17 "Shore Leave"

(airdate: December 29, 1966)

Writer: Theodore Sturgeon
Director: Robert Sparr

Alice: Marcia Brown
Caretaker: Oliver McGowan
Finnegan: Bruce Mars

Yeoman Tonia Barrows: Emily Banks
Lt. Estaban Rodriguez: Perry Lopez
Ruth: Shirley Bonne

Stardate: 3025.3

Captain's Log: The Enterprise crew, in need of rest and relaxation, come upon an idyllic, uninhabited planet. However, the landing party encounters a series of bizarre, seemingly impossible events - initially harmless, but becoming more and more dangerous, until Dr. McCoy is killed by a knight on horseback. Meanwhile, a power field emerges, draining power from the Enterprise and the landing party's equipment. Kirk and Spock determine that the events are being generated by the thoughts of the landing party, so Kirk orders them to clear their minds of everything but standing at attention. Upon doing so, the caretaker of the planet appears. He informs Kirk that the planet is an amusement park, designed to cater to the wishes of the patrons. Nothing is permanent - as is confirmed when Dr McCoy appears unharmed. Convinced that the planet isn't dangerous, Kirk allows his crew to beam down for shore leave on the planet.

Whoops!: Kirk sounds like he can't remember the stardate in the initial captain's log. [Obviously this is intentional, but it still seems weird.]
     Kirk's shirt is magically torn during the fight with Finnegan. Meanwhile, the location of Barrows' rip moves when she changes back into uniform.

Classic Lines: McCoy after being warned by Barrows not to watch her change: "My dear girl, I am a doctor. When I peek, it's in the line of duty."

Cringe Lines: Kirk: "That's a McCoy pill with a little mystery sugar coating."

Don't Wear a Red Shirt: In the most memorable moment of the episode, McCoy is run down with a lance and "killed" by a knight on horseback. It also appears Angela Martine ("Balance of Terror") is "killed" by a strafing Japanese Zero plane, although this isn't made explicit. [The portion of the script making that clear was left out of the final product.] Meanwhile, Kirk has a knock-down-drag-out fight with his Academy tormentor Finnegan.

Alien Love: Dr. McCoy and Yeoman Barrows behave as if they're on a first date on the planet, complete with flirting and jealousy.
     Kirk was involved with a blonde woman named Ruth during his time at Starfleet Academy, fifteen years ago.

Library Computer: There has been no shore leave for the crew of the Enterprise for three months as of this episode, and the entire crew consequently need rest. James Kirk's reaction time is down nine to twelve percent, while his associational reading norm is "minus three" - this is much too low and is evidence that the crew needs time to relax. Vulcans have no need for shore leave - in order to rest they simply stop using energy, and Spock finds it illogical to expend energy to relax.
     The nameless planet in the Omicron Delta region is green from orbit [Earth-like in the remastered version]. The surface resembles the Earth of the past - in Kirk's words, "park-like, beautiful, green, [with] flowers, trees, green lawn...quiet and restful". There is no animal or insect life on the planet and it appears to be uninhabited. There was no refined metal detected, nor artifacts [although an aerial appears on screen, monitoring the landing party, so either the initial survey was in error or the technology present doesn't show up on sensors]. There was the more or less constant sound of gentle wind chimes, however. At first no forcefields were detected, but a highly sophisticated energy field which drained power and affected communications, phasers, and transporters did materialize [presumably to supply power to the factory complex]. The forcefield appeared to leave tricorders unaffected.
     Patterns indicated industrial activity from beneath the surface - probably from the impressive factory complex that Dr. McCoy describes. This complex could manufacture things almost immediately. These things were solid objects, designed to act just like the real thing, and made from a material which resembled a finer cellular casting for wound repair than was used by the Enterprise. The illusions created by the planet included Alice and the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, Don Juan, a samurai warrior, a [.38] Police Special revolver, a Japanese Zero airplane [in reality an F6F Hellcat, painted to look like a Zero], a flock of geese, a tiger, a knight on horseback, a fairy-tale princess dress, Finnegan and Ruth from Kirk's cadet days, and two cabaret dancers from Rigel II. The basic cell structure of the objects was identical to the plants on the planet - thus, it could be surmised that everything on the planet itself was therefore manufactured. This fact was confirmed by the caretaker of the planet, who stated that the entire planet was constructed for his race to "come and play" - essentially an amusement park designed to recreate the thoughts of the visitors for fun. The caretaker himself is an older humanoid man, with grey hair and a long blue robe with gold patterning. He stated that humans aren't ready to understand his race - a sentiment with which Spock agreed.
     According to Dr. McCoy, the crew complement of the Enterprise is 433.
     Fifteen years ago, Kirk was an underclassman at Starfleet Academy - in his words, a "grim" young man. He had a relationship with a woman named Ruth - a young white woman with a cherubic face, blonde piled curls, and blue eyes, dressed here in a half white, half black floor-length gown. Kirk was also tormented by an upperclassman named Finnegan, who was twenty years old. Finnegan was a wiry, pink-skinned male, with blonde hair in a bowl cut and blue eyes, who spoke with a [rather poor] Irish accent. He was the sort of person to "put cold soup in your bed or a bucket of water propped over a door", and he took a particular delight in bullying Kirk.
     Yeoman Tonia Barrows is a young woman with reddish-brown hair and green eyes. She's the sort of person to idly think about Don Juan and medieval princesses. She has a romantic inclination toward McCoy, and is somewhat put out when he reappears with two Rigellian chorus girls.
     The uniform of a cadet fifteen years ago was black slacks and a shiny silver shirt with a starburst emblem on the left breast.
     Lt. Sulu collects guns [weapons? - he has a fencing saber in "The Naked Time"], but he doesn't have a Police Special in his collection. He states that the Police Special hasn't been made for a couple centuries.
     McCoy has been to a cabaret on Rigel II which has scantily-clad chorus girls.

Final Analysis: "This is turning out to be one very unusual shore leave." A whimsical story with no (permanent) deaths, "Shore Leave" is hampered slightly by the occasionally unnatural dialogue, which the actors sometimes don't quite seem to know how to deliver. But even with that, it remains a fun, albeit lightweight, episode.

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Page last updated: December 21, 2019

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