Star Trek Recaps: TOS, “The Naked Time”

Screenshots from

Now we’re moving on to “The Naked Time,” which immediately makes me think of this:


We open with the Enterprise orbiting an icy planet. Kirk, through a captain’s log, explains why they’re there: the planet’s about to break apart, and they need to pick up a scientific team left on the surface before observing and documenting the planet’s death.

Spock and another officer named Tormolen beam down into the planet, wearing what look like quilted hazmat suits.

They certainly look very warm.

As you can see above, they come across a frozen corpse. Nothing ominous about that at all. The two look around a bit, and Spock tells Tormolen to check the life support systems as Spock comes across a woman’s corpse. Tormolen comes back and reports that life support was off, and Spock states that the woman appears to have been strangled. Tormolen reports that everyone else in the building is also dead.

Spock asks about the engineer, and Tormolen says he’s “frozen there like he didn’t care,” presumably also waving his hands in the air. Tormolen states that he also found one of them in the shower, with his clothes still on. As Spock leaves the room, Tormolen takes off his glove to scratch his nose, and since the planet is basically Minnesota in January, I’m surprised that his hand didn’t just fall off from frostbite. He puts his bare hand on the frozen terminal, and a reddish liquid jumps onto it.

Put your glove back on, you moron.

Spock walks in and tells Tormolen to “be certain we expose ourselves to nothing.” Which is hilarious considering what just happened. Spock calls up to the Enterprise and reports that everyone in the station is dead. Kirk asks what caused it, and Spock say’s it’s unknown, but is “like nothing we’ve dealt with before.” Because besides being a smart ass, Spock’s also a bit of a drama queen.

After the credits, Spock and Tormolen beam back aboard. Scotty reports to Kirk that they’re aboard. Kirk says that medical should take a look at them, and that he’ll meet Spock in sickbay in ten minutes.

In sickbay, McCoy is indeed examining Spock and Tormolen. He tells Tormolen that he’s fine. Joe leaves the scanner, and Spock goes on. McCoy says, “Your pulse is two hundred and forty two, your blood pressure is practically nonexistent, assuming you call that green stuff in your veins blood.” To which Spock, to my great amusement, responds, “The readings are perfectly normal for me, Doctor, thank you, and as for my anatomy being different from yours, I am delighted.” Could I get an entire series that’s just these two bantering with each other? Someone get Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban on that.

He's trying to seduce McCoy.

The scene briefly cuts to Tormolen, wiping the hand the red gunk landed on earlier on his shirt as ominous music and a rattlesnake-esque sound effect plays. Kirk  enters, and McCoy reports that the two are just fine. Tormolen, intent on proving McCoy wrong, has a bit of a freakout about the dead people on the planet, and wonders why they’re in space at all. Kirk responds that he wonders, but keeps enlisting anyway. He asks Spock what happened down there. Spock responds that he has no clue, but that the base’s records may be able to tell them something. Tormolen continues on about the six dead scientists, and Kirk tells him to get some rest. He tells Spock to get the tapes set up, and the two leave. Tormolen wipes his hand again, with the rattle noise and ominous music.

In the conference room, Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Scotty are analyzing the tapes, being handed out by Yeoman Rand. We see the same scene that Tormolen and Spock beamed down to, and Kirk points out that it was almost as if they were drugged.

Kirk brings up the guy in the shower, and that it would almost be laughable if it wasn’t so horrific. He asks for a theory, and McCoy responds that it doesn’t seem to be intoxication, as the bioanalysis states otherwise. Spock says it might be some kind of “space madness” they’d never heard of before, but their analysis indicates nothing out of the ordinary. Scotty says it might be something that the tricorder isn’t able to register, and Spock concurs.

Kirk asks if whatever happened on the planet could present a danger to the ship. Scotty says, “Unless you people on the bridge start taking showers with your clothes on, my engines can pull us out of anything,” and that if anything goes wrong he’ll get them out of orbit. Uhura calls into the briefing room to report that the scanners have picked up changes in the planet’s mass and magnetic field. Spock says that it’s starting, and Kirk tells Uhura that they’re on their way to the bridge.

Staring at hand, sadly.

We cut to the rec room, where Tormolen is forlornly getting something to eat. Sulu enters with another crewmember named Riley, talking about fencing. Remember this part; it’s important for later. Sulu greets Tormolen, and Riley complains about Sulu, comparing their current conversation to when he tried to get Riley into botany. Suluasks Tormolen to back him up. Sulu then notices that he’s not acting like himself, and asks if he’s OK. Tormolen snaps back that Sulu doesn’t outrank him and should back off. He continues, saying they’re all hypocrites, and wonders why they’re there in the first place. Sulu tells him to take it easy, and Tormolen pulls what appears to be a butter knife on them.

That is literally the dullest knife I've ever seen.

Sulu and Riley, for some reason, seem threatened by this. Riley tells him to put the knife down as Tormolen keeps ranting about how people don’t belong in space. At this point, Tormolen turns the knife on himself, asking why he deserves to live when six people had died on the planet. Riley and Sulu try to get the knife away from him, but Tormolen ends up falling on the knife and stabbing himself anyway, though he looks less like he’s injured, and more like he spilled grape juice on his shirt.

I hate it when that happens.

Riley runs over to the intercom to call for help. Then he starts rubbing his hands in a familiar fashion, meaning that he’s infected now too.

Back on the bridge, Riley reports that the gravity is increasing. Sulu reports that the planet’s mass is shrinking, and the magnetic field is still shifting. Kirk turns to Spock, who reports that all the scanning stations are ready. He goes on to say that the planet’s imploding more rapidly than they had expected, and that this may be what Earth has in store for it in the distant future. Kirk receives report from Uhura. We get another shot of Riley rubbing his hands on his pants, and similar motions from Sulu. Spock is looking at Tormolen’s records, and Kirk asks him if he thinks Tormolen was trying to kill himself. Spock says he doesn’t think so, but that Tormolen always has a tendency to doubt himself. Spock wonders why that trait suddenly manifested as strongly as it did. 

In sickbay, McCoy and Chapel are operating on the hapless Tormolen. Chapel reports that his breathing rate is dropping, and McCoy tells her to use the respirator to compensate. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to help all that much.

Back on the bridge, an alarm goes off. Kirk asks Sulu what happened, and Sulu reports that the gravity suddenly increased, “like the planet reached out and yanked at us.” Kirk says to compensate, but Riley isn’t paying attention. Kirk tells him again to compensate, and pushes a button on Riley’s console. Riley stabilizes the orbit, and says that he might just be a little nervous.

I'm assuming that this is bad.

We cut back to sickbay where, to McCoy’s confusion, Tormolen is still dying.  He administers a hypo, but it’s ineffective: he dies anyway. McCoy, confused, states that his injuries weren’t severe enough to kill him.

McCoy calls Kirk to sickbay. Kirk tells Uhura to monitor communications, and to tell McCoy he’ll be down as soon as he can. Spock reports that the planet’s rate of implosion is increasing and that the planet’s shrinking is causing the surface to move away from the ship, forcing them to spiral down to keep the same distance away. Spock says that they need to be ready for any sudden changes, and Kirk tells Scotty to tie into the helm before leaving to see what McCoy needs.

Sulu says he’s “sweating like a bridegroom.” Riley responds that he is too, and Sulu suggests that they go down to the gym. Riley says, “Now?” Sulu responds with a why not, since a workout may help with their nerves. Sulu walks away as Riley tries to stop him.

Back in sickbay, McCoy tells Kirk that Tormolen basically should not have died, and posits that he lost his will to live. Kirk (understandably) doesn’t buy this and tells McCoy that’s a supposition, and McCoy responds that he’s never lost a patient like that before. McCoy asks if Kirk was going to ask him if Tormolen’s death and his jaunt to the surface here connected, and Kirk confirms this. McCoy points out that Tormolen was decontaminated and tested, and that they looked for everything possible. Kirk says he wants him to check the impossible.

Back on the bridge, an alarm starts going off and Spock finally notices, to his displeasure, that Sulu’s not at his station, and essentially asks where the hell he is. Riley responds by reporting that that he’s compensated for the magnetic pull. Spock calls over to a crewmember named Rand (a dude, not Janice) and tells Riley that he hasn’t answered his question.“’ Riley, somewhat drunkenly, responds, “Have no fear, O’Riley’s here,” and starts talking about how one Irishman is worth a thousand of something. We don’t get to hear what because Spock interrupts. He relieves Riley, and tells Uhura to take over her station. Spock orders Riley to sickbay, with a security team to make sure he gets there.

Riley makes his way to sickbay, pausing to touch random things and ogle his female crewmates. Once there, he taps Chapel on the shoulder and asks her where Tormolen is, and Chapel breaks the news that he’s dead. Riley tells her she’s pretty and touches her face, which of course infects her too.  Chapel offers her sympathies, and Riley tells her that Tormolen’s mistake what that he wasn’t born an Irishman before winking at her and striding out.

I'm sure that this will end well.

Now were at what’s probably the best part of the episode: a shirtless Sulu jumps out from a turbolift, brandishing a fencing foil. He comes across two crewmembers, who he jumps out at as the two of them just look at him like he’s nuts. He advances on them, chuckling in a kind of creepy manner. Sulu then says, “You either leave this bois bloodied, or with my blood on your swords,” before lunging at them. They naturally run away from the crazy sword-wielding man, and he laughs and calls them cowards.

Kirk then walks onto the bridge and asks Spock about Riley and Sulu’s symptoms. Spock reports that so far they’ve been nonviolent, but slightly disoriented, as if they’ve been drugged. Kirk has Uhura (who has gone back to her own station) to open a channel to security so he can have them keep an eye on Sulu and Riley. Uhura then reports Sulu’s sword adventures, and Kirk has her tell security to just round them up. Spock notes that a pattern seems to be developing: personality traits that they usually keep hidden are surfacing. The ship jolts, which prompts Kirk to ask about the condition of the planet. Spock reports that the gravitational pull is increasing, and that they need to stabilize their position’’. Unfortunately, they’ve hit a bit of a snag: neither helm controls nor the engines are responding.

Kir and Spock try calling down to the engine room, but the intercom isn’t responding. Kirk gives the bridge to Spock and tries to leave, but Sulu (still sans shirt) jumps out of the turbolift pointing his sword at him.  Kirk tells Sulu to put the sword away, but Sulu refuses. . Kirk and Uhura scramble out of the way and Uhura manages to get Sulu’s attention. She tells him to give her the sword, but he grabs her as she approaches. Sulu says, “I’ll protect you, fair maiden.”  Uhura, to my great amusement, responds, “Sorry, neither,” as she breaks free.

Have I mentioned before how awesome Uhura is?

Kirk gets the jump on Sulu and gets the sword away from him as Spock administers a good ol’-fashioned Vulcan nerve pinch. Kirk says that he’d like Spock to teach him that trick, and Spock sardonically orders some personnel to “take D’Artagnon here to sickbay.” Kirk calls down to Scotty in the engine room, Riley answers, declaring himself captain.

Kirk, obviously not amused by this, tells him to get the hell out of the engine room and asks where Scotty is. Riley says that he’s relieved Scotty of his duties, and starts babbling about everyone getting ice cream. Kirk tries to get on the lift to get down there, but the doors aren’t responding. He asks Uhura to remedy this as Riley begins to sing “an ancient Irish favorite” in an extremely drunken, off-key, and frankly irritating manner. This proves to be the background music for pretty much the rest of the episode. The door to the lift finally opens, and as Kirk starts to leave, Spock reports that the have a new problem: if they don’t correct their course, the ship will crash into the planet in about 20 minutes.

Yeah, the singing gets real old real fast.

We cut to Kirk and Scotty standing outside of engineering, with another crewmember trying to find a way to get through the door. Scotty explains that Riley just came in and told them they were needed on the bridge, the ran in and locked the door after they left. Kirk asks if Scotty can get to the auxiliary, and Scotty says that Riley’s hooked up everything to the engine room. It turns out that the only way they’d be able to get through is to cut the circuits, and has the other crewman get the schematics.

Back on the bridge, Spock asks for a status report. Uhura says that fights and other incidents appear to be increasing. Spock orders for the main sections to be sealed off, explaining to Kirk (who has just walked in) that it would be the most effective way to stop whatever’s happening from spreading. The alarms stop, and Uhura reports that  Riley’s cut off all the alert channels.

Riley cuts in, saying that since Uhura interrupted his song, she won’t be getting any ice cream tonight. Kirk tells Uhura to cut him off, but she can’t do that either. Riley goes on about a formal dance in the bowling alley (which seems like kind of an odd thing for a spaceship to have, but all right). Spock says that it looks like Riley can override the intercoms whenever he wants and, oh yeah, they now have about 17 minutes until horrible, flaming death.

The ship lurches again, and McCoy calls into the bridge. He asks if they can keep the ship level, since he has Sulu sedated and is running tests on him, and that there isn’t anything odd in his bloodstream. Kirk says that Riley’s a bit more of an issue right now and asks if there’s any way they can snap him out of it. McCoy says that he won’t know until he’s run some more tests on Sulu.

Riley calls in again, saying that he has new orders: all female crewmembers now must wear their hair down and that they shouldn’t wear so much makeup. As Uhura tries to shut him down, Riley starts the song he was singing over again, to which Kirk responds, “Please. Not again.” Which is exactly what I was thinking.

The scene switches to Scotty in a tube, attaching what look like computer chips to the walls.He crawls out of the tube and tells a crewman that he’s set up the jumpers (whatever that means) and that he should wait for Scotty’s signal. He runs over to an intercom and calls the bridge, saying that they should now have enough power to keep the ship stabilized as another crewmember cuts through the bulkhead.

Back on the bridge, Spock reports that while they’ve stabilized the ship, it’s still descending and they have about 16 minutes left. I refuse to believe that all that happened in the space of a minute. Uhura states that more disturbances are occurring throughout the ship, and Kirk tells her to try and get through to sickbay. Unfortunately, she can’t because Riley keeps switching the channels. Kirk has Spock report to sickbay and to see if he can hurry Scotty around a bit on his way down.

As Spock is making his way to engineering, he comes across a crewman holding a paintbrush and laughing like a hyena. Spock orders him to return to sickbay, and then runs into his handiwork:

Damn hippies.

He then comes across Rand, being serenaded by another crewmember much to her irritation. Rand explains the situation, and Spock orders him to stand aside. The crewman immediately starts singing again after Spock leaves.

Spock makes it to the engineering room, where they’re still trying to get through the bulkhead.Scotty says he’s doing his best and starts to point out what would happen if he cuts through the wrong circuit, but Spock interrupts him stating that they have 14 minutes left. Scotty says that he can’t go any faster and still maintain a safety factor; Spock points out that at this rate, they’ll go a minute and a half over their imminent demise.

Chapel and McCoy continue their analysis of Sulu. McCoy goes to a console and tries to call to the biopsy lab to get a report, but can’t get through. Chapel reports that the tranquilizer’s wearing off. McCoy responds that he needs Sulu conscious now, and tells her to continue examining him as he heads out to the biopsy lab. 

Back on the bridge, the helmsman is giggling maniacally, and Kirk orders him off the bridge. She tries to explain why she’s late, but Kirk cuts her off and orders her to take the helm. Bemused, she complies as Riley finishes his song and announces that he’s going to start singing it again, and I’m thinking the only reason he hasn’t been killed yet is he locked the door.  Kirk snaps at Uhura to cut him off, to which she begins to snap back that she would if she could, then remembers who she’s speaking to and says that she’ll keep trying. Kirk apologies, then calls down to Scotty. They currently have about 12 minutes left, and Scotty assures him that they’ll make it if everything else goes right. Kirk tells him to call when they’re through.

Spock enters sickbay and asks Chapel where McCoy is. She tells him he’s gone to the lab. Spock tries to call the lab, but can’t get through. As Spock tries to leave, Chapel grabs his hand and basically admits that she has the hots for him (and infecting him in the process). They continue in the same vein for a while (with Spock looking increasing uncomfortable). He apologizes, either because he doesn’t feel the same way or does but can’t admit it, and they’re interrupted by Uhura calling him to the bridge. He apologizes again, then turns and leaves.

In the hallway, Uhura tries to call for Spock again as he tries to collect himself. He walks for a bit, then stops and sniffles, trying not to cry before continuing.


We cut to Kirk and two other crewmembers heading towards the engineering room.  Scotty reports that  they’re almost ready. and finishes cutting through the bulkhead as the security officers accompanying Kirk take their positions. The door opens and they rush in, much to Riley’s disappointment: “No dance tonight.” Kirk tells the security officers to get him out of there as Scotty takes his place at the console.

Enough of that; back to Spock’s emotional turmoil. He stumbles into the briefing room, where he leans against a door with his hand on his face, trying to convince himself that he’s in control of his emotions (which is a bald-faced lie) Sobbing, he collapses into a chair, claiming that it’s “too late” and apologizing for some unknown transgression.

Back at engineering,  Kirk points out to Scotty that there isn’t a lot of time left. To emphasize this, Uhura reports that they’re entering the atmosphere. Naturally, since the episode isn’t over yet, Scotty delivers worse news: the engines are completely shut down and will take 30 minutes to restart. At this point, they have about 8. Scotty says that there is no way to speed this up.

A bit later, Kirk and Scotty desperately trying to figure a way out. Scotty says that they can get it down to 22 or 23 minutes, but Kirk points out they have six. After Scotty explains mixing matter and antimatter cold will blow them up, Kirk brings up the possibility of a controlled implosion.  Scotty says that it’s only a theory, and that the odds are about 10,000 to one, and that’s if they had a row of computers figuring out the correct formula.

This is how I wake up every morning.

We cut to sickbay, where Sulu is screaming for some reason. He stops, and asks McCoy how he ended up in sickbay. Instead of answering, McCoy calls down to the bio lab and says he’s isolated the issue, saying that “somehow on this planet, water’s changed to a complex chain of molecules.” I have no clue what this means. Bio asks for clarification (whilst giggling), and McCoy says that’s why it took them so long to figure out, and that it passes through sweat. He goes on that he’s prepared a serum that they need to make more of. Sulu asks if he can leave, and McCoy says to release him as he stalks off.

Kirk finds Spock in the briefing room, and naturally wants to know where he’s been. Spock starts rambling about how he could never tell his mother that he loved her, and how hard being a human on Vulcan must have been. Kirk points out that they have about five minutes until horrible flaming death to no effect. Kirk decides he’s had enough of this and tells him they have to risk a full power start or they all die, whilst shaking him. Spock continues, and Kirk just slaps him while Spock tells him he’s ashamed of feeling friendship towards Kirk.

Kirk then just starts whaling on him, trying to get him back to his senses. Spock grabs his hand, and Kirk reiterates that they need a formula to trigger the implosion. Spock says that it’s never been done, then goes back into how he’s spent his life hiding his feelings. Kirk slaps him again, and this time Spock slaps him back (hard enough to send him flying). Spock repeats that it’s never been done before, and Kirk says to not tell him that again, saying that they have to take the chance even if they do explode. Uhura calls down to let them know they’ve got about 3 minutes, and it turns out that Kirk’s little slapfest has gotten him infected.


He starts going on about how Spock’s better off without love, and how he would be better off without his love: the ship and how “she” basically won’t allow him his own life and how Rand’s hot but he isn’t allowed to notice. At this point, Spock starts pulling himself together (now that Kirk’s starting to lose it) and says that there’s a formula that could work, but it’s untested. Kirk continues talking about his lack of any real love life as Scotty walks in. Kirk despairingly asks Scotty for help. Spock takes over and tells Scotty to standby, as he’ll call down the formula from the bridge. Uhura lets them know that shit’s fucked, and the hull temperature is now ridiculously high. Kirk gets a hold of himself momentarily, and tells Scotty and Spock to clear the corridors and the turbolift. As they leave to obey, he starts whispering in a sort of creepy fashion about how he’ll never lose the ship and heads to the bridge.

He manages to get there and finds McCoy waiting for him. Because we can’t have an episode where Kirk’s shirt isn’t damaged in some fashion, McCoy rips one his sleeves to administer the previously mentioned antidote. Kirk staggers over to his seat, while the rest of the bridge crew look very concerned. He calls down to the engine room and tells them they’re ready. He orders a hyperbolic course, in the direction that they came from. Sulu lays in the course, and we cut to engineering. Spock asks about the fuel temperature, and Scotty says that it’s level. On the bridge, Kirk moves his hand to touch Rand, but stops before she notices.

That's a sexual harrassment lawsuit averted.

Back in engineering, Spock tells Scotty to raise the anti-matter’s temperature. Scotty says that’ll take four minutes. Spock says there’s no time and they’ll have to risk starting the engines now. He calls to the bridge and says that they’re ready.

On the bridge, Kirk gives the order to engage, and we get beeping and a high-pitched whine as the engines start up again. As this is happening, everyone on the bridge starts cringing, seemingly finding the noise as annoying as I do. We get a shot of the planet on the screen as the ship moves away. Spock asks Kirk if he’s all right, and Kirk returns the question. McCoy says that they found a cure, so they’re over that hump, and Spock says that they were successful, considering that they’re all not dead. Sulu reports that the velocity gauge is off the scale, and Spock says that they’re travelling faster than possible for normal space.

Kirk tells Sulu to check the elapsed time, and Sulu says that his chronometer is running backwards (after a helpful shot of said chronometer running backwards). Kirk says in astonishment that they’re in a time warp.


He orders Sulu to begin reversing power, and the ship slows down. Spock reports that they’re back to normal time, and Kirk asks Spock how the time warp affected them. Spock responds they went back three days. Spock says they have those three days to live over again, and Kirk responds (quite reasonably), “Not those three days.” Spock points out that this new discovery has some intriguing prospects, and that since they know how, they can now go back to any planet at any point in time. Kirk says they might risk it someday, and orders them to go ahead to their next destination.

This episode has some interesting bits, but the pacing seems a little off in some places. It seems to me that things in the last half of the episode would have taken a lot longer than 20 minutes, so they should have been dead a lot by the end. That said, there were some moments that I really liked (shirtless sword-wielding Sulu), plus we got some more insight into some of the characters, particularly Spock and Kirk.

Next time I’ll be looking at “The Enemy Within,” the first of many Star Trek episodes across the franchise with the “transporter malfunction” theme.

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