Lion of the Blogosphere

Star Trek TOS, Season 1: The Enemy Within

A transporter malfunction splits Captain Kirk into two Captain Kirks. One is good and docile, the other is evil and ferocious. (As you can imagine, Shatner really over-acts the evil Kirk.) Sulu and some other guys are trapped on the planet, where temperatures are extremely cold and not conducive to human life, until the transporter can be fixed. Also, there’s a dog in a unicorn costume representing the planet’s native animal life.

The science part of this episode makes no sense. How can a transporter malfunction do that? And why can’t they send down a shuttlecraft to fetch Sulu and the other crewmembers. Even ignoring the shuttlecraft question, after they think the transporter is fixed but they can’t agree on whether or not it’s safe to use it to unite the two Kirks back into a single Kirk, why can’t they beam down some heaters, some tents, food, etc, so that Sulu and the other guys won’t die from the cold?

Despite all this, it’s still a good episode for TWO reasons: (1) the philosophy/psychology about what personality aspects an alpha male needs in order to be an alpha male; and (2) the battery and attempted rape of Yeoman Rand by the evil Captain Kirk. Plus the dog in a unicorn costume. Trekkies remember this episode a lot better than many other episodes with fewer plot holes.

Let’s get some housekeeping out of the way:

Shirtless Kirk: there’s a gratuitous scene where Kirk changes his shirt. So far, the only episode where Kirk is not seen either shirtless or with a ripped shirt is “The Man Trap,” the first episode that aired. After that, every episode made sure to show some of William Shatner’s upper torso. Did this female fan service help to attract any female viewers?

“He’s dead Jim”: McCoy says this after the dog in a unicorn costume is killed when they try combine its good and evil halves in the transporter.

Sickbay is also the ship’s liquor warehouse: The first thing that evil Kirk does is go to sickbay and demand “Saurian brandy” from McCoy. This is not the first time we’ve seen booze associated with the ship’s doctor. In the first pilot, the ship’s doctor brings Captain Pike a martini. In the more politically correct The Next Generation, alcohol is banned and replaced with “synthehol.” Everything that was manly about TOS got neutered in TNG.

Scotty: The second episode where Scotty gets airtime. He mostly just operates the transporter, but he also courageously sticks his hand in a dog cage and holds down the super-vicious evil dog in a unicorn costume so that Spock can inject it with a tranquilizer. I guess that in the future they lost the technology of tranquilizer darts.

Good Kirk, bad Kirk, the true meaning of the episode

I totally didn’t get this when I watched it as a kid. The point they are making is that Kirk is an alpha-male, and an alpha-male is alpha because of dark qualities like ferocity, aggression and a strong sex drive. Of course they don’t use the term “alpha male” in the episode, but it’s what they mean. Spock calls it “the power of command.”

SPOCK: Judging from my observations, Captain, you’re rapidly losing the power of decision.

MCCOY: You have a point, Spock?

SPOCK: Yes, always, Doctor. We have here an unusual opportunity to appraise the human mind, or to examine, in Earth terms, the roles of good and evil in a man. His negative side, which you call hostility, lust, violence, and his positive side, which Earth people express as compassion, love, tenderness.

MCCOY: It’s the Captain’s guts you’re analysing. Are you of that, Spock?

SPOCK: Yes, and what is it that makes one man an exceptional leader? We see indications that it’s his negative side which makes him strong, that his evil side, if you will, properly controlled and disciplined, is vital to his strength. Your negative side removed from you, the power of command begins to elude you.

I’m not saying that the guy who wrote the script was 100% correct about everything, but core concept was correct, and something that maybe has been lost since the 1960s. Today, feminists would consider the qualities that made Kirk a good leader to be “toxic masculinity.”

As depicted in this episode, the good Kirk is indecisive, lacking in energy, he looks like he overdosed on valium. The perfect beta male? The evil Kirk, on the other hand, acts like an animal much of the time. He shows a limited ability to act civilized for a few minutes, but then can’t hold it and has a wild temper tantrum or resorts to violence. Spock and McCoy treat the good Kirk as the real Kirk for the simple reason that the other Kirk is unable to act civilized. Even though, if you think about it, the evil Kirk ought to have an equally legitimate claim to be considered the real Kirk, because we are told that they are his two halves and must be brought back together for Kirk to become whole again.

Here’s some additional 1960s management and leadership theory:

KIRK: Yes, I’ll make an announcement to the entire crew, tell them what happened. It’s a good crew. They deserve to know.

SPOCK: Captain, no disrespect intended, but you must surely realize you can’t announce the full truth to the crew. You’re the Captain of this ship. You haven’t the right to be vulnerable in the eyes of the crew. You can’t afford the luxury of being anything less than perfect. If you do, they lose faith, and you lose command.

Manly men, the kind who become leaders, never show any weakness or vulnerability, are never self-deprecating in any way. No one is teaching this kind of thing to boys today, that’s the “toxic masculinity” that feminists are trying to eradicate.

The attempted rape of Yeoman Rand

Among the negative traits that make a man an alpha male is unbridled sexual lust. After the evil Kirk takes the bottle of brandy from McCoy’s office, he heads to Yeoman Rand’s quarters where he grabs her and demands sex.

Rand shows the proper 1960s reaction to improper behavior like this. She fights back. She gives evil Kirk a wicked scratch to the face and screams and gets the attention of a crewman and tells him to call Mr. Spock. Then evil Kirk beats up the crewman and runs away. Women today claim they were raped even though there is no evidence of any sort of struggle like Rand had with evil Kirk. Even though women today are supposedly more “empowered” than women in the 1960s, 1960s women were empowered to actually fight back against rapists.

I think that if only Kirk has followed the advice he gave to Charlie from two episodes ago, to “go slow,” he would have gotten sex out of Rand. And by “slow,” I don’t mean spending months courting her. Just a few minutes of wooing and small talk was probably all that was needed, but the evil Kirk has absolutely zero patience for anything.

Then we have this really uncomfortable confrontation with Yeoman Rand facing Spock, Kirk and McCoy, and Kirk insists that he didn’t do it. Even though I’m red-pilled, this seems wrong to me. At this point in the story, Spock and McCoy know about the dog in a unicorn costume which was split in two, so they suspect the same thing happened to Kirk, but Rand doesn’t know that. From her perspective, she’s in a room with the guy who tried to rape her and two other men who are taking his side. I think that even in the 1960s, a woman is entitled to have her say without the person she says is the perpetrator of the crime being the one who questions her, and also aanother female crewmember by her side so it’s not just her against a bunch of male officers.

And then, at the very end of the episode, after Kirk’s two halves are re-united and the crew on the planet have been rescued, and Yeoman Rand sort of knows what happened, Spock says to Rand “The, er, impostor had some interesting qualities, wouldn’t you say, Yeoman? ” I thought that Spock is really being an asshole. It’s my understanding that Gene Roddenberry himself added that line to the script.

I will really miss Yeoman Rand once I get into the episodes after she was fired. Even though Grace Lee Whitney isn’t an especially good actress, and she’s not half as pretty as they try to present her as being (with ridiculous wig, huge amounts of makeup, and a blurry camera lens), the series really benefited from the presence of her character. She added a very enjoyable soap opera element. After watching the first five episodes, viewers were surely wondering things like: Will Uhura sleep with Spock? Will the nurse in sickbay with the super-ridiculous blonde wig sleep with Spock? Will Sulu sleep with Uhura? Will Sulu sleep with Rand? (Sulu and Rand were eating lunch together in the ship’s botanical garden in the first episode, “The Man Trap.” Was it more than just lunch?) Will Kirk sleep with Rand? Alas, these questions were never answered, everyone became asexual, except for Kirk who only did it with aliens.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 6, 2018 at 10:10 AM

Posted in Star Trek

13 Responses

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  1. This episode suggests most of a man’s drive, charisma, and leadership skills comes from his irrational, darker, “evil” side. (As you said, “good” Kirk spends most of the episode as if he’s slightly dazed or drugged, demonstrating his lack of focus and ability to make command decisions.) And yet, at the end of the day, the episode posits, a man’s courage comes from his logical, rational self.


    Captain James T. Kirk: [talking about Kirk’s “negative” side-duplicate] I have to take him back… inside myself. I can’t survive without him. I don’t want to take him back. He’s like an animal, a thoughtless, brutal animal, yet it’s me… me.

    Lt. Cmdr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy, M.D.: Jim… you’re no different than anyone else. We all have our darker side. We need it! It’s half of what we are. It’s not ugly. It’s human.

    Captain James T. Kirk: Human.

    Lt. Cmdr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy, M.D.: Yes, human. A lot of what he is makes you the man you are. God forbid I should have to agree with Spock, but he was right. Without the negative side, you wouldn’t be the captain – you couldn’t be, and you know it. Your strength of command lies mostly in him.

    Captain James T. Kirk: What do I have?

    Lt. Cmdr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy, M.D.: You have the goodness.

    Captain James T. Kirk: Not enough. I have a ship to command.

    Lt. Cmdr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy, M.D.: The intelligence, the logic. It appears your half has most of that, and perhaps that’s where man’s essential courage comes from. For you see, he was afraid, and you weren’t.

    Oswald Spengler

    August 6, 2018 at 10:43 AM

    • “And yet, at the end of the day, the episode posits, a man’s courage comes from his logical, rational self.”

      I don’t know that I agree with that, that’s just what the writer (speaking through McCoy) said.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      August 6, 2018 at 10:56 AM

  2. “Even ignoring the shuttlecraft question, after they think the transporter is fixed but they can’t agree on whether or not it’s safe to use it to unite the two Kirks back into a single Kirk, why can’t they beam down some heaters, some tents, food, etc, so that Sulu and the other guys won’t die from the cold?”

    The Enterprise crew beamed down some blankets, but the cold was so severe, blankets wouldn’t be enough to keep Sulu and company alive. There was a line in the episode to the effect that Scotty also beamed down some thermal heaters, but the heaters duplicated and didn’t work.

    Oswald Spengler

    August 6, 2018 at 10:48 AM

    • “There was a line in the episode to the effect that Scotty also beamed down some thermal heaters, but the heaters duplicated and didn’t work.”

      That was before they fixed the transporter.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      August 6, 2018 at 10:57 AM


    Did Usenet discussion groups discussing Star Trek episodes lead to the (current) Golden Age of TV?


    August 6, 2018 at 1:08 PM

  4. Is Yeoman Rand some kind of allusion to Ayn Rand?


    August 6, 2018 at 1:11 PM

  5. How do you know women fought back more in the 1960s than they do today? Because you saw it on a tv show? good grief.

    If anything women were probably less likely to protest or fight back in the 1960s particularly in gray area situations like an aggressive husband, because back in the day there was a society wide sentiment that women owed men sex whether they were enthusiastic about the idea or not.

    And as far as violent rapes go, anyone who knows anything about fighting knows it can be a bad idea to incite a much stronger aggressor. Some fought back, others may have been too terrified… same as today.

    What has transformed is the definition of rape has broadened to include ridiculous situations where increasingly abstruse ideas of consent haven’t been met. I once read the following story on reddit: a woman is sleeping in bed with her long time boyfriend. He starts having sex with her in the middle of the night while she’s still sleeping. As she wakes up/ realizes what is happening she is so shocked he didn’t ask her first that she doesn’t say anything. She just lies there motionless and silent. When he’s done, she decides she was raped. The majority(all?) reddit commenters agreed.

    Maybe I would go so far as to call it a misunderstanding but that’s NOT rape. She didn’t even have to ‘fight back,’ she could have said get off me. duh.

    If evil kirk had been truly alpha he would have gone ahead and raped her and not been dissuaded by a cat scratch. Since you’re borrowing pack animal nomenclature, most animal mating is far from consensual. Have you ever seen cats do it?


    August 6, 2018 at 2:01 PM

  6. I think you’ll find that Kirk has sex with far fewer aliens than popular mythology has it. He has his deepest romantic relationship with an earth woman from the 1930s. He also ends up married to an “alien” in one episode but she looks and acts just like an American Indian so I wouldn’t count that.

    Peter Akuleyev

    August 7, 2018 at 2:59 AM

    • I think she really was an American Indian. The planet was populated by humans taken from earth by aliens.

      Mike Street Station

      August 8, 2018 at 6:24 AM

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