The Naked Time
Story: The Enterprise arrives at planet PSI2000 to pick up a scientific party, but finds the party dead. Frozen. When idiot science officer, Joe Tormolen, takes off his glove in an infected area to take readings, he contracts a virus, taking it aboard the ship where it spreads by touch...causing many on the Enterprise to act strangely. Soon, the infected navigator, Kevin Riley, shuts himself in Engineering, and cuts off all power to the engines. Now, Enterprise crew must find a cure for the virus, and get to the engines, since the ship is now decaying in the planet’s atmosphere.
Ideology: Inhibitions, no matter how powerful, have to kept under control; and, just because one may be ‘under the influence’ doesn’t give said individual the right to hurt others. At the same time, some inhibitions are innocent, and may give the individual choices on how he or she should act on those inhibitions (e.g. relationships, be it romantic or familial).
Plot holes: The Enterprise goes back three days once the engines have been powered up and the ship escapes the planet’s atmosphere. Kirk mentions that they have three days to live again, and makes the order to go to their next destination. No mention is made to return back to PSI2000, to see if the virus could have been prevented.
Another plot hole: Even though this was early in the series when Vulcan’s were still a mystery, Spock’s enhanced Vulcan hearing is ignored. For example, when an infected Sulu is trying to get a soon-to-be infected Kevin Riley to leave his post, Spock is at his science station engrossed in his monitor. Either he is so engrossed, or he doesn’t hear Sulu.
: Let me start out by saying I do enjoy the TNG sequel, “The Naked Now.” That TNG episode was also was a 1st season episode and will eventually be reviewed when I get to the TNG episodes. This particular TOS episode, however, “The Naked Time,” is just as fun, but is also disconcerting since we gather the PSI2000 scientists went through the same experience as the Enterprise
crew, eventually killing themselves. A lot of inhibitions and feelings seem to come out among the infected crew:
- Sulu seems to come onto Uhura, or at least give her attention, for the first time. This takes place when he arrives on the bridge swinging his fencing foil and attempts to protect her as his ‘fair’ maiden.
- Christine Chapel, after infected, acts “sexy” and reveals her feelings to Spock. (Chapel doesn't know it at this point, but former love interest Roger Korby turns up later, alive, putting these feelings for Spock on hold).
- The infected Kirk reveals (to himself) his attraction to Janice Rand. (This little attraction will be hinted further in “Balance of Terror”). However, Kirk wills himself back to a competent state of mind by reminding his love is the Enterprise, telling himself, “I’ll never lose you.” (The writers unknowingly add foreshadowing to the character, whom, in the film series will always want to maintain his command position, even though circumstances or 'life' is saying otherwise, e.g. age, or the politics of Starfleet). Post-infected Kirk later laments - to himself - that there will be no ‘walks’ with Janice Rand, since his Enterprise duty seems to prevent any relationship he can could have with the yeoman.
- Spock greaves his childhood when he is infected. The briefing room scene with Kirk and Spock getting one another into the 'right state of mind' to take back their ship reminded me of Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto’s interpretations.
- Kevin Riley is a standout “minor” character who plays a big part in this episode, and will turn up later in the series. His character is 'comical' when infected, even though he is dooming the ship at the same time. I do recall a slight sexist remark (from an infected Riley) who states, “Let the women work too!” I forget what context that remark was made, but I believe it was when Kirk gives an order to Uhura on the bridge, and Riley overhears from Engineering.
- Joe Tormolen is a tragic character, but he has brought his death on himself (i.e. being a trained scientist, taking protective equipment off in an infected area, then rubbing his nose top it off before he puts said equipment back on!). Once the virus takes him over, the audience gets a sense that Tormolen was a troubled character to begin with even before the virus had any effect. Remember, the virus seems to bring out inhibitions, and bring out any suppressed thoughts. Tormolen's idea that humans weren’t meant to journey the stars is a trope which turns up in sci-fi films, among astronauts who usually go crazy; and he decides to 'off' himself since he feels so guilty. (Tormolen joins 'Olsen' - the red suit from the 2009 film - as crewmen who made a very bad, very stupid decision that cost them their lives).
There are some interesting, additional observations:
Pre-infected Spock has a certain wit. After nerve pinching a foil-wielding-virus-infected Sulu, Spock orders to some crewman: “Take D’artagnan to the sickbay.” He even uses the word, “bizarre” at one point in the episode.
Uhura is not necessarily infected in the episode, but if she was....she is still shown to be competent, and able to do her job. One scene I found interesting is where she snaps back at Kirk who initially snaps at her; he apologizes, but later snaps at her while in the briefing room (while he is psychologically getting himself and Spock back in the right state of mind). Uhura doesn’t react the second time Kirk snaps at her. I assumed that given everything that is going on....she maintains her cool. Also, she takes navigation for the first (?) time in the show, showing that she can do more than be a phone operator, and look sexy in a red Starfleet skirt and black boots.
Janice Rand is also not necessarily infected, but is just dealing with an 'amorous crewmen,' one in particular who turns Kevin Riley’s “I’ll take you home Kathleen” into “I’ll take you home Janice.” I don't think Uhura would have put up with the behavior from the 'amorous crewman;' and I find it a bit hard to believe that no crewman would have 'touched' Rand given the way the virus was making some individuals act.
We get to see that Sulu is into fencing. This goes with it other interests, which include: ancient firearms, botany, as well as knowledge of helm control. (Even Kevin Riley, the navigator, has engineering knowledge!)
. An interesting episode, a fun episode. A good ensemble performance. Shatner slightly overacts, but it can be argued that it fits in with what his character was going through. In this episode, we again get a sense that the Enterprise
is a big ship that is maintained(and lived in) by various people.
Balance of Terror
(Daaaa. Da. Da. Da. Da.