Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 06 – Spectre of the Gun

In this one, an alien race with telepathic powers decides to kill Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty and Chekov by forcing them to re-enact the Gunfight at the OK Corral as the Clantons.  I can see why CBS would be glad to film this episode.  They could reuse some of the old sets from their Rawhide series.

They were kind enough to throw in a pretty girl as the love interest for Chekov and we did get some western style background music.  The whole thing had a kind of Twilight Zone feel to it.  The plot device that is used to save our friends is the realization that none of the western setup is actually real so that if Kirk and friends know that the bullets aren’t real then they won’t be harmed by them.

So, the majority of the episode is Kirk, Chekov and McCoy interacting with the Earps and other townspeople while Spock builds a gas bomb that when tested on a skeptical Scotty doesn’t work.  But its failure confirms for Spock that the world they are inhabiting is an illusion that can’t harm them if they can ignore it.  At some point one of the Earps that is in love with Chekov’s girlfriend shoots Chekov and apparently kills him.  But at the end of the show when Chekov ends up alive McCoy explains it by saying that to Chekov the only thing that was real was the girl.  Now that doesn’t make a lot of sense because he did act like he had been shot when it happened but that’s what they give us to hide the plot hole so I guess we’ll have to live with it.

The climax is the gunfight.  Spock has prepared his human friends with the Vulcan mind-meld so that they will thoroughly believe the bullets are fake and so they will not be harmed.  The Earps blast away at the four Enterprise crewman and we see the fence behind the crewmen splintered by sustained gunfire as the Earps empty all their guns.  Then Kirk beats up Wyatt Earp and draws his gun as if to shoot him but then changes his mind and throws the gun away.  Almost immediately Kirk and company find themselves back on the Enterprise and discover that Chekov is unharmed.  The alien changes his mind about earthmen and decides he wants to be friends.  The show ends with Kirk and Spock discussing the violent nature of humans and how they have overcome it.

This is not a highly creative script.  The plot is similar to several that preceded it.  The acting and the dialog are just average and there wasn’t even much humor to make it more interesting.  Scotty did get to comment approvingly on the bourbon that the town had to offer for his drinking pleasure.  And Chekov was a source of amusement as the crew tried to drag him away from the woman who was infatuated with him. Shatner didn’t have much chance to show off his overacting ability.

I’ll give this a 5 // 2.

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Chemist
Chemist
1 month ago

Dull. Dull. Dull. As I recall, it was 45 min of lead up to a non-gun fight. followed by an all powerful alien saying “You passed my test.” Rather like the episode with the Gorn.

Chemist
Chemist
1 month ago
Reply to  photog

I’ve been told that the best way to enjoy Robert burns is to have a full glass of scotch at the beginning of the recitation and an empty one at the end.

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