So, the good news is that this second episode of Season 3 is a thousand times better than its predecessor, Spock’s Brain. The bad news is that’s still pretty close to nothing.
The show opens up with Kirk walking around the bridge petulantly berating Chekov and Spock for being Chekov and Spock. He seems irritated, as if his underwear had been sprinkled with crushed fiberglass or something. Suddenly he orders Sulu to change course and enter the Romulan neutral zone. Soon they pass through the neutral zone and enter Romulan space where they are quickly surrounded by three Romulan war ships that apparently were cloaked and monitoring the Enterprise before it entered Romulan space. For some reason we are told that the ships are of Klingon design. We are left to assume that Desilu didn’t have any Romulan plastic models laying around for Season 3. Personally, I think they should have used potatoes. I think potatoes would make great alien spaceships. But I digress.
Soon the Romulan commander demands that Kirk and Spock beam aboard her ship and answer for their illegal incursion. We find out the Romulan commander is a woman and she has the hots for Spock. It seems that Vulcans and Romulans are related and Spock’s pointy ears do it for her. During interrogation Spock volunteers that Kirk entered Romulan space without Federation permission and has been acting erratically. Kirk reacts to this betrayal by foaming at the mouth and shrieking at Spock that he will kill him.
During a later encounter Kirk attempts to assault Spock but is killed when Spock uses the Vulcan “death grip.” When Kirk’s body is returned to the Enterprise for composting, we discover that Spock only temporarily deactivated Kirk to make him appear dead. McCoy operates on Kirk’s ears to make him look like a Romulan and then Kirk is transported back to the Romulan ship to assist Spock in stealing the cloaking device.
Meanwhile Spock and the Romulan commander are engaging in some kind of erotic hand touching. Spock is holding his hand in the Vulcan salute configuration and I think she was too. And they kind of move their hands together like it’s sex or something. It’s really difficult to say if this is more ridiculous or annoying to watch. Maybe embarrassing is the right description. Anyway, the whole thing gets interrupted when word of Kirk’s theft of the cloaking device reaches the commander.
Spock is sentenced to death by a slow painful method which is not described but probably resembled the thing with the finger touching that we had to watch. While Scotty displays his usual lack of engineering ability in taking way too long to hook up the cloaking device to the Enterprise’s deflector shield, Kirk attempts to provide him with enough time by running away at Warp 9. You know I always thought they couldn’t go faster than Warp 8. Maybe they got a new fuel injector. Anyway, Spock is stalling his execution by providing a statement about his guilt. He recites the Declaration of Independence and was just starting on the “Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” when Scotty got the cloaking device hooked up and Kirk then lets the transporter crew beam Spock aboard. The lady commander sees Spock starting to sparkle so she grabs hold of him and gets dragged onto the Enterprise with him. Spock apologizes to her for playing with her fingers under false pretenses. There is some joking about Kirk’s ear surgery. Then it mercifully ends.
With respect to my rating, I give very high marks on the Shatner mockery scale. When Kirk was flipping out about Spock’s treachery Shatner gave of his best. His eyes were bulging out of his head and his mouth was twisted into a grimace of agony. I think he was channeling his feelings about the show’s imminent cancellation. As for the show as legitimate entertainment, it wasn’t that bad. It was somewhere in the five or six range.
Let’s call it a 5 // 9.