Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 07 – Day of the Dove

The plot of this episode has the well-worn trope of a creature that feeds off of human emotions.  In this one distress calls summons both the Enterprise and a Klingon warship to a planet with each side believing that the other side has destroyed one of their colonies.  But when they reach the planet the Enterprise landing party finds no evidence of a colony at all.  Somehow the Klingon ship is badly damaged with all but forty of the crew killed.  The surviving Klingons beam down and attack the landing party and force Kirk to beam them aboard the Enterprise so that they can take it over.  But Kirk alerts Spock using a warning signal on his communicator and the Klingons are beamed up but subdued.  The Klingon captain, Kang and his wife Mara, who is also the science officer, of course, rage against the questioning by Kirk about their supposed massacre of a colony.  But suddenly the Enterprise crew’s phasers are turned into really phony looking swords.  And the Klingons are also armed with swords so the two sides start hacking away at each other.  Simultaneously the Enterprise bulkhead doors on most of the ship seal, cutting off all but forty of the crew from subduing an equal number of Klingons.  It turns out any injuries from the sword fighting heal at a ridiculous rate so the sides always remain balanced.  And most annoyingly the ship is taken over by some outside force that speeds it up to Warp Factor 9 and toward the edge of the galaxy.  And finally, just for good measure, the dilithium crystals begin to degenerate and only have enough power to last until the end credits of the show appear.  After four or five times that we see some sort of translucent spinning pinwheel thingy hovering around the Enterprise set, we are told that a creature composed of “pure energy” is on board and feeding off the hate of the two sides.  It even controls the minds of the crew and puts false memories in their heads like Chekov believing that Klingons were responsible for the murder of his imaginary brother.  Even McCoy, Scotty, Spock and Kirk start bandying racial epithets and insults against each other, which is quite amusing.

Eventually Kirk snaps out of his emotional state and figures out that he must call a truce with the Klingons and stop the fighting before the dilithium crystals are all gone.  When Kirk saves Kang’s wife from being sexually assaulted by Chekov, he tries to convince her to help him reason with Kang.  After Mara sees the alien, she is convinced and she and Kirk beam into the engineering deck somehow or other and confront Kang with the situation.  After a sword fight with Kang, Kirk convinces him of the truth of the alien situation and they yell at the alien and tell it to leave and then Kirk and Kang start yucking it up together and backslapping each other and this hurts the alien’s feeling and it leaves in a huff.

Surprisingly, this pathetic story was quite amusing to watch.  The actor who portrayed Kang, Michael Ansara, was quite entertaining in his Klingon face paint and swaggering insolence.  And all the hysterical overacting by Chekov, McCoy, Scotty and of course Kirk was also highly entertaining.  Chekov’s attempt to make out with the Klingon woman and Kirk’s outraged attack on Chekov in her defense were equally hilarious.  And there was terrible fake sword fighting and bellowing charges of red shirts in all directions.  I would say the highlight of Kirk mockery activity was Kirk lifting up Chekov and carrying him away in his arms like a child after he knocked him out for groping Mara.

I won’t try to defend my opinion of this episode.  I openly admit that the plot was hackneyed and idiotic.  But it was just the right amount of idiotic to allow Shatner and company to do their thing.  Well done!  One of the best season three episodes so far.