It was only a matter of time before we got to this episode wasn’t it? Star Trek’s strongest advocates, mildest fans, and worst detractors — who have actually watched the series — agree almost unanimously that this is the best episode of the entire series. I won’t comment on the controversy about how much Harlan Ellison‘s original script differed from what eventually wound up on screen. Suffice it to say that their differences were basically background. What really brings this episode home is the fact that Kirk, in order to save the world, must destroy the woman he loves. In other episodes where Kirk is given the choice between the needs of the many versus the needs of the few — or the one — he is able to pull a Kobayashi Maru and take a third option which does not include any of the nastiness of the original choices.
So, I’m not going to give a sardonic plot breakdown of this episode. There are two reasons for that. One, I’m just too reverential for this episode to be sufficiently funny. Two, I sincerely hope that if you haven’t seen this episode yet, you need to ask the wolves who raised you for a credit card number so you can rent this episode. It’s simply an indispensible slice of Americana that you cannot go without. Seriously, this is Star Trek, sci-fi, and television at its best.
The Pup’s Reaction?
She was very taken in by the romance between Kirk and Edith. The tragedy of Kirk having to choose the better welfare of the world over her was not at all lost on her. Mission accomplished.