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Star Trek - "The Enemy Within"

Season 1, Episode 5

By Tom BakerPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 4 min read
Evil Kirk goes space happy in "The Enemy Within"

I thought I better stop and write about "The Enemy Within," the fifth episode of Season One, TOS, while it was still fresh in my memory. Of course, I'd seen it before, many, many years ago, and it always sticks out in my mind because it's referenced in the liner notes of G.G. Allin's Roir cassette compilation Hated in the Nation, which I'm sure most other "Star Trek" fans are unaware of and, even if they were, would not be proud of. The liner notes, by Mykel Board, use the metaphor of the Evil Kirk (the putative "enemy within"), who is a violent, tantrum-throwing uglification of Captain Jimmy T., pitted against the meandering Milquetoast Kirk, who is a weak sister who can't make up his mind on any pressing concern. Board suggests Allin is (was), "the enemy within," as well.

The point is: that everyone has two sides they must integrate, the "Light Side," and the "Dark Side": everyone is a Janus-faced conundrum, a Jekyll and Hyde who, the Light being divorced from the Dark, and the individual split, dually, between the two, would become a jelly-bellied tub of pudding guts, unable to defend themselves against the predations of a relentlessly hostile, and demanding world. Yes.

"Good and Evil" are relative matters: Good is arguably anything that aids us in our hardwired quest to survive and thrive. "Evil," conversely, is that which we instinctively despise as being a threat to our continued existence. However, the Powers That Be can apply this label (an abstract term that in and of itself is meaningless and open to wide interpretations) to whatever they want the masses to designate as taboo, forbidden, or otherwise off limits. What they want them to rise against, to cast aspersions upon. Often, this label identifies and isolates the alien "other," the Outsider or Heretic that must be burned alive. Thus evil, a vague, ill-defined concept, becomes Evil, the "State of Beingness" of what we consider terrible, monstrous, and inherently corrupt.

But violence, cruelty, theft, and killing are ACTIONS, not "states of being." To the victim they are "evil"; to the perpetrator, they are in line with his or her goals. If you are, for instance, an Israeli right now, you might think it meet and good to bomb the hell out of Gaza, a densely populated region with a hugely disproportionate number of non-enemy combatants, women, and children. If you're a Gazan, this is very much NOT GOOD (to put it mildly). To the Israelis, they are on the side of righteousness; to their teeming masses of detractors, they are, in point of fact, EVIL.

But this is perhaps too much for a television review.

Kirk (William Shatner), Sulu (George Takei), and the Away Team beam down to a planet where they find a doggie with an absurd fuzzy pink costume and a unicorn horn with antennas. Some Red Shirt (but curiously not so costumed) gets hurt and his uniform is covered by some sort of strange ore. He beams up to the Enterprise. Kirk beams up (why the Captain is expected to risk his life on these expeditions is a mystery; since it may make great television, it makes little logical sense), and then another Kirk beams up while the transporter room is empty. This is the monstrous "Evil Kirk," that tries to rape Yeoman Rand (Grace Lee Whitney with a tremendous, blonde Ronnie Spector hairdo), but she scratches his face. He then storms into the Sick Bay and, grabbing the skinny, apoplectic, cracked-ass Bones McCoy (DeForest Kelly) by the neck, demands some Saurian Brandy. "Give me the brandy!" Okay.

Spock (Leonard Nimoy) talks to "Good Kirk," and they both figure out (because of the dual teleportation of Alien Doggie) that Kirk has been split down the middle into a Half-and-Half of Jekyll and Hyde proportions. Spock reminds the increasingly weak-kneed, spineless, jellyfish Kirk that "You can't appear, in the eyes of the crew, to be anything less than perfect." Or something like that.

Evil Kirk is rotten at hiding his evilness, unlike most sociopaths, and has the hots for Yeoman Rand, so goes after her again. Everyone in the crew is instructed to set phasers to stun, as killing Evil Kirk, it is thought, might very well kill Good Kirk too. (At the very least, how will Good Kirk, who becomes increasingly feckless, survive without Evil Kirk inside of himself once more?)

In the end, Evil Kirk has a tantrum on the Bridge, and becomes a blubbering, infantile mess, proclaiming, "I'm Captain Kirk! I'm Captain Kirk!" (Evil Kirk, by the way, has mascara on or some shit I think, and is lit from beneath, and The Shat does an impeccable job of bringing him to repulsive life.) Good Kirk has an embarrassing moment where he grasps Evil Kirk to his chest while Evil Kirk blubbers "I don't want to die! I want to live!" Same as we all, Dad).

Evil Kirk is underlit throughout the whole episode. We're waiting for the scene where Evil Kirk goes bananas and James Tiberius has to whoop up on him. It never comes. That fuzzy pink alien dog with the unicorn horn (to quote A-Lister Crowley: "he was born, to death ont he horn, of the unicorn...") never comes back though, and, poor mutt, THAT IS GOOD.

I could give you the ending, but you've already guessed it.

Three to beam up. Baker out.

William Shatner's best acting ever?

spacevintagetv reviewstar trekscifi tvscience fiction

About the Creator

Tom Baker

Author of Haunted Indianapolis, Indiana Ghost Folklore, Midwest Maniacs, Midwest UFOs and Beyond, Scary Urban Legends, 50 Famous Fables and Folk Tales, and Notorious Crimes of the Upper Midwest.: http://tombakerbooks.weebly.com

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  • Randy Wayne Jellison-Knock2 months ago

    It's been a long time since I watched this episode. Once I'm caught up again, I plan on coming back to it.

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