Star Trek: The Original Series

"The Paradise Syndrome"

2.5 stars

Air date: 10/4/1968
Written by Margaret Armen
Directed by Jud Taylor

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

An attempt to divert an asteroid from crashing into a populated planet brings Kirk and the landing party to investigate a planet of paradise where the planet's American Indian-like tribes live in simplistic peace. But when Kirk goes missing after falling into the trap door of a mysterious obelisk, Spock and the Enterprise are forced to leave him behind in order to divert the asteroid before it's too late. Kirk wakes up with amnesia, and upon climbing from the obelisk is taken in by the nearby tribe, where he falls in love with the beautiful Miramanee (Sabrina Scharf). Meanwhile, the story's subplot follows Spock's failed attempt to deflect the asteroid.

Both stories, which take place over a period of several months, are fairly palatable, but neither turns out to be captivating. Kirk's story benefits from the enlightening idea that, although he can't remember who he is, he realizes that being in love and living a simple life has made him "truly happy" for the first time in his life. Not of much interest, however, are Kirk's confrontations with a rival tribe member who, unlike the rest of the tribe, doubts Kirk is a god. Just why does Kirk subtly allow the others to think he is a god in the first place? Is he taking advantage of a situation? The story, unfortunately, never stops to ask what Kirk thinks about this aspect of his problem.

Meanwhile, the romance angle is sweet at first, but goes overboard into tiring sappiness. Miramanee's subsequent injury results in a melodramatic deathbed scene that I couldn't help but resist. Tragedies work better when they have a greater purpose for existing other than for the sake of closing lamentable dialog.

Previous episode: The Enterprise Incident
Next episode: And the Children Shall Lead

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62 comments on this post

Sat, Mar 22, 2008, 8:54am (UTC -6)
While I agree with Jammer's rating for "The Paradise Syndrome," I thought its final scene where Kirk says goodbye to Miramanee was quite moving.
It makes me wonder, though, would Kirk be a widower now, even though he wasn't exactly himself when he married her? The same could be asked about Picard in "The Inner Light."
Mon, Sep 23, 2013, 12:22pm (UTC -6)
I like the idea of allowing Kirk to live a different life, one that he could never have otherwise. Effectively the price he has paid is to give up his identity as a Starship Captain.

As for the execution well there are so many holes. The obelisk is very specific in what it does, and why even beam down to the planet if time is the essence - not to mention the non interference directive which would suggest let nature take its course.

I find the story on the planet once Kirk has lost his memory rather bland, though the McCoy/Spock dynamic works rather better.

The ultimate nonsense for me though was 'Kirk to Enterprise' triggering the obelisk to open. It seems like so much hogwash. these 'Providers' may have been powerful enough to transport the Indians there and into an environment that is familiar to them, but I cannot see how such a contrivance could possibly make any sense.

I give this 1 1/2 stars because so much of it is ultimately meaningless to me.
Fri, Oct 4, 2013, 2:22pm (UTC -6)
This was one of my favorite TOS third season episodes. I disagree with the review above. Keep in mind that Trek was on life support regarding production budget. It appears that much of those dollars were spent on this episode as I do not recall seeing live exterior footage in any remaining third season episodes.

The episode works for me in that god does arrive from heaven, at least from the perspective of the planet's inhabitants. To wit - the planet's inhabitants see Kirok as one of their own; only at the end is he deemed a false God who does not meet their self imposed expectation when he cannot activate the obelisk to save them.

When the landing party materializes we witness the locals flee in terror. Keep that in mind. The episode is brilliant. In the end, Miramanee does not accept that Kirok is anything other than the god who saved her people and dies believing as such. Kirk, not Kirok, expresses no emotion in relation to her passing, as he says, "if that's what you want." One of the best and memorable TOS episodes in my book.
Tue, Jan 21, 2014, 6:22am (UTC -6)
And yet another episode where it is implied that humans, especially star ship captains, can only find true happiness in simple living. Argh. I can't stand it, it drives me crazy. It was the major problem I had with Insurrection. Or even Generations, with those awkward Nexus scenes.
Jo Jo Meastro
Tue, Jan 21, 2014, 7:48am (UTC -6)
I've been working my way through TOS starting with the third season and ending with the first, simply because I've already seen many of the episodes and I'd prefer to end my run with the strongest season. With regards to commenting I probably only will whenever I feel I've got something to say that hasn't been already said by Jammer or anyone else, 2014 has been a busy year so far!

This was a really good episode despite the little hiccups in logic required to make it work. Each Star Trek incarnation has its own take on the concept of the captian coming to terms with a simplier life away from everything that used to matter to them and TOS did a remarkable job when it set the trend. I was gently moved by the ending and there was a certain vibrant visual beauly held throughout the show which perfectly complemented the story.

One last thing, I got the impression Kirk only went along with the notion of being a god because at that point he feels like he came from the sky and believed it might be true!
Fri, Jan 24, 2014, 9:59am (UTC -6)
This is one of the episodes that I love to hate. Mainly the problem I have is the setup of the situation requires our heros to be incompetent and stupid. Star Fleet orders the Enterprise to deflect the asteroid. And as Spock points out in the episode the sooner you do that the easier it is. So what does Captain Jerk do? He goes to the planet first to sightsee. He then falls down a staircase and gets amnesia. Spock then promptly illogically wastes so much time searching for Kirk that he is late to the deflection point and cripples the ship. He could have left a landing party to search for Kirk and gone to deflect the asteroid and come back. Or took the oft repeated statement that you might have to die to protect the Prime Directive and left. Sucks to be you, Kirk.

And Scotty must have been recovering from a bad hangover because this is the one time the miracle worker can't fix the ship. He flat says he can't do anything short of a drydock. The show ends on that point and we never learn how they resolved it. I assume that Kirk had to call AAA for a tow. In real life if you cripple a multi-billion dollar military vessel then tend to end your career. Both Kirk and Spock should have been out of a job at the end of the episode. But hey this is Star Trek and we have a reset button.

And then there's the whole Kirk lets them think he is a God thing. I can kind of forgive him based on that he is coming down off of a bad memory beam high but not much. "Groovy Man this Memory Beam is better than LDS." Kirk's basic character is supposed to be better than that.

And all the Indians are stupid and badly stereotyped. But hey nice rack Miramanee!

And then there is the whole bit about Aliens planting Injuns on doomed planets. Lots of Class M planets around so they pick one with a bad asteroid problem?

The whole episode is Meh. 1 1/2 stars. Typical of the 3rd season.
Wed, Jan 29, 2014, 4:53am (UTC -6)
Like I'm sure is this case with others, this episode too reminds me of "Inner Life" and makes me wonder how much it influenced the great TNG episode. "Inner Light" did a much better job at creating an alternate life for the protagonist, and perhaps it has this "Paradise Syndrome" to thank for the concept.

The episode also contains a few gags, first when Spock uses two rocks to explain a rudimentary concept to McCoy, and then when Scotty throws his hands up in frustration when the beloved Enterprise engines burn out in the background.
Sat, Mar 29, 2014, 10:13pm (UTC -6)
Ok this is like deja vu in reverse. I see the seeds sown for 'The Inner Light' and even moreso 'Thine Own Self'. Inner Light is my favorite Star Trek episode of all. Thine Own Self, which is not as revered, is almost a direct copy; Data loses his memory, makes some minor improvements to the society, then the villagers 'kill' him. The close similarities may be part of why Jammer only gave it two stars while this got an extra half.
Kirk was clearly confused. He knew things but didn't know how he knew them. Maybe he thought he might just be a god figure.
Sat, Mar 29, 2014, 10:33pm (UTC -6)
Just thought about the initials of 'Thine Own Self', TOS. An inside joke maybe?
Inner Light improved on the concept, Thine Own Self just regurgitated it.
Wed, Apr 23, 2014, 2:12pm (UTC -6)
This episode would had been a little better if it was uhura translating and figuring out the presever language with spock or chekov instead of having mccoy telling spock to go to bed. Would had been a good use for her character.
William B
Thu, Sep 4, 2014, 1:19pm (UTC -6)
I agree with the "The Inner Light" and "Thine Own Self" comparisons people are making here; this also has similarities to the last Paradise-named episode ("This Side of..."), although there it was the entire crew save Kirk who were about to give up their spacefaring lives and in this episode it's Kirk and Kirk alone. Obviously this episode is no classic like "The Inner Light." It's also, I think, not as important or iconic as "TSoP," even though Jammer rates them around the same -- "This Side of Paradise" is important for allowing us to see an alternate, happier version of Spock, admittedly drug-induced, but there it is. "Thine Own Self" I think is ultimately fairly disposable, but I still kind of like it better than this one, alas. That said, while this one leaves me a little cold, there is a method to the choices made here, I think.

With Spock in "TSoP," there was a real sense that this was a big deal for him; that this moment of peace and joy was something he had never before experienced, and maybe, once it was over, never would again. There is also the big dramatic, devastating plot element of Kirk having to force Spock out of his happiness in order to bring him back to reality, thus dooming his best friend. Spock, once he returns to "himself," makes the choice to leave this happiness behind, as well. There are, in other words, big choices. In contrast, Kirk is completely passive all episode long. He has a memory loss, and then is basically *given* a new life in which he has to do nothing but "be a god" and fall in love with the girl who is automatically betrothed to him. Then, once disaster strikes, he has to do something involving the obelisk, but he doesn't know what -- and his lack of preparation for this big event (partly because no one actually gave him the specifics that he was expected to have godlike powers to stop a calamity) dooms him, and he gets stoned and his wife gets stoned to death. Oops. In the interim, like Picard in "TIL" and Data in "TOS," Kirk does bring forth some modern tech ideas, but they have no impact on the plot, besides showing that Kirk does still have some ambition to do something besides roll around in open fields thinking about how great it is not to have to do anything but sit around and be worshiped for it.

Kirk pines at the episode's beginning for an escape from his responsibilities, and he gets it -- but notably, he doesn't "get" to be an ordinary guy, but he gets to be a god, without having to do anything. He is still the leader -- he's just now a leader based not on his actions or anything at all, but pure happenstance. There are, in a sense, two models of what a leader is contrasted here: the Starfleet model, and the "man-god" model. The man-god model has some advantages for the man-god: he gets worshiped, he gets fed and sheltered, he gets an attractive wife, and he doesn't have to do anything but accept. But the *moment* that he fails to achieve the impossible feat people demand of him, they turn on him viciously. In contrast, we have Spock standing in for the Starfleet model, which Kirk "normally" represents. Spock has to deal with *constant* backtalk and criticism from his officers, particularly McCoy. People demand Spock not only explain his every action to them, but explain it to them like they're children (is there a funnier moment this season than Spock having to pick up two rocks to explain to McCoy why it's important they stop an asteroid from blowing up the planet, and inching them closer to each other to drive the point home?). He makes logical decisions and they criticize him; he stops sleeping at all for weeks in order that he may work harder and harder on their one infinitesimal chance of saving themselves and Kirk and the planet, and he *also* gets criticized for this. However, in spite of the Enterprise crew's in general (and McCoy's in particular) constant contrariness, they fundamentally have Spock's back. It's a more...almost democratic model, in which, yes, Spock is in charge, but open discussion is allowed and even encouraged, and their willingness to see Spock as flawed also allows them to forgive him when he makes a mistake. Meanwhile, Spock recognizes that he has to work, and work hard, to earn their continued faith in them. The day is saved not by Kirk's utter passivity and comfort in his paradise where other people label him a god, but by Spock recognizing that thought and action and effort is required.

That's kind of a neat story -- an elegant use of the A and B plots to make a point about the futility of wishing for "paradise," because the "Tahiti syndrome" paradise is actually really the desire to be waited on, treated like a god, and not to have to do anything to earn it, not actually a fantasy of living in a pre-industrial civilization, or at least it seems to be in Kirk's case. That said, it is kind of boring; I don't feel very attached to Kirk's life here at all, nor is there enough variety in the Spock/Enterprise plot to make those themes pop (the way the leadership conflict story popped in, say, "The Galileo Seven"). There's also no explanation of how the Enterprise's total loss of warp engines gets resolved at the episode's end. And further, I would like the episode better if it didn't explicitly make it Native American analogues that Kirk falls in with, though. As...*types*, the Noble Savage Woman and the Angry Primitive Religious Zealots are offensive enough, but linked directly to Native Americans they simplify a complex set of peoples down. I think I'm gonna go with 2 stars for the whole endeavour.
Sat, Jun 6, 2015, 11:38pm (UTC -6)
While I don't think the overall episode was that great, I recently watched the most recent fan series Star Trek Continues episode "The White Iris", which followed up somewhat on the events of this episode. I won't spoil anything by saying exactly how, but it added a lot of depth to this episode on a second rewatch.

To any Star Trek fans out there, no matter which Trek series is/are your favorite(s), I *HIGHLY* recommend checking out Star Trek Continues (Vic Mignogna) and Star Trek New Voyages/Phase II (James Cawley). They did an excellent, and I mean *EXCELLENT* job keeping the spirit of Star Trek alive until it comes back to our TV screens again, creating episodes with impeccable production values and staying true to the characters - lots of references to new series too. (Perhaps we can get you to review them Jammer? Just kidding, 700+ episodes of Trek is a huge enough undertaking for anyone.)

Seriously, though, "White Iris" is probably my favorite episode by Star Trek Continues by far, just because of how much depth it added to Kirk's character - I was moved to tears by the end, and you're talking to a guy who didn't cry through DS9's "The Visitor". If nothing else, check that one episode out - it's on their website.

I really cannot say enough about Continues and New Voyages/Phase II. Doubtless there are many other great fan series out there, but these two are the two most well known ones.
Fri, Oct 16, 2015, 7:27pm (UTC -6)
An meager episode.

A LOT of big mistakes :

Sin 1
One more earthlike planet, sigh.

Sin 2
More sexism, and one more woman that Kirk will forget about next week, join the Harem.

Sin 3
It presumes that in the 23d century a ships doctor would not now about some simple mathematics like angles of deflection, bogus, anyone who is a doctor will have hath basic math and will know.

Sin 4
The "Kirk to enterprise" line, shenenigans on that, WAY to conviniant.

Sin 5
The energy needed to transport a starship across space by generating a warp-field is MUCH higher than the energy in an moving object, even one the size of the moon, it should be able to displace it.

Sin 6
Pushing against an object the size of the moon from an earthlike planet, would cause that earthlike-planet to shift orbit as well, and probably also will cause an axis-shift. this would have MASSIVE inpact on the climate on said world, and would far from make everything peace and quit again

Sin 7
The indians at the end are still doomed, enterprise will leave, no medicineman left to operate the machine in the next bad event.

But this episode was not all bad.. though much of it was.

*seeing kirk in some other role than captain is not that bad, the benifits of simple life and such is a theory I support. He who multiplies knowledge, multiplies sorrow, ignorance IS bliss, but still one must fight ignorance, man is simply not ment to be happy indeed.

*the storyline of those preservers explains at least SOMEWHAT how that -way to convenient- indian culture + obelisk came to be there, an explenation in many episodes not given, and it even ties some lose ends for other episodes

Overall I would rate this episode at 1.5 stars, it is not pure torture to watch, but no great fun either.
Tue, Dec 1, 2015, 1:42pm (UTC -6)
I just checked out a little of "Star Trek Continues" and Googled to find if Jammer had anything on it. Maybe he could make a thread to discuss the show, even if he doesn't have tim to review it...
Sun, May 22, 2016, 5:44pm (UTC -6)
I thought the love part was sweet and the best part of the whole episode, but then, I am a woman. Maybe men and women see these things differently
Fri, Jun 24, 2016, 5:44pm (UTC -6)
I agree with most of the criticisms Jammer and the other commenters have made about this episode. So many things in it that are nonsensical. But that didn't really bother me that much. I found myself really enjoying Kirk with amnesia. I though Shatner brought a subtle performance to those early scenes; you can see him trying to figure out if he really is the God the natives think he is. As others mentioned, it reminds me of The Inner Light which is a classic. In the end I agree with the 2.5 stars, given the flaws, but I did quite enjoy it.
Tue, Sep 20, 2016, 7:17pm (UTC -6)
They could have easily fixed the "Kirk to Enterprise" being the secret code to the temple B.S. by having him humming or whistling there instead and unintentionally find the code, or maybe a melody that's ancient but familiar, implying the Preservers may also have been responsible for Earth (that would have been a twist). Even if the Shat is truly incapable of singing, even if he can't even whistle, they could've just dubbed it over. It'd still be convenient, but not quite as implausible.

Spock pushing the ship that far beyond its limits seems uncharacteristically reckless, more like something Kirk would do. (Maybe that's the point, though, to show he's grown in leadership abilities. Unlike Kirk, though, he isn't infinitely lucky, so he naturally failed. Lol)

Vic McNyanyanya? Nooooooo. I'm getting flashbacks to middle school. (Seems like there's always a few actors who spread themselves across the nerd spectrum. I'm shocked, though. Didn't think the guy known for dubbing anime would be playing Captain Kirk in a web series.)
Tue, Sep 20, 2016, 7:33pm (UTC -6)
Oh and I forgot to mention- what was up with Spock trying to explain asteroid deflection to McCoy with the rocks and McCoy just going along with it? It's an elementary school concept, even if he never played with marbels as a kid, McCoy is a doctor, on a starship no less, of course he'd know how it works. He was being stubborn, sure, but not because he's a simpleton. That was kind of demeaning, treating McCoy like he was 2 years old. Who thought that scene was a good idea?
Mon, Jun 5, 2017, 10:42am (UTC -6)
I've been watching the episodes in star date order according to "the star trek chronology project" (which I think I found in a comment on this site) so it was interesting to see this episode follow Elaan of Troyius, where Kirk fell head over heels in love. Then the very next mission he's asked if there's anyone else in his heart and he says "Nope, nobody" and proceeds to make wedding plans. He must have hit his head on every step falling down into the obelisk because those Troyian tears were pretty potent. I imagine that might have factored into reordering the episodes when they went to air.
Fri, Jun 16, 2017, 3:03pm (UTC -6)
An interesting and somewhat touching episode - fairly different in some ways from any prior episode.
Seems to me to be one of the very few TOS episodes with 2 separate plots operating: Spock and the Enterprise trying to deal with the asteroid and Kirk having lost his memory living with the Indians on the planet.
Spock and McCoy have a good dialogue about how to deal with the asteroid - as Season 2 got on and as we go into Season 3, their interaction gets more and more complex. In a way it's like "The Galileo Seven" from S1 with Spock's command decisions being challenged and not working out.
Kirk's time with the Indians is mostly light-hearted although Salish provides a bit of an antagonist. Again Kirk gets the girl and finds true happiness. It's hard to believe he basically spends 2 months with the Indians. The supposed elapsed time for this episode may be the longest of any TOS episode.
I like the concept of the Preservers - a super-race - spreading humanoid species throughout the galaxy.
Spock with the 1st push of a button manages to deflect the asteroid - is he good or what? A bit of a convenient ending -- but the main point of the episode is Kirk finding true love and happiness and the simple life with the Indians.
"I will bear you many strong sons," says Miramanee as she dies -- are daughters no good?
I'd rate this 2.5 stars. Not a bad episode - some nice moments, some silly ones, but a touching ending with Kirk and Miramanee.
Trek fan
Wed, Nov 22, 2017, 7:02pm (UTC -6)
I've gone back and forth on this episode for years, but I'm finally going to land on "good" and give it 3 or 3 1/2 stars. Space Indians, the captain living out a new life in another culture, and a crew member being mistaken for a god will all be done later on TNG as some viewers here have noted. But I like how this episode pushes Shatner way beyond his usual glib invincibility -- normally Kirk is hyper-resistant to anything taking him away from his ship, but this episode really sells the idea that he falls in love with something (Miramanee) else. I like how Spock is truly anguished in his command decisions regarding the asteroid after so much time goes by with the captain lost. And I love the touching farewell between Kirk and Miramanee followed by the equally touching effort by Spock to relieve the captain's sense of loss with a selective memory wipe. Wow, this is edgy stuff for these characters, and I like how this story goes for broke on everything.

This story continues the trend, which is very clear at this point in the series, of focusing on our regulars: McCoy, Scotty, Chekov, Sulu, and Uhura are all in fine form here. Watching all the episodes in order, more or less one a day as I've been doing, really shows how the cast chemistry grows throughout the series as stories begin accentuating just the regulars without shoehorning too many guest crewmen. Nicely done here. But the star of this one is Shatner: His love for Miramanee and heartbreak at the end feel unusually vulnerable for the character, shunning his usual glibness, and the concern and love of Spock for his friend really come through. I like this material.

The Space Indian stuff is okay, the Obelisk is suitably alien and mysterious, but all of that is just backdrop for the central story of "captain catches Tahiti syndrome." And you know what? It's a good story, well-acted, with good location shooting and some beautiful moments. I think this is a highly underrated Star Trek episode.
Sat, Dec 30, 2017, 7:28am (UTC -6)
Hello Everyone!

@Trek fan

I liked your comments, and something else struck me while reading them, that this show really made me believe they were out past the edge of known space, all alone. They chugged along at impulse for quite some time, and it seems no other ships were close enough (at warp) to help them. No matter what they ended up doing, it was all on the Enterprise.

Regards... RT
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 1:01pm (UTC -6)
Usually not one to nitpick on plot points, it just always irked me here that this super-advanced race dedicated to transplanting endangered species to give them a chance to flourish and develop would place the Indians on a planet that was so obviously threatened by constant asteroid collisions they needed to give them a deflector mechanism and create a religion in order for them to operate it.

I know this wasn't stated in the final cut. It comes from earlier drafts of the script (and is mentioned in the James Blish adaptation ). But really, unless the obelisk is some kind of all in one Swiss Army knife problem solver, the existence of a dedicated deflector begs explaining.

If this had been a NexGen episode, I wonder if we'd've had a debate on whether or not deflecting the asteroid was a Prime Directive issue, lol!
Zita Carno
Thu, Jul 19, 2018, 9:52am (UTC -6)
At one point Spock asks Bones "Do you think he's strong enough for the Vulcan mind-fusion?" And Bones replies "We have no choice." The mind-fusion is the most powerful of the standard mind-melds, and even there we have a couple of variants. We have a quieter version that occurs in "Is There In Truth No Beauty?" in which Spock becomes one with Ambassador Kollos---a true sharing of information and experiences---and then there's the no-holds-barred version we see here, the one that has to be performed in order to break Kirk's amnesia, in the process knocking the wind out of Spock. Then---in a "Voyager" episode, "Infinite Regress", Tuvok has to go all-out as he joins Seven of Nine's mind so the two of them can repel the invading entities that threaten to destroy her. Three different varieties of the mind fusion, and to someone like me who is fascinated by mind melds in general, most enjoyable.
Mon, Dec 24, 2018, 9:35pm (UTC -6)
it's interesting that people are no longer aware of the memes operating at the time, and for a long time, when this episode was written.

It's the Noble Savage meme: that primitive peoples, living simply, had a better life--a kind of modernized Garden of Eden myth.

Another meme is the Western stud. Western guys are more appreciated outside their Western countries. Ironic our women do not appreciate us as much as women who can barely speak English.

I find this episode, pure hetero-romance that only the pre-2000s could produce. It's my favorite. Reminds me of the crushes I had as a teenager.
Wed, Jan 9, 2019, 1:08pm (UTC -6)
Different, for sure. Kirk suffers from amnesia while Enterprise crew is months away apparently 4 hours ahead of asteroid. Not sure why Spock can't sleep or eat since it will take a while to get back to planet to search for Kirk who gets married while on planet. This short part could have been left out so there was more time for Kirk on the planet.

The Enterprise unable to warp ahead of asteroid or divert it as well as the amnesia are all parts of the story needed to develop Kirks lengthy time on planet.
Sat, Mar 16, 2019, 12:54pm (UTC -6)
I always wondered, how many of the obelisks were there?? Im assuming there had to have been many scattered all over the planet to take care of any asteroid coming from any direction.And one more, how did the enterprise know the obelisk deflector has become defective?? Other than a few plot holes ,its a very good episode.
Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 11:15am (UTC -6)
At the risk of sounding like an ignorant fool, isn't saving them from an asteroid a violation of the prime directive? I watch this show way too much...
Sat, May 18, 2019, 10:30pm (UTC -6)
While I am weary of episodes featuring earth-like planets, which amazingly developed cultures exactly like those on Earth, this was a well done ep.

The plot hung together, it was sweet.

Shatner had a few majorily awkward moments, too hammy and such. But mostly, he did OK.

I liked it. Above average.
Sarjenka's Brother
Wed, Jul 24, 2019, 9:07pm (UTC -6)
I just can't get past Kirk's STUPID decision to walk around observing when Spock clearly explains they only have 30 minutes.

Why on Earth would Kirk cut it so close to begin with? Very, very set-up that makes Kirk look like an idiot.

Otherwise, it could have been a good mid-range episode.
Brian S.
Wed, Aug 14, 2019, 1:58am (UTC -6)
Watching these episodes through streaming services in rapid succession is jarring....

KIRK: "Hey Bones, this indigenous woman and I just had some stones thrown at us. I'm a little banged up, but apparently none too worse for the wear. Stay with her. Do what you can."

*McCoy scans Miramanee, discovers she's carrying Kirk's child*

(30 Minutes later)

MCCOY: "She had bad internal injuries, Jim. "
KIRK: "Will she live? "
MCCOY: "No."
KIRK: "No? No?!? Wasn't it just 2 episodes ago where you successfully surgically reattached Spock's brain after it had been stolen from his skull?! And now you're telling me you can't heal a woman with a few internal injuries sustained from some rocks."
MCCOY: "Do you want to explain to Starfleet Command how a woman on an alien pre-warp pre-industrial civilization ended up birthing your child?"
KIRK: "I'll love you, Miramanee. Always."

MCCOY: I swear that's honeysuckle I smell.
KIRK: I swear that's a little orange blossom thrown in. It's unbelievable. Growth exactly like that of Earth on a planet half a galaxy away. What are the odds on such duplication?
SPOCK: Astronomical, Captain.
Thu, Aug 15, 2019, 3:26pm (UTC -6)
@Brian S.

Wading through pages of bonfires, wasted pixels, repeated blather of the Nth by the same characters using different handles AND THEN I FIND YOUR GEM.

Thank you for the best funniest comment - in years.
Sun, May 10, 2020, 3:04pm (UTC -6)
On the Star Trek Continues episode "The White Iris" -- again very enjoyable as were the first 3 STC shows and the one that makes the greatest acting demands on Mignogna as Kirk, who does another good job. An interesting idea of having Kirk get closure for all the women he fell in love with but had to die -- all triggered by an experimental drug to treat a concussion. The ending resolution is extremely convenient and timely -- which is also a staple of Trek eps.

I think this one has the most sort of "fan service" to it as it kind of plays like a greatest hits of Kirk's romances -- Rayna, Edith Keeler, Miramanee, and some woman from the Farragut. Some creative license is taken in Kirk's use of the holodeck to revisit scenes of old episodes and be absolved of letting those women die -- but it's a clever use of the device, I must say. Reminds me of the kind of thing one would expect to see on a good VOY episode.

You've got another Trek staple of 2 warring planets and that adds the ticking clock to Kirk to get resolution and remember the passcode for the defense system. That the passcode to the defense system be reliant on Kirk's memory is a bit of an oops...

2.5 stars for "The White Iris" -- Nearly 3 stars here for me. There is an interesting link between the lonely white iris in Van Gogh's painting and a ship's captain. The ship's [very hot] counselor points Kirk on the right path to getting closure as Spock's mind meld would have had Kirk believe he had failed those lost loves, which wasn't the case. Another solid STC production that's definitely worth a re-watch at some point.
Sat, May 23, 2020, 1:55pm (UTC -6)
The concept of this episode was great as others have noted, but I'm stunned at the lack of discussion over how completely and utterly racist it is. I understand that native americans, particularly in Hollywood in the 50s and 60s, were generally portrayed in the fashion seen in this episode so it's tempting to give it a pass as a "product of its time". For a show as, great, optimistic and generally progressive though as Star Trek, it makes it even more galling and disappointing and I expect better (even in the third season morass).

I won't go deep in the weeds on this, but suffice it to say that the characterization of the american indians in this boils down to the "noble savage" stereotype, and they are consistently portrayed as simple minded, where Kirk is shown to be smarter and superior at every turn. It also just runs rough shod over actual beliefs, traditions and aspects of native american culture in favor of gross stereotypes, boiling them down to little more than mascot level representation. This might be forgivable, if they hadn't so explicitly named the culture as "American Indians" right at the start of the episode.

I suspect the reason that no one has commented on this, versus something like Code of Honor in TNG Season 1, is because years of Hollywood stereotyping of an entire indigenous people has made this type of characterization ubiquitous, to the point that people either don't even think about it, or they believe this is an actual representation of native american culture. Which is exactly why this type of casual sterotyping and racism is so incredibly damaging.
Sat, Jan 9, 2021, 9:51am (UTC -6)
Enjoyable episode, definitely different from the usual TOS alternate-Earth fare.

There are TNG episodes that could easily have been TOS episodes ("The Naked Now"). This is a TOS episode that - with its clear A/B format - could have easily been a TNG episode. It basically is half "Inner Light" (Picard = Kirk) and half "Deja Q" (astroid = astroid).

I'm happy to give The Paradise Syndrome 3 stars, if only because Kirk gets to sleep with a Playboy bunny and for once be happy. That, and they've actually done a pretty good job transposing Paul Gaugin's Tahiti Syndrome from paintings
to television.

That said, Farscape did a far more interesting job with the episode "Jeremiah Crichton".
Wed, Jan 20, 2021, 9:37pm (UTC -6)
I didn't hate this episode as much as I thought I would.

Though it is curious that the woman didn't survive her injuries whole Kirk was completely conscious and not injured. I'm developing a theory that Bones faked her injuries so that Kirk wouldn't want to stay and be with his child. ALSO that Bones has been doing this across the galaxy and Kirk has like 50 children. By the events of DS9 you have a 1/10 chance of being related to someone related to Kirk.
Thu, Jan 21, 2021, 5:06am (UTC -6)
@Eskimo, LOL! Talk about Space Seed ;)
Mon, Mar 1, 2021, 11:32am (UTC -6)
Same as Marc's comment last year, I'm stunned at the lack of mentioning the sickeningly racist nature of this episode, for goodness sake the lead woman Miramanee is blatantly a white woman painted browner. Even as "a product of it's time" I came to the comments expecting some kind of discussion on it and found little. If we won't discuss the mistakes of the past, what does it say about us in the present, or the future? Seems that racism against Native Americans is still alive and well if barely anyone is even realising that this wasn't okay.
Bob (a different one)
Mon, Mar 1, 2021, 12:50pm (UTC -6)
"Seems that racism against Native Americans is still alive and well if barely anyone is even realizing that this wasn't okay."

In the words of the late great Warren Oates: Lighten up, Kirok.

If I like Alice in Wonderland, does that make me a pedophile? Do I have to explicitly state that I am definitely NOT a pedophile every time I discuss the book?

I hope not. But that seems to be the standard you are employing here.

There is a difference between liking something because of its problematic qualities, and liking something despite its problematic qualities.

I think it's a mistake that, just because someone doesn't begin every discussion with a disavowal of all the unacceptable things in a work of fiction, that they must actually agree with them.

If you have a problem with something then by all means speak up. There are racists in this world, and I have read comments here that probably qualify as racist. But I think automatically assuming the worst of your fellow posters is a mistake.
Fri, Mar 5, 2021, 10:31am (UTC -6)
On the contrary I really don't think the worst of my fellow posters, and you can absolutely enjoy something despite its problematic qualities but you have to at least be aware of them and the silence here makes me think people aren't. I also definitely don't expect everyone to preface comments with a short essay on racism or anything, I was just shocked that out of the dozens of comments on this whole long thread, only one other had mentioned anything. Compare this to The Savage Curtain, which I just finished watching (I've been binging haha), which has a lot of discourse under the comment section. I just think maybe people are less aware of it when it comes to Native Americans, subconscious as it may be, and that that is evident in a lack of discussion or even side notes on here. To me the brown painted/edited white woman was as jarring as seeing someone in blackface, so yeah I was shocked no one had even mentioned it as a side note at least.
Fri, Apr 30, 2021, 1:57am (UTC -6)
An intriguing story despite the appalling astronomy (if an asteroid is deflected from its orbit, how come it returns regularly?). Different from the ‘normal’ TOS story, that’s for sure.

Yet, like Jammer, I was strangely unmoved. There were far too many longueurs in the tribal scenes. Instead of Kirk chasing Miramanee through the trees in slow motion, why not show some of his dreams? The familiar faces would be blurred and the ship’s locations would be distorted in a semi-recognisable manner, lending a quasi nightmarish tone ... an opportunity missed perhaps?

Not bad, but not great either. I think Jammer’s 2.5 stars is fair.
Fri, Apr 30, 2021, 2:12am (UTC -6)
Kirk’s heartache selectively wiped by Spock compassionately? Oh god, yes, I now remember that. But it’s not in the Netflix episode I just watched. Did THEY wipe it? Which begs the question, what else has been cut from episodes I’ve seen again recently?
Jason R.
Fri, Apr 30, 2021, 7:48am (UTC -6)
@Tid Netflix has been known to carry cut versions of tv shows. I remember when I was watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer there were scenes I could remember from some episodes that weren't there and sure enough I was not crazy, they had been cut.
William B
Fri, Apr 30, 2021, 8:49am (UTC -6)
I thought that happened in Requiem for Methuselah. I guess it's possible it happened in both.
Sat, May 1, 2021, 1:23am (UTC -6)
In this one, Spock uses the mind meld to restore Kirk’s memory. In Requiem, he uses it to remove the pain of Kirk’s lost love for the android, Rayna.

I totally do not come here randomly to read comments for TOS episodes. :-)
Sat, May 1, 2021, 2:45am (UTC -6)
@Jason R @William B @Chrome

It seems that I may have misremembered which episode that scene was from. Thanks for setting me straight. A comment above by someone else who misremembered misled me!
Jeffery's Tube
Fri, Jul 2, 2021, 1:13am (UTC -6)
If this episode had invented a new alien culture in place of American Indians, complete with new makeup and costuming, and the rest of the script remained the same, no one would raise any issues with it. But because this was season 3 of TOS, and the budget had been slashed to the bone, they used stock Indian costuming and props from Paramount's many Western productions, and what we end up with is a bit problematic--white savior, noble savage, beautiful princess who can't wait to fall for an outsider because it's better than someone from her own culture, a culture that's apparently been static for a thousand years reducing its people to one-dimensional stereotypes, etc. Certainly none of this was on the radar of the producers back in 1968 when they decided borrowing these already-made materials would let them make the episode happen, and honestly this production is a better treatment of, and more respectful of, American Indians than most of their portrayals in productions from this time period. Heck, it's better than Voyager managed with Chakotay . . . but you know what? It's still okay to admit it's unfortunate and has problems in retrospect.

I don't think a discussion of the episode should start and end there, though, and I would hope everybody, after noticing and remarking on it, is capable of seeing past that to what else the episode has to offer.

Anyway, I think the Enterprise noticed the asteroid was going to hit a class-M planet, realized they could deflect it, and figured that, whether or not the planet was inhabited, they should deflect it, because maybe the Federation would want to colonize it later. Why let it wreck an M-class world, right? When they got closer to the system, they detected the obelisk on the planet, and assumed there was a technologically advanced civilization there, so they diverted there instead and beamed down to make first contact, and ask why they hadn't deflected the asteroid. Don't want to be moving somebody else's asteroid unannounced, right? Better understand the situation first. But they discovered the civilization wasn't advanced, so they didn't make contact, and then Kirk went missing. With little time, Spock decides that since the inhabitants of the planet can't divert the asteroid, it's up to the Enterprise, and they have to leave RIGHT NOW to make it happen. He can't leave McCoy or anyone else on the planet to search for Kirk because leaving people behind on a planet with uncontactable people where they might be discovered is a violation of the Prime Directive. (In fact, even beaming down was, but they only did that because they assumed it was an advanced civilization because of the obelisk.)

So that's my take on why the Enterprise beams people down with only a thirty minute window, why they didn't deflect the asteroid first, and why they leave Kirk alone without letting McCoy stay on the surface to look for him while the Enterprise does what it needs to do.

Spock never asks the question of IF the Enterprise should continue to deflect the asteroid after discovering the pre-warp civilization on the planet or if that would be a violation of the Prime Directive . . . personally, I choose to believe the PD isn't THAT restrictive. There's evidence either way, but I'd argue moving an asteroid is sufficiently removed from direct interference that Spock could make the case it didn't apply. Oh, I guess someone could argue that, then, isn't the reverse also true--is moving an asteroid INTO a collision course with the planet ALSO not a violation of the Prime Directive? Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but it's definitely a violation of other Starfleet directives about attacking alien civilizations, so nyaaahhh.
Sun, Jul 11, 2021, 3:30pm (UTC -6)
I liked the Kirk A-story but they did the Spock vs McCoy on the bridge B-story way too much.

It would've been much better if Spock and McCoy were stranded on the planet too. Then they would've had to begrudgingly work together to activate the asteroid deflector.

Maybe that was the plan before the budget cuts. At least we had ONE episode from S3 that was filmed on-location.
stevaan of edmontaan
Fri, Jul 16, 2021, 10:34pm (UTC -6)
How far away would the asteroid have to be if the Enterprise needs to move at warp 9 to intercept it? If it is 59 days at impulse speed, surely warp nine would overshoot it by a long way. I also wonder about the wisdom of planting a people on a planet that some time in the future would be struck by such a body. Then there’s all the white actors pretending to be native Americans.

Rewatching The Paradise Syndrome didn’t impress me as much as others. It is better than I remembered, but not by too much. Two and a half stars seems fair.
Wed, Sep 1, 2021, 5:40pm (UTC -6)
What was that obelisk really? It's a real place, right? I don't believe season 3 TOS could afford to build that thing.
Peter G.
Wed, Sep 1, 2021, 7:58pm (UTC -6)
Foam is cheap.
Mon, Sep 20, 2021, 2:05pm (UTC -6)
The final goodbye scene is undercut by how little Kirk, Spock, and especially McCoy cared about Miramanee in the previous scene by the obelisk. They didn't spare her a second - nay, a *first* glance - for a good 5 minutes while they dealt with Kirk. Have to get her out of the way so Kirk can remain unfettered.
Fri, Jul 15, 2022, 5:57am (UTC -6)
two and a half stars?? This is the most unremarkable episode so far. Kirk falls inside the obelisk and lose his memory because yes, then spock and enterprise's sensors cant find a guy who is literally a few meters below, then the chief says "oh you must be a god, so have my hot daughter" and kirk is like "well i dont know but all right ok" then spock fails to deflect the asteroid because of course while kirk gets to have some fun for two months with the hot indian lady who automatically fell in love with him and McCoy lets she die as an abortive method. That's pretty much it. No difficult choices, no bold concepts, not even bad enough to be funny. Half stars for Sabrina Scharf looking good on indian costume and that's it.
matt h
Sun, Nov 27, 2022, 11:03am (UTC -6)
So Kirk here is transformed into an arrogant tin-plated dictator with delusions of godhood.
Peter G.
Mon, Dec 19, 2022, 9:56pm (UTC -6)
It must be because I haven't watched this one in over a decade, but it never occurred to me that TNG's PD interpretation was clearly made up out of whole cloth at some point, maybe in TNG S2. Here the Enterprise is pretty clearly tasked with preventing an asteroid destroying a planet so that they can save its inhabitants. And not only that, but they do so using the technology of a far more advanced race, which itself clearly believed in the importance of protecting less advanced civilizations. Huh,
Michael Miller
Mon, Jan 23, 2023, 7:49am (UTC -6)
I know some people don't like constant criticizing of plot holes or scientific errors, but some of them are so glaringly obvious that they essentially ruin the whole premise of the episode. For example, if the asteroid is only 2 months away, traveling at sublight speed, why did it take them HOURS at WARP 9 just to get to it from the planet? Even if the asteroid was moving AT light speed, which is impossible, 2 months would mean 1/6 of a light year, or roughly a Trillion Miles. Maximum warp is supposedly thousands or even millions of times the speed of light, so they should have been there in seconds. And again, I know they do it just for visual affects, but the way the stars are furiously whipping by at warp speed, makes it look like they are going hundreds of light years, so how could the asteroid be only 2 MONTHS away if it's essentially in another star system?? Even using voyagers figure of 4 billion miles a second for warp 9.975, figure warp 9 is 100 million miles a second, that's still not hours just to go a Trillion Miles. Maybe 160 minutes at most., and that's assuming that an asteroid could go near light speed when it's more likely going in the 100,000-1 million mph range anyway LOL
Thu, Apr 6, 2023, 7:57am (UTC -6)
I never really liked this one very much. It seemed as though the producers or writers were just grasping for any lame plot line that popped into their head. Multiple episodes have dealt with the fact that Kirk would've been happier to just settle down with a babe and live the simple life. But,he always falls back into the stressful life of a star ship captain. It's hard to have it both ways. Come on man,just retire already. Be a captain Dunsel and let the M5 run the damn ship. Oh wait, that had disastrous results. Maybe the M6 is ready by now.
Sun, Jul 23, 2023, 11:29am (UTC -6)
I’ve never been a fan of this episode. It’s not terrible, but it’s just not very fun in my opinion. Perhaps it’s the discomfort I have at the Native American stereotyping and the brown-facing that’s going on here, or maybe it’s my disdain for the “simple life as paradise” trope, but I just can’t get into this one. I think it might be that last idea that really does this outing in for me, I find the whole “return to a simpler time” idea to be pretty myopic. The concept that ignorance is bliss or that a primitive life would be a happier one only holds water until, say, a small cut on your finger becomes infected and gangrenous, at which point your life of simple, happy ignorance becomes one of horrid, rotting death. There are reasons humanity has developed all the oh so awful conveniences that plague our existence, and most of those reasons revolve around escaping things that make people VERY unhappy.

But anyway, I also think this episode sort of buries the lead a bit when it comes to its most interesting idea: the providers. Who were they, why’d they do what they did, where’d they go? I don’t mind mystery and ambiguity, but I’d rather spend the episode investigating this situation than watching Kirk grow some wicked sideburns.

I will say, the romance and pathos of Kirk and miramanee’s doomed relationship is pretty moving. I also find it interesting to think about what one would do if you had amnesia and everyone around you kept insisting that you were a god? Very confusing experience I’d imagine. A few other thoughts:
-was Spock explaining asteroid deflection to McCoy with rocks done for McCoy’s benefit or for the audience’s? Either way it’s a wildly condescending scene, made stranger by McCoy’s lack of reaction to such an obvious insult.
-is deflecting an asteroid really against the PD? I’m no prime directive scholar, but if the culture in question is unaware of the asteroid or the efforts to deflect it then I don’t see how it would influence their social development in any sort of detrimental fashion. Now if there was a comet that periodically became visible to this hypothetical society and they developed a religion or something around it, and due to some quirk of orbital mechanics it entered a collision course with their planet, THEN deflecting it might be a PD issue, as having your god literally smash into and devastate your world would probably be a seminal event for any civilization. But if it all occurs outside of their knowledge I’m not sure what logic there is in letting such a catastrophe happen.
-it’s a good thing Kirk took CPR class. Totally got him laid.
-was there some sort of parallel with the villagers stoning Kirk and miramanee and the planet about to be “stoned” by an asteroid?

2/4 memory obliterating obelisks of mystery.
Thu, Jul 27, 2023, 8:01pm (UTC -6)
This first aired in the fall of 1968, six months after “2001:A Space Odyssey “ premiered, is it a coincident that the plot outline (an advanced race saves primative humanoids from extinction) is similar?
Peter G.
Thu, Jul 27, 2023, 9:27pm (UTC -6)
Whoa, that's a cool observation.
Sat, Aug 5, 2023, 3:35pm (UTC -6)

Good points on the ambivalence of “returning to a simple life”. I found Kirk’s reaction to it quite revealing. When he is in his right mind, he’s quite allergic to a simple life in paradise… we’ve seen that in a number of episodes. Here, in the opening scene, at the sight of the village, he expresses his wish to settle down and live a simple life, but it’s obviously a fantasy he knows he can’t have. When he loses his memory, this inhibition is gone. For a while, he’s able to settle down with Miramanee and her people, and he seems to have found happiness indeed… but what he’s definitely not found is inner peace. He’s still plagued by visions and dreams which are subconscious manifestations of his sense of duty. What’s more, he starts inventing and improving things, pushing their society from the simple life he cherishes towards a progress which would inevitably change their way of life. Like you mentioned the benefits of modern medicine, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to show them how to irrigate the fields (although it adds to the simplistic portrayal of Native Americans which is certainly the weakest point of this episode). But most of all, it speaks volumes about Kirk. Even though he says he’s found paradise, he can’t just sit on his rear end and be happy with what he’s got. Ultimately, he seems to be one of these persons who simply aren’t made for settling down, who always feel the urge to move on, from one challenge to the next… From this point of view, it’s not surprising that the story ends in death and grief.
Sun, Sep 10, 2023, 11:35pm (UTC -6)
Best little thing in this episode:

It offers a far better explanation for off-Earth humanoids than TNG's The Chase, and is similar to the Stargate and FarScape mythos: advanced aliens took some very ancient humans and carted them off throughout the galaxy. Is this perfect? No. But it makes a whole lot more sense than "magic bacteria planted by humanoids would result in humanoids evolving everywhere" as written by people who do not understand Darwinian evolution at all.

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