Charlie X | The Naked Time

E2 Star Trek episode guide : Original Series : Season One

Where No Man Has Gone Before

Episode number: 2
Airdate: September 22, 1966
Stardate: 1312.4

Writer: Samuel A. Peeples
Director: James Goldstone
Cast:

Regulars: Kirk, Spock, Scotty, Sulu
Others: Lieutenant Commander Gary MitchellGary Lockwood

Dr. Elizabeth DehnerSally Kellerman
Dr. Mark PiperPaul Fix
Lieutenant Lee KelsoPaul Carr
Lieutenant Alden…Lloyd Haynes
Yeoman Smith…Andrea Dromm

Background

When the first Star Trek pilot, "The Cage", was rejected by NBC for being "too cerebral", NBC took the unprecedented step of requesting another pilot. The second time around, however, there were strings attached: severe budgetary limitations, replacement of almost the entire cast, and more action and less introspection. Gene Roddenberry and crew produced an episode designed to pander to the desires NBC executives, one packed with riveting action and sex appeal in the form of Kellerman, but also one that still adhered to the basic principles of the show originally envisioned by Roddenberry.

The show is still in its evolutionary stages, but unlike "The Cage" is easily recognizable as the Star Trek familiar to all. The uniforms are still thick with large collars, like the ones in The Cage, and the women are still wearing pants instead of short skirts. Four of the seven core cast members are here, but here Sulu is the ship's "physicist" instead of the helmsman. Crusty Dr. Piper would serve as a prototype for Dr. Leonard McCoy. Piper, Alden, and Smith were intended to be regular characters but were all dropped after this episode.

Story (with spoilers)

Near the outer boundary of the Milky Way Galaxy, the USS Enterprise discovers the flight recorder of the Valiant, a survey vessel that had disappeared 200 years earlier. In the Star Trek universe, the galaxy is surrounded by an energy barrier, a barrier which disabled the Valiant when it attempted to cross it. The recorder reveals that some of the crew were killed as a result. It also records requests for information on ESP and a self destruct order from the ship's captain.

The Enterprise attempts its own crossing, and the result is similar. Warp engines are damaged, several crew members are dead, and two are knocked unconscious: Lt. Cmdr. Gary Mitchell, an old friend of Captain James T. Kirk, and psychiatrist Dr. Elizabeth Dehner. Both recover, but Mitchell's eyes glow a disturbing and ominous bright silver. Mitchell is mutating, displaying enhanced intellectual and physical abilities. It turns out that both Mitchell and Dehner have very high ESP ratings, though neither had previously exhibited psychic powers.

The Enterprise holes up at Delta Vega, an uninhabited planet with a "lithium-cracking station", to repair the warp drive. Spock urges that Kirk kill Mitchell before the Enterprise shares the fate of the Valiant, but Kirk refuses to slay his old friend. Instead, he plans to maroon him on the planet and imprisons him behind a force field in a jury-rigged brig. But Mitchell escapes, killing Lt. Kelso and kidnapping Dr. Dehner in the process. In a dramatic climax, Kirk and Mitchell slug it out, the captain barely managing to stay alive in the face of Mitchell's godlike powers. Dehner, who has also begun to mutate, realizes that Mitchell's powers have driven him insane, helps Kirk fight him, and both Mitchell and Dehner are killed.

Trivia

  • The kick ass laser rifle used by various crew members in this episode, and seen in early publicity stills, would not be seen again in the series.
  • Makeup maestro Jack Dawn (who worked on The Wizard of Oz) gradually added touches of gray to Gary Lockwood's hair throughout the episode to illustrate, in a rather subtle and clever way, the tremendous stresses forced upon Gary Mitchell.
  • If the energy barrier affects those with latent ESP abilities, why it leaves those with actual psychic powers like Spock unaffected is unexplained. This early in the series they may simply not have decided that Vulcans were telepathic yet.
  • During filming, the set was attacked by a swarm of wasps. In some scenes, William Shatner's left eye is swollen where he was stung.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.