Series: The Original Series
Air Date: October 13, 1967
Written by: Max Ehrlich
Directed by: Joseph Pevney
Kirk and the crew find a planet that, at first blush, appears to be an idyllic paradise. And then they come across dart-shooting flowers, exploding rocks and a serpentine cavern that controls an innocent, yet naive tribe.
Although I don't particularly imagine paradise to have a red sky, that's exactly what strikes one first upon beaming down to Gamma Trianguli VI. And comparisons to paradise were exactly what were made by the landing party. It doesn't take long, however, to find something wrong. Leave it to a redshirt to find the only plant species in paradise that shoots poisonous darts. Luckily it's not the same plant that Chekov picks up for his girlie, Yeoman Landon. It does, however, keep a few people distracted when Spock finds rocks that can blow up on impact. And then another redshirt dies from a stray lightening bolt. You'd think that'd be their cue to leave... but no.
These exploding rocks could be a valuable resource, says Spock. So they go on exploring. After a while, Spock mentions that some kind of lifeform is following them, but they never find it. And Chekov is off in a corner with Landon making bad Yakov Smirnoff jokes and trying to invade her Red Square. Meanwhile, back on the Enterprise, Scotty says something planet-side is interfering with their anti-matter pods and draining all their power. So, when Kirk finally decides that there's too much danger here in "paradise", Scotty says there isn't even enough power to beam them up. Their mission now is clear: find whatever is interfering with the Enterprise.
|And find a room for these two.|
They go see Vaal and, sure enough, the crazy serpentine cavern refuses to speak. They take a few tricorder readings, run into his force field and eventually end up going back to Akuta's village. At the village they meet the Feeders of Vaal. They all look like albinos with spray tans. While there, the crew learn that Vaal keeps his feeders at full health in return for being fed. There is no need for love, no need for offspring, no need for sex, no need to progress. And this really troubles Bones. He argues with Spock about it for a while, but they are interrupted by Scotty calling in to say that the Enterprise is about to crash into the planet unless something is done about the field that's holding her. Whether or not Vaal is right is moot now. Vaal must die.
|But first a lesson in sex from professors Chekov and Landon.|
Back on the Enterprise, Spock makes reference among Bones and Kirk to Adam and Eve being kicked out of the Garden of Eden. Which leads to a light hazing over which of these three character even remotely resembles Satan. Personally... I don't see it.
I originally didn't like this episode, but the more I think about it, the more it holds together. I only wish we could have known the origin of Vaal. I feel like he might have been an experiment being run on the natives that was just kind of abandoned after a while. And, of course, Kirk is in clear violation of the Prime Directive, but that's nothing new. All-in-all I suppose this episode isn't as bad as I had originally thought. It's just that "paradise" is such an overused theme, I guess.