This Side of Paradise (Star Trek: The Original Series)

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"This Side of Paradise"
Star Trek: The Original Series episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 24
Directed by Ralph Senensky
Story by D. C. Fontana
Nathan Butler
Teleplay by D. C. Fontana
Featured music Alexander Courage
Cinematography by Gerald Finnerman
Production code 025
Original air date March 2, 1967 (1967-03-02)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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List of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes

"This Side of Paradise" is the twenty-fourth episode of the first season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek. It was first broadcast on March 2, 1967, and was repeated on August 10, 1967. The episode was written by D. C. Fontana and Jerry Sohl (using the pseudonym Nathan Butler), and directed by Ralph Senensky. The title is taken from the poem "Tiare Tahiti" by Rupert Brooke and the novel "This Side of Paradise" by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

In the episode, the USS Enterprise visits a planet where the inhabitants are under the influence of strange plant life.

Plot[edit]

Enterprise is ordered to a Federation colony on Omicron Ceti III. Shortly after the colony was founded some years before, it was discovered the planet was bathed in Berthold rays, a lethal form of radiation. The colonists are now presumed dead.

Captain Kirk, First Officer Spock, Chief Medical Officer Leonard McCoy, and others beam down to the colony, and are surprised to find the colonists all alive and well. Their leader, Elias Sandoval, welcomes them and explains they only lost communications due to equipment failure. Also present is Leila Kalomi, an acquaintance of Spock's. Kirk orders the landing party to explore the colony. They notice the lack of animal life including livestock brought to the colony. Sandoval and other colonists allow McCoy to examine them. McCoy finds no sign of disease or injury in any of them: even Sandoval, who has had an appendectomy, now has a healthy appendix.

Kalomi offers to show Spock how the colonists have survived, and takes him to a field of strange flowers. The flowers expel spores that cover Spock, after which he professes his love for Kalomi, and blithely disregards orders to begin the evacuation of the colony. The rest of the landing party are also exposed to the spores and, with the exception of Kirk, exhibit the same sort of behavior. It is eventually revealed that the spores, in addition to this tranquilizing effect, also provide perfect health including protection from Berthold rays.

Kirk returns to the ship while the rest of its crew, under the influence of spore plants that have been brought on board, are beginning to abandon the ship. Lt. Uhura has sabotaged the communication system to prevent contact with Starfleet. Kirk is soon the last one aboard, and after a second exposure to the spores, he too prepares to leave, but as he is about to beam down, he is seized by a sudden anger. The effect of the spores seems to disappear, and Kirk surmises that violent emotions somehow destroy them. Kirk lures Spock back aboard Enterprise and goads him into attacking Kirk. As Spock is about to bludgeon Kirk with a stool, he notices that the spores' influence on him is gone.

Kirk and Spock begin work on a means to induce a similar effect on the planet below by broadcasting an irritating subsonic frequency to the crew's communicators. Kalomi beams aboard to find Spock no longer affected by the spores, and her heartbroken reaction frees her also. The subsonic broadcast is successful, provoking fights among the colonists and crew, followed by calls to the Enterprise.

As they leave orbit with the colonists aboard, Kirk asks Spock about his experiences on the planet – to which Spock replies that for the first time in his life, he was happy.

Production[edit]

  • Writer Jerry Sohl had his name replaced by the pseudonym "Nathan Butler", after D.C. Fontana rewrote the original draft (entitled "The Way of the Spores").[1]
  • This was actor Frank Overton's last performance before his death on April 24, 1967, less than two months after the episode first aired.
  • The shot of the empty Enterprise bridge was reused in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Relics", to depict Scotty's holodeck re-creation of his old ship.

Reception[edit]

Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club gave this episode an "A" rating, describing it as "an intriguingly ambiguous episode", and he praised its sense of humor.[2]

References[edit]

External links[edit]