The Rewatch 21: This Side of Paradise

Series: Star Trek (The Original Series)
Episode: 1.24 This Side of Paradise (2-23-67)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status: 0/22

Notable Guest Stars:
Jill Ireland –Leila Kalomi. She appeared several times on Man from U.N.C.L.E and was quite popular.
Frank Overton –
Elias Sandoval.  This was his last performance. The actor died two months after the episode aired.

Review:

This episode includes an ongoing trope where pollen from a space plant makes characters act uncharacteristically.  Star Trek even uses it more then once.  In this case the changes are making them oddly pleasant and in no need of leaving a planet with radiation that could kill them.

Discovering of the Berthold Rays (which to my limited searches has no real life counterpart) and their effect on animals (including Humans) has the Enterprise arriving to attempt to evacuate all remaining colonists to another colony.   It turns out the colonists, now vegetarians, are living life quite well.  They found a special plant whose spores protect them from the radiation and also give them a sense of euphoria and peace.  They have no desire to leave. 

Among the colonists is botanist Leila Kalomi, an old love interest of Spock’s.  She is still in love with him and decides to introduce him to the plant.  Apparently, it makes it easier for Spock to both accept her feelings as well as show his own.

Eventually the whole crew gets infected and Kirk is marooned on his own ship.  He is forced to figure out a way to either end the effect of the spores or accept that he’s stuck there till his ship falls out of orbit.  Eventually even he succumbs but he manages to hold on just enough to cause anger, which kills off the spores.

Cue making Spock mad, and probably the only time a Captain happily accepts a punch from his first officer.  Together they create a sound wave that causes aggression and ends up clearing the humans on Omicron Ceti III of their spores.

This is not a bad episode, although not one of my personal favorites. Many reviewers have stated its one of their favorites, so I think its up to taste.

Interesting Notes:

  • Directed by Ralph Senensky
  • Written by D.C. Fontana and Nathan Butler (Jerry Sohl)
  • I have to wonder where McCoy got his ingredients for his mint julip.  Did they have some bourbon and mint just sitting around somewhere?

Pros:

  • Spock gets a love interest for once (even if it’s still awkward.  It’s always awkward.)

Cons:

  • They never tell you if Spock had felt something for her, or if it was just the spores trying to keep him on the planet.
  • Some of the lighting was a little awkward. I’m noticing a lot of stage style lighting on this show.

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