Star Trek: The Original Series

“Where No Man Has Gone Before”

3 stars.

Air date: 9/22/1966
Written by Samuel A. Peeples
Directed by James Goldstone

Review Text

When zapped by a mysterious energy field, Kirk's longtime friend and fellow shipmate, Lt. Cmdr. Gary Mitchell (Gary Lockwood), begins developing telekinesis and other astounding superhuman powers. Power corrupts, however, and Mitchell soon sees the Enterprise and its crew as being as far beneath him as any insect. With no choice but to attempt marooning Mitchell on a nearby planet, Kirk finds that he must battle one-on-one with a former friend who is now a powerful being.

The famous second pilot for NBC features an admirable mix of action scenes, choices for the captain, and a contemplation on what an individual may do if given powers beyond what he was meant to have. Interestingly, Dr. Elizabeth Dehner (Sally Kellerman) offers the sole voice of initial curiosity in embracing this superbeing when everyone else harbors fear. All in all it's not a great hour of Trek, but it's a good one.

Previous episode: Charlie X
Next episode: The Naked Time

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67 comments on this post

    So TOS was given a second chance with mostly new characters and it really works. A bit more action packed than "The Cage" but there is still room for philosophical debate regarding the nature of a "god-like" man.

    Considering the differences in make-up, costuming and set design it seems odd to this day that NBC chose to air this episode 3rd in the running order.

    But we have some great dynamics here. At this point Kirk and Spock clearly are not friends and there is a more straight on professional relationship between them. We get to see Kirk beat Spock at chess for the first time (or second seeing as this aired after "Charlie X).

    You get the sense of long friendship between Kirk and Mitchell, but it's unfortunate that Mitchell couldn't have been established in a few episodes to make his transformation and death a little more tragic.

    We get to see the cold unfeeling logic from Spock when he tells Kirk to kill Mitchell NOW.

    And Sally Kellerman gives a wonderful guest performance as Dr. Dehner. Her scenes with Mitchell have spark.

    Include some nice visuals such as the Enterprise crossing the barrier and the planet sets for Delta Vega and we have a wonderful reintroduction to TREK.

    This was on last night and I'm amazed every time I watch it. It really holds up.

    There are a few things that the creators hadn't figured out, like when Sulu talks about pennies and millionaires. And the technology is a little goofy -- like the records Spock reviews that clearly look like microfilm and the wires on Delta Vega.

    But Kirk is essentially the Kirk we get to know over the years and while Spock is a little off, he's clearly coming together as a character. It's also interesting -- in a series often noted for red-shirt deaths -- that the second pilot kills off two members of the bridge crew, presumably two major characters in the missions we never saw. Scotty and Sulu are also pretty well defined (even if Sulu isn't yet at the helm).

    I do think this episode and 'Space Seed' best show an optimism about man's ability to get to space quickly that turned out to be misplaced and had to be corrected as Star Trek continued through the '80s and '90s.

    The Valiant apparently was a full-fledged space vessel 200 years before Kirk's 5-year mission, according to this episode. With chronology established later, we know that would put the Valiant's launch around 2064.

    I think, at some point, the creators of Star Trek pushed back just exactly when things were taking place during Kirk's 5-year mission, probably to accommodate the lack of forward momentum of human space exploration after the 1960s. At a couple points -- including in this episode -- it appears that only 200 years have passed since the late 20th century, and not the 300 established later (the first year mentioned in Star Trek is in "The Neutral Zone" when Data tells the 20th-century humans that the current year is 2364). Mitchell says that a poem written in 1996 was one of the most passionate "in the past couple of centuries." Kirk, in "Space Seed", tells Khan that two centuries had passed since the late 1990s. Kirk also jokes in "Tomorrow is Yesterday" that if he were locked up for 200 years in 1960s Earth, that that would "be just about right."

    Other than that, there aren't a lot of clues to exactly when TOS is taking place. But those details would put TOS somewhere in the latter half of the 22nd century -- not the latter half of the 23rd, as is now understood -- meaning the Valiant would have launched in the late 1990s or thereabouts. BTW, 'Enterprise' had to deal with this in the Augments trilogy, effectively moving Khan's rule on Earth into the 21st century, even though 'Space Seed' clearly puts all of that in the 1990s.

    I think the creators made this decision before Star Trek II, which begins "In the 23rd century ... " and dealt with a storyline in 1982 where Khan's rule would have been around the corner. Kirk kind of confirms this in Star Trek IV when he tells Gillian that he's from the late 23rd century.

    Whenever it happened, it was a fundamental change in Star Trek, and it kind of went unnoticed. The only thing that's comparable is the decision in early-VOY/mid-DS9 to change the nature of time travel, where effect no longer needs cause (this is most notable in 'Visonary' and 'Time and Again' -- but it pops up in 'First Contact').

    Anyway, I've always wondered if the ST creators had discussions about this kind of stuff -- where they knew they were fundamentally altering an unspoken premise.

    Interesting that this episode again emphasises the vulnerability of humans intrepid enough to undertake space travel. Members of the crew are clearly frightened when negotiating the force field that causes the change in Mitchell.

    There is a lot of insight into Kirk, his role as an educator at Starfleet Academy is briefly mentioned as well as his loyalty and great capacity for enduring friendships. The conflict between his professional and personal selves is neatly portrayed with Spock seemingly suffering none of the human 'frailties' that act to prevent Mitchell from coping with the enormous changes that take place within him.

    It is intriguing that we never discover what the nature of the phenomenon that effected him was and therefore whether there was an intent or if the area remained a threat to future shipping. The programme contains a lot of mystery and rather than consider that a limitation of the writing, as most teleplays now leave no uncertainty as to any aspect of their content, I find it refreshingly realistic.

    This is the second pilot, and so the first produced episode featuring James Kirk (Gary Mitchell creates a gravestone which says “James R. Kirk,” which we can say out-of-universe is a character detail that is currently not settled, and in-universe evidence that Mitchell is not a great friend anyway) as well as the first (production) appearances of Scotty and Sulu. This is also where Spock’s character is more clearly established as the logical, rational sort, which wasn’t as clear in “The Cage” (where he seemed a little hotheaded). Probably its greatest contribution, though, is in setting the tone for the series’ take on exploration. It’s there in the title: this is the episode about “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” where physically/geographically the ship leaves the galaxy. But really it’s about where no man has gone before morally and ethically.

    Part of “exploring the unknown” means leaving behind civilization, and this is part of why Roddenberry could sell the show as a space western—one of the most common western themes is what happens at the edge of, or outside of, civilization. (This is also a huge part of what makes the even more explicit space-western Firefly so appealing, in spite of its short running time.) It’s also a main theme in works like Heart of Darkness, also about people going mad with power outside “civilization” (though in HoD’s case of course Kurtz has not left humanity behind, just his own people.) And what happens there is that people have powers they didn’t have before, which can lead eventually to the iconic western hero and villain—lone gunslingers with power over life and death. I think philosophically it makes sense to tackle this as one of the very first stories (and they tackle it again even very early on, in “Charlie X”), because one of the biggest dangers of going out into the unknown is discovering one is no longer bound by a large, bustling society, and that this brings with it a kind of power. It’s not literal power, the way Mitchell starts being able to control the world with his mind, but it is something like it, and I think that’s the metaphor behind Mitchell and Dehner (and a few high-ESP people on the previous human ship which passed by here) gaining all kinds of power the moment the ship leaves the galaxy.

    While establishing how power corrupts, the episode emphasizes that human vulnerability is the key thing to maintain in order to remain sane and non-destructive. Mitchell regards Kyle with contempt because he is a “fool,” too stupid or incompetent to notice that he had put the ship in danger. He eventually regards Kirk as a fool, too, for not dispensing of Mitchell when he had the chance, because he can see, already, that Kirk’s compassion is a weakness. But when Mitchell is hurt, and his eyes go back to normal, he is able to have compassion again. On some level, definitely, it seems as if the powers are “affecting” him, and feeling pain makes the power lose its grip on him, or whatever; my feeling is that the way it works is that feeling pain reminds Mitchell of what it is like to be human, and allows him to feel a kinship with and compassion for the other humans that surround him, that fades once he is back to his godlike status. Being human means being susceptible to pain, and needing other humans somehow, and that is part of what allows us to connect to others. Along similar lines, while hyper-rational Spock berates Kirk for wasting so much time before putting an end to Mitchell, Kirk’s willingness to take a big risk on letting Mitchell live is part of what keeps Kirk admirable and compassionate. He goes to kill Mitchell only after it’s clear that there are no other options and Mitchell has already become a murderer, but he still hesitates—which hurts him, yes, but which is part of what gets through to Dehner that Mitchell needs to be stopped. This is a really good episode for Kirk, as a result, balancing the needs of his ship, his curiosity, and his compassion, while having him deal with a transformation of his close friend.

    But I like that the episode does make clear that Mitchell is right about one thing. I think Mitchell would probably have gone mad with the power no matter what, but the fact that Spock is already talking about killing him before he’s done anything wrong is part of what pushes Mitchell into himself, makes him take up offense as the best defense. Mitchell goes off the deep end rather quickly, but it’s not like he’s wrong that he is in danger by the Enterprise crew. In a lot of ways, what happens to Mitchell is a failure on the part of both him and the Enterprise crew, especially Spock’s. (For a TNG comparison, is much closer to Worf than to Data here, though his pure rationality is driving it rather than any actual aggression.) And in a bigger sense it’s really nobody’s “fault,” because the kind of power that is given to Mitchell is a little beyond anything humans are able to deal with, which is part of why Kirk’s eventually recommending a commendation for Mitchell makes sense to me, as does the final exchange between him and Spock, where Spock himself admits to feeling for Mitchell. The message seems to me to be: it is dangerous out there, and the power that comes from freedom is going to be too much for some people to handle, but still, have compassion for them. This is all done in extreme SF exaggerations (Mitchell goes mad because he has absolute power and invulnerability dumped on him, which is not really the actual experience of anyone leaving civilization), but it’s a recognizably human story, well told.

    I'd say 3.5 stars for me.

    It begins. (I'm re-watching, in production order)

    I'd forgotten how "Pilot"-y this was, albeit closer to the long term show than The Cage was.

    I definitely preferred The Cage, but babes and topless fist fights were what sold shows to NBC in those days, and so it's a necessary part of the show's history. I've seen worse show pilots, I think.

    The confrontation between Kirk and Mitchell at the end of this episode is so similar to the final Dukat/Sisko scene in "What You Leave Behind" that I can't help but think the latter was a deliberate parallel.

    Even the roles of Dehner and Winn in the final conflict were similar.

    Always loved the "cage-like" look of this ep. Both pilots have that look of 50s scifi that I always found to have a certain mystique.

    Also enjoyed how gary was portrayed as essentially turning into a Q but in a much more human and believable way. 3+ for me as well.

    This episode isn't perfect. But the continuity problems -- like Sulu talking about pennies -- can be shrugged off considering that this was the second pilot.

    That said, it's amazing how much the characterization of Kirk, Sulu and Scotty match what we'd see for the next 30 years. Kirk, in particular, works well here. None of the other captains was as on target so early in a series. Picard, in particular, changed a lot after the first few episodes of TNG and Sisko's evolution -- while written into the story -- was pretty striking.

    But if you watched Kirk in this episode compared with something in the second or third season, he's pretty much the same guy. Spock, of course, doesn't really hit his mark until the ninth or 10th episode.

    Pilots are, by their very nature, clunky beasts. They have to introduce the primary characters, establish the feel of a world, and lay the groundwork for what a series will be going forward. They are almost always exposition heavy, and the stories they tell are often perfunctory table-setters, with more complicated and interesting storytelling left for the series to come.

    “Where No Man Has Gone Before” doesn’t exactly rise above these limitations but, taking them into account, it does a pretty good job of setting up the “Star Trek” series. The review is spot on in that, while this isn’t a great episode, it’s a good one. The visual aesthetic of the ship is clear and builds the world of the Enterprise almost immediately, the special effects (such as the transporter) get a work-out to show off what they can do, and Captain Kirk and Spock come to life perfectly right from the start.

    There are several touches here that I’m sorry didn’t survive into the series proper. Doctor Dehner is a stronger female character with a larger role in the plot than we’d see again for some time, if ever. The female crew members in general are costumed in slacks rather than short skirts, suggesting an atmosphere that actually had made some strides toward gender neutrality. The idea of the evolution of the human mind via ESP is intriguing, but is never really followed up on.

    The decision to air this third in the series run rather than first is baffling, given all the changes that took place (most notably swapping out the ship MD for Doctor McCoy). It would’ve made a made better start than “Man Trap.” It may not be great Star Trek but, as a way to begin the voyage, it’s a strong push forward and very promising for what’s to come.

    Regarding the airing of pilots and the order of stories:

    I don't think the same kind of care and thought went into those decisions as they do today. These days, almost every dramatic show has some time of "soap opera" element where each new show builds on previous ones -- some do it more overtly than others.

    With self-contained shows, it doesn't matter nearly as much.

    All that said, I find the decision baffling too. I don't see a good reason not to show the pilot first.

    Difficult for me to expand significantly on any of the excellent comments, particularly those of Paul's and William's. I enjoyed William's isolation of "compassion" as the significant quality that became inversely proportional to the growth of Gary Mitchell's god-like persona.

    The only aspect I would add is to give an enthusiastic nod to the direction of Gary and Elizabeth as portraying their evolving characters with a pronounced physical stiffness. Such is often the case in real psychological armor (review historical records of totalitarian dictators or any extremist today, Left or Right). It's often most prevalent in their "frozen" faces. I didn't know about this as a boy in the 1960's, of course, but I do now, having studied these phenomena in depth. When Gary briefly transforms back to human in the holding cell on the planet, his softness returns and he utters, "Jim," before losing the empathy and compassion of his humanity again, in effect, re-armoring. A similar scene can be studied in Spielberg's "Schindler's List" when Amon Goeth has pardoned a few prisoners, then looks in his bedroom mirror and says to himself, "I pardon you." The outstanding acting by Fiennes shows clearly the armor returning and, a few seconds later, he goes to his balcony and shoots a prisoner dead.

    The portrayal was also perfect in hooking into the kinesiology of another well-known monster: Frankenstein's. I mean, c'mon, they can create beautiful gardens out of nothing, destroy force fields, move cups of water, strangle unsuspecting Kelso's with a cable, and on and on... but they can't lubricate their knee joints? So yeah, while I thought it was just creepy as a boy, I find this peculiarity brilliant today.

    I must say I thought than on the whole this was a very good episode. Despite it suffering from the exposition necessary of any pilot Shatner nailed Kirk right from the outset. And while Nimoy didn't quite have Spock nailed down he had already evolved from the shouting smiling Vulcan that was shown(later) in The Cage.
    Everyone knows the premise here so no need to mention it. But I will say it is quite thought provoking. And I think while Mitchell was at first portrayed as a sympathetic character by the end of the episode most of that had evaporated due to his actions. But the actor that really handed in the best performance was Kellerman. Despite being initially insulted by Mitchell she quickly forgave him and was the most vocal in his defense. She even went so far as to tell Kirk that she planned to stay with him on the planet(this was before her change)so presumably he wouldn't be alone. This one act demonstrates the compassion inherent in women. And then finally when she herself was undergoing the change she realizes that Mitchell had indeed become a monster and used her lesser powers to help Kirk kill him, at the cost of her own life. Wow!
    After seeing a sympathetic performance like that I couldn't help but wish that her character had somehow survived and gone on to be the Doctor on the Enterprise. I mean talk about a strong female character in sci-fi Dr. Dehner was it. And while I loved McCoy you would think that a starship would have to have more than one Doctor just to be on the safe side. But I guess it was just too much to ask of mid sixties tv. The were already pushing the envelope with a black woman on the bridge and a sympathetic Japanese character in Sulu. I guess a female Doctor would have been to much. Perhaps Kellerman's only fault was that she wasn't Roddenberry's mistress.
    I know that the sets from the mid sixties are a bit cheesy compared to today. But I just want to say the matte painting used to show Delta Vega was just stunning. It was so good that it was kept unchanged when it was re-released with updated effects. That is certainly a testament to the artist that worked on Star Trek.
    I would also like to say that this concept was also explored in one of the early TNG episodes when Q gave his power to Riker. Fortunately Riker realized the danger to himself and his crew mates thereby averting disaster.
    On a more personal note many years ago as a college freshman in a philosophy class our teacher posed a question to the class. He told us to imagine that we had a ring that we could wear that would make us invisible. Then he asked us to imagine what sort of person we would become. In hind sight I think it's worth noting that he didn't ask us what is the first thing we would do but rather what sort of a person we would become. A question of this sort is asked here and it pretty much lets you know that no matter how enlightened the human subject disaster is sure to follow.

    "He told us to imagine that we had a ring that we could wear that would make us invisible."

    You speaks of the precious...

    Robert, my teacher might indeed have been a Tolkien fan. But this was in the seventies, years before the big budget movies.

    ^ a hardcore Tolkien fan, then. hah!

    The announcement of a new Trek series in 2017 put me into a Trek mood and I didn't feel like continuing TNG just I just started watching TOS instead :D

    This is all new to me, unlike TNG, I barely watched TOS episodes as a child. In fact, I think I've mostly seen some movies.

    About "The Cage": I liked this more than I was expecting, even when the only regular character I recognized was Spock. And his characterization was waaaaay off.

    "Where no Man* has gone before" is even better, imo. Finally we get to see almost all the traditional cast. As you guys said, Spock needs a bit of work, but that's to be expected.

    *(I like how they changed that line to "Where no ONE" in TNG, subtle social progress)

    And I was a bit worried about my enjoyment of Kirk, after watching 3 and a half seasons of TNG, THE Captain for me was Picard. But I really liked Kirk's personality and charisma, nice acting from Shatner there.

    The rest, well, you guys said most of it already. I read somewhere that "Mitchell" couldn't see all that well with those lenses. So, that's why he seems to be watching everything with a smug look on his face. It worked wonders for his character.

    So far, two episodes in with TOS and I'm impressed how much stuff and plotlines were created during TOS time instead of TNG.

    I hope the other 70 or so episodes are somewhat good and enjoyable.

    Kirk shirt rip!
    I've always liked that matte painting of the planet surface
    'A god needs compassion' is a nice Star Trek philosophy; I wish they'd explored it more, actually.

    The gender politics are as irritating as ever.
    Angry Spock is angry.

    They made no attempt to hide Kirk's stunt double. I assume it was harder to see on old televisions.

    Overall: I'm torn between two and half stars and three. I'll say three, since it was the pilot.

    You quite correctly answered your own objection about the fact that no attempt was made to hide Kirk's stunt double. The low resolution 525x333 analog tv of the sixties made it very difficult to tell that a stunt double was being used. Of course when you see it at 1920x1080 digital it is quite obvious. As well as Spock's ears and the paint strokes in the cheap bridge sets. But I can hardly bring myself to see this as a flaw since is was only intended for the medium of the time.

    @Jeffrey Bedard

    "You get the sense of long friendship between Kirk and Mitchell, but it's unfortunate that Mitchell couldn't have been established in a few episodes to make his transformation and death a little more tragic."

    Yes. I'm reminded of the character of Peter Durst (Brian Markinson) in the V'ger episode "Cathexis," who was introduced just so he could be bumped off by the Vidiians in the next episode, "Faces."

    I'm not going to complain about putting the pilot as the third episode of the season, even if it is obvious that the feel of the episode is different than the two before it. But why place it right by Charlie X? We're three episodes in, and this is now the second where a human has mighty powers and behaves badly. Fortunately, I think this one is a bit better.

    I know that the relationship between Kirk and Mitchell was supposed to be the big emotional impact of the show, but it's really bringing Dehner into the mix that makes it work. She is able to act like a middle man between the two, giving her power too in order to give her a reason to be tempted to joining Mitchell's side but retaining enough of her humanity long enough to see Mitchell's destructiveness. There's a bit of some mixed religious symbolism in the scene where Mitchell and Dehner escape on the planet. Mitchell produces a garden for her to live in, playing the part of God giving Eden to Adam and Eve, but then immediately offers her an exotic apple, playing the role of the serpent. I don't think this symbolism was unintentional. Mitchell is both God and Satan here, and it is the latter part that Dehner rejects.

    "Above all else, a god needs compassion!" Kirk flat out says it. He may have been Mitchell's friend, but what we see of Mitchell isn't enough to declare him a good person. He's a womanizer, a bit arrogant, and not above playing tricks and manipulating others. There's no reason to believe he started with compassion and morals, and so there's no reason that he would gain them when he gains his powers. But when he does gain his powers, he is still thinking of himself. He is, rightly so, well beyond the mental and physical prowess of humans, like a god. But that shouldn't automatically mean he is free to dismiss humans. That's what Kirk recognizes when he shouts that phrase. That's why there's the symbolism of Gary being the serpent with the apple. Mitchell sees humans as tools, as creatures he can manipulate, as pawns to be cast off when inconvenient. "Morals are for men, not gods" he says. And it is what separated Dehner from Mitchell; she may very well have been a god, but she still saw Kirk as an equal. She still felt compassion and empathy for others, and thus still had her morality. And thus, she was able to judge both Kirk and Mitchell equally, and found Mitchell lacking. Yes, thematically they needed to have Kirk have the final fight with Mitchell and be the one to kill him because he's the star of the show, but Dehner is the real hero of the episode. And I think that does show in the final product.

    A few other thoughts:

    - "I'm contemplating the death of an old friend" is a great line. Some of the 60s style of TV is a bit tough to watch, but moments like that make it worthwhile.

    - Speaking of old TV style, some "sci-fi" aspects of this episode really date it. A barrier surrounding the galaxy to prevent man from crossing it? People having natural psychic ability? These were common ideas in the 50s and early 60s, but I think were even dated in the literature of the time when this episode aired. Oh well, I won't hold it against them.

    - So Kirk checkmates Spock, and Spock says Kirk played illogically? Um, I don't think you know what the word logical means... Also, regardless of Kirk's unique playing style, surely Spock can see one move ahead and see that he is looking at checkmate. Even novice players can do that...

    - Given the long shadow that TNG and its ethos has on the modern Trek era, it is downright bizarre to see the casual lack of mercy being shown in these first three episodes. Kirk and company make no effort to save the salt creature, barely plead for Charlie's life to the alien, talk casually of killing Mitchell long before he starts to become seriously dangerous. I know, different era, and it is somewhat refreshing to see self-interest and a grim realism for the unknown, but in all three cases an argument can be made for a more Picard-like approach. Would Mitchell have turned violent so quickly if he didn't know about the arguments Spock was making? I have no idea.

    "Speaking of old TV style, some "sci-fi" aspects of this episode really date it. A barrier surrounding the galaxy to prevent man from crossing it? People having natural psychic ability? These were common ideas in the 50s and early 60s, but I think were even dated in the literature of the time when this episode aired. Oh well, I won't hold it against them."

    Were there ever any references in the TNG/DS9/VOY era to Starfleet exploring outside the galaxy? Maybe we can assume they didn't because of the barrier that Kirk's crew discovered, but that does seem like the kind of concept that the New-Trek series would prefer to ignore. Then again, maybe it's just not a high priority given that three quadrants within the Milky Way still aren't that well known.

    @ Kevin-

    Though I can't think of any specific examples I kind of remember Q saying something about exploring the galaxies, and that one day humanity might be ready for it.


    "Were there ever any references in the TNG/DS9/VOY era to Starfleet exploring outside the galaxy?"

    TNG, Season 1, Episode 6: "Where No One Has Gone Before."

    One of my favourite episodes. And the title is almost the same as this one ;)

    Very cool seeing the 2nd pilot episode without the usual crew in action - which must have made things seem odd when it aired after "The Man Trap" and "Charlie X".
    In any case, it's a strong episode with Mitchell and Dehner's characters adding a lot of depth, good acting. Kirk's character is already right where it needs to be - as if Shatner had already acted in a number of episodes as Kirk. Spock's character is a bit excitable still. Scotty/Sulu appear in secondary roles and McCoy isn't the chief medical officer yet.
    Some things are a bit hard to believe even from the standpoint of sci-fi.
    Thought-provoking episode on a number of levels from Dehner's fascination with Mitchell after his transformation, how absolute power corrupts, and positing strange phenomena at the edge of the galaxy. Definitely good enough for a pilot episode.
    For me, I'd rate this episode 3/4.

    3 years later another rewatch. Not as good a pilot as The Cage, but not bad. Mitchell just has one of those "if I started hitting it, I'd not want to stop" kind of smug faces :)

    Interesting in that it's very much fantasy rather than sci-fi, with the magical powers and such, laying the foundations for what would be a show that mixed the two quite a lot.

    Hard to say how I'd rate it.. it does seem to hold up decently.

    Very astute analysis of the episode. I too noticed the religious overtones of Mitchel creating the garden, and then completely missed the significance of him being the one that hands the apple to Dehner. And no, I, like you, can't believe for a minute that is was unintentional.
    I also find it interesting that you postulate that Mitchell may not have been a really good person from the beginning and that Dehner was, and this might have been the thing that allowed her to hold onto her humanity long enough to realize that Mitchell had to die. I had always assumed that it was simply because she was not as far along in the process as Mitchell and that eventually she would also succumb to the temptation to be amoral. We do apparently both agree that Kellerman turned in a great performance as Dehner.
    In any event you had some great insights about the episode that I had never considered.

    @ Cloudane,

    "Interesting in that it's very much fantasy rather than sci-fi, with the magical powers and such, laying the foundations for what would be a show that mixed the two quite a lot."

    I would call this episode unequivocally a sci-fi outing. It's stated early on that the onset of powers is correlated to the ESP rating of the person struck (a matter of scientific interest to many in the 60's, both Soviet and American), and additionally, it explores a theme roughly in line with what the series would late say about the Eugenics Wars, where men who become "superior" to others run the risk of beginning to believe they're gods.

    Of side interest to the setting of this ep is the barrier at the edge of the galaxy, which both here and, ironically, in ST: V, involves what seems like the suggestion that the barrier is not merely a natural phenomenon but has an intelligence behind it. Whether this means the barrier is, itself, some kind of intelligence, or maybe has properties 'like' intelligence, I don't know. Maybe it was put there by an advanced being and has traces of their energy patterns inside. Who knows.

    Overall I would class this in with the Arthur C. Clarke principle of sci-fi, where things appear to be magical only because they're too advanced for us to understand. TOS, as you imply, does involve many encounters that are meant to show how primitive man still is in the 23rd century. TNG hold back on this for the most part, only occasionally presenting characters like Q and Kevin Uxbridge.

    Peter wasn't STV about a journey to the centre of the galaxy, not to its edge? I presumed it was a different energy barrier.

    I think Jammer's rating is a little low - I'd go 3.5 stars. Normally, I would say 3.0 stars since they are so many changed premises between this episode and all the other episodes of Star Trek TOS. However, this is a pilot, so a certain amount of inconsistency is be expected and allowed.

    I find it interesting that among the very 1st words spoken on Star Trek is Captain Kirk's statement "The impossible has happened". This is a recurring theme - the "impossible" keeps happening over and over again. I know this is dramatic, but it would make more sense to say "the seemingly impossible" of the "supposedly impossible has happened". The reason I don't give this episode 4 stars is because no effort is made to explain how the ship from 2 centuries ago got this far out.

    One thing I found amusing is when Captain Kirk refers to "normal ESP". Isn't normal ESP a contradiction in terms?

    Three episodes in, and two of them prominently feature malevolent Q-like beings.

    I saw this episode as a child, and it has stayed with me all my life.

    I relate to Kirk's philosophy of man, which he declares to Dr. Dehner as he warns her about Mitchell: "Let's talk about humans, about our frailties...You know the ugly, savage things we all keep buried, that none of us dare expose. But he'll dare. Who's to stop him? He doesn't need to care." It stands in sharp contrast to later philosophy on Star Trek, that by the time of Picard, famine, war, poverty have all been wiped out on earth.

    The little story that Mitchell tells when he is first recuperating on the Enterprise is key foreshadowing of what's to come. Mitchell tells Kirk he wasn't going to be able to do well in Kirk's class, so Mitchell "aimed" a blonde at Kirk to distract him, scripted the entire encounter. Did it so well that Kirk almost married the woman and was unaware that he had been manipulated until Mitchell told him. So we have a clue there of the kind of person that Mitchell is. And when he later acquires his godlike powers they serve to amplify this aspect of his character.

    But I agree with others who said Sally Kellerman's character really makes this episode work. If the episode had been just a fight between Kirk and Mitchell, it would not have been as rich. The doctor's character tells us that there is more than one way to view/respond to what has happened to Mitchell. We also get a clue on how she thinks when she advocates for the compassionate treatment of Mitchell. She keeps her own counsel. She trusts in her own knowledge and abilities to make decisions and act on them--she doesn't tell the captain when she first observes Mitchell's unusual abilities. Her tendency is toward hope and giving people the benefit of the doubt. She sees the promise of a grand future in Mitchell's abilities and she wants to support him, rather than stifle him. When she, too, develops godlike powers, these aspects of her character are also magnified. I wish I had seen more characters like hers throughout the years on Star Trek, an intelligent, compassionate, moral, brave and, yes, beautiful woman. Note that her uniform is not a short skirt, but pants like the men, which doesn't make her less feminine, just more practical imho. (If you're going to run around on planets with less than hospitable environments, it makes more sense to wear pants than skirts.)

    But the scene at the end, where Mitchell finally falls into the grave that he dug for Kirk and is sealed in with a huge stone Kirk knocks down on him, is the stuff of childhood nightmares. That's twice in two episodes that we have the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few philosophy. Perhaps that's why the episode remained etched in my brain for 40 years. 3.5 stars from me.

    Probably my favorite of all the Star Trek pilots including "The Cage," "Where No Man Has Gone Before" provides a sharp introduction to the series and its two leads even with some unpolished bits in it. It has a surprisingly confident sensibility that sets it apart from TNG, DS9, Voyager, Enterprise, and Discovery pilots. I give it 3 1/2 stars.

    I love the opening the scene of Kirk and Spock playing 3D chess, establishing some major iconography and introducing us to the two major personalities of the show with some clever verbal sparring. This one is full of great lines throughout, including the debate over what to do with Mitchell and Spock's "because she feels, I don't" monologue. Shatner is utterly awesome: It's like he's been playing Kirk for years, especially in the climactic showdown that shows off his physical acting, even though some of his backstory as a stick in the mud feels a bit off-character. Spock is more a work in progress, but Nimoy establishes his detached logic right from the start here, and his logic wins out over compassion in the end.

    Also some great guest stars here in Gary Lockwood and Oscar-caliber Sally Kellerman, always a delightful quirky presence with her throaty vocal delivery. The debate over a human being who gets powers he's not ready to handle is on point. But one reason I don't give this episode a flawless rating is that it doesn't really introduce us to the ensemble we'll grow to know and love: McCoy won't appear until the second episode (Dr. Piper here is a cipher) and Uhura, Scotty, and Sulu aren't quite themselves yet. Finally, the scientific logistics about the edge of the galaxy are a little bit off from reality, presenting a less populated and more extreme vision of the Trek universe that we'll get in the rest of the show. Kudos for killing off both the navigator and helmsman, as well as the ship's psychologist (shades of Troi on TNG) who all initially seem to be regulars, but I would have liked to see a little more from the others who will return next episode.

    However, that's a minor quibble, and WNMHGB remains a classic and iconic introduction to the series. I especially love the climax of the whole thing. Shatner is fun in big pulp hero moments like his confrontation with his friend-turned-god.

    The big difference I see in season 1 is the somber, reflecting ending by the characters, rather than the laughing lighthearted mood seconds after a traumatic event, such as what occurred in the later seasons.

    90 degree head turn: “I want you to hit that button!” Dun-dun!

    Watching and commenting:

    --Scotty makes a first appearance

    --ESP? Really? Ah, so very, very 60s. I feel 10 yrs old again. I'm thinking of my older sister, because I'd be arguing with her about now. I always wanted to change the channel and watch Gomer Pyle. Ah, if she could see me now.

    --The sexist stuff is kinda cringy, but I know this show was ahead of its time, even showing someone like Sally K's Dr Dehner at all.

    --Spock getting real: "Kill Gary while you can." Huh. This also makes me think of my older sister, because her husband's name is Gary. But we missed our window years ago.

    --Yeeee. Gary's become a murderer. The worst thing my BIL's ever done is way-undercook the scalloped potatoes for Christmas dinner one year. We were all disappointed, but no one died.

    --Adam, Eve, God, and Lucifer all condensed into two beings, Gary and Dehner.

    --Kirk gives his first, long, inspirational speech. Doc and Gary die to make it all end. The Enterprise goes on its way.

    Engaging, with good performances.

    Next, please.

    "Whenever it happened, it was a fundamental change in Star Trek, and it kind of went unnoticed. The only thing that's comparable is the decision in early-VOY/mid-DS9 to change the nature of time travel, where effect no longer needs cause (this is most notable in 'Visonary' and 'Time and Again' -- but it pops up in 'First Contact').

    Anyway, I've always wondered if the ST creators had discussions about this kind of stuff -- where they knew they were fundamentally altering an unspoken premise."

    Oddly enough, there was another even bigger changed premise, that impacts stories much more, from this episode (and really all of TOS including the movies, even some made after TNG had clearly changed the premise drastically: Here and elsewhere in TOS the assumption is that nearly the entire Milky Way galaxy has been explored, that warp-capable ships can get anywhere in the galaxy in a matter of days or weeks, but that travel outside the local galaxy is next to impossible.

    How are you calling this and the Cage pilots? The pilot is The Menagerie, with a different captain. Later made into episodes featuring the old captain in flashbacks.

    @ MaraCass,

    You've got the names mixed up. The Cage was the pilot with Captain Pike, and The Menagerie is the mid-1st season episode with Kirk, showing flashbacks of The Cage.

    Never understood why people give this episode such a high rating. Interesting from the standpoint that it is the first episode with Kirk and the other crew but the plot is basically one that we will see again and again. Man has superpowers which must be overcome. Not that exciting. The cage was so much more interesting although NBC rejected it for their own reasons. Glad they did since I like Shatner over Hunter.

    The problems with stars, If made today , considering the acting only and general screenplay, few stars. Considering the nostalgic value, more stars. Trying to travel back in time and watch it with those eyes. Probably, wow this is great. I guess I watched first when I was 17. (It took some years before it was aired in my country, Impuls speed for distribution in those day, compared with warp possibilities today). I must have watched it with relative adult eyes. As a sci fi reader I am sure that I was amused.

    Of course I like to view it again.

    Ben said: "the other crew but the plot is basically one that we will see again and again. Man has superpowers which must be overcome."

    Yeah, it's a good episode, but ran too close to the similar "Charlie X".

    If you merge the best traits of "Cage" and "Where No Man Has Gone Before", you probably have the perfect Trek pilot. The former has a more dispassionate, intellectual tone, and stronger female characters, the second has better crew camaraderie, central characters, and a willingness to embrace adventure.

    In a way, the producers' demand for a second pilot saved the show from some of Roddenberry's colder instincts; it turned something a bit too niche and esoteric into something more pulpy. Or it could simply be the lucky casting of Shatner and later Kelley (who doesnt appear in this episode), the latter's homespun take on the Doctor lending the show a very frontier/western feel. Nimoy's great, but he couldn't elevate "Cage". You sense he needs Kirk and Bones to bounce off of.

    Another thing I like about this episode, like a lot of early TNG, was how much busier and nautical the ship feels. Before the show got lazy, you had lots of background extras rummaging about, walking about and doing odd things, and the camera often lingered on little procedural details that get dropped later on. The ship seemed more livelyand real than it would eventually get. Most Trek series fall prey to the same problem IMO, the ships or stations seemingly more alive before the respective shows telescope down to a narrow central cast.

    (IMO Discovery never had this verisimilitude; while the various Enterprises feel like real vessels, Disco feels like a glossy set rather than a space-faring ship)

    This episode also epitomizes that TOS distrust of gods and superpowers, and its hatred of those who seek "personal perfection", "social perfection", or even eugenics, all of which it associations with dangerous "order". And so man must struggle to better himself, TOS argues, struggle breeds character, but don't get too better, because perfection is bad, and requires powers that will corrupt your soul and lead you to flip out, rip off your shirt and kill everyone! It's a funny blend of the zeitgeist, a little bit Eisenhower, a little bit Franklin Roosevelt.

    Modern Trek seems to alter this a bit. Q's not quite a villainous God (he seems to help Picard at times), Riker resists going mental when he gets Q powers, "Nth Degree" has a positive portrayal of Barclay's godhood (or am I remembering the episode?), that Space Jesus guy in "Transfigurations" didnt go rogue, Wesley didn't use his Harry Potter powers for evil etc.

    You also sense TOS would resist things alike augmentations, or even the holodeck - "The Conscience of a King" questions whether machines have led to the Federation men "losing their masculinity" - while decades later Picard outright becomes a robot.

    If TOS had a fear of a certain type of tyrannical power (a mad cocktail of authoritarianism, ego and religion), understandable given the formative years of its creators, in TNG the overriding fear seems to be things a bit more lowkey; Data (and his brother) going rogue, the machinic Borg, bad apples in the Federation, the "resurgence" of an unhinged Klingon Empire, the seemingly liquid malevolence of the Romulans etc.

    Kirk and his gang, with respect to their hatreds, seem to have more conviction. You sense Picard has a bigger kaleidoscope of problems, perspectives and moods to juggle.

    Thoughts on Star Trek Continues: To Boldly Go Part I -- really liked this mainly plot-driven show that makes use of a number of good details and also provides a logical follow-up to "The Enterprise Incident" with a reasonable cliff-hanger ending. I liked the continuity with TOS but also building on earlier STC episodes (loss of the Hood).

    The theme of humans trying to advance themselves with enhanced ESP (for what nefarious purpose?) isn't anything special but it would seem that Lana and the Vulcan may not have the capabilities to the extent Gary Mitchell developed or they are being more subtle in not showing all their cards. It's really the deception that, to me, gave this episode a bit more depth. We'll see if they turn out to be cardboard villains, but so far they're not.

    So Spock gets the Romulans involved -- nice to see he still has a connection with the Romulan commander and was involved in getting her released. Should she be in charge of a warbird again? I don't think so but it adds a good element to this story.

    The Romulans and Federation are uniting against a bunch of ESPers which makes sense given the treat to both their unions. It was a bit farfetched to have the warbird and the Enterprise combine their warp capabilities to get to the barrier faster, however.

    Who knows what lesson is going to come out of this -- as it seems STC likes to push Trekkian ideals. There is the "absolute power corrupts absolutely" being tweaked to selective corruption -- maybe there's a peaceful resolution upcoming in the 2nd part?

    There's also the element that the 5-year mission is coming to an end and there is a sense of finality/nostalgia (Spock teaching McKenna meditation and talking about how he's been serving on the Enterprise for 16 years under 2 captains and appreciating humans).

    Interesting sci-fi that the Preservers were said to have erected a barrier around the galaxy and these Federation ESP people think its their calling to evolve by breaking the barrier -- certainly creative.

    Just barely 3.5 stars for "To Boldly Go Part I". Another classical tale in the TOS style -- interesting to see how this one wraps up as STC has really remained true to TOS. The threat to the Federation (and Romulans) has come full circle back to the 2nd pilot and I don't think the threat to the Federation as nearly as hokey as in "Conspiracy" or some of the nonsense from DSC or PIC, but it's obviously not as well-developed and enthralling as BoBW or the Dominion War. But I do believe this episode is a winner and the best STC hour thus far.

    Thoughts on Star Trek Continues: To Boldly Go Part II -- gives TOS the appropriate series finale it never got and hits the right notes with Kirk's promotion to admiral and a good final ending wrap-up. That was what all TOS fans wanted to see the original cast do and the STC cast does it well here after a mostly plot-driven wrap-up to the ESPers taking over the Kongo and being stopped on their way to taking over the Federation.

    The episode sees some important crew members getting killed -- the counselor McKenna and Smith who develops ESP and disables the Kongo in what was probably the weakest and least credible part of the episode. McKenna's death and being held in the transporter was meant to be a somewhat moving moment for Kirk and Spock. It sort of worked.

    But Kirk and Spock get plenty of time to reflect and beat themselves up over lost lives on the 5-year mission and bad emotion-driven decisions respectively. I think these aspects were reasonably well acted and believable and it nicely segues to that interim period before the movie franchise kicked in.

    Not much needs to be said about the plot mechanics, but the saucer separation looked pretty cool. I didn't think it was necessary for Tal on the Romulan ship to try to destroy the Enterprise after the Kongo self-destructed and then the female commander inputs some code to disable the weapon and relieve him of duty -- just a needless little event that came out of nowhere and went nowhere.

    As for the ESPers abilities, it seemed to mainly be using Talosian-style illusions to confuse Kirk's crew but, of course, they found a quick solution to counter those. Uhura was especially put to good use here. So there may be some inconsistencies between what Gary Mitchell was able to do compared to Lana/Sentek and the Kongo crew. It could just come down to weaker forms of ESP, but really if Lana/Sentek & co. were as powerful as Mitchell, there's no stopping them.

    Thought it was overly idealistic for McKenna, when on the Kongo, to spew the Star Fleet mantra that they will accept the ESPers with dignity etc. Sometimes I think STC reached too far on the Trekian ideals.

    Also just barely 3.5 stars for "To Boldly Go Part II" -- I think this 2-parter is a must-watch, especially for TOS fans. It's a good action-adventure TOS style once again and it should be considered part of official canon. The Big 3 are totally burned out and are set to go their separate directions.

    I think it's outstanding what STC accomplished and the nu-Trek showrunners should follow their lead when creating the next PIC and Strange New Worlds episodes instead of departing from what made classic Trek so enduring.

    I hope there is a Vic Mignogna out there somewhere for TNG, DS9, VOY and ENT!

    I know that it was made in the 60's, so I won't insult this episode's comically goofy eye effects, ridiculous music or dreadful "exterior" shots made on a painfully low budget (you could probably slam every Star Trek episode for that). This was actually quite good. With no salt-sucking psychopaths or whiny teenage brats in sight, it had at least one or two interesting--albeit obvious--things to say about people becoming too powerful before they're even slightly ready for it. Kirk has a pointed line at the end where he tells Dr. Dehner that even though Mitchell has become a completely advanced being, he's still an ugly human below the surface. ("A god but still driven by human frailty." Satan, basically! Bwahahah!)

    The direction, writing and acting in this episode were often, pardon the pun, stellar. There's a somewhat intense scene in the conference room where Kirk berates Dr. Dehner for neglecting to mention the full extent of Mitchell's newfound superhuman abilities, and she then argues that this could be a good thing for humanity--a better, superior person. And then the entire room goes uncomfortably and tellingly SILENT for a good long beat. At the end of the scene, Spock and Sulu lay out the ugly truths about how such a "superior" man would eventually come to regard other people--"white mice." I think it's a proud, probing moment for Star Trek, and it's only the third episode.

    I even liked William Shatner's hammy performance on the planet during the showdown with Mitchell and Dehner. It was goofy and hysterical, sure, but pretty damned entertaining. My only complaint was that the whole scene was drawn out for too long, and the psychic wrestling match between Mitchell and Dehner was atrocious. (At least it was necessary in order to take Mitchell down a peg for his inevitable fisticuffs with Kirk).

    And did I miss something? Why couldn't the Enterprise just beam up Mitchell and Dehner right after they got loose on the planet, and then beam them out into space? Asking for a friend.

    Best line -- Mitchell: "Command and compassion is a fool's mixture."

    My Grade: B+

    Where no Man has Gone Before

    Star Trek Season 1 episode 3

    3 stars (out of 4)

    "I've been contemplating the death of an old friend.”

    - Gary Mitchell.

    It is fascinating to see what they were going for with this second pilot. But first I must say it is so good to see Scotty in his first appearance.

    I can’t help thinking that Roddenberry must have wanted to see a little of himself in the show. Kirk, Spock, the others, are larger than life. Scotty is a working joe. And of course James Montgomery and Roddenberry both fought in World War II. It made sense to have at least someone on a show about a uniformed service who had actually worn a uniform into battle before. Star Trek used to have a good contingent of veterans in the cast. In later episodes, Roddenberry will add DeForest Kelley (Bones), who also fought in WWII. Nimoy had been in the Army Reserves.

    After TOS, the closest Star Trek ever came again to having anyone with any sort of military background was Patrick Stewart - though he himself never served, his father and brothers did. That, and the writer Ronald D. Moore spent a few years in ROTC. But Moore left Star Trek with DS9, and that was really the last time the franchise felt like a true depiction of uniformed service.

    But back to this second pilot.

    Kirk runs a really chill ship in this one. A few key scenes flesh that out. When Gary Mitchell, Spock and Kirk are riding the turbo lift up to the bridge, Spock moves between them to the door, and is the first out of the lift - before the Captain. Then Gary shoulders Kirk out of the way, and also manages to get out of the lift before Kirk. Kirk is the Captain and he is still the last to make it out. Not very typical. It is subtle, but telling.

    A few minutes later, when Kirk is taking readiness updates from all department heads, Scotty says almost sarcastically:

    SCOTT: Engineering division ready, as always.

    And Kirk smiles again. A really, really chill ship.

    You can also see where they are going with Spock. His devil ears are a physical reminder that Spock will be Kirk’s devil’s advocate. Kirk needs him to be an absolute asshole. And Kirk puts up with a lot to get that level of honesty.

    Again there is a scene on the bridge where Kirk is addressing the entire ship, and Spock just randomly interrupts to yell,

    SPOCK: The tapes are burnt out. Trying the memory banks.

    Like what the fuck, dude??? The look that Kirk and this young blond girl, Smith, give Spock out of the corner of their eyes, is hilarious! Spock was clearly intended to be on the spectrum.

    At the opposite end of the EQ scale, since the show didn’t have Bones yet, they had Gary Mitchell. Good with the ladies, and "Gary Mitchell has the highest esper rating of all.” Yes, Gary Mitchell was the Dianna Troi of TOS. Oh man, the more you know…

    Seems to me that Roddenberry combined Gary, the old crotchety Doc, and also a bit of beautiful-hipped Dehner, into one character, and in later episodes we get the unified combo known as Bones. But that’s a story I already wrote about in The Man Trap.

    Finally, @William B, loved reading your review.
    @Bill, I see what you mean about reading Gary face. Very true.
    @Skeptical, you’re blowing my mind.

    The quality of comments for TOS episodes seems ridiculously high. I will do my best to correct that ;)

    @Jamie Stearns, What You Leader Behind, Dukat/Kirk similarities. I noticed that too, particularly because of the Big Ass Gun Sisko brought to the party.

    One Cage-esque thing I like here is that the ship and uniforms aren’t quite so over saturated with bright colors, as the series would become. This looks a bit more realistic, and wouldn’t be revisited until Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

    You just know they went with the super saturated colors because of the dawning of color TV. At the time, I’m sure the studios, TV makers and audience were in agreement that they wanted to see COLOR.

    IIRC, Norman Lear wanted to film All in the Family in black and white, but was not allowed. So he dressed the sets and costumes in very bland unsaturated colors.

    Fairly entertaining hour in which Kirk's friend, Mitchell receives superpowers like telekinesis. Will Mitchell turn on them now he's a God like being? (or becoming one) Can we get along with an advanced human? Holds up well. As Jammer said, 3 stars.

    Where No Actor Has Gone i write this, William Shatner is about to be launched into space. He should have been given a Starfleet uniform to wear.
    My brother thinks he should just keep going into the sun. I think he should take over the controls and head for the Neutral Zone.
    Wind delays: I suspect a Romulan plot.
    3 minutes till he leaves Launch Point Earth!

    There was a photo circulating on social media of Shatner in a gold uniform with his 3 co-travellers all wearing red...

    I am going to be the party pooper and say humbug to this publicity stunt. An 11 minute flight? I guess it is "space" flight in technical sense but to me it seems like just some glorified carnival ride for rich people. The Apollo mission it is not.

    The barrier appeared to be a flat line, couldn't they just go around it? Wait I keep forgetting, in Star Trek space is 2-dimensional.

    Watched this one again after quite some years, and I'd have to say it's pretty epic.

    I'd have to give this four stars.

    3.5 on its merits, with the slight bump only because how early it was.

    Good episode. Keeps the excitement going all the way through. Its cool to notice the things that changed from the pilot to the series, including Kirks name. The grave said James R Kirk

    I love this episode, warts and all. I've seen it a hundred times. But the galactic barrier makes no sense. Like Khan, its pattern suggests two-dimensional thinking. For one thing, IRL the galaxy is wide but relatively thin and flat. If you want to leave it just to say you did it, why not just fly perpendicular to the galactic plane instead of to the disc edge (which, as depicted, seems to be the idea)? The depiction seems to be of a ring encircling the spiral arms, not a whole-galaxy shrink wrap. Why not just fly around it? Also, once you've left the galaxy, it's a million seasons of Star Trek Voyager to get to just about anything else, unless all your stories are about weird things in the intergalatic void. There have been ST novels that deal with the barrier but from what I've read none of the explanations are satisfying. OTOH it's interesting to me that ST has mostly limited itself to only a FRACTION of the Milky Way and has always stuck to that.

    1st criticism is that barrier. Looks like it's only at the circumferential edge and not the entire surface area, otherwise it would take up the whole screen.

    2nd, the rest of the episode being based on energy zaps turning people into gods is laughable. They could have done better than that. And at the end, very nice job cherrypicking. So a phaser rifle couldn't damage him but a giant falling rock can? Started out good, ended bad.

    Dehner talks about new and better kind of human. She is so enamored with Mitchell that one would think he's what she's referring to. But what if she's thinking of herself? The scene in sickbay seems to point toward Mitchell "sensing" that she's experiencing the same effects as he has. It's just taking longer. I am also wondering how discharging lightning bolts from the hands doesn't somehow cause severe burns.

    He's a fool. A fool. He'd seen those points and he hadn't noticed their condition.

    Great episode. It would have been interesting if, after they found out that the series had been picked up, they had filmed one or more episodes featuring the Gary Mitchell character and aired them before this one so that his death would have even more impact.


    In the Trek novels the barrier is often times mentioned as existing above and below the galaxy. Which explains how Federation ships were able to reach it. I think that one of the earliest novels said that it was a localized phenomenon; an area near the edge of the galaxy that was impassable. A galactic barrier, not THE Galactic Barrier.

    Others may have pointed this out but isn't it a bit plot-holeley that the "ESPer" hungry energy barrier didnt zap Spock who is basically a moderate telepath. But it is possible that aspect of his character had not been developed at thr pilot stage.

    There’s really very little legitimate criticism to levy against this episode, and considering that it’s a pilot which is a particularly difficult and precarious endeavor, is saying a lot. The worst part about this episode is that it was aired right on the heals of another “god-like being” show(Charlie X), this paired with The Man Trap as the first broadcast episode gave TOS an odd hitch in its initial step. But that has more to do with network business decisions than with the episode itself.

    As it stands, “Where No Man..” is a pretty fun, engaging, and thoughtful piece of television. A few random thoughts:
    - Was Gary supposed to have been essentially driven mad by his new powers, or was he just a jerk? At one point he sort of snapped out of it and seemed to recognize Kirk in a way that almost implied he was trapped or possessed or something. I really wasn’t sure to what extent his actual personality played in his becoming corrupted by power, or if another power was sort of taking control of him. This isn’t really a criticism per se, so much as it’s just a lingering question, which I don’t mind. A little ambiguity is sometimes a good thing.
    - I’m not one to complain about attractive women in mini-skirts, but I wish TOS had kept female crew members in trousers. Or at least had a mix of skirts and pants, implying a choice in uniform. The show would be a little less dated upon future viewings without the obvious, and in my opinion unnecessary, dude pandering.
    - For a pilot episode, this is a remarkably confident outing. I think Shatner is a big part of that. For whatever reason he had Kirk locked in right from the jump.

    Anyway, jammer nailed it. Solid if unspectacular episode.

    It was interesting that an unconscious Gary Mitchell somehow stood up on his own on the transporter pad.

    This stupid episode was on again last night, and I still don't understand how they got to the edge of the galaxy so WARP 1! I'll assume they didn't mean the literal horizontal edge of the disk but instead the surface of the "bulge" vertically, which is only about 1,000 light years thick, but that's still hard to believe. The whole premise of turning into a God from getting zapped by a negative energy barrier was ridiculous.

    "Command and compassion is a fool's mixture."
    Yup, Gary would definitely fit right in with the deities we have had on Earth over the years. I do wonder if there was anything to the fact he was reading Spinoza's Ethics. In that book, according to Wikipedia, Spinoza defines God as the universe itself and not some sort of external force. Anyway, great episode.


    I really like this one and think it makes a good pilot for TOS. It's more muscular than "The Cage" and more befitting Kirk's role, but it's still got some intellectual meat. Dehner's role as wildcard in the story is well done, and complicates the obvious "there are things humans are not meant to know" message by suggesting that it may require a more positive form of Mitchell's dark enlightenment to combat what happens to Mitchell. We get an early taste of the cold brutality of Spock's outlook as well as his compassion, and Kirk's willingness to go to bat for his friend when he has not yet crossed a line and then put his life on his line to fight him is a defining character moment for him.

    One question is: was Mitchell always bad, to a degree, but always restrained by his human form? I think there are hints of that, the indication that Mitchell by "aiming that lab technician" at Kirk was already engaged in some form of deceit and manipulation of people, including his friends, for personal gain. Mitchell was zapped because he had high ESP, but one could also read the story as being less that power corrupts as that power attracts the corruptible, and that Dehner is tempted by power but ultimately draws a line in the sand shows that humans have options of how they react. That said, I think personally I prefer to think of it that Mitchell had some ugly traits that were unleashed by his power and the way it created a barrier to compassion with others, rather than that it was he, and only he, who would have reacted badly to it, and so the message is a little more universal. The difference between Mitchell and Dehner seems to me not that Mitchell started bad and Dehner started good (or okay) as that Dehner was earlier on her transformation and was able to see in Mitchell how far one could fall. Maybe Mitchell would be corrupted faster than others, but I think his flaws are not meant to be uniquely heinous to start out.

    This is one of my favorite episodes.

    And to skeptical--great post. You really gave me a deeper appreciation of the episode than I originally had.

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