This is a continuation of something that I think is particularly interesting: Stripping down all of Star Trek into Discovery like seasons. No fillers, just plot you could say. We are continuing through The Original Series. As always, some of the episodes could be switched to later seasons and I may expand the series in number of seasons if I feel that the story is imperative to the rest of what we know. We will also be looking at The Animated Series as a part of TOS. This will go through production order instead of air-date order.
I will continue to explain why I have included that particular episode in this list. Before we get started, here’s a recap of the first half of the new Season 1 of The Original Series:
|1×01||Where No Man Has Gone Before|
|1×02||The Corbomite Maneuver|
|1×03||Balance of Terror|
|1×04||Dagger of the Mind|
|1×06||The Conscience of the King|
|1×07||The Galileo Seven|
|1×08||The Menagerie, Part I|
Returning after the mid-season break, we get the conclusion of the story. It reinforces the loyalty that Spock has for his friends. This is a great example of how far Spock is willing to go and plants the seed in Kirk’s mind to go as far as he can to save those he cares about (see Star Trek III).
We also get a glimpse what things were like while Kirk was still working his way through the ranks. At the end of the episode, we also see that Spock is loyal to Kirk as well when he reveals that he did not wish that Kirk to potentially suffer the same fate as he would.
Arena is an episode that has many facets of what makes Star Trek Star Trek. It shows us that sometimes a war can be started by a misunderstanding and to try our best to understand one another.
In the meat of the episode, we get to see Kirk figure out how to defeat a much stronger enemy. His individual ingenuity winds up saving him, however it shows that he does need Spock and McCoy to get to the solution quicker. By the end, we see that man has evolved to the point where they have decided that they will not kill today. We also get to see Spock start to put into practice lessons learned from the doomed Galileo mission earlier in the series.
In this episode, we see the continuation of the theme of choosing not to kill. We also witness how Kirk deals with the diplomatic corps of the times. It establishes the chain of command on the ship with Scotty being the third in command behind Kirk and Spock.
We see some of the famous “Cowboy Diplomacy” in action with Kirk as he attempts (spoilers: successfully) to end a centuries old war with the threat of ACTUAL war. We also get to see the beginnings of the Vulcans’ ability.
For the rest of Star Trek, you can not leave this one out. If not for this one, we would not have The Wrath of Khan. Not only do we get introduced to Khan Noonien Singh, arguably the best antagonist in the entire franchise, but we also see more of Kirk’s command style and the character he has in the face of a deadly enemy.
We see that Kirk does have compassion in allowing McGivers to avoid a court-martial by giving her the choice to accompany Khan and his crew to Ceti Alpha V. It shows consistency in trying his best to avoid a court-martial even when there was a mutiny involved.
We get to see more of Kirk’s compassion in this episode. His command style is still on full display and we get to see how he works with Spock as they try to solve the issue.
We also see a use of a bit of the famous Vulcan sass. This is not the only thing about Vulcans we see. Spock demonstrates that his race can mind meld. This helps them in discovering the creature (Horta) is only protecting her unborn young. Aside from all this, we also get a twist that the “Devil” is in fact the humans in the facility. These kind of lessons are a staple within the franchise.
The penultimate episode introduces the Federation’s main foil in this era: the Klingons. We get a firm establishment of how the Klingons of this era are. They are ruthless and not to be crossed unless you’re ready to battle them.
We also establish that Kirk would rather try to teach a man to fish rather than give a man a fish. It doesn’t get far due to the Organians insistence on pacifism. By the end, we see that although they are rivals and enemies, there is a certain amount of respect between the two.
When it came for me to choose the finale for the first season, it was natural in my mind to choose this one. My reasoning was that I somehow has considered it the finale anyways. This episode is so great that it is easy to forget that there was another episode left in the season.
This episode is, for all intents and proposes, the quintessential episode of The Original Series. There’s time travel (the first instance in this listing), character building between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, Kirk facing an impossible situation, the visualization of “The needs of the many,” the list goes on and on.
The power of this episode is everything that every episode of Trek strives to be. It leaves you with a lasting impression and really hits home with its message that peace and love are the ways, but when bad things happen in the world around you, it is because the timing is not right.
This concludes the first season Star Trek: The Original Series. I will continue in the coming weeks to fill out the rest of TOS. If you think I’m off on a few or have anything to share or add, let me know on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below.