comes across a planet that is the exact duplicate of Earth. They find the adults (or “grups” for grownups) have been killed by an unknown plague, leaving only children (or “onlies”) that are 17 years of age and under. The landing party, unable to beam back to the ship, must find a cure for the plague that is slowly affecting them.
Plot Holes/Plot Issues
None I could find. This came off as a straightforward, detailed episode attributed to writer, Adrian Spies. For example, we find out that a week passes by in this episode, and we get some pseudo-science that is a bit more understandable such as the crew having to isolate the virus to extend the life of the crew, and to create a vaccine. Moreover, we come to understand the plague was a failed life-prolongation project leaving only children aka, the aforementioned “onlies.” Once the children hit puberty they contract the disease and age 100 years over a months time.
Children can become ‘adults’ sooner in this future, whether it be through responsibility put upon them in life or death situations, or through romantic attractions. This is shown with the title character Miri, who physically looks and acts about 17 years of age and falls for Kirk who is several years her senior; Kirk seems to reciprocate her feelings even though, in reality, a few hundred years older. Miri is the ‘den mother’ of the kids whom have formed their own survival group after the adults they've know have died off…or those kids who have hit puberty have succumbed to the plague and died off. The idea of children being put in life or death situations has turned up previously (or, looking at the classic series as starting point, will
turn up) in the franchise. For example, there is Tina Lawton from ‘Charlie X’ who is actually 17 Earth years of age, and serves on the Enterprise
, a ship that has the potential to get into literal life-or-death battles depending on the ‘new life forms’ the crew encounters. There is also Cadet Peter Preston, Montgomery Scott’s nephew, who, even though it’s not ‘canon,’ is described as being 14 Earth years of age in the novelization for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
; Preston is killed following an initial attack on the Enterprise by Khan. Even though his age isn't mentioned in the live action film, we still get a sense that Preston is very possibly in his teens. There are also the members of Red Squad from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
's 'Valiant,' young and naive characters who would meet a bloody end because they were immature. Lastly, there are the aliens from the Star Trek: Voyager
episode, ‘Innocence’ where the aging is backwards; the ‘adults’ or ‘elderly’ look like preteens or prepubescent kids.
There are some characters in this episode that have some interesting facial features. Michael J. Pollard as Jahn has a continuous weird, smirking, babyfaced look throughout the episode. It shows an obvious hint that he is up to no good, based on his limited (in Earth years) maturity. He grows to respect Miri’s authority after – due to Kirk’s support - she is able to take charge. I would see the actor, Pollard, in other television shows and movies such as in the 1988-1992 series Superboy
(where he portrays Mister Mxyzptlk) and in 1990’s Dick Tracy
where he portrays the character Bug Bailey, a police officer spying on Al Pacino’s ‘Big Boy Al Caprice.’**Another character is an individual who seems to instigate violence with his continuous ‘Bonk! Bonk!,’ which leads to the beating that Kirk gets towards the climax of the episode. I describe him as ‘the missing link’ because - hey - he does have strong simian features and he wasn’t one of my favorite characters in this episode. One can liken 'the missing link' to those 'other’ apes from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey
that also were prone to violence. For instance, while the apes of 2001
had bones for their clubs, the 'the missing link' has his a wooden club - if memory serves correctly. Like those apes from Kubrick’s film, the child also needs ‘direction’ from those who come from the literal heavens, those who – or should be – more experienced in the potential of humanoid beings.
Other random observations I've had: This particular episode shares a bit that carries over into the 24th century, which is the captain on the bridge relating departing orders to his XO, and the XO relating those same orders to the helm. Also, John Farrell (portrayed by Jim Goodwin) from ‘Mudd’s Women’ returns to the navigation chair, but absent are Uhura, Scotty, and Sulu.
Now, some of these classic episodes are hurt by ‘cheese’ that turns up every now and then. One scene in particular is when Kirk is trying to appeal to the children, or the ‘onlies.’ He pleads, ‘No blahblahblah’ - slang for someone who is saying nothing of importance. This cheese is followed by the aforementioned beating of Kirk by the ‘onlies’ who have little patience, and find their interactions with Kirk and crew as a minor game. Interestingly, this ‘cheese’ comes after a minor epic bit where Kirk initially walks into the classroom to get a tied up Janice, the Star Trek fanfare plays. Speaking of Janice…
Janice Rand is not a strong character here. Arguably, she is not necessarily a strong character overall in the series, just a character who pines (no pun intended) for Captain Kirk. As aforementioned, she gets tied up at one point in this episode, and during another scene laments that Kirk hasn’t previously noticed her legs.
Lastly, Kirk goes against the ‘Star Trek’ idea of diplomacy in this episode, which is to extend the hand of friendship rather than use violence when initiating first contact. He immediately hits one of the plagued inhabitants before he even knows why the being actually attacked. I can side with Kirk using force here, because there possibly could have been a causality on his side if he hesitated or decided to talk rather than act. Hence, his actions were very…human
This was a serviceable, straightforward episode. Not too deep, but not as bad as I remember it. I give it 3.4 out of 5.
**Michael J. Pollard was also in the late 1960s film Bonnie and Clyde
with Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway!
The Conscience of the King