I guess most of us watched the series in the 60's and 70's. I watched it mostly in the 70's. I have just watched all of them again, except "The Deadly Years", that one just creeps me out. And now that I am older and even though I have seen all of them well over a dozen times, I see them in a different light because I'm an adult. I cried at the end of this one when I never even got emotional watching it when I was a teenager. I guess I have really mellowed with age.
This episide has some great moments mostly dealing with the Enterprise and an outdoor location which gets out of the confines of the Enterprise and fake looking planet sets. We've finally figured out why so many humanoids are found on other planets because they were seeded there by intelligent aliens. However, I find it hard to believe that the indians on the planets are actually a mixture of Navajos and such. It would have been more believable if the they were a unique tribe. After all, you find unique animals in Australia and Gallapos Islands because they have been separated from other species for many years. The visual aspects of the colliding asteroid are dazzling and Spocks's attempts to divert it are eye candy. Spock almost goes on a Kirk like obsession to find some way to deflect it. However, his obsession is focused on the obelisk because the secret lies within it. On the other hand, Kirk's adventures has some problems. They try to roll a romance of several months into an episode and this makes it seem to condensed. But Kirk's interactions with the tribe is interesting as they take him for a god. However, Miramanee's death seems too convenient. Unless somebody lobbed an accurate rock throw to her head, her death seemed too forced. It would have made more sense for her to die from the future pregnancy. But, Kirk's happily finding his Shangri-La (albeit reluntantly since he stills sees an Enterprise and two familiar faces in a fog) is enjoyable. But the best moments are still on the Enterprise with Spock in command using that great scientific mind of his to rescue the Captain and divert the asteroid. His interaction with McCoy has wonderful dialogue, especially McCoy's remark about "cutting a diamond" and Spock's payback to McCoy by telling him of how astute his description was. Spock and McCoy feuding over Spock's decisions is legendary, but Spock would always say something positive towards McCoy that would let him know that he still valued McCoy's opinions...no matter how illogical they seemed.
On a peaceful, primitive planet similar to Earth, Captain Kirk has his memory erased by an alien temple device and, unable to remember who he is, joins a tribe of people who resemble Earth's American Indians. A hard episode to rate...
A well-recognised 'Star Trek' plot cliché by this point was the "duplicate Earth" notion. Two of the most recognisable instances came in the second season with "A Piece of the Action" (gangsters), and "A Private Little War" (Nazis), and there are other examples too. Here, it is used again, this time with American Indians.
I find this a very hard episode to sum up and rate. It has some bad elements, some so-bad-it's good elements, but – to be fair – some very good elements mixed in. The episode is certainly not without its charm in places.
This episode is very notable for the explanation, albeit rather briefly, of 'Preserver' aliens, which had travelled through the galaxy thousands of years before 'seeding' humanoid life, which explains why so many other planets have humanoid life. I thought this was a very interesting concept, and deserved an episode of its own to be expanded upon.
(It has, though, been used in some of William Shatner's 'Trek' novels and suchlike, although I haven't read any of them).
The temple device that Kirk (literally) falls into is well constructed, and looks much better than some of the cheap and tacky devices of the Original Series. However, I thought the explanation of the phrase that opened the 'trap door' (?), which I will not give away here, was a bit silly and let down an otherwise good concept.
My major nitpick with the episode when Captain Kirk initially goes missing on the planet. Spock insists to McCoy that they must leave on the Enterprise to stop the asteroid that is speeding towards the planet. Which is great, and adds more urgency to the plot. But why don't they at least beam down a search party to look for the Captain in the meantime? This seemed a very big niggle to me.
The asteroid itself suffers from some dodgy effects (I'm reviewing the original version, I haven't seen the remastered episodes as yet), again seemingly a casualty of the budget and time restrictions of Original Series episodes.
But that's some of the bad – and there is certainly good to be found in this episode as well. The whole plot of Kirk, having his memory wiped as his life as a Starship Captain, finding peace and love with the American Indian-like tribe is charming, and especially his romance with Miramanee.
I also like that this story, in a break from the typical plot structure of epsiodes, takes place over several weeks, as Kirk is immersed into the tribe. And back on the ship, there are some good Spock – McCoy moments.
[spoiler] The ending of the episode, with Miramanee – now Kirk's wife and expecting their child – dying, is real tragedy, and one of the most superior moments of the (weaker) third season. [End of spoiler].
So there it is. Some good bits, some not so good bits. I think this is a 'love it or hate it' episode.
Captain Kirk lost his memory on a planet on a collison course with a astroid. There Kirk falls in love with an indian woman.while out there the Enterprise is trying to blow up the astroid before in hit the planet. And on thast planet, Kirk finds peace. I didn't think this epsoide didn't do any good for me. The episode is more concern with the latest romance involving Kirk that with the plan to blow up the astroid. I love the show, but this epiosde is a lowpoint of the series. so far I've given this episode a 6. that's the lowest of the series. so far.
This episode was the best of all the other episodes. The story line with Kirk was great, a chance to see him have the normal life he so desperatly craved and the end sequence with his wife was truly moving, had me in tears. ! ! ! ! But as good as that story line was nothing could beat Leonard Nimoys performance as Spock. The way he was shown punishing himself becouse of his own guilt at the asteroid not being stopped and Kirk been lost was so heartwrenching ! ! ! All in all this was a massive success of an episode.
I really enjoyed this episode. However I believe it is mostly from the Warp 11 song, "Kirock" from their "It's Dead, Jim" album. I spent the whole episode waiting to experience the events described in the song.
Her input into her various TREK episodes always gets me to take a look. Sometimes the sci-fi isn't bulletproof, but she has a decent grasp of the characters and the plots she writes up were always interesting and engaging. Definitely one of the better writers FOR the show.
In this episode, there's an asteroid that will hit a (another "Earth parallel development" scenario type) planet unless a deflector beam activates to hit it. It's really good luck that Kirk and Co transport down to investigate the planet for life before dealing with the asteroid, since the unit had deactivated in the past... and a malfunction gives Kirk amnesia, so when he leaves the structure he is seen as a god by a couple of locals, including Miramanee - who was engaged to the local doctor until Kirk showed up and saved a child (thus unwittingly breaking the prime directive, since he was suffering from amnesia). Kirk's identity is gone but his intelligence is not. This is cool. Especially as he tries to remember his name, "Kirk" becomes "Kirok".
What's cool with this "parallel development" theory is that, as I recall, it's not as heavyhanded compered to other episodes. It's deftly dealt with and then it moves on, and the episode feels more natural as opposed to many other episodes using the same trope, which feel far more contrived with the Nazis, 1920s gangsters, and - most blatant of all - America and its identically-shaped flag. Parallel worlds are better for "Sliders", but with "Paradise Syndrome" TREK pulls it off with aplomb, because the parallels aren't so contrived. Just Indians similar to the various tribes we know of. There it is, let's move forward, and really do something with it as opposed to just saving money on reusing other shows' costumes. The episode simply says "similar to the Mohegan, Najavo, No big history lessons, no hammer-hitting with the forced parallels, they keep it simple and effective - and easier to suspend disbelief over. And since the parallel doesn't reach the 18th century, it feels all the more authentic for it. And it resonates with Kirk, for which a part of him feels worn out and he wants to relax. "The Paradise Syndrome", which was said... ;)
Not since Khan do we see a massive villain in the making with Salish. He is clearly fuming over Kirk's arrival and one-upping him (albeit unintentionally). Rudy Solari's performance only adds to a character that you know wants to tear Kirk apart, especially once custom kicks in and Miramanee is given to Kirk/Kirok. But imagine Trek II without Khan... but Salish is indeed a character that was strong and effective, but would never - and could never - be used again.
The guest cast are solid and convincing in making the premise feel authentic. So much so that I wept when Miramanee (with unborn child) was STONED TO DEATH. Okay folks, this is a TV show made in the 1960s, a show that had so many hollow, empty endings (a la "The Cloud Minders"), and here we have one hell of a tragedy - people stoned to death, Kirk can't do anything about it... nobody wins. This ending is as real as it gets and there's no way it can be hollow or empty.
Indeed, Spock's fascinating compassion for the captain's emotional state over the loss of a person he loved with all his heart, and providing a Vulcan "forget it" pinch is both sentimental (for the right reasons) is character-breaking but oddly convincing as well -- but this is the third season, where Spock would be doing very un-Spock things throughout. Yet, in this episode, I can buy it... I shouldn't, but yet I do...
And that segues into Spock's emotions over not succeeding in dealing with the asteroid - yes, we had to see the obelisk that trashes Kirk's memory be the reason for zapping asteroids all over the place, but Spock's guilt also felt out of character. And yet I can't knock off points, because this story's conviction, and portrayals by all involved, make me suspend my disbelief. It works.
And it's nice to see location filming done in an area outside of a giant rock sanctuary, too...
I can't rate this episode highly enough. It may be in the third season, but everything gels perfectly - it's better than any number of first season stories as well.
Jim Kirk gets his own Dances With Wolves adventure in a story that spans two months, making this one of TOS's most unique episodes. But what used to be considered a third season gem is less popular today with audiences are more aware and less tolerant of Native American caricatures. (Poor Disney has it worse, with its 1953 Peter Pan movie having an entire song asking "What made the Red Man red?" while an old Native American gives the kids a peace pipe to pass around).
The idea here is similar to TNG's Magna Opus, "The Inner Light": the captain gets to have everything his starship denies him, gaining a life with simple and stable pleasures free of the burdens and responsibilities of command... at least until the world is threatened. (It is, ironically, the same sort of lifestyle Kirk has made a career out of putting a stop to when it comes to others!) Shatner throws himself into the part (and he and guest star Sabrina Scharf throw themselves at each other) for his planet-based scenes that benefit immensely from some of Star Trek's most gorgeous location shooting, with Los Angeles's Franklin Reservoir (the fishing hole in the opening credits of the Andy Griffith show) and a specially constructed obelisk prominently featured. (Sadly, due to budget cuts this is the only location work for the season, apart from a short scene in "All Our Yesterdays"). Scharf, playing Miramanee, gives her part a nice blend of ignorance and intelligence that compliments the amnesiac Kirk, but the writers don't give her much to work with, content to let her be a simplified version of Pocahontas. (It doesn't help that she's surrounded by other Native American stereotypes, with 75 year old Richard Hale as the High Chief and 33 year old character actor Rudy Salari as the Medicine Man, both there simply to give Kirk an ally and an enemy).
On board the ship, the others get a B story, with Spock in command and the crew forced to abandon the captain to save Kirk and the inhabitants of the planet from an asteroid rushing in to collide with the planet. (It's curious that after a whole season of getting beat over the head with the prime directive, it's suddenly absent here, though it would return in TNG. Picard would just let the asteroid slam into the planet and take it out... unless Data had a pen pal there). This part of the story gives Nimoy and Kelley a chance to resurrect their bickersons relationship (which later comes to a head in "The Tholian Web") while Jimmy Doohan is busy shouting orders to imaginary engineers just offscreen because the budget doesn't allow for more than one extra. It's pretty rudimentary Star Trek, but Spock and McCoy working out a problem in their own way is always fun, and the shots of the Enterprise chasing and being chased by the asteroid are a fun back and forth bit to contrast with the surface of the planet. (Meanwhile, Composer Gerald Fried reprises his lonely Vulcan bass theme from "Amok Time" for Spock and contrasts it with high strings for Kirk to effectively transition from one deep in troubled thought to one at peace with the world).
Does "The Paradise Syndrome" approach the heights of "The Inner Light"? Not by a long shot. Kirk's life on the planet lacks the scope and depth of Picard's adventure, and the writing and guest stars aren't on the same level. But with the big three driving the plot, and the producer supplementing them with location work, special effects, and a great score, "Syndrome" offers much more entertainment than the similar but inferior offerings, "The Apple" and "A Private Little War".
Remastered version: This is a case where the original's effects are quite good, with the show reusing the planet from "Operation: Annihilate!" and creating some new, nifty asteroid shots. But CBS Digital does a fine job too, replacing the planet sphere with a better looking Earth-like world and creating all new Enterprise and asteroid effects. Originally, CBS Digital messed up a an upgraded beam that comes out of the obelisk, with the team making it red when the dialogue indicates it should be blue; but this is corrected in the Blu-ray set.
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