OK, not one of the most memorable episodes of the series. Kirk and Enterprise folks arrive at Eminiar VII on a diplomatic mission to establish a treaty with the locals. Ambassador Robert Fox is insistent that his mission succeeds, even after being warned that the planet has been at ar for 500 years with its neighbour. Fox’s view is that diplomacy can conquer all. However, the aliens fight their war not in reality, but with computer simulations, callously herding the “casualties” into disintegration chambers to keep up the body count. When the Enterprise is declared “collateral damage”, the head of Eminiar VII’s ruling council Anan 7 demands that the entire crew beam down and report for disintegration. Understandably, Kirk isn’t wild about that idea and destroys the Eminiarian’s computers, violating their agreement with their enemies. So Anan 7 is forced to sue for peace or fight a war for real. No contest!
Criticisms: I thought it odd that the Ambassador wouldn’t have kicked up more of a fuss over Kirk’s decidedly un-diplomatic solution to the problem. Also, it’s in direct violation of the Prime Directive.
Praise: A very clever idea that at least does address another aspect of the human condition. We approve of war when it’s kept “clean” and away from our sight. A clear allusion to the war in Viet Nam which was raging at the time, albeit, half a world away.