Original Airdate: January 5, 1967
The shuttlecraft Galileo has been sent to study the Murasaki 312 quasar as a side trip while the Enterprise is on en route to Makus III under the watchful and bitchy eye of Galactic High Commissioner Ferris, who is a dick from the word go. Okay, the part is written that way, but the actor nails it.
Ferris, meanwhile, begins his incessant bitching at Jim. There’s a plague on Makus III, Enterprise is due there with the meds in five days, but as it only takes three days to get there, Jim is going to take those extra two days to find the shuttlecraft and his missing crew. Ferris sighs and nags and rocks back and forth on his heels throughout the episode, singing his two favorite songs, “I Told You So, Captain” and “You Don’t Have Much Time Left.”
On Taurus II, Scotty tells Spock that it’s very bad – they won’t even get into orbit without first dropping 500 pounds. As there is no superfluous equipment on board, and there are plenty of
superfluous people, that’s the weight of three grown men, in Spock’s words. There’s plenty of gasping about Spock’s coldness but hey, he’s right. Lt. Boma says they could draw lots, but Spock says he’ll choose. There is griping.
Look people, understand this: there are seven of you. Three have to stay behind. Spock, Scotty & Bones are coming back. That means one of you losers gets to join them, the other three don’t. Deal.
Three of the losers go roaming around and one of them gets killed by a huge spear thrown by some primitive life form native to the planet. There’s one down!
As Spock gets back to the Galileo, Scotty explains his theory; use the energy in everybody’s phasers as an alternative fuel source. Everyone can stay aboard that way, but the orbit they achieve won’t last long. Not, Spock points out, that it will matter. With Enterprise unavoidably having to leave shortly for Makus III, if the ship doesn’t find them quickly, it won’t matter if they die on the surface or burn up on reentry, they’ll be just as dead.
Loser #2, by the way, just died out there while on guard. Didn’t fight, didn’t run away, just sat there and let hisself get killed. Spock has the decency to go out and bring back the body.
Also unfortunately, the crew (except Scotty, bless him) is dogpiling Spock about his constantly discussing logic and that logic failing them. Spock is admittedly, not doing himself any favors by having a not-quite-internal dialogue about his confusion that the logic isn’t working.
They electrify the hull of the craft, sending the natives away for a while. Boma crosses the line with Spock (“I’d insist on a decent burial even if it were your body back there!”), and to their credit, Scotty & Bones are appalled.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Ferris puts his foot down and demands that they leave immediately for Makus III. Jim manages to get a little more than 20 minutes more out of him by stalling until the two rescue shuttlecraft come back, but when they return, he has no choice but to sadly give up and change course.
Eventually, the Galileo achieves liftoff, then orbit, if only for 45 minutes. Spock, believing the Enterprise will be out of visual range of the craft before that, ignites the remaining fuel to send up a flare. The Enterprise actually sees this and turns around, locking on sensors and beaming the 5 crewmembers aboard just as the craft was beginning to burn up.
After it’s all over and everyone’s safe aboard, Jim kids Spock about his desperate move being a definite sign of emotion. Spock plays it off as being an emotional reaction calculatedly arrived at via logic. He won’t admit to being emotional, but he will admit to being stubborn. Everyone laughs about it, and that’s the end.
• This is the episode in which Spock says his often quoted “there are always alternatives.”
• I can’t believe all the bitchery, attitude and whining in this episode, between Ferris and the crew aboard the Galileo. If I were in charge of the shuttlecraft, with my temper? Everybody’d be sitting down, dummying up, and following orders right quick. Of course, I’d also be court-martialed when I got back to the ship, because there’d be black eyes and fat lips all over my subordinates.
• Yeoman Mears does this hilarious little hop out of her seat to a kneeling position. She’s trying to make it look like the force of achieving orbit threw her to the floor, but she looks really foolish. Also, nobody else played the scene that way.
Best Line of the Episode
Jim, to Ferris:
I intend to continue the search foot by foot, inch by inch, by candlelight if necessary, until the last possible moment. If you'd keep your nose off my bridge, I'd be thankful.