Original Airdate: September 29, 1966
Sulu and Bones are planetside, talking about how gorgeous it is, when a white rabbit in a vest hops by, exclaiming that he’s late, and a second later, a little blond girl in a pinafore runs up and asks if he’s seen the rabbit. She runs off. Bones yells for Sulu, who wandered off to take samples for research.
He says he didn’t see anything.
Bones calls up the captain to tell him these things and Jim just laughs. Spock says that one crewman has a dramatically reduced reaction time, too much stress, etc., and that the crewman refuses to take shore leave. When Jim responds by demanding that crewman take it, and asks his name, Spock tells him: “James Kirk.” Jim gives him a sour look.
Cut to the planet’s surface, where Jim and Yeoman Barrows have just beamed down. He finds Bones, who impresses upon him that the white rabbit story wasn’t a story. That’s it, Jim cancels shore leave; until they have proof that whatever’s going on is harmless, he’s not risking the crew. They break up to track down the rabbit and girl, and gunshots are heard. Kirk, Bones, and Barrows run toward the noise and find Sulu shooting a pistol he found. He was just thinking of one like it …
Jim mentions to Bones an upperclassman at the academy who used to play malicious practical jokes on him, Finnegan. Sure enough, the moment Bones and Kirk split up, Kirk sees Finnegan before him. They chase and fight each other.
Barrows is attacked and screams; the noise brings Jim & Bones running to her. She tells them that she was attacked by someone wearing among other things, a jeweled dagger. After he just easily believed that he saw Finnegan on a strange planet, he has the nerve to ask her if she’s sure she didn’t imagine it. Also, her uniform is ripped, hello?
Bones says it sounds like Don Juan. She says that yes, as a matter of fact, she was just thinking it seemed like a place where one might see Don Juan … are you seeing a pattern yet? Good, you’re miles ahead of Starfleet’s best and brightest.
Jim sees an ex-girlfriend a few minutes later, a woman named Ruth. He spends some time with her, during which he takes a few calls from his crew. Rodriquez stammers that he saw … birds! In a daze looking at Ruth, Jim responds dreamily with “don’t you like birds Mr. Rodriquez?” It’s pretty funny.
Spock calls too, saying that he’s getting funny readings from the planet. Jim wants everyone planetside to rendezvous at the glade. How very romantic!
Barrows and Bones are walking together, flirting, when she finds some princess clothes and puts them on. They step up the flirting, him telling her she should have knights fighting for her.
I’m glossing over a few things; there are tigers and samurai and fighter planes too.
Spock beams down, and tells Jim that the unusual power field down there is messing up the ship’s communications and transporters. Nothing’s working well.
A knight rides up, aiming his lance straight for Bones, who bravely stands his ground. He’s run through, killed, and the knight is shot dead by Spock and Jim. Barrows screams, and loses her shit like the non-flag officer she is. Sulu looks at the dead knight and finds that he’s made of some kind of synthetic material. All contact with the ship is cut off, so they can’t get Bones up there to Sickbay.
Spock does a quick analysis of the knight and finds that he and the plants are all made of the same elements. They’re distracted for a moment and when they return to the scene, the bodies have vanished. At this point, Spock finally gets it and says it out loud; whatever you think of happens.
Then Finnegan shows up again and he and Jim chase each other over half the planet’s continents, mountains, hills, dales, meadows, gullies, and canyons, beating the snot out of each other as they go. The scene takes 45 minutes in real time. Go get a snack and come back later.
Are you back? Ok, Spock has found Jim and the two of them race back to the glade, avoiding fighter planes and a samurai. Barrows fights off Don Juan after getting back in uniform.
When everyone’s collected back in the glade, Jim gets them at attention, telling them not to talk, breathe, or think! Before he gets any further, a strange man joins them. He is “the caretaker.” The planet is an amusement park run by an advanced race; as Spock guessed, whatever you think of, it happens.
Bones steps out of the woods, alive and well, and arm-in-arm with a couple of showgirls. He was whisked below the surface and his heart repaired. The showgirls were apparently fond memories of his. To which Barrows takes exception, as she’d like to spend her shore leave arm-in-arm with Bones. He fobs them off on Spock, who fobs them off on Sulu.
The Caretaker invites the crew down for shore leave, and Jim agrees. It’s hinted that he’d like to spend his own leave with Ruth.
Best Line of the Episode
Jim: You follow the rabbit. I’ll backtrack the girl.
I See You Managed to Get Your Shirt Off
During the fight with Finnegan:
What Is It With You?
Ruth, his lost love (he's so sweet with her, and he seems a little awed):