TREK-A-DAY: This Side of Paradise
EPISODE TWENTY-FOUR: This Side of Paradise
A nice change of pace in this episode, though still with high stakes, as Kirk and Co. land on a hippy commune planet where more and more crew members drink the Kool-Aid (in this case, flower spores) leading to a mass mutiny of love and happiness driving the crew to abandon ship. This is a great scenario for two reasons:
a) It gives Spock some time to be emotional and in love (he gets some) as well as playfully climb a tree. It’s always nice to see Nemoy get to play something other than just logic.
b) Kirk is genuinely defeated by the fact that his crew just leaves the ship. There’s actually nothing he can do, which is awesome. There’s a great moment of him just sitting on the bridge, alone and defeated where he comments on the fact that the ship is really damn big and really damn quiet. It’s a beautifully lonely scene and an excellent reminder that no matter how determined Kirk is, he needs his crew or the ship (and he himself) are useless.
They resolve the spore issue through rage (RAGE!) and Kirk’s stuntman throws down pretty epically with Spock after Kirk insults the hell out of him. There’s some great humour here and some wonderful moments between the crew both in and out of commune mode.
All-in-all, a great little episode that kind of addresses the commune lifestyle of the 60s, while also giving us a much needed break from huge, serious commentaries about the future of humanity. It’s a nice little look at one facet of society of the time and of what actually makes The Enterprise run.