Star Trek

Season 1 Episode 16

The Galileo Seven

Aired Unknown Jan 05, 1967 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (10)

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  • Disaster strikes when Spock leads a team aboard the shuttle Galileo to study a quasar and the shuttle crashes on a planet.

    Inspired by the 1939 disaster film Five Came Back and taking advantage of a new licensing deal with AMT, Star Trek gives us our first Mr. Spock character study, placing the Vulcan in command of an A story about him and his crew of six others trapped on a planet. Meanwhile, Kirk attempts to find the shuttle and its crew in the B story but is constantly reminded the Enterprise is needed elsewhere by High Commissioner Ferris, the authority figure of the week. It's a classic Star Trek plot and a breakthrough episode for Leonard Nimoy, who was already finding his character before but really gets to establish him here.

    It all begins with the launch of a shuttlecraft, a setting introduced to the show courtesy of AMT (originally called Aluminum Model Toys) which agreed to build a miniature shuttle model, a lifesize exterior set, and even the interior set in exchange for merchandising rights. With this triple play, the writers are able to have the characters interact with the setting anyway they want, and it provides Spock, McCoy and company with a great setting for rich character interplay as the story moves from inside to outside (the planet set) and back again. The basic idea behind the drama is that Spock assumes his step by step logical approach is the best way to command, but the others don't trust his judgement. In the end, he's not only fighting an external battle with the others to reaffirm his command but an internal battle with himself as he begins to question his own actions. (In fact, the real issue isn't even about logic versus emotion but what it takes to make decisions and be a leader). The beauty of the script is that it doesn't provide easy answers or predictable outcomes to prove who's right but continues to throw out curveballs throughout the episode, making us wonder throughout the episode just who does have the best idea. (There are times it's easy to agree with Spock, but there are other times it's just as easy to agree with someone else).

    But it's Leonard Nimoy, for once getting an episode without "you know who" by his side, who makes the whole thing work. With a script that allows his character to make mistakes and learn from them, Nimoy plays up Spock's stubbornness and self assured nature on the surface, layering it with a subtext of soul searching and self doubt. It's this ability to create a facade while simultaneously letting us in that Nimoy does so well, and what makes Spock work. By the end of the episode, Spock's character arc has played out under the surface, as if his Vulcan half is trying to disguise it from us, saying "Nothing to see here" while we see through it and admire him all the more for his humanity.

    Meanwhile, Kirk orders searches for the shuttle from the bridge of the Enterprise, a B story that's there partly to give William Shatner something to do and partly to serve as a ticking clock counting down to zero, personified by Ferris. When the mission does end, Kirk's relief can come across as bizarre if you think about it. (Why doesn't he wonder who has made it and who's been left behind? And why doesn't he ask if the missing crewman are still alive on the planet? And, come to think of it, if the Enterprise is so desperately needed elsewhere, why is he leaving at the leisurely speed of warp 1?)

    But really, this isn't a Kirk episode, and these are just issues for nitpickers. (I'm looking at you, Phil). This is about Mr. Spock's journey; the same Mr. Spock who always loses to Kirk in chess, because Spock's logic ultimately loses to Kirk's intuition. Here, it's Spock who finds both to win his own game of chess by himself against the great unknown.

    (All this said, I do wish the episode had a little more in it in defense of Spock's logical approach. Mr. Boma's assertion that they should hold funeral services seems rather boneheaded when time is of the essence and there are killer giants on the surface of the planet. In the end, the writers leave it to the audience to say, "Man, that Boma's a But it would be nice if McCoy or Scotty were to defend Spock a little more here).

    Remastered Version: For this episode, CBS Digital lets their hair down and creates some new effects unlike anything seen before. The truth is that while the original effects were passable in 1966 (indeed, they are reused in subsequent episodes), they barely give enough visual information to make out what's happening. The quasar is a blob. The planet within is a poorly colored version of the planet from "The Enemy Within", and the shuttles look like toys. (In fact, the trail the shuttle leaves near the end, a key story point, is barely visible). For the new version, the quasar is distinct, the planet is properly shrouded, and the shuttles get the star treatment, complete with a new shuttle bay (and a much more visible trail). They even update the ship's chronometer to match "The Naked Time" and "The Corbomite Maneuver". In the end, with the new effects better telling the story, CBS turns an already great episode into a better one.
  • Fine story and pacing, one of the essential installments for seeing the development of the Spock character.

    A stuttlecraft is lost on a savage planet because of radiation from a great quasar.

    There are some minor things that bother me with this episode, most importantly as far as the series, it makes little sense that the chief surgeon and head engineer would be sent along with the first officer to investigate a space phenomenon - especially as Boma is well-written as a foil for Spock. But no matter, this story has a lot of good things happening.

    First of all, it's good drama - there is a tension about the Enterprise searching for the shuttle and having to soon be on its way, the creatures on the planet are mysterious and menacing (if rather cheesy looking), the fear amongst the shuttle crew is generally realistic. Most scenes are important and contribute to the whole tale. Most critical (and interesting), Spock is in a writers' transition here. He has plenty of logic and rationale, but he is hardly "unemotional", he gets very angry and sarcastic. This contrasts to later portrayals such as "Journey to Babel". The human nature issues are great, Boma vs. Spock, Kirk's concern for his crew, Scotty's admiration for Spock's final gamble in orbit. Sadly, the yeoman gets a poor set of lines, mostly, "what if the creatures are still out there?", "I got a bump on my head", and "it's getting hot" (as the shuttle is smoking up a storm).

    As usual for the series, "Star Trek" is good science fiction when it is good at telling a decent, old-fashioned one hour story. The rest is usually unimportant.
  • Investigating a quasar, Mr. Spock leads an away team to examine the phenomenon, but the shuttlecraft crashes on a barren planet, stranding the passengers and leaving them to be stalked by giant creatures. A top-notch episode...

    I was surprised to see that this episode seems to split the vote somewhat, as in my opinion, it is classic 'Star Trek'. I really like the story, and it stands as one of my first season favourites.

    In what is quite a rarity in the series, Captain Kirk takes somewhat of a backseat in the story, with his only real role being battling against Commissioner Ferris, who is pressing for the Enterprise to leave the scene to reach an important rendezvous.
    The story belongs to Spock, and really shows up his 'logical' and at times angering and stubborn nature. I like the dynamics between the various passengers – and had two of the crewmen not conveniently (!) been killed by the creatures (reducing the weight for the Galileo to take off), I wondered if Spock would have chosen himself to stay behind.

    Apparently, Yeoman Rand was originally supposed to be one of the members of the shuttlecraft, but after Grace Lee Whitney was dropped from the series, the character was adapted into another crewmember, Yeoman Mears. (By the way, I do agree with a couple of other reviews that she has very "girly lines" – "I bumped my head", "It's getting hot in here", etc.).

    It is possible to pick small holes in the story, but I think that can be said with many 'Trek' episodes, especially in The Original Series.

    In some ways, this is like a space-age version of the classic 'Flight of the Phoenix' (1965, based upon the 1964 novel). I find the episode exciting and dramatic in equal measure, and the climax really has you on the edge of your seat. All-in-all, an excellent episode.
  • Spock has command as his crew crash lands on a planet with giant barbarians.


    Galileo Seven is probably one of the more recognized Star Trek episodes in my opinion. This is due to a variety of reasons: Spock's First command is a giant failure (he loses two crewmen by his own bad decision making) and after his Vulcan logic fails Spock resorts to human emotions throughout the episode.

    The Enterprise is set to deliver vaccines to Marcus 3 but for whatever reason make a pit stop (my first Amazing Race reference lol) at Murasaki 12. In hindsight this might have been Kirk's fault for letting Spock and others go but Spock's handling while in first command though are a bigger disaster.

    For instance when Spock and company land on the planet known as Taurus 2 they are eventually attacked by giant barbarians for a lack of a better word. The first scout Latimer is killed by a spear through the back (shown in graphic fashion which for this time on TV was very violent). Spock adhering to his "logical" form of non-violence tries to evade the barbarians seeking more to annoy them hoping them to go away. This is hilarious. Clearly if logic was a factor as the other crewman have said included the next victim ,Gaetano, then actually the next "logical" step would be to wipe out the threat.

    Spock's "logic" seems to be more relied on his upbringings as a Vulcan thus portraying an adherence to a human quality- that is the human behavior to be molded by the actions of others. Other areas of Spock's irrationality is his decision to say to he will pick one of the crewman to stay behind. See the ship the Galileo is stuck in the planet with fuel gone for the most part. Spock saying he would logically pick someone to die has no logic, once again a human trait is displayed here that is desperation and a lack of hope in sacrificing someone so others can leave. No matter how many times Spock could think over this decision there be no "logical" candidate.

    For me I love it because it shows Spock's human qualities something of which the writers at the beginning (with the exception of the Pilot "The Cage") was something they didn't want to pursue (even though by the last season we would see more of Spock's human emotion).

    Anyhow, continuing on Spock's failure of logic and his human emotions coming out (he decides not to give one of the dead crewman a proper burial even though that would be the "logical" thing to do), it is Scotty who comes to the rescue. Fans are used to seeing Scotty make up excuses on the show like he can't get the warp engines going or something like that but it is Scotty who comes up with the plans to leave the planet by redirecting the phaser power to engines.

    So that's why I love this episode. I think for those who sort of saw Spock as a hypocrite or as a guy who despite his alleged logical attributes here is the real Spock coming out in a way with his human emotions coupled with bad decision making which are a human trait. Besides that this episode had decent action scenes, story, and special effects (for the time)
  • I for one do not believe in angels

    Out of all the episodes of original Trek, this is one that has stuck in my mind the most, and even though a lot of the plot is mediocre, what I remember and admire about this outing is its wonderful analysis of Spock. This is also one of the few episodes where I feel the tacky low-budget nature of the effects and props really do hinder the story.

    When you can ignore the silly monsters and terrible space shots of the Galileo however, what you have is a very introspective look at our first officer, contrasted against our own psyche: It's probably Spock's worst nightmare to be enclosed in an extremely small space with six humans, but as a viewer, you don't get much better intelligent character analysis. Full of characteristic dialogue and tense drama, 'The Galileo Seven' is a highly important meditation on conflict between the heart and the brain; emotion and logic. What's tragic about it though is that all this wonderful writing is stuffed inside some uninspired 'trapped on a monster planet' story. So even though there is plenty of tension and conflict both aboard the Enterprise and the Galileo, the episodes plot fails to deliver any such suspense at least until the last ten minutes.

    So where does all this character conflict occur? Well a small portion is created between Kirk and the ever-so-timely commissioner Ferris. The rest -and majority- comes from the Galileo six, against Spock. Upon closer inspection, both conflicts share common ground. Both Spock and the commissioner are the machines, who follow the rules and set about the problems logically. Then we have Kirk, and the Galileo six who argue against this approach, pleading for some emotional balance. What 'The Galileo Seven' goes on to explore is that neither is inherently correct, and that both need other. This is wonderfully brought to full climax during the episode's final scenes where both stories eventually clash together in terms of both plot and of character decisions: Kirk is forced to abide by logic and as a result Spock is forced to take an emotional approach to fix the problem.

    The majority of the episode however is spent analysing Spock himself, with very little of Kirk, and it's about time too. Crawford and Bar-David skilfully exploit the situation that Spock has found himself in: trapped on a planet, in command of six other officers. As has been the case in other situations where Spock has been in temporary command, his personality traits are heightened and his logic becomes ruling. Most poignantly expressing this shift in character is the scene where Boma asks Spock to lead a burial service for a deceased crew member; obviously Spock sees no logic in halting work in order to commit to an irrational ceremony. The rest of the crew witness this and become upset at Spock's obvious disregard for loss of life.

    There are many more scenes where these conflicts are developed, and as the episode goes on, I for one actually found myself being sympathetic towards Spock and resenting the irrational and over-emotional behaviour of some of the humans. Indeed even though Spock is continuously accused of being cold-hearted, distant and too focused on logic, there are many cases when the exact opposite becomes apparent: when the other members gang up on Spock, mocking his leadership and disregarding his advice; and when Spock argues that they must scare the creatures away rather than kill them. Both these examples show that even we humans can be cold, through our obsession with emotion. In the end, 'The Galileo Seven' eventually shows us one thing regarding our Vulcan in command. Spock's command style makes him a very good choice for command, but ultimately it is his lack of heart and emotion that stops him for being a good leader, at least of humans. This essentially paints him in tragic shade, developing his character into one that does all he can in the ways he knows best, but one who also cannot find the right balance between his heart and mind to reach where pure logic cannot take him. This is partly why I believe the Kirk and Spock dynamic to be so interesting. These two characters work well with each other because like Good and Evil Kirk in 'The Enemy Within', both need each other in order to succeed and survive as they are. Again, the episode's final few scenes where both characters make decisions against their nature goes to show that not only do they rely on each other, but they have also learned from the other. The focus of the story however is on Spock, and in the end, he shows more of what he has learned from his Captain than he ever had before.
  • Absolutely classic Trek!!!

    Several crew members are on an away mission via a shuttle craft. The residents of this planet are hostile and skirmishes ensure. Mr. Spock is in command of a rather motley crew who basically break all of the commonly held rules of command and manage to survive. This episode must be very confusing to a lot of people and I believe that's to be expected.

    An entire litany of questions occur that don't seem to make much sense unless you take a number of things into context.

    It's pretty well known that Gene Roddenberry was generally a pacifist and this episode took place during the thick of the Viet Nam War. There are obvious anti war references along with other social reference themes. There's a number of other curious occurrences as well. If you question the roles (or lack of) that the minor crew members have, you aren't alone.

    But try to imagine what the writers were thinking in 1967 and not just Roddenberry. This series was intended to make social statements but they had no predecessor. This show was literally breaking new ground.

    Confusing indeed. It's a wonder this episode even made it on the air in 1967 at all.
  • This is entertaining to watch - one I always enjoy, however the plot-holes do annoy.

    Several questions arise from this episode, not least why are the crew of the Enterprise able to talk to its second in command in such a disrespectful way? I suspect part of the answer lies with the shows desire to mirror 1960's issues on a 23rd century starship. The bigotry shown towards Spock by junior crew members and at times Dr McCoy was certainly exaggerated for the audience which probably upsets some fans but as a whole the idea is a good one.

    Aboard the Enterprise Kirk is constantly getting stick from High Commissioner Ferris but rather then either sticking to his guns and continuing the search or leaving at maximum warp so the ship can return quickly to resume a detailed search, Kirk orders the Enterprise to leave orbit at crawling speed a decision which seems totally bizarre until the final scenes of the episode of course.
  • Spock invents a new phaser setting, "frighten"

    The last scene is quite wonderful. "Mr. Spock, you're a stubborn man" "....yes sir". I thought the script was really quite good. The weak link in this episode was obviously the creatures. Did you get a loud of Gaetano's death? The ape just stood there with his hands over his head and then kind of "bowed down" to attack him. Mr. Boma's performance might have been a tad better. Some nice character definition of Spock and how logic dictates his every moves revealing some definite pluses and interesting minuses. I'm trying to think of an episode where it was safe to travel on one of those shuttlecrafts. "Journey to Babel" is the only one that comes to mind.
  • Hate to say but this is my least favorite episode in my all-time favorite series of any genre. I have the whole series and won't even watch this one.

    Also being a war movie buff of any era and any conflict, I can never get over the unbelievable insubordination by underlings of the second in command. And the doctor's unbearable needling of Spock in a crisis takes their normal tension to a totally unrealistic level.

    All of the crew of the Galileo seven are in starfleet and presumably climbed the ranks of service by occupying lesser assignments on lesser ships than the federation's flag ship. At first McCoy is almost abusive to Spock in front of the others and later seems to sympathize with their hostile criticism. Yes of course near the end of the conflict there is a rebuke. But nowhere near soon enough. And Scot! Where is his support as next in the chain of command?

    It creates frustration to the absurd. Lastly, the only thing that would quench my distaste for this episode is to have had all aboard this nightmare shuttle hauled before a board of inquiry and demoted and assigned to other ships.
  • Why Spock isn't suited to command

    "The Galileo Seven" is another top episode from the early days of STAR TREK. In this one, an exploratory team, lead by Mr Spock, crashlands on a hostile planet and is cut off from the Enterprise by ion storms. Spock must do his best to keep the crew alive using all the logic he can muster.

    But logic alone is not enough and Spock's control over the rest of the team begins to unravel as crewmen die and the expeditionary team run out of time to make their escape and reunite with the Enterprise.

    While I think that the crew really wouldn't be quite that disrespectful to the Second-in-Command of the Enterpsise, no matter how dire the situation became, it's still an interesting insight into why Kirk was such a successful commander yet Spock was content to be his sidekick. It's Kirk's very emotionalism that makes him great and that, as Spock was to demonstrate more than once, pure logic doesn't make a great man or a great leader.

    But this is a cracking Spock-centred episode, which always make for great viewing. Recommended!
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