In which the entire senior staff gets old, nobody is as good as fucking with Romulans as Kirk, and Chekov stays forever young, I wanna be forever young.
Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, Chekov, and a woman in science blues and a pixie cut beam down to a planet. Sulu must be in charge of the ship, and also guess who’s not beaming back up? Such a shame. She was cute. Kirk claims he suspected something was wrong, which must be why he took the entire senior staff with him. Way to go, Kirk. Meanwhile, Chekov finds a corpse in what’s either plague makeup or age makeup, and either way I would not want to be on that planet. Time to set up quarantine and set up sensors for everything you could possibly think of, right?
You haven’t been a crewmember long, have you?
Some old guy who looks like Mark Twain shows up, but it’s actually the 29-year-old administrator of the colony. Yup, definitely don’t want to be here.
Back aboard the ship, Kirk has another ex with an important job that won’t let the two of them be together. For all his reputation as a womanizer, he has a lot of women in his past he seems genuinely to want to stay with… if he wasn’t a Starfleet captain. The landing party are all showing ‘subtle’ signs of age. Kirk is getting back and joint pain and memory loss, and pixie-cut is getting
hard of hearing, and McCoy is going grey and grouchy. Well, grouchier. Only Chekov is unaffected, which is good news. I was afraid this was going to be a transporter cure episode, but that may be mainly a 24th century thing. If Chekov was unaffected then they’ll be able to synthesize some antibody and reverse it.
At least it’s not a plague. The rest of the ship isn’t affected. So some sort of energy field on the planet is probably to blame. As it turns out, the planet passed through the tail of a comet which created some scary radiation that they didn’t detect. Time for some magic technobabble involving the deflector dish? Perhaps.
As predicted, Pixie-cut doesn’t make it through the episode. The commodore has demanded that Spock take command since he’s holding up better than Kirk, and there’s a long boring drawn-out court scene culminating in the commodore taking command and ordering the Enterprise to cut through the Neutral Zone to get to Starbase 10.
A clue emerges. The one thing that Chekov did that nobody else did was be terrified of that dead body. Apparently Adrenaline was used to treat radiation sickness back in the day. I wonder if that’s true. But it’s late in the episode so they only have time for one more crisis. Given that the commodore who’s never commanded a starship ordered the Enterprise into the Neutral Zone, it’s probably going to be that Kirk gets better just in time to save the ship from the Commodore’s stupidity.
And he does. He sends a transmission to Starfleet using a code the Romulans have broken explaining that he’s going to detonate the Enterprise and kill everything within range. The Romulans back off and the ship escapes, because Kirk is, as he ever was, a tactical genius.