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Star Trek: Where No Man Has Gone Before (1966)

Reviewed by Mike Plunkett

(Writer’s Note: “Where No Man Has Gone Before” was originally filmed as the second pilot, almost a year before regular production of Star Trek as a weekly television series got into full swing. There are elements that differ noticeably from the regular series; the actors hadn’t yet found their groove with the characters they played, and the sets and uniforms weren’t yet as stylish or as evolved as they would later go on to be. But at the core it is pure Star Trek.)

“You fools, soon I’ll squash you like insects” – Gary Mitchell (Gary Lockwood)

The Enterprise intercepts an automated old style ship recorder that relays a distress call from the USS Valiant, a starship that disappeared some 200 years earlier while attempting to cross the great energy barrier at the edge of the galaxy. Having heard the deciphered message, Captain Kirk (William Shatner) gives the order to forge ahead through the great barrier, but before long disaster ensues; the Enterprise is overwrought by the sheer energy of the barrier and is forced to turn back. During the attempt, two of Kirk’s key command personnel are directly hit by barrier’s energy and greatly affected on a supernatural scale; Lt. Commander Gary Mitchell (Gary Lockwood), the Enterprise navigator and Kirk’s best buddy from his days at Starfleet academy, and Dr. Elizabeth Dehner (Sally Kellerman).

Mitchell displays immediate signs of change; demonstrating heightened powers of telekinesis and ESP, all the while a chilling silvery glow emits from the pupils of his eyes. With its warp drive out of commision, the Enterprise limps to the nearest charted planet, Delta Vega to affect repairs. By this point Mitchell begins losing all tolerance for his shipmates, testing his newfound powers as his sanity quickly slips by the wayside. Dr. Dehner, while not yet affected, insists Mitchell needs to be studied, Spock however warns Kirk to get rid of Mitchell before he becomes unstoppable, advising him to strand his old friend on the planet once the ship repairs are completed.

While repairs on the Enterprise are being completed in orbit of Delta Vega, down below trouble ensues. Mitchell manages to incapacitate the landing team and escape at the precise moment Dr. Dehner slips into the same empowered realm and delusion as Kirk’s old friend. Armed with only a phaser-rifle, powerful dialogue and a propensity for highly charged dramatic flare, Captain Kirk sets off in hot pursuit of the ever evolving duo in a last ditched effort to stop them before matters, as they pertain to the Enterprise and the galaxy itself, go too far.

Shatner drama factor = 8/10
Babe rating = 4/10
Ringside Report Rating = 7/10

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