The Rewatch 2: Where No Man Has Gone Before

Series: Star Trek (The Original Series)
Episode: 1.03 Where No Man Has Gone Before (9/22/66)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status: 11/15/15

Notable Guest Stars:

Gary Lockwoord – Lt. Commander Gary Mitchell. He starred in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey
Sally Kellerman – Dr. Elizabeth Dehner. She was the original Margaret Houlihan in M*A*S*H

Review:

This episode is actually the second pilot made for CBS, and was the one that won them the green light for the series. Most of the cast changes from the original, and there is a completely new Captain. It was the third aired, as they did not air in production order. I am not entirely sure why, other then the Man Trap which they said was because it had a horror theme and thought it would attract viewers.

It was written by Samuel A Peeples, and directed by James Goldstone.

The episode does have some awkward issues in continuity with the rest of the series. For one, they are traveling outside the galaxy, rather then exploring the Alpha Quadrant (which actually may be a term adapted in TNG). The uniforms are different, in both good and negative ways. Also the team we are so used to aren’t completely onboard yet.

You might notice I skipped episode 2 (Charlie X). I really dislike that episode. Since I don’t believe it moves the plot in any way nor did I really want to watch it, I decided to skip it.

In this episode, they come across a flight recorder of a ship lost 200 years ago sent out to explore the universe. They bring it on board, and end up going through a barrier at the edge of the galaxy that leaves them damaged, and 9 crew members dead. Also changed is Lt. Commander Gary Mitchell who now has silver eyes, and Dr. Elizabeth Dehner, the ships psychologist.

Spock, researching the Vailant’s tape recorder realises that it seems teh ship was under distress due to an increase in cremembers having ESP. This seems supported as Gary becomes increasingly powerful and non-chanlant about those around him.

He seems uber focused on Kirk, though, which I don’t know if its because out of all those on the ship Kirk knows him the best or its because of Kirk’s rank. He doesn’t seem like that great of a friend, and doesn’t seem to hold any respect for fellow officers. I’m not entirely sure what his rank was, but I am guessing it might have been First Officer or chief of navigation (which could be why Sulu gets the position afterwards). It’s possible its both. This episode was vague on where he fit.

I also have to wonder about the continuity between this episode and the later episodes produced. Particularly where this doctor went and why, and also why the sudden change in uniform.

Overall, this episode was a good one. It built the characters reasonably, and the plot wasn’t horrible either, though I think more fit for perhaps the arc style writing of later Science fiction shows.

Interesting Notes:

  • Kirk is portrayed as much more academic in this episode then in popular culture renditions of him. He likes to read a lot, used to teach courses at the Academy while he was a Lieutenant (I believe in another episode it is said he also taught hand-to-hand fighting skills). You also find out he almost married a lab tech that Gary Mitchell set him up with (see cons) which defies his later player status.
  • I like they have their version of an e-reader.
  • They have tinfoil in a contact to make the eye effect.
  • He is James R. Kirk here. Born April 11, 2324 died April 24, 2324, (according to this Stardate Calculator). I’m guessing they weren’t expecting people to want real dates. Although it could also be ascribed to Gary being wacko. According to Memory Alpha several books give reasons for this, including the whole episode being from an alternate reality).

Pros:

  • This episode establishes a lot of character background and development. At least for Kirk. Maybe Spock.
  • There are some amazing matte paintings for the backgrounds.

Cons:

Gary Mitchell. He really comes off as a jerk, even before his powers manifest. We are supposed to believe that he is Jim Kirk’s best friend but it really doesn’t seem like it. He admits to setting Kirk up with a girl, telling the girl what to say and what to do. Which sounded extra bad when you find out Kirk almost married her. The books appear to try and explain it all, but from a TV-only perspective he seems a bit of a jerk.

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