|Star Trek: The Original Series episode|
On Kirk's command, Spock grabs Kara's wrist to deactivate her bracelet.
|Episode no.||Season 3|
|Directed by||Marc Daniels|
|Written by||Lee Cronin|
|Featured music||Fred Steiner|
|Cinematography by||Jerry Finnerman|
|Original air date||September 20, 1968|
"Spock's Brain" is the third season premiere episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek. Written by Gene L. Coon (under the pseudonym Lee Cronin) and directed by Marc Daniels, it was first broadcast on September 20, 1968.
In the episode, an alien female beams aboard the Enterprise and, after incapacitating the rest of the crew, surgically removes Spock's brain. Captain Kirk and the crew have just hours to locate and restore it before Spock's body dies. The episode is widely regarded as the worst episode of the series.
It was the first episode to air after NBC moved the show from 8:30 P.M. to 10 P.M. on Friday nights.
The Federation starship USS Enterprise, under the command of Captain Kirk, encounters an alien ship. Upon approach, a mysterious woman appears on the Enterprise bridge. She stuns the entire crew then examines each of them, taking particular interest in the Vulcan First Officer Spock. When the crew awakens, Chief Medical Officer Dr. McCoy finds Spock in Sickbay with his brain surgically removed. Because of his unusual Vulcan physiology, Spock's body can be kept alive in this state for twenty-four hours, giving Captain Kirk that much time to recover his stolen brain.
The Enterprise follows the alien ship's ion trail to the sixth planet of the Sigma Draconis system. The planet is a harsh world in the middle of an ice age and the all-male inhabitants attack them on sight. A captured attacker warns Kirk about the "others", also known as "the givers of pain and delight". Kirk asks about the females of his kind, but is only met with the man's bewilderment.
The landing party is joined by Dr. McCoy, accompanied by Spock's mobile body, controlled by a device McCoy has fashioned. The party travels deep underground and encounter a woman named Luma. When questioned, Luma shows she has the mentality of a child. Spock's voice is heard through a communicator, but before the conversation goes further, Kirk and his party are captured. The party is brought before the leader of the women, Kara, who is the same woman who appeared on the Enterprise bridge. Kirk demands to know what they have done with Spock's brain, but Kara claims not to understand what a brain is. As they try to explain the function of a brain, she realizes that what they are seeking is the "Controller", on which the underground civilization is completely dependent.
The landing party escapes and follow Spock's signals to a control room where his brain has been placed. Kara tells them that the skills needed to remove a brain were provided by a machine called the "Teacher", and that knowledge so obtained lasts no more than three hours. McCoy decides to use the Teacher himself, and then quickly begins the procedure to restore Spock's brain. His new knowledge begins to leave him before the operation is complete, but Spock provides assistance after McCoy reestablishes his ability to speak.
Without their Controller, Kara fears for the women's existence. Kirk assures Kara that the men and women can learn to survive together on the surface.
Production and reception
The episode was written by former Star Trek producer Gene L. Coon under the pen name "Lee Cronin".
The episode is generally regarded by most fans, and those who took part in its production, as the worst episode of the series. William Shatner called this one of the series' worst episodes, calling the episode's plot a "tribute" to NBC executives who slashed the show's budget and placed it in a bad time slot. Leonard Nimoy wrote: "Frankly, during the entire shooting of that episode, I was embarrassed - a feeling that overcame me many times during the final season of Star Trek."
Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club gave the episode a "D" rating, describing the writing as bad and repetitive and the direction as weak. He added that it had its funny moments and some parts had "a lumpy B-movie charm".
In his book What Were They Thinking? The 100 Dumbest Events in Television History, author David Hofstede ranked the episode at #71 on the list.
The episode was referenced in Modern Principles: Microeconomics by Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok of George Mason University as an example of how it is virtually impossible to have a command economy; in that not even Spock's brain could run an economy.
Star Trek co-producer Robert H. Justman ruefully recalled in the book Inside Star Trek The Real Story, that he was the person who suggested that Spock's brain, after being rescued by the Enterprise crew, actually "takes over during surgery and instructs Dr. McCoy exactly how to go back reinserting it back where it came from - inside Spock's skull".
- Herbert Solow, Robert Justman (1997). Inside Star Trek The Real Story. June: Simon & Schuster. p. 402. ISBN 0-671-00974-5.
- Shatner, William (date unknown). Star Trek: Memories. Memoir.
- Shatner, William (date unknown). Up Till Now. Full general autobiography.
- Nimoy, Leonard (1995). I am Spock. p.115.
- Handlen, Zack (December 4, 2009). ""Spock's Brain"/"The Enterprise Incident"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved September 5, 2010.
- David Hofstede (2004). What Were They Thinking? The 100 Dumbest Events in Television History. Back Stage Books. pp. 57–58. ISBN 0-8230-8441-8.
- "Mike Gordon Busts Out Spocks Brain In NYC". Jambase. March 2, 2014. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
- Cowen, T & Tabarrak, A, Modern Principles, Macroeconomics, 2nd Edition, pg. 14
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: "Spock's Brain"|