Star Trek

Season 3 Episode 3

The Paradise Syndrome

Aired Unknown Oct 04, 1968 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (9)

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out of 10
163 votes
  • 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.