The Invisible Hand of God, TOS: S2E2 “Who Mourns for Adonis?”

In a seemingly empty part of space, the Enterprise is suddenly held hostage by a giant hand.  Held at its mercy, nothing seems to break Kirk’s team free from this oddly-shaped force field.  They are soon introduced to their captor, a god-like being called Apollo, who exerts complete control over the ship and crew.  In … More The Invisible Hand of God, TOS: S2E2 “Who Mourns for Adonis?”

Traditional Liberation, TOS: S2E1 “Amok Time”

When Spock experiences the pon farr, a period of intense physical and psychological stress preceding Vulcan mating, he must journey back to his planet to marry his fiancé or he will die. The accompanying ceremony is elaborate, culturally significant, and ancient. The ritual also allows Spock’s potential mate to challenge the offer and choose another husband. In this rare … More Traditional Liberation, TOS: S2E1 “Amok Time”

Ultra-Specific Adaptation, TOS: S1E29 “Operation — Annihilate!”

The Enterprise investigates the strange case concerning a series of planets whose inhabitants seem to be overcome by mass insanity.  A nearby ship flies straight into the sun, despite everything the Enterprise crew does to help it.  After a few more peculiar communications, the trail leads to the planet Deneva, where Captain Kirk’s brother is … More Ultra-Specific Adaptation, TOS: S1E29 “Operation — Annihilate!”

Timely Treatment, TOS: S1E28 “The City on the Edge of Forever”

What more can be said about one of the greatest episodes of Star Trek ever written?  “The City on the Edge of Forever” is praised by critics and fans for its perfect combination of emotional depth and inspirational SciFi storytelling.  After accidentally injecting himself with an overdose of cordrazine, a delirious Dr. McCoy transports himself … More Timely Treatment, TOS: S1E28 “The City on the Edge of Forever”

Antimatter Containment, TOS: S1E27 “The Alternative Factor”

In this somewhat underwhelming episode of The Original Series, the Enterprise crew encounters a strange man named Lazarus, who seems to blink into existence.  After some on-board shenanigans…a phantom dilithium thief, injuries on the man’s face that disappear and reappear… the crew learns that Lazarus has a counterpart in another dimension.  This ‘anti-matter’ dimension is … More Antimatter Containment, TOS: S1E27 “The Alternative Factor”

Blessed are the Sheep, TOS: S1E26 “Errand of Mercy”

The Enterprise is sent to protect the planet Organia, which has been targeted by the Klingon Empire as a strategic military location.  The seemingly straightforward mission soon turns strange, as the Organians prove to be a civilization of extremely passive and peaceful people who hate violence of any kind, no matter the intention.  If the … More Blessed are the Sheep, TOS: S1E26 “Errand of Mercy”

Mother and Instinct, TOS: S1E25 “The Devil in the Dark”

Living organisms are often driven by two main instincts: survival and reproduction. Our brain‘s fight or flight reaction keeps us vigilant of our surroundings, while the drive toward reproduction motivates us to overcome the risks of finding a mate, even in a dangerous environment. We carry the genes of those who were most successful with … More Mother and Instinct, TOS: S1E25 “The Devil in the Dark”

Sup-Planted, TOS: S1E24 “This Side of Paradise”

Plants are seldom the feature of most SciFi stories, which is a shame considering their vast diversity of interesting characteristics.  In this early episode, we meet an extra-terrestrial plant, as opposed to the usual bipedal, fin-faced Star Trek alien.  Travelling to Omicron Ceti III, the Enterprise crew expected its Federation colony to have perished from … More Sup-Planted, TOS: S1E24 “This Side of Paradise”

The Cost of War, TOS: S1E23 “A Taste of Armageddon”

Technology has a tendency to sanitize our experience of the world… and distance us.  We celebrate machines taking the grunt of our back-breaking physical labor, or completing a hazardous task in place of a human, but when is it more prudent to have a closer relationship with one’s task?  Even the art of war has … More The Cost of War, TOS: S1E23 “A Taste of Armageddon”

Predicting the Future, Rewriting the Past, TOS: S1E22 “Space Seed”

Throughout its five-year mission, the starship Enterprise endeavored to explore the galaxy, offering freedom and liberation from tyranny whenever necessary.  The United Federation of Planets represents the unification of entire worlds, within themselves and with each other.  Such a grand utopia was the Star Trek vision of the future.  Against Captain Kirk, the twentieth century … More Predicting the Future, Rewriting the Past, TOS: S1E22 “Space Seed”