So just wondering what is that one episode that gets critically panned but you actually think is really great.
For me it is the Empath. Okay I guess this isn't as panned as some episodes, it is probably more a love/hate episode but I do see it on quite a few least favorite lists.
But personally I love it. Now I am not saying it is without its faults. But I love it for 2 reasons
1) Obviously it was filmed on a low budget but in this case I think the limited set with the all black setting really adds to the atmosphere of the episode. In fact I think it is one of the coolest looking episodes and it shows what you can creatively do with less. I also personally really liked the unique score for the episode.
2) For me it is probably the ultimate trio episode. So even if the alien experiment thing has been done before I don't think the episode wasn't really about that. It was about compassion for another. It was about Gem feeling compassion for the main 3. It was about the Vians realizing they had lost their own compassion and most importantly it was about the compassion and strong friendship Kirk, Spock, and McCoy felt for each other. I thought it was beautifully done.
I love this episode and you are right, many do not care much for it. I remember the scene where they find the two lab techs encased in glass...scared the heck out of me when I first saw it at the tender age of 7 or 8. It still gives me the willies now.