very different take-away from her book than @Richard does.

In those pages, Whitney is talking about the dark side and the light side, and bringing balance. She says,

“This is also the the concept behind the ‘good side’ and the ‘dark side’ of The Force in Star Wars. The message of ‘The Enemy Within’ is that by managing our passions, character defects, and emotions with reason and logic, we can be whole and well-balanced as human beings. The flesh always wars against the spirit - and when the spiritual aspect of Kirk is stripped away, the raw pulsating flesh reigns supreme in the evil Kirk’s body.”

That strikes me as completely accurate. Remember, even Star Wars was not about defeating the dark side. It was about bringing balance to The Force. Balance.

That’s what makes this 5 episode arc so incredible. With The Man Trap, Bones was literally at the mercy of flesh. In Where no Man has Gone Before, in advising Kirk to kill Gary before it was absolutely necessary, Spock is at the mercy of logic. Kirk brings a great spiritual balance to these two sides of human nature.

"Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most human.” Spock embodied both sides of humanity: logic and passion. Most of the time logic prevailed. Sometimes, like in the incredible scene in The Naked Time, he breaks down crying as passion bursts through. It is only Kirk that is well balanced as between Spock and Bones. That’s why Kirk sits in the Captain’s chair.
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Silly
Sun, Dec 13, 2020, 2:29pm (UTC -6)
The lack of shuttles was because the production just didn’t have them yet, but the shuttle bay was there.

This episode is Shatner shatting up to 11!
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Sen-Sors
Wed, Feb 17, 2021, 12:43am (UTC -6)
I got my girlfriend on a bit of a Star-Trek kick and she called me at midnight all but squealing in glee at the adorable space dog. She called me fifteen minutes later and scolded me for not telling her it ends up dead. She also pointed out that when the space dog is split into two space dogs, they are different breeds. Good eye.
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dave
Wed, Mar 3, 2021, 12:41am (UTC -6)
The end with Spock and Rand is a real view into how men in Hollywood thought back then

1 - women shouldn't report or make anything public because it would be wrong to take down the man's career

2 - women likely are turned on by rape and attempted rape and its ok for their co workers and other managers to rib her about the assault

From everything we have learned the last few years from women's stories, this is actually how Hollywood operated back by with women and the men in power treating them this way.
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Dusty
Mon, Mar 8, 2021, 8:05pm (UTC -6)
Much like Kirk himself, I am conflicted. The premise is interesting and I like how it was resolved, but what to make of everything in between? The other Kirk was corny and over-acted, and the last line (i.e. Spock's little joke to Rand) is so tone-deaf as to be inscrutable.

Does the show not understand how to deal with women, or is it just an issue with Rand's character in particular? Thus far she hasn't served any real purpose except to be lusted over by out-of-control antagonists (first Charlie X and now Kirk himself, or a part of him). Uhura at least has a seat on the bridge and is good at her job.
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Silly
Fri, Jul 16, 2021, 6:04pm (UTC -6)
Some of the issues here are much worse than what came later in Turnabout Intruder. Like the three male officers standing closely around Rand "what do you mean he assaulted you!!?!"

And Spock's very strange comment to Rand at the end that's a very poor joke at best, but really comes across as him either hitting on her or getting some weird titillation out of discussing what the bad side of Kirk did.
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Glom
Wed, Aug 4, 2021, 6:19am (UTC -6)
In addition to the rape stuff already mentioned, there's another aspect that dates this episode: the hand wringing over Kirk relinquishing command. It would be better for everyone for Kirk to do just that until his predicament is resolved. But macho attitudes make this something terrible. It ends up being Kirk putting pride above the wellbeing of the ship.
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Silly
Mon, Aug 23, 2021, 8:29pm (UTC -6)
It would be interesting to see this redone by a modern Trek.

It's 100% believable that the evil Kirk half would attempt rape. I would like to see how this would be handled now. Probably they would never use a main character for this now, because the character would be so badly tarnished.

The best part here for me is the "good" Kirk absolutely overwhelmed by the Spock and McCoy arguments. "Yeah, that sounds reasonable" over and over.

As for Kirk not relinquishing command, possibly machismo, but also possibly he simply couldn't even make that decision by that point.

This is an early episode, and thus an early installment of when can you retrieve the captain? Granted, this is a case so whacky Starfleet would never have thought of it. But split into two halves?

Clearly he should be declared incompetent. But to be fair, the Good Kirk wasn't obviously impaired at first. But really, he has no more claim to the throne than Evil Kirk.
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Silly
Mon, Aug 23, 2021, 8:30pm (UTC -6)
*relieve, not retrieve
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Proud Capitalist Pig
Thu, Sep 2, 2021, 12:08am (UTC -6)
We're all conditioned to hate the Wild Man in our modern 21st century society. We put him in a box, deny he exists, blame what he does on other people, but we'd be damned to admit we need him. And to me that's the central message of "The Enemy Within." The trick to the Wild Man--our unfettered passionate side--isn't to ignore him, but placate him with safe outlets because without him, we suffer as we aren't complete.

The two Kirks here--let's call them "Wild-Kirk" and "Meek-Kirk" because "Good-Kirk" and "Evil-Kirk" belies the point that the show is trying to make--start to crash and burn without each other because we see that a leader can't function without a little reptilian hostility and alertness, and also see that the things missing in a perpetual psychopath, beyond any hope or help, are temperance and compassion--all this brilliantly spelled out by Spock. Meek-Kirk becomes an utterly ineffectual commander without any strength of will, and Wild-Kirk a raging, raping, dangerous threat to his crewmates. Spock essentially states that both the Meek and Wild sides are present in everyone--the danger is imbalance.

I liked the personal stakes here. The build-up to the crew realizing what's happened to their Captain is brief but tense. There's a disturbing, heart-wrenching scene when Janice confronts Meek-Kirk when she believes it was he that assaulted her, and another crew member confirms it (I know I've made fun of Janice before, but this episode did have me feeling for her.) Janice was clearly traumatized, and Meek-Kirk's expression after she left the room was absolutely devastating. William Shatner really sold the captain's anguish--dismay that Janice was attacked, and horror that anyone could believe he'd be capable of such an act.

The episode got repetitive and obvious after a while, but it's the best episode yet of this show. I cracked up when Wild-Kirk was beamed in the first time. That hammy expression of Shatner's, coupled with the ridiculous music, was 60's Gold.


Best line: "You can't afford the luxury of being anything less than perfect." -- Spock to Meek-Kirk

My Grade: B+
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Booming
Thu, Sep 2, 2021, 4:51am (UTC -6)
@Pig
"We're all conditioned to hate the Wild Man in our modern 21st century society. We put him in a box, deny he exists, blame what he does on other people, but we'd be damned to admit we need him."
90% of American action movies are about the hero letting out what you call the "wild man". There is no stereotype in US action movie history that is more celebrated than this one. There is no theme in US culture that is more often prevalent then the fear and fascination of the "lure of the animal" to needlessly quote from seinfeld.
Boxing, MMA, American Football, the glorification of the military. Saying that people are conditioned to hate the "wild man" is the very opposite of actual reality. There is no western country that values the enjoyment of violence higher than the USA. Arguably (and simplistically), the two strongest parts of our animalistic urges are sexuality and violence. In the USA the sexual side is far more frowned upon than the violent side while in Europe it is often the other way around. Not counting Russia, obviously.

Considering that this is an adaptation of the "Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" it is literally about good vs evil or if you want to go beyond moralistic interpretations the struggle of our civilized selves with our animalistic urges. Still the original tale is about Jekyll wanting to suppress his "evil" urges and the point of the story is that completely suppressing them into the subconscious just makes them more powerful not that they are equally important or 50/50.

"all this brilliantly spelled out by Spock. Meek-Kirk becomes an utterly ineffectual commander without any strength of will, and Wild-Kirk a raging, raping, dangerous threat to his crewmates."
In the Stephenson novel it is the violent part, not the sexual one, that is the more problematic part of Hyde (Jekyll is also not completely helpless.)
It is interesting that they changed the most violent act from murder of a man in the original story to attempted rape of a woman and then let Spock say to the sexually assaulted Rand:"the impostor had some very interesting qualities, wouldn't you say, yeoman?" to which Grace Lee Whitney (The actor who played Rand) later wrote:"I can't imagine any more cruel and insensitive comment a man (or Vulcan) could make to a woman who has just been through a sexual assault!"

Making the story effectively about two sides who have both their place misses the point of the original story. With a few disturbing gender issues and the thematic switcheroo of violence and sexuality thrown into the mix.

It's a fun episode but mostly because Kirk is reaching new levels of hamminess. The themes itself are pretty much surface level, though.
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Rahul
Thu, Sep 2, 2021, 8:50am (UTC -6)
@Proud Capitalist Pig

Thought-provoking comments on what I think of as a prototypical TOS episode -- examining an aspect of humanity through the sci-fi lens. Probably a more instructive way of looking at a breakdown of a human being into wild/meek vs. good/evil.

Shatner again gets to show his range of acting, and does so admirably -- another pillar of TOS.

When you said:

"We're all conditioned to hate the Wild Man in our modern 21st century society. We put him in a box, deny he exists, blame what he does on other people, but we'd be damned to admit we need him."

I actually thought of the oil & gas sector and how we will need oil for years to come but the push for green energy + environmentalism etc. are effectively trying to shut it down any way they can.

This can also, obviously, be overlayed as the need for capitalism to actually create jobs, economic growth, improve the standard of living etc. while socialists would try to dismantle/besmirch all the benefits by pointing to some of those left behind (as a facade for more nefarious objectives -- but that's a different subject).

I agree with you as well that this is "60's Gold" -- clearly they don't make TV like this anymore (they don't make TV anymore like 90's Trek either -- but that's also a different subject). But "ridiculous music"?? Come on. I find Sol Kaplan's score here is terrific and bombastic as Jammer rightly says and it would be one of the most frequently employed soundtracks in TOS S1. These kinds of soundtracks are a huge advantage TOS had over any other Treks. It is what contributes to being 60's Gold for sure.
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Proud Capitalist Pig
Fri, Sep 3, 2021, 11:51am (UTC -6)
@Rahul

You said, "This can also, obviously, be overlayed as the need for capitalism to actually create jobs, economic growth, improve the standard of living etc. while socialists would try to dismantle/besmirch all the benefits by pointing to some of those left behind (as a facade for more nefarious objectives -- but that's a different subject)."

Hey, you and I would get along just fine! I originally wrote two more paragraphs in my comment, one of which directly mentioned what you just said. Then I read it over and decided it might not be pertinent/appropriate to start going off on huge political tangents in the commentary under a guy's Star Trek episode review, but what do I know, I'm a newcomer to this board. Thanks for your thoughts!
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Rahul
Fri, Sep 3, 2021, 4:37pm (UTC -6)
@Proud Capitalist Pig

Welcome to the board! I think you'll find all kinds of tangents, whether political or otherwise, on various episodes and often it can be unrelated to Trek, strictly speaking. Stuff just happens -- I think it's mostly all good except for the occasional comments that aren't made in good faith. I don't think I've ever had doubts about posting anything. Some of the analogies from Trek to real-world situations that some folks come up with can be quite intriguing.

Regarding my quote, I didn't think I was saying anything that most folks don't already realize once they think about things a little bit objectively. But you made me see another angle to this episode that I've seen umpteen times -- and I appreciate that! And that's why I like checking out this forum.
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ProudSocialistUrangutan
Sat, Sep 4, 2021, 9:40am (UTC -6)
Capitalism "creates jobs" in the same way feudalism creates jobs. It violently - often genocidally or via forced expulsion - forces people from common land, into market relations, and imposes artificial poverty and scarcity.

And capitalism's "economic growth" has always been a red herring. All major studies show that rates of return on capital outpace growth, and have done so for centuries; ie a tiny minority of humanity - those with an artificial monopoly on credit, credit creation, or land - receive this growth. This is why 80 percent of humanity lives in poverty, why over 2 thirds of humanity lives on less than 10 dollars a day, why most of this 2 thirds live on less than 1 dollar 25, why four out of every five dollars of wealth generated in 2017 ended up in the pockets of the richest one percent while the poorest half of humanity got nothing, and why 82 percent of the wealth generated in 2018 went to the richest 1 percent of the global population.

So this "growth" is captured by a minority, and most work is stolen, needless and utterly wasted, as it goes into paying artificially imposed interests embedded in every dollar in circulation and so hidden in every purchase or payment; a kind of covert, invisible rentier economy existing embedded within money itself, and below the surface rentier economy (for example the prices of everything we buy is inflated by about 45% - a kind of stealth tax on disposable income toward costs for capital - while about half of our taxes are lost to interest [we would pay 50% less tax were there no cost for capital], the end result being that roughly 50-75% of your average human's gross income is lost to interests caused by the banking sector's artificial monopolies on credit creation, banks being the original "alpha capitalists", whose chief commodity is the money we use to mediate all sub transactions).

And as recent studies by economists like Tim Jackson, or papers (http://wer.worldeconomicsassociation.org/files/WEA-WER-4-Woodward.pdf) by the World Economic Review says, $111 of growth is required for every $1 reduction in poverty. On current trends, it would thus take over 200 years to ensure that everyone receives as little as $5 a day. By this point, average per capita income will have reached a rediculous $1million a year, and the economy will be 175 times bigger than it is today. This is itself undesirable if not impossible (environmental collapse is engendered by these escalating production and so heat rates- capitalism historically requires a 2.9 exponential increase in energy consumption - and so heat release - per annum).

So the idea that this growth "improves the stands of living" is a lie. The system artificially creates poverty, requires 80 percent of humanity to be an underclass, requires impossible and ecocidal growth rates to maintain its debt ponzi, and keeps this global majority in poverty for centuries.

The idea that capitalism can magically "create value" is itself a kind of anti scientific lie, as it rubs up against the limitations imposed by thermodynamic laws. The total order of a thing is always less than the energy needed to create it, and a commoditys creation always engenders greater chaos/entropy. The amount of money in circulation is itself always less than the debts owed within the system at any point in time (money is in a sense an avatar of energy and follows entropic laws- see ecological economists like Herman Daly). No amount of growth will escape this contradiction. Debts will always outpace growth. Profits at X will always create poverty/indebtedness at Y. And the difference will always be placed upon the poor, future generations, or the biosphere (indeed, UN reports show that no major sector is profitable once environmental externalities/costs are tabulated).

Beyond all this, you have the various old contradictions of capitalism to content with. For example, as workers are inherently paid less than the aggregate worth of the goods they produce, the system will always tend toward unemployment, bankruptcy, and crises of overproduction and underconsumption. Like a game of musical chairs, this guarantees things like recessions, business cycles, structural unemployment, and an underclass existing, against their will.

The Invisible Hands of the market will one day be regarded like we regard Thor, Zeus and the Abrahamic Gods; a shared delusion, anti-scientific, and a kowtowing to psychotics.
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Ghoul Dukat
Tue, Sep 28, 2021, 8:31pm (UTC -6)
How it deals with the attempted Janice Rand Rape is so appalling it turns my stomach inside out. Without that this could have been one of the best TOS episodes, but the way it is it's one of the most shameful episodes in the franchise's history, right up there with Code of Honor.

Zero stars.
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Trish
Tue, Sep 28, 2021, 11:03pm (UTC -6)
@Ghoul Dukat

I agree. The snide implication at the end by Spock that Rand found the bad-Kirk's behavior was somehow "interesting" smacks of "women really want to be raped." I'm not willing to give the writers a pass just because it was in the 1960s.

I have had discussions on these boards before about similar issues with regard to some other episodes, and I have been disturbed when some commenters don't seem to "get it."
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Booming
Wed, Sep 29, 2021, 12:57am (UTC -6)
Why men often defend this. Here are a few explanations.
- self selection. For men who for some reason want to control women in an illegal way, sex is often the most important part but these men also want to see themeselves as good people. Therefore what is wrong cannot actually be wrong. These men rather think:"I'm not a little rapey, no. I just give women what they want." So the need to paint their own desires as morally fine gives these men a strong incentive to participate in these debates.
- self selection2: This topic is uncomfortable for many men. Rape is a crime almost always comitted by men and knowing that one is part of a group that does these horrible crimes lets the non rapey men shy away from these debates.
- self selection3: men who have legally acceptable bdsm fantasies and are insecure or maybe ashamed and fear that their desires could be misrepresented, or have to reassure themeselves that everything is allright. Here it might be about the "I'm not a creep." Factor
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Jason R.
Wed, Sep 29, 2021, 4:58am (UTC -6)
Lotta femsplainin goin' on here ha. Please tell us more what men really feel.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Sep 29, 2021, 11:24am (UTC -6)
I most certainly ain't going to defend the atrocious way this episode deals with rape (which is made even worse by the real world background between Gene Roddenberry and Grace Whitney).

That being said, Booming's "most men are creeps" speech isn't something I'd defend either. Should I write a 200-word rant full of psychobabble about why "women often" do this?

Yech.
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William B
Wed, Sep 29, 2021, 11:29am (UTC -6)
I don't think that was Booming's point. Irrespective of the accuracy of Booming's theories, the claim "Most rapists are men" is not the same as "most men are rapists," and points 2-3 are about reasons why many men who are not creeps may feel uncomfortable with the subject.
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Peter G.
Wed, Sep 29, 2021, 12:05pm (UTC -6)
@ William B,

Those two clauses were under the general heading "why men often defend this", not why they may feel uncomfortable about the subject. I think it's reasonable for anyone to be uncomfortable about the subject. But the reasoning that most rapists are men therefore men will feel especially put upon by the topic doesn't track if you use analogous reasoning in other domains. For example: most brutal dictators are men, and yet I've never noticed that men therefore have a hesitancy to discuss the subject. Likewise, most serial killers are men, and yet likewise men don't shy away, and in fact may be even more prone than women to be interested in the topic. I think at least one reason why men might be particularly uncomfortable with the topic is staring us right in the face, in Booming's heading: because they are implicitly (sometimes even directly) told they are complicit. So that is what makes it different from dictators and serial killers; no one implies that all men are responsible in some way for either of those.

There are undoubtedly other reasons too, such as the simple fact that men don't have to worry about being raped in the same way women are, and as a result don't *have to* discuss the issue. So it's not something that can be boiled down to a short post.

I will point out - although I don't know if it applies to this episode - that there are often compounding reasons for what in hindsight looks like a blatantly offensive line. I'd really have to watch this one again to verify my memory, but often when I hear talk about some older media portraying something that would now be seen as offensive, there is often a more complex context in play that is usually discarded in the monomaniacal urge to morally judge those who came before us. A good example is the oft-mentioned "sexist" skirt uniform for women on TOS. Arguments on this one have ranged from "it was sexist!" to "no it was empowering and feminist!" Now the line to Rand in this one is probably not going to have an analogous divide (no matter which way you dice it, it's not an empowering remark), but...well again I hesitate to suggest anything else without seeing it again.
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William B
Wed, Sep 29, 2021, 12:31pm (UTC -6)
@Peter,

I guess my main point was that I don't actually think Booming was saying most men are creeps. I guess saying "why men often defend" the Rand thing might imply that. But I think it's obvious that the majority of men on the planet don't get involved in this episode (or care about it) so it seems to me that the meaning is more that men disproportionately defend the Rand thing over women, which itself may be untrue but is not that extreme a claim. Again I am not even commenting on whether Booming's theories are accurate, but I think it's worth being clear about what the arguments actually are.

As to your other points, I agree that people respond to rape differently than serial killers and so it is worth speculating on why people react differently. I have some theories. You are perhaps correct that people maybe are made to feel complicit in rape for various reasons.

As to the episode, I think the most galling thing is Spock's line where he says that Evil Kirk has some interesting attributes, and the accompanying implication that Spock thinks Rand wanted to be assaulted on some level. Evil Kirk being evil is part of the episode's sci fi element, and while the episode could have avoided it, it's not condoning Kirk's attack.

I think the idea behind Spock's line *may* have been, in fact, partly to show that Spock is a jerk. If Spock regards human emotions like a bunch of lab rats', it might interest him more how Rand copes with her (definitely present, see Miri) attraction to Kirk when Kirk attacks her than how much pain she is experiencing, basically like Weyoun excited to watch how Worf and Ezri behave under confinement, a sociopathic disregard for humans as anything but animals to be prodded. This interpretation of Vulcan logic as near sociopathic is something the show flirts with (and you've mentioned as a possibility) but is not the direction they largely went with Spock, and doesn't even sit right with his other scenes in this very episode.
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William B
Wed, Sep 29, 2021, 12:49pm (UTC -6)
Iirc, I think the episode depicts Rand as basically terrified of Kirk, and scratches evil Kirk in self defense, but then still wanting to cover it up and lie for him to maintain his honour (or something). The thing is, I actually think it's kind of frighteningly realistic for how some people in subordinate positions behave, especially back in the 60s, and feel they should behave, when a trusted mentor mistreats (assaults) them. It's not that Rand likes it: she's clearly terrified.

It might be that she feels it's her responsibility to protect Kirk from his own evil acts. Or maybe she believes that if she genuinely tried to bring Kirk's acts to light that he would retaliate, from a position of much greater power (destroy her career eg).

It's chilling that this is how things would still be in the 23rd century, and further that the episode doesn't explore this further.
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Peter G.
Wed, Sep 29, 2021, 12:50pm (UTC -6)
@ William B,

I also had the thought that maybe the line was saying something about Spock, but that's one of the things I can't remember clearly enough to say. But right out of the gate I *can* say that I think one of the things perennially making the episode hard to discuss is the supposition that it's about an evil/good Kirk divide. Not to throw you under the bus since you may have just been typing quickly, but the episode does go out of its way to show that 'evil' Kirk is actually just the part of Kirk will all forward, aggressive, sexual, and highly energized components. His ability to command, make decisions, have sexual appeal and drives, and fight for Federation values, are all situated in thumos-Kirk, to use the Greek word for 'heat', or passion. The other Kirk, sophos-Kirk (wisdom Kirk) , has contemplative understanding, empathy, and other important moderating traits, but is utterly ineffectual.

I mention all of this because to the extent that Rand may be attracted to Kirk, and to the extent that is may involve animal magnetism and the man-woman element (as opposed to admiration for his good judgement, we don't really know), much or even most of what she is after in Kirk is likely situated in thumos-Kirk. So it is at least conceivable that Spock is remarking on how the object of her desire was condensed into a super-charged package, and turned out to be way more than she was bargaining for. What exactly this would be trying to imply beyond "well you wanted the lusty Kirk and you got him in spades" I'm not sure.
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Jason R.
Wed, Sep 29, 2021, 12:51pm (UTC -6)
To be honest, I'm uncertain where Booming's comment even comes from - I scanned through the comments and didn't note anyone specifically "defending" Spock's comment.

So while I take issue with her comment (which is little more than an appeal to motive / ad hominem fallacy of argument), totally aside from anything, I don't even get why she brought it up in the context of *this thread*.

Like Peter, I too would need to rewatch the episode to get a better sense of the context of Spock's comment. I certainly understand how it could be considered sexist and I am not saying it isn't BUT (at the risk of being considered a rape apologist by Booming et al.) I will only note that the subtext being read into the comment is implied, not stated overtly. In universe, Spock may simply be stating a fact, which isn't exactly out of character for him, since he repeatedly uses words like "interesting" and "fascinating" throughout the series to describe any number of situations ranging from bizarre to ghastly and nobody ever presumed this amounted to Spock endorsing or approving of what he was describing.
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William B
Wed, Sep 29, 2021, 1:13pm (UTC -6)
@Jason,

Well, I replied to Omicron and not you because sure, maybe Booming's claims are off base, I just don't think that they were that most men are creeps. I am still on phone so I won't do a survey as to whether anyone was defending anything above in the thread.

@Peter,

I mean, yeah sure. I was typing quickly (and on my phone). What I mean is that the episode isn't condoning the animal Kirk's behaviour or saying people should sexually assault underlings.

So here's how I read the tone of Spock's comment and the way Nimoy played it: it's goading Rand to admit that there was something she liked in the animal Kirk, specifically in the context of her being assaulted, and specifically that Spock wants her to admit she partly liked being assaulted. Breaking down why this is what Spock means in that scene as opposed to a more generic "isn't it fascinating that the transporter is a magic story engine" thing is pretty involved, but I think it reads really clear to me that this is the general intent of that moment and what was motivating Spock. Indeed we know that Rand wanted Kirk to notice her legs (from Miri). So Spock is correct that Rand desires some sexual attention from Kirk, but bringing this up in this way is wildly inappropriate to say to someone who has just been terrorized and had to scratch her attacker in order to escape, and who behaves as if she was terrified. Unless, of course, Spock has no interest in being nice or even respectful and is only interested in gaining more data, which I think might be the implication.

The broader issue is that the episode is playing a dangerous game in playing with the idea that Rand wants Kirk to display some sexual interest in her, and tie this to his assault of her. It's not that complicated situations should be off limits, because there are lots of times where someone is assaulted by someone they are attracted to and feelings are complicated. But I don't think Rand's POV is given sufficient breathing space.

It may in fact be that I am misreading Spock's line. You never know.
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Booming
Wed, Sep 29, 2021, 1:18pm (UTC -6)
Disclaimer: I meant "many men who participate in these debates"I do not mean most men are creeps or rapists. I was reacting to Trish's question.
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Booming
Wed, Sep 29, 2021, 1:22pm (UTC -6)
Ps: Trish's comment, not question. I havent read through the fallout, yet.
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Jason R.
Wed, Sep 29, 2021, 1:27pm (UTC -6)
William that's a plausible read. You could also read it as something along the lines of "be careful what you wish for". This has shades of the Space Seed discussion. Maybe something along the lines of the idea of the barbaric / animalistic being more appealing than its reality.
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William B
Wed, Sep 29, 2021, 1:36pm (UTC -6)
Jason, sure. That's Peter's suggested possible read too. I guess the problem with that is that it would require Rand to not only signal her interest but be wishing hard enough to "learn a lesson" (???), if that makes sense. Which might be the intent but feels really weird to me.
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Booming
Wed, Sep 29, 2021, 1:42pm (UTC -6)
pps: I also do not mean most or the majority of men who participate are creeps or rapists. Just a significant part which is linked to the comment Trish made. I only gave the explanations to point out that the "creeps"are basically a loud minority. To maybe lift her spirits a little.

Thanks William :)
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Peter G.
Wed, Sep 29, 2021, 1:42pm (UTC -6)
@ Jason R.,

Yeah, the Space Seed angle is potentially there but I wanted to withhold judgement until I watched it again. TOS S1 does seem to have a general trend of commenting on older version of manliness or masculinity, and portraying them in light of a future advanced society that can moderate between the good and the bad of what is otherwise an unchangeable human reality. Where No Man Has Gone Before looks at a disjunction between leadership and power, and an utterly powerful but indifferent man is a threat rather than a natural commander. Charlie X is all about (male) urges and how these must be tempered with civilization and rules. The Man Trap...well, need I say more? The Enemy Within is likewise an examination of the different parts of what makes a heroic type figure what he is, and it involves both good and bad things *if you take them apart in isolation*. But even the bad parts become necessary and even good when united in harmonious function. Miri also touches on the male/female thing and how puberty can mark the onset of harmful social realities (in this case, death, but that's a sci fi element). The Menagerie touches quite a lot upon what makes Captain Pike tick, and especially in regard to his relationship with women. Balance of Terror even takes apart the paradigm of the great commander and shows the chips in that suit of armor. The Squire of Gothos IMO also contains elements of an immature and over-powerful individual who is not contained by the civilizing element. And lastly comes Space Seed.

So between these many episodes, it's not surprising to suppose that the writing team had an eye toward pointing out that what we admire in especially great people may actually involve elements drawn together - both dark and light - that are held together by a civilizing element, and that if you decompile them or take away the civilizing, you can end up with someone just as 'great' but deplorable rather than admirable. So it is certainly *consistent* that they would have Spock point that out here. Whether in fact that's what they had in mind...I don't know. But the rapey part may be hard to disentangle from the part where we do have to admit that much of what we find exciting in a great person may in fact be elements that - in isolation - are quite scary. Like, take a great athlete, which when contained within the rigid confines of a game, makes for an admirable human figure; but those same athletic qualities may have have also made for an excellent warrior, or killer, or even criminal, depending on what context the person is brought up in. The attribute may be 'hyper aggressive precision', which looks amazing when it's harnessed, but can be terrifying when unleashed in barbaric contexts.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Sep 29, 2021, 2:51pm (UTC -6)
@William

"The claim 'Most rapists are men' is not the same as 'most men are rapists' "

Exactly.

And it is this difference which makes Booming's comment problematic.

The idea that men "often" rationalize the trivialization of rape because "most rapists are men" is simply ridiculous. No, we do not "often" do that.

As for defending Spock's comment at the end:

The only possible in-universe "defense" is that the guy is an alien who (a) has the habit of saying the most insensitive things at worst possible time, and (b) comes from a world where "pon farr" and fights to the death are the norm of how to appropriately mate.
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William B
Wed, Sep 29, 2021, 7:03pm (UTC -6)
@Booming, you're welcome.

@Omicron, I do understand why you read what Booming wrote that way, but I don't think that was the intent. Arguably Booming still exaggerates the extent to which men defend the Rand stuff in the episode, so I see the problem, but I think the point is that even if dudes defend the Rand stuff in the episode it doesn't mean they mean anything that harmful deep down in many cases.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Sep 29, 2021, 7:51pm (UTC -6)
@William
"...but I think the point is that even if dudes defend the Rand stuff in the episode it doesn't mean they mean anything that harmful deep down in many cases."

I agree. Does this fact do Booming's original comment any favors? I don't think so...
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William B
Wed, Sep 29, 2021, 8:15pm (UTC -6)
@Omicron, yes it does IMO because that was Booming's point, that points 2-3 were reasons non-creeps might defend the Rand stuff, in response to Trish, as Booming said in her most recent comment.
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Peter G.
Wed, Sep 29, 2021, 8:57pm (UTC -6)
I don't want to watch entire TOS episodes again right now because I have a sort of agenda to try to get my wife to watch them with me and don't want to spoil it for myself, so I just watched the last two scenes hoping it would help clarify Spock's remark. I must say that line is so mired in strange circumstances it's hard to make head or tail of it, except to say that he does sort of look creepy when he says it. But here are a few thoughts:

1) Kirk continues to call his dark/spirited half as "the imposter" rather than explain to everyone what happened. Maybe to an extent this is a command necessity, since he simply cannot have people going around with the idea that every bad part of that Kirk is actually in him, walking around leading them. They would have to be pretty damn understanding to get over that.

2) Rand approaches Kirk, in a mini-scene so loaded with nuance that it's hard to precisely extract all of it clearly. She seems to be saying she doesn't blame him, while also saying she still admires him, while also saying she still sees him how she always did despite what that Kirk told her. He still means something to her, in other words. And his quick cutoff and acknowledgement seems to say a few things at once too, including he's happy to hear that, but also won't let her finish because he wants to keep some distance between them (maybe for her own good?), and also implying that he on the one hand enjoys her admiration but on the other hand cannot succumb to it and must place his duty and ship first. But he, too, seems to be saying that he is happy to put this affair behind them. The whole exchange is like 5 seconds, but a lot of said, and perhaps agreed upon.

3) Spock's line can't be taken out of context of the above factors: that she is in on what is now a secret, that the imposter was in fact really Kirk; that she just shared a heartfelt moment with Kirk, in whom is contained that Kirk who tried to rape her; and also that Spock has been an onlooker at this torrential display of emotion and chaos.

I do think Rand's moment with Kirk carried with it a recognition (unless I'm forgetting the contents of an earlier scene) that the man who attacked her is in a manner of speaking standing before her right now, and that she understands what it means and accepts it knowing that it was always a part of him, whom she admired. And so for Spock to say the 'imposter' had interesting qualities can't be divorced from the fact that she does in fact still find Kirk appealing and therefore does still find those qualities attractive, even though in their naked form separated from the enlightened parts they were horrible. Or at least, I'm assuming Rand understands this; or perhaps that Spock assumes she understands this.

So that leaves us asking what he actually meant, given all this context. Was this a dig at an emotional human who saw the ugly reality and still wants it (packaged appropriately inside a good man)? Or is he just poking fun at their little secret that 'the imposter' is standing right in front of them, sharing the joke with her as it were in perhaps gallows humor? And I will note that he smiled a bit when he said it, which in addition to being creepy, does seem to suggest there is some attempt at (probably ironic) humor involved. Or maybe he's just being a jerk. I don't really know which it is, the line is really vague in its implication.

Obviously none of this can escape the broader context that she was just terrorized, even though the more immediate context has a bunch of other implications as mentioned above. Maybe the writers meant one thing, and Nimoy decided to play the line sardonically for some reason, muddying its intended meaning.

It also occurs to me now that one thing which is being taken for granted by us may not have been taken for granted by them, which is the notion that a woman who was just sexually assaulted and attacked is now probably traumatized or in need a delicate care. I'm not making any statement of my own about it as I'm sure cases vary, but it's entirely possible they opted to portray Rand as being shaken but not traumatized, perhaps on account of her being a Starfleet officer who has a thicker skin than a damsel in distress might. As such, maybe Spock's comment was meant to rile her a little in the same way he and Bones rile each other all the time (sometimes in ways that cut deep). That same ribbing becomes brutal if instead you see her as a rape victim in need of careful treatment. But if she's not a rape victim, if you will, but just another officer who's been through an ordeal (and frankly not as grueling an ordeal as poor Sulu went through), then ending with a friendly taunt is actually in keeping with TOS' habit of trying to make light of a dark scenario with a little levity. This particular one strikes us harshly now because of our current sensibility about bad treatment of women.

Anyhow, that's what I could come up with for now. It's not a defense, per se, but then again I don't feel like a piece of media needs defending in the same way a person accused would. To me it's more than it needs explaining; what was it trying to say, what came across, and obviously how does it hit us now. We can explore these things without defending it, or attacking it. If a new script was written with that same line NOW then it would require a defense, though. Or similarly if you decided to refilm that same scene now for some reason with the lines unchanged. Defending your choice would be required.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Sep 29, 2021, 9:30pm (UTC -6)
@William

You mean you don't find reasons #2 and #3 that Booming listed as creepy?

Because I do. Trivializing rape just because most rapists share your gender? Or because you are "insecure"? I'm sorry but these are terrible reasons.

And this isn't the first time that Booming is using psychobabble to "explain" the opinions of other people, either. I'm reminded of the time she wrote that the people here attack communism because "owning things makes them feel important" (a statement which made even less sense in the original context it was made. Feel free to look that discussion up).
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William B
Wed, Sep 29, 2021, 10:08pm (UTC -6)
@Omicron,

"You mean you don't find reasons #2 and #3 that Booming listed as creepy?

Because I do. Trivializing rape just because most rapists share your gender? Or because you are "insecure"? I'm sorry but these are terrible reasons."

OK, first off, as I say, I don't think that Booming was ever saying that the majority of men defend this episode. I think "often" is reading Trish as saying men often defend tropes like the Rand thing in this episode, and give some relatively anodyne reasons why.

As I said, "...but I think the point is that even if dudes defend the Rand stuff in the episode it doesn't mean they mean anything that harmful deep down in many cases." You said you agree. So that is what I'm talking about. The "it" people are defending is not *rape* but *problematic writing surrounding rape*. It's several steps removed. I think Spock's line is garbage and I think the episode doesn't do a good job with it. So I think what Booming was talking about is not "trivializing rape" but "trivializing problematic writing surrounding rape" which is getting further and further removed.

So no, if someone has some hangups about rape because rape is a gendered crime or because they don't know how deal with their BDSM leanings and that makes them disproportionately *defend bad storytelling around rape*, then I don't think that's creepy. It's a bad reason, but I think people bring baggage to how they talk about, and defend, storytelling and I would generally not call someone creepy for that reason.

I still don't claim that I find Booming's theories convincing. These hypothetical guys (or creeps) might not exist.

I get that you don't like Booming or her posts. Many people don't. I just think that her aim was different than the one you identified and was always very far from that "most men are creeps."
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William B
Wed, Sep 29, 2021, 10:15pm (UTC -6)
Some quick corrections to what I just wrote (having read it over),

* "OK, first off" paragraph should be: I think "often defend this" is reading Trish as saying men often defend tropes like the Rand thing in this episode, as a lead-in to giving some relatively anodyne reasons why someone might defend problematic tropes.

* "I think Spock's line is garbage and I think the episode doesn't do a good job with it." was meant to lead into "but I don't think it's trivializing rape to think otherwise."

Hope this helps.

I'll stop white knighting Booming, anyway. I guess I figured I should clarify my position since I started talking about it.
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Booming
Thu, Sep 30, 2021, 1:40am (UTC -6)
ok guys. This is an episode written by men at a time when rape and even more so sexual assault was rarely reported. 81% of women have been sexually assaulted or harrassed, 1in 5 is a victim of rape. So portraying a sexual assault and shortly after have a man walk up to that assault victim and say something like that is very disturbing. And the discussions some men have about this Trish finds equally disturbing. Me too.
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Jason R.
Thu, Sep 30, 2021, 7:02am (UTC -6)
"And the discussions some men have about this Trish finds equally disturbing. Me too."

Are those "some men" on this thread? Were you disturbed by something someone here said? I know I haven't seen anything along the lines of what you and Trish have implied on this thread.

No one here trivialized sex assault or implied that it's ok. No one is even seriously disagreeing with the sexist nature of some aspects of the episode.

But okay. If we are going to play this game, maybe I'll have to keep a watchful eye on you to make sure that the German on this forum has nothing to say about Jews, Judaism, or the holocaust, lest I become "disturbed" by it. Shall we audit our old discussions?
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Booming
Thu, Sep 30, 2021, 7:13am (UTC -6)
Ok Boomer.
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Trent
Thu, Sep 30, 2021, 8:02am (UTC -6)
I don't see how Booming is wrong.

We know that most sexual harassment is by a minority, but that the majority has historically tolerated it because they're socialized into thinking such is all a normal part of masculinity ("It's just a joke", "Just guys being guys" etc).

Similarly, most rape is by a minority, but the majority has historically tolerated it because they're socialized into thinking it's a normal part of masculinity. It was legal to rape your wife in England until 2003, for example, and in Mexico until just recently. These behaviors or laws propagate precisely for the reason Booming said; because most perpetrators are men, because men have historically denied female subjectivity, because men benefit from these actions, or because masculinity (and a woman's role) has been historically coded in a certain way.

The laws which forced women into submission throughout the centuries, or the religious mores which sanctioned western sexism (rape is endemic in the Bible, women oft blamed for their own rapes etc), or even the laws which criminalized rape (in Medieval times the first rape laws deemed rape a "property crime"), all exist to uphold a very patriarchal view of the world, and historically got a pass - or rather were not even noticed, were deemed normal, or invisible - because, as Booming said, the people doing this stuff, and benefiting from them, were men.

As for this episode, I always looked at it as a companion-piece to "Space Seed". It's about the allure of power, megalomania, and the inexplicable attractiveness of dominant alpha types, even outright tyrants. Khan and Evil Kirk are attractive to our weak-kneed female co-stars because they're bad space boys!

I think both episodes handle this reasonably well. It's always clear Khan is a madman, and that Good Kirk's respect, compassion and kindness (toward Rand) is what really makes him a hot space stud. But as others have pointed out, that single line by Spock at the end of "Enemy Within", re-contextualizes and taints the entire episode. What should be an episode about the virtues of Good Kirk, becomes an episode about 1960s dames secretly liking to be slapped around.

So to me, Spock single line has always made the whole episode sexist (the idea that every woman is ashamed to admit she wants to be dominated etc), and emblematic of a certain strand of 1950s-60s scifi (John Campbell, early Robert Silverberg).

Though perhaps even that reading is wrong. The episode spends it's entire running time arguing that the intellect, morality and so on need to be balanced with aggression and barbarism. And so Spock's kine ("You liked that bastard didn't you yeoman!") may simply be pointing out the obvious. That yeoman Rand - and all women - are constitutionally messy. Also have desires, and lusts, and darker drives, and that's fine. Sexist Spock may actually be some kinda 3D-chess, next-level feminist.
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Jason R.
Thu, Sep 30, 2021, 8:47am (UTC -6)
Trent that's a dandy opinion you have.

But like Booming you didn't bother to explain where or how anyone on this thread did any of those things.

I am actually baffled because I still don't have a clue what set Booming off in this thread. Did a single person here imply that sex assault isn't a big deal?
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Peter G.
Thu, Sep 30, 2021, 9:09am (UTC -6)
@ Trent,

"What should be an episode about the virtues of Good Kirk, becomes an episode about 1960s dames secretly liking to be slapped around."

I don't see why it should have been about this, when the episode is literally saying the opposite of this. That's like watching The Best of Both Worlds and arguing that it made a mistake because it should have been about how a collective consciousness is better than messy individualism. That is simply counter to the premise of the show, rather than being a potential adjustment to it.

The fact that you're certain 'evil Kirk' is in fact evil (i.e. bad) is the problem, and that's why any discussion about rape here will be mired in forced speech. Do we dislike rape? Well obviously. But invoke the R word and suddenly it becomes impossible to discuss any kind of nuance. One can both say that spirited-Kirk did terrible things while also saying that he had essential and valuable qualities. One can admire his desperate need to live and his passion, while also acknowledging that these things require another half to give them a noble purpose. Rand can admire the sexual energy and aggression in Kirk without us having to start adding disclaimers about whether she secretly enjoyed being assaulted. Personally I think that is just a counterproductive method of trying to figure out what the episode contains.

And let's keep in mind, again, there is a massive difference between looking at media from 55 years ago and looking at something made today. Judging a piece of writing and acting using a completely contemporary standard and implying that its guilty of some transgression because it does not conform to a very recent set of guidelines is really misguided, I think. It's sufficient to say that we would not want to write a scene like that in a new TV show, but that at the time they may have been trying to say something that we would say another way now. If we have updated notions of care for trauma victims now, it doesn't mean we can look at an older format and say they shirked their responsibility.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Sep 30, 2021, 9:32am (UTC -6)
@Jason

"But okay. If we are going to play this game, maybe I'll have to keep a watchful eye on you to make sure that the German on this forum has nothing to say about Jews, Judaism, or the holocaust, lest I become "disturbed" by it."

A better analogy would be to say "Germans" (plural), because Booming's comment isn't about one specific poster. It's just a nebulous statement about nebulous men who make nebulous statement.

Can you imagine the uproar if somebody said the same thing - with a straight face - about Germans and the holocaust? "Germans often defend the holocaust because..."... Sorry, but I can't bring myself to finish the analogy. Even in full-sarcasm mode, I can't say it.
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Booming
Thu, Sep 30, 2021, 10:50am (UTC -6)
@Trent
The irony is that I just wanted to reassure Trish that guys here are probably allright for the most part. I did not think that some would be triggered. The first reason I gave is a well documented fact. Rapists and men who have these tendencies justify their behavior by saying that the women wanted or deserved it. Now people compare a welldocumted behavior with Germans being pro Holocaust. I don't know why Trish did not participate but this whole episode highlights why women are hesitant to talk about this with men. 81% of women have experienced sexual assault or harassement, most of the time by partners, friends or colleagues. It is not fun or makes a guy desirable, quite the opposite. Rand should have punched Spock.

The other two possible explanations were me trying to give the guys here an out. I never said that these are all the reasons or that the reasons are accurate. I also didn't feel the need to point out that I meant a specific subset because I thought that was obvious.

This is pointless or worse.
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Jason R.
Thu, Sep 30, 2021, 11:00am (UTC -6)
OK Booming.
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Trent
Thu, Sep 30, 2021, 3:20pm (UTC -6)
Jason said: "Trent...like Booming you didn't bother to explain where or how anyone on this thread did any of those things."

Maybe you are on Jammer's comment list page. If you go to the review page of this episode, you can see the two comments Booming is responding to. A user called Trish (and one called Ghoul Dukat) were talking about their belief that this episode conveys the idea that women secretly liked to be dominated. Trish was wondering why such behavior is sanctioned or ignored by people.

Peter said: "I don't see why it should have been about this, when the episode is literally saying the opposite of this."

The episode is saying many things though, and on all kinds of different levels.

On an intellectual level, we can parcel out a nuanced message. But on a visceral level,you ultimately have a minor, sidelined female yeoman, who's treated as eye-candy throughout the show, getting almost raped, and then being told by a snarky Spock that "some part of you liked it."

This "message" - which Trish argues for - twists the message which you (and Spock?), and I assume the writer, are arguing for.

You can argue that Spock is right, but the tropes and conventions this episode is utilizing, and the amount of time it dedicates to Rand, conveys a message of its own.

Surely if you want to convey the message that some women do like getting slapped around, during a decade in which women unwillingly got slapped around, you don't do it in a way in which a commenter like Trish interprets it as an episode which (to whatever degree) endorses the idea that "dames" like being slapped around.

You argue that TOS did what it could, and was subject to certain limitations imposed by the era and format. Sure, I agree, and I love this episode, but I still think Trish has a point. It's too bad she's not reading these comments, because it would be interesting to see if she ever reconsidered Spock's view.

Incidentally, what year did Hitchcock make "Vertigo"? A decade before this episode? In my mind, "Vertigo's" my ideal "Rand gets almost raped by Kirk" story. Hitch gets that balance between empathy and creepy dominance, right.
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Jason R.
Thu, Sep 30, 2021, 3:36pm (UTC -6)
"Maybe you are on Jammer's comment list page. If you go to the review page of this episode, you can see the two comments Booming is responding to. A user called Trish (and one called Ghoul Dukat) were talking about their belief that this episode conveys the idea that women secretly liked to be dominated. Trish was wondering why such behavior is sanctioned or ignored by people."

Yes I read Booming and Trish's original messages - but I assumed Booming was addressing responses to the episode from men on the forum. That was what confused me because I didn't see anyone defending the episode as not being sexist.
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Peter G.
Thu, Sep 30, 2021, 3:41pm (UTC -6)
@ Trent,

"This "message" - which Trish argues for - twists the message which you (and Spock?), and I assume the writer, are arguing for."

You need to read more closely. I'm not arguing for anything. Parsing out the content of a piece of media is an exercise in analysis, not judgement. And really this confusion is a general confusion, where the idea of judging the episode gets mixed up with the idea of interpreting it.

"You can argue that Spock is right, but the tropes and conventions this episode is utilizing, and the amount of time it dedicates to Rand, conveys a message of its own."

No one argued that Spock is "right". Hard to do that when we don't even know what he means. So when you use a word like "you" (as in, "you can argue") it implies someone is doing this, which is either intentionally misleading, or at best a miswording.

"Surely if you want to convey the message that some women do like getting slapped around"

Since no one took up this hypothetical position why are you addressing it? Certainly no one here said it, and I highly doubt the writers had such a thing in mind.

"It's too bad she's not reading these comments, because it would be interesting to see if she ever reconsidered Spock's view."

What does this mean?
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Trent
Thu, Sep 30, 2021, 3:46pm (UTC -6)
Jason R said: "That was what confused me because I didn't see anyone defending the episode as not being sexist."

I think Peter is defending it as not being sexist. I'd probably defend it the same way too, though I think Trish also has a point.

I personally think TOS is too charming, dapper, retro and hilarious to get worked up over (doesn't McCoy slap a pregnant woman in an episode?), but it's fun intellectually pealing some of the episodes apart.
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Trent
Thu, Sep 30, 2021, 4:11pm (UTC -6)
Peter said: "So when you use a word like "you" (as in, "you can argue") it implies someone is doing this, which is either intentionally misleading, or at best a miswording."

I'm speaking hypothetically. ie - "You can argue" in the sense that "one might argue".

Peter said: "No one argued that Spock is "right"."

Depends what you mean by "argued". You offered a couple paragraphs which neatly encapsulates why he might be "right" and why Trish's reading might be wrong.

Peter said: "Since no one took up this hypothetical position why are you addressing it?"

Because you offered the idea that the Rand arc is about women being attracted to a man's wild, lawless, animal magnetism. You were arguing with William (several days ago I believe, though I only read this discussion today), that Spock's line might not be sexist - as Trish sees it - but rather the point of the episode.

Peter said: "What does this mean? "

I mean if Trish read William's discussion with you, she might have come to see this episode, and Spock's line, differently.
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Jason R.
Thu, Sep 30, 2021, 4:17pm (UTC -6)
"I think Peter is defending it as not being sexist. I'd probably defend it the same way too, though I think Trish also has a point."

Except he only did that after Trish and Booming already made their original comment so unless Q intervened the causality isn't there.

But okay, fine, I mayyyyy have overreacted to Booming's original comment........
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Trent
Thu, Sep 30, 2021, 4:33pm (UTC -6)
Jason said: "Except he only did that after Trish and Booming already made their original comment so unless Q intervened the causality isn't there."

Oh, I missed the point you were making. My bad (skimmed your text too fast; trying to rewatch Voyager's "Warlord" and finding it too awful to focus on).
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Ghoul Dukat
Fri, Oct 1, 2021, 11:20am (UTC -6)
I am alienated by the attempts to rationalise any of this.

First, "evil" Kirk tries to rape Janice Rand. Rand had a high opinion of Kirk, possibly a crush, but now he comes into her quarters and tries to rape her. She's severely traumatised.

Next, she's in that "questioning" session, moving left and right in her chair in terror while the apparent perpetrator and two of his senior staff are standing around her. She's being traumatised again and it's painful to watch and all I'm asking for is that security or anyone else get her out of there. NOW.

Then the episode doubles down again with the scene where reunited Kirk smiles at here in a benevolent "no need to apologise" way. And then it doubles down again with Spock's comment.

All the while, the episode tells us that evil Kirk is a necessary part of Kirk, conveniently forgetting about how that means that rape Kirk is a necessary part of Kirk. Rand is apparently expected to accept that full Kirk isn't who tried to rape her, despite the episode sending the opposite message a few moments earlier. The Kirk who tried to rape her is half of the Kirk who's sitting in front of her now, and she's apparently supposed to forget about that.

That Grace Lee Whitney was sexually assaulted by a Trek executive makes this even more painful to watch, but even without that it's disgraceful.

Meanwhile, "evil" Kirk was shown compassion while Rand's terror was largely ignored. Seriously, how is this not Star Trek being f***ing awful, at least in this episode? What is there to excuse?
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Jason R.
Fri, Oct 1, 2021, 12:00pm (UTC -6)
"conveniently forgetting about how that means that rape Kirk is a necessary part of Kirk. Rand is apparently expected to accept that full Kirk isn't who tried to rape her, despite the episode sending the opposite message a few moments earlier. The Kirk who tried to rape her is half of the Kirk who's sitting in front of her now, and she's apparently supposed to forget about that."

The closest analog I can think of to this is a traumatic brain injury. As a result of such injuries, peoples' personalities change. Sometimes this can result in loss of inhibition and lead to sexual acting out, even assault where the person previously never would have behaved in that manner.

Kirk's condition is not unlike a brain injury victim. Even if the setup was some exotic scifi concept, the outcome was the same: his personality was fundamentally changed.

Can you accept the premise that most people, good or bad, have dark impulses, and the thing that separates good from bad, is whether they give in to them or not?
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Peter G.
Fri, Oct 1, 2021, 12:19pm (UTC -6)
@ Trent:

"Depends what you mean by "argued". You offered a couple paragraphs which neatly encapsulates why he might be "right" and why Trish's reading might be wrong."

Mainly I was proposing a context, and manner of interpreting the scene, which is consistent with what we see. I wasn't 'arguing FOR it' in the sense of saying this is the view I think is correct. But yes, I was constructing a potential argument. I was really not addressing at all the proposition of whether or not the line is sexist.

@ Ghoul Dukat,

"First, "evil" Kirk tries to rape Janice Rand. Rand had a high opinion of Kirk, possibly a crush, but now he comes into her quarters and tries to rape her. She's severely traumatised."

I would just like to point out that the idea that Rand is "severely traumatized" is an interpretation made by you, and not a fact. For instance, we don't have a doctor in the show actually saying she's been traumatized (whatever connotations that may involve). All we know is she's been through a bad situation, but what effect exactly that had on her is sort of an internal thing we don't have access to directly. if the episode doesn't delve into that (which perhaps you could view as a fault) then it remains a black box we can guess at but not know. I feel that your position rests almost entirely on the premise that she's a trauma victim being treated shabbily; but if she's *not* a trauma victim then I'm not sure what case remains on that front. What you've done (and I understand why) is to create a narrative in which, in seeing her as traumatized, there is a through-line of repeated wrongs done to her on account of this. But a different through-line could be read into it if you assume a different premise.
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Ghoul Dukat
Fri, Oct 1, 2021, 12:20pm (UTC -6)
"Can you accept the premise that most people, good or bad, have dark impulses, and the thing that separates good from bad, is whether they give in to them or not?"

That's about as much as accepting the Earth isn't flat. In "Violations", Picard has this speech about violence being a thing of the past, but I don't buy it. Unless humans have been replaced by androids, rape will still be a thing in 400 years.

Rape is a common result of humanity's worst base instincts, and those base instincts won't go away unless we either replace ourselves with androids, or genetically alter ourselves significantly.

It is our responsibility to contain those instincts. But in any way, first and foremost we have to care for the victims. And that is where The Enemy Within utterly fails.
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Ghoul Dukat
Fri, Oct 1, 2021, 12:21pm (UTC -6)
"I would just like to point out that the idea that Rand is "severely traumatized" is an interpretation made by you, and not a fact."

Oh, but you are very wrong about that. That is a fact.
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Peter G.
Fri, Oct 1, 2021, 12:53pm (UTC -6)
@ Ghoul Dukat,

"Oh, but you are very wrong about that. That is a fact."

I will also point out that you seem to be very adamantly stating as 'fact' what *someone else* is going through and experienced. Putting aside for the moment that The Enemy Within is possibly showing a situation involving trauma from rape, it is noteworthy that there are significant steps being made (at least in America right now) to put personal narratives back into the voice of the person, rather than insisting on an armchair version being the canonized account. Sure, you might be right, but I'm saying you also might not be. Since it's a fictional piece we can't ask Rand ourselves, and so we are stuck with what it shows us. Your notion that it definitely shows a trauma victim is a highly contemporary and idiosyncratic way of seeing bad events. I'm not saying it's wrong, but rather that it's a narrative, one that you are channeling through your own experience. I don't see how you can claim it's any more than your account of what you see, and rises to some kind of objective fact.
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Ghoul Dukat
Fri, Oct 1, 2021, 1:04pm (UTC -6)
Rand flailing around in terror is not evidence enough? The attempted rape would traumatise most people, and the episode doesn't give any incentive to think it wasn't. If Rand was assaulted by Kirk, the episode would have some extreme explaining to do for how that wasn't traumatic, but... it didn't. It didn't even try.
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Peter G.
Fri, Oct 1, 2021, 1:12pm (UTC -6)
Oh, I'm totally in agreement that Rand may have been traumatized. I'm just saying we can't take it for granted. People of both sexes in TOS go through all sorts of insane stuff without us asking whether they were in need of special care as per our current understandings of trauma victims. Nurse Chapel had to deal with shocking stuff in What Are Little Girls Made Of, Uhura in Plato's Stepchildren (along with the men), and so on. Are these all cases of episodes with trauma victims, or of Starfleet officers having to deal with significant adversity? And maybe people in the military who go through really tough experiences should be understood to require counseling as a matter of course. It's a bigger and more complex issue (as is human psychology) than just reducing it to a binary with a one-size fits all answer.
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Ghoul Dukat
Fri, Oct 1, 2021, 1:36pm (UTC -6)
Starfleet people have gone through all sorts of crap, yes. But rarely have they gone through the same agony that Janice Rand did. When Janice Rand is subjected to her "treatment", in utter terror while her apparent rapist is standing in front of her, flanked by his senior officials, would it be so much to ask that she'd be taken out of that situation?

I'm just asking for Rand to be safe, to be rescued from that situation. How difficult is it to save her from that situation?
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Jason R.
Fri, Oct 1, 2021, 1:37pm (UTC -6)
"It is our responsibility to contain those instincts. But in any way, first and foremost we have to care for the victims. And that is where The Enemy Within utterly fails."

Oh ok. So I guess I misunderstood where you were going with this.

Not much disagreement between us then.
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Peter G.
Fri, Oct 1, 2021, 1:50pm (UTC -6)
@ Ghoul Dukat,

"Starfleet people have gone through all sorts of crap, yes. But rarely have they gone through the same agony that Janice Rand did."

I really don't know where you get this from. Generally I have no problem with the idea that people who've gone through something terrible need that to be addressed rather than dismissed. I just don't know why you're singling out Rand in particular as the pinnacle of victims in TOS. To be frank, it being the show it is, I consider many of the events of the series to be seriously more traumatic and horrifying than to merely be attacked by a crazed dude, even if he does look like someone you admire. I don't even want to go through a list, but it seems pretty obvious to me that this is not even near the top of the list of horrors people on TOS go through. It seems...suspect to me to single out the young woman as being the obvious candidate to treat as a frail victim. Maybe she is, maybe she isn't.

The reason we assume disproportionate consideration is needed IRL for women is because they are (a) physically weaker than men, and (b) have existed in structures in which they're disadvantaged. That is on Earth. But in TOS there are plentiful examples of human males who are in situations where they're physically extremely weaker than their adversaries, and are severely disadvantaged in their current environment. From that standpoint I don't see why Rand should require special victim treatment from The Enemy Within any more than Kirk should receive it for what he went through in any number of episodes where he was attacked or even tortured by stronger beings than him. In those cases Kirk was the weaker party, as woman on Earth are often considered to be. So what's the difference then, warranting a special focus on the women being treated as particularly frail by default? Maybe she is, maybe not.
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Ghoul Dukat
Fri, Oct 1, 2021, 1:53pm (UTC -6)
I believe we agree on that. Rape isn't going to go away because as horrible as it sounds, that's one part of human nature. We need to contain it, and we've found ways to contain it, but it's not going to go away without replacing humans by androids.

It is our responsibility to keep that crap in check, but if we allow humanity to continue, its dark side will continue as well.

Just saying that we should do better about it than this episode did.
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Ghoul Dukat
Fri, Oct 1, 2021, 2:02pm (UTC -6)
@Peter G.

Most of the s**t TOS guys get through is from the outside. Rand was assaulted by Kirk.

Most of the assaults on the staff is weird alien stuff. That doesn't necessarily represent real-world assault. Kirk's attempted rape of Janice Rand is a very real-world thing. Why did that need to happen, and why is Rand supposed to put up with comments like that from Spock?
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Sigh2000
Mon, Dec 13, 2021, 4:24pm (UTC -6)
Just read the thread. @Ghoul Dukat ... I agree that Janice was traumatized by the Kirk beast and that the episode tries to smooth over a painful event with several closing lines intended to make everyone whole. It was a pretty thin coat of cheap spackle if you ask me. Wouldn't pass muster today.
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The Queen
Sat, Apr 2, 2022, 10:21pm (UTC -6)
I haven't read all the comments by any means, but the ones I did read didn't address my biggest problem with this episode: the idea that without "aggression" a person (man, at that time) could not be commanding or effective. This has to have been a core belief of Roddenberry's, as it was repeated almost exactly in "Tapestry" in TNG later.

As for all the people complaining about the way Rand's assault was handled, be grateful you live half a century on from the time that was filmed. It was VERY accurate for the times. And you can thank women of my generation for that. You're welcome.
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Michael Miller
Sun, Oct 2, 2022, 6:40pm (UTC -6)
The lack of shuttlecrafts is the main stupidiy of this episode. Warp Engines, Phasers, Force Fields, Starship with 400 people on boars but no shuttlecraft? I was just itching for Kirk to scold spock "You completely forgot about sending a shuttlecraft you dumb Vulcan! And you lecture me about logic and alternatives and exploring all options?" Hell even without shuttlecraft couldn't they just land the whole ship on the planet and get them?
Also, those people on the planet would have died. Even at 0 degrees F, you would get severe hypothermia in 10 minutes with those thin uniforms, and die within a half hour. Yet they seem to be surviving and functional for hours wrapping themselves in cheap blankets as the temp drops to -20, -40, -75, and finally -117! Come on, that's just absurd. It's one thing when they can't keep their Sci-fi consistent but they can't even get regular science right!
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matt h
Sun, Oct 16, 2022, 11:41am (UTC -6)
I havent seen this episode in a long time so my memory may be faulty but when I first saw it, i had a different take on the infamous Spock last line when I saw it. My reaction was almost "right on, Spock! You go Vulcan!"

Perhaps I followed wrongly, but what I recall was thinking all these discussants at the end including Kirk were dialoging rhapsodically about the intriuguing ,necessary, and interesting, downright "cool" aspects of th attemped rapist IN FRONT OF his attack victim. Spock injected cold watersober reality with what I took as a sarcastic put down of the others' moral and conversational myopia while nodding to the real victim "Sure , that rapist was real interesting" he seemed to be saying in a clumsy Vulcan way.

Perhaps if I rewatched I'd see the lewdness in delivery and context. BUt i saw it the first time in the 70s as an adolescent something like a conversation among ex-Confederates about the high class elite aspects in aristocratic plantation life in front of a former slave and one sensitive personin the conversation comments directly to the ex-slave " Yes, planation life sure was classy, didnt you notice Mr. Freeman?" A clumsy attempt to shut down the others' talking.

In part Iam inclined to interpret that way because R. Matheson (if he wrote the actual line) generally wrote sensitively to human suffering.

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