Star Trek

Season 3 Episode 11

Wink of an Eye

Aired Unknown Nov 29, 1968 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
148 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When a landing party investigating Scalos begins to vanish one by one, Kirk, Spock and McCoy try to find out what is happening before more of the crew disappears, until Kirk himself is abducted. Kirk finds the cause to be a group of endangered Scalosians who move faster than human sight or hearing can detect. They need to repopulate their species, and find that speeding human males up to Scalosian speed will meet their needs. Kirk must find a way to get a message to Spock and McCoy, who are working on a cure for the mystery "ailment," as well as stirring up fighting among the Scalosians, before they have control of the Enterprise.moreless

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  • After responding to a distress call, Captain Kirk is abducted and accelerated by a group of Scalosians

    Gene Coon borrows a high concept from an episode of his old series, The Wild Wild West for his seventh and final script to be produced by Star Trek. The idea itself is brilliant: having two different perspectives of time happening concurrently is not only interesting itself but lends itself naturally to a compelling A/B structure. And if the ship-based wraparound story itself is simple and familiar (aliens attempt to take over the ship, but when the female alien becomes interested in Kirk, the male alien becomes jealous), it still works because of the nifty sci fi spin.

    Unfortunately, the nature of the concept itself makes it difficult to integrate the A and B stories, and in the end, teleplay writer Heinemann hopes the audience will either overlook time discrepancies or just go with it -- because it's impossible to have the speeds of the characters be so diverse while giving the "slow time" people enough time to engage in meaningful actions; yet if the "accelerated" people move any slower themselves, the crucial concept of them being invisible to the others begins to break down. (And it's not like the show doesn't have its hands full anyway! There are many smaller issues the episode finds difficult to tackle, such as how to deal with automatic doors and turbolifts in a reality where they should take hours to work). TNG would have to tackle the A/B issue as well in their sixth season episode "Timescape", with the writers solving it nicely by creating a time anomaly that allows for time to resume normally only to then go backwards. VOY tackles the sped-up concept themselves in their sixth season gem "Blink of an Eye", but they get around all the potential time-problems by using a "SimEarth" approach: the accelerated characters exist as a civilization evolving on a planet.

    As for "Wink", it does the best it can; but it's such an interesting episode itself that it's a bit frustrating to see such obvious time discrepancies, with Spock and Bones seemingly taking months of the aliens' time to complete their actions. (Perhaps if the aliens had to go back and forth from the planet to the ship on a shuttlecraft to get parts to complete their device, the "slow-time" scenes could carry out longer and make more sense).

    Nonetheless, Kathy Browne is a delight as Deela, an alien similar to Kelinda in "By Any Other Name, having a cheerful disposition and enjoying any attention Kirk gives her. (Considering there's a scene where he's in his bedroom putting his boots back on while she's brushing her hair in his mirror, I'd say he doesn't have a problem obliging). Most of the music is tracked in from "The Cage", which provides a creepy atmosphere for the "alien reality" (with the cinematographer adding a tilt to the camera for effect), and the story moves along nicely, making it all very pleasant.

    All in all, it's a nice little sci fi story... if you try not to think about it too much.


    This, of course, gives us new shots of the Enterprise and a planet (originally recycled footage from "Wolf in the Fold" but now a realistic Earth-like globe). But the showpiece is a new matte painting representing an alien city on the surface (replacing a reuse of the original matte painting in "A Taste of Armageddon"). It's a beautiful visual behind the characters requiring painstaking rotoscoping,

  • Lousy physics, so-so characterization

    Unfortunately Wink of an Eye embodies all that is... average about Season 3. It's not a particularly original s.f. idea, since H.G. Wells invented the concept and Wild Wild West used it a year or so previously (and several shows have used it since). In WWW the baroque science concepts kind of allow for it, but in the "harder" s.f. Trek setting, it's just silly.

    It's also very representative of Season 3 because the focus is on Kirk and Spock. Compton might have been an interesting character, a Bailey or Styles from the first season, but instead he's some schmuck we've never seen of, disappears before we even find out about him, and shows up only to briefly ignore the captain then come to his aid and die.

    So it's the Kirk & Spock show. Kirk gets the girl and Spock plays detective. McCoy gets to whip up a cure in about an hour that has defied the best efforts of the Scalosian scientists over decades, but he doesn't have much to say.

    Jason Evers is his dependable stolid "Hey, it's that guy, what's-his-face!" 60s actor. So the show really rests on the shoulders of Kathie Browne, Darren McGavin's wife and another one of those "Hey, it's that woman, what's-her-face!" actresses of the 60s. She gives a great in-depth performance here, and her "At least allow me the dignity..." speech is oddly touching. She varies between puckish, ruthless, and sympathetic, and her reaction when Kirk "adjusts" is well done as well.

    Unfortunately despite Mrs. Browne's assets (and William Ware Theiss' costume design), the episode doesn't really overcome the bad karma of the goofy concept. It's watchable, but just barely.moreless
  • Eye Candy!

    A group of endangered people calling themselves the Scalossans took over the enterprise and kidnapped Captaain Kirk. That's coming from a race that them crew can't see, except you only hearing the buzz in the air. The leader of the group is very sexy nan and falls for Kirk. but the crew made an attempt to getting the crue in rescing Kirk and reclamed the enterprise. Theis is yet another epiosde when the enterprise is capture by a foe, yet a foe noone can see and they may have succeed if not for Kirk's plan, which may have backfire on those taking over the ship.moreless
  • If Kirk has told the crew once, he’s told the crew a thousand times, “Bring bottled water from home on these type expeditions”, but does Compton listen? No!

    I totally agree with a lot of the trivia remarks about this show. And since I am a video editor by profession, the time and speed rate that the Scolotians were moving at was way, way, way off! It was loaded with so many errors, it bothered me probably more so than most people. However, I am able to put most of those things aside. Just like we can put aside that all the aliens happen to speak English or every vessel in space happens to meet another ship on the same perfect, X,Y,Z plane that it’s counter ship is at. The concept of a different race moving at a different speed is still interesting, so I still was able to enjoy the episode.moreless
  • After the Enterprise visits planet Scalos, strange things begin happening. Kirk discovers that "time accelerated" aliens have come aboard the ship and are trying to take it over to use the crew as 'genetic stock'. An intriguing tale...moreless

    It is often said that the third season is the weakest of the Original Series' three seasons, and I agree with that. But that said, here we get another enjoyable episode, the third in a row (following "The Tholian Web" and "Plato's Stepchildren", both of which I also really liked).

    Some don't like this episode, and indeed there are some major nitpicks and inconsistencies. But in fairness, that can be said for a huge chunk of 'Trek' episodes if you look closely enough; I find it better to put those niggles aside and enjoy this intriguing story.

    The story of 'high speed' aliens is a good one; probably one of the third season's most interesting ideas, in my opinion. At first you are left to wonder what the high pitched 'buzzing' is, and the explanation unfolds well.

    Deela is well played by Kathie Browne, adding another 'Star Trek' beauty to the ranks. Her character and Kirk's work well together, and I felt there really was a spark between them.

    Along with the first season's "Operation –- Annihilate!", this is one of my very first memories of watching 'Star Trek', or indeed any television in general. I was about three or four years old, and I can clearly remember the aliens moving at high speed, sounding like flies, and Mr. Spock working out to slow down Kirk's message.

    (It is possible that "Operation -– Annihilate!" and this episode were shown close together, as the BBC's run of the series in the 1970s/1980s often jumped around the seasons and followed little pattern).

    All-in-all, although this isn't a commonly popular episode, I personally like it enough to give it a very reasonable 9.5 rating.moreless
Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy

Mr. Spock

DeForest Kelley

DeForest Kelley

Dr. Leonard Horatio "Bones" McCoy

William Shatner

William Shatner

Captain James Tiberius Kirk

Kathie Browne

Kathie Browne


Guest Star

Jason Evers

Jason Evers


Guest Star

Erik Holland

Erik Holland


Guest Star

George Takei

George Takei

Lt. Hikaru Sulu

Recurring Role

Nichelle Nichols

Nichelle Nichols

Lt. Nyota Uhura

Recurring Role

Richard Geary

Richard Geary

Scalosian #1 (uncredited)

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (17)

    • The opening scene of the Enterprise's bridge is using stock footage from another episode as it shows Scotty with the slick back hairstyle from an earlier season 3 episode (but is seen with his previous hairstyle throughout the rest of this episode), the rear profile of Chekov instead of another crewman to the right of the viewscreen (even though he didn't actually appear here), and a different woman sitting behind Scotty in place of Uhura who does appear, answering to Kirk at her comm station.

    • The turbolift door is open before Kirk drinks his coffee and accelerates, even though nobody is near them.

    • Nichelle Nichols doesn't do a very good job of remaining motionless as William Shatner walks by her. Also, her earrings move in the breeze as he goes by, even though they should be frozen.

    • When Deela introduces herself, Kirk turns to Spock. Despite the fact everyone is frozen, Spock slowly swivels on his chair, the same as everyone did just before they were frozen. Spock should be completely "frozen" at this point.

    • Despite they're on a planet where the inhabitants have mysteriously disappeared, and they have no idea what the local environment is like, Compton takes water samples with his bare hands then wipes his mouth with his hands.

    • When Kirk first encounters Deela on the bridge, Scotty was standing up looking into a scanner when the crew slowed down. Even though the crew is moving very slow, he could not have sat back down in the short amount of time when the shot snapped back to Deela standing next to his station.

    • In one of the shots where Spock, McCoy, and Nurse Chapel are standing together and supposed to be frozen, you can see Spock nod his head.

    • Even if Kirk couldn't talk directly to the crew, he could've communicated by writing something down. Printed matter wouldn't be too fast for their eyes...

    • Kirk fires the phaser at Deela and she easily dodges the beam. But why didn't the bridge crew see the phaser shot? The phaser wasn't accelerated in time - otherwise the shot would have hit Deela.

    • The time compression throughout the episode is inconsistent. When Kirk and Deela are in his cabin, the Enterprise crew have time to review the tapes from the planet surface, for McCoy to come up to the bridge, to figure out the contents of the tape, and for Scotty to return to the transporter room. This means about half an hour of real time equals at most a few hours of Scalosian time. Yet at the end, Spock is able to affect hours of repairs on the ship in only seconds.

    • McCoy develops an antidote to the water. So why don't they offer the antidote to the Scalosians? There are only a few of them left and they'd like to be normal again, but Kirk and Spock don't say one word to them about the antidote. And while it's true that Deela says that others have died before when making the attempt to return to normal speed, obviously McCoy and Spock have found a solution that doesn't result in death.

    • The physics here don't make any sense. If the Scalosians are moving 840 times faster, that means when they walk down a corridor (at 2 miles/hour, their speed) they are really moving at about 1680 miles per hour - that's Mach 2! The Scalosians don't create sonic booms, and they don't have any trouble stopping and turning corners despite the Mach 2 speeds they're moving at. You try turning a corner at Mach 2...

    • Another amazing discovery that no one ever remembers. As long as someone was careful, they could bring along some Scalosian water, drink some, superspeed around to make superfast ship repairs or do surgery, then take the antidote.

    • Originally McCoy said something about the lack of life on Scalos and then Kirk mentioned an insect. When Spock reviews the log later, Kirk talks first and then McCoy.

    • How do the Scalosians get around the ship? The turbolifts would take forever, and each sliding set of doors would take about 14 Scalosian minutes to open. Conveniently, every turbolift door we see is open even though no one is near them.

    • To be invisible, a Scalosian can't stand still for more then 1/60th of a second, so they have to be at least that fast. Later Kirk talks with Deela for about 7 minutes in the transporter room when Scotty takes one step for about half a second. So the Scalosians move about 840 times as fast as a normal human. takes them eight hours (28,800 seconds) to install the deep freeze. That only 34 seconds of normal time for the Enterprise crew. A lot more time then that passes for them!

    • How do the Scalosians beam aboard the Enterprise without anyone noticing them? They'd have to stand still and be frozen in the transporter beam for a considerable period of time. They have to move to be too fast to be seen.

  • QUOTES (15)

    • Kirk: (to the apparently motionless Lt. Sulu) Lieutenant Sulu (turning to Deela) This is nothing?
      Deela: They cannot hear you, Captain. To their ears, you sound like an insect. That's your description, Captain. Accurate, if unflattering. Really there is nothing wrong with them.
      Kirk: What have you done?
      Deela: Changed you. So you are like me now. Your crew cannot see you or any of us because of the acceleration. We move in the wink of an eye. Oh, there is a scientific explanation for it, but all that really matters is that you can see me (moving closer to Kirk) and talk to me...and...we can go on from there.
      Kirk: Why?
      Deela: Because I like you. Didn't you guess? Or are you so accustomed to being kissed by invisible women?

    • Kirk: (after viewing the dead, prematurely aged crewman Compton) Is this what you have planned for us?
      Rael: We all die. Even on Scalos.

    • Kirk: Am I behaving incorrectly?
      Deela: No. It's just that I liked you the way you were before: stubborn, irritating, and independent.

    • Deela: If I had a suspicious nature, Captain, I would say that you sabotaged the transporter to buy time.
      Kirk: Yes of course.
      Deela: I'm glad we're both innocent. I despise devious people, don't you?
      Kirk: Oh I believe in honest relationships myself.

    • Kirk: Mr. Spock, my compliments to your repair work and yourself.
      Spock: Thank you, Captain. I found it... an accelerating experience.

    • Scotty: Captain Kirk, where the blazes did you come from?!?
      Kirk: Out of the nowhere, into the here.

    • Deela: Do I displease you so much?
      Kirk: I can think of nothing I'd rather do... then stay with you. Except staying alive.

    • Deela: Don't you dare do anything like that again. It's contemptible.
      Rael: Then don't torment me. You know how I feel.
      Deela: I don't care what your feelings. I don't want to know that aspect of it. What I do is necessary and you have no right to question it. Allow me the dignity of liking the man I select.

    • Spock: Mr. Scott, we cannot cope with them on our level.
      Scotty: Can we find some way of coping with them on theirs?
      Spock: That is a very logical suggestion.

    • Deela: (after Kirk tries to take her weapon while kissing her) I wouldn't allow you to take that, no matter how much we trust each other. But I would have been disappointed if you hadn't tried.

    • Deela: Are you married, Captain? No family? No attachments? I know. You're married to your career, and you never look at another woman.
      Kirk: Well, if she's pretty enough... I'll look.
      Deela: I was wondering when you'd say something nice to me.

    • Deela: (defending the Scalosians' solution to their problem) We are handling it in the only way we know how. The way our parents did, and their parents before them.
      Kirk: Did they solve anything?

    • Deela: The species is capable of much affection.
      Rael: I have noted that.
      Deela: I wonder if they will demonstrate it to us.

    • Kirk: A room should reflect its occupant.

    • Deela: Captain, we have the right to survive!
      Kirk: Not by killing others.

  • NOTES (3)

    • This episode features a rather daring (by 1960s network television anyway) scene of Kirk and Deela that strongly implies that the two had just had sexual intercourse. Kirk is seen sitting on the bed pulling his boots on, while Deela, with a rather pleased look on her face, brushes her disheveled hair in front of a mirror. Some Star Trek internet fans argue that this as one of only two times when it can be pretty much proved that Kirk had sex with a woman on the run of the Original Series.

    • Features recycled Eminiar VII matte painting from "A Taste Of Armageddon," both in beginning and end of this episode as background.

    • The story for this episode was written by Gene L. Coon under the pseudonym Lee Cronin.