Series: The Original Series
Air Date: December 29, 1966
Written by: Theodore Sturgeon
Directed by: Robert Sparr
While on shore leave, the crew starts seeing the things that they're thinking... even if what they're thinking is Alice in Wonderland... Oh, and then Bones dies.
In the beginning, Kirk suffers from a kink in the back. And then he thinks that Spock is massaging his back, but is heavily disappointed to find it was just his hot yeoman. There are definitely no homosexual undertones in that moment. Regardless, the ship comes upon what appears to be a very beautiful Earth-like planet and they decide to take some much-needed shore leave. While Bones and Sulu take a walk along where the fish lives, that's when Bones sees Alice and the White Rabbit. The first sign that Bones ever has that something may be wrong with him.
Soon enough, others are seeing strange apparitions: Sulu finds a pistol lying on the ground; Kirk sees Finnegan, the upperclassman who tormented him at the Academy; Don Juan appears to Yeoman Tonia Barrows; and then Kirk meets Ruth, an old flame, exactly as she was fifteen years ago. What's interesting is that the gun actually fires, Finnegan throws real punches, Don Juan does a fairly good job at attempted rape and Ruth... well, she's a good kisser. These are all real things, not figments or hallucinations.
|Except for the antennae. They were total figments.|
Kirk sends out a message to meet at the beam-out point, and Bones says he'll be right there... right after Yeoman Barrows changes into a princess dress. And Bones peeks in the line of duty.
|Unfortunately, no one is qualified to pronounce him dead!|
Kirk finally assembles the rest of the landing party and instructs them not to think of anything. Which is when an old man appears and declares himself the caretaker of the planet. He explains that he didn't know that the crew was unaware of the planet's purpose: to entertain. He is able to read their thoughts and then produce exactly what they're thinking of with a massive industrial factory beneath the surface. Absolutely anything can be manufactured and nothing is permanent. A fact that is made clear when Bones arrives alive and well with two hotties on his arms.
Well, the caretaker offers the use of the planet to the Enterprise crew, but denies them the knowledge of his species or home planet. Kirk calls down the rest of the crew and plans to go back onto the ship... but when Ruth reappears, he changes his mind.
Another classic episode, this one, with the message that "the more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play." That is, after all, why the greatest minds of our generation are fascinated by video games. What nerds.