Star Trek: TOS – S01E03, Where No Man Has Gone Before

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The third episode of the first season, Where no man has gone before, is a strange third episode, since it was actually conceived as the first episode of the series. And of course it was! It’s easy to tell due to the many scenes made to present members of the crew like Scotty and Sulu. On the other hand, McCoy and Uhura are missing, and Spock’s skin is of a rather horrendous yellow color, and thankfully it was decided not to keep it that way for the rest of the series!

The plot is based on another concept that was already familiar to me thanks to my knowledge of TNG, in this case thanks to the episode The Nth degree (S04E19) in which Barclay acquires incredible powers thanks to an alien probe. In this case, it’s Gary Mitchell (played by Gary Lockwood), an old friend of Kirk and at the same time one of the USS Enterprise’s bridge officers, who acquires superhuman powers and loses his mind in the process. Mitchell develops ESP powers (again! Like Charlie X in the second episode!) and begins to feel like a God, so Kirk follows the advice of Spock and decides to abandon him on the uninhabited planet Delta Vega (en passant: the matte paintings of the planet and of its mining facilities are great). Then, Dr. Elizabeth Dehner (Sally Kellerman) also develops ESP powers…

The episode is beautiful and it’s almost more of a horror piece than a science fiction one. The silver eyes of Mitchell are disturbing (among other things, I read that the lenses used to create them were dangerous and poor Lockwood wasn’t happy at all to have to wear them), and the tension created by the fact that the entire Enterprise is in the hands of an arrogant and constantly changing super-man is palpable. Then, it all ends in a classic fist fight Star Trek-style, and maybe we should all be grateful for it because it seems that it was the thing which convinced the studios to give green light to the production of the series.

The sound department of the episode is remarkable, with the sound effects of the infirmary machines when no one understands what is happening to Mitchell that reminded me of the score of John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) and make the scene very disturbing. As for the rest, the orchestral soundtrack could easily be one of an actual movie: perfect in every scene, and pleasant to listen to.

What else to say? This is yet another episode with an “amazing” sexist joke against Dr. Elizabeth Dehner guilty of not flirting with Lieutenant Gary Mitchell who calls her a walking freezer unit… And finally, Scotty is here, with James Doohan doing his best to imitate a Scottish accent that he’s just unable to reproduce (the poor guy was Canadian)!

In short, let’s proceed to the next episode, warp factor 1! Ciao!


Previous episode: Charlie X

Next episode: The Naked Time


5 risposte a "Star Trek: TOS – S01E03, Where No Man Has Gone Before"

  1. Yes there were a lot of fist fight with Kirk! It’s part of the era. TOS did a lot of things to present a positive future, especially compared to the 1960s, but it’s impressive to see how different TNG was. TNG took the positive future and made it really utopian, and part of that is how conflict resolution is done. Picard is all diplomacy and talks, Kirk is more action and “cowboy diplomacy”.

    Yellow makeup on Spock: well we know where the idea of Data’s white makeup came from originally, then!

    About the fact that there were multiple pilots I found this:
    https://io9.gizmodo.com/5827581/10-things-you-probably-didnt-know-about-the-original-star-trek

    Why did NBC choose not to air the first Star Trek pilot, starring Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Christopher Pike? People usually blame it on a too-cerebral script, with too much deep philosophizing and introspection. But in fact, a major reason had to do with NBC’s Broadcast Standards Office, being concerned about the “eroticism” of the pilot, with the green dancing girls and the kissing and all that raw sexuality. (To be sure, the network was also worried that it was “too smart,” a female first officer was going too far, and Mr. Spock looked too demonic.) Later, after Trek was on the air, the producers used the network’s concerns about sexuality to their advantage — they would deliberately put sexy stuff into episodes for the network to freak out about, so the censors wouldn’t notice other things. For example, in the episode “A Private Little War,” the producers deliberately put in a scene of Kirk having an open-mouth kiss with a half-naked woman, so the network could throw a fit about that — and not notice the blatant Vietnam allegory.

    Piace a 1 persona

    1. Ahahah! That’s amazing, tricking the censors with sex in order to talk about serious stuff… unbelievable!

      I didn’t know about that, but I had read about the demonic aspect of Spock and the fear of a female first officer. I guess 50 years are a lot of time!

      And I didn’t think about the Spock make-up / Data make-up link, it’s actually the same thing! Brent Spiner is very funny when he recounts how the color was chosen: he had to do production photos with a lot of different colors so that Gene Roddenberry could decide which one worked better. He spent several hours uncomfortably painted in various colors. Then they went to Roddenberry and as soon as he saw the first photo he said “That one!” and that was it! X–D

      "Mi piace"

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