In this episode, the crew of the Enterprise goes to check out some cool science shit when things go catastrophically wrong.
Which, to be fair, describes a lot of episodes.
We open with a shot of the Enterprise flying through space, before switching to the bridge. There’s a log from Kirk explaining that they’re on their way to a planet called Makus 3 to deliver medical supplies. In the meantime, though, they’re passing by a rather interesting quasar-type things they’re supposed to check out.
Kirk adds that they’re playing host to a High Commissioner Ferris, who’s overseeing the whole medicine delivery operation. We then see the aforementioned Ferris enter the bridge via the turbolift.
That guy is a bit of a unit.
Kirk calls Spock, who’s currently on the shuttlecraft Galileo, and tells him to standby before going to check something out on a console. Ferris complains about the delay to check out the quasar, Murasaki 312, and reminds him that the medicine they’re delivering is needed for a horrible, horrible plague. Wow, wouldn’t know what that’s like, in this, the year of our lord 2020.
Anyway, Kirk reminds the commissioner that he has standing orders to investigate any quasar or quasar-like objects they encounter. That priority seems a little skewed, since I think people dying of plague would be a bit more important. Kirk adds that they’re still three days out, and the rendezvous is scheduled to take place in five days.
The commissioner doesn’t want to risk it, though, and the captain notes this before telling the Galileo to prepare for take off.
Come to think of it, I think that this is the first time we’ve seen a shuttlecraft on Star Trek. Neat.
The shuttlecraft contains not only Spock, but McCoy, Scotty, and four other members of the crew. Spock tells the captain that they’re all powered up and ready to go, and the captain gives the go ahead to launch. The shuttle does, in all the glory afforded by 1960s special effects.
Some time later, we see the Galileo drift through space, before cutting to the interior. Mears, a woman in a red uniform, says everything seems normal. Spock asks Latimer, a guy in a gold uniform, what their position is. There seems to be a problem determining this, since the radiation is screwing with the sensors. The ship is also starting to shake. Which is always a great sign.
Boma, a blue-uniformed gentleman, says that disruptions like this were expected, but Spock notes that said disruption seems to be getting worse. Mears adds that the radiation levels are increasing the closer they get.
Spock tells Latimer to hit the breaks, but that doesn’t work, so Spock tries to call the Enterprise to let them know that shit appears to be fucked. Unfortunately, due to the fuckitude of the aforementioned shit, they can’t get through. Also, they’re being sucked towards the center of the quasar.
Spock tries to call the ship again, but they aren’t getting much of the message other than the shuttle getting pulled off course. Kirk tells Sulu to lock on to the shuttle, but, fun fact, the sensors aren’t working either. He asks the computer what’s going on, and gets technobabble in response. The whole time, Ferris is giving him this I-told-you-so look as he asks what’s going on.
Kirk explains the previously mentioned technobabble: the quasar is ionizing the sector, and is fucking with their scanning and communication equipment. And also that they’ve lost the shuttle.
Probably should’ve just gone and dropped off those medical supplies, huh.
After the credits, there’s a log explaining that the quasar has fucked everything up, and seven people are missing because of it. A crew member brings beverages of some sort to the bridge as Ferris berates the captain for this little detour. Kirk repeats the whole thing aboust his duty to explore science stuff, and Ferris responds that he’s lost some crew, including his first officer, chief medical officer, and chief engineer.
Question: why did they have three senior officers on this trip? Doesn’t seem like a very smart thing to do.
Anyway, Kirk says that they have two days to locate them, but Ferris isn’t confident that’ll happen. Kirk asks if Ferris wants him to just leave them out there. He kinda does, since, as he states, they shouldn’t be out there in the first place.
Uhura interrupts to tell the captain that she found a class-M planet (i.e., one capable of supporting life) called Taurus 2, near the center of the Murasaki Effect. Kirk, thinking they may have made an emergency landing there, tells Sulu to set a course.
It turns out that, yes, the Galileo did land on Taurus 2.
Things are looking pretty bad, though, as the head console is completely busted. McCoy goes around the ship to make sure everyone’s all right. There’s some bumps, but no one appears seriously injured.
Latimer asks what the fuck just happened, and Boma says he can’t be sure, but thinks that the radiation caused the shuttle to go way faster than it should and shot them to the center of the quasar. Spock concurs as Scotty moves to the front to check out the console.
He says the whole thing whole thing is a mess, and Spock responds, “Picturesque descriptions will not mend broken circuits, Mr. Scott.” So, basically, get to work. Meanwhile, Spock tries to hail the ship again, and Scotty asks if he really expects that they’ll answer. Spock tells him he doesn’t expect anything, but that logic dictates that he try it.
He gets up and asks McCoy to scan the atmosphere to see if they can, you know, breathe here. McCoy does, and comments that it’s “breathable, if you’re not running in competition.”
Spock asks for just the facts, and he lists off some other trace elements that are within acceptable levels. Because he’s McCoy and can’t resist picking at Spock, however, he adds that he “wouldn’t recommend this place as a summer resort.” Spock drily tells him that his opinion is noted before asking Mears if she’s recording this. She is, so Spock has Scotty assess the damage to the shuttle to see if it’s repairable.
He tells Latimer and Gaetano to each grab a phaser and scout the area.
As they leave, McCoy asks Spock about their chances of contacting the Enterprise. Spock’s answer is basically not very good. Plus there’s the fact that if the ship is looking for them, it’s likely they’re without sensors and would have to look for them visually. Which also greatly decreases their chances of being found, so it’s likely they’re going to be there for a while. Way to bring down the room, Spock.
The Enterprise then arrives at the planet, with a rather frustrated Uhura reporting that she’s got nothing.
Kirk asks Sulu for an update, and of course he also has nothing. Because the sensors aren’t working. He then asks the transporter room can beam stuff. The answer to that question is “kinda, but not in one piece.” So, using the transporter right now is a pretty terrible idea.
Realizing that they’re going to have to do all this manually, Kirk tells the flight deck to prepare another shuttle, the Columbus, for launch. It should be noted that Ferris is leaning against a wall this whole time, watching the proceedings with an exasperated expression.
Anyway, Kirk asks Uhura again if she’s getting anything, but she says that the ionization is blocking all reception. Ferris then pipes up and tells them they should leave, but Kirk reminds him they still have time. Ferris, again, expresses doubt that they’ll find the missing crew, but Kirk is adamant about continuing the search. Ferris says that’s OK, as long as they don’t go over their alotted time. He goes to leave the bridge as Kirk orders the Columbus to launch.
Back on the planet, Spock is working on something outside the shuttle as McCoy exits.
The two of them talk about command for a moment, and about Spock’s command philosophy. McCoy points out that Spock believes command decisions should always be dictated by logic, and Spock concurs. The doctor thinks they’ll need something more than logic for them to get out of this, and Spock says maybe, but logic is a good place to start. He takes a piece of equipment off the back of the shuttle and heads inside.
Remember this conversation when things start going haywire later on.
Once inside, he hands Scotty the part he just took as McCoy enters. Scotty tells him that things aren’t looking great, repair wise, mostly because they’ve lost most of their fuel. This means that they basically have no chance of escaping the planet’s gravity unless they’re somehow able to dump 500 pounds of stuff.
So, that puts a bit of a damper on the whole “go into orbit and hope the ship finds us” plan.
Spock points out that’s about the weight of three grown men, and MCoy tells him that they could just dump the same amount in equipment. However, Spock says this isn’t really feasible, since they use basically everything on the ship.
Boma works out that this means three of them will need stay behind. Which he’s understandably unhappy about. He asks Spock who gets to choose, and he says that as commanding officer that’s his decision. Boma suggests drawing lots, but Spock thinks it’s more logical that he decide rather than leave it to chance.
McCoy tells him that “life and death are seldom logical.” Spock rejects this idea and tells the others to take another look at the shuttle’s exterior to see if there’s anything they missed. He leaves, and Boma remarks, “If any minor damage was overlooked, it was when they put his head together.” McCoy responds that the issue is with Spock’s heart, not his head. He kinda looks like he wants to punch Spock in the face when he says it, too. Which, fair, he is being kind of an asshole right now.
We cut to Latimer and Gaetano making their rounds.The fog machines seem to be going full tilt as they make their way across the planet’s rocky surface.
Things seem to be going OK until they start hearing odd, kind of grinding noises. Which is probably not a great sign. They seem to be having trouble pinpointing where the noise is coming from, but soon realize that it’s everywhere.
Theyndecide to book it back to the shuttle, but a giant dude in furs throws a spear at Latimer, causing him to fall off a cliff. With a giant spear sticking out of him. The others hear him scream from the shuttle, and Spock takes Boma to investigate.
Gaetano, meanwhile, heads down to Latimer and fires at the creature. It should be noted that the spear sticking out of Latimer reaches almost to the top of the cliff.
Spock and Boma arrive on the scene, and Spock asks what happened. Gaetano explains that some huge creature, and that he thinks he hit it. He points in its general direction, Spock runs off to investigate. Boma asks if he got a look at it, and Gaetano says it looked like a giant ape.
So, giant spear-throwing monkey. That’s a great addition to the situation. They talk for a moment about Latimer’s death, and Gatano says al least he died quickly. Boma reassures him that they’ll all get out of there.
Spock returns and reports that he didn’t find anything. Gaetano says that there has to be something there. Spock assures the man that he believes him as he pulls the spear from Latimer. He examines it, saying it looks like an ancient spear found on Earth, and Boma chastises him for seeming to care more about the spear than the man it killed. Spock responds that any concern he shows won’t bring him back, and Gaetano points out that they at least shouldn’t leave him there. Spock says that at least shouldn’t interfere with repairs and offers to help, but Gaetano curtly tells him that he and Boma will take care of it. Spock then walks off as the other two pick up their comrade’s corpse.
We get another captain’s log saying that the search continues but he’s starting to lose hope that they’ll find the missing crew. We go to the bridge, and Uhura reports that the Columbus is back, and they’ve found fuck all. Kirk tells her to send them back out again to search a different area of the planet. He then asks if the sensors and transporters are back online, but that’s also a negative.
Ferris butts in again, saying that while he doesn’t like leaving them down there, they still have a schedule to keep and are running out of time. Kirk says he hasn’t forgotten this, and calls engineering to try using overload power (whatever that means) to get the transporters working again.
He then tells Uhura to tell the Columbus to widen the search loop, which Sulu sayswill cause them to overlook a lot. Kirk tells him that it also means they’ll be able to cover more ground, and that Sulu needs to mind his own business.
Ferris then moves to leave the bridge, but not before reminding him he has 24 hours to find the crew before they have to move on.
We go back to the Galileo, where Scotty, Spock, and Gaetano are still making repairs.
Spock suggests some technobabble that basically translates to rerouting some valves, but Scotty points out that the whole thing is too delicate for that to work. McCoy and Mears walk in with some stuff, and McCoy says that jettisoning those will cut down their weight by about 50 pounds. Mears adds that she thinks they’ll be able to scrape off another 100, but Spock points out that’ll still leave them 150 pounds too heavy.
McCoy, who sees what he’s getting at, still thinks it’s ridiculous that Spock wants to leave a crewman behind what with the giants and all. Spock tells him that risking the life of one person makes more sense than six, but McCoy still isn’t having it.
Boma then enters the shuttle and tells Spock they’re ready to bury Latimer. Spock reminds him that they don’t have a lot of time for all this, but Boma retorts that he should at least have a decent burial and as the ranking officer on this mission he should say a few words.
Spock tries to push this off on McCoy, but McCoy won’t let him off the hook that easily, saying that it’s his place to do this. Spock responds, “My place is here,” and tells the doctor to have at it. McCoy says that there’s a strong possibility they’ll all die out here, and to “at least let us die like men, not machines.”
Spock says that the work he’s doing right now is to try and keep the dying from happening, and McCoy wants to murder this man.
Spock, however, ignores this and continues working with Scotty to try and get things up and running. Boma, also quite pissed, leaves.
Some time passes and Scotty and Spock are still working. Scotty reports that the pressure in some pipes is dropping. Apparently the strain of hitting the atmosphere, combined with attempting to bypass things, caused a fuel line to give way. Which means they no longer have any fuel.
Spock says that this solves the who-to-leave-behind problem, though it’s just replacing it with a bigger one. He tells Scotty to consider some alternatives, and Scotty says there don’t seem to be any. Spock responds that there are always alternatives and McCoy comes in.
He tells Spock that some shit is going down outside, and Spock jumps up to investigate. McCoy ad Mears following. We then see Boma and Gaetano crouched behind a rock, phasers drawn.
Mears joins the two as Spock and McCoy look around. McCoy asks Spock what the noise they’re hearing is, and Spock says it sounds like wood and leather rubbing up against each other. Gaetano thinks the giants are massing for an attack, but Boma suggests this may just be a tribal rite of some sort. Spock, however, doesn’t think they’re dealing with a tribal culture because of how primitive the spear was.
Boma has an idea though: striking at them first might make them more wary about attacking them. Gaetano agrees with this, thinking if they don’t do anything they’ll come down and kill them all anyway. Spock says, “I’m frequently appalled by the low regard you Earthmen have for life,” but Gaetano responds that they’re being practical about it.
They take a vote on this course of action, and basically everyone but Spock agrees with Gaetano, McCoy noting that it all looks logical to him. Spock agrees that it should be logical, but still doesn’t think it’s a good idea to just kill all willy-nilly. Gaetano points out the majority vote, but Spock doesn’t really want to hear it. He, instead, suggests they take a third course of action.
He has McCoy and Mears return to the ship to help Scotty, then takes Boma and Gaetano aside. He tells them that they’re to follow his orders completely, are only to fire when told, and only at what he tells them to. Gaetano’s fired up about this, until Spock tells him they’re trying to scare off the creatures, not kill them. He’s less enthusiastic about that, but Spock reminds him that he’s in command here. The three of them then head off.
As they’re wandering about, something seems to be tracking them and aiming another spear.
Eventually, the spear is thrown and lands directly in front of them. Spock turns and fires at the giant, and the giant throws down a shield after blocking said shot.
The three regroup, and continue sneaking about. They hear a loud roaring sound and crouch. Gaetano comments that the fog is making it hard to see, and Spock says that he can definitely hear them. He points ahead and says they’re right ahead of them.
Spock tells them to aim their phasers in particular directions to avoid hitting them, and of course Gaetano argues with this, saying they should just attack them outright. Spock reminds him he’s the one who gives orders, and has them fire in the aforementioned directions.
This actually seems to work, as it becomes quiet afterwards. Gaetano still thinks that they should have just killed them, but Spock says that won’t be necessary as he believes the creatures have been sufficiently scared off. He has Gaetano stay behind as a guard, and returns to the shuttle with Boma.
This turns out to be a mistake.
They get back and Mears asks if they’d found the creatures. Spock says they did, and that they should stay away from now on. McCoy says he hopes so, and that Scotty has thought something up.
Scotty says that what he’s thinking of could work, but might be dangerous. Basically Scotty wants to rig the ship’s engines to work with a different fuel source. Spock points out the flaw with this plan, namely that they don’t have another fuel source. Turns out they do have one: their weapons.
McCoy points out another flaw with this plan: no guns means no way of defending themselves. Spocksays they don’t really have any other options if they actually want to get off the planet. Spock then gets Mears’s phaser from her, assuring her that the creatures won’t return for a few hours at least. Scotty adds that with the power from the phasers, they should be able to get into orbit with everyone, but not for long.
Spock says they shouldn’t have to, because if the Enterprise doesn’t find them in under 24 hours they’re dead anyway; burning up in orbit would just be quicker. He gets McCoy’s phaser from him, and tells Scotty to start working.
We then cut to the Enterprise transporter room, where Kirk walks in just in time for the latest test to actually work. The operator reports as much to the captain, and that he thinks the transporter is safe for now.
Kirk then calls in three landing parties to beam down and search in person. The operator comments that the parties have a lot of ground to cover, and Kirk responds that he’s depending mostly on luch at this point.
We then cut back to Gaetano, who’s day is about to get exponentially worse.
So, yeah, the giants are back and they’re unhappy. They throw a rock at the man to knock the phaser out of it. Then one of the giants approaches as he’s trying to climb up the cliff and I’m sorry this is just fucking ridiculous.
Anyway, Gaetano screams as the creature above grabs him.
Some time later, we see Spock, McCoy, and Boma, standing at the spot where Gaetano is supposed to be but isn’t. Spock spots and picks up Gaetano’s phaser, and tells McCoy to bring it back to Scotty so he can do his thing with it. Boma is not happy that Spock just handed over Gaetano’s phaser without know what happened to him. Spock responds by handing his own phaser to McCoy in case he doesn’t come back. Then he heads off to find Gaetano, telling the others to go back to the shuttle.
McCoy expresses his confusion about Spock’s behavior: “I don’t know. He’ll risk his neck locating Gaetano and if he finds him, he’s just as liable to order him to stay behind.” Boma asks if they’ll actually be able to leave, and McCoy says they definitely won’t if they don’t get the phasers back to Scotty.
They head back, and we cut to Spock finding a very, very dead Gaetano.
He grabs the corpse and drapes him over his shoulders before walking away. Spears start flying at him but they miss, and he makes it back to the shuttle unharmed. Once there, McCoy and Boma help hoist Gaetano into the shuttle.
Spock follows and sits down. McCoy approaches, pointing out that it doesn’t seem like the giants are all that afraid of them. Spock is confused, because, logically, their display of force should have earned their respect. McCoy, however, says these creatures don’t seem very logical, so really all Spock accomplished was pissing them off.
Spock says that the creature’s unpredictability isn’t his fault, and McCoy points out that these creatures should be 100% predictable “to anyone with feeling.” He then blames Spock’s reliance on logical thinking for their current predicament.
Mears notices something odd: the creatures aren’t actually doing anything right now. Spock says they seem to be studying them, and Boma acerbically asks him if this is another prediction. Spock says that it’s only his opinion, then the ship starts rocking. As a giant hits it with a rock.
McCoy says that they seem to be quick studies, and Boma asks Spock what they should do now. Spock tells Boma his tone’s getting a bit hostile for him, and Boma basically tells him that his tone’s not the only hostile thing here. Spock remarks that this is “most illogical,” and Boma tells him to knock it off with all the logic stuff.
Spock continues: basically, he’s followed what logic dictates to be the correct course of action, but now two of the crew are dead and they’re likely to follow. He then concludes that the error must be with him; basically his miscalculations regarding the creature hammering on them, as well as his missteps with the others causing resentment.
McCoy tells Spock that maybe now might be a good time to actually do something, and Spock asks how much longer on the repairs. And I’d just like to take a moment to say that, during this entire exchange, Scotty has been on the floor working like nothing’s happening. It’s not really relevant, I just thought it was kinda funny.
Anyway, Scott tells him that it should be ready in an hour or two. As McCoy points out, they don’t really have that long, but Scotty says that it takes time to drain energy from a phaser.
The critter bangs on the shuttle again, and Boma points out that the hull will only last so long and that they need to do something about this. Scotty looks up at Spock and says, “You’ve got your hands full,” as the giant strikes again.
There’s another log where the captain explains that the search parties are still, you know, searching, and also that their equipment is slowly but surely returning to normal operation.
Ferris comes to the bridge to stand uncomfortably close to Kirk as he’s talking to Uhura.
He asks her for news from the sensor section. She says they were getting some readings per their last report, but Kirk wants something more up-to-date. She calls to get more information, and Ferris tells the captain that he’s just just under three hours to find his crew before they have to leave.
Kirk tells him he knows how long they have left, but Ferris says that he’s just going to keep giving him these little reminders. Uhura then reports that the sensor station’s still getting a bunch of false readings, and Kirk asks about radio communications. Uhura says that the radio is clearing up, but slowly. Basically it’s getting better, but they still can’t do anything with it.
Ferris asks Kirk what he’s going to do, and Kirk’s answer is that he’s going to keep searching and won’t stop until he’s found them or run out of time. And that the commissioner should probably just get off the bridge. Ferris says that while he’s sure the higher ups will be happy Kirk’s doing his due diligence, they probably won’t be happy with him sassing a high commissioner. Kirk responds by reminding him he’s in command, and Ferris says he is, for another two hours and forty-two minutes, anyway.
Back on the planet, the shuttle is still shaking and Scotty is still working.
Spock asks how the shuttle’s batteries are doing. Scotty tells him they’re still good, but it won’t be enough power for them to take off. That, however, was not Spock’s reason for asking: he wants to know if Scotty would be able to electrify the outer hull. The answer to this is an enthusiastic “yes” as Scotty goes off to do just that.
Spock tells the rest of the crew to not touch the plates inside the shop and make sure they’re all insulated. He then asks Scotty, who’s positioned near an interior battery, if he’s ready. Scotty is indeed, and he proceeds to short out the battery.
Scotty repeats this process a couple of times at Spock’s order, then stops, saying if he does it again they might not be able to start the ship. Spock says he thinks it’s enough, and that he should keep draining the phasers. McCoy comments that, since the ship isn’t shaking anymore, the plan must have worked. Spock says that it has for now at least, and that they’ll probably be back after they realize they weren’t all that seriously hurt.
He then has Boma and the others look around to see if there’s anything else they can get rid of to make the ship lighter. Boma tells them that Gaetano’s body is back there, and Spock says they’ll have to leave him behind. Boma insists that he get a proper burial, but Spock thinks it’s too dangerous. They argue for a bit, and Boma, at one point, calls Spock a machine. This turns out to be a bit too far for Scotty and McCoy, but Spock tells them to stand down and allows Boma to bury Gaetano.
Back on the Enterprise, Uhura says one of the landing parties is back on the ship, and that two are wounded and one is dead. Kirk then talks to one of them, Kelowitz, and yeah. He doesn’t look too great.
He then explains the situation. See, his team encountered the giants previously mentioned, and it didn’t go particularly well. One officer was speared, and another dislocated their shoulder. Kelowitz adds that the planet is teeming with them, and he doesn’t think the away team survived. Kirk responds by thanking him for his report, and telling him to get to sick bay.
And, of course, this is when Ferris comes back to the bridge to tell Kirk that he’s out of time. Kirk is loathe to give up the search, but Ferris reminds him they have important medicine to deliver to plague victims, which is also pretty important. So Ferris, following Starfleet regulations, is now taking over the ship and that they’re leaving.
Kirk tells him they still have search parties about, but Ferris doesn’t care and accuses Kirk of procrastinating. He tells him, again, to recall the search parties and heads out. Kirk does this, but isn’t happy about it. No one else seems happy about it, either, but they have their orders.
There’s a captain’s log explaining the above. We cut to the bridge, where Uhura tells Kirk that the sensor section is reporting that things seem to be working again. Kirk asks about the other systems, but Uhura says they aren’t operational yet. Sulu says they’ve set the course to Makus 3, and Kirk has him stand by.
He then asks Uhura how far out the Columbus is. She says they should be back in about 23 minutes.
Back on the planet, Mears is using a communicator to try and contact the Enterprise.
She doesn’t seem to be having a lot of success, and reports as much to Spock. Spock then asks Scotty for a status update. He’s drained all the phasers, and thinks they should be light enough to achieve orbit. Spock asks for how long, and Scotty says they should be able to stay for a few hours at most. But he thinks if they time it right they should have enough fuel left to actually control their descent if it comes to it.
Spock’s not a fan of ending up back where they started, but Scotty points out they don’t have a lot of options.
Spock opens the shuttle door and calls out to McCoy and Boma, before asking Scotty when they’ll be able to take off. Scotty says in about eight minutes as McCoy andBoma enter from the back of the shuttle.
Spock tells everyone that they’ll be taking off in ten minutes, and so that’s how long they have to finish burying Gaetano. He then comments that the coast seems to be clear at the moment, and that he’ll help them.
We cut to the Columbus returning to the shuttle bay, and then the bridge. Uhura tells the captain that the Columbus is back, and that the last of the landing parties is now back on the ship. Kirk then tells Sulu to start heading for Makus 5, but at “space normal” speed. Sulu questions this, so I’m thinking this means “slower than normal.” He then tells Uhura to have the sensor stations start sending their beams out behind them. So Kirk’s definitely up to something here.
So we cut to the ship, where Spock, McCoy, and Boma are standing near the freshly dug graves of Latimer and Gaetano. Then the spears start flying.
Spock tells the others to start running back to the ship, throwing a spear back at one of the giants. Unfortunately, this leads to Spock’s leg being pinned under a rock.
McCoy and Boma run back to help him, despite him ordering them to go back to the shuttle to lift off and leave him behind. They manage to free him, and the three run back to the ship, Spock limping behind. Upon reaching the shuttle, Spock says that he told them to leave, but McCoy tells him not to be an idiot and they couldn’t just leave him to die.
There seems to be another problem, though. Problems, in this episode? Perish the thought! Anyway, Scotty’s trying to get the ship to go, but it’s not going. It turns out the giants are pinning the ship to the ground.
Spock moves to a console and flips a switch. Scotty asks him what he’s doing, and he explains that he’s engaging the boosters. Scotty says without the juice taken up by the booster’s they won’t be able to hold orbit, and Spock asks him if he’d rather stick around.
Scotty concurs, and he and Spock switch places so the latter can work. The ship manages to achieve lift off, but Spock reminds the others that they still haven’t hit orbit and that they won’t be able to maintain it for very long.
After the shuttle is in orbit, Spock says that Boma and McCoy had endangered themselves coming after Spock, and that it would’ve been more logical if they’d just left him behind. McCoy responds, “Mr. Spock, remind me to tell you that I’m sick and tired of your logic.”
Spock calls this reaction also illogical, then asks Scotty about the fuel situation. The answer is not good, since they have enough for one orbit, but don’t have enough to actually land. Which means that this is likely to end with them burning up in the planet’s atmosphere.
Mears says she doesn’t want to die like that, but Spock tells her that it’s preferable than the death that would await them on the surface. That’s comforting, I guess, for certain values of comforting. Scotty, though, reminds Spock that he’d earlier stated that there were always alternatives. Spock says he thinks he may have been mistaken, and McCoy quips that at least he’s lived long enough to hear Spock say that.
McCoy then asks if there’s anything else they can do, and Spock says that the Enterprise is likely long gone by now. McCoy then says, “Well, Mr. Spock, so ends your first command.”
Scotty reports that they have about 45 minutes before their orbit starts to decay. Spock then attempts to open another channel to the Enterprise, but doesn’t get any response. He thinks for a moment, then gets an idea.
Unfortunately, that idea is to jettison their fuel and ignite it.
Everyone’s like, “why the fuck did you just do that,” considering that this means that they have six minutes to live now. Boma asks if he’s lost his mind, and Spock says that he may have.
We then cut back to the Enterprise, where Sulu sees something on the viewscreen near the planet. This turns out to be the trail of fuel that Spock ignited. So that actually turned out to be a good thing. Kirk, realizing what he’s looking at, has Sulu turn the ship around before having Uhura tell the transporter room to get ready to beam some folks aboard.
We go back to the shuttle, where the atmosphere is pretty understandably morose. At least, until Scotty figures out why Spock just did what he did: he was trying to send up a signal flare and posits that it may have been worth it. Spock is less optimistic, as he doesn’t think the Enterprise is close enough to see it.
For a moment, it seems like Spock is right about that, as the fuel runs out and their orbit starts decaying. McCoy tells Spock that the last action he ever took was “all human.” Spock says that what he did was illogical, and McCoy tells him that’s what he meant as the ship hits the atmosphere.
Things in the shuttle are getting a bit hot (and smoky), but just as this is looking to be the end, the Enterprise locks on to the five remaining away team members and beams them out. Which is good, because as soon as that happens the shuttle completely burns up.
At first Kirk thinks that they didn’t make it, but then Uhura reports that the transporter room just beamed up 5 people who are, in fact, not dead. He takes this in for a second, then tells Sulu to head back towards Makus 3, this time at an actual warp factor.
Some time later, McCoy and Spock are on the bridge, Spock doing some work and McCoy conversing with the captain. Spock approaches the captain’s chair, and Kirk follows, asking him to explain (logically, of course) why he jettisoned the fuel, since he had no idea the ship would actually see it. He points out that this seems to be an act of desperation, which Spock agrees with. He adds that desperation is very much an emotional response, and asks him to explain that.
However, he responds that he thought about the situation, and logically came to the conclusion that said act of desperation was the only recourse. Kirk realizes that Spock isn’t going to admit that he did something based on emotion, and calls him stubborn. Spock agrees with that assessment, much to his crewmates’ amusement, and the episode ends.
And now for some final thoughts. This episode, while not as goofy as the last one, was still not as much of a bummer as say, the episode before that one. Still, there were some things about it that were fairly silly, mostly in the costume design for the monsters.
It’s also interesting in that it’s an episode where Spock is presented as being wrong. That’s not really something that happens in a lot of episodes. In this one, though, Spock screws up in way that gets two crewman killed, and serves to help alienate the others. To be fair, though, he was kind of being an enormous dick. It’s one thing to not show very much emotion, but another to not respect the feelings of others.
Ferris is also kind of a dick, but he sort of has a point. I mean, they have star charts and shit, I don’t think it would’ve been to hard to mark Murasaki 312’s location down and come back after delivering vitally needed medical supplies.
Though it should be said that the black guy actually managed to live to the end of the episode. That’s pretty refreshing, and not something that happens often in this type of media.