Star Trek

Season 3 Episode 11

Wink of an Eye

Aired Unknown Nov 29, 1968 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (6)

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out of 10
151 votes
  • Kathie Browne rules!

    Kathie Browne is the whole show here. Her whimsical warmth gives humanity to what might otherwise have been a rather mechanical hour.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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...

    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.