1×25 – Devil in the Dark
Premise: The Enterprise stops off at mining planet where miners are being mysteriously killed (essentially incinerated) by an unknown entity – later discovered to be a silicon-based alien life form called the Horta. The creature steals a critical piece of a reactor core, putting the colony’s life support systems in jeopardy. Kirk is reluctant to simply evacuate the colonists and depart, because the planet is a source of the vital element pergium. Kirk and Spock lead a dangerous hunt through the mining tunnels to track down and kill the creature – but all is not what it seems…
Let me just say….that this episode is one of the GREATEST things I have ever seen in my whole TV-watching life. 🙂 “Devil in the Dark” has instantly become my favorite TOS episode thus far – I was giddy with happiness while watching it. Absolutely bizarre/suspenseful/creative/campy/hilarious!! It’s difficult for me to write a post on it, because I want to highlight about 30 different moments. I might as well just post the entire script with a screen shot for every line. If you haven’t seen this episode, GO WATCH IT. If you’ve seen it, but not for years, GO RE-WATCH IT. It’s the epitome of what I like about Star Trek!
Ok, that being said, I’ll pick out a few of my very favorite moments.
11:45 – I’m loving this science-y conversation between Spock, Kirk, and Bones. Of course, Spock’s speculation is entirely correct. It’s pretty impressive that he guessed the nature of the creature right off the bat. 🙂
Spock: “Life as we know it is universally based on some combination of carbon compounds. But what if life exists based on anther element? For instance – silicon?”
[Exaggerated, incredulous reactions from Kirk and McCoy.]
McCoy: “You’re creating fantasies, Mr. Spock.”
Kirk: “Unnecessary, Bones, I’ve heard of the theoretical possibility of life based on silicon. But silicon-based life would be of an entirely different order.”
McCoy: “Silicone-based life is physiologically impossible. Especially in an oxygen-based atmosphere.”
Spock: “It may be, Doctor, that the creature can exist for brief periods in such an atmosphere before returning to its own environment.”
Spock is inordinately fascinated by a silicon nodule (a spray-painted dodge ball?).
18:25 – We get our first glimpse of the Horta – oh my god oh my god it’s so ridiculous!! It looks like an area rug topped with a giant, moldy pizza! I love the grumbling sound effects that accompany the Horta’s motions.
23:11 – After giving instructions to the search parties, Kirk pulls Spock aside. He chides Spock for wanting to capture rather than kill the creature. Then, we get this delightful exchange:
Kirk: “Mr. Spock…I want you to assist Scotty in maintaining that makeshift circulating pump.
Spock: [As surprised as Spock gets] “I – I beg your pardon, Sir.”
Kirk: “You heard me. It’s vital that we keep that reactor in operation. Your scientific knowledge-”
Spock: “-is not needed there, Sir. Mr. Scott has far more knowledge of nuclear reactors than I do. You’re aware of that.”
Kirk: “Mr. Spock, you are second in command. This will be a dangerous hunt. Either one of us, by himself, is expendable. Both of us are not.”
Spock: “Captain, there are approximately 100 of us engaged in this search, against one creature. The odds against you and I both being killed are 2,228.7 to one.”
[Playful music in the background.]
Kirk: “2228.7 to one? Those are pretty good odds, Mr. Spock.”
Spock: “And they are, of course, accurate, Captain.”
Kirk: “Of course. Well, I hate to use the word, but, logically, with those kind of odds…you might as well stay. [Smile] But please stay out of trouble, Mr. Spock.”
Spock: [Earnestly] “That is always my intention, Captain.
There is so much to love about this exchange. Kirk tries to protect Spock, Spock wants to stay with Kirk, Spock does a mental calculation that makes no sense whatsoever (since the two remain together on the search), Kirk uses the word “logically” and tells Spock to stay out of trouble….a perfect K/S moment!
28:30 – Here comes the Horta, burrowing through the wall! ❤ I wish special effects still looked like this. Puppets are way more fun than CG add-ins.
Spock. Mind. Melds. With. The. Horta. This has got to be one of the most memorable/iconic moments of the series. It’s so impressive that the Vulcan mind meld works on all creatures, not just humanoids. Spock shouts all sorts of bizarre phrases during the mind meld, speaking for the Horta: Pain! Devils! Eternity Ends! Altar of tomorrow! Murderers! Stop them! Kill! Strike back!
34:25 – This moment made me laugh so hard I got teary-eyed. The Horta, fearing for its life, shimmies on top of a rocky ledge and releases some sort of corrosive acid to spell out the phrase NO KILL I.
Hahaha. Nice job, writing team – the Horta can speak English, but only with really poor grammar!
Well, the Horta doesn’t get killed – turns out she’s a mom and was just protecting her eggs. Spock and the Horta form a special bond. At the end of the episode, Spock remarks that the Horta found his pointy ears to be the most attractive human characteristic – and he didn’t have the heart to tell her that only Vulcans have pointy ears. Ha. The final scene on the bridge is great. You are highly encouraged to pop on this episode for many more hilarious and charming Star Trek moments!