Chasing down an unregistered starship refusing to answer their hails, the U.S.S. Enterprise and her crew are unprepared for what they find aboard. “Mudd’s Women” introduces Harry Mudd, the captain of the ship with an unusual cargo of three exceptionally beautiful young women (Karen Steele, Maggie Thrett, Susan Denberg) for whom the less-than-reputable space trader is attempting to arrange marriages which would be beneficial to them and lucrative for Mudd.
While orbiting the planet Psi 2000Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and Lieutenant Junior Grade Joe Tormolen (Stewart Moss) beam down to the surface to investigate the mysterious deaths of Federation scientists when the lieutenant is unknowingly exposed to the madness which caused their deaths. Despite transporter decontamination procedures Tormolen returns to the Enterprise spreading the madness among the crew and putting the ship in danger both from within and from outside as the planet’s increasing degradation threatens the starship’s safety.
In the first of what would be several transporter accident episodes (a staple of every Star Trek series) a transport accident creates a duplicate Kirk (William Shatner), a fact which goes unnoticed for most of the episode. When the more savage captain attacks Yeoman Rand (Grace Lee Whitney) suspicion falls on Kirk who pleads innocence. Given the clues, including an evil duplicate alien dog from the planet below and a pair of Kirks strolling around the ship at the same time, it takes the Enterprise crew quite a while to come to terms with what exactly is happening aboard the ship. Kirk’s decision to hide the double’s existence from the crew (informing them that the man is simply an impostor) is problematic as well, although the episode will find away to explain some of the captain’s decision making when the truth about the doppelganger is revealed.
After the first Pilot, “The Cage,” wasn’t picked up by the network Gene Roddenberry and crew went back to work crafting “Where No Man Has Gone Before.” The second Pilot recast the role of the ship’s captain bringing in William Shatner as James T. Kirk, but “Where No Man Has Gone Before” still shows signs of early growing pains and a show in transition as the role of ship’s doctor was played not by DeForest Kelley but by Paul Fix, and the uniforms on display match those of “The Cage” rather than more vibrant (and less sweatery) Starfleet uniforms which would become the show’s trademark going forward. The episode also puts both Scotty (James Doohan) and Spock (Leonard Nimoy) in gold-colored uniforms rather than the trademark red and blue they would wear going forward.
The USS Enterprise picks up an unusual passenger in Charlie Evans (Robert Walker Jr.), the sole survivor of a ship crash on the abandoned planet of Thasus, who has somehow survived on his own since he was only 3 years-old. The crew of the freighter, which is destroyed mysteriously not long after depositing him aboard the Federation starship, is obviously relieved to be free of the unusual young man, but it takes some time before the Enterprise crew learns why.
The follow-up to director J.J. Abrams‘ 2009 relaunching of the Star Trek franchise is a mostly disappointing affair that cribs heavily off other films, including one of the franchise’s own, in an attempt to offer a sophomoric version of what is generally considered the best of the original franchise. It’s nearly impossible to discuss the film in any length, or its myriad of problems, without giving away a few of its secrets. So after a few broad points about Star Trek Into Darkness you’ll forgive me I move dangerously into spoiler territory.
One of the real disappointments with the first film was the numerous logic holes that plagued the story. This film has to build on that shaky foundation while introducing a host of new questionable story elements. You have to look no further than the movie’s opening sequence which involves the U.S.S. Enterprise hiding underwater on a planet where the natives have no knowledge of extraterrestrial life while performing a mission whose sole purpose seems to be to get Kirk in hot water with Starfleet Command (and give us an incredibly unsubtle nod to Raiders of the Lost Ark in the process).