And so arrives the third season. The titles are now in blue instead of yellow (I never liked the blue, it felt 'cold'), the theme is slightly re-recorded again, and... err... Scotty has his hair slightly differently! That's about it. ...Except to say, the quality of stories fell dramatically in the third season. After many of the polished and thoughtful stories of the first and much of the second season, the third season saw a number of much weaker instalments. None more so than the infamously bad "Spock's Brain".
"Spectre of the Gun" was actually the first episode to be produced for the third season, but the series seldom followed production order on broadcasts, and this episode was selected to air as the season premiere.
Just as the second season began with the Spock-centric "Amok Time", the third begins with another Spock-based tale, seemingly to capitalise on Spock's huge fan base. But whereas "Amok Time" offered us an interesting glimpse of Spock's homeworld, "Spock's Brain" is one of the silliest and just plan bad episodes ever offered up by the Original Series.
Leonard Nimoy has said that he really didn't like filming this episode, and William Shatner voiced similar thoughts; It's not hard to see why.
This is often cited to be the worst episode of the series; just as 'The Next Generation' had "Shades of Grey" (terrible second season clip show), the Original Series had this.
The whole plot device of McCoy controlling Spock's brainless body, like a robot, is one of the most ridiculous things ever seen in 'Star Trek'. It's hard to think that a series that had reached such heights with some other stories could sink to something as stupid as this.
I confess to not fully grasping just why the alien woman tracked down Spock and stole his brain in the first place, nor the whole men-on-surface women-underground thing; by the explanation stage late in the episode, I was pretty much beyond caring.
I hadn't watched this episode for many years until last night, when I re-watched it for this review. It was every bit as bad as I remembered!
As I mention above, this is often cited as the worst single episode of the Original Series. It's defiantly in the Bottom 5, possibly out of the whole franchise.