Second Union

Second Union

STAR TREK REWIND: “The Eye of the Beholder”

“They’re in my head! What … happened … to … the baby?!”

David Harmon had written “The Deadly Years” and “A Piece of the Action” for Star Trek’s second season. Producer Gene Coon had brought much-needed humor to the show upon his arrival, and Harmon’s scripts, while serious in nature, were built on silly premises. “The Eye of the Beholder” is a somewhat campy departure from a writer who worked primarily on Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch.

While investigating the disappearance of a landing party on the planet Lactra VII, an enormous creature resembling a dinosaur nearly smothers McCoy. Spock notes the planet is unusual because of differing ecologies (rainforest and desert) within close proximity of each other. Spock and Kirk begin to suspect the planet is artificial. The creatures that inhabit the planet resemble animals from other places all over the galaxy. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are captured and carried to a large alien city by what I can only describe as gigantic slugs. Spock discovers that the alien creatures are telepathic.

It seems the landing party is stuck in some kind of an alien zoo. Obviously, we’ve seen this before and we will see it again. This episode is a variation of “The Cage,” Roddenberry’s first pilot episode of Star Trek. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are taken to a cage where they meet up with other human inhabitants, namely Commander Markel and his landing party. Kirk asks Spock to communicate telepathically with the aliens. Unfortunately, they think he’s cute for trying to talk to them. While it seems a harmless existence, one of Markel’s party, Nancy Randolph, is ill but the creatures don’t know how to care for her.

This is very much like the Twilight Zone episode, “People Are Alike All Over,” wherein Roddy McDowall is captured by Martians and put in a zoo display that resembles a house where he is to spend the rest of his life being gawked at by curious onlookers. I had always assumed humans were too boring to provide entertainment, but I’m sure pygmy marmosets and albino tigers had the same assumptions about themselves.

Star Trek Rewind explores the Star Trek universe. From Archer to Janeway, Kirk to Picard, and Georgiou to Sisko — boldly read what no one has read before!

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