This episode is my favorite so far in season 2. It has a literary connection, both being inspired by Moby Dick and reminding me of Galatus from The Fantastic Four films.
The Enterprise is sent after the Constellation, a sister-ship that has sent out a distress signal. When they arrive, they find only the captain, Commodore Matt Decker, still alive. He is in a state of shock after witnessing the death of his entire crew when the ‘planet-eater’ destroyed the planet he had beamed his crew to trying to save their lives.
He is taken on board the Enterprise and they plan to tow the Constellation back to a starbase. However, just as they are getting underway, they come across the planet-eater. Hearing this, Decker takes over command of the Enterprise from Spock in order to go after it.
This episode brings up a few things. One of them is nuclear weapons, which Kirk refers to as H Bombs. Apparently impulse engines must work on a similar fission reaction. It also brings up the idea of survivors’ guilt and being obsessed with getting revenge. The latter is one of the big tropes of fiction.
When I was reading production notes on this episode from various sources, I found one where William Windom admits to overacting in his role in this episode as he thought the plot was silly (and because he missed the Moby Dick inspiration). Oddly though, it fits the episode, and seems like just the right acting. The whole cast does an excellent job on this episode.
Side note: Are we sure this wasn’t one of Farnsworths?
- Directed by Marc Daniels
- Written by Norman Spinrad
- Matthew Decker is the father of Will Decker, who appears in Star Trek The Motion Picture
- This episode has a personal score to it by Sol Kaplan that was eventually released as an album.
- Apparently watching this episode on my laptop rather then on a tv helped the audio problems.
- There was a background screen in one of the bridge scenes that looked similar to the LCARS. It could just be wishful thinking that the system had its origins earlier.
- I actually didn’t find much to comment on in this episode for this section. I will say that the effects in the remastered version are excellent upgrades.