Before I start recapping this episode, I’d like to point out that it was, in fact, the first episode aired, but not the first one produced. If you are reading this one first, it might result in a lack of continuity...
Haha! Just kidding! There is nothing remotely resembling continuity in Star Trek. Got it? Good.
In the following episode, Spock promotes domestic violence, Kirk is emotionally unstable, and McCoy "gets" "the girl", but he doesn't get her, and she is not a girl.
Ladies and Gentlemen: The Man Trap
Kirk-log informs us that it's 1513.1, whatever that means. (Apparently, Gene Roddenberry invented the Stardate system so that no one could tell exactly how far in the future the episodes were taking place… but that lasted all of no minutes, since the series constantly talks about being in the 23rd century. ) They are orbiting planet M-113. Spock's in command of the Enterprise, and Kirk, Bones and a Blue RedShirt are on the planet. Kirk-log explains that they are there to do a routine medical check-up of archaeologist Robert Crater, and his wife Nancy. "Routine," Kirk-log reports ominously, "except for the fact that Nancy Crater is that one woman in Dr. McCoy's past." Hey now, Kirk. I bet Bones had plenty of women in his past. Just because he can beam down to a desert planet without losing his shirt doesn't mean he isn't getting laid. And isn't that a little bit personal for a Captain's Log entry? By the way, do you ever wonder who listens to these logs? I do. I hope some young kid at Starfleet is sitting there thinking to himself, "Someone stole Spock's brain?… the fuck?" ["Especially considering that, if you put Kirk's logs together, they never form a coherent story."-Redcoast]
But we're two years and a Chekov away from brainless Spock. Kirk jokingly suggests that Bones should pick some flowers for Nancy, reminding him and us subtly that she is his ex-girlfriend. Way to be sensitive, Jim. "Is that how you get girls to like you? By bribing them?" Bones drawls. I love Bones. Kirk chuckles, but doesn't answer. Instead, he pulls the attention off how he treats women by suggesting they search for the Professor and
Deciding he is safe from the doctor's accustions of sexism, Kirk turns the spotlight back on Bones by asking if he's nervous. Bones concedes that he is. "We walked out of each other's lives 10 years ago... For all I know, she's completely forgotten me," he admits. Kirk goes, "Aw…" like he's going to say something comforting, but instead he just smirks. "Of all the bonehead ideas, Jim, how I do let myself get into things like this?" Again, Kirk says nothing, he just stands there happily. What an asshole.
Captain James T. Smirk teases Bones about his ex.
Suddenly a really cheerful looking woman comes in ["Singing like Snow White!"-Redcoast] and exclaims, "Leonard!" "Nancy!" Bones replies in a Very Meaningful Way . They grasp hands and search each others eyes for a second (uh, isn't she married?). After a moment, Bones remembers that Kirk exists and introduces him. When the camera flashes back to Nancy from Kirk's point of view, we see (gasp!) a woman ten years older than the Nancy before. ["In Star Trek, putting some baby powder in an actress's hair translates as 'ten years older.'"-Redcoast] In case we somehow missed that something strange happened, the music plays a little "Something Strange Happened!" diddy. You can always count on the Star Trek soundtrack to tell you how to react. Kirk tells Nancy that he's heard a great deal about her. "All good, I hope!" she says pleasantly. Kirk gives this little awkward laugh, as though that's the farthest thing from the truth. Wow, he's turning out to be a real dick in this episode. Bones then introduces Blue Redshit (wait, was he there while Bones was pouring out his heart to Jim? Awkward!), whose name turns out to be Crewman Da--- actually, it doesn't matter, does it? He's doomed. From Blue Redshirt's point of view, we see Nancy as this woman who I assume is supposed to be a blonde sex kitten, but whose face is really weird. ["It's called 'pornface.'"-Redcoast] Her chin disturbs me a little. The music again reminds us that Something Weird happened, but on a higer octave.
Blue Redshirt is fixated by Nancy, and says she reminds him of someone he left behind on, and I swear I am not making this up, "Wrigley's pleasure planet." ["Double your pleasure!" -Redcoast] Whatever a pleasure planet is, Bones takes extreme offense to it and gets all protective about Nancy. To avoid argument, Kirk asks Blue Redshirt to step outside, and then offers to do so himself. "What?" Nancy exclaims. "And let Plum examine me all alone?" Is that what you kids are calling it these days? Kirk and I say simultaneously "Plum?" in disbelief, although he leaves off the "ee!" of amusement afterwards. "Plum," admits McCoy bashfully. "A nickname I gave Leonard when we were very young," Nancy explains, touching Plum's face lovingly. Evidently, even she has forgotten that she's a married woman. Bones is apparently a little hesitant to become the pizza delivery man in a Wrigley's Pleasure Planet film, and suggests that they wait until Professor Cuckold himself arrives. Nancy agrees and goes off to find her husband.
The three Nancys
Outside the house, we see Blue Redshirt. When Nancy walks by him, she is Blonde Pleasure Planet Nancy, wearing some sort of sexy, silvery outfit. Well, her skirt is short, but it is extremely modest by Star Trek women standards. She's all like "Is it hot out here or is it just me?" and sexily entices Blue Redshirt to follow her, which he does, as the traditional Star Trek "Oh No!" music swells. ["No, that's porn music. You aren't very good with the porn overtones, are you?"-Redcoast]
Credits! Space! The Final Frontier! The speech part is pretty awesome, with the single notes playing in the background and the Star Trek fanfare. Then, of course, we break into what seems to be the "I Love Lucy" theme song, complete with bongos and women OOooOOooing. Actually, this season (Season One) has no women and more bongos. And as my friend Mary says, "Nothing says futuristic space travel quite like bongos!" Aw, I almost forgot that DeForest Kelley didn't get top billing in Season One.
Kirk-log reminds us that the landing party was completely unaware that each of them was seeing a different woman, and reports other key plot points for those who missed the first bit. A man enters the Crater house, and Kirk exclaims, "Dr. Crater!" Professor Cuckold is agitated and rants that they have no right to give him a free medical examination. Yeah, what is this, Canada? "Will you please go back to wherever you came from, and tell who ever gives you orders to leave me and my wife alone?" he finishes. Then he's all, 'Oh, except for salt, give us some salt'. Bones looks slightly outraged and says he needs to confirm their health, and that those are his orders. People follow orders on Star Trek? Really? Professor Cuckold babbles about being poked and proded with arcane machinery. Maybe he's just concerned about Bones poking and proding Nancy with his, uh, arcane machinery. (Actually, there would be no poking or proding; one of the cool things about the medical supplies in Star Trek is that most of it seems to never touch you. As someone who is deathly afraid of needles, this kind of little detail stands out.) "Go away, we don't want you!" he yells. There's another shot in that Star Trek hazy light of Kirk smirking. He's still smirking? God, what is his deal in this episode? Bones is matching Professor Cuckold for agitation, and firmly insists he stay. If Bones didn't argue in such an animated way at least three times in every episode, I'd say he was just sticking around to see more of Nancy.
Professor Cuckold and Bones arguing about free medical care and right to privacy.
Finally, Kirk steps in and tells the Professor that it is Starfleet regulation for members of science teams to get medically examined every year. "You show your gold braid to everyone, you love it, don't you?" Professor Cuckold sneers. I think this is supposed to be an insult, but he's just basically saying You're a captain and you tell people, don't you?. I don't find this that insulting, particularly because Kirk does like to flaunt his captain-y braid, but Kirk looks offended.
"He's all yours, Plum," Kirk tells Bones, who looks up at him in anger. "Uh, Dr. McCoy," Kirk corrects himself. Professor Cuckold asks if Kirk called the doctor "McCoy". Bones confirms it. The professor sits down with a "Hmph.", and begins asking if he's the same McCoy that Nancy knew. Bones verifies that he's the real McCoy. ["Heh."-Redcoast] Professor Cuckold seems very surprised that they've seen Nancy, and then he says that he's pleased she got some company. Bones starts talking about her unaged beauty. I'm still wary of him talking about a married women this way, especially to her husband, but at least the phrase "Wrigley's Pleasure Planet" doesn't cross his lips. Grinning, Bones says she looks "exactly as I knew her twelve years ago." Professor Cuckold tries to distract the conversation from his wife's appearance, but Bones really thinks Nancy is worth her salt. "Not a gray hair in her head!" he exclaims. Kirk is of course smirking, and says, "She's got some gray in her." Just a little salt and peppered, don't you think?
Kirk continues to laugh at Bones.
Seriously, someone needs to sit down and teach Captain James T. Smirk some social manners. Even if a woman has gone gray, why would you bring it up to her husband and a friend of yours who is still in love with her? It just seems rude. "She's a handsome woman… but hardly 25," Kirk adds. Poor Bones looks really insulted by this. The Professor reminds Bones to take what he sees emotionally with a grain of salt. Bones is all, okay, but she still looks hot. Professor Cuckold happily says, "Geniune affection! I'm glad you still feel it for her." Bones looks confused. "She's a fine woman!" adds the Professor, like he's trying to sell a blind date. God, even the man she's married to has forgotten she's married!
The medical exam is interrupted by a woman screaming. All three men run over to find that Blue Redshirt has lived up to his name, and is lying motionless on the ground, with large red circles on his face. Nancy stands over him horrified. Kirk pulls some sort of plant out of his mouth, and says, "McCoy!", even though Bones is busy taking Blue's pulse (or lack thereof). McCoy manages to get in a "He's dead, Jim." before checking out the leaf. He then turns to Nancy, and suddenly, it's the same 35-year-old woman that Kirk saw earlier. McCoy is confused, understandably. Kirk finally isn't smirking, and he furiously asks the Craters what happened. The Professor tries to brush it off, simply saying that Blue ate a poisonous plant. But Kirk will have none of that. He wants Nancy to answer. "I just lost a crewman, Mrs. Crater, and I want to know what happened!" Kirk exclaims.
"I was just…" she begins, and makes those overacting lying eyes, looking everywhere except at Kirk. She makes up some story about how she saw him eat the poisonous plant (she calls it a "Borgia" plant). Like, duh lady, if you're gonna lie, just tell them you found him dead. You're talking to a freaking doctor, do you think he's not going to notice a lack of poisonous plants in his blood stream? Kirk and Bones don't look convinced, and Nancy tearfully accuses them of not believing her. Bones assures her that they do. Nancy does this strange gesture, where she puts her hand in a fist and bites her index finger. (It isn't odd enough to mention on its own, but it comes back later.) Captain Jerk is still furious. Bones, Kirk, and dead guy all beam aboard the ship, with Kirk promising to come back the next day and make them take medical exams. That'll show them
Nancy does not lie well.
Aboard the Enterprise, Spock is talking business with Uhura, and I think (correct me if I'm wrong) she tries to flirt him him? ["My theory is, she lost a bet."-Redcoast] She jokes that if she hears the word "frequency" one more time, she'll cry. (Little did Nichelle Nichols realize how much these words would haunt her in years to come.) Spock thinks the statement is illogical, and says he cannot answer. Uhura then turns on the charm, saying she's an illogical woman, and she's beginning to feel like she's "too much a part of that communications counsel". Ugh. Star Trek, it's awesome that you have people of all genders and race working together in harmony, but that doesn't give you a get-out-of-sexism free card. Uhura keeps trying, though, and asks Spock to describe to her how Vulcan looks "on a lazy evening when the moon is full". Spock is incredibly confused, and tells her that there is no Vulcan moon. "I'm not surprised, Mr. Spock," Uhura says, clearly frustrated. I can't tell if she's really trying to flirt, but if so I find it amusing that Roddenberry's two girlfriends in Star Trek (Nurse Chapel and Lt. Uhura) both prefer Spock over Kirk. But then again, it's indicated that Uhura dates or has a crush on post-moustache Scotty in Star Trek V, so I suppose there's no accounting for her "logic" in love.
The transporter room lets Spock know that the landing party has returned and that one of them is dead. Spock acknowledges, and looks a little perplexed. Uhura freaks out at him AGAIN for not expressing emotion. "That could be Captain Kirk! He's the closest thing you've got to a friend!" she exclaims, emotionally. Look, first off, if the Captain was lying there dead in the transporter room, I think the notification would be a little more detailed. Secondly, the Vulcan isn't expressing emotion, why is that a big deal? No one else on the bridge seems to be getting really worked up over Kirk's possible death. Even Uhura is expressing her anger at Spock's lack of emotion, rather than expressing her own concern for the landing party. Anyway, Spock's firm and unemotional treatment of the matter causes Uhura to re-storm off, and I guess we find out why she never tries to get her hands on them pointy ears again.
Uhura is shocked that Spock THE VULCAN doesn't express emotions. It's the first aired episode, and this is already getting old.
Sickbay! Bones covers Blue Deadshirt's face, and mentions the supposed death plant looking perplexed. Spock contacts them from the bridge and lists off all sorts of facts about the Borgia plant. He has Uhura's earpiece in his ear. Maybe she's off crying somewhere. Spock confirms that the Borgia plant is poisonous, but adds that it does not cause large, red circles to appear on the skin. "Well, then this man wasn't poisoned," Bones decides. Why thank you, Watson. Don't you have instruments that can tell that? "She said she saw him eat the plant," Kirk points out. Bones says she must've been mistaken. He scanned the blood himself for poison, and found none. (Then why did you need Spock to tell you that he wasn't poisoned?) Bones and Kirk argue about whether the plant killed him, and Bones tells Kirk that all the tests were positive, and that there was nothing wrong with Blue Deadshirt. He promises to do the tests over, admitting that something might be wrong with his eyes. A whimsical look crosses his face…
Bones sits down and sighs that when he first saw Nancy, she looked exactly like she had when he'd last seen her. He smiles affectionately, confessing that he may have been seeing her through a romantic haze. Kirk snaps, "How your lost love affects your vision, Doctor, does not interest me! I've lost a man! I want to know what killed him!" Bones gives a quiet "Yes, sir" and Kirk storms out like a man with a mission. Whatever, Kirk. You've let your crew down for women you knew nowhere near as well. Your sex life has taken command of the Enterprise more often than Scotty and Sulu rolled together. People have died! The Star Trek "Oh No!" music swells.
"How your lost love affects your vision, Doctor, does not interest me!"
Kirk is musing over his lost man on the bridge, and is contacted by a Mystery Man on some other planet, who wants to know what's delaying them. Uhura has her ear thingie back! Uhura says that the Enterprise has supplies that Mystery Man desperately needs! Kirk smirks (gah!!!) and says to tell Mystery Man that he can go a few more days without his chile peppers. So you're mad enough about losing a man to not let your friend rant about his married ex, but not above joking around with Mystery Man about peppers? Paging Dr. Kirk to the Priorities Ward. Bones phones the bridge, saying he found something, but he'd "rather not put it on the speaker." Yeah, you go, DeForest! You get your promised minutes of airtime! Kirk gives Spock a Look, that apparently means "Come with me!" because they both rush down to sick bay.
In sick bay, Spock finds the situation "fascinating", which I think is the first time this word is used on air. Actually, I didn't mention earlier when "He's dead, Jim" made it's historic appearance. Bones hasn't insisted on defining his vocation yet, but I'm sure it'll happen in the next few episodes.
Bones and Spock explain that the man has no sodium chloride. "This man has no salt in his body and—," Bones begins, but Captain Jerk interrupts him angrily: "Canyou EXPLAIN. That, Doctor?" Bones shrugs: "I can't." "How? There isn't a mark on his body," Kirk says, confused. Oh you've got to be kidding me. Come on, what is the ONE THING you know for sure about this guy. That's right, that he has huge red rings on his face! Bones says something to that effect. "You called that skin mottling!" Kirk tells Bones in an accusatory tone, like it's Bones fault that Kirk didn't make a medical diagnosis before the ship's Chief Surgeon. "I thought it was… sir," Bones replies, obviously a little upset about the way this conversation is going. "Another error on my part."
Kirk notices that Bones is really trying and his face suddenly collapses into a smile. One might even call it a smirk. "I'm not counting them, Bones. You in the mood for an apology?" Could Kirk actually redeem himself for this episode? "Ah, forget it, I probably was mooning over, I should've been thinking about my job," McCoy says. "Perhaps you were," Kirk says curtly, frowning, diving straight back in to jerkdom. Did Kirk forget to take his bipolar medication today? I mean, seriously, throughout this episode, he's either been freaking out entirely, or smiling lazily! Which, I suppose, is what Bones does in every other episode of TOS, but it's just not as creepy when coming from him. Kirk figures out that Professor Cuckold wanted salt, the very thing missing from Blue Deadshirt's body.
Kirk decides that another landing party is in order, and tells Spock to arrange one. Arranging a landing party on the Enterprise must be tricky business. It's like, who is both qualified enough to go on this mission, and expendable enough to die? I have to admit, I think the reason most women sleep with Kirk or any of the other main characters is to go from Typical Redshirt to Romantic Subplot, thus raising their chances of surviving.
The Landing Party is visitng the Craters. Professor Cuckold can't figure out why four Starfleet officials to whom his wife blatantly lied about a murder would want to question him or anything. Two RedShirts stand by, one Yellow and one Blue. Scotty must be hiding his men during this episode. Since Professor Cuckold is being uncooperative, Kirk sends Yellow Redshirt off to find Nancy. It was nice meeting you, Yellow Redshirt. Blue Redshirt Part Deux goes to find more Borgia plant. Bye, Blue Redshirt Part Deux! Kirk finally tries the "We're just trying to protect you" approach, but the professor will have none of it. He has built better excuses than that out of coconut shells! Bones tells the professor that the crewman died of a sudden and total loss of salt. Out of nowhere, Kirk says a line stolen from some bad detective movie with a corny voice over: "It's a mystery, and I don't like mysteries. They give me bellyaches, and I got a beauty of one right now."
The Landing Party visits Professor Cuckold.
Kirk decides that the professor and Nancy will stay aboard the ship for a few days while they investigate the problem. Professor Cuckold is alarmed: “But you can’t!” But Kirk can. Kirk phones home and finds out that the Borja plant that Blue Redshirt Part Deux beamed up was indeed the same Borja plant Spock found in the library. I’m at a bit of a loss as to why they didn’t bring up the piece Bones and Kirk were examining when Blue Deadshirt died. The professor slips outside and it takes Bones, who I’d like to point out is facing the professor’s direction, a few moments to register this, because only after Kirk has finished talking to Spock does he say, “Jim! He’s run off!” Maybe he was lost in a romantic haze.
Professor Cuckold finds another unfortunate victim of a-salt and battery. Haha! Get it? A-salt! Oh man, I crack myself up. Anyway, Blue Redshirt Part Deux has become Blue Deadshirt Part Deux, complete with rings on his face and, I’m sure, a complete depletion of salt. The professor cries out “Nancy!” We see Nancy kneeling in front of the body of Yellow Deadshirt, her hands clutching the poor kid’s face. She looks up, somewhat scared. “I’ve got salt!” he cries out. Nancy reacts facially, but doesn’t actually move. Professor Cuckold runs off in the wrong direction, looking for Nancy. Bones and Kirk come running by seconds later, searching for Professor Cuckold. They just missed each other! It's like a British comedy of errors, OF THE FUTURE! Bones spots Blue Deadshirt Part Deux. “We’d better locate Yellow Redshirt,” Kirk suggests. Well, actually his name is Crewman Green, but I can’t throw another color into this mix. Nancy hears this and morphs into Yellow Redshirt, and “reports” to Kirk that there was nothing in the area.
Creepy Crewman Nancy reports for duty.
Bones starts getting nervous about Nancy. “Nancy! Nancy, it’s Leonard!” Bones calls out, hopefully. I think it's kind of funny how often Bones is called "Leonard" in this episode, seeing as that practically never happens again. Kirk decides they’re beaming aboard. Bones is all, No way! Kirk's mood goes from smirk to jerk again, and he starts yelling at Bones. “You could learn something from Mr. Spock up there and stop thinking with your glands,” Kirk growls. Oh snap. They all beam up. Once on board, Kirk asks for the planet to be searched by air. Bones just stands there looking kind of defeated. “You could use some sleep, Bones,” Kirk says in the most affectionate of manners. Seriously, what is this, "Enemy Within"?
Crewman Nancy wanders the halls and sees Janice Rand (aw, I’ve only seen season 2 and 3 episodes recently… I’ve missed her!) carrying a tray of food. She pours some salt over it with a salt shaker, and that really gets Crewman Nancy’s attention. He goes over and tries to take the salt. “Who do you think you are?” Rand asks, slapping his hand away. Crewman Nancy does the hand gesture with the fist and the biting while Rand gets on the elevator. Just as the doors are about to close, Crewman Nancy leaps in, barely making it before the doors close on him. (I guess we lose the technology of sensor doors in the future.)
Spock tells the Captain that he can only find one person on the planet. “It’s apparently Crater, and he’s circling like he’s looking for something.” Kirk makes a troubled face that is neither angry nor friendly. Someone finally took their Prozac.
Rand gets off of the elevator, followed closely by Crewman Nancy. He’s looking at her hungrily. She turns to him and disdainfully says, “Why don’t you go chase an asteroid?” This line never fails to crack me up. A bunch of Ensigns, crewman and lieutenants who are waiting to join a landing party and beam up to that great Enterprise in the sky are hanging around. They all check out Rand as she walks by, but even the sleazy redshirts find Crewman Nancy’s stares creepy.
"Why don't you go chase an asteroid?"
Rand brings the tray of food to the Botany Room (Botany Bay? Botany Bay! Oh NO!) to give to Mr. Sulu. Is she his yeoman, too? Or is she just doing something nice for a friend? She gives Sulu the food, and he replies, and I am not making this up, "May the great bird of the galaxy bless your planet." I know exactly what he says because I had to turn on subtitles: I thought he said something about Pleasure Planet. But this is almost as good. It's like a line from a Terry Pratchett novel or something. Rand greets a wiggling plant, calling it Beauregard, and Sulu lets her know that its name is Gertrude. "No, it's a he plant. A girl can tell," Rand says. Um, whatever, Janice. "Why do people have to call inanimate objects 'she'? Like 'She's a fast ship,'" Sulu replies. Because they swing that way, Sulu. (Dammit, and I promised I wouldn't make any gay jokes about Sulu.) Rand points out that the plant is not an inanimate object. Um, that has nothing to do with his point, Rand. "He's so animate he makes me nervous!" Rand adds. Then why are you petting it? Oh man, now I remember why I miss Rand! All the blatant sexism of the 60s without a cover of "but she's a Lieutenant!" or "but she's a nurse!" ["Oh, come one, anyone who could pull off that hairstyle is pretty awesome!" -Redcoast] Rand looks around nervously. "I keep expecting one of your plants to grab me." Sulu smirks at her, like his plant isn't interested in grabbing her at all.
Mr. Sulu laughs at Yeoman Rand. Actually, his giggle is pretty adorable.
Crewman Nancy enters the Botany Room and stands creepily over Sulu. Sulu stares warily at him, like that’s closer but his plant wants none of that either. “He’s not talking today,” Rand says. She glances at Crewman Nancy suspiciously: “You been nipping Saurian brandy or something?” Suddenly Gertrude/Beauregard freaks the fuck out, and Sulu has to calm him/her/it down. Crewman Nancy flees.
Down the hallway, he finds Uhura exiting an elevator. She asks a random guy to fix her door so it doesn’t rattle (That way, Spock can slip in during the night if he changes his mind). Crewman Nancy turns into a large man who appears to be a medic. He stops her in the hall, and she asks if she knows him. He replies that she was just thinking of someone like him. She looks suspicious. “I just mean that you look a little lonely,” Medic Nancy explains. Uhura coldly replies, “I see. And naturally, when I’m lonely, I think of you.” Oh come on, Uhura, you were basically begging Spock for some action earlier, beggers can’t be choosers. Although I guess the fact that she hasn’t slept with Kirk(that we know of) suggests that she has not too desperate yet. Medic Nancy says something that sounds very pretty in Swahili; Uhura replies and then Medic Nancy looks really intensely at her, enough to make Uhura go weak at the knees. Luckily for her and the whales of the 20th century, someone then calls her up to the bridge. Medic Nancy puts his hands up like he's going to strangle her. She finally pulls away and goes to the bridge. Medic Nancy does the Nancy hand gesture and bites his finger.
Medic Nancy does the Nancy hand gesture.
On his bed, McCoy is trying to sleep, assumably. He’s wearing a tight black t-shirt and lying in low red lighting. Oh man. Say what you want about Nimoy, girls, but Kelley was a damn attractive man. Bones looks really worried, and comms Kirk to ask if there’s any news. Kirk says there’s nothing to report. He suggests that Bones take one of the red pills he gave to the Captain last week. “You’ll sleep,” Jim promises. But then you’ll wake up freed from the Matrix, McCoy! Bones picks up a bottle of red pills right next to the communication monitor, and it seems a little odd that he just happens to have the medical answer to his problem in front of him but he couldn’t figure it out until Kirk told him what to do.
Medic Nancy is still searching the halls, but I suppose he finds the few people he sees unsatisfactory and not seasoned enough. As a waitress who hears this complaint all the time, I just want to be like "Just eat it!"
Spock tells Kirk that unless the ship’s equipment is wrong, Professor Cuckold is the only one down there, circling in his three hour tour (a three hour tour!). Kirk, while eating something, asks Spock to triangulate his signal. No, really, he does! Ah, Sayid. I miss when LOST was good. I’m not sure what Kirk is eating here, but it looks suspiciously like pettifores. A Yeoman who isn’t Rand takes Kirk’s trays away. Medic Nancy finds McCoy’s room and changes back to Nancy. Bones was just coming out of his room; he is ecstatic about seeing Nancy, and talks about how worried he was about her. Nancy expresses her happiness at seeing him. “The others—I don’t relate to them as well as you. You have such strong memories of me,” Nancy says, grinning up at him. Bones stutters. She puts her arms around him, saying, “You do care, don’t you, Leonard? It makes me feel so safe.” “Nancy,” Bones says, his hands still at his side. She leans her head against his chest and asks, “My husband?” Bones nods. He's so cute when he's awkward. “I like your feelings better. Much… stronger,” Nancy says. Bones doesn’t push her away, but he doesn’t touch her either. “But you’re tired,” Nancy says, lovingly, touching his face. God, Bones just looks more and more uncomfortable with each passing second. Not that I blame him. “You need to rest.” Finally Bones breaks into a smile and pulls away a little. “You’re as bad as Jim Kirk.” Really? I’d question that statement. And I know what Nancy-the-Creature REALLY looks like. Nancy convinces Bones to take the pills. She goes to get him water, and Bones watches her with a gleeful grin on his face. Oh, come on, everyone’s forgotten she’s married? Ladies and gentlemen, the sanctity of marriage in the 23rd century. Well, at least they have free medical exams.
McCoy and the married woman. Awkward!
Rand and Sulu (wow, those two hang out together a lot) find a crewman who seems to have been killed in the exact same manner as everyone on the planet. They deduce that the creature must be on board. Bones has obviously taken the red pill at the suggestion of Nancy, Kirk, and Jefferson Airplane, and he is slipping into a drugged state usually reserved for dental patients or freshman girls. An alert tells all medics and nurses to go to their station, but Nancy is able to convince Bones than nothing is wrong. He falls asleep. He’s sweating a bit, and Nancy almost licks the salty sweat off. An alert lets Nancy know that Bones is being called to the bridge. Nancy does the obvious thing and transforms into McCoy. Immediately, McNancy does the hand thing and sucks on his index finger to prove he is McNancy.
Spock and Kirk beam down to the planet where Professor Cuckold has stepped up his “We don’t want you here!” act to include guns and crazy yelling. They ask where Nancy is, and he just says he’s armed. Around then, they get a message from Sulu about the deadshirt he and Rand found, and a few seconds later, Spock finds Yellow Deadshirt on the planet. “Yellow Redshirt!” Kirk exclaims. “But he beamed up to the ship with us! “Or something did,” Spock suggests, eyebrows rising. They let the Enterprise know that there is an intruder on board. They realize Crater is their only way of fighting it, and decide to beam him up with them, but Crater has other plans. There’s a brief phaser fight.
A quick shot of Bones sleeping. Don’t want to get the audience confused as to whether this is the Real McCoy in the next scene or not. McNancy arrives on the bridge, and looks around creepily. Rand, Uhura and Sulu are all discussing the deaths and who might be the intruder. “The creature giving you a merry chase, Mr. Sulu?” McNancy asks. “Creature?” Sulu says, confused. “Or whatever it is that’s killing the crewman,” Dr. McNancy aka The Creature says, covering its ass. Mr. Sulu stares at McNancy suspiciously. McNancy gives a McCoy grin: “Perhaps I can help. Fill me in.”
Creepy McNancy stares at Sulu.
Back on the planet, Kirk hasn't lost his shirt, but he and Spock are prancing around, crawling through sand, trying to be stealthy. They finally get Crater stunned, and ask him where his wife is. "She was the last of her kind," Professor Cuckold says, dazed. Spock and Kirk are confused. Yeah, that's what happens when you stun people, guys. The professor compares her to water buffalo, saying that were once millions of them, but now there's only one left. Like humpback whales! IV should've totally been about saving water buffalo. Or maybe they can make XI about Archer and T'Pol saving all the water buffalo in the past! And by Archer and T'Pol, I mean anyone but Archer and T'Pol.
Back in the episode, Professor Cuckold admits to Kirk and Spock that the Nancy they met is actually The Creature, and Nancy has been dead for over a year. Kirk alerts the Enterprise that the creature can assume any shape at all. Cuckold is babbling about creatures having a right to survive. They beam up.
The Enterprise is at Red Alert, and this early on in TOS's development, we actually see a montage of crewmen doing things, like guarding hallways and running around with weapons. They can't find the creature anywhere. A shot of McCoy sleeping reminds us that the person in the next scene is McNancy.
Conference room. Kirk, Spock, Uhura, Rand, Professor Cuckold and McNancy. Everyone gives a report of what they heard or saw. McNancy acts very strangely, and given that they're looking for someone who is acting strangely, it's kind of surprising that no one picks up on it. When asked for his report, he suggests that they give the creature salt with no tricks; he submits that it would then not harm anyone. Spock finds McNancy's theory fascinating. I think he's beginning to suspect. A communicator lets them all know that Sulu reports the creature still MIA.
Kirk asks the professor for help. "I told you to get off my planet," he warned. Kirk continues, "Can you recognize this thing when you see it?" The professor looks at his hands and McNancy shifts around nervously. The Creature is not good at staying subtle. No one seems to notice, though. Kirk offers to drop all charges against the Professor, causing McNancy to make even more obvious, anxious movements. Yes, we get it! You're the creature! You're nervous! The professor explains that the creature needs love as much as it needs salt, and he did come to love it. Kirk goes on this rant about having someone who can change into other people, having a reflection of everyone in the universe available at your beck and call. He indicates this is a bad thing. (Note to Picard in Generations: Do not tell Kirk about hollodeck.) Finally, Kirk asks once again if Professor Cuckold can recognize his creature in any form. Without looking at anyone, the Professor says yes. The "Oh No!" music swells again. "Will you help us find it?" "No, I can't," the Professor replies. Spock recommends they use truth serum. WHAT! They have truth serum? I can think of like 3 episodes off the bat that would've been cut down to ten minutes and one deadshirt if they'd just used truth serum! ["Well, even we have sodium pentathol, but it isn't always effective."-Redcoast] Anyway, everyone asks McNancy what he thinks, and of course he has to be like, "Well yeah let's do it." Spock says he'll accompany McNancy to sickbay. It's pretty obvious that Spock is suspicious.
McNancy stares around anxiously as Kirk asks Professor Cuckold where The Creature is.
Red Alert! Captain Kirk is being commed to Dispensary, where he finds an unconscious Spock waking up. "It wasn't McCoy. It was the creature, it hit me. Crater took my phaser. I wondered about McCoy. A doubt had crossed my mind." Oh, really? Then why didn't you have an armed security team go with you? Wouldn't that have been the logical thing to do? Oh, but more importantly, Spock has a cut on his forehead in this scene, and it looks pretty pinkish-red to me. ["Really? Looks greenish to me."-Redcoast] Hmm. Had they not decided on green blood yet?
The blood in question. Seems both redcoast and I are right; there is green blood on his forehead, but the cut itself looks suspiciously red. Also, Spock's face! Rawr!
Yeoman Rand alerts the Captain that there is something of interest in the hallway that isn't her legs or cleavage. Professor Cuckold is sprawled across the floor, dead, with those rosie rings across his face. If my husband compared me to a buffalo, I'd suck all the salt from his body, too! "Professor Crater!" Rand says. Yes, Janice, we know who it is. Thank you for trying to help. Everyone is curious as to why Spock is still alive; Spock explains that he was saved because, even in another form, McCoy could just not stand his Vulcan blood.
McNancy goes back to McCoy's room and transforms into Nancy. "Leonard! Oh, Leonard, help me, Leonard! They're trying to kill me!" she screams, grabbing at his arm. Bones is obviously confused, having slept through the last few scenes (I don't blame him). She's all, They're trying to kill me! Bones is all, No one is trying to kill you! Kirk enters holding a phaser out, and looking quite nefarious, trying to kill her. "Move aside, Bones," he says. Yeah, don't explain anything to him, just try to kill the woman he loves in front of him with no reasonable explanation. "What's going on here, Jim?" Bones asks, frantic. "She's not Nancy, Bones." Bones won't move. Kirk tries belatedly to explain that Nancy is the creature and that "it" killed four crewman. Nancy sits there, emotionless. "Bones, move aside!" What, is he trying to make up for his dickish behavior by overusing Bones' nickname? Kirk brought salt tablets, though, to try and make Nancy come to him. I guess McCoy was right, he does bribe women.
"Leonard, if you love me, make him go away!" Nancy begs. Suddenly, everyone is talking at once. I can't make out what all of them are saying, but there's at least two yells of "Bones!" in there, and definitely a "Jim!" and possibly a "Leonard!" I think Kirk is asking Bones to get out of his way, Bones is asking Kirk to leave, and Nancy is trying to get to the salt, and at the same time, trying to make Kirk leave. "McCoy! Get out of the way!" Kirk finally yells. Aw, see, Bones? If you don't do what Kirk says, you lose nickname privileges with him. Anyway, in the same second, McCoy wrestles the weapon from Kirk, Kirk lets go of the salt, Nancy eats it, and Mr. White shoots Mr. Orange. Suddenly, Nancy puts her fingers out and touches Kirk on either side of his head. McCoy moves backwards to the farthest wall, confused as all hell as to what is going on.
Everything happens at the same time.
Enter an anxious Mr. Spock, with a bandage over his forehead. "It's killing the Captain!" he exclaims, trying to get McCoy to shoot it. "No!" McCoy says, even though by this point, it's clearly the creature. Spock tries to wrestle the gun from McCoy, but McCoy actually keeps it, despite Spock's Vulcan strength . Spock shows some crazy emotion in this scene, particularly considering his unconcern for both McCoy and Kirk earlier this episode. He's yelling at McCoy (emotionally) to shoot the creature. He manages to pull Nancy off Kirk, but McCoy's all "It's Nancy!" Nancy The Creature has a talent for picking up terribly loyal men, I'll give her that.
So, let's take a second to look at things from Mr. Spock's point of view. He has a creature disguised as Nancy, McCoy holding the only phaser in the room, and Kirk nearly passed out on the floor. What is the logical solution to this situation? Apparently, beat the crap out of Nancy. Spock proceeds to do this, the whole time yelling "If she were Nancy, could she take this?" No, Spock, you made your point with your first two punches, now you're just getting Freudian. McCoy's shouting "Stop it, Spock!" from the corner, and looks extremely distressed. You know, this explains a lot of his more cruel attacks on Spock in later episodes. I mean, to have Spock freak out on the woman you love (creature or no) and then at other times, when you're getting upset, have him be like "I am never emotional" would be pretty frustrating.
Spock approves of domestic violence.
Anyway, back to Spock getting so aggressive you think he's going to throw plomeek soup at someone… as McCoy gets more animated, Nancy finally just hits Spock back, looking quite pleased with herself. He flies across the room and hits his head on the ten books that Kirk has on his shelf. A great deal of them appear to be encyclopedias or dictionaries. Finally, McCoy gets it, and stares at "Nancy," shocked. Spock says, exhausted "Is that Nancy, doctor?" "No," McCoy admits. Nancy goes back to attacking Kirk and turns into this crazy ass monster thing that I won't even try to describe. Suffice to say it's hairy and ugly. Kirk screams in agony, and McCoy, of course, shoots it, causing it collapse into injury. But as it's dying, it turns back into Nancy, who turns to Bones and says, "Leonard, please! Leonard, no, don't." Bones whispers "Lord forgive me" to himself and shoots her. She falls and turns back into the ugly, hairy creature. McCoy and Spock raise eyebrows accordingly.
See? Ugly, hairy creature.
Back on the bridge, Kirk and McCoy both look a little dazed. There has actually been a notable lack of Kirk-log in the latter half of this episode. Mr. Sulu says they're ready to leave orbit, and looks around the bridge confused when no one replies. He makes this classic "O….k, not my problem," face and goes back to work. Spock approaches Kirk's chair. The Trekkie within me is dying to point out that Spock and McCoy are on the wrong sides: Spock is standing to Kirk's left, and McCoy is leaning somewhat awkwardly on Kirk's right. "Something wrong, Captain?" Spock asks. After a pause, Kirk replies, "I was thinking about the buffalo, Mr. Spock." Kirk grins at his own comment. Spock even smiles a little. Why this is worth smiling over, I'm not quite sure. ["Buffalo is a funny-sounding word?"-Redcoast] Kirk glances at McCoy with his smirk, who looks distressed, but upon seeing Kirk smiling, breaks into a small grin. I don't know why Bones would find this at all amusing or cheerful, seeing as he was not on the planet with them when Professor Cuckold was talking about buffalo. I'm doubting Kirk and Spock filled him in on such minor details immediately after he killed the image of his ex-girlfriend. Maybe he just finds buffalo really amusing or something. Kirk seems just as disturbed by McCoy's little grin as I am, because the next shot is of him looking sullen. Oh, Kirk, will you please take your medication daily?
Sulu is terribly confused about what's going on.
“Warp one, Mr. Sulu,” Kirk finally orders.
“Warp one, sir. Leaving orbit,” a relieved Sulu responds, glad to have something to do other than awkwardly ignore the inside joke that the three amigos are grinning about.