Series: Star Trek: The Original Series
Season, Episode #,and Episode Name: Season 1, Episode 25, “This Side of Paradise” and Episode 26, “The Devil in the Dark”
Setting the Stage: I started at 8:30 pm on January 9, 2020, still watching via Netflix, so I’m using their viewing order. Professor Zoom and Tempura were present for both episodes. My husband watched the first episode and then decided he was tired and went to bed like the old man he is.
Today at lunch, work mom and I had a great discussion about Uhura. Not only is she a woman of color and total badass, but she knows how to respect the chain of command. When the ambassador in “A Taste of Armageddon” orders her to do something, she only does so after Scotty gives her a nod. In “Space Seed” she absolutely refuses to cooperate, even after she’s been physically assaulted. She may not have a lot of lines in every episode, and she might be wearing a ridiculously short skirt, but she is simply fantastic. Here’s to you Lieutenant!
Quick Summary with my reactions: “This Side of Paradise” starts with the landing party thinking their heading to an abandoned settlement, but instead find a medical mystery, strange plants, and a sassy McCoy. We also finally see a woman from Spock’s past! That’s right, Kirk is so damn confused it’s adorable. The plants have spores that take over the entire landing party and eventually the entire crew of the Enterprise, except Kirk. Kirk is the last man standing when it comes to the mystery spores and figures out that strong emotions are necessary, so he verbally spars with Spock until he gives into his baser emotions and attacks Kirk. They concoct a plan and help the folks down below get settled elsewhere.
“The Devil in the Dark” opens with the crew of a planet and some dude getting owned by an unknown entity. After the Enterprise arrives, the creature steals a part of the reactor that powers the planet and Scotty has to pull a “MacGyver” in order to give everyone some more time to figure out what is going on. Spock wants to try to save the life of the creature and Kirk is adamant it’s a killer and no more human life will be wasted. The creature corners Kirk and the two men reserve roles as Kirk wants to know more. Spock eventually does some Vulcan mind magic and we find out the creature is a mother who is wicked pissed the humans have been killing her eggs. McCoy pulls a “MacGyver” moment as well so he can heal the mother, Spock communicates with her, and Kirk helps negotiate a way for the humans and the creatures to cohabitate.
My Impressions: “This Side of Paradise” is a cute, interesting adventure of the week. A mystery that needs to be solved and it’s all up to Kirk because everyone else went bonkers. We get to see Spock play the leading man, which was quite interesting. I also think it’s the longest I’ve heard Uhura speak at once! I find it interesting that the stunt doubles are clearly visible in the Spock vs. Kirk fight, but that’s what happens when you remaster shit from the 60s. I really enjoyed this episode, except for McCoy’s bad (and weird) Southern accent and whatever he was drinking was NOT a mint julep.
“The Devil in the Dark” proves that Kirk should almost always listen to Spock because he knows what’s up. I love that we find a “mama bear” who goes into rage mode when the stupid humans destroy instead of trying to understand their surroundings. It’s another episode that still has grains of truth that are applicable today as Australia is burning and our climate is whacked out. I genuinely enjoyed this mystery that needed to be solved. These two episodes were good ones to watch and both kept me interested in the ending. It also gives us one of my new favorite exchanges between Kirk and Spock.