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(written from a Production point of view)
|TOS, Episode 2x09|
Production number: 60338
First aired: 13 October 1967
Remastered version aired: 1 March 2008
|←||39th of 80 produced in TOS||→|
|←||34th of 80 released in TOS||→|
|←||59th of 80 released in TOS Remastered||→|
|←||34th of 728 released in all||→|
| Teleplay By|
Max Ehrlich and Gene L. Coon
The Enterprise crew discovers an Eden-like paradise on Gamma Trianguli VI, controlled by a machine that is revered by the local humanoid primitives as a god.
On stardate 3715.3, the starship USS Enterprise orbits the planet Gamma Trianguli VI. A landing party comprised of Captain Kirk, Spock, Ensign Chekov, Yeoman Martha Landon and two security officers beams down to the planet to scout the area, followed shortly by Dr. McCoy and two more security officers.
Spock notes that the soil on the planet is rich and fertile and that there is very little variation in temperature, even at the poles, with a planet-wide average of 76 degrees. Chekov says that it makes him homesick, because it is "just like Russia". When McCoy corrects him that it is more like the Garden of Eden, Chekov claims that the Garden of Eden was "just outside Moscow". However, they soon discover a world of dart-shooting plants, explosive rocks, and electric storms. Almost immediately, one of the crewmen, Hendorff, is shot and killed by a pod plant.
Kirk contacts Scotty on the bridge, who reports that they are having a minor problem with the antimatter pods and that the readings on the planet's electromagnetic field are "a wee bit abnormal". Spock reports that his tricorder has detected subsurface vibrations, coming from miles in all directions, that are "quite strong, fairly regular, [and] artificially produced".
Kirk orders two of the remaining security officers to make a full reconnaissance of the area, but to avoid contact with humanoids, be wary of other dangers, and stay in constant communication. Spock detects a humanoid lurking in the bushes nearby. Kirk goes off to investigate, and reports that "whatever it is, it moves like a cat". He advises the other members of the landing party that they are being watched, and they start heading through jungle for a nearby village.
Spock discovers a rock that has a low specific gravity, and is very brittle. After breaking it in two with his bare hands, he throws one of the pieces away, and it explodes.
Back on the USS Enterprise, Scotty contacts Kirk to report that the antimatter pods are completely inert because of something on the planet's surface that is acting "like a pail of water on a fire". Spock surmises that it may have something to do with the vibrations his tricorder picked up earlier.
McCoy shows Kirk some of the plant darts and notes that they have an extremely strong poison on the tip. While he and Kirk are talking, Spock notices one of the pod plants preparing to shoot, just in time to step in front of it and take a chestful of darts himself.
Realizing there is too much danger, Kirk orders a retreat. However, Scotty reports that the ship's power systems are being drained. As such, the Enterprise's transporters don't have enough power to operate.
Spock regains consciousness, reporting that the injection McCoy had used to revive him turns his stomach, but that he is otherwise "quite well" (possibly spared by his Vulcan physiology). Kirk chastises him for stepping in front of the plant and tells him to "just yell" next time. Suddenly, an electrical storm starts and Lieutenant Kaplan is struck by lightning and vaporized. The rest of the party runs for cover.
Meanwhile, security officer Mallory has reached the village and contacts Kirk to tell him the coordinates, but his communicator stops working shortly afterward. Concerned for his safety, Kirk and the others rush to find him, just in time to see him step right onto an exploding rock. He is killed instantly. Kirk has become increasingly distraught over the deaths of his crewmen. Spock and McCoy try to console him by telling him that he couldn't have foreseen any of the accidents that have happened while they were on the planet, but Kirk is convinced that he should have done more to prevent them.
While they are talking, Spock notices that the humanoid who was spying on them before has returned. Kirk orders Spock and Chekov to create a diversion while he ambushes the humanoid. Kirk successfully comes up behind the humanoid and punches him in the face but is surprised when he starts to cry. Kirk assures the humanoid that he won't hurt him again, and asks him why he has been following them. He says, "I am the eyes of Vaal. He must see," and introduces himself as "Akuta, the leader of the feeders of Vaal." Kirk asks to speak to Vaal, but Akuta says that he is Vaal's representative and that only he speaks to Vaal. Akuta offers to take Kirk and the others to the village.
Meanwhile, Scotty hails Kirk to inform him that the Enterprise is being held in orbit around the planet by an unknown source, and is unable to break free. Kirk asks again to be taken to Vaal and this time, Akuta agrees, but says that Vaal will speak only to him.
Akuta takes the landing party to Vaal, which is a large cave with a mouth that resembles the head of a serpent.
Spock's tricorder reads that Vaal's opening leads beneath the planet's surface and Kirk believes it may be the source of the field that is affecting the Enterprise. When he tries to approach Vaal to get a closer look, he is repelled by a powerful force field. Kirk asks Akuta how he talks to Vaal, and he says that Vaal calls him when he has something to say and that Vaal might be willing to talk when he is hungry.
Akuta leads the landing party to the village for food, drink and rest and introduces them to the "people of Vaal." Then Kirk points out that the tribe doesn't seem to have any children and asks Akuta why. Akuta doesn't know what a child is, replying that Vaal has forbidden love and marriage. McCoy scans the people and sounds surprised when he discovers they are in perfect health and that they don't seem to be aging at all.
Suddenly, the villagers all begin to congregate around Vaal. Kirk and Spock follow, and spy on them from behind a bush. After observing that the villagers are able to approach Vaal, Kirk decides to try his luck. When Kirk and Spock start to get up from behind the bush, Vaal immediately notices, so they decide against it. Kirk wonders whether Vaal gets weaker around feeding time and asks Spock to get an estimate from the astrophysics lab of the total amount of energy Vaal is expending against the Enterprise on an hourly basis.
McCoy joins them and complains to Spock that Vaal is depriving the planet's inhabitants of their right to "a free and unchained environment" and an opportunity for growth. Spock argues that McCoy is unfairly applying Human standards to non-Human cultures, and that humanoids also have the right to choose a system that works for them.
Scotty contacts Kirk to report that Vaal's power output has been slowly decreasing, and that they are working on increasing power to the ship's impulse engines, but the work will take eight hours to complete. Kirk notes that they don't have much longer than that to break orbit before they get pulled into the planet's atmosphere.
Back in the village, Kirk wonders what would happen if one of the villagers died. The party agrees that they would need a replacement, but Yeoman Landon wonders where this replacement would come from, since they don't have any concept of love or sex. Spock postulates that in that case, Vaal would provide the "necessary instructions."
Out in the jungle, two of the villagers see Landon and Chekov kissing, become curious and decide to try it themselves. Vaal reacts by shain the ground as Akuta catches them. Vaal communictes to Akuta through his antennae, and Akuta realizes that Kirk and the others are dangerous. He calls a village meeting of the male children of Vaal to take place while the landing party is asleep.
Akuta tells the male villagers that Vaal has ordered them to kill the strangers. The villagers don't understand what "kill" means, so Akuta explains that "it is a thing to do, like feeding Vaal" and demonstrates by smashing a piece of fruit (representing a stranger's head) with a stick.
While the others sleep, Kirk and Spock discuss the situation. Kirk has decided that he agrees with McCoy: the villagers' society is completely stagnant and exists only to serve Vaal. Spock warns that interfering with Vaal would violate the Prime Directive.
Kirk contacts Scotty and asks for a progress report. Scotty still needs half an hour to complete the modifications to the engines, but he only has 47 minutes until the Enterprise is pulled into the planet's atmosphere.
Spock announces that the people of Vaal seem to have disappeared. Kirk and Spock go to Vaal and Spock determines that the force field is down. Kirk tries to talk to Vaal, but Vaal starts another lightning storm. Spock is stunned by a bolt of lightning, and Kirk carries him back to the village, where McCoy diagnoses him with second degree burns – painful, but not serious.
Suddenly, the villagers return and successfully ambush and kill Marple but the others are able to fight off the rest of the villagers. Kirk orders Chekov and Landon to imprison the villagers in one of the huts.
With twelve minutes left before the ship enters the atmosphere, Scotty has transferred all available power to the impulse engines and is ready to try to break orbit. He orders full reverse and the ship pulls away enough to gain another hour but most of the ship's systems have been heavily damaged and he will not be able to try it again. Kirk becomes distraught at the idea of the Enterprise's entire crew dying because he didn't realize the danger early enough and orders McCoy and Chekov to prevent any of the villagers from feeding Vaal and Scotty to concentrate all of the Enterprise's phaser power on Vaal's coordinates.
Trying to defend itself against Enterprise's phasers forces Vaal to exhaust all of its energy reserves. Spock determines that Vaal is no longer generating any power and pronounces it dead. Scotty reports that potency is returning to the ship's antimatter pods and that engineering will be able to start repairs immediately. Kirk orders him to send an engineering detail down to the surface as soon as the transporters are fixed and then tells Chekov and McCoy to release the villagers.
Back on Enterprise, Spock expresses his concern that the people of Vaal have been "driven out of paradise", as in the Biblical story of Genesis. Kirk asks if Spock is casting him in the role of Satan, which Spock denies and then rhetorically asks Spock whether he knows of anyone on the ship who looks like Satan. Spock replies, "I am not aware of anyone who fits that description, captain." Kirk says, "No, Mr. Spock, I didn't think you would."
- "Captain's log, stardate 3715.3. While making a routine exploration of the unexplored Gamma Trianguli VI, one of my men has been killed by a poisonous plant."
- "Captain's log, supplementary. Our investigation of Gamma Trianguli VI has suddenly turned into a nightmare. We're being watched and followed, Mr. Spock has been injured, and now we find we are unable to return to the ship."
- "Captain's log, stardate 3715.6. We have been introduced to Vaal, evidently the source of the planet's power emanations, possibly the force that threatens both us, and our ship."
"The Garden of Eden was just outside Moscow. A very nice place. It must have made Adam and Eve very sad to leave."
- - Chekov, as McCoy describes the planet as the Garden of Eden
"Garden of Eden, with land mines."
- - Kirk, after Spock tosses a rock which explodes
"Doctor McCoy's potion is acting like all his potions – turning my stomach. Other than that, I am quite well."
"If your blood were red instead of green, you wouldn't have an upset stomach."
- - Spock and McCoy, as McCoy treats Spock from the poisonous thorns
"Trying to get yourself killed...Do you know how much Starfleet has invested in you?"
"One hundred twenty-two thousand, two-hundred..."
- - Kirk and Spock, as Spock recovers from taking an attack meant for Kirk
"Mister Chekov, your tricorder readings are totally inefficient!"
"Uh, mind your own business, sir! For your information, I have a very high efficiency rating!"
"Ensign, I will not have you address me in that tone of voice!"
"What do you want, violins?"
- - Spock and Chekov, creating a diversion for Akuta
"It, ah, does something for you."
"Yes, indeed it does, Captain. It makes me uncomfortable."
- - Kirk and Spock, referring to the garlands given to Spock
"Little ones like yourselves. They grow."
- - Kirk, describing children to Akuta
"Well, there goes paradise."
- - McCoy, after learning that love is forbidden by Vaal
"There are certain absolutes, Mr. Spock, and one of them is the right of humanoids to a free and unchained environment; the right to have conditions that permit growth.'""
- - McCoy to Spock, on the stagnant condition of the humanoids serving Vaal
"I mean, how is it ... done?"
"Mister Spock, you're the science officer. Why don't you explain it to the young lady?"
"Well, I believe it's safe ..." (Spock coughs) "... safe to assume that they would ... receive the necessary ... instructions."
"From a machine? That I'd like to see."
- - Landon, Kirk, Spock and McCoy, discussing Vaalian reproductivity
"It is a ... thing to do, like ... like feeding Vaal."
- - Akuta, explaining to the followers of Vaal how they must kill Kirk and the others
"Second-degree burns. Not serious, but I bet they smart."
"Doctor, you have an unsurpassed talent for understatement."
- - McCoy and Spock, after Spock is hit in the back by a lightning
"The good doctor was concerned that the Vaalians achieve true human stature. I submit there is no cause for worry. They've taken the first step. They've learned to kill."
- - Spock, after Marple dies
"Little ones, look like you...just go on the way you're going, you'll find out."
- - Kirk, explaining children to the natives
"Is there anyone on this ship ... who even remotely ... looks like Satan?"
- - Kirk, as he and McCoy circle Spock
- Spock's lightning-burned shirt was auctioned off at a science-fiction convention in 1967.
- This is the episode in which the redshirt phenomenon comes to the fore. Every red-shirted male in the landing party dies horribly. Hendorff is killed by the plant's poisoned darts, Kaplan by the lightning, Mallory is blown up by an exploding rock, and Marple is killed by a blow to the head.
- Of his many appearances in Star Trek's second and third seasons, this was the most dialogue Jay Jones ever delivered. In fact, his only other speaking roles are three words in "The Tholian Web" and a couple of brief voiceover lines in "Catspaw".
- Footage of the Enterprise firing phasers down to the surface of a planet is reused from "Who Mourns for Adonais?".
- Walter Koenig seems to have discarded the wig he used in his earlier episodes. Since his own hair was now long enough, it was not necessary for him to wear it anymore.
- The sparkling effects as Vaal is attacked by the phaser barrage were lifted from the opticals used for the Companion in "Metamorphosis". They will appear again in the opticals for the creature in "Obsession".
- George Takei (Sulu) and Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) do not appear in this episode.
- Spock states he has an assessable value in this episode, which he begins to enumerate as "One hundred twenty-two thousand, two hundred ...", after Kirk asks if he knows how much Starfleet has invested in him.
- McCoy describes the poison in the thorns that killed Hendorff and injured Spock to be "like saponin, only 1,000 times stronger." Given the potency of sapotoxin, this would give it an approximate LD50 of 1 mg/kg earning it a rating of a class 1 toxin (extremely toxic) on the Hodge and Sterner Scale.
- It is established in this episode that the warp nacelles can be discarded from the ship and that it is a dangerous process.
- This episode's original script called for an emergency saucer separation. However, due to budgeting, the effect was only mentioned but not seen. The first time it will be seen is in TNG's pilot episode, "Encounter at Farpoint".
- In a special feature on the Star Trek (2009) DVD, Anton Yelchin, who plays his alternate counterpart in the film, specifically mentions Chekov's behavior in this episode - seemingly more concerned with "macking" on Landon than completing the mission at hand - as a prime example of the eccentricities which, in Yelchin's opinion, were the best thing about the character.
- The episode was adapted into issue thirteen of IDW Publishing's alternate reality Star Trek comic, "The Redshirt's Tale". In this version, the redshirts survive their ordeal, although Hendorff ("Cupcake" from the 2009 film) wonders if in another universe everyone died.
Minimal changes were made to the special effects in the remastered version of this episode. Most notable was the new appearance of Gamma Trianguli VI and the phaser color and its effect while hitting Vaal. The sky color surrounding the storm clouds (taken from stock footage) was tinted red and orange in the DVD version, to match the red colored soundstage backdrop. In the remastered version, it's reverted back to the original blue-gray and black.
- Story outline with premises by A.E. van Vogt, 10 April 1967
- Story outline by Max Ehrlich, 2 May 1967
- Story outline, 4 May 1967
- First draft teleplay, 29 May 1967
- Second Revised final draft, 12 July 1967
- Filmed 14 July 1967 – 24 July 1967
- Original airdate, 13 October 1967
- Rerun airdate, 12 July 1968
- First Uk airdate: 4 May 1970
Video and DVD releasesEdit
- Original US Betamax release: 1986
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 20, catalog number VHR 2353, release date unknown
- US VHS release: 15 April 1994
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 2.3, 10 March 1997
- Original US DVD release (single-disc): Volume 19, 13 February 2001
- As part of the TOS Season 2 DVD collection
Links and referencesEdit
- James Doohan as Scott
- David Soul as Makora
- Walter Koenig as Chekov
- Jay Jones as Ensign Mallory
- Jerry Daniels as Marple
- John Winston as Lt. Kyle
- Mal Friedman as Hendorff
- Shari Nims as Sayana
- Paul Baxley as an unnamed Vaalian
- William Blackburn as:
- Ron Burke as an unnamed Vaalian
- Bobby Clark as an unnamed Vaalian
- Vince Deadrick as an unnamed Vaalian
- Dick Dial as Kaplan
- Jeannie Malone as
- Eddie Paskey as Leslie
- Russ Peek as an unnamed Vaalian
Adam and Eve; antennae; antimatter pod; apple; arteriosclerosis; astrophysics; atmospheric analysis; bacteria; bearing; Bible; biology; biological reproduction; "Bones"; cat; cleavage; cloud; condition red; credit; decalcification; degeneration; dim time; electromagnetic field; electromagnetic section; energy cell; explosive mineral formations; Fahrenheit; Federation scoutship; fly; flypaper; force field; Formation L; Gamma Trianguli; Gamma Trianguli VI; Gamma Trianguli VI pod plant; Garden of Eden; Genesis; hornblende; husbandry; kilometer; kitchen sink; land mine; lightning; logic; love; Masiform D; Mess call; Milky Way Galaxy; nightmare; Moscow; Noninterference Directive; planetary defense system; poison; power generator; quartz; "replacement"; Russia; saponin; Satan; saucer separation; scout; second-degree burn; soil; social evolution; specific gravity; Starfleet; Starfleet Academy; Starfleet Command; stomach; transporter system; tractor beam; tribe; tricorder; uraninite; Vaal; Vaalians; violin; Vulcan; Wortham units
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| Previous episode aired:|
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"The Doomsday Machine"
| Previous remastered episode aired:|
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"By Any Other Name"