Apr 16 2009 5:30pm

Star Trek Re-watch: “The Naked Time”

“The Naked Time”
Written by John D.F. Black
Directed by Marc Daniels

Season 1, Episode 4
Production episode: 1x06
Original air date: September 29, 1966
Star date: 1704.2


Mission summary
The Enterprise is in orbit around the planet Psi 2000, an ancient world in its “death throes” that has frozen over into an inhospitable wasteland, sort of like Hoth. The ship’s mission is to recover the science crew on the surface and observe the final disintegration of the planet. Mr. Spock and LTJG Joe Tormolen beam down to the surface and find that all of the scientists are dead: one woman strangled, another frozen at his post, and another frozen standing in the shower—fully clothed. (Note: If it looks like they’re wearing shower curtains instead of hazmat suits, it’s because they actually are.) Joe, in a moment of truly inspired stupidity, removes one of his gloves to scratch his nose. He bends down to take a reading and when touching the surface of a workstation comes into contact with some kind of red liquid. None the wiser having been infected with a space contagion, he replaces the glove and they beam back to the Enterprise.

McCoy inspects both Spock and Joe and pronounces them freakily weird and just fine, respectively. Something’s not right, though, and Joe begins to scratch his hand and sweat nervously. He then flips out, totally distraught over the deaths of the scientists in the labs down below. McCoy tells him to go rest, dismissing his distress as your run-of-the-mill post-traumatic emotional trauma. You know, that stuff that’s better left ignored.

The rest of the bridge crew get together for a meeting on the situation. Kirk demands answers—how did all those people die, and why? Could it spread to the Enterprise? His advisers prove unhelpful, but they all agree that she’s a tough ship, and she should be able to make it through the planet’s disintegration without any danger to the Enterprise. Oh naivety!

Joe decides to take the edge off with some hot steaming synthesized food. His brooding is interrupted by a cheerful Sulu, who is trying to persuade Riley that fencing is totally awesome. A delightful dialogue follows:

SULU: Foil. It’s a rapier. A thin sword.
RILEY: All right. So what do you do with it?
SULU: What do you mean, what do you do with it?
RILEY: Self-defense? Mayhem? Shish kebab?
SULU: You practice.
RILEY: For what?

I guess you don’t need much sword-fighting in space, eh? Being polite and hospitable people, Sulu and Riley try to include Joe in the conversation—and Joe erupts in an angry, emotional outburst. He rages about the foolishness of mankind, attempting to monopolize space—something we know nothing about, that’s dangerous and terrible and unknowable. Humans, he says, aren’t meant to be in spaceships, or stranded on cold, lifeless worlds. Pushed to the brink, he picks up a mess hall (butter?) knife, pointing it first at Sulu and them himself. Sulu and Riley try to stop him, and wrestle him to the ground—but it’s too late, he’s lanced himself, and Sulu calls sickbay for emergency medical personnel. Despite a swift response and fairly minor wounds, Joe dies in sickbay. McCoy believes that he simply lost the will to live.

Meanwhile on the bridge, the infected Sulu and Riley get the jitters, sweating and scratching themselves, as if something’s under their skin. They lose focus, and Kirk has to step in and make a minor course correction himself. When Kirk leaves the bridge Sulu gets an idea of just what will take the edge off: some exercise. He darts towards the turbolift. Once Spock notices that the helm is unattended, he asks Riley where Sulu went, and Riley adopts an Irish accent and talks back to Spock, as if...well, drunk. “Have no fear, O’Riley’s here!” he sings. Spock is not amused (this should be a lolcat, don’t you think?) and demands Riley report to sickbay.

Riley does as asked, reporting to sickbay seemingly only to flirt with Nurse Chapel before darting off into the hallways. Meanwhile, in perhaps the greatest scene I’ve ever witnessed on television, Sulu behaves as if he were a musketeer and starts threatening crewmembers! This here folks is like the Kirk in tights image—it’ll stay with you forever, whether you want it to or not (but don’t worry, you’ll want it to). George Takei is seriously ripped and his performance is nothing short of brilliant and delightful. He makes his way to the bridge where he believes Kirk to be Cardinal Richelieu (snicker) and attempts to “rescue” Uhura, a “fair maiden” (“Sorry, neither!” she responds). He is only subdued thanks to Spock’s absurdly OP race bonus, the Vulcan nerve pinch (to which Kirk famously responds: “I’d like you to teach me that sometime.” No kidding! Sign me up, too!).

At this point something has taken over the ship completely: Riley. Riley proceeds to lock out any attempts to regain control, despite the fact that the Enterprise is spiraling to its inevitable doom, ready to hit the planet’s atmosphere in only twenty minutes. He uses that precious time to broadcast a nearly nails-on-chalkboard version of “I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen” and otherwise issue absurd decrees to the crew as their “new captain.” Scotty and the engineering crew scramble to get through the bulkhead, release the door control, and retake engineering, but by now the entire ship has descended into chaos. Rand can’t seem to get by suitors, and Spock turns up in sickbay—to discover Sulu tranquilized and strapped to a bed, and a lovesick Nurse Chapel. She declares her love for Spock, saying that

the men from Vulcan treat their women strangely. At least, people say that, but you’re part human, too. I know you don’t, you couldn’t, hurt me, would you? I’m in love with you, Mr. Spock. You, the human Mr. Spock, the Vulcan Mr. Spock.

Treat them strangely? Wonder what that means... To be honest I found the most unrealistic part of this scene not to be her love, which sounds entirely sweet and genuine, but the fact that she went after Spock despite having a half-naked Sulu strapped to the bed next to her! Come ON, Nurse Chapel! There’s just no understanding some people.

She caresses Spock, infecting him, and he high-tails it out of there before completely losing control of his emotions. Devastated by his inability to express his feelings, he hides in the briefing room and breaks down into tears. This scene was apparently unscripted and done in one take.

Scotty and Kirk break back into the engine room and remove Riley, only to discover that Riley has turned off the engines. They’ll require thirty minutes to fully heat up and allow the ship to get out of the spiraling deathtrap of their current orbit. Kirk demands they try something, even if it means mixing matter and antimatter cold, despite Scotty’s protestations that “I cannot change the laws of physics!” There’s only one man humanoid who can save them—Spock—so Kirk sets out to find him.

And find him he does, curled up like a baby and sobbing that he never told his mother he loved her. The two of them then proceed to have a crying manfight, as Kirk, clearly emotional and losing control himself, hits and tries to provoke Spock. They have two entirely different conversations, beautifully interwoven such that each morphs into the other over the course of the exchange:

KIRK: You’ve got to hear me! We need a formula. We’ve got to risk implosion!
SPOCK: It’s never been done! Understand, Jim. I’ve spent a whole lifetime learning to hide my feelings.
KIRK: We’ve got to risk implosion. It’s our only chance.
SPOCK: It’s never been done.
KIRK: Don’t tell me that again, Science Officer! It’s a theory. It’s possible. We may go up into the biggest ball of fire since the last sun in these parts exploded, but we’ve got to take that one in ten thousand chance!
KIRK: I’ve got it, the disease. Love. You’re better off without it, and I’m better off without mine. This vessel, I give, she takes. She won’t permit me my life. I’ve got to live hers.
KIRK: I have a beautiful yeoman. Have you noticed her, Mister Spock? You’re allowed to notice her. The Captain’s not permitted
SPOCK: Jim, there is an intermix formula.
KIRK: Now I know why it’s called she.
SPOCK: It’s never been tested. It’s a theoretical relationship between time and antimatter.
KIRK: Flesh woman to touch, to hold. A beach to walk on. A few days, no braid on my shoulder.

It’s fantastically well played-out as Spock’s initial obsession with the subject of love infects a weakened Kirk, and the gravity of the present situation that Kirk first tried to impress brings Spock out of his delirium. By the end they've reversed roles: Spock is steady and sober, committed to saving the ship, and Kirk is a mess of emotions, feeling trapped by his relationship to the Enterprise.

Meanwhile, McCoy has discovered that the infection is passed by perspiration and devised a serum that he tests (successfully) on Sulu. Sulu returns to the bridge, followed by Kirk (to whom the doctor promptly administers an antidote via an entirely unnecessary shirt rip). Still struggling with his emotions, the captain reaches his hand over to Yeoman Rand—and withdraws it, anguished, before giving the order to Spock to try to save the Enterprise. Just as the ship is about to be consumed by the planet’s atmosphere, the cold matter and antimatter mix in an explosion. They travel faster than is at all possible, and slowly wind down power, only to discover that the chronometer has been going backwards. It’s three days earlier, and they have three days to live all over again...


Wow. This episode completely blew me away. It’s smart, it’s thoughtful, it’s action-packed, tense, even funny! I think from here on out it will be the episode to which I measure all others, whether I mean to or not. Let’s start with talking about the firsts in this episode: we get see the Vulcan nerve pinch and time travel, which seems like little more than aside at the end, but is absolutely huge. The abrupt ending is due in part to the fact that this episode was intended to be a two-parter. The second half eventually became “Tomorrow is Yesterday.”

“The Naked Time” posed a question that has always nagged me about the possibility of space travel: even if we can, why is it that we should? Space, here, is a dangerous, empty, inhospitable place, and it’s not meant for men. The idea of the terrible unknown is a recurring theme, from Spock summarizing the madness phenomenon as “like nothing we’ve dealt with before,” to reminding the captain that “instruments register only those things they’re designed to register. Space still contains infinite unknowns.” This is actually repeated in sickbay: “Bones, I want the impossible checked out, too.” The dangers they know of in space—aliens, disintegrating planets, vast swaths of unpopulated emptiness—are insignificant compared to the great threat of the unknown. So why go? Why do it at all? Even in the pursuit of knowledge the cost—the emotional cost of devastating loneliness, and the very human cost of lives lost on these planets and in these missions—is so great. This threat has always weighed on the minds of the men and women onboard, particularly Tormolen. I thought that his speech on men in space was poignant:

We’re all a bunch of hypocrites. Sticking our noses into something that we’ve got no business. What are we doing out here, anyway?....We bring pain and trouble with us, leave men and women stuck out on freezing planets until they die. What are we doing out here in space? Good? What good? We’re polluting it, destroying it. We’ve got no business being out here. No business....If a man was supposed to fly, he’d have wings. If he was supposed to be out in space, he wouldn’t need air to breathe, wouldn’t need life-support systems to keep him from freezing to death.... We don’t belong here. It’s not ours. Not ours. Destroying and watching. We don’t belong. I don’t belong. Six people died down there. Why do I deserve to live?

He has a point, but, if you ask me, the fact that the Enterprise is orbiting Psi 2000 is no coincidence—Spock describes the process it’s going through as “Earth’s distant future.” Men go into space because they must. Because knowledge, expansion, and exploration are the only way to ensure a future for the human race. Because the Earth will not always be there for us, even if we are there for it.

And what is man, at his basest? We see men and women, stripped of their inhibitions, acting only on their tumultuous hearts. Tormolen self-destructs under the weight of his own doubts. Riley’s self-aggrandizement jeopardizes the entire ship and its crew. Sulu, the quiet science officer, secretly harbors a passionate desire to be a hero. Nurse Chapel declares her love for Spock, but it’s not a sexualized or even idealized love; she accepts him for what he is. Spock is filled only with regret and self-loathing, wishing he had had the courage to love his mother and not be ashamed of his friendship with Kirk. Vulnerable, threatened, and lacking the emotional maturity to make sense of it, Spock breaks down. And Kirk, well Kirk is tied to his Enterprise, his relationship to her necessarily limiting (if not entirely suppressing) all other emotional attachments. He can’t “notice” Yeoman Rand because he has a responsibility as the captain to transcend those kinds of attachments. His needs are trumped by the needs of the crew and the ship. Yet the thought of losing the ship is one he can’t possibly bear. “Never lose you. Never,” he whispers to the Enterprise. To Kirk, love is something he’s “better off without,” bringing only suffering and longing. It can only remain unfulfilled. Man doesn’t need space to be lonely—he can do it all on his lonesome.


Torie’s Rating: Warp 6 (on a scale of 1-6)

Eugene Myers: This is a weird episode, with enough uneven elements that it probably shouldn’t work. But I find this is still a lot of fun and thoughtful, and it’s one of the episodes I usually think of as quintessential Star Trek.

The alien virus is a clever, if sometimes clumsy, way to set up a lot of character background in a really short period of time. This episode clearly shows us Spock’s conflict over his human and Vulcan sides, literally displaying the warring emotions he bottles up with logic. It’s very touching when he says, “My mother. I could never tell her I loved her.” He doesn’t make the same mistake with Kirk when he admits: “Jim, when I feel friendship for you, I’m ashamed.” Through the same mechanism, we see Kirk’s slavish devotion to the only real woman in his life, Enterprise. The last shot in that scene, when he says, “Never lose you. Never,” completely defines him and resonates all the way through to Star Trek III: The Search for Spock when (SPOILER!) he is forced to sacrifice her at last. Most notably, this is Nurse Chapel’s first episode (she’s only called Christine in the episode and the credits) and we already know that her love for Spock is a key aspect of her character. There were also some light touches I enjoyed: McCoy’s Southern accent is more noticeable when he says “His wounds were not that severe.”

The episode is overall a pretty serious one, especially when Joe starts voicing his doubts over whether humans should be in space at all. I was particularly struck by the messages scrawled on the Enterprise’s walls: LOVE MANKIND and SINNER REPENT in blood red paint. But the somber tone is balanced with humor, as this has some truly funny moments. When Spock subdues the swashbuckling Sulu with a Vulcan neck pinch, he orders the crew to “take d’Artagnan here to Sickbay.” And as Riley continues to serenade the ship with “Kathleen,” Kirk reacts with visible pain and mutters, “Please, not again.” There are some overly melodramatic and silly moments (such as the dangerous butter knife Joe tries to kill himself with, and McCoy tearing half Kirk’s sleeve off to use the hypospray), but they don’t diminish the effectiveness of the whole.

The strangest thing in this episode is the resolution, when they inadvertently discover the ability to travel through time. Introducing the concept of timewarp in the last few minutes feels like they’re laying the ground work for later episodes (and, perhaps a film...) which seems unusual for a weekly show that “resets” at the end of the episode. As Torie pointed out, that’s exactly what they were doing.

Overall, this is a terrific episode which far surpasses its fairly embarrassing sequel on Star Trek: The Next Generation, “The Naked Now.”

Eugene’s Rating: Warp 6 (on a scale of 1-6)

Best Line: Sulu, brandishing a foil: “Richelieu, beware! Stand. No farther. No escape for you. You either leave this bois bloodied, or with my blood on your swords. Cowards!”

Syndication Edits: They cut some of the sillier Riley stuff, like sauntering through the corridors and blowing on the sickbay doors to open them. The most upsetting cut is certainly Sulu playing with the rapier and accidentally poking himself. The mixed expression of surprise and delight is just unmissable.

Other notes: Wikipedia claims that Sulu was originally going to play with a katana, but that the idea was tossed to avoid racial stereotyping. If that’s true, that’s spectacular! What an easy pitfall they could’ve fallen into, and yet they didn’t! The result is a truly remarkable scene, one that Takei remembers as his favorite on the show. Who wouldn’t want to be an 18th century swashbuckler?

Next episode: Season 1, Episode 5 - “The Enemy Within.” US residents can watch it for free at the CBS website.

Check the Star Trek Re-Watch Index for a complete list of posts in this series.

RA Porter
1. RA Porter
"The Naked Now" isn't really a sequel. A WGA strike forced the show to play hurry up in banging scripts out so they repurposed the old script.
Torie Atkinson
2. Torie
@ Eugene and @ 1

Oh "The Naked Now." Shudder. This episode is so much smarter and sexier. When the men and women on this Enterprise lose their inhibitions we see their deepest hopes and darkest fears, rather than the crew just taking their clothes off.

Of course, as far as contagions-that-make-you-go-primitive plots, "The Naked Now" is freaking masterpiece compared to Threshold, the Voyager ep with the lizard sex.
Eugene Myers
3. ecmyers

Yeah, I thought about "Threshold" when Charlie turned that woman into a lizard in "Charlie X"...
RA Porter
4. Tom Marcinko
"Sorry, neither!" Gotta love that.
Alan Stallings
5. astacvi
Sacha G
6. Fortune_Prick_Me
This is a seriously fun episode. I caught the entire ST:TOS run as a young child on local channel syndication. Watching them years later, I am impressed how so many elements have stayed with me, I don't think many parents in the mid/late-seventies were aware how adult (or possibly subversive) Saturday morning re-runs could be.

This ep may have been one of the definitive "humanizing" Spock episodes that we all remember subconsciously. Incredible it came so early in the show, I had no idea.

Torie@2 the "alien infection re-makes" of this were gawd-awful in TNG and Voyager. This guy here is a wicked Voyager reviewer:
Threshold vid review
Bill Siegel
7. ubxs113
What a great episode.

I've really been struck in these first few episodes by how strongly they're able to convey just how alone the Enterprise is. I don't remember that from when I was kid or TNG or the other series but the vast emptiness of space and how cut off the crew is from Earth or anything else is really stark, and really cool. Adds a whole other dimension for me as an adult.

I really love the sets of the enterprise too. Obviously they have that retro feel but there's something else about them. They have a simple, utilitarian beauty about them that really ties into the whole Trek philosophy of everyone working for the common good. Sounds kinda commie but I can live with that.

Anyway, great job on the recap guys and keep up the good work!
Jeff Soules
8. DeepThought
I guess you don’t need much sword-fighting in space, eh?

Of course you do! How else are you going to repel boarders when you encounter the inevitable space pirates?

I, too, was struck by the incredibly powerful performances come out of Shatner, Nimoy, and Takei in this episode. I mostly watched Star Trek backwards -- started with the movies, and most of the eps I've seen have been late ones -- so to see Kirk's unrequited passion for his ship laid so bare, well, it goes a long way toward explaining his serial one-nights with various feminine aliens. Since that one love can't ever be consummated, he'll rush to whatever arms are available...?

And also, good on Rodenberry et al for giving Sulu a rapier instead of a katana. Now if only they hadn't made the Irishman a drunken warbler... well, can't have everything I guess.
Richard Fife
9. R.Fife
I... have nothing to be argumentative about. I agree, this ep rocked, and we can't even get all "Gar sexism" since everyone was being drunk-horny... *ahem*

I have to say, my fav line was: "Kirk: Not again." When Riley says he's going to sing it "one more time". Oh, and as a classical fencer myself, absolutely love seeing a proper french-grip foil instead of some silly pistol-sport foil.

And, while I might not have gotten the same response as Tori to the half-naked sulu, at least it was acceptable like Gerard Butler in 300, as opposed to afformentioned red tights.
Tara Chang
10. tlchang
Personally, I totally crushed on Sulu as a kid in this episode. (Ended up marrying an Asian man... Coincidence?)
Arachne Jericho
11. arachnejericho
I'd forgotten how good this episode was. All the horrible spinoff "remakes" blurred the memory.

I need to visit the website and rewatch these.
Torie Atkinson
12. Torie
@ 7

That was exactly my reaction, as well. I don't remember the themes of this show being so dark and somber.

The sets really are perfect. They might look a bit cheesy today, but if you try and get out of that mindset they look like the perfect ideal of a utilitarian future.

@ 9

Apparently Takei practiced for weeks, because he wanted his fencing to look realistically. He said he also worked out a lot to prepare for this one...

@ 10

I hope you don't have to be a kid to crush on him here... :D

@ 11

The episodes are actually up at You can watch this episode here.
C.D. Thomas
13. cdthomas
Might I suggest that since this site also reviews mundane work as CRIMINAL MINDS, that Mr. Myers could be persuaded to comment on this week's CSI episode, which makes GALAXY QUEST look non-hermetic and loose, self-referentially? Just the nested histories and relationships concerning ST between CBS, Viacom and Paramount make my head dizzy....

Seriously, what Shankar, Weddle & Thompson did was the same kind of textual analysis being done here, with the bonus of a framing story focused on the BSG reboot, our foolish, fannish lives, and metatextual theory.

Sure, mundanes are tripping on teh funny and the costumes, but the core story between the regulars is as touching as it gets -- and those of you liking ST who've never imagined yourselves on a primary-colored stage backdrop pondering the mysteries of love and life, I just don't wanna hear it, OK? Langham made me tear up, which I thought I'd never, evah do for a CSI episode.
Michael Ikeda
14. mikeda

(Takei and fencing practice)

Leading to the joke that "Whenever the director yelled 'Cut!', George did!"

(Don't recall where I read this, apparently one of the other cast members was kidding George at some event or other.)
C.D. Thomas
15. cdthomas
Oh, and technically the cold intermix caused an implosion, I think. If it was imbalanced, then we'd get the biggest explosion in these parts since yadda-yadda-yadda....

Two other bits -- First, this episode established Sulu's weapons jones, something that was treated lightheartedly in contrast to ENTERPRISE's security officer with an outright fetish, which really didn't change much in his mirror self.

Also, what other show can afford to throw away such a concept as time travel in the very last minutes of the show? Yeah, I know, it was awkward, but it only shows how many frigging *ideas* the ST writing room had up their sleeves, and I can only think that was due to the SF writers who bounced from magazines to films to TV during the mid-60s.

I think part of the paucity of ideas we've seen in SF movies (and in non-BSG/FARSCAPE TV) lately has to do with so few muscular writers we have now that can Do It All. Yeah, we've got a farm team of comix writers who are getting there, but they aren't yet showrunners. If they were, we'd see much fewer trainwrecks like HEROES and select seasons of LOST....
16. Hatgirl
Oh yes, this was a great one. My favourite part is Kirk and Uhuru screaming at each other over Riley's singing. They can cope with their ship hurtling towards its doom, but it's the singing that has them losing it.

@8 As an Irish person, I didn't have a problem with Riley the drunken warbler. I viewed him as an American who obsesses over his Irish ancestors while drunk ;-)
Avram Grumer
18. avram
Kirk gets his revenge on Riley nine episodes later in "The Conscience of the King".
Tara Chang
19. tlchang
@12 Torie - I don't think kid-crush-only is necessary - just commenting on the potentially life-altering impact it had on my very young psyche when I watched it first time around. :-)

And I totally second @13's request for someone to do a review of last week's CSI ("A Space Oddity"). *SO* many references, cameos, and hilarious 'homages' - plus as @13 said, actually touching! Great SFish episode.
RA Porter
20. Gerald Fnord
I have to wonder if they lost the karana because they were trying to finesse Sulu's ethnicity---the reason why he's named 'Sulu' to begin-with....
RA Porter
21. VegasAndorian
I'm just catching up with this, and find the re-watches fun and fascinating.

One thing I like is the comparative depth of soul exploration in this 60s episode versus the yee-haw-we're-horny of the 80s TNG version. An example of 60s conservativism? 80s shallowness? A step backward, no question, but why, I wonder?

@20 - Interesting note on Takei and katana vs rapier: In an interview he once said when the script originally came around Sulu did indeed run around with a katana, samurai like. Takei said he told the writers, "I don't know anything about katanas, I grew up in California watching Errol Flynn movies. How about a rapier and Musketeer fantasy?" If it's true, nice touch.

@6 & 8 - Nimoy has said that this is the episode where Spock's fan mail shot through the roof. And consequently where the network suits, who had previously said "Down play the alien" told Roddenberry, "More Spock!"
Torie Atkinson
22. Torie
@ 21

Amazing that the TNG remake of this could be so remarkably bad, right? I, too, was impressed that here they didn't resort to the cheap answer of having them all become drunk and horny. Each responded in his own way, and for many of the characters that meant soul-searching sadness. It feels so much more...human.

It was Takei himself who requested that? That's great! It really is a lovely touch, and tells us so much about Sulu without resorting to absurd stereotyping.
j p
23. sps49
@21, 22-

The sword is also an early example to me of how actors (and others) who actually care what they are helping create can effect positive change, especially in the face of writers and directors who worked last week on Gunsmoke and will work next week on The Lucy Show. If not for Takei, Nimoy's hissy fits in the 3rd season, Nichols threatening to blow up the comm panel rather than repeat "Hailing Frequencies Open" one more time, the show would likely have been all over the place (even more?) and not built a loyal following.

And this is why I think there is conflict between the collective "institutional memory" of consumers and caring production personnel versus the "suits" who, at worst, see an audience that will go see whatever story they think can be procured most cheaply, will produce the most toy sales, etc.
Rajan Khanna
25. rajanyk
In my little attempt to catch up with you folks, I have to say that this is the best episode I've seen so far and as Eugene said, hits all the right Trek notes for me. I was happy to see the Vulcan neck pinch and the Sulu swashbuckling. But I think my favorite scene was when Spock breaks down. I just really thought that was well done without being cheesy and I love when they add Kirk to the mix.

I guess I never really thought of it before, but Spock I guess has always been my favorite, just for moments like this.

And yes, the TNG episode sucked and this was done much better.
Eugene Myers
26. ecmyers
@ 25 rajanyk

Leonard Nimoy is just so freaking talented, it's always great when they give him a chance to push the character in different ways. He plays emotionless and logical so well, it's a shock when Spock acts or reacts with feelings, and Nimoy usually does it with the right touch of subtlety. A little goes a long way.
RA Porter
27. Bluejay Young
In Star Trek Lives! (Winston, Marshak, Lichtenberg, Ballantine 1975), Nimoy describes exactly how he took control of that scene. An amazing actor at work.
RA Porter
28. Solid Muldoon
"Sorry, neither."

It wasn't until years later that I realized how subversive that line was. Sure, we can see that she is not fair, but for the unmarried Uhura to boldly state that she is not a maiden? I can't believe that got past the censors.
RA Porter
29. Keith Sampino
Just saw a YouTube interview with George Takei about this episode. According to him, the writer of this episode had visited the Star Trek set about a month or so before this episode was shot. He got to talking to Takei about a script with a contagious virus that destroys inhibitions and about a scene where Sulu is annoying everybody with a katana. It was Takei that suggested that Sulu use a fencing foil because when he was a kid, he adored The Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn, whom he would imitate in the backyard when he got home. The scriptwriter apparently agreed and that's how we got Sulu with a fencing foil.

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