In which other universes are bad for you, the worst weapon ever is deployed, and Scotty remains an alcoholic.
Sulu and Chekov seem nervous. The ship is looking for the USS Defiant in uncharted territory, and space appears to be “breaking up” according to Spock. The ship eventually finds a glowing green Constitution-class ship although it’s invisible to sensors. I would love to know what makes the visual segment of the EM spectrum so damn special.
The crew suits up and beams over, again despite the fact that the Enterprise can’t see the damn ship. How exactly does that work? Do they just beam over and hope that a guy in a room in the middle of the ship with no windows can guesstimate exactly where the beam should rematerialize? That seems… iffy… to me. Fortunately, they rematerialize on the bridge and are able to stand on it, despite the thing having no registered mass. And it looks like there’s been a mutiny aboard. The only two bodies on the bridge have their hands around each others throats. In fact, everyone appears to have been in a fight. A bunch of people are even strapped down to sick bay beds, or strewn across those weird table-things in Engineering. And now Chekov, depsite wearing an environment suit, is getting a little light-headed.
The investigations are cut short when McCoy realizes the ship is dissolving. And it appears to be contagious, because it’s messing with the Enterprise transporters. Enough that Scotty abandons the command chair to go fix it because his techs are incompetent. He gets Spock, McCoy, and Chekov on the first pass, but the Defiant fades out before they can get Kirk. They decide they have to wait for it to fade back in, and Chekov goes mental, because he’s the butt monkey who always gets the weird space-plague.
Meanwhile, here come the Tholians. They’re jerks. Actually, scratch that, they’re not jerks. They claim what the Federation believes is unclaimed territory but they’re willing to wait, apparently, despite the utter implausibility of Spock’s story. I mean, if you were defending your territory and someone was where they shouldn’t be and claimed they were there to rescue someone who wasn’t actually there, would you wait two hours before punching them in the face?
Sadly, the power signature of the Tholian ship screwed the phase doorway, so a battle begins. It’s not a very long-lived battle, but it lasts long enough to cripple the Enterprise so that another tholian ship can show up and start weaving their titular web. A web which takes so long to build that Spock holds a memorial service while it’s happening. What is the intended purpose of this weapon? It’s clearly not a battle-capable weapon, because it’s taken like half an hour to not even finish deploying. Spock and McCoy have time to get into a screaming, flaming row and have it resolved with all the feels by Kirk’s last message to both of them. Seriously why do the Tholians even have this. A weapon whose utility is in locking up a ship that’s already essentially dead in space?
Uhura is, I kid you not, putting on her pajama bling when she sees Kirk show up in a mirror. The crazy in space is happening more and more often, or else hopefully the Defiant is phasing back into conjunction and Kirk will be near enough to the Enterprise to beam aboard. Also seriously, they’re still building that web. And they have twenty more minutes before the conjuction will occur again, by which time the web will presumably still not be built. Fortunately, at least, McCoy came up with an antidote which is nerve gas diluted in alcohol and orange juice. The rationale is that it will stop the weird nerve impulses that this space is causing without causing deadly side effects.
In the post-episode wrap-up we get to see McCoy and Spock teaming up to try and confuse Kirk. Even odds as to whether it took.