Where No Man Has Gone Before | The Enemy Within

E2 Star Trek episode guide : Original Series : Season One

The Naked Time

Episode number:
Airdate: September 29, 1966
Stardate: 1704.2

Writer: John D. F. Black
Director: Marc Daniels

Regulars: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, Sulu, Uhura, Nurse Chapel, Yeoman Rand
Others: Dr. Harrison...John Bellah
Lt. Kevin Riley...Bruce Hyde
Lt. Joe Tormolen...Stewart Miss
Lt. Brent...Frank da Vinci


One of the most beloved episodes because it has the characters doing things that everyone wants to see them do but they would never actually do without the influence of an alien virus. It was the subject of a blatant ripoff homage in the form of the Next Generation episode “The Naked Now”.

Story (with spoilers)

Spock and Lt. Tormolen beam down to a scientific research post on the planet Psi 2000. Due to the planet’s imminent destruction, the Enterprise is there to evacuate the six scientists. But they find the life support system turned off and the researchers all frozen to death, including one man who was taking a shower fully clothed. Though they are wearing Outbreak-like environmental suits, Tormolen foolishly removes one of his gloves to scratch his nose and casually leaves it on the head of a dead researcher. Before Spock can say “Be certain to expose ourselves to nothing”, Tormolen is infected but has his glove back on before Spock returns.

Though their suits are decontaminated and they are both examined by Dr. McCoy, no evidence of infection is found. Tormolen finds himself troubled by a recurring itch while Kirk et al worry about whether or not what happened to the station could affect the Enterprise crew as well, especially during the critical and dangerous mission of observing a planetary breakup. During a conversation with Sulu and Lt. Riley in the rec room, Tormolen becomes paranoid and argumentative and waves around a dinner knife. Before Sulu and Riley can disarm him, Tormolen falls on the knife. While he calls sick bay, Riley is troubled with the itch as well, the next victim of the infection.

The infection takes its toll: Sulu and Riley are sluggish and inefficient at the bridge controls while Tormolen dies of his relatively slight wound on the operating table, as if he lost his will to live. While the Captain is in sick bay and Spock is observing the planet, Sulu deserts his post. Spock notices Sulu’s absence and asks Riley where he is. Riley responds with a thick Irish brogue, which gets him sent to sick bay and Uhura takes over his post. He lingers long enough to infect Nurse Chapel and departs. Sulu’s trip to the gym was apparently productive, as he reappears shirtless, oiled up, and wielding a fencing sword, chasing passing crewmen with it. Spock realizes what is now obvious, that the infection is forcing submerged personality traits to the surface

The planet’s breakup is proving more treacherous, so Kirk orders retreat, but the engines are unresponsive. Before they can establish what has happened, Sulu appears and waves his sword around menacingly. He grabs Uhura crying “I’ll protect you fair lady!”, but she utters her immortal line “Sorry, neither!” and escapes from his grasp, providing the distraction necessary for Kirk and Spock to subdue him. “Take D'Artagnan here to sick bay,” Spock orders.

A call to engineering is answered by “Captain Kevin Thomas Riley of the starship Enterprise”. Riley begins issuing bizarre orders and singing over the ship-wide communications system. More importantly, he locked himself inside of engineering and has control over ship’s systems, stranding them in a deadly orbit around the doomed planet. Scotty begins a feverish attempt to break into engineering. Spock goes to sick bay but encounters only Nurse Chapel, who reveals her love for him. The infection attacks Spock’s control over his emotions and he bursts into tears.

Scotty forces open the door to engineering ahead of schedule and Riley's reign as captain is ended. But Scotty makes a horrifying discovery - Riley has turned the engines off, and to start them again would take a half hour. “I canna change the laws of physics!” McCoy discovers the nature of the infection: it is a mutated water molecule spread through perspiration and affects the brain much like alcohol. But with four minutes until the Enterprise is destroyed along with the planet, the information will prove no help.

Kirk plans a desperate gambit, a “controlled implosion” to force a “full power start” of the engines, which risks the destruction of the ship, but is better than their certain deaths. He needs Spock to calculate an intermix formula to give them the best chance of combining matter and antimatter without a big explosion. Kirk, who is growing violent and irrational, slaps a despondent Spock around. Somehow, together they manage to fight the virus within each of them to maintain enough coherence to confront the situation.

Spock makes his calculations and Kirk gives the order. The engines are started cold and the Enterprise is hurled away from Psi 2000 at a speed faster than possible for warp engines, forcing them backward through time. Reversing the engines brings the time warp to a halt three days in the past.

  • Black originally planned to have Sulu wield a samurai sword, but George Takei convinced him that a samurai sword was too “ethnically consistent” for a worldly 23rd century officer, so it was replaced with a fencing sword. In preparation for the episode, Takei took fencing lessons from a Mr. Faulkner, who had choreographed the sword fights in the Errol Flynn classic The Adventures of Robin Hood. On the set, Takei would practice swordplay in between scenes. While Takei claims this was merely practice, other accounts have him excitedly accosting other actors and the occasional teamster. On one occasion he nearly sliced off James Doohan’s nose by accident. During filming of the bridge confrontation, Takei pierced William Shatner in the left nipple.

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