**** (4 stars out of 5)
'The Enemy Within' is one of those rare stories that I rate highly BECAUSE it upsets me. This is a really scary story, and it got inside my head, then and now. Famed author Richard Matheson is responsible, though a good score and good actors don't hurt.
A malfunction in the transporter divides Captain Kirk into two incomplete versions: one weakly wistful, one a vicious vandal. Hilarity is not forthcoming.
Visit scenic Alfa 177! Enjoy nippy nights, unicorn puppies, and a yellow ore that turns ordinary transporters into thrilling morality plays! Kirk and then a sample life-form dog are beamed aboard by the broken machine, and time is running out for stranded Sulu & friends, since they can either freeze to death overnight or beam up like the captain... in two dying pieces. Even the thermo-heater Enterprise sends them arrives as two inoperative ones. (I'd ask why not send them parkas, but who wants to wear an evil parka?)
The Nasty Kirk takes the initiative before anyone knows what's happened. The doppelganger demands booze from the doctor, then makes with a rape attempt on Yeoman Janice Rand. Yeah, I know. Salt-sucker, teen god stalker, now molesting transporter mutant: 5 episodes in and Janice has all the luck with the creep-o-zoids. This poor kid never meets anyone normal.
I'll refrain from asking why McCoy has so much alcohol in sickbay: back in the 2260's kids mixed their parents' drinks and you could smoke on shuttlecraft. In fact, if they didn't have to spend two days every week airing those shuttles out, they could have sent one for Sulu.
Back to Rand as she meekly gives her statement to Spock, McCoy &... her attacker??? Why...? of course, it's Goody-Goody Kirk who is just as appalled as anybody else by this, but Spock and McCoy should've had more sense. That's terrible procedure. But, that's how they discover there's a monster on the loose with Rand's scratch marks on his cheek, so good thing (question mark?)?
The adorable unicorn puppy dies of terror when they attempt to re-integrate it. It Make Mike Sad. Nasty Kirk uses a liberal dollop of concealer on his face. Why does the manly Captain own so much make-up? Well, for camouflage (and the eye-liner helps him feel pretty)!
Spock tells us a captain who is ANY LESS THAN PERFECT loses command. This by you is logic?
Imperfect Kirk goes on a fists-and-phaser rampage and nearly has the patience to steal the ship, but he hasn't got the thinking skills to be clever for very long. Spock gets to use his incapacitating Vulcan nerve pinch for the first time, and McCoy gets in his first 'He's dead, Jim.'
'We all have our dark side. We need it!' McCoy urges. 'It's half of what we are. It's not really ugly... it's human.' Good advice on loving our shadow sides... slightly marred by Spock's final leering inference to the all-too-rapidly recovered Rand that perhaps she was INTO what Nasty Kirk was putting out there. His tone is SUPER INAPPROPRIATE. Uh, sixties? Not cool.
That takes care of the heebies. Join me tomorrow for the jeebies.