The Rewatch 3: The Naked Time

Series: Star Trek (The Original Series)
Episode: 1.03 Naked Time (9/29/66)
Rating: 3/5
Redshirt Status: 1/16 (not counting non-crew members death unless its a major character in the episode)

Notable Guest Stars:

Bruce Hyde: Lt. Kevin T. Riley. Lt. Riley is a recurring character on TOS
Majel Barrett: Nurse Christine Chapel. Majel Barrett is a mainstay in the Trek universe, playing not only Christine but also the ship computer and Lwaxana Troi on several series. Christine Chapel is also a recurring minor character, appearing in several episodes and seasons, including the films and animated series.
William Knight – Crewman. He is known for his voice acting, including several Anime and video games.

Review:

This episode is unique in a couple of ways. It has a direct sequel in TNG called The Naked Now. While TOS has many storylines that find themselves mentioned in later series (in particular the Mirror Universe and Tribbles), I believe this is the only one with a direct sequel. The subject matter makes it oddly relevant to right now as it deals with a contagious disease that no one quite understands. Unlike reality, they manage to figure it out in a matter of days rather then the months it usually takes. Of course their medical know-how is meant to be 200 years further then our own.

The episode starts with Spock and a security officer named Joe beaming down to the surface of a planet where a science lab has been placed. There has been no contact, and I am guessing some idea that they might be dealing with a pathogen because they were hazmat style gear down with them.

However Joe unfortunately does not keep to protocol and takes off his gloves, touches severals surfaces with his bare hand and touches his face. So he gets the pathogen and ends up bringing it back to the Enterprise.

Apparently this pathogen (who knows what it really is, they never say) makes lesser known personality traits come to the surface. Spock gets really emotional, Chapel gets overly lovey about Spock. Kirk rambles about beaches and Janice Rand. Sulu swishbuckles (and is my favorite bit of this episode).

If you put aside some of the questionable science in this episode, its a relatively good one. It gives the actors a chance to deal with a side of a character they don’t usually.

Interesting Notes:

  • I actually didn’t have much notes for this one other then what is under the pros/cons.
  • Kirk’s first shirt damage. As I remember this happens to him alot. Although why it was so easy to tear for McCoy makes me think the Quartermaster needs to invest in quality fabric.

Pros:

  • The actors get to play a range of different behaviors.
  • Dealt with Spock’s emotional heritage

Cons:

  • Christine Chapel. Not the character, but the fact that this episode basically cemented her portrayal as a character. Instead of being seen as McCoy’s second, she’s often portrayed as a woman following Spock around like a puppy. She has several episodes in the TV series, animated series and the films that show she is a capable officer and has more to her then her crush/unrequited love for Spock. I feel this might be part of the reason her character was done so poorly in the Kelvin Timeline films. Its a disservice to the character and Majel Barrett who portrays her. Thankfully there are many fans out there who do fanwork that show her in a better light.
  • Janice Rand. I am getting a little tired of watching her be the focus on unwanted attention. In several of the early episodes this season she has been the object of unwanted attention from male crewmembers. It ranges from just weird to potentially sexual assault. In this episode she is backed into a corner by a male crewman (William Knight) who only leaves her alone when Spock says something. As soon as Spock has removed himself, the crewman is back to blocking her way. She got smacked on the butt by Charlie in Charlie X, although that is played off as just a kid not knowing any better. In the next episode she is pretty much attacked by Evil!Kirk. GIve Jan a break here, and some better stories.
  • Science. Perhaps its the fact that I have a bunch of nurses in my family, but it seems like medical facts were not well researched in this particular episode. For example, they have Chapel & McCoy doing surgery with gloves and surgical gowns but no face coverage. I’m also not sure what would affect water molecules and be contagious, but I’m not a microbiologist and am just going to shrug that bit off.

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