The Naked Time

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"The Naked Time"
Star Trek: The Original Series episode
STNaked Time.jpg
Sulu attacks Kirk with a foil on the bridge.
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 5
Directed by Marc Daniels
Written by John D. F. Black
Featured music Alexander Courage
Cinematography by Jerry Finnerman
Production code 7
Original air date September 29, 1966 (1966-09-29)
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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"Where No Man Has Gone Before"
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List of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes

"The Naked Time" is an episode of the science fiction television series Star Trek. It was first broadcast September 29, 1966, and repeated on April 27, 1967. It is the fourth episode of the first season, written by John D. F. Black and directed by Marc Daniels. The story has a remake in Star Trek: The Next Generation, the episode "The Naked Now".

In the plot, a strange affliction infects the crew of the Enterprise, destroying their inhibitions.


On stardate 1704.2, the Federation starship USS Enterprise, under the command of Captain James T. Kirk, arrives in orbit around the dying planet Psi 2000, in order to observe and document the planet's break up. A landing team is also beamed down to the research station based on the planet in order to discover what has happened to the team of scientists who were stationed there, but who have not been heard from for months. The team is confused to find that all six of the scientists have died for no readily apparent reason. They are found in a number of bizarre positions - one man apparently in the middle of taking a shower fully clothed, and another having seemingly just sat at his desk until freezing to death, as well as a woman's strangled body - and all life support systems have been shut down and the controls frozen solid.

One of the Enterprise crewmen, Joe Tormolen, removes his glove while examining the station, and is contaminated by a strange red liquid. When Lt. Tormolen and First Officer Spock return to the ship they are given a clean bill of health by Chief Medical Officer Dr. McCoy, but Tormolen notices a strange itch on his hands, and begins to act irrationally. After yelling that human space exploration is actually doing more harm than good, he threatens Lieutenants Sulu and Riley with a knife, then attempts to turn it on himself. He suffers a minor wound, but is stopped and escorted to sick bay. Dr. McCoy is then left bewildered when Tormolen inexplicably dies, despite the fact that his wounds were not that severe; Tormolen simply seemed to lose the will to live.

Soon, Tormolen's bizarre affliction begins to affect other crew members and quickly spreads throughout the ship. They each begin to display both comical and horrific exaggerations of character, revealing things about themselves which they would have usually kept secret.

As the affliction spreads, Sulu abandons his post on the bridge and begins acting like an 18th-century sword-fighter, running around the ship and challenging everyone to a duel. Ship's navigator Lt. Kevin Riley, who believes himself to be descended from Irish royalty, wanders down to Engineering where he tricks the staff into leaving and takes over control of the ship, declaring himself the Captain of the Enterprise, before giving orders and warbling "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen" repeatedly over the public address system. The Enterprise starts to drift out of control and slowly falls out of orbit, pulled down by the erratic gravity of Psi 2000.

In Sickbay, Nurse Chapel then confesses her romantic feelings for Spock, which leads to Spock himself becoming infected, and the Vulcan loses control of his own emotions. He begins weeping over his hidden guilt at being half-human, and his regret that he can never openly express love for his human mother. Kirk tries to revive Spock, but becomes affected himself, first becoming overly romantic and obsessive towards the ship, then exhibiting paranoia, and finally breaking down for fear that he is losing his ability to command.

McCoy manages to avoid the affliction and finds that the water on Psi 2000 has a complex chain of molecules, which, once in the bloodstream, affects people in a similar way to alcohol, depressing the centers of judgment and self-control.

Sulu charges into the ship's bridge and threatens Kirk and Spock's lives but he is finally stripped of his foil sword and rendered unconscious by Spock. Meanwhile, Riley is stopped and control of Engineering is regained. However, Riley has turned the engines off and Chief Engineer Scott tells Kirk that there is not enough time to get them started again before the Enterprise is dragged down by Psi 2000's break up.

To avoid crashing into the planet, Captain Kirk orders a highly dangerous attempt at a full-power restart, mixing matter and antimatter in a cold state in the ship's warp engines to create a "controlled implosion". Spock explains the physics behind this — that there is an intermix formula based on the theoretical relationship between time and antimatter — but warns that the theory has never been tested before.

Although the restart is successful, the Enterprise is sent hurtling backwards at impossible speeds away from the planet, creating a space-time warp, which results in the Enterprise and her crew being sent back about 71 hours in time. While they are recovering on the starship's bridge, Spock says that they have three days to live over again, to which Captain Kirk says hopefully, "Not those last three days." Spock also points out that since the formula worked, they can go back in time to any planet, any era. Kirk then replies, "We may risk it someday."


This was originally intended to be a two-part episode, with part one ending with a cliffhanger (with the Enterprise going back in time). The ending was revised so that the episode would become a stand-alone episode. What would have been part two eventually became another stand-alone episode, "Tomorrow Is Yesterday".[1]


George Takei has repeatedly mentioned in interviews that this is his favorite episode, and spends a chapter on it in his autobiography.[2]


The events of this episode are repeated in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Naked Now", where Riker references the incident as an in-universe historical event. Events are also mentioned in the TNG Season 6 episode "Relics".

Footage from this episode appears in the 2014 film X-Men: Days of Future Past.


  1. ^ "The Naked Time". 
  2. ^ Peter Anthony Holder (November 21, 1994). "An Interview with George Takei". 

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