In which Kirk gets kinky, McCoy suffers withdrawal, and one of the writers latched on to a psychological study.
We don’t open with a log entry, so today is not a crisis day, but we do open with
Kirk showing symptoms of prolonged stress and fatigue. I suppose once the captain gets stressed, he gets to make the call to let the crew off for a picnic. Even Spock is commenting on the frailties of humans and the need to let them rest. Meanwhile, McCoy and Sulu are down on the surface of an idylic planet talking about how much everyone needs a picnic. McCoy makes an offhand comment about Alice in Wonderland, and those of you who have any familiarity with Original Series Trek at all know what’s coming next.
This is one of those episodes.
McCoy is not prepared for this sort of anarchy. To be fair, I wouldn’t be either. Even Kirk’s log entry sounds incredulous. McCoy reports this to the captain, who jokingly suggests that Alice was following behind. Yeah. And Spock has tricked Kirk into ordering himself to take shore leave. One of the scouting party looks familiar. I do believe that’s Angela Martine, who in “Balance of Terror” lost her fiancee on the very day of their aborted wedding. She seems remarkably over it. Then again, she does get to breathe fresh air for the first time in months. She’s lucky to be on the scouting party, because Kirk cancels the beam-down when he finds the footprints. Gunshots are heard, and it turns out that Sulu just found an old-style revolver just like the one he’s always wanted.
So Kirk and McCoy are talking, Kirk starts reminiscing about an old bully of his in the Academy, and when Alice’s tracks and the rabbit’s split up, Kirk elects to follow the young blonde girl. C’mon, Jim. This is why you have a Reputation. Good thing he’s about to get distracted by that bully punching him across the jaw. All sorts of strange things are coming out of daydreams and performing increasing levels of assault on the crew. Fortunately, there’s a rational explanation for all this – the brain-scanning antennae that keep popping out of rocks and trees.
This is one of those things where we get to watch the crew figure something out and speculate. The question I have is ‘What happened to the people who built all this?’ They clearly have matter replication, sophisticated androids that can perfectly mimic humans, flocks of birds in flight, and large nonhumanoid animals from scanned memory. Did the previous owners move on, or succumb to the inevitable fate of cultures that invent Better Than Life technology and simply stop bothering to live real life? Or did they transcend and keep maintaining this as kind of a public works project?
The Shore Leave Planet machinery doesn’t seem very adept at giving humans what they want, though it’s pretty decent at giving them what they ask for. Therefore, I don’t thiink it actually says all that much about Kirk that it gives him a knock-down drag-out fight with his Academy rival and a chance to get his tunic ripped.
It appears we can increment our God-Like Beings counter. Fortunately, once all the misunderstandings are sorted out, they actually turned out to be benevolent.