EPISODE FOUR: The Naked Time
Space madness! The greatest fear of all space goers comes to the Enterprise when an away team picks up a water-based bug on a dying planet. Transmitted through sweat, it acts like alcohol and releases inhibitions leading to AWESOME.
This episode balances a lot of interesting ideas and deep character moments really well; from the first infected crewman’s rant about how people just shouldn’t be in space (he raises a lot of valid points) to a playful drunk swaggering Irishman hijacking the ship’s systems to sing ditties minor day players get some great moments here as does the central cast.
This episode allows a hard look at the core motivators of the main players: Sulu becomes a swashbuckling adventurer (hilariously chasing crew members around the shop without a shirt on trying to stab them with a fencing foil…although this may in fact have just been George Takei being awesome):
This photo is better than the entirety of the new Three Musketeers film.
A nurse confesses her love to Spock and points out how the crew teases him constantly, which in turn leads to a complete breakdown by Spock (first of many) where he weeps and admits that he could never tell his human mother he loved her because he hated the feeling and was trying to suppress it. He further explains to Kirk that whenever he thinks of their friendship, he is disgusted with himself for feeling it-that’s some rough, hard stuff working at the core of Spock’s character and speaks to just how damn good some of these scripts and performances were.
Kirk, in turn, gets at his romantic core for the first time, admitting unrequited love for Yeoman Rand (the blonde featured heavily in Charlie X) but how The Enterprise is the truest relationship he can ever have, since he has taken responsibility as a captain rather than a man. This sentiment is reflected in Picard as well, who occasionally (and only occasionally) gives a glimpse into the sadness he feels that he never had children and dedicated his life to the dream of exploration. It’s the mariner’s lament, updated for space travel and it’s really fun getting to see it start in the fourth episode.
We also get our first real moments with Scotty, as he insists on safety procedures even as the ship is imminently doomed. It’s a small touch, but an honest one, as anyone who has ever worked with a technician will tell you.
Once all the space madness is resolved (by the heroes soldiering through their individual problems and working together) we get a little almost throw away scene that actually introduces one of the most important features of the Star Trek franchise: time travel. During their escape, the crew creates a time warp that sends them back 72 hours and has absolutely no consequence to the episode, but that Mr. Spock points out means “Now that we know the formula…we can travel through time.”
Hold on to your DeLoreans, kids and get ready for some time-paradox defying hijinks: Star Trek has discovered time travel.