58 "The Paradise Syndrome"

(airdate: October 4, 1968)

Writer: Margaret Armen
Director: Jud Taylor

Miramanee: Sabrina Scharf

Salish: Rudy Solari

Goro: Richard Hale

Stardate: 4842.6

Captain's Log: The Enterprise is investigating a paradise of a planet that is in imminent danger of collision with an asteroid. While investigating a mysterious obelisk, Kirk disappears. Spock and McCoy unsuccessfully search for him, but they have to return to the ship to divert the asteroid before it's too late. Their attempts are unsuccessful, and they burn out main power while trying, leaving only impulse. They head back to the planet - a nearly two month journey, with the asteroid only four hours behind the whole way. Meanwhile, Kirk, suffering from amnesia, is discovered emerging from the obelisk by the native people and thus is viewed as a god named Kirok. He becomes their medicine chief and marries Miramanee, the tribe's priestess. Kirk is meant to divert the asteroid, but when the time comes, he doesn't know how to do it. As a result, he and Miramanee are stoned by the other tribe members. Spock and McCoy arrive and restore Kirk's memory. Together they activate the obelisk, put there by a super race known as the Preservers in order to push the asteroid back as it approaches the planet. Although the planet is saved, it is too late for Kirk's bride, who was fatally wounded by the stoning, and Kirk holds her in his arms as she dies.

Whoops!: When Shatner is describing the dreams about the "strange lodge" to Miramanee, a fly can be seen walking on his forehead. The buttons inside the obelisk make a sound identical to the transporter start-up on the Enterprise when pressed. When Kirk accidentally opens the door into the obelisk, why does he fall in instead of moving with the door?
     If the tribe has a medicine chief who knows how to activate the obelisk, why do they have a legend of a god who will emerge from the obelisk and do what the medicine chief already knows how to do? And why did the Preservers make an obelisk that pushes the asteroid back from the planet? Why not just...divert the asteroid? Or, if there's more than one asteroid, why place the tribe they're trying to save in such a high-risk area?

Classic Lines: Salish, upon seeing a wounded Kirk: "Behold a god who bleeds!"

Cringe Lines: Spock in 'as well you know' exposition mode: "If we are to divert the asteroid which is on a collision course with this planet..."

Alien Love: An amnesiac Kirk not only marries Miramanee, the tribal priestess, but also conceives a child with her.

Library Computer: The unnamed planet of Miramanee's tribe is "exactly like Earth", with pine trees, orange blossom, and honeysuckle. It strongly resembles the Pacific coast of the northwestern part of the United States. There are no meteor craters detected on the surface, and the relative size, age, and composition of the planet "makes it highly improbable that it would evolve similarly to Earth in any way." The only inhabitants of the planet resemble American Indian culture, being a mix of Navajo, Mohican, and Delaware, said to be among the more advanced and peaceful tribes. These people bring gifts of food to a large obelisk. They have a prophecy that speaks of a god who will come from the obelisk when the skies darken and "rouse the temple spirit and make the sky grow quiet." By tradition, the temple priestess and the medicine chief are joined in marriage on Joining Day, whereby the two are wed under a large ritual cloak constructed largely of feathers and made by the priestess. It is the medicine chief who has the knowledge of how to activate the obelisk; this knowledge is passed from father to son [implying that the position is hereditary rather than based on ability]. Miramanee's tribe does not know about cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
     The obelisk is a tall structure with the sides beveled inward. It is black with thick gold veins and covered with a form of angular writing. It is constructed of an alien alloy that is resistant to the landing party's probe. A structure of this type requires "extremely sophisticated building apparatus" - the product of a culture equal to or greater than the Federation. The writing on the obelisk is a form of cipher writing taking the form of musical notes; the tones roughly correspond to an alphabet. (Certain offshoots of the Vulcan race similarly use musical tones as words.) Access is gained by a series of tones and pitches resembling Kirk saying, "Kirk to Enterprise." Inside the obelisk is a complex deflector panel and a memory beam, resembling blue-white lightning. [Presumably the memory beam is to remind the user how to operate the device - the medicine chief would activate the memory beam, which would then tell him how to operate the deflector.] The purpose of the obelisk is to deflect asteroids from smashing into the planet. A bright blue beam is emitted from the top when it's operating.
     The obelisk is the product of a super race known as the Preservers. They traveled the galaxy, saving "primitive cultures" and moving them to where they could exist peacefully. They are responsible for a number of humanoid species "scattered through the galaxy." The Preservers built the asteroid deflector and taught one of the tribe members how to operate it.
     Traveling at Warp 9 for an extended period of time is beyond the safety limits of the Enterprise. Attempting to supply full power to the phasers after such stress is prevented by relays. These can be bypassed, but there is a significant risk of burning out the warp engines.
     The reaction to a peaceful, simple natural environment was known in the twentieth century as the Tahiti syndrome. It tends to be more prevalent in "over-pressured leader types."
     Vulcans can go without sleep for weeks under stress, but at a cost of their physical health.
     Spock observes after his "mind fusion" with Kirk that he is "an extremely dynamic individual."

Final Analysis: "The wind is only the beginning. Soon the sky will darken, the lake will go wild, and the earth will tremble. Only you can save us." Kirk goes native! One of the better third season episodes, but not without its share of logical flaws and unnatural performances. The best part of the plot is lifted from Kipling's The Man Who Would Be King.

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