Shore Leave (Star Trek: The Original Series)

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"Shore Leave"
Star Trek: The Original Series episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 15
Directed by Robert Sparr
Written by Theodore Sturgeon
Featured music Gerald Fried
Cinematography by Jerry Finnerman
Production code 017
Original air date December 29, 1966 (1966-12-29)
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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"Balance of Terror"
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"The Galileo Seven"
List of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes

"Shore Leave" is a first season episode of the original science fiction television series, Star Trek. It was first broadcast on December 29, 1966, and repeated on June 8, 1967. It is episode #15, production #17, and was written by science-fiction author Theodore Sturgeon and directed by Robert Sparr. In the episode, the crew of the Enterprise visits a bizarre planet of dangerous illusions.


On stardate 3025.3, the Federation starship USS Enterprise, under the command of Captain James T. Kirk, arrives at a planet in the Omicron Delta system. Scans reveal the planet to be congenial, and Kirk announces shore leave for all off-duty personnel.

Not long after beaming down, the landing parties experience strange occurrences. Chief Medical Officer Dr. McCoy sees a large, anthropomorphic white rabbit hop past hurriedly, and a moment later Alice, from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, asks McCoy if a rabbit has passed by. Lt. Sulu is attacked by a katana-wielding samurai. Yeoman Tonia Barrows is accosted by Don Juan.

Kirk thinks that McCoy's seemingly ludicrous report of seeing characters from Alice in Wonderland is made up only to make him beam down for investigation. Even so, he is convinced by Spock to beam down for relaxation. At first, Kirk does not believe the doctor's story, but then he is shown large rabbit tracks as proof. Kirk then stumbles upon young Finnegan, a cocky Irish practical joker he knew back in his academy days and a former girlfriend, Ruth, whom he has not seen in years.

Kirk orders a temporary halt to the beaming down of personnel until the landing party can discover what is really happening. Science Officer Spock reports that the planet is emanating a strange force field that seems to be drawing energy from the ship's engines. If the drain continues, it could jeopardize the ship. He also reports that the energy patterns suggest some kind of industrial activity.

Spock beams down to gather sensor readings as communications between the ship and crew members on the planet's surface are becoming impossible. After Yeoman Barrows finishes changing into a medieval dress, a knight charges her. McCoy steps in front of Barrows to protect her, and he is impaled with the lance. Kirk shoots the knight with the pistol he confiscated from Sulu. Kirk and Spock analyze the body of the knight and find out it is not human in origin, but rather resembles the vegetation on the planet's surface. A Japanese World War II fighter plane then strafes the landing party, and during the commotion, the bodies of Dr. McCoy and the knight mysteriously vanish.

Spock deduces a connection between the visions and the landing party's thoughts just before the visions appear and asks Kirk what was on his mind just before his "vision". Kirk recalls thinking of his academy days, then, as Spock expected, Finnegan reappears. Finnegan taunts the Captain and then runs off, with Kirk on his heels. The chase ends in a ravine where Finnegan and Kirk have a fistfight. Finnegan feigns an injury so that he can catch Kirk off guard and attack and knock him out, and Finnegan then proceeds to taunt the unconscious Kirk. When Kirk wakes up, the fight resumes, and wanting to take revenge for all the torment the older cadet put him through, Kirk fights back and knocks out Finnegan. Spock and Kirk realize that their thoughts are conjuring up their fantasies, but the visions are starting to prove deadly for them. Kirk orders everyone to come to attention and stop thinking about anything.

An elderly man appears and identifies himself as the "Caretaker". Accompanying him is Dr. McCoy, who was revived by the sophisticated machinery below the planet's surface. McCoy smiles and confirms he is all right and shows off the two Rigelian cabaret girls he conjured up.

The Caretaker informs Kirk that the planet is a sophisticated "amusement park", but the illusions are not designed to be harmful or to last permanently. He apologizes for the misunderstandings and offers the services of the planet to the Enterprise‍ '​s weary crew, with the caution that the visitors must choose their amusements with care. Kirk accepts the offer as Ruth appears again, and he authorizes the crew to beam down. Spock, however, has had his fill of shore leave and requests to be returned to the Enterprise.


Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club gave the episode an 'A-' rating, describing the episode as "a lot of fun" and noting "a strong hook to keep the camp from descending into self-parody."[1]


The animated Star Trek episode "Once Upon a Planet" involved the Enterprise returning to the amusement park planet for another rest. However, the caretaker has died, and the computer left to run the planet, a fairly intelligent machine, now resents its role as servant, and turns against visitors using the props and personalities the visitors think about.


  1. ^ Handlen, Zack (March 5, 2009). ""Shore Leave" / "The Galileo Seven"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved September 5, 2009. 

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