69 "That Which Survives"

(airdate: January 24, 1969)

Story: Michael Richards [pseudonym for D.C. Fontana]     Teleplay: John Meredyth Lucas
Director: Herb Wallerstein

Losira: Lee Meriwether
Lt. Rahda: Naomi Pollack

Lt. D'Amato: Arthur Batanides
Dr. M'Benga: Booker Bradshaw

Stardate: Unknown

Captain's Log: The Enterprise encounters a planet that cannot logically exist, so Kirk, McCoy, Sulu, and senior geologist Lt. D'Amato beam down to the surface to investigate. The Enterprise is then hurled far away from the planet, leaving the survey party stranded. While exploring, the party encounter a strange woman named Losira, who kills D'Amato and tries to kill Sulu - but she can only kill one specific person at a time, so Kirk and McCoy form a protective shield. Losira leaves for the time being. Meanwhile, the Enterprise is attempting to return to the planet, but Losira arrives onboard and sabotages the ship, overloading the engines - this will lead to the destruction of the Enterprise. However, thanks to a last-second repair by Scotty, the Enterprise is saved. On the surface, the survey party discovers an interior to the planet, where they are threatened by three identical Losiras, each determined to kill one of the party. But just in time, Spock beams down and destroys the computer controlling the women, saving the survey party from death.

Whoops!: While talking to Losira, at one point D'Amato refers to himself as "D'Amanto." Naomi Pollack's performance is terribly unconvincing, delivering almost every line unnaturally. Scotty makes a great show of crawling up the access tube, which is presumably supposed to show the force of the matter/antimatter reaction chamber but instead just looks odd. His getting the magnetic probe stuck is so obviously a plot device to increase the tension that it can't be seen as anything else and is simply risible instead. The Enterprise is saved a full eleven seconds after the nick of time!
     Most of Spock's non-plot-related dialogue is designed to point out his alien nature (something we've figured out by this point in the series) and is immensely tedious as a result. Judging from Kirk's last line, beauty is that which survives, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense in the context of the episode.

Cringe Lines: "If I wanted a Russian history lesson, I'd have brought along Mr. Chekov."
     Sulu: "I wonder what killed him." Kirk: "I don't know, but something or someone did." Gee, you think so?
     Sulu: "What do you want?" Losira: "I want...to touch you."

Technobabble: When the Enterprise was transported, it was reassembled slightly out of phase; however, reversing the polarity of the magnetic flow will achieve closure of the matter/antimatter flow, "if M-7 factor [is] maintained."
     Losira kills her victim by matching their chromosome patterns after she touches them, which is "a very painful affair." And also nonsense.

Don't Wear a Red Shirt: Ensign Wyatt, the transporter officer, is killed by Losira via complete cellular disruption in the teaser. Senior Geologist Lt. D'Amato is the only non-regular to join the survey party, so you know he's doomed. Engineer Grade 4 John B. Watkins is also killed by Losira, but he at least gets a chance to cry out before being offed.

Library Computer: The planet (no name is given) fits no known categories. Only a few thousand years old, it is approximately the size of Earth's moon, but it has a mass and atmosphere similar to that of Earth. Earth-type vegetation (albeit poisonous to humans) has developed on the planet. Neither an atmosphere nor vegetation could have evolved in so short a period of time on a natural planet. A sort of plant parasite is the nearest form of [animal] biological life on the surface. There is no evidence of rainfall - thus, the plants get their water from a different source. The planet has no magnetic field and is made up of a basic diburnium-osmium alloy, which could not have occurred naturally. The alloy has a melting point of 8000° C - it looks like igneous rock but is infinitely denser.
     If the Enterprise were to blow up, it would leave a high residual radioactive trace and a high concentration of energy. If the emergency bypass control of the matter/antimatter integrator is fused (something that would take all the power of the main phaser banks to achieve), the integrator will overload and destroy the ship. There is an access tube leading to the matter/antimatter reaction chamber, but it's not designed to be used while the integrator operates, and anyone in there while the integrator is working could be killed. A magnetic probe inserted into the magnetic flow needs to match the flow exactly or the flow will jump and lead to an explosion - the safety control won't hold for more than two seconds. The ship isn't designed to take speeds of warp 11.2 and above for extended time, although warp 14.1 can be achieved without the destruction of the ship.
     The alien named Losira is actually a computer defense system. She can create a massive cellular disruption, in which every cell appears to be blasted from the inside, which kills people. (No known disease organism can accomplish this.) Losira can only kill a specific person at a time though; she is programmed to match a certain person's cell structure and chromosomes, and she cannot harm someone who does not match. A light touch is enough to wound a person; a longer hold will kill. It's implied that Losira can read minds. She travels via teleportation, which reads on a tricorder as a giant increase and decrease in magnetism and energy, almost as if a door had opened and closed.
     A humanoid race known as the Kalandans built the planet as an outpost. In doing so, they inadvertently created a deadly organism which wiped out the advance party on the outpost (and, McCoy speculates, was transmitted to the rest of the race by a supply ship). [The "deadly organism" is the plant parasite that McCoy discovers - he even says it's "almost a virus".] Before her death, Losira, the commander of the outpost, set the computer to selectively defend the outpost against all non-Kalandans. The computer used the image of Losira for its defense mechanism. The computer is incredibly powerful, able to transport the Enterprise 990.7 light years away (not even a small star going supernova would move the ship that far) and fuse the matter/antimatter integrator's emergency bypass control. The computer itself is vulnerable to a phaser blast. Why the outpost was constructed in the first place remains a mystery.
     A tricorder can be set for automatic distress as a sentry.
     Scotty can sense when the ship "feels" wrong, even when the instruments indicate that everything is operating normally.
     Lt. Sulu was born on Earth.
     Janus VI (from "The Devil in the Dark") receives a name-check.

Final Analysis: "You mean that one of the people who threw us 1000 light years away from that planet is on board and killing people?" A substandard runaround. Although both the Enterprise and the landing party are in trouble, you don't really care about either plot and just wish they'd get on with it. The story takes too long to offer any explanations, and when it finally does, they're incomplete, which gives the episode an unfinished feel. This matched with the generally poor dialogue makes for a fairly tedious, unmemorable adventure. Losira's disappearing effect is pretty cool though.

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