Premise: The Enterprise arrives at a planet called Omicron Ceti III, where an agricultural colony had been established three years earlier. The Enterprise crew assume that all of the colonists are dead due to exposure to Berthold rays, which disintegrate human tissue. Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Sulu beam down and are surprised to discover that the colonists are alive, healthy, and somehow cured of all previous diseases. They are also abnormally happy, peaceful, and worry-free. One of the colonists, Leila Kalomi, is a scientist who fell in love with Spock six years earlier back on Earth. Leila hopes to keep Spock with the colony, and takes him to a field where he is suddenly sprayed with spores from a native plant. Spock instantly falls under the influence of the spores, becoming carefree and peaceful (and amorous) like the colonists. Soon everyone on the Enterprise is affected by the spores, except Kirk. On the verge of losing his crew to this “harmonious” lifestyle, Kirk figures out a way to break the trance of the spores – by bringing about strong, angry emotions in Spock and the rest of the crew.
15:15 – Spock gets sprayed by the plant spores (i.e. confetti)! He grabs his head in anguish and collapses to the ground, muttering, “No, no, no I can’t, please dont…”
….And then suddenly, he is transformed. The very first thing he says under the influence of the spores is, to Leila, “I love you…I can love you.” (!!!!!!!) Are we supposed to believe that Spock has always had feelings for Leila, that are suddenly being released? Or did the spores make him fall in love with her? I’m going to assume the latter.
Here are some shots of Spock under the influence of the plant spores, being all lovey-dovey with Leila:
The best part of this episode is the fight between Kirk and Spock at the end. Kirk discovers that anger and violence can break the hold of the spores. In order to bring Spock back to normal, Kirk begins to insult him:
Kirk: “All right you mutinous, disloyal, computerized half-breed, we’ll see about you deserting my ship.”
Spock: “The term half-breed is somewhat applicable, but computerized is inaccurate. A machine can be computerized – not a man.”
Kirk: “What makes you think you’re a man? You’re an overgrown jackrabbit, and elf with a hyperactive thyroid.”
Spock: [Confused chuckle] “Jim, I don’t understand -”
Kirk: “Of course you don’t understand, you don’t have the brains to understand, all you have is printed circuits.”
Spock: “Captain, if you’ll excuse me -”
Kirk: “What can you expect from a simpering, devil-eared freak, whose father was a computer and mother was an encyclopedia?”
Spock: “My mother was a teacher. My father, an ambassador.”
Kirk: “Your father was a computer, like his son. An ambassador from a planet of traitors. A Vulcan never lived who had an ounce of integrity.”
Spock: “Captain, please don’t.”
Kirk: “You’re a traitor from a race of traitors. Disloyal to the core. Rotten, like the rest of your sub-human race, and you’ve got the gall to make love to that girl.”
Spock: “That’s enough.”
Kirk: “Does she know what she’s getting, Spock? A carcass full of memory banks who should be squatting on a mushroom? Instead of passing himself off as a man? You belong in the circus, Spock. Not a starship. Right next to the dog-faced boy.”
[Spock snaps and beats up Kirk.]
Kirk: “Had enough? I didn’t realize what it took to get under that thick hide of yours. Anyhow, I don’t know you’re so mad about – it isn’t every first officer who gets to belt his Captain….several times.”
Spock: “You did that to me deliberately.”
Kirk: “Believe me, Mr. Spock. It was painful. In more ways than one.”
Kirk took a jab at every one of Spock’s insecurities. It’s humorous fun to see Kirk deliberately trying to get under Spock’s “thick hide.” The best insult is “an elf with a hyperactive thyroid” – ha!!
42:48 – Leila teies to convince Spock to come back to the planet with her, but Spock solemnly tells her why he can’t return:
Spock: “I have a responsibility. To this ship. And to that man on the bridge.”
So sweet. We all know that it’s a little bit more than just a “responsibility” to the man on the bridge. 🙂
Leila also asks whether Spock has another name (I’m not sure whether she means a first name or a last name). Spock says, “You couldn’t pronounce it.” So Spock is known by more than just “Spock” among other Vulcans.
I am not sure how I feel about this episode. I’ll admit, I don’t really like to see Spock cutting loose and kissing a woman – it just doesn’t feel right! I prefer Spock in his stern Vulcan state. However, it’s quite amusing to see Spock disobeying Kirk’s orders and Kirk getting all irked/confused. I also appreciate Spock’s guilt and concern at the end for Leila’s feelings. He’s so uncomfortable and out of his element, and it’s rather endearing. It’s interesting to hear him describe his emotion-free existence as a “man-made purgatory.” At the end of the episode, he sates, “For the first time in my life, I was happy.” Isn’t it possible for Spock to be happy, in his own, Vulcan way?
One of the many plot holes in this episode: If the spores produce perfect health in anyone who inhales them, why not collect tons of them for research??? Miracle cure! Too risky?