So, the set-up is the Enterprise hears a Morse Code distress signal out in space (somehow) and follows it back to a planet that is identical to Earth. The landing party includes Kirk, Spock, Bones and, for no explicable reason, Yeoman Janice Rand. I’ve got to stop here for a moment, and comment on the fact that even though we’re only a quarter of the way through season one it should be noted that finding themselves on a planet that inexplicably resembles Earth and responding to a distress signal, which implies danger, the Chief Medical Officer, the First Officer and the Captain are being sent down into an unknown and possibly lethal emergency. But at least they brought the pretty girl with them for back up. Okay, end of rant.
The upshot is that a virus that was meant to bestow practically endless longevity to the whole population instead killed everyone but the prepubescent children. Three hundred years later the Enterprise crew finds the “children” still young but terrified of grownups that they call grups. Apparently, the dying adults went crazy and attacked everything in their path as they were dying. The children call themselves “onlies” but as each of the older children eventually reaches puberty the disease covers him in hideous sores, rapidly ages him, drives him mad and kills him. The Enterprise landing party is infected immediately and has a week to find the cure before they will die on the planet quarantined from the Enterprise. Only Spock is immune because of his green blood.
They find a teenage girl named Miri, played by True Grit actress Kim Darby, who has a crush on Kirk and in typical Kirk fashion he creepily smirks as she moons over him. It’s pretty bad. The other onlies are a weird collection of random children and stunted former child actors, one of whom, Michael J. Pollard, was closing in on thirty years of age. The actor who played Dill in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” John Megna, is in the cast as a supposedly little kid but he was fifteen years old and although he was still extremely short his head had grown disproportionately so his appearance was truly disconcerting. Anyway, the sympathy we’re supposed to feel for the onlies doesn’t happen because they are creepy and vicious and weird looking.
The kids steal the communicators from the landing party and this hampers the search for a cure. Kirk, Bones and Janice begin to show signs of the disease and they become extremely short tempered with each other. One particularly embarrassing scene has Janice Rand pulling back the collar of her blouse to show a sore on her chest and then admitting to Kirk that she has always wanted him to notice her legs but now they were disfigured with sores. Careful Janice, those kinds of things can’t be unsaid and Kirk doesn’t forget.
Finally, Kirk gets Miri to bring him to the onlies. She adds her voice to his story that they are all in danger. At first the onlies attack him and beat him with large crescent wrenches and odd-looking clubs. Kirk makes some of his patented looks of pain. But eventually he convinces them to return the communicators and trust the Enterprise crew to help them.
Meanwhile Bones throws caution to the wind and injects himself with the vaccine. He immediately keels over and we have to wait as his unconscious body slowly fights off the virus and the sores on his face mercifully disappear.
As an epilogue Janice tells Kirk that Miri really was in love with him and he agrees but gives a creepy leering smile which probably should have been reported to the FBI’s Pervert Investigation Unit for evaluation.
Okay, so the scene where the onlies beat up Kirk is kind of funny and Janice’s comment about her legs is wonderfully embarrassing but other than that, meh.
Let’s rate it 5//5. Right in the middle on both axes.