Star Trek: The Original Series

"Shore Leave"

3 stars

Air date: 12/29/1966
Written by Theodore Sturgeon
Directed by Robert Sparr

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Crew members beam down to a beautiful planet, where they slowly realize that their thoughts are magically manifested into reality. After a number of apparent misfortunes, the crew learns the world they're on is a magical alien amusement park, capable of making dreams come true.

"Shore Leave" isn't a wonderful story, but it does have an undeniable sense of fun. Kirk is beat up by his academy-days tormentor, and later gets to return the favor (it's fitting for the captain that his idea of fun is having the chance to "beat the tar out of Finnegan"); Sulu gets to fire off a few rounds with a six-shooter; and Bones gets to chase a white rabbit, then die, and then come back to life. This episode maintains enough balance between adventure, danger, comedy, and silliness that it manages to be a pleasant hour of rather non-cerebral fantasy.

Previous episode: Balance of Terror
Next episode: The Galileo Seven

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57 comments on this post

Fri, Jun 1, 2012, 2:06am (UTC -6)
I always wondered why we never see Finnegan again (do we?). He's a Star Fleet officer somewhere!
Sat, Jun 1, 2013, 9:18am (UTC -6)
@Strider. No we never see Finnegan again on the series. No mention is ever made of him again after this episode. I read in somewhere that the writers had planned on bring the real Finnegan into another episode, but for whatever reason it never happened. It would have made for a fun scene though.
Thu, Dec 26, 2013, 5:35am (UTC -6)
My only problem with this episode was that it took them so long to figure out that what they think will become reality.

Seriously, how could even Spock be so dense?
Wed, Apr 2, 2014, 8:52am (UTC -6)
Understood this was supposed to be a fun ep.
But it wasnt. 1 star to be generous.
Mon, Sep 8, 2014, 11:22pm (UTC -6)
I LOVED "Shore Leave" as a kid. Now, not so much. It's Trek and sci-fi for kids.

But episodes like "Shore Leave" got me hooked on the series. I didn't appreciate something like "City on the Edge of Forever" until later.
Sat, Nov 29, 2014, 7:10am (UTC -6)
So this is a 3/4 for you, eh? Meh, It's a 2/4 for me. A fun episode, but the crew are pretty dense for not getting the connection between their thoughts and what was appearing. It also seemed like as soon as Kirk encountered Ruth or Finnegan, he completely lost all sense. But I suppose that's the machinations of these menageries at work. And the big reveal at the end was okay, but not earth shattering or anything. It's a middling episode for me.

One thing I'll say - I rather envy that chick who caught McCoy's fancy. DeForest Kelley was pretty dang hot! (Nimoy and Shatner are pretty shaggable too, I'd say).
Tue, Mar 3, 2015, 8:58am (UTC -6)
I always wondered about the character of Yeoman Barrows (described above as "the chick who caught McCoy's fancy"). The episode really seemed to invest a lot in creating her character, giving her a personality beyond "miniskirt crewgirl No. 17", and yet we never see her again. And the actress who played her, Emily Banks ... she doesn't show up much in IMDB afterward. Realize this doesn't count for much in Trek's extremely loose canon, but author David George was struck enough by the Barrows character to invent a decades-long relationship, culminating in marriage that is still going strong at the start of TNG, for her and McCoy in "Provenance of Shadows."
Fri, Jul 10, 2015, 11:24am (UTC -6)
Ah, pity the poor brunette at the end. First Spock. Then Sulu.

Of course, she was a plant. So...
Sat, Jul 11, 2015, 11:25am (UTC -6)
The bit where Spock tricks Kirk into ordering himself on shore leave is one of the funniest moments in all of Star Trek period.
Some of Jammer's other reviews pointed out that the TOS cast had a natural chemistry that none of the other series' casts were ever able to duplicate; moments like this definitely support that argument.
Thu, Sep 10, 2015, 5:46am (UTC -6)
3 stars? Really? For what? There was no mystery, no science, no adventure. I was 11 when I first saw this and I had it figured out by the time McCoy saw the rabbit. I spent the rest of the hour wondering how these trained Starfleet officers -- these ADULTS -- could be so clueless.

Earth to Kirk: your old Academy nemesis pops up out of nowhere still 20 years old, then your old girlfriend later. and you still don't get it? Hint, hint: you were JUST thinking about them a moment before they appeared.

In "Mirror, Mirror" you had the entire theory of parallel universes figured out like freakin' Einstein in under a minute. 1 and half stars. I'm done.
The Man
Sun, Jul 3, 2016, 11:36am (UTC -6)
Thank God your done miichael. Anyway great episode.
Tue, Jul 26, 2016, 9:33pm (UTC -6)
I seem to recall hearing that the Yeoman who had eyes for McCoy was due to a hasty rewrite after Yeoman Rand got written out of the show. Originally, there was supposed to be some romantic interactions between Rand and Kirk, and presumably that got rewritten into a combination of this random Yeoman and McCoy as well as Kirk and Random Girl From Past #573.

I have to agree that the repetitive nature of the plot and the fact that the crew were completely clueless does kinda render the whole situation rather absurd. Just how many times does someone need to say "I'm reminded of X..." and then X appears for someone to get the hint? And isn't it convenient that practically everything that appeared after the White Rabbit was a threat to the crew? No one was thinking any sort of happy thoughts? Even in the beginning before everyone was worried about all the threats? Heck, even afterwards no one was thinking to themselves how much better it would be back home or with a book or anything else? Pretty convenient to keep the "action" side of things moving along.

For that matter, wasn't it just a week ago that Martine's fiancee died? Shouldn't she have thought about him? Yeah, I know, this is before continuity was important, but still... Actually, more egregiously, did anyone else notice that Martine died and she was never brought back, unlike McCoy? Or at least she disappeared... I guess they intended to show her getting shot by the plane, but it looked like she just ran into a tree and fell down instead. Maybe the fact that she doesn't show up again is just her being too embarrassed to show herself after being that stupid.

I guess the twist in the end that this is just a holodeck-like experience and that they get to enjoy their shore leave after all was kinda nice, and the mystery at the very beginning was ok, but the middle just dragged on way too long. Arsenal of Freedom had a similar idea in TNG, but because the danger was real there it ended up being a lot better. That's kinda sad, being beaten by a Season 1 TNG episode...
Mon, Sep 12, 2016, 3:36pm (UTC -6)
You seriously thought this episode was better than Balance of Terror, Jammer?
Mon, Jan 30, 2017, 3:41pm (UTC -6)
About the only good thing about this episode is the soundtrack. (I really enjoy the Star Trek TOS soundtracks). Anyhow, I don't understand how Jammer rates this 3/4 stars and "Balance of Terror" 2.5/4 -- off the mark on both counts.

The premise is kind of silly - that the crew gets themselves into all kinds of trouble because what they think of comes to life. It should become obvious to them quite quickly of what is going on, yet it doesn't, and therefore we have a weak episode.

The fight scene with Kirk/Finnegan drags on far too long as does this whole episode. The ending is weak with the creator of the amusement park world showing up and just explaining everything.

The episode looks even weaker when coming right after "Conscience..." and "Balance..." And why was the force field on the planet affecting the ship and preventing communications etc.?

For me, 1/4 stars, weakest of Season 1 so far, weaker than "Mudd's Women" for sure.
Fri, Feb 17, 2017, 4:52pm (UTC -6)
Skeptical - Martine does reappear at the end. She can be seen standing with the others very briefly.
Thu, Mar 23, 2017, 12:36pm (UTC -6)
Yeah.... this episode was pretty not-good, but at least it was kind of fun. Probably 2/4 for me (after 4/4 Balance of Terror and 3/4 Conscience). Better pacing than some of the early season episodes, but just a dumb premise that was pretty lamely executed. But it was nice to see the crew in an actual outdoor location.
Mon, May 29, 2017, 10:44pm (UTC -6)
Very surprising to see Theodore Sturgeon's name under the writing credit at the end. Often a guest writer may get a killer plot and totally fail to integrate it into the tone and formula of the show (I'm looking at you, William Gibson-penned-X-Files-Episodes) - here we get kind of the opposite.
Trek fan
Tue, Sep 26, 2017, 8:43pm (UTC -6)
I'm going through TOS boxed set one episode per night -- it's amazing how much continuity there is in the show when you watch the episodes in order. Right now I'm on "Shore Leave" and I just realized that Lt. Martine, whose fiancé died on their wedding day in the Romulan attack on the last episode "Balance of Terror," is in this one too where she gets a fake death. The yeoman part in "Shore Leave" is clearly written for Janice Rand, but Grace Lee Whitney had departed the show (her last episode was "Balance") due to her alcoholism, not to return until the movies. Plot of "Shore Leave" even refers to events of previous three months as reason the crew needs a rest. And Lt. Kevin Riley, the obnoxious Irishman in "Naked Time," appears again in "Conscience of the King." Even though the show is mostly episodic, it's good to watch the episodes in order to pick up the little continuing arcs like Sulu's botany hobby (referenced again at start here) and little crew romances. Fascinating.

Of course I started with the third episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before" because it's actually the pilot and looks different (a different doctor than McCoy, etc.) than all the others -- it's so weird that NBC aired episodes out of order and showed "The Man Trap" first.

Anyway, this is the original Holodeck episode, a fun little romp that actually feels a bit welcome at this point in the series after several heavy and tragic stories. (And although there's no actual holodeck, let's remember that the Enterprise holodeck first appears with the original cast in The Animated Series, not TNG.) We see some great cast chemistry in this one (the Spock dialogue luring Kirk into shore leave is much funnier than the TNG homage in "Captain's Holiday" where Crusher uses almost the same dialogue with Picard) and it's nice to see location shooting. Altogether, "Shore Leave" is just an excuse to spend 50 minutes with people you like, and it's a pretty good romp -- Scotty doesn't appear and Uhura gets little screen time, but several main and semi-recurring characters develop nicely in this one, and Uhura plays a bigger role in The Animated Series sequel to this episode when they return to the planet. Even though there's not much depth to it, this one is highly enjoyable when it catches you in the right mood and doesn't descend into embarrassment like some later Holodeck episodes, so I give it 3 or 3 1/2 stars.
Sean Hagins
Tue, Aug 21, 2018, 1:56am (UTC -6)
I LOVED this episode as a kid, and still do now! Not every show has to have a message, some can be light, fluff. That's what escapist entertainment is all about! The one thing I hoped as a kid was that Alice would be on the Enterprise crew (I know that was a bit random, but that's what I wanted)
Wed, Sep 26, 2018, 8:23pm (UTC -6)
What bothered me about the whole thing is that all the actors had clearly read the script. I can understand they are all rather amused by the idea of a rabbit, but they maintain that amusement while Kirk gets attacked by Finnegan, Yeoman Barrows is assaulted by Don Juan, and Sulu is menaced by a samurai warrior. They seem to finally get a bit worried when they are being strafed by fighter jets and Dr. McCoy DIES, but sheesh. The very lighthearted tone was inappropriate to what was actually happening.

One other thing--when they first chose this planet for shore leave because it was so pristine and lovely, where were they planning to sleep? I didn't see any camping gear . . .
Sun, Nov 18, 2018, 7:11pm (UTC -6)
@ Grumpy Otter: I guess they would just have to imagine a Red Roof Inn?
Thu, Mar 14, 2019, 2:43pm (UTC -6)
Fun episode, but as mentioned by other posters, it takes a very long time for everyone to make the connection between their thoughts and the people and things they find.Also the kirk/finnegan fight goes on for far too long.
Wed, Mar 20, 2019, 10:05pm (UTC -6)
Requisite Flirty Sexy Lady makes an early appearance as a beautiful young yeoman gives the Captain a quicky back massage while he sits in the captain's chair.

Well, we're off to a strange start, as McCoy sees Alice in Wonderland characters on a planet he's scouting with Sulu.

Pretty silly so far, as the crew's random daydreams come to life.

Now the yeoman is flirting with McCoy who's flirting back. She looks young enough to be his daughter. But McCoy dies before this pairing can go any father. I mean farther.

Endless fight with Finnegan. Endless.

McCoy is back from the dead and no one notices or cares that "dead" crew member Angela is still missing.

Below average. Too much silly.
Sun, Jun 23, 2019, 2:37am (UTC -6)
Unnoticed yet:
This episode seems to be the first which introduced the closing pun among crew (Kirk and McCoy mostly) usually aiming at Spock, which became a feature in many episodes. So this is significant for the chemistry thing TOS is famous for, among other things.
Also enjoyable dry remarks of Spock to Kirk: the moment he tells Kirk he's supposed to go on shore leave, as has been honored already in comments here. And when he shows up after Kirk is done with beating up Finnegan, standing there at a distance and asking Kirk "Did you enjoy it?" Priceless.
Too bad they did not establish Yeoman Barrows as a new regular cast member. More sexy than Rand for sure.
Sun, Jun 23, 2019, 9:37am (UTC -6)
I have to comment on that because if we are talking about dumping characters and yes I'm totally drunk with okish reason then I think they should have replaced Scotty with a hot hunk. If I want to see a fifty year old guy with loooots of make up I move to Amsterdam.
Sun, Jun 23, 2019, 9:49am (UTC -6)

As I’m rewatching TOS I notice that they hardly ever keep a regular Yeoman around, even when the actress was exceptional. Number One’s absence from the show’s chemistry is really noticeable in 2019. (Thanks NBC!)
Sun, Jun 23, 2019, 3:14pm (UTC -6)
Well Booming, you may be pleased to know you think just like the network executives in charge did back in the 1960s! Too many old men! No young people would want to watch that!

Roddenberry didn't fire Scotty, but he did go and hire an actor who looked like one of the Monkees. This was their strategy to appeal to teenagers and give the girls someone to look at*. Of course, Roddenberry made the character Russian to advance his vision of a united Earth, but the character was primarily there to look pretty.

*I think the girls mostly still preferred Nimoy
Sun, Jun 23, 2019, 4:09pm (UTC -6)
Of course I know about "the Chek" but I grew up after the beatles so f*** him.
You know like the Rock... I can already see him telling it to the warp drive...
I need a tall guy with muscles not a dwarf with a fancy haircut.
Tue, Jun 25, 2019, 10:50pm (UTC -6)
Cetric, totally!
When I think of shore leave, I think of spending time with someone who has Barrows’ righteous curves.
Wed, Jun 26, 2019, 1:42pm (UTC -6)
This reminds of much of DS9's "If Wishes Were Horses" and unfortunately that's not a good thing. I do like how the mystery unfolds and we get various levels of curiosity, mystery, danger, goofiness, and fear.

Also good were the jokes between Spock and Kirk, especially the one that got Kirk to finally take some away time and go on the planet.

Unfortunately, the solution to the mystery is painfully obvious, and I found myself yelling at my iPad a few times when characters didn't make basic connections like "I was just talking about Alice in Wonderland then Alice showed up". Could there possibly be a connection, Doctor? Hmm...

Also, I'm not really keen on the ending. Okay, so the caretaker insists it was all in good fun and the Doctor wasn't really killed so there's no problem right? Wrong! The crew was stalked by tigers, lampooned by medieval weapons, and shot down by warplanes! Even if the caretakers can heal the physical wounds, it sounds like a traumatic experience to me. It makes me wonder if Kirk's idea to let everyone beam down and enjoy the planet was really well-conceived. I mean what if someone imagines something horrible and has nightmares the whole time? It's just not worth the risk, is it?
Mon, Jul 15, 2019, 1:14pm (UTC -6)
Just saw this today for the first time while home sick. Maybe 15 minutes of action and exposition spread over 45 minutes (plus commercials!). Watching paint dry would be more interesting.
Bobbington Mc Bob
Sat, Aug 3, 2019, 1:28pm (UTC -6)
"Most ... illogical"
oh hahahahaha
ha ha
Bobbington Mc Bob
Sat, Aug 3, 2019, 2:20pm (UTC -6)
Sat, Jul 18, 2020, 7:26am (UTC -6)
Not to mention, @Chrome, that Barrows was assaulted and almost raped. By no less than Don Juan, who should be the epitome of charm and good manners, while he is represented basically as a hulk with a sword.
I know that, back then, women were supposed to be taken by force - like Rand almost was by Bad Kirk in The Enemy Within - but Barrows' tears here do not configure a nice day of relax and recreation.
Sean J Hagins
Tue, Nov 10, 2020, 2:27am (UTC -6)
I just watched this episode again after a few years. It's still a funny, silly episode. As a kid (and still now), I like how Star Trek has some DARK and serious episodes, and some funny and silly ones like this! Yes, it does seem the crew was a bit thick for not figuring things out right away, but as a kid, I didn't either, so there! Hehe!

I still am amazed at watching shows I watched as a young child. The pretty women were totally unnoticed by me, but I liked kids around my age! I guess that is normal, but still, it is so jarring looking back on it.

Anyway, I think this one is neat, and it is a shame that the planet was never mentioned again. Oh well, I guess by the 24th century, the ships had holodecks so they could basically have the shore leave of this planet on their own ships anyway!
Tue, Nov 17, 2020, 2:18am (UTC -6)
As to the crew not realising what was happening, Maybe we were supposed to think that aliens were trying to kill the crew using their own memories/fantasies. That's why they had those ominous shots of an antenna spying on them and the twist that it's an amusement park makes sense.

I really liked this one and the location filming was very nice. Episodes like this make the show feel more epic than if they had filmed entirely on sound stages.


This is better than Balance of Terror definitely.
Thu, Nov 19, 2020, 9:31am (UTC -6)
A couple people seem to have some weird comments about Yeoman Barrows, who was wonderfully pleasant, and enjoyable to watch - not just because she was beautiful, but yes, she certainly was. For the record,

@Springy, DeForest (Bones) was 46, Yeoman Barrows (Emily Banks) was 33. Fairly reasonable age pairing.

@Spinoza, Barrows said she was thinking about how nice it would be meet a Don Juan, who of course is well known for a life of violence, gambling and seducing women:

TONIA BARROWS: I was thinking, all a girl needs is Don Juan. Just day dreaming, the way you would about someone you'd like to meet.

So she enjoyed rape fantasy @Spinoza, what’s wrong with that?

@Sean J Hagins, I agree - I have zero memory of Yeoman Barrows! This was a top episode for me when I was a little kid watching re-runs and marathons. I remember always enjoying Finnegan beating Kirk up! But no memory of Beautiful Barrows. The mind of children indeed.

Yes, @NCC-1701-Z, I literally laughed out loud when Spock tricked Kirk into going on shore leave. It’s the simple things.

I have no idea how @Jammer gave this three stars. I can only surmise that he has retained a child-like enjoyment that I seem to have misplaced. Makes me jealous.
Sun, Mar 14, 2021, 3:01am (UTC -6)
Although I enjoyed watching this silly episode, I thought it was a potentially good story done very poorly. And written by Theodore Sturgeon, one of the sci-fi greats? Surely not...

What especially grated was all the women being either nothing but eye candy playthings, or silly helpless creatures who screamed loudly and needed rescuing.

And who validated the initial scientific report? “No mammals, no birds, no insects...”. Uh? No insects yet an entire planet of lush vegetation? Yes, it made sense in the end, but no-one questioned it to start with.

Still, there was at least a great example of Shatner Speak:
Could you.
Be here?”

Sorry, just barely 2 stars.
Wed, May 26, 2021, 6:08pm (UTC -6)
Better than Balance of Terror? Wow. I struggle to find even one moment of entertainment in this episode. Just 50 painfully slow minutes of nothing. 1 star.
Wed, Jul 28, 2021, 10:19pm (UTC -6)
Bobbington McBob comments above are a hoot!. Made me laugh out loud.

Probably the worst episode ending in the entire series. 1 star.
The Queen
Sat, Apr 2, 2022, 10:41pm (UTC -6)
Aw come on, it was fun. A nice chance to lighten up after all that dangerous exploring. As for the person who was surprised by its being written by Sturgeon, to me that fitted right in. He wrote a lot of fantasy.
Peter G.
Sun, Apr 3, 2022, 11:30pm (UTC -6)
I've got to say that this episode, while featuring fondly in my childhood memories, does not make for very impressive viewing when showing it to a third party (such as my wife). I had to shrug my shoulders a few times and say "yeah, it's silly". Putting aside how long it took them to figure out what was happening, and the mere fact of using a bunch of random props and costumes the studio no doubt had on hand in the next lot over, the ending is almost more shocking than the frivolous turns in the story. After learning that this guy is just giving them stuff to 'enjoy', even though he can read their thoughts and knows for certain they have been in a serious state of alarm, their answer is to beam down the ship's crew and enjoy the planet for shore leave. After all, they won't die. But apparently they will potentially suffer immensely if they don't avoid dangerous thoughts. I don't know that McCoy was having fun while he was stabbed, even though he apparently got a kick out of being repaired. Speaking of which, I'd be freaked out if some weirdo alien told me I'd be ripped apart and then put back together using castings of organic materials. No thank you! Can it function as the ultimate holodeck? Sure. But it can also be Hellraiser, where each successive bad thought comes to pass. Imagine what happens there if you're having a panic attack. But yeah yeah, "it's just silly" so we don't need to consider these points.

But hold on! In the middle of this lighthearted denouement, the alien has the gall to tell Kirk the humans are probably not advanced enough to understand them or their planet (and yet invites them all down anyhow). Well that's a sci-fi issue waiting to be raised if I ever heard one! What about Kirk et al is too primitive for this alien race? Is it that their thoughts are too undisciplined, too chaotic, too violent? Or is it that they're too immature to live out the results of their unconscious thoughts and desires, instead treating their own thoughts-come-alive as threats? I really don't know what he meant by saying they weren't advanced enough. It would have been interesting to hear a bit more on that, or at least a reply by Spock agreeing fully that these emotional humans create their own problems. Or at least something of any kind to connect the drama of the episode to something we can learn about ourselves, so that the episode could at least be something other than silly. But alas.

I should mention that I'm increasingly surprised at how much weaker the first half of S1 is compared to the rest of the TOS canon. I know some real zingers are coming up later in S1, of which Space Seed is in fact my favorite episode of the series (or top 3 anyhow). But at this point I have to strongly disagree with all the S3 bashing and saying that S1 was the strongest. I really appreciate many of the S3 eps, and none of them will require me to apologize for them as this one does (no, not even Spock's Brain).
Proud Capitalist Pig
Tue, Apr 19, 2022, 5:53pm (UTC -6)
I could see how watching this with your wife, as Peter G did, could make you shift in your seat. I guess I was far more fortunate, because I just finished watching this with my sons and they had a blast with me. We thought the first scene with Kirk getting the backrub from that hot yeoman when he first thought it was Spock was hysterical, Kirk finally getting to kick his old classmate's ass was hysterical, McCoy emerging from the forest with a well-endowed chorus-line cutie under each arm was hysterical, and the scene with prim Alice chasing that guy in a cheap rabbit costume was more hysterical (have you ever seen “Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny?” That’s the most hysterical).

And damn Kirk anyway, spoiling Sulu’s gleeful fun with the pistol. Who is he, Rosie O’Donnell? What if they need to shoot that guy in the rabbit suit, or that douchenozzle from Kirk’s mind (who apparently acted like a five year old at the age of twenty), or more likely rapey Don Juan (don’t get me started)? Sure enough, when their phasers conk out for some stupid explanation involving power drains, it’s the only thing that works against the rampaging knight. Talk about a pro-gun statement.

Yes, the audience can’t help but know what’s going on a lot sooner than the landing party does. Seriously, my son burst out laughing when that idiot told his girlfriend, when she asked him if the WWII fighter plane could hurt them, “Not unless they’re on a strafing run." I do think it says a lot about us as people--often the first things that we humans think about while our minds are running wild aren't playful, pleasurable notions that will entertain us and provide enjoyment, but things that can hurt and kill us.

“Shore Leave” is a complete waste of time but at least an entertaining one.

Best Line:

McCoy -- “My dear, I am a doctor. When I peek it’s in the line of duty.”

My Grade: C
Peter G.
Tue, Apr 19, 2022, 6:04pm (UTC -6)
"that douchenozzle from Kirk’s mind (who apparently acted like a five year old at the age of twenty)"

Actually this element is totally logical: the things being created weren't meant to be realistic but rather a direct representation of what's in the minds of the crew. If KIrk imagines him being a hysterical irrational lunatic then that's what the theme park is gonna conjure up. It's actually a cool extrapolation of how the imagination, rather than memory, powered the creations.
Proud Capitalist Pig
Tue, Apr 19, 2022, 6:17pm (UTC -6)
@ Peter G

"Actually this element is totally logical: the things being created weren't meant to be realistic but rather a direct representation of what's in the minds of the crew. If KIrk imagines him being a hysterical irrational lunatic then that's what the theme park is gonna conjure up. It's actually a cool extrapolation of how the imagination, rather than memory, powered the creations."

Nice. I guess that totally went over my head because every other illusion, with the exception of the Guy in the Cheap Bunny Costume, seemed conjured up in a completely realistic, straightforward way.
Sat, Jun 4, 2022, 2:46pm (UTC -6)
Re: guy in cheap bunny suit

This aspect for me would have been improved if this object was a hologram type image or animation (as in Who killed Roger Rabbit) rather than someone in costume

Alas no holograms in 1966 and no budget for animation though it was used in contemporaneous Mary Poppins

Some humorous aspects by overall 1.5 to 2
Michael Miller
Sun, Oct 2, 2022, 8:28pm (UTC -6)
Those antennas though coming out of the ground that read their thoughts though Ha ha ha! Did they borrow those props from a 4th grade science project? And for a planet that can read your thoughts and instantly replicate them, their mode of delivery to the surface is akin to stage props LMAO, coming up out of trap doors. Guess they don't have transporters yet? The whole Kirk-Ruth thing was unbearably boring, the Finnigen fight (or however you spell his name) was endless, and one thing I didn't get is why only those few and random things were manufactured, but not any of the star fleet things they must have been daydreaming about at some point. Couldn't they then think of a phaser that works, or another gun, to fight off the tigers, samari, and knights that were spawned. And dr. Mcoy REALLY thought that he was hallucinating all of that for absolutely no reason at all, even when his girlfriend was hallucinating the exact same thing? Everyone else's criticisms are correct, why would those advanced aliens not be smart enough to filter out certain negative/random thoughts that you DON'T want. And then Mccoy is acting like he's high on Weed after getting magically patched up. So great, you can't die, but you can experience any type of torture or horror scenario you might happen to imagine and Kirk thinks it's a good idea for 400 people to beam down to the planet for hours or even days, as if controlling random thought for is at all possible! Not to mention the 399 other crew members might have to put up with whatever their shipmates conjure up as the goofy characters wander all over the planet right after. I'll stay in my quarters or the rec room thank you!
Sun, Dec 4, 2022, 8:29pm (UTC -6)
The more advanced the species, the more the need for the simplicity of play.

Then why didn't Spock stay on the planet and 'play'?
Sat, Jan 21, 2023, 5:12pm (UTC -6)
As @Trek Fan indicated, Shore Leave is a light-hearted episode after several heavy ones. The Enterprise stumbles onto a planet that generates whatever a person is thinking of. It takes awhile for crew members visiting the planet separately to catch on, but we as viewers of them all can recognize the pattern sooner. Such technology opened so many story possibilities that, for better or worse, it became a standard in later Trek series in the form of a holodeck.

Also becoming a standard of sorts is Finnegan's Theme, the music first played when Kirk meets up with a personal nemesis from his Academy days. Kirk also meets Ruth, an old flame. Other crew members encounter their own visions, but, sadly, we never get to see something Spock dreams up.

This is a sit back and enjoy episode. Don't think too much about it, otherwise you'll get holodecks, and then progress to a society of wireheads who become so engrossed by simulated fantasies that they have no need for starships. I rate this 3 of 4 Yeoman Barrows.
Thu, Jan 26, 2023, 8:08am (UTC -6)
This episode is not a favourite of mine, but the comment above made me think about the music, especially Finnegan’s Theme. Somehow it stuck out to me, probably because it reminds me of Irish dances, lively and cheerful, but very much like traditional folk music, and that seems to be a most unusual type of music to be used as a score for a TV episode in general. For the Squire of Gothos they used classical music, too, but that was different: it is played onscreen on a real instrument and people are dancing, so the music is actually a prop and it fits the situation. Here, the Irish jig is first heard when Kirk meets Finnegan and then continues as underscore of the fight scenes, which is hilariously inappropriate. If you were just listening to the tune, I suppose you’d never, ever associate it with a brutal fistfight. However, I think that’s on purpose; the music is meant to be incongruous with what we see because this dissonance is one more hint (among many others) at the final revelation that all the people, animals and things on the planet are just manifestations of the visitors’ thoughts. The fight itself may be painfully real, but Finnegan is not, he’s a fantasy coming from Kirk’s mind. And that’s another purpose of Finnegan’s Theme: its merry, sprightly tune underlines the playful character of the crew’s adventures on the planet. So the music already gives you the idea that what you see might not be serious reality, which is a most clever use of a score.
Peter G.
Thu, Jan 26, 2023, 8:43am (UTC -6)
@ Lannion,

"And that’s another purpose of Finnegan’s Theme: its merry, sprightly tune underlines the playful character of the crew’s adventures on the planet. So the music already gives you the idea that what you see might not be serious reality, which is a most clever use of a score."

That's an interesting idea, and I do agree that the score helps the mood of the episode. Finnegan's theme definitely stuck in my head over the years. However I would disagree about the detail that the music's levity suggests the secret of the planet, because other music such as Ruth's theme is quite earnest in its tone and wants us to buy into the true colors of the memories. I think Finnegan's music doesn't so much reveal that he isn't real, but rather suggests that the underlying emotion surrounding his presence is adolescent fun. We don't understand that aspect of it until Kirk admits he got a thrill out of finally beating the stuffing out of Finnegan. Finnegan is there to give Kirk a chance to beat him up to satisfy an old fantasy, and I think the wild and whimsical nature of his theme suggests the possible wildness of Kirk's youth. That's my take on it, anyhow.
Thu, Jan 26, 2023, 10:01am (UTC -6)
"The fight itself may be painfully real, but Finnegan is not, he’s a fantasy coming from Kirk’s mind."

Often wondered about this myself. : )

If McCoy's "knight" is any indication. . .

"Finnegan" is a simulacrum produced in a factory facility of some kind out of a cellular composite based on Kirk's memories. He is a fantasy of sorts, but materially real.

Can he possibly have the complex behaviors and knowledge that he displays? Saying things like "Jimmy boy" and "Jim baby" is pretty specific. The knight seems to be an automaton by comparison, perhaps because it was produced as a generalized thing, and not from a specific memory? Maybe this is all more than we inquire about in a '60s show. However, on the musical side, there was a very mechanistic strain introduced when they remove the knight's visor, which has never left my mind. It's very effective.
Thu, Jan 26, 2023, 2:07pm (UTC -6)
@Peter G.

Agreed... when talking about music - the impressions we get from it, the feelings and memories it evokes, our interpretations are even more personal and subjective than when talking about something expressed in words, perhaps because reading (or listening to someone speaking) still requires some brain activity while music reaches directly into the soul. I like your interpretation of the fight as some kind of "adolescent fun"... indeed, Kirk seems quite satisfied when he says he enjoyed it.

As for Ruth, I have always wondered about the backstory... when she and Kirk meet, there is a kind of poignant regret and sorrow in their interaction which hints at some tragic event in their past. And of course, Ruth's Theme underlines this impression beautifully. So yes, I'll admit that the score is the episode's saving grace.


As you said, maybe it's better not to think about this too much because it might turn out that it doesn't make any sense. For what it's worth, my take on this is the following:
As you say, Ruth and Finnegan are manifestations of Kirk's memories. Finnegan says he's exactly what Kirk expects him to be. So they act out the part they've always played for him (Ruth as his love, Finnegan as his nemesis), but that's it... they're not living, thinking, real people. Note that Kirk asks them both how they can possibly be there on this planet - and they both don't answer that question. They can't. They don't know because they're not real, they have no mind, no memories. If Finnegan calls Kirk "Jim baby" here, it's probably what he always used to call him in their Academy days, so it hasn't necessarily to do with any kind of knowledge. But why he looks like a real man and the knight like a plastic dummy still escapes me...
Peter G.
Thu, Jan 26, 2023, 3:05pm (UTC -6)
@ Lannion,

"But why he looks like a real man and the knight like a plastic dummy still escapes me..."

Maybe the imagining of the knight was indistinct, whereas Kirk had a very good idea of what Finnegan looked like? Or maybe there's a manufacturing explanation: the knight was meant to be covered in armor, so there was no need to expend more resources than necessary to make him life-like under the suit.
Mr. Jimmy
Sun, Mar 5, 2023, 8:17pm (UTC -6)
For once, McCoy gets a girlfriend. And Yeoman Barrows is gorgeous. One of my favorite episodes.
Michael Miller
Sat, Mar 11, 2023, 8:52am (UTC -6)
This episode was on again recently. It seems they are cycling through the episodes faster and faster?

The main thing I don't understand in all these thought episodes is why so few things actually get created. That's not how the human mind works. The brain does trillions of calculations per second, yet only 5-10 thoughts were read and manufactured into reality. Also, I figure it would he hard to "repair" DrMcoy, had he, I don't know, been incinerated by imagining a nuke, or thinking up an industrial size grinder and then falling into it. Moreover, the final decision to stay would be a disaster, as one cannot control every single negative thought. In fact, even just being aware of the possibility of getting attacked by something your mind conjured up, would cause you to have fear. What about when you are asleep and start dreaming? You have 0 control over that, and it's funny how the guy at the end tells them to use the proper caution, while they themselves never thought of putting in a safeguard against their creations stabbing/shooting/burning the visitors to the planet alive..etc. Edge of your seat episodes, but also very laughable after the fact.
Mon, Jun 12, 2023, 12:52pm (UTC -6)
This episode might play better if later trek had referenced it as a possible origin of holodeck tech. It might seem less a bizarre fantasy stand-alone episode and perhaps have a little more heft to it. As it is, it’s probably best not to think too deeply and just try to enjoy the ride, which is generally my least favorite category of episodes. However, as with most TOS outings, if you scratch the surface a bit some interesting ideas start to pop up.

I think the point made above(Peter g, I think) that the fantasy manifestations in the episode tend to be violent and exaggerated because that’s sort of how the imagination works. We remember and conceive things in almost caricature-like form, with the most notable features exaggerated. With this idea some of the fantasies start to make sense, finnigan’s hyper-violence or don Juan’s sexual aggressiveness as examples. Without the foreknowledge that you’re creating these things they’ll manifest in the exaggerated form from your mind, potentially presenting an alarming reality, even if that wasn’t the original intent of your fantasy. I seriously doubt that finnigan punched Kirk in the face every single time they bumped into each other in real life, but that’s what fantasy finnigan does. It’s kind of a cool, subtle look at imagination itself. Of course I have no idea if the episode intended any of that or if this is just me working my imagination.

The music discussion above got me thinking about finnigan and his lighthearted musical cue. The 60s era of tv was thick with westerns and wwII shows that often had these wild peckinpah-esque brawls in them, usually conducted in a sort of zany, played-for-laughs kind of way. I think the finnigan/Kirk punch fest is another example of that concept, and the music cue is a sign of that. I’m not sure at what point we as a culture stopped celebrating the winsome spectacle of one dude bashing another guys head in with a barstool, but it seems you don’t see that take on violence in modern television. Apparently at some point in the last few decades the notion of a person being thrown through a plate glass window or being bashed with a whiskey bottle lost its whimsy.

In any event, I’d find it hard to go above 2 stars for this one.

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