In which Star Trek tries and fails to tell a ghost story.
Kirk’s first words of the episode are “A ghost planet?” and it appears the planet is only a few thousand years old, with a volume of Luna and a mass of Earth. In summary, there’s a bunch of weird and unprecedented shit going on with this planet, which is a perfect reason to beam down and investigate it. Just as they do, though, a woman appears in the transporter room and warns them away. It’s too late. They beam down to the planet and the soundstage falls apart. So apparently Woman In Purple was from NBC’s insurance department? Then the Enterprise flashes white and the planet disappears. Or the ship does.
Kirk and the landing party, stranded on the planet, begin to go about the business of assuring their survival. The transporter chief that the Woman in Purple nerve pinched is dead, and the Enterprise is 997 light years away. They better hurry back, since all the plant life on the planet is apparently toxic. Fortunately, Sulu is getting some anomalous reading that will probably lead to whatever secret facility this little planetoid was built to conceal. The Woman in Purple shows up behind the geologist and starts reaching out to him just like the way she killed that technician on the ship. Creepy as fuck.
Kirk goes to use his phaser to dig a grave for D’Amato, but, as expected from a a planetoid with the mass of Earth, the rock is too strong for the phasers to dig through. It’s as good a thing as any to occuypy their time, since the Enterprise is 11.33 hours away. Something bad is probably going to happen, though. Scotty thinks the ship feels wrong, and since he’s extremely competent in the engine room, he’s probably right. Scotty is a seat-of-the-pants pilot in an age where such things barely exist anymore. He dispatches one of his engineers to go examine an intermix directly, and he gets accosted b the Woman in Purple, who kills him and then disappears into a shadow on the wall.
There are either multiple of the Woman in Purple or she can teleport across hundreds of light-years. Given that just before they kill, they name their target and say “I am for you” they appear to be some form of weapon. That they also appear to be immune to phasers and are tuned to specific people lends credence to this theory.
To correct the sabotage, Scotty will go into a crawlway and attempt to unfuse the antimatter flow regulators, while Spock feeds Scotty’s hunch into the computer. The Woman in Purple or whoever she is built by also appears to be able to sabotage phasers while people are still wearing them. She (they) are called Losira and don’t even show up as mechanical on a tricorder scan, and their purpose is to protect the station that is the planet.
So, Losira seems an incredibly shitty defense mechanism. She can appear out of nowhere but doesn’t just pop up immediately behind people and explode them, nor is she capable of exploding more people than the one she was specifically timed for. Likely, this is going to turn out to be because of Jargon. This episode has a lot of Jargon where science might normally fit.
Sadly, the episode ends in an abiding mystery. The station was created by some species called the Kolandans, who also accidentally created a plague that killed them all. Hooray, I guess? I feel like that was basically a wasted hour.