Star Trek

Season 3 Episode 17

That Which Survives

Aired Unknown Jan 24, 1969 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (7)

Write A Review
out of 10
137 votes
  • The crew of the Enterprise encounters a beautiful woman who attempts to kill each individual one by one.

    Guest starring former Miss America Lee Meriwether as a strange alien chick, this joyless mystery goes in circles (much like the third season) while she hunts down the Enterprise crew on a planet and simultaneously disrupts the ship.

    Basically a sci fi ghost story, it avoids being blatantly bad like "And the Children Shall Lead" by offering a unique sort of charm. The alien woman herself is suitably creepy, appearing and disappearing with the look of an old time TV image when the set is turned on and off while a haunting musical stinger lends accompaniment. Unfortunately, she doesn't really have anything to say except "I come for you", and her scenes remain redundant until the big reveal at the end where all is explained.

    The main cast itself is split, with Kirk, Bones, Sulu, and an extra down on a planet (one of whom dies to establish the danger, though I won't give away who), and Spock and the rest on the ship, which ends up rigged to destruct, establishing a countdown clock. In the hands of former Star Trek producer John Meredyth Lucas, all the principals stay within character, but with too little story to work with, he exaggerates their personalities to supply filler. Kirk is in such a Kirk-mode, he's obnoxious, treating his officers like they're third graders on a field trip. Spock is in such a jerk-mode, no one can say anything without getting a smart aleck reply. (Heck, Uhura asks him a question about odds, and Spock says "Lieutenant, we are not engaged in as if he doesn't spend the first two seasons telling everyone the odds for everything down to two decimal points. Screw you, Mr. Spock!)

    In the end, . Fontana was so unhappy with the teleplay, she combined the first names of her brothers into a pseudonym for her story credit. (She needn't have worried; no one remembers the episode anyway).

    Meriwether, who won the Miss America crown in 1955 as Miss California, would go on to better things as the secretary/daughter-in law in Barnaby Jones, a hit TV show in the 1970s.

    Remastered Version:

    Like the episode itself, there's not much of note here, just an upgraded starship and planet (replacing planet footage borrowed from Operation: Annhililate).

  • Kirk and Spock have a jerk competition

    This is one of those episodes that used to weird me out when I was a kid. I mean the woman who's touch would kill you and who turned into a thin black line then was pretty scary stuff. But having just watched it, I have to agree with one of the other posts concerning how irritable Spock was acting. Kirk acted the same way towards Sulu. Every time Sulu made a suggestion Kirk had a snide response "If I had wanted a lesson in Russian history Mr. Sulu I would have brought Mr. Chekov". Yeesh.
  • Was there a point?

    I'm a sucker for this series (as are most of us writing here) but I take exception to this and a few other episodes. I mean, what were they TRYING to tell us here?!

    Was there a point?

    And somehow, growing up in the 70's and 80's THIS episode was one of those that ways ALWAYS on
  • Weird science, but creepy effect

    This episode tends to be one of the "average" third season episode in that most despised of seasons. The idea of some indestructible woman running around causing every cell in your body to rupture (ouch!), who is intimately familiar with you, and can appear anytime and anywhere, is suitably creepy. Lee Meriwether actually has the acting chops to handle the role of a computer programmed with the conscience of its Commander. Although the Kalandrans (who we'll never hear of again) sound like a pretty nasty bunch. Losira too, since she programmed the outpost computer to kill anybody who wasn't a Kalandran. She was compassionate enough for her duplicate to hesitate in killing... but not to program the thing to brutally kill people in the first place. Okay...

    You'd think there'd be a more efficient way to kill intruders, though. Like "Spectre of the Gun," aliens need to come up with quicker ways to kill the outsiders.

    The secondary crewmen are actually mildly interesting here, which is rare in the third season. D'Amato is played by 60s stalwart Arthur Batanides, and his line about not being frightened of geological phenomena is kind of amusing. The doomed Watkins actually gets a moment to try and bluff the Losira program: wish he'd succeeded. And Rahda (the show's first vaguely Indian crewmember) gets to be the one to figure out what really happened to the planet (even if it's kind of "duh"). Dr. M'Benga doesn't make much of his second appearance on the show but at least he gets to do something.

    Sulu gets short shrift: Kirk gives him a hard time at least twice: comparing him to Chekov, Ouch! again.

    Kirk and McCoy don't have much to do (and McCoy seems rather facetious). But watching Leonard Nimoy and James Doohan bounce off each other is pretty funny. Spock doesn't seem to have learned much from his failed captaincy in "The Galileo Seven." He gives Rahda a hard time for not knowing the precise time, and seems more concerned with his head then where what happened to the Enterprise.

    Both climaxes are pretty climactic: Doohan milks the drama and last-minute save for all its worth, and its glad to see 23rd century tools still jam. Although this part doesn't make sense: okay, what's jettisoning the access tube going to do? If it's going to stop the ship's destruction, then why don't they just do it and not send Scotty in, in the first place? If it isn't, what difference does it make whether they jettison Scotty or not. And yes, the Enterprise gets to exceed its top speed yet again.

    The climax on the planet is equally creepy although more because of the implied threat of a painful death. The landing party seems reluctant to actually _touch_ the Losiras. And there's a kind of "Well, we're going to starve anyway, so let's go into the Cave O'Doom and... die?"

    Still, I generally give this a high rating based on Meriwether's performance, the generally creepy ambiance, the secondary crew getting a chance to shine this late in the game. It's enough to overcome the plotholes.
  • Pretty mediocre episode with an irritating depiction of Spock


    Lets get something straight first. The script for this episode was actually created by DC Fontana but the producers bungled the execution of this episode that she removed her name from its credits and used the pseudonym of 'Michael Richards' instead. An incredibly powerful (and now extinct) alien force named the Kalandans hurl the USS Enterprise 990.7 light years away from the planet that they are investigating and yet fail to destroy the 4 Enterprise beam down crew members on the Kalandan planet in an instant. Is this remotely plausible?

    Instead the Kalandans' computer send various manifestations of Losira, the sole likeness that the computer access to to'touch' and thus kill the Enterprise beam down crew which consists of Sulu, Kirk, McCoy and D'Amato. Once D'Amato dies and the crew learns how Losira is killing them they move around and protect one another....which is strange when the Kalandan computer could have easily vaporised them with several laser blasts or trapped them in a life suffocating forcefield. This is just boring.

    Meanwhile on the Enterprise, Spock is in charge and he proceeds to berate the crew for getting the slightest error in their calculations...including lecturing poor Scotty. This must be the most irritating depiction of Spock I've seen and one almost wants to beat him into his senses. Instead of displaying leadership and reassurance--as he did in The Tholian Web--he makes everyone tense especially when they learn thatthe ship could explode due to Losira's sabotage ofthe matter-antimatter units aboard the Enterprise if it wasn't for Scotty's heroics. And Scotty's reward is another lecture from Spock...instead of a short thank you.In the end, Spock returns to the planet in time to save Kirk, Sulu and McCoy from being killed by the computers creation of 3 deadly to the touch Losiras but the episode overall is just mediocre sadly. The only interesting development is that we see Sulu with Kirk on a mission together for the first time.

  • Kirk, McCoy, Sulu and a geologist are stranded on a baron planet where the image of a beautiful image of a woman tries to kill them one by one; while the Enterprise is flung across the galaxy. An interesting "enemy" but sadly another average episode…

    This is another of those third season episodes that has some very good ideas and moments, but sadly comes off as another decidedly average instalment, with little to make it really stand out.
    The plot itself is one of the third season's more credible and intriguing offerings, but unfortunately it has the third season 'half hearted' feel to it.

    Kirk and co., being stranded on the planet and with the Enterprise gone, has none of the bleakness or urgency to it that it should have, and is only saved of the interesting character of the mysterious women, played by the lovely Lee Meriwether (Catwoman from the 1966 big screen version of 'Batman'), who keeps appearing to kill off the landing party one by one with her touch of death.
    This character, later identified as being called Losira, is fascinating and well played, and one of the most memorable beings encountered from this end of the series. But the character deserved more solid writing and a stronger story.

    Meanwhile, the plot of the Enterprise being flung across the galaxy could equally have been interesting, but is handled with little care; and its return to pick up Kirk and co. is full of holes and is unbelievable.
    Although Mr. Spock shines in many episodes, here I found him at times to be extremely rude and rather – dare I say – annoying.
    Mr. Scott's working on the Enterprise and the countdown to their seeming doom is full of "technobabble", something would be overused in 'The Next Generation' and later spin-offs. It does, however, lead to one of my favourite 'Original Series' lines; Mr. Scott, with Spock constantly informing him of the time left to destruction, says "I know what time it is, I don't need a bloomin' cuckoo clock!".

    By third season episodes, this isn't really a bad episode as such, and has some good ingredients. But as I say, sadly, the overall (lack of) quality of the season lets it down, and it ends up as another average episode.
  • Stupid Sulu thinks the Enterprise hit a planet

    I would like to echo the comment about the Enterprise being so many light years away from where they were and where they are now and how far they have to travel to get back to where they were. They got there so fast! Come on, did you have to make it seem so futile? Why not make it a bit more believable. Yeah, sure they were traveling at warp 14 at one point, but that wouldn't have cut down the travel time that much. By the way, did Scotty ever reverse polarity on that wrench? I saw him switch something, but I thought reversing polarity meant putting a different pin in a different hole. Like doing it in reverse. I never understood that part of the show.