Monday, February 25, 2013

Star Trek-Where No Man Has Gone Before

                          On a mission to discover what happened to the late 21'st century space vessel S.S. Valient Captain James Kirk,commander of the Enterprise and his crew,including a newly arrived psychiatrist Dr. Elizabeth Dehner,attempt to leave the galaxy in search of the lost spaceship. After transporting aboard a flight recorder,Mr. Spock recovers information from it indicating the Captain of the vessel ordered it's destruction a midst extreme chaos on board. The Enterprise then encounters an energy barrier at the galaxies end of extremely high energy. Not only does it drain the ship of energy,but also knocks out both Dr. Dehner and navigator Gary Mitchell,an old friend of the Captains who suddenly has developed oddly glowing eyes. Spock recovers yet more information that before he destroyed the ship,he was searching frantically for information in their records of extra sensory perception. 

                               While in sickbay,Mitchell is exhibiting similar symptoms. Dr. Dehner observes he is able to read and retain information faster than the average human being. He also observes decay in a thruster pack before the ships helmsman Lee Kelso could. Mr. Scott observes at a conference later that parts of the computer had earlier began activating themselves. During this conference Dr.Dehner shows an unusual obsession on Mitchell's case and willingness to pursue it. Spock advises Kirk to set a course to the nearby Dilithium cracking station on Delta Vega to restore ships power. This will also give him the opportunity to deal with his other problem: Gary Mitchell,growing more and more dangerous and megalomaniacal  as his powers grow,will have to be destroyed to save the ship,it's crew and possibly the rest of humanity. 

                               On the planet,an attempt to imprison Mitchell fails as he kills Kelso and,as it turns out,Dr.Dehner eventually exhibits the same powers as himself. When Kirk returns to the surface to fight his friend with a phaser rifle,he confronts Dr.Dehner. He pleads with her as a psychiatrist to understand Mitchell's abuse of power. She observes this in his needlessly cruel behavior to Captain Kirk,his friend,during the ensuing confrontation. She herself battles Mitchell,weakening him enough so the captain can throw him into a grave that Mitchell intended for him and use the phaser to bury him alive with a rock slide from a nearby cliff. The energy Dehner uses weakens her physically and she dies shortly after. The Enterprise leaves Delta Vega with power fully restored,but with Kirk facing the loss of two of his comrades,one of whom was an old friend.

                                As the then unprecedented second pilot for Star Trek,Gene Roddenberry had the opportunity in this story to refine his idea for the series. The major addition was William Shatner as James R.Kirk,an interesting continuity issue of name cleared up later. While still closely linked to the cerebral nature of his original concept,this story is more character driven and in his own words "at least ended in a bare knuckle fist fight". Gary Lockwood's is amazing in his portrayal of Gary Mitchell,a somewhat above average human being suddenly granted extraordinary abilities-yet is not able to acquire the emotional compassion or wisdom to use them wisely. Mitchell's already advanced mind was indicated if the viewer pauses the episode and watches his profile on the bridge of the Enterprise as Mr.Spock is. 

                                In perhaps a compromise for Gene not getting the female first officer he'd originally hoped for,the strong female presence comes from Sally Kellerman's Dr.Dehner,a professional women who only becomes emotionally obsessed with Mitchell's power when she herself has begun to become effected by it herself. Characters that would become central to the show later are present,such as James Doohen's Scotty and George Takei's Sulu. Both are in much smaller roles and in very different positions on the ship than they would be later: neither are bridge personnel in this story.  The costumes,the sets and even the model of the Enterprise itself are still very similar to The Cage. However this second pilot had a very human quality that caught the interest of the NBC network executives and they decided to buy the Star Trek series this time around.

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