Star Trek: The Original Series

"The Naked Time"

3 stars

Air date: 9/29/1966
Written by John F.D. Black
Directed by Marc Daniels

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

After beaming down to investigate a research post whose team had apparently gone mad and killed themselves, members of the landing party bring back a virus that has intoxicating side effects. As the virus spreads through the ship and crew members start acting strangely, Kirk finds himself with a crisis on hand when Lt. Riley (Bruce Hyde) locks himself in the engine room and shuts down the engines ... causing the Enterprise to spiral down out of planetary orbit.

A lot of the sophomoric silliness involving the ship's officers in "drunk mode" is goofy and didn't do much for me. But the real core of "The Naked Time" emerges in its analysis of Spock; when he becomes affected we see just how torn he is between his human emotions and his Vulcan sense of reason and control. Leonard Nimoy's rendition of the role is exceptional. Also of interest is Nurse Chapel's confession of buried feelings for Spock, as well as Kirk's discussion about being essentially married to the ship.

The ending, involving a sci-fi tech procedure that results in time moving backwards, is a non sequitur that's tough to swallow. But at least it shows the writers were trying something imaginative.

Previous episode: Where No Man Has Gone Before
Next episode: The Enemy Within

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42 comments on this post

Wed, May 28, 2008, 9:49pm (UTC -5)
The reason for the time travel non sequitur at the end of Naked Time was that the episodes Naked Time and Tomorrow is Yesterday were originally written as a two part episode. The decision was made to make them two seperate episodes, so NT got the non sequitur and TiY got the Enterprise hitting a black star.

It looks extremly cheesy and fake now, but I remember as a kid being freaked out at the scene in Charley X in which Charley removes the face of the laughing crewwoman.
Fri, Jun 1, 2012, 8:15am (UTC -5)
I'm all about Spock, but I've seen better performances from Nimoy. I just don't see Spock as a weepy drunk. Maybe LN was working with what he was given, and I was pleased at the idea, at least, that Spock's emotions run silent, run deep, but Spock's emotionalism is usually the more powerful for the restraint he expresses--people with strong self-control usually have something strong TO control. That's the essence of Spock for me, so I don't think it was the best move for the writers to bash us over the head with Spock's emotions.

I think though that at this time, they didn't quite know what the show was really about. Maybe in a later episode, they'd have played it differently.
Wed, Jun 27, 2012, 9:07am (UTC -5)
Actually, I want to revise my opinion above a little bit. Watching it again, I can still do without the weeping, but I'm not sure there was another way to convey Spock expressing emotion so uncharacteristically. But his intensity during the scene with Chapel and the one with Kirk, and his ability to overcome his own intoxiation in the face of Jim's pain, are both extremely powerful.
Sun, Sep 15, 2013, 6:07am (UTC -5)
I enjoyed this episode a lot, especially the scenes with Spock and Kirk. Great acting from both in my opinion. I just loved seeing them both so, well, emotional :)
Wed, Oct 16, 2013, 8:44am (UTC -5)
Other than the non-sequitur which also serves the astonishing purpose of opening up time as an arena for exploration for the series as well as the vastness of space, I really enjoyed this episode.

Spock's inability to cope, not just with his emotions, but with his inability to cope with his emotions, is well thought out and played. Kirk's essential loneliness and concomitant relationship with his ship goes some way to explaining his regular dalliances that allow him some closeness, however fleeting, to the numerous available females that cross his path.

Watching these early episodes serves to remind me how much of a caricature Kirk became in the popular imagination and how that then impacted on the character's personna to such a degree that he is a rogue in the rebooted movies who is almost entirely driven by and dependent on his passion.

It is much clearer to me that Kirk and Spock's relationship is firmly bound in their willingness to make enormous personal sacrifice in order to serve their ideals.
Wed, Apr 2, 2014, 8:23am (UTC -5)
Character story lines jerky, acting bad, oreillys singing, spock crying? Awful. Nurse chapels part only thing brings up to 1.5 for me.
Sun, Oct 12, 2014, 5:39am (UTC -5)
What is up with the Hazmat suits at the beginning that allow you to scratch your nose and touch the skin on your face? If those things had a zipper this tragedy may have been averted lol
Fri, Feb 26, 2016, 7:44am (UTC -5)
The dialogue in this episode is excellent.
Kirk's reactions to Leslie are pretty great.
Sulu is fantastic. Wish he was in TOS more.

The beginning is ridiculous.
The ending is a non sequitur.

Those "isolation" suits. So dumb.

Overall: A great middle sandwiched between two not-so-great scenes. Three stars of four.
Fri, Feb 26, 2016, 7:45am (UTC -5)
*Riley, not Leslie
Sun, May 29, 2016, 11:44am (UTC -5)
I liked Uhura's response to Sulu's "I'll save you, fair maiden": "Sorry, neither!" -- stating that she was neither "fair" (as in fair-skinned) nor a "maiden" (i.e., a virgin). Pretty racy for '60s TV.
Wed, Jun 22, 2016, 9:34pm (UTC -5)
Hah, after rewatching this, it's amazing just how much Naked Now ripped off this episode. I don't just mean the basic concept, I mean every little tiny plot detail. Annoying youngster taking over engineering and blocking everyone else. Cure is obtained, but they are still stuck in place and with the natural disaster of the week rapidly approaching. The ship's supergenius must completely rewrite engineering principles of the ship in their head in order to save the day. It's one thing to be an homage or a sequel, it's quite another to be a blatant ripoff.

But as for this episode, it's still a weak one. I think part of the problem is that it wasted a lot of time on stuff we shouldn't really care about. Was the goal to see the ship in peril? Was it to see a bunch of goofy idiots running around? Was it to see the inner feelings of the main crew when their inhibitions were down? Most people claim it's the third one, but other than Spock we don't learn much. OK, so Kirk talks about his love for his ship. Or maybe his love for Rand, it's an awkward conversation... Scotty was fine. Uhura snapped at Kirk once, but other than that was fine. Bones was fine. Sulu just pranced around like an idiot. So if the idea was to see what the crew was like, it didn't work.

Again, other than Spock. Obviously at this point we have almost no information on what Vulcans are like, so seeing some real solid emotion from him was useful. It shows that the emotions are there, but buried. And just as importantly, that he wants to keep them buried. It shows the conflict inherent to the Vulcans, or perhaps in Spock's case to his human/Vulcan duality. As others have said, the scene where he tries to keep his composure around Nurse Chapel was excellent. It really emphasized how much he was trying to keep control, even when he was failing to. Some of the crying in the corridor worked, but it just went too long. I didn't feel his conversation with Kirk worked very well either.

Meanwhile, if it was just about the ship in peril, well, it mostly just worked to show how unprofessional the Enterprise crew is. So you beam down to a planet in a hazmat suit, but then take off your glove and scratch your face? So someone can take over Engineering that easily? If you can beam down to planets, why is it so difficult to beam to various parts of the ship? So people can leave their station on the bridge and nobody notices? Is that really the image that the producers wanted to create for Starfleet and for the Enterprise? That deep space will be explored by people as intelligent as teenagers? And people complained about the security on the Ent-D and Voyager. It looks like Starfleet has a long history of being incompetent...

So no, this concept didn't really work for me. If it wasn't for the Spock/Chapel scene, I'd consider it a pretty bad one. As it is, it's just there.
Fri, Jan 13, 2017, 3:22pm (UTC -5)
Really enjoyed this episode - just so happens I've seen it 2-3 times in the last 3 months.
Kirk and Spock's acting is excellent and Chapel/Sulu being affected by the disease also gives us a bit more background on their true personalities. McCoy's acting is good too as he shows bewilderment at Tormolen's death and the frustration of dealing with intoxicated assistants.
Of course with almost all Trek episodes, there are its miraculous solutions (non-sequitur of time warp to save ship from burning up in the atmosphere) and as @Skeptical rightly points out the unprofessionalism of crew members. But it's a good story, well-acted and doesn't suffer from any slow/dull periods.
For me, "The Naked Time" is the best of the first four episodes to kick off Season 1. I'd rate it 3.5/4.
Mon, Mar 27, 2017, 7:08pm (UTC -5)
Bloomin' awful, much like the TNG remake. Maybe I'm being uncharitable because I watched it after a few drinks, which normally helps this sort of thing! Perhaps a revisit sometime...
Daniel B
Sun, Jul 9, 2017, 2:18am (UTC -5)
It was ok, but it needed to be later in the season. It's too early for an "everyone acts out of character" episode since at this point we barely know the character.
Trek fan
Sat, Sep 16, 2017, 5:50pm (UTC -5)
Darn good episode. I disagree that it's "too early" for an episode where everyone gets intoxicated and shares his/her true self -- this is PRECISELY the moment, early in the show, to start building up the characters' personalities and backstories. Some very essential things about Kirk, Spock, Sulu, Chapel, and others emerge here. And the pacing/acting is excellent as the humor gradually becomes menacing.

The space virus plot is mostly an excuse to provide a hook for character development, and it resolves with the usual Star Trek medical cure, but it's not a bad plot hook as hooks go. The threat actually begins to feel real, which is more than I can say for most TNG and Voyager threats with miraculous tech resolutions. Much of that is down to Nimoy's brilliant performance, as we buy his struggle and sense that the ship's fate hangs on him recovering somehow. The fact Spock conquers the virus by force of will not only tells us a lot about his character, including many new details about his shame over being half-human on his mother's side, but hangs the plot resolution on more than just a miraculous sickbay cure. Good stuff in his "I'm in control of my emotions" scene.

As for the drunk shenanigans, I find them more amusing than laugh-inducing, but who doesn't love Sulu unleashing his inner swashbuckler to charge through the ship with a sword? Or Uhura's sassy "sorry neither" retort to him? "Oooooh my" indeed. For my money, George Takei is right to pick this one as his favorite episode, as it really stands out as one of the best TOS episodes overall -- easily worth 3 1/2 or 4 stars for the well-acted character dilemmas which emerge unexpectedly and powerfully from what initially appears to be a routine or even lightweight plot. The rattlesnake sound the disease makes as it infects each new person is also a particularly inspired and iconic bit of Trek storytelling gimmickry.

The regulars all get something to do here, too, including Scotty's "I can't change the laws of physics" line and improvised resolution to the gravity problem that nevertheless requires Spock's sober cooperation. McCoy gets some nice irascible moments throughout the story, including early barbs with Spock. And Chapel's unrequited love for Spock emerges. But I would also say Shatner's scene where his repressed anxiety about losing his ship deserves particular praise and may easily be overlooked due to the more drawn-out Spock dilemma; this is one of Shatner's nicer moments in the series and establishes a key part of his character (obsession with the ship) early on. Overall, while it's easy to miminize the script as routine, a particular strength of this episode is the execution as we watch the crew struggle individually and work together in responding to the peril.
Fri, Oct 6, 2017, 4:54pm (UTC -5)
I never was clear--Spock apparently never got the cure, so how did he become magically rational again? Did seeing Kirk lose it make him pull himself together? Random other thoughts: Sulu is buff! My favorite line: "Take D'Artagnan here to sick bay." (Spock's mildly disgusted orders for security regarding an unconscious Sulu.) Second favorite is Uhura's, "Sorry, neither." At the end when Kirk, Uhura, McCoy and Rand are flinching and grabbing their ears at the noise from the planetary escape and the camera shot moves to the overhead POV, Sulu and the helmsman are just sitting there unaffected.
Peter Swinkels
Fri, Nov 10, 2017, 4:21pm (UTC -5)
Slow but okay. Clearly a predecessor of The Naked Now.
Sun, Dec 17, 2017, 5:33am (UTC -5)
How could Kirk make a log entry saying, “what we don’t
know is that a disease has invaded the ship”?
Fri, Nov 23, 2018, 5:29am (UTC -5)
this episode is pretty successful in setting up spock’s internal human-vulcan war even though his characterization remains bumpy for a few more episodes due to production vs broadcast order. For that reason i think it does work better to watch it a little later in the run (some time after miri but before menagerie where there are glimpses of “13 years ago spock” works best for me). viewed as episode 4, Naked Time definitely marks the beginning of the homosocial dynamic (kirk/spock/mccoy) that comes to define the series. between its setup of the enigmatic kirk-spock friendship, development of/commentary on vulcan culture via spock’s breakdown, and its deep dive beneath the surface into his angsty embattled multiethnic paradox, this is one of my favorite early viewing experiences in TOS (shout outs to uhura for ‘fair maiden/sorry neither’ and kirk’s ‘now i know why it’s called SHE’ monologue too). here we have the first indisputable evidence of the existence of spock’s deep emotional undercurrents, cementing his resistance to emotion as the product of the vulcan philosophy of extreme stoicism rather than a genuine lack of feeling, which is complicated further by his biracial ancestry. his reaction to the virus is a demonstration not only of his ingrained commitment to vulcan culture, but also his essential underlying humanity (despite his many claims to the contrary). giving this turmoil visibility and treating it with shakespearean magnitude is one of the truly revolutionary aspects of star trek. the position he occupies between native and alien culture is one that becomes a perfect mechanism for delivering the show’s meta-commentary. the strongest vehicle for dramatizing this conflict is, of course, his relationship with kirk--‘jim, when i feel friendship for you, i’m ashamed”

the insight into vulcans is telling and, to a human, somewhat bleak. right away, as soon as the audience can understand this bond of friendship as taboo and shameful for spock, another aspect of the primary relationship falls into place and solidifies spock as an outsider’s icon: nerds, immigrants, lgbt, people of color, biracial, multiracial, mentally and physically atypical people--anyone with a barrier to emotional expression involving fear of reproach/ridicule/rejection/censure/shaming etc. the idea of love itself as an emotion spock MUST reject/suppress in order to avoid the more damaging emotions of humiliation and shame is a REALLY bold, sophisticated, and heartbreaking conception in the landscape of 1960s television and renders spock a natural tabula rasa onto which we graft our own experiences of outsiderhood. For example, although there is no specifically homoerotic undertone to his relationship with kirk, their connection does capture the illicit/taboo/forbidden nature of spock’s emotion in general--which does dovetail with that kind of reading. because even while such emotions as platonic friendship may be divorced from erotic/romantic forms of love and affection for humans, for spock, even the more benign forms of human sentimental attachment have about them hallmark qualities of “forbidden love”--that which must remain hidden/unacknowledged, even if guessed/hinted at/known, certainly must remain deniable in order to remain ‘excusable’ according to vulcan taboo. From a vulcan perspective, friendship becomes a fascination bordering on fixation for spock--as that of the fetishist--which we continue to see throughout the series. it is a dilemma that comes up time and again in a myriad of iterations (and not just with kirk)--the looming threat of friendship is the thing that makes it truly difficult for spock to be ‘fully’ vulcan on a human ship. one can imagine him in private moments grappling with the same feelings of guilt and shame he confesses to kirk and devoting an inordinate amount of time to tracking/managing/suppressing/evaluating feelings associated with friendship.

The very nature of the emotion-taboo thus creates a strong parallel to any human experience involving forbidden love--likely the basis for many noncanonical interpretations of subtext which are difficult to dismiss out of hand in this framework (again, the obvious-but-hardly-only example being the experience of homosexual love/desire aforementioned). Experientially--in as much as humans are able to imagine vulcan emotional life--this seems very much akin to what we feel when we break our own “taboos,” whatever they may be. for spock, i don’t see feelings of friendship for kirk as any easier to internalize as a vulcan than t’pol’s unambiguously romantic feelings for trip--or any less ‘perverse’ by vulcan standards--it’s about the strength (insuppressibility) of the feeling, which for a vulcan need not be differentiated according to human custom. this may be close to the heart of spock’s wide-ranging appeal beyond his outsider status as sardonic alien straight man made party to various human irrationalities/absurdities. not every human is biracial or gay or socially awkward, but every human has been an interloper and felt it keenly when they don’t belong or fit in, and most people have struggled with some feeling or other that causes unwanted complication or deep shame (i mean we were all teenagers once). We identify with spock’s conundrum to varying degrees but the cluster of human-feelings associated with it are universal and familiar, and our own aspirations toward vulcan stoicism in times of emotional distress are just as precariously erected as the episode makes his appear. It’s an early and raw iteration of spock’s buried turmoil that we see in Naked Time, but the tragedy is on full display and treated with all the gravity of gothic romance, so it sets the stage and stakes pretty handily for the more refined portrait that comes after. It’s not just that spock must conceal/control his emotions, the episode also makes clear that his quest to conquer them is a singular battle that he will insist on fighting alone, positioning him as a tragic figure with a rather human tragic flaw.

regarding Nimoy's acting here, i think it gets treated a little harshly, much as shatner’s does throughout the series in retrospect--it’s easy to forget through our modern sensibilities and more highly developed/refined cinematic tastes (meaning time to build common semiotic codes/traditions/vocabulary/shorthand in film, cinematography etc, not a value judgement like ‘better’) that back when TOS was on air, melodrama was a completely legitimate acting style/tool to make use of. It’s a leftover from live-audience mediums like stage acting, lounge shows, cabaret and even the silent film era pantomime when you had to emote to the back of a packed hall, before filmmakers truly understood the sense of intimacy and realism an ‘actual’ fourth wall could achieve with the camera--and so began our uneven progression toward the great reign of naturalism in acting and film that continues today.

It’s a tradition that tells us something is BAD if it’s not ‘natural’ in a certain way. It’s a higher standard for our suspension of disbelief, an inclination toward the voyeurism a camera allows, and a desire for completely seamless presentation of any illusion put before us. It goes for every facet of production: writing (flying supermen and warp drive are all well and good but not without perfect continuity and internal logic), effects (god the cheap cgi just took me right out of the story) so on so forth, and of course, same shift can be seen in acting styles too. today, the crime of OVERACTING is the height of insult for an actor but in all previous acting traditions and throughout the beginning of film as an independent medium it was an important skill for every actor to hone and make use of. Directors used to push actors toward melodramatic performances because they felt naturalized acting was flat, dull, and boring to an audience who could decode the language of the stage fluently and whose expectations grew up in that tradition. Subtlety didn’t transmit dramatic information or convey meaning as effectively because people simply didn’t tune into it the same as shakespearean bluster. ultimately, art and taste evolve together and an eventual schism in stage/screen acting traditions seems historically inevitable now but in a modern (or postmodern sigh) atmosphere it is also arguable that our standards for acting style have become pretty homogenous outside of obvious comedy and indy experiments. We pride ourselves on our cherry-picking/collaging/pastiching/synthesizing in so many artistic traditions today but when it comes to naturalism in all aspects of film production we pledge our allegiance and criticize anything outside the box pretty harshly--even pieces of art that were not made sharing our viewpoint!

tangent, out of scope, re: DISCOVERY: actually there’s an argument to be made here that the same fierce loyalty to naturalism we expect at all levels of production these days is essentially the same impulse that produces DSC’s hyper-alien (in the trekverse anyway) klingons-->subtitles, over-designed ship interiors, dehumanizing makeup/prosthetic choices etc. or the need for an antihero in everything cuz real heros aint naturalistic neither--our need for ‘believability’ can box the imagination in one way even as it elevates it in another.

point: nimoy is doing some great work in this episode, he’s just working in a different tradition than what people are used to now. same goes for shatner in many other instances of ‘overacting’ that turn the modern viewer off or ‘take them out of it.’ and i’ll say it: SHATNER IS A GREAT ACTOR, but we conflate him with his larger than life character written/directed/performed in/by/for the 60s. further, nimoy’s acting as spock only gets a lot of our modern adulation specifically because his vulcan character is written to downplay emotion which inadvertently shifts much of his performance further into our comfort zone. It’s a daring acting (directorial?) choice for the time, but it doesn’t make his acting BETTER than shatner’s. that’s our 21st century value judgement. his creation of the character still deserves high marks for innovation because his usual subtlety becomes a hallmark of the show when contrasted with the heightened drama of ‘human’ emotions, rendered more flamboyant by his foil. his low-key approach works ingeniously to differentiate spock from his shipmates and make him seem dignified and ALIEN--especially as a departure from prevailing convention. still, my guess is that if nimoy had played a human in the show we’d have a whole string of HIS melodramatic moments to lampoon too, not just poor bill’s lol.
Peter G.
Fri, Nov 23, 2018, 10:14am (UTC -5)
Outstanding write-up, JTIBERIUS.

I agree completely that the sense of style has become completely misunderstood but many in the modern audience, although I think this is largely an American thing, as other cultures that have more of a participation in what we might call cultural theatre appreciate alternative forms of presentation. How many average Americans, for instance, hail ballet as a beautiful form; or how many could watch commedia and enjoy it? The gritty "realistic" form that we see in modern naturalism has come to dominate TV and film, despite the obvious fact that larger-than-life presentation is what people enjoy most, deep down. Christian Bale is generally hailed as being great, but which of his roles gets memed so much and captured their attention? American Psycho, where he put on a magnificent stylized performance. And which villain do people like best? Not the one resembling actual bad people, but Hannibal Lecter, the brilliant boogeyman.

On the performance style in TOS, I would scarcely even call some of it stylized because I believe that people generally have a misapprehension of what real behavior actually is. If you watch people on the actual street behaving, some of it will come across to a TV audience as "unrealistic", as if real life weren't real enough! What Spock goes through in this episode could very well be a real person going through something traumatic. The fact that as we conceive of acting it's heightened and non-naturalistic is almost missing the point, which is that any less than he did here wouldn't be a true representation of the extent of his turmoil.

And Shatner. I am firmly of the belief that he's far and away the best performer any Trek series has had. He has all the thoughtfulness of a Picard with the guts and grime of Sisko, and the bravado of Janeway; and through all of that he has the sheer power to create drama just by his acting over and above the special effects and camera work. This show has so many scenes where his reaction on the bridge is what sells an alien ship attacking the Enterprise, and no other Trek actor has ever come close to that kind of dramatic fervor. I love Nimoy to death and between him and Shatner they basically defined Trek, but it's Shatner's intensity that gives the show so much oomph. And I don't want to selll Doohan short either, because in the eps in which he's in command he's actually able to project a lot of that tension as well. I would actually argue that even he is superior in acting capabilities to anyone in the later series, maybe excepting some standouts like Patrick Stewart and Rene Auberjonois. For all the incredible gravitas Stewart has - and I've seen in on stage in person several times, in addition to his film/TV work - what he doesn't have is the sheer passion and even vulnerability that Shatner allowed into his work as Kirk, and Shatner is every bit as articulate about the intellectual content of the scenes. So I couldn't agree with you more: Shatner is a great actor, actually IMO one of the best I've ever seen. What he does on this show is a legendary acting lesson that never ceases to amaze me. The fact that TV shows aren't directed like this anymore is besides the point, and actually is mostly too bad. Things become iconic when their largess isn't embarassed by itself; Darth Vader doesn't need to be toned down, he's awesome making superlative statements and looking impressive.

And I'll tangentially throw in that I think a lot of what turns people off of Avery Brooks is his sometimes stylized approach to how he delivers dialogue. He'll emphasize words in a sentence in an eccentric way at times, or else bring in a grand sentiment using great energy but certainly not with the graceful smoothness Stewart uses to delivery all text. I'll admit that in S1-2 of DS9 I found Brooks sometimes actually somewhat flat in his delivery, but this seems to bother people less than when he's not flat and is *doing something*, as those critics seem to prefer it when he's toned down and earnest rather than when he's worked up or speaking the lines in different sorts of ways. I guess I understand, but I think there's a theatricality there where the intent is being missed, and I'm happy to he didn't restrict himself to just being naturalistic. Brooks is a musician too, and as an artist (which is how I see him) I can recognize the desire to paint a canvas each time and not just to create a dependable product. And indeed we did see over the years Trek devolving from being a "risk is our business" sort of show to trying to just be a dependable product, and we all know how that turned out.
Fri, Nov 23, 2018, 10:53am (UTC -5)
Terrific write-ups from Peter G. and JTIBERIUS here that touch on the difference in acting between today and the 60s and also how wonderful the acting of Shatner and Nimoy truly were (among a lot of other things!). I could never wax-poetic like they've done here.

I don't think folks today really realize just how good Shatner/Nimoy were and for me, remain the 2 most enduring Trek characters (Picard is a clear 3rd). We don't see acting like this anymore and we've become so used to the crappy (or "naturalized") acting on say, DSC (and I presume plenty of other fiction that I don't watch like GoT, WD etc.)

Spock's breakdown by the virus is absolutely fantastic as his inner war gets spilled out into the open for the first time -- it's truly what elevates this episode from 3 to 3.5 stars for me. Also, in "Operation -- Annihilate!" we see a similar stand-out performance from Spock as he battles the alien parasites attacking his nervous system.

I've long been critical of Avery Brooks' acting but it's a subtlety between his huffing/puffing style and what we see when Shatner "chews scenery" -- the way Shatner does it seems far more natural and yet it is powerful/forceful, whereas when Brooks does it, it comes across as overacting, for me. Shatner is just so much better at performing the range of emotions when acting, whereas Brooks becomes overly monotone when not emotional. This episode is one of Shatner's best performances for sure.
Peter G.
Fri, Nov 23, 2018, 1:05pm (UTC -5)
" I could never wax-poetic like they've done here."

Full credit goes to JTIBERIUS who gave me the inspiration to write something, which I doubt I would have done otherwise. Thanks also to other posters like William B, Elliott, Chrome, and others, who often write thoughtful comments that make me jump out of my chair and feel "I have to write something about that!"

And sorry for the regularity of my typos...I type so quickly and in such a hurry sometimes that I don't have the time to review and spell-check.
Fri, Nov 23, 2018, 7:44pm (UTC -5)
@Peter G/Rahul--first, thank you both very much for your responses to my thoughts. it’s been a very long time since i was active on a trek board but my recent TOS rewatch has made my keyboard fingers itchy and this seemed like a thoughtful, respectful, intimate community worth contributing to. many of the other boards i scoped in preparation to dive back in seemed too massive and/or quarrelsome for my taste and what i see here looks about my speed. you are both active contributors that i have enjoyed reading recently and i look forward to further exchanges.

@Peter G:

absolutely true that the naturalist impulse is primarily a western/american one--but it is one that has had far-flung influence on a global scale in film over the last half-century. It is extremely popular everywhere and has only gained traction with the rise of cross-cultural interconnectivity thanks to the internet. the difference i think is that non-western cultures still have a lot more grassroots access to alternative forms of performative entertainment, or presentation as you say. In many places various types of live performances are still commonplace and culturally relevant IN ADDITION to film-mediums, so non-western cultures are more used to code-switching between styles and engaging different kinds of performances on their own terms. In america specifically, access to stylized artforms like commedia and ballet (and opera, and even orchestral performances and non-performative art spaces like museums etc) is more limited by both education and economic circumstance. people with education (free passes/tickets to college kids) and money are the only ones who can afford to accrue the experience necessary to develop semiotic fluency in a given tradition, and are thus much more likely to develop nuanced appreciation of any (classic) art, not only within the larger cultural zeitgeist, but within its own traditions and conventions as well. variety is the only impediment to homogeneity where people are concerned. I also agree that people do have a natural, visceral response to stylized performance, but today the naturalist mindset only allows such stylized performances as shatner’s kirk to exist when other rules and conventions which eschew the appearance of affectation are also observed--patrick bateman and hannibal lecter are coded as boogeyman BY their stylized acting, but drop them in a film where that is not an obvious meta-choice and watch the reviews trashing them roll in. in other words, our 21st-cent-american-naturalist-tradition does allow us to indulge/enjoy heightened, stylized forms of performance (which, as you say, we enjoy on a deep level), but only when they flaunt meta-awareness, gesture inward at their own frames, or are seamlessly embedded within larger ‘realistic’ contexts. I also like how you point out the real-life-stranger-than-fiction quality of critiques that fail to recognize that our faces themselves are only as expressive as they need be (see evolution).

@Rahul&Peter G.
Re: picard/sisko (&janeway)--i literally cant even right now but know that i don’t lack opinions. I’m trying to stick around the board for a while though so maybe i’ll get there eventually lol. for now i’ll simply state that stewart is a virtuoso who makes everything he’s ever done look effortless, brooks is an actor’s actor and i see/respect his game even when his choices are different than mine would be, and by the end of voyager if you’re not convinced that mulgrew is a goddamn wizard you don’t realize how hard her job really was.

Re: DOOHAN! just thank you.

Re: waxing poetic. in my case it eventually gets tedious but its compulsive so there you go.
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 11:48pm (UTC -5)
Watching and commenting:

-- There's a bunch of frozen people on a planet. And something infects a crewman with an itchy noise before he heads back to the Enterprise. Yu-oh.

--Nurse Chapel with her bizarre hair makes a first appearance.

--Infected crewman goes nuts and infects Sulu and others.

--Very slow moving. About halfway through and almost nothing has happened. Sulu adds a bit of excitement with a sword.

--Now the ship is in danger, and a guy named Riley is singing Irish songs. What's with Star Trek and the Irish? Is this where the tradition of portraying stereotypical Irishmen began?

--Spock is crying. He's talking about his feelings to Jim. Kirk and Spock fighting. Shatner goes full Shatner.

--Really boring. Really boring.

--McCoy inoculating the sick. The planet disintegrates, everyone gets better, but they're in a time warp, going backward in time 3 days, due to the technique they used to get away from the planet. Odd.

--We get to know the characters a little better, so that's good for the young show. Overall, very average offering.
William B
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 10:30am (UTC -5)
I think of this episode fondly, but I wouldn't be surprised if Springy is right that it's very slow, thin etc. I love Sulu with the sword and Spock crying, in particular. (And I do like Riley's singing, FWIW.) I forget some of the other things that happen partway through the episode.
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 11:55am (UTC -5)
Suggest William B. and Springy read the exchange between JTIBERIUS, Peter G.,and myself (to a lesser extent) about what makes this episode pretty good to excellent. Spock's breakdown is phenomenal (Nimoy's acting).

As far as Springy's "Watching and Commenting" posts -- I tend to ignore those. Much better if somebody is able to take at least a few moments to digest the episode and then comment sensibly.
William B
Sat, Mar 9, 2019, 12:47pm (UTC -5)
My memories of this episode are pretty positive, it's just that my main memories are of a few specific scenes (especially the Spock breakdown scene). At some point I'm sure I'll revisit.

I personally enjoy Springy's "watching and commenting" thoughts a lot. I also enjoy people's thoughts after watching the whole episode (as you do). Different strokes, etc.
Tue, Jun 23, 2020, 5:40pm (UTC -5)
So they get those 3 days over again. Kind of sucks for Joe Tormolen though. You see, if had been part of the main cast, they could have rescued him from the past, however, minor characters get the "He's dead Jim" treatment.
Proud Capitalist Pig
Tue, Sep 8, 2020, 1:03pm (UTC -5)
All I have to ask is, "Where do I get some of those funky water molecules?" I don't even think the comparison to alcohol intoxication even describes what I saw here. They weren't just "drunk," they were DRUNK! They were zonked out of their minds. Take Sulu: After he bursts out of his closet with that epee and starts parading around the ship looking to duel with everybody, he seems to be almost in some sort of psychotic euphoria. If he were "drunk," I'm sure he would have fallen on his ass a lot more (Great McCoy line by the way: "Take D'Artagnan here to sickbay.") And maybe "Captain Riley" would certainly be endlessly singing Irish shanties while drunk, but could he really isolate computer systems and sabotage the communications network if he was stumbling-down stupid? No, Dr. McCoy: this was more like super-cocaine or bath salts, haha.

But I digress. Basically, everything about this episode, with the exception of maybe one or two lines, was absurdly awful. The commenters above, waxing poetically about things like character revelations and Spock's emotional turmoil (an aside: I have already seen the recent STAR TREK movies so I already knew about his inner Human/Vulcan calisthenics, admittedly), are giving the show far too much credit. I agree with Jamahl: the scenes were goofy and meaningless. They were a way for the cast to have fun so that NBC could sell cars, beer and (back then) cigarettes.

The mess hall scene, with Joe's freak-out, was ridiculous. Could the prop department have come up with a less threatening-looking knife? Wouldn't a galley at least have a steak knife or two? That butter knife that Joe used looked like it couldn't even cut butter. The "blood" after he stabbed himself looked worse than cheesy. A high-school student filming in his backyard could do a better fake than that, even back then in the 60's. And why didn't Sulu and Riley just SHOOT Joe? They could have even used the stun setting.

Anyways, someone settle an argument for me. My son spoke the episode's title aloud as The NAKED Time, probably hoping for some certain shenanigans among the crew as they all went batshit crazy. I read it as The Naked TIME. (Point in my favor: As I told my kid, "No one got naked on network television in the 1960's. Janice isn't going to rip off her clothes for you tonight.")

So who's right? Where does the emphasis go? This is about the only ponderous dilemma I could salvage out of this claptrap.

Best line -- Spock, to Dr. McCoy: "The readings are perfectly normal for me, Doctor. Thank you. And as for my anatomy being different from yours, I am delighted."

My Grade: D
Thu, Oct 22, 2020, 12:44pm (UTC -5)
The Naked Time

Star Trek
Season 1 episode 4

3 stars (out of 4)

"RILEY: Last week it was botany he was trying to get me interested in. I was supposed to be collecting leaves, plant specimens.

SULU: Your attitude is all wrong. Fencing tones the muscle, sharpens the eye, improves the posture.”

- Sulu and Riley, clearly on a date.

There is just so much going on here. We see Nurse Chapel for the first time! And she declares her love for Spock. Oh yeah, and Kirk declares his undying love for the ship. I agree, @Jammer, Spock sitting alone crying just totally messes with your head. Star Trek was definitely not afraid to really dig deep and go dark.

And we get a touch of good old fashioned racism. Spock asks “Where is Mr. Sulu?” And Riley responds:

RILEY: Have no fear, O'Riley's here. One Irishman is worth ten thousand -

And Spock strategically cuts him off before he can use whatever slur he was going for there. Good times.

@Skeptical, Uhura snapping at Kirk was just so vivid. I sometimes get that from my secretary. It is scary as fuck! Its actually more scary when they, like Uhura here, quickly catch themselves and then just agree with you. You basically have to let them go home early for the rest of the week just to keep out of the dog house. I really like how Kirk just stops and says a simple “Sorry.” He knows he shouldn’t have pushed her. And Uhura smiles, silently forgiving him. Kirk really is an incredible people manager. And I agree with @Peter G., it is shocking how good an actor Shatner was.

The episode ends on a curious note,

SPOCK: Since the formula worked, we can go back in time, to any planet, any era.

KIRK: We may risk it someday, Mister Spock.

Oh if only they knew… .

Back to the main romantic plot line for the hour:

SULU: I'm sweating like a bridegroom.

RILEY: Yeah, me too.

SULU: Hey, why don't you come down to the gym with me, Kevin m’lad?


SULU: Why not? Light workout will take the edge off.

RILEY: Sulu, what about. Hey, Sulu, don't be a fool!

Yeah Sulu, don’t be a fool. @Proud Capitalist Pig, Spock does note, "Hidden personality traits being forced to the surface.”

NAKED Time indeed.
Sun, Dec 13, 2020, 2:15pm (UTC -5)
This episode accomplished a lot that the sequel/remake TNG Naked Now didn’t: a whole lot of character development. Kirk and Spock especially, but to some degree Chapel, Uhura and Sulu.

The infection is likened to alcohol intoxication, and getting Kirk and Spock getting plastered here does what it does to a lot of people: makes them wallow in their deepest fears. Spock’s fear is losing control itself, and this he’s completely clobbered. Kirk’s fear is losing the ship, with is literally about to happen in a few minutes.

The Naked Now was criticized for running far too early in the series, before you even knew the characters. The Naked Time runs very early in its series too, but manages to define several characters.

The backwards running clock always amused me. Maybe it’s actually picking up a beacon or something?
Sun, Dec 13, 2020, 2:24pm (UTC -5)
@Tanner: “ How could Kirk make a log entry saying, “what we don’t know is that a disease has invaded the ship”?”

In the real world, these are “logs” were a recap for the audience. In-universe, the standard fan wank is that Kirk is retroactively creating or augmenting the ship’s logs.

“ Sulu and Riley, clearly on a date.”

Heh, it certainly could be read that way!
Fri, Jul 9, 2021, 8:29am (UTC -5)
Pretty dumb and negligent of the LT Junior Grade to take his glove off in an environment where something really bad had happened to cause mass hysteria and death. I liked the idea of the transporter being used for decontamination. Though it obviously didn’t penetrate the suit. You’d think it could because the transporter was at the molecular level. The episode was silly but did show the perils of a virus. It was neat how the discovery of time travel was unleashed. Probably the biggest threat to mankind!!! A good episode but not stellar, I give it an A-.
Mon, Jan 24, 2022, 10:09pm (UTC -5)
I’ve been re-watching my beloved DA9 with my wife and have started trying to watch TOS on my own. I’ve never quite been able to fully get into TOS before but something while watching this episode this time clicked and I really loved it. I think it was the strength of the acting that primarily did it for me but it was also a strong script that balanced humor with a primary hook that gave great insight into the characters. Even Sulu’s kind of comedic take on space madness have you a real sense of his character.
Wed, Apr 13, 2022, 12:32am (UTC -5)
At least they BOTHERED with suits, unlike the TNG remake.

I don't think they wore suits throughout TNG's run.

Sure they shouldn't casually breach them, but still ;)
Thu, May 19, 2022, 7:58pm (UTC -5)
This is a good episode. The crewman casually removing the glove from his suit and than wiping his face with his bare hand and some acting that is too over the top, even considering the circumstances, hold it back from being great. I think 3 out of 4 stars is a fair review.
Michael Miller
Sun, Oct 2, 2022, 7:14pm (UTC -5)
The guy taking off his glove was an idiot, you would think a 23rd century star fleet officer would know better. I like the idea of an alien intoxicating virus, but come on, would 23rd century people really revert back to 19th century drunken behavior like that. The BS that they have to cut through wall circuitry just to open a door was ridiculous though. Just phaser your way through, or pry them open. What about a site to site transport? Would they really need warp drive just to pull out of a planets orbit? Probably ordinary rocket thrusters would be enough. And I know it was written in the 60s but what's up with all the unlabeled levers on every consol. Like literally aircraft before the 60s had more complicated controls! As for the whole "anti-matter implosion backward time warp" to restart the engine, I don't have a clue LOL.
Michael Miller
Sun, Oct 2, 2022, 7:17pm (UTC -5)
But seriously why does every control station on that ship look like a 3 year olds toy?
Sat, Jan 7, 2023, 7:06pm (UTC -5)
This is one of my personal favorites. Certainly better than some of the later episodes. Good story, acting, and character development. I judge these episodes on there own merits, not against any of the later Trek series. I've never watched any of the later ones anyway. Given their age, 55 years, and the quality of other programs from that era, they were ground breaking and cutting edge without any CGI or mega budget either. And see Scotty, you can change the laws of physics.
Sun, Jun 4, 2023, 9:26am (UTC -5)
Ok so the opening scene doesn’t do this episode any favors. The utter stupidity of that crewman not only taking his protective glove off, but then casually reaching up under his helmet to scratch his face, is bad, even by the more forgiving standards I measure TOS by. The fact that his helmet wasn’t sealed at all and he could just push his hand easily to his itchy nose is so absurd that no amount of historical perspective can forgive such ridiculousness. It’s especially frustrating because it would have been so easy for him to get infected by, say, tearing a small hole in his suit somehow, or accidentally puncturing his *gloved* hand on something sharp, any number of super simple ways of getting the plot moving in a way that didn’t leave me laughing out loud at how dumb this guy was. But, instead it seems starfleet needs to upgrade its field training.
Once you get past that forehead slapping moment tho, this episode does some decent character work. We get insight into Kirk and Spock in particular that really fleshes out some of their major motivations as people.
Also this episode is just sort of fun. It’s not the most intellectual assessment, but there’s a certain intangible quality that permeates TOS in general, perhaps the term “campy” refers to this, but The Naked Time has some of that intangible on display.
Lastly, I’ll point out that having sulu run around wielding a fencing foil and acting like a musketeer subverted Asian stereotypes that are still problematic to this day. Whether that was the intention or not, I don’t know, but I’ve always felt that was a clever little kick in the pants to contemporary American racial expectations. They easily could have had him hallucinating he was a samurai or kung-fu master or some such low hanging fruit, but instead his delusion reflected his character’s personal interests rather than feeding some preconceived idea attached to his racial identity. Like I said, maybe the show wasn’t putting that much thought into it, but I think this character beat for sulu was very progressive.
All together, a worthwhile and fun episode.
Fri, Jun 16, 2023, 4:30pm (UTC -5)

This episode is not a favourite of mine, perhaps because of the stupid starting point you mentioned, but it seems to have its heart in the right place. It’s so relatable, so human.

It certainly has a lot of funny moments: Sulu with the sword (I especially love his reaction when he pricks his thumb!); Riley’s uncommon orders; Uhura and Kirk snapping at each other although Riley’s singing should be the least of their worries… nevertheless, I’m not sure if I’d call it a fun episode. The disease blocks everyone’s self-control, bringing out their hidden desires, and that’s where we get some pretty dark moments such as Tormolen’s suicide, Spock’s breakdown or Kirk’s crisis.

And while the stupidity of the opening scene is unforgivable, the writing in the final confrontation between Kirk and Spock is just great, with their roles slowly reversing and their dialogues beautifully blending into each other: at the beginning, it’s Spock who suffers from the effects of the disease and is unable to listen to what Kirk is trying to tell him about the urgency of the situation; then he regains his self-control and remembers the formula, but by then Kirk is affected, lost in his thoughts and doesn’t hear a word. The vulnerability the script allows its main male hero figures to show here is amazing.

And what I also find quite remarkable is the crew’s reaction when they travel back in time in the final scene. One would assume that in view of such a discovery they are excited, enthusiastic… but instead, there’s breathless silence on the bridge, their reactions show caution, tension, almost suspicion, as if they were immediately aware of the risks of time travel. With that in mind, it fits that time travel episodes in TOS don’t only contain lighthearted comedy (like “Tomorrow is Yesterday”) but also a fully-fledged tragedy such as “The City on the Edge of Forever”.
Sat, Jun 17, 2023, 3:13pm (UTC -5)
@ lannion

For an episode that shows all our characters acting out of character, particularly in a series that’s only a handful of episodes old at this point, The Naked Time does some great work at illuminating who all these people are. I think that’s my main appreciation for this one. If you were to watch the entirety of season two of TOS and then happen to catch The Naked Time, it would still help you get to know the crew better. So when I say it’s “fun”, I mean that in the sense that it’s thought provoking, even in its wackiness and with its madness induced suicides.

Also tormolen technically died of a lack of will to live or something, rather than butter knife impalement, which is pretty dark indeed.

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