Star Trek: TOS The Best Episodes

“Space, The final Frontier.  These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise.  It’s five-year mission: To explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before!

The Galileo Seven

Season 1, Episode 16

Original air date:  January 5, 1967

Stardate:  2821.5

Plot Summary:

The Enterprise is on its way to Makus III to deliver medicine for a plague on the New Paris colonies. Galaxy High Commissioner Ferris is on board to supervise the medical operation.  A Quasar, Murasaki 312, is on their route and as it will take them three days to get to Makus III and they don’t meet their rendezvous there for five days – they take this opportunity to investigate the Quasar as those are standing orders.  Spock is in command of shuttlecraft Galileo along with McCoy, Scotty and four others, never before seen crewmembers: Lieutenants Latimer, Gaetano and Boma and Yeoman Mears.  The Quasar begins to pull the Galileo in and they can’t reverse the pull – they try and contact the Enterprise but the electromagnetic interference from the Quasar makes that impossible.  The Enterprise begins looking for the shuttlecraft but encounter the same interference when using their sensors; at the same time Commissioner Ferris reminds Kirk of their primary mission.  Kirk reminds Ferris they have 48 hours before they must abandon the search.

The shuttlecraft has crash landed on a planet within the Quasar field we find out is called Taurus II.  The crew does a terrible job of acting like they were tossed around and hurt, right down to wrong color blood coming out of Lt. Boma’s nose.  They discover the air is breathable and Spock sends Latimer and Gaetano out to scout the area while the rest stay and try to repair the shuttle.  Outside, McCoy mentions to Spock that this is his first big chance at command, he’ll get to test if logic is the best way to run a crew.  Back in the shuttle, Scotty informs Spock they’ll need to lighten the shuttle by 500 pounds if they want to take off, Spock mentions that is the weight of three crew members, Boma and McCoy both point out he went for people over equipment very quickly.  Boma wonders how they’ll pick the crew members and Spock makes it clear that duty falls to him.

Meanwhile, walking through the fog Lt. Latimer and Gaetano hear strange noises that seem to come from every direction.  Latimer is struck and killed by a huge rock pointed spear.  Back on the Shuttle Scotty’s attempted repairs drain the rest of their fuel leaving them totally stranded.  Spock and Boma head out to find the others and find Lt. Gaetano and the dead Latimer.  Everyone is upset at Spock as he tries to figure out what to do logically and shows no empathy for Latimer. (imagine a leader showing no empathy for people who are dying?)

On the Enterprise Kirk worries they won’t be able to find the lost shuttle.  Commissioner Ferris keeps reminding Kirk of the ticking clock – he’s a real dick.  On the planet, Spock and McCoy argue about logic over emotions as they try and figure out how to deal with the creatures. Everyone suggests killing one of them at least as a warning – Spock is upset at their lack of respect for life and suggests trying to scare them off instead.  (ironically this is exactly the opposite of the last reviewed episode where Spock suggests attacking and McCoy discusses the value of life.)  Spock, Boma and Gaetano head out toward the creatures and on Spock’s orders they fire near the creatures but not at them.  He orders Gaetano to stay behind as they go back to the shuttle.  In the Galileo, Scotty suggests they can use the phasers to recharge the fuel, this could work but leaves them defenseless against the creatures.

Back on the Enterprise, they’ve gotten the transporters working and are sending down landing parties and using the shuttle Columbia to search for the Galileo -but it’s a huge planet and the odds are against them.  One of the landing parties comes back with one death and several injuries – they too have met the creatures.  On the planet, Gaetano is attacked by a creature, his phaser and giant foot prints are found at his last known location.  Spock heads off without his phaser to find him, finding his dead body he dodges spear throws to bring it back to the shuttle.  The creatures follow him and start attacking the shuttle with a giant rock.  Spock is shocked by how illogically the creatures behave, McCoy yells at Spock that an emotional leader would have understood these creatures better.  Using the batteries, they electrify the surface of the shuttle, temporarily driving off the creatures.  Boma insists Gaetano is buried before they leave, Spock relents if they can do so without the creatures coming back.

On the Enterprise, time has run out.  The Commissioner insists they leave, Kirk recalls the shuttles and landing parties giving him only 23 more minutes.  The Galileo crew have their funeral, but are attacked by the creatures. Spock tells everyone to get in the shuttle and take off even as his foot is trapped by a thrown boulder.  McCoy and Boma save him and they take off but need to use even more fuel to ignite the boosters as the creatures are holding down the shuttle.  Kirk, meanwhile heads out to Makus III, but at “space normal speed” and keeps the sensors targeted at Taurus II.  Once in orbit the shuttle only has enough fuel for about 45 minutes – in a last desperate bid, Spock releases most of their fuel and ignites it.  The Enterprise picks up this signal “like a putting up a flare” as explained by Mr. Scott, and turns around.  The Enterprise manages to beam the five survivors aboard just as the shuttle is burning up in the atmosphere.

Back on the bridge, Kirk questions Spock about the logic of a desperate action.  Spock says it’s totally logical and Kirk calls him a “stubborn man” a characterization Spock agrees with.  The entire bridge breaks out into an unwarranted laughing fit as the credits role.

Known to Fans As: 

Everybody makes fun of Spock

Notable Guest Stars: 

Don Marshall.jpg

Don Marshall as Lt. Boma.  Marshall was another reliable guest star in the 60’s and 70’s. What made that unusual is very few African Americans were able to get the roles he was over that time.  He rarely played the stereotypical criminal roles (although he did play those as well) being better known playing police officers, military servicemen or other positions of authority.  While he was supposed to become a regular on Star Trek, he got a starring role as Dan Erickson in Land of the Giants and took that instead.  Marshall died in 2016 at the age of 80 of natural causes.

John Crawford.jpg

John Crawford as Commissioner Ferris.  Another long-time character actor in movies and TV shows. With is height, deep voice and square jaw, Crawford almost always played some kind of important leader; a military officer, police chief, head research scientist etc. His biggest roles were as the Chief Engineer in The Poseidon Adventure and the Mayor who butts heads with this most effective yet violent Police Detective in the Clint Eastwood vehicle, The Enforcer.

Continuity Issues:

Ferris is the “Galaxy High Commissioner” once again no Federation.

What exactly is “space normal speed?”

Spock is the first officer of a Starship and has served in Star Fleet for at least 13 years from what we know – and never in that time has he been in command of even a small group of people?

In this first season, they talk about all the engines like they’re run off some future version of gasoline, they can’t drain their batteries shocking the creatures because they need them for ignition etc.  They talk about matter / antimatter as fuel but they act like it would behave as a diesel engine would.

Spock ignites the fuel to signal to the Enterprise.  Igniting “the plasma” is used in multiple more Star Trek Series, most recently in Discovery and most notably in TNG: The First Duty where the attempt to produce a Kolvoord Starburst by Starfleet Academy’s Nova Squadron class of 2368 results in the death of a cadet and probably the best acting done by Wil Wheaton in the Star Trek universe.

Vulcan Nerve Pinches: None

Damn it Jim: After Spock admits to being wrong and they all think they’re going to die, “At least I lived long enough to see it.”

Kirk’s Shirt Off:  No

Aged the Best:

A non-Captain getting their first taste of command is a great concept, once again used over and over again by Star Trek, from Troi finding herself as the only senior officer on the bridge to Saru asking the computer what common features make the best Captains in Discovery.  Once again there is almost a parallel in a TNG episode. In the two-parter Redemption, Data is given command of the Sutherland and the push back he gets from the first officer is almost beat by beat the crap Spock puts up with here.  There are so many episodes and subplots where Data just substitutes for Spock that I totally forgot about.

Aged the Worst:

Wow, were those practical effects bad! The obviously Styrofoam spears being lightly tossed from off screen but supposed to be threatening I guess?  Spock picks one up – a spear the size of a basketball pole – and he makes no attempt to make it seem heavy.  The papier mâché rocks, the poorly done creatures themselves.  I’ve seen better prop work in high school plays – and that’s not hyperbole – I really have.

 

Overall Grade:

B-, There was some great snipping between McCoy and Spock but almost too much.  The disrespect the junior officers are allowed to show Spock because he’s a Vulcan also went way too far.  Don’t know how this made the top twenty.

 

Tomorrow’s Episode:  Arena (now we’re talking)