The Rewatch 22: The Devil in the Dark

Series: Star Trek (The Original Series)
Episode: 1.25 The Devil in the Dark (3-9-67)
Rating: 4/5
Redshirt Status: 1/23

Notable Guest Stars:
Ken Lynch – Chief Engineer Vanderberg.  He was known for his staring role in The Plainclothesman
Janos Prohaska –
The Horta.  Prohaska was a professional stuntman and acrobat.

Review:    

 This episode is a very interesting episode. Kirk, Spock and McCoy have a mystery to solve.  Spock is the first to realize they might be dealing with a silicon-based lifeform. The lifeform is killing miners and stopping production on mining Perguim, a mineral needed in many technological systems including life support.

The lifeform is a Horta, a silicon-based lifeform that has lived on the planet for a long time.  The miners had exposed a layer it lived on. Spock manages to communicate with it through a mind meld.

This episode has a couple interesting thoughts.  It suggests that there are silicon life forms in the universe, and that they have similar brain patterns to our own.  Otherwise Spock would not have been able to meld with it.  Another thought is of a race completely dying out every so often before a hatching of their young.  Kind of like Spiders?

I think this is one of my favorite episodes from this season.  It’s a good episode for any of the three main characters as it shows them being good at their jobs, and each has a contribution to the solution.

Interesting Notes:

  • Directed by Joseph Pevney (I think he’s done the most this season)
  • Written by Gene L. Coon
  • At this point that show has a series of actors who keep showing up as background characters, or away team members. They aren’t major characters but reoccur often.
  • There is a technology that was named after the Horta that is used in mining. It is known as Honeywell Ore Retrieval and Tunneling Aid (named so they could use the word HORTA)

Pros:

  • The idea of non-carbon-based life forms. I understand the need for most aliens to be humanoid for the sake of storytelling, but its nice to see that they don’t rule out aliens totally out of our realm of knowledge.

Cons:

  • Spock really has too easy of a time grasping onto things.
  • Asbestos is not a good thing to be around.  I looked it up and found out the health problems didn’t become a well-known thing until the 1970s, so I guess we can just claim they were ignorant of the issue.  Might have been an interesting side note if they had known.
  • WHY IS IT BREATHING! They cut off a piece of the Horta and the piece is breathing.

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