“It may be the last decision you ever make, but it was all human” – Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley)
Sent aboard the shuttle Galileo to investigate the Murasaki 312 quasar, First Officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and a scientific party are forced to make an emergency landing on the planet Taurus 2. With their ship marginally damaged and drained of fuel, they set out to survey their surroundings as Chief Engineer Scott (James Doohan) looks to find a viable alternative fuel supply to ensure a timely departure. Before long, various members of the landing party are either killed or go missing due to the hostile nature of the planet’s dangerous inhabitants; large Sasquatch-like humanoids. Scotty determines that the only line of defense is also their only hope, utilized as a fuel source; their phaser weapons.
Onboard the USS Enterprise, Kirk (William Shatner) races against the clock in search of his shipmates while a Federation High Commissioner (John Crawford) counts down the hours to a crucial planned rendezvous with another starship for the sake of delivering a much needed serum to a plague-infested planet. With the hostile humanoids closing in on the ever-shrinking landing party and the clock-watching authoritarian infringing on Kirk’s latitude as the captain, every second counts as the landing party furiously tries to make their getaway, an escape that cannot possibly end well if the Enterprise is forced to make its rendezvous; death by an out of control re-entry or on the planet’s surface below at the hands of its hostile gargantuan inhabitants.
As is typical of Star Trek, this episode is an excellent character drama. It is Spock’s first command; leading a team of dissenters largely at odds with his stringent logic-based command style. As each decision falls short of the anticipated results, and with Dr. McCoy’s (DeForest Kelley) endless badgering in the background, we see excellent interplay between two of Trek’s key characters, a relationship that we discover over the course of the series is predicated on begrudging loyalty as much as rivalry.
Shatner Factor: 3/10
Babe Factor: 6/10
Ringside Report Rating: 7/10