Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 03 – The Paradise Syndrome

I’ve mentioned this before but I think it’s necessary to reiterate that the third season episodes are truly awful.

Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down to a planet that will be struck by an asteroid within a couple of months.  It is inhabited by American Indians.  Spock immediately chimes in that they are made up of a population that is a combination of Navajo, Mohican, and Delaware tribes.  Now, how in hell he’d know this looking at them walking around on the edge of a lake is a complete mystery to me.  And just to make the plot more absurd they have less than thirty minutes to get back to the Enterprise and travel at Warp 9 toward the asteroid before it’s too late to deflect the asteroid from its collision course.  So of course, while Spock and McCoy are doing whatever, Kirk manages to get lost.  He’s standing in front of an alien obelisk and when he communicates with the Enterprise it somehow activates a hidden trapdoor on the spot Kirk is standing and he falls into the hidden chamber where he manages to get electrocuted by the alien mechanism and loses his memory.  As an aside, for the “Shatner Mockery” rating of this episode it must be noted that Shatner performs one of his most spastic instances of the pain face.  This is the one he does when he’s really suffering badly.   It’s hard to compare these things but I’d say it’s one of his all-time worst occurrences.  This will earn him high marks for this episode.

Because Kirk is hidden inside of the obelisk Spock and McCoy waste precious time looking for him.  When they finally return to the Enterprise without him, they are already too late.  They reach the asteroid but neither their deflector beam nor the phasers are able to neutralize the threat of the asteroid.  In addition, the overloading of the Enterprise’s engines by the phaser bombardment destroys the warp drive and now the Enterprise, on impulse power, is barely able to stay ahead of the asteroid as they both head back to the planet on a trajectory that will take about two months.  Apparently, the crew will be barely a few hours ahead of the asteroid and will need to locate Kirk and attempt to find a way to save the planet.  As an aside while the Enterprise engines are being destroyed Scotty is lamenting their fate, moaning, “Oh my poor bearings!”  Apparently, the warp drive has ball bearings.  Who knew?

Meanwhile back on the planet, Kirk awakens inside the obelisk but he can no longer remember who he is or why he is there.  He wanders out of the obelisk and is immediately declared the first wizard deluxe (or at least a god) and assigned the task of stopping the darkening of the sky which is clearly the approach of the asteroid.  We find out that the Indians were placed on this planet by an advanced species that liked moving humanoids around the galaxy.  The obelisk is actually a very powerful deflector beam that is supposed to be controlled by the medicine man of the tribe.  But the present medicine man’s father died before passing the training down to his son.  Now seeing that Kirk (or Kirock as he painfully named himself while trying to remember his own name) is a god they make him the medicine man and give him the priestess, Miramanee to be his wife.  This supremely ticks off the medicine man because he’s not only lost his job but also his main squeeze.  The medicine man attacks Kirock with a knife and finds out that Kirk can bleed.  He taunts him with the phrase, “Behold the god that bleeds!”  This is one of two plot devices that this episode stole from classic movies.  This same device of the bleeding god occurs in the book and movie “The Man Who Would be King” by Rudyard Kipling.  The other theft occurs when Kirock is being considered for godhood.  A boy is brought into the wigwam by the women and they tell the chief that he was trapped under water and drowned.  The medicine man declares him dead but Kirock performs artificial respiration and saves the boy.  This clinches his inclusion in the pantheon of useful deities.  This scene is lifted from the movie, “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre where the old prospector, Howard performs a similar resuscitation on a Mexican Indian boy.

So Kirock and Miramanee are shacked up and she is pregnant with James Tiberius Jr.  But the asteroid arrives and Kirock is dragged to the obelisk and is told to take care of the asteroid.  He stands there with his arms in the air telling the asteroid to go away.  When that doesn’t work the medicine man goads the tribe to start pelting Kirock with foam rocks about the size of cabbages.  It’s funny to watch them bouncing off of him.  Miramanee runs to protect him and is stoned too.  Just then Spock and McCoy beam down and the natives scatter and run for the hills.  Spock uses the Vulcan mind meld on Kirock to remind him that he’s Kirk.  Also, Spock has figured out that the entrance to the obelisk is sound activated so Kirk recreates his call to the Enterprise at the beginning of the story and the trapdoor opens.  Spock pushes a button and the deflector beams takes care of the asteroid.  Easy peasy.

But the highly advanced medicine of Dr. McCoy, the vaunted surgical techniques that could reattach Spock’s brain in the last episode, somehow are unable to repair or replace the damage that Miramanee sustained by being pelted with cabbage sized foam rocks.  So, she dies the beautiful death in Kirock’s manly arms.  A last note, the actress who played Miramanee is indeed a beautiful young woman.

The End.

This was even worse than it sounds.  Shatner turns his powers of bad acting up to eleven.  It’s all there.  Shoulder rolls and some kind of a stripper pole swing kick during his fight with the medicine man.  There are frequent expressions that are supposed to be painful struggles against amnesia but more resemble a case of constipation.  And when Kirock is semiconscious on the obelisk steps after being stoned he keeps calling out Miramanee’s name and it is truly maudlin.

So once again we have an episode that rates a very low number as a dramatic story but as an example of Shatner’s ham acting is a stellar sample.

Let’s say 2 // 10.

Season Three does it again!

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Chemist
Chemist
1 month ago

I’m glad you mentioned the actress who played Miramanee.
She made the whole thing watchable.

Chemist
Chemist
1 month ago
Reply to  photog

It is generally accepted that NBC was doing everything they could to kill the series. (They moved the air time from 8 to1 0pm on Friday night – not a plum slot). So cheaping out on the writers makes perfect sense.
Recall that NBC wanted to kill it after season 2 but a massive letter writing campaign by the fans forced the network to change their minds. IMHO, NBC took the attitiude: “You want Star Trek? Fine. You’ll get it good and hard!”

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