Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 3 Episode 01 – Spock’s Brain

I had completely forgotten how truly awful this episode is.

An alien spacecraft using ion drive approaches the Enterprise.  A go-go dancer complete with big hair, go-go boots, micro-dress and vinyl bustier beams aboard the Enterprise bridge knocks out the crew and micro-surgically removes Spock’s brain and takes it away.  You would think that would be enough, but there’s more.

McCoy somehow manages to put Spock’s brainless body on life support but warns Kirk that he can only survive for 24 hours without his brain.  The Enterprise follows the ion trail to a planet that is covered by Ice Age glaciation but has some kind of energy source below the surface.  On the surface are largish humanoid Neolithic men who attack the Enterprise landing party.  A captured man of the tribe who call themselves the Morg warns the crew of the Eymorg, the “givers of pain and delight.”  We find out that the Eymorg are the women who live below the surface and have energy weapons that they use to torture the surface-dwelling men if they don’t take out the garbage and perform their more delightful husbandly duties on schedule.

Kirk, McCoy, Scotty and Spock’s body proceed to the Underground Kingdom of the Go-Go Dancers.  Spock’s body is controlled by McCoy using some kind of Nintendo joystick device.  Once there, Kirk and company battle it out with the go-go dancers and eventually get the upper hand.  It seems Spock’s Brain is being used as a sort of thermostat to control the climate control in the underground lair.  The head go-go dancer refuses to put Spock’s brain back in his body so McCoy has to use the “educator” helmet to learn how to perform the surgery.  But halfway through the operation McCoy begins to forget how to do it so they reattach Spock’s vocal cords and he coaches McCoy through the rest of the surgery.  Kirk tells the head go-go dancer that without Spock’s brain they will have to return to the surface and learn to control their men through the more conventional method of nagging them.

Watching this episode has really depressed me.  I have to watch the rest of season three before I can end this task and this episode has hammered home just how bad it will be.  There is nothing good about this episode.  The script is beyond poor.  They even forgot some of the conventions of their “technology.”  They referred to the ion drive of the aliens as highly advanced whereas ion drive is the much less sophisticated and slower impulse power that the Enterprise uses when its warp engines are unavailable.  The dialog between Kirk and the bridge crew when they are debating which planet is likely to be the one they are looking for sounds like a family trying to decide which restaurant to stop at during a long trip, “Wendy’s or Dairy Queen?”

The tribesmen on the planet have the worst wigs and beards I’ve ever seen on this or any show.  The go-go dancers don’t have any meaningful dialog beyond saying, “I don’t understand.”  And McCoy tries so hard to project horror at the removal of Spock’s brain that his facial expression looks more like someone suffering a stroke.  In general, all the actors look confused and dispirited.  Even Shatner looks sullen.  I don’t think he really wanted the brain back.  He just wanted his paycheck and maybe the head go-go dancer’s phone number.

This episode is awful on all levels so I will award it a 1 // 2.