The ship’s mission is to watch the planet disintegrate.
Spock and a crewman, Joey, go down to a frozen planet and find a dummy (presumably she is supposed to be a real female strangled) frozen in the snow. The crewman takes off his glove to scratch his nose with a droplet (blood?) gets on his hand and so he suffers the same fate. Lifeboat support systems have been turned off. The scientific personnel they were to pick up are all dead.
Joey starts to feel disillusioned with space exploration. This is no place for humanity, he thinks. “If a man was supposed to fly, he’d have wings.” (Probably this is a jab at those against space exploration. Before the plane, some did not believe that humanity would fly; therefore, by extrapolation, thinking space exploration is ridiculous is also ridiculous.) Joy threatens himself with a knife, accidentally stabs himself, letting blood so that Sulu and another crew member get Joey’s blood on them spreading the blood disease.
Joey loses will to live so he dies even though his wounds aren’t that bad. Sulu, meanwhile, skips work on the bridge in order to workout. O’Reilly, too, becomes uninhabited. Sulu takes his fencing out into the hall, chasing down crewmembers. The ship begins to fall towards the planet because O’Reilly has taken over engineering with delusions of grandeur. The disease begins to spread to all crew. O’Reilly is taken over all channels.
Analysis with spoilers:
Christine confesses her passion for Spock. Even Spock has fallen for emotions – far more quickly than the other crewmembers. O’Reilly has turned off the engines, and Scottie needs 30 minutes to warm up the engines. Scottie wastes his breath complaining rather than trying to make it work. It’s never been done, but there is an intermix. McCoy finds a serum. The water on the planet has become some hocus-pocus bogus science. The ship goes backwards in time three days, so they reverse power. Now they have the power to go back in time.
This pretty much ran the gamut of bad science – chemistry of water as a polymer, biological effects of said water as an alcohol, physics of time, astronomy of the planet disintegrating (where does the matter go?). But hey, we got to see the secret fears or desires of major crew members.
John D. F. Black wrote this episode.
1. First appearance of Christine, McCoy’s assistant.
2. The sideways red drop on the crewman’s hand is kind of cool.
3. Scotty wears his first red shirt.
4. The first instance of instant food is made.
5. First appearance of Sulu working on the bridge.
6. Spock performs his first knockout neck massage.
7. Spock is a ladies man.
8. The first time the bridge members throw themselves around due to some disturbance. The substitute navigator laughs.
9. Scotty doesn’t say I need more time Capt, but he may as well have.
1. Instruments only register those things that are designed to register.
2. Space still contains infinite unknowns.
3. His capacity for self-doubt has always been high. My question is what brought it to the surface.
4. Bones, I want the impossible checked out, too.
5. It’s never been done before, but...
6. Scotty: I can’t change the laws of physics.