Star Trek

Season 3 Episode 1

Spock's Brain

Aired Unknown Sep 20, 1968 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (11)

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out of 10
186 votes
  • Oh the pain, the pain...

    (to borrow a line from another S.F. show's icon...)

    Caught this on the remastered run and if anything it's even worse then I remember. First up is the bad bad music cues. They beam Spock's body down to the planet, Kirk looks at in, zoom in on Spock's blank face, and... bombastic horror/music sting loud enough to rattle the windows. Cripes, the Horta didn't get this kind of musical buildup. Later when Kirk and the guys fight the Morg guards the music is equally blaring, and again there's an inexplicable cut to Spock's blank face for a "reaction" shot. Here's a hint, guys: there's no point doing reaction shots if the people you show don't have any reactions.

    I read Blish's short story adaptation and thankfully he omitted the whole remote-control windup Spock (which is noisier than the Tin Man from Oz: oil the joints, guys!). There looks like there are 10 buttons on the controller, and they keep hitting button number 1, so maybe they were rating this episode. One imagines Chapel helping McCoy perfect the mechanism.

    There's also a goofy cut to Sulu giving a supplemental log reading where he says... well, nothing we don't know already. The syndication cut even removes his finishing line about Chekov camped out on the planet.

    And of course at the end there's another god-like piece of technology that we'll never hear about again. Scotty even says he'd like a crack at it: why doesn't he or McCoy or the other 420+ crew just use it once each and dictate everything they know down. Then the Federation could be doing removals every week. Then again, we might get more episodes like this. Thankfully we were spared "Picard's Brain" in TNG. Although that's another bad thing about this episode: the title sounds like a bad 50s B-Movie. Also, if you're in the mood have a drinking game and take a shot every time they say "brain." Thankfully, you'll be passed out by the end of the episode.

    And there's cringeworthy moments like Kirk throwing himself on his knees to Kara to beg her for a chance to visit Spock. Ugh. And the unflattering torture belts. And the weird directorial touches like a camera shot through the helmet onto Kirk's face, or the dramatic frenzied-eye closeups of McCoy during the operation. Nobody does frenzied eyes like DeForest Kelley, check out "City on the Edge..." for another good example.

    Overall this definitely is a bad episode. All you can do is assume that everyone responsible for it knew it was a joke and wanted to pass that on the audience. Unfortunately, they seem a bit too sober-faced and you get the impression they really thought they had a winner on their hands. Oh well.