The Enemy Within

Episode Reviews (12)

Great
239 votes
8.3
  • SORT BY:
  • 6.5

    Captain Kirk is split into two people, one good and one evil.

    By Celedorian, Dec 05, 2014

    Star Trek takes its first high concept, a double role for William Shatner, and does it so poorly, the evil twin idea doesn't return again until Star Trek TNG. The problem is that, contrary to Mr. Spock's tactless rhetorical question to Yeoman Rand near the end, neither the meek, indecisive Kirk or the violent, rapist Kirk are particularly interesting (or pleasant) to watch. Beneath the creative cinematography and cunning direction by Sean Penn's dad, used both to highlight the differences between the Kirks and to allow William Shatner to play both parts in seemingly the same shot, the character examination only proves that good is boring and evil is ugly thanks to lazy writing and Shatner's overacting. It's ironic that Shatner has cited this episode as his favorite, saying the only thing better than one of him is two of him (which is all really just a joke he liked to employ on the convention circuit) when the truth is the one character missing from the episode is the Captain Kirk we know and love.. an inescapable void.



    Perhaps it's too bad Mr. Spock isn't divided instead, especially with Nimoy later stealing the show with evil Spock in "Mirror Mirror". (Another more compelling direction would be dividing Spock into his Vulcan and human halves, but this idea might have be too much for a character and series still getting its feet wet; Star Trek would finally do just such with B'elanna Torres in Voyager's first season episode "Faces").



    Whatever the case, Captain Kirk does deserve some credit. Obviously the events in this episode illustrate the need for the Enterprise to have some sort of shuttle to ferry crewmembers around when the transporter isn't reliable.. and it's not long before the ship gets one, complete with a shuttle bay!



    Remastered: This gets just your basic makeover, with the Enterprise establishing shots upgraded to feature a more realistic ship and planet.

    moreless

    1 1

  • 9.0

    To thine own selves be true....

    By uk6strings, Jun 05, 2013

    In "The Enemy Within," the Enterprise crew has to look out for an evil James Kirk when a malfunction in the transporter created two Kirks: an all-evil Kirk and an all-good Kirk.



    "The Enemy Within" is a thrilling and well acted Star Trek episode about the human condition. The episode pushes the envelope for late 1960s television as the evil Kirk gets a little too physical with Yeoman Rand - that scene is still shocking to this day. The evil Kirk is a formidable opponent - but is he as bad as one might think? Does the nice Kirk need his evil to be back to his normal self? This is an interesting theme and is dealt with extremely well by the Star Trek writers and filmmakers. Also, the fact that the transporter is not working - since it happens to be creating two different halves of people - makes it unable for the Enterprise to beam an expedition team off of a rapidly cooling planet. This aspect of the story gives urgency to the tale of two Kirks aspect.moreless

    1 0

  • 8.0

    Captain Kirk gets duplicated in the transporter into a "good" Kirk, and a "bad" Kirk. There is a group of 4 men on the planet including Sulu who will freeze to death, but they cant be beamed up with the transporter causing doubles.

    By Deo13, Sep 10, 2011

    Great episode, with the evil Kirk always having the shadow on his face to make him look dark and bad. The doglike creature shown at the beginning of the episode is pretty funny looking, kind of like a unicorn dog or something. With a party down on the planet which will get incredibly cold as the day wears on, but the transporter making duplicates of good/evil in a person or animal they cant bring that party aboard. So Kirk tries to keep everything together but finds his will and power of command slowly weakening. This episode keeps you thinking and shows the difference between good and evil. All in all if you are a big Shatner fan, give the episode a go... he appears as two people .. how much more Shatner do you need? Anybody who liked the series ... watch this episode ... its a good one.moreless

    3 0

  • 8.8

    A good exploration of the limits of both a person and a technology in a sc-fi setting.

    By Mac-Ale, Sep 13, 2008

    A transporter malfunction splits Kirk into two separate men, each retaining only parts of his personality and abilities.



    While this is possibly not one of the most exciting episodes of the series and it takes place mostly on the ship set, it does a good job mining the horror of the situation. I like the idea that the Enterprise is so dependent on its transporters, so much so that a crew might be stranded if something goes wrong. While the writers soon "invented" the shuttlecraft, the drama here is pretty sharp and effective. Sulu's line about lowering a pot of coffee from orbit is one of my favorites of the series, it's funny and "plucky" at the same time.



    And if a spaceship is going to have a matter scrambler/assembler, this story is a memorable example of how it might "go wrong". Not realistic, but memorable. Shatner always rises and falls based on his overblown reading of lines (even to this day on "Boston Legal"), and here it's perfect as he's asked to play outrageous and exaggerated versions of his character. He's not only at his best as belicose but as whining, petulant, and vain. The scenes of him staggering about the decks with a bottle of Sorian Brandy are just about perfect for the story. This installment also is not shy about dealing with sexual assualt, fairly rare for the time it was made. Spock's line to Rand at the conclusion is a nice "spicy" element to the program that is often lost in later episodes.



    As a balanced story, one of the best of the series.moreless

    1 0

  • 7.8

    I just have one question...

    By rb1962, Jul 22, 2007

    This is considered a classic episode and you can see why. The relationship between the main character is developing into what made the show a success. The story line is a sci-fi version of Jekyll and Hyde, offering Shatner to do some real acting. It questions what the most important characteristics of a leader should be. (Aggression is necessary, though courage is derived from the sensible side of Kirk.) Of course some elements are quite predictable. When one secondary character (practically an extra with lines) is beamed up on his own, you know something bad is going to happen, just like the least known character in a landing party always gets killed first. The death of the pet may have caused some surprise, although I spent most of my time trying to figure out how the dog had been made up to look like this creature. And throughout the latter half I felt like shouting at the screen: Why not beam down inanimate material like food or blankets for Sulu and the others who are freezing to death? The transporter problem only seemed to effect living material.moreless

    2 0

  • 10

    I'M CAPTAIN KIRK!

    By amazingwebhead, Feb 01, 2007

    When investigating a unoccupied planet, the ships transporters malfunction after Kirk beams up before the rest of the away team. The malfunction creates a ‘duplicate’ that is comprised of Kirk’s evil side whilst the other side of Kirk becomes even weaker as a result. To make matters worse, the remaining members of the away team are stranded until the transporters can be fixed and the planet gets pretty cold in the late hours.



    ‘The Enemy Within’ plays out like a battle of two sides that takes place inside each and every one of us every day in our lives. The difference here is that this battle is physical and brought to life, affecting other people as it continues. Most particularly potent is the scene which depicts one of the darkest acts seen in Trek history when evil Kirk attempts to force sex on Yeoman Rand. Not only do both actors play it fantastically with a high level of tension and brutal ugliness but the message it gets across is one of the strong points of the episode.



    Throughout the opening scenes of Enemy Within, we are treated to a whole host of amusing scenes involving both sides of Kirk roaming the Enterprise and interacting with the crew he has known for so long in such different manners. There is a definite sense of Kirk in both, probably more so in ‘good Kirk’ but Shatner provides us with an excellent performance, depicting both sides entertainingly and realistically. What I found most effective was his portrayal of good Kirk’s slow but gradual weakened mind due to the ‘tough’ side of him being missing. The progress is never rushed from one extreme to the other and develops perfectly throughout the course of the plot. Sure he chews scenery now and then but I didn’t mind it, in fact the episode probably wouldn’t be as good as it is without it. In the end both versions come off as intriguing yet familiar, and that’s what makes the threat of such a duplication even more engaging and less of a generic threat that has no real ties to the crew themselves.



    During the earlier half of the episode Spock made a rather interesting speech to Kirk on the matter of a captain’s duty to keep his vulnerabilities to himself in order to keep order stored within the crew. It’s a topic that I near touched on in my review of ‘Where No Man Has Gone Before’ where it seems Kirk does exactly that when personal issues with his best friend arise and he doesn’t show much emotion as it happens around his officers. I didn’t find it particularly insightful but simply saw it as a good way to confirm how the future form of ‘military’ works, which is often very similar to our present days attitudes, and seems the case here.



    Following this the episode begins to shift focus, showing more of the good and bad sides of each character rather than just representing one as good and the other as evil. At first it isn’t directly stated, in fact I noticed it a good 5 minutes before anything was said but nonetheless, it shows the director knew what he was doing. We begin to see that both sides of Kirk need each other just as much as each other not just to function properly and morally but to function as a ship’s captain. Without Kirk’s rough side it seems, Kirk lacks any real sense of command and ability to keep order. However as McCoy states to Kirk later on, without the good side of Kirk, he wouldn’t have his intelligence and moral judgement to rely on in difficult situations. Furthermore McCoy makes an interesting move in claiming that human courage may jus come from those things as when both confronted each other, evil Kirk was scared but good Kirk wasn’t. It’s this sort of discussion between characters that I love about Star Trek, not only does it offer entertaining and intelligent dialogue to take place but it offers an endless amount of discussion to take place afterwards.



    Somewhere during the middle section of Enemy Within we get one of our first classic Kirk/Spock/McCoy moments. It all just works fantastically and the chemistry the three have from only knowing each other for so long is almost a prediction of how far these guys will come with each other and the developments that will take place between them. During the rather short debate however, Spock makes a comparison to the situation to that of his battle taking place between the Human and Vulcan side of himself everyday. This works as a good comparison because just a week earlier we seen him eventually break down as a result of the conflict created, but only because he was intoxicated. Spock claims that his intelligence eventually overcomes all conflict and unites both sides peacefully, which in turn shows Kirk what he (as the intelligence) must do.



    The battle eventually comes to a conclusion on board the bridge where both meet and evil Kirk begins to hope that the other crew members will be uncertain who is the good Kirk but alas it fails. This is another nice touch that reaffirms how well the crew know their captain and how well the captain knows his crew. In the final sequences, we are treated to some brilliant acting by Shatner and direction by Penn which depicts both sides of Kirk in their most extremes before they finally surrender to each other in recognition of their weakness without each other. I liked this move also; more often than not we would have a battle ensue with the good Kirk coming out on top. Usually his shirt would be ripped as a result too no doubt but thankfully, this battle is won through mutual understanding which stands as a far more effective ending to a compelling and interesting look at both extremes of human nature.



    “I’ve seen a part of myself that no man should ever see” Kirk informs Spock back on the bridge, back to his old self and he couldn’t be truer. Nobody every likes acknowledging the dark parts of themselves, nevertheless we have to deal with them everyday, never mind having to look them in eye and realising we need them.



    For me, ‘The Enemy Within’ is a classic episode on all parts. In no way is it flawless, in fact I had a hard time trying to buy the freezing away team subplot but whatever reasons I have or not liking the episode are ruthlessly overshadowed by the reasons I have for loving it; Two highly interesting versions of captain Kirk, an excellent performance by Shatner and the rest of the cast, effective direction and character analysis, top-quality dialogue and a captivating science fiction plot that keeps you interested throughout. Brilliant stuff.moreless

    1 0

  • 5.0

    Kirk accidentally kills Scotty’s pet puppy in a transporter accident

    By hrtonslv, Dec 24, 2006

    When I watched this in the 1970s I never liked it. I thought that it dragged and got really frustrated with the fact that they never properly addressed Sulu and the landing party's dilemma with the cold. When I watched it in the 2000s I was quite fascinated with the concept of a human being's mind divided into good and bad and strong and weak. And I think it was portrayed and studied quite well here. It actually made me think quite a lot about myself and my attributes and liabilities within me. So I really used to rate this quite low in my youth, but this is one of the episodes where in my adulthood, the rating went up somewhat.moreless

    1 1

  • 8.5

    Great Shatner over-acting in this one

    By adam8it2, Nov 25, 2006

    Kirk is beamed up from a planet, only to have second Kirk beam up a minute later. It is discovered Kirk has been split in half. The first Kirk is the intellect and gentleness, the second is unbridled lust, desire and aggression. The "bad" Kirk attacks crewman and attempts to rape Yeoman Rand. The "good" Kirk has trouble making important decisions as he is only half of himself. Meanwhile, Sulu and other crewmen are on the planet below-stranded because the Enterprise can't risk beaming them up until they fix the problem. Temperatures on the planet get to -120F and the men can't last long.



    Finally, a solution is found and Kirk is back to his normal self. No dead "crewman number 6" in this one =).moreless

    1 0

  • 8.1

    Kirk splits into his two halves, good and evil.

    By GameraTrekkie, Nov 18, 2006

    This is a strange episode indeed. Bill Shatner does great on this episode that deals with two Kirks on the Enterprise. By the end of the episode, you kind of feel sorry for the "evil" Kirk when he begs "I want to live!" There is also a cute part of this episode that has a new alien that in reality is just a dog in a costume. It looks like a bulldog with a unicorn horn stick out of it's head. Overall, another great episode that defines what Star Trek really is. The first season really does have some great episodesmoreless

    0 0

Load More Reviews