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In an episode that was largely rewritten while it was shot, the crew of the Enterprise takes much-needed shore leave on a planet resembling Earth, where figments of their imagination and ghosts from their past become reality. It becomes clear as the episode moves along that the crew's thoughts, with all their pleasures and pains, are coming to life. Eventually, the planet's caretaker appears and confirms that his people constructed the planet as a playground where anything one can think is instantly manufactured—only for the moment.

The caretaker informs Kirk that his crew is not yet ready to understand his people, but permits them to stay and enjoy their shore leave. The episode is hilarious, yet not without its tender moments. Kirk's rekindled love for his past flame Ruth Shirley Bonne is a bright spot, as is his prolonged fistfight notable for its blatant use of stunt doubles with Finnegan Bruce Mars , a flamboyant jokester of an Irishman who tormented Kirk during his first year at Starfleet Academy.

A violent ion storm rips through space, while a landing party from the Enterprise comprised of Kirk, Scotty James Doohan , McCoy, and Uhura Nichelle Nichols fails to earn the right to mine dilithium on the homeworld of the pacifist Halkan people. A transporter malfunction quickly sends Kirk, McCoy, Scottie, and Uhura to a parallel universe where the Federation is the evil Terran Empire, Kirk is a tyrant, and Spock is a sinister, goateed henchman dubbed "Spock Prime". A definitive science-fiction depiction of the implications of parallel realities, "Mirror, Mirror" is as famous for its commentary on fascism and the duality of good and evil as it is for repurposing the goatee to signify the now household "evil doppelganger" trope.

The episode has endured because of the strength of its concept, its exploration into terror as necessity for upholding fascist regimes, its comic seduction scene between Uhura and Sulu, and Spock's keen observation of his totalitarian counterparts as " In one of Star Trek's most enduring episodes, drama unfolds on the space station K-7 when the Enterprise suspects that the Klingons will disrupt a grain delivery to an Earth colony.

All is complicated when Uhura purchases a Tribble, a small, furry, purring creature resembling a hairball somewhat like a less talkative Furbie. Bones soon discovers that Tribbles are born pregnant. It's too late: Federation politics take a backseat when they begin to multiply exponentially and the ship has to deal with its surplus of uninvited critters. To commemorate the 30 th anniversary of the franchise, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine returned to "The Trouble with Tribbles" with an episode called "Trials and Tribble-ations", where the crew of DS9 travel back in time to prevent a plot to assassinate Kirk.

The fan-favorite was nominated for three Emmy awards and is notable for its digital insertion of Deep Space Nine actors into the background of the original "Tribbles" episode, expanding the Star Trek universe while paying homage to the legacy of the original series.

On 50th anniversary of series, 'Star Trek' writer still has no trouble with Tribbles

George Takei's favorite episode of Star Trek. When Spock and a red shirt named Tormolen Stewart Moss beam down to the planet Psi in environmental suits to investigate a frozen laboratory full of dead scientists, they become exposed to a dangerous contagion that strips humans of their inhibitions.

After beaming back aboard, Tormolen ends up killing himself in a fit of madness. Another crewman named Riley Bruce Hyde suddenly begins acting especially Irish. Most famously, Sulu begins to parade around the ship with a sword before being subdued by Spock in the first appearance of the "Vulcan nerve pinch. Eventually, Kirk is infected by the euphoric contagion. Fighting back his desire for Yeoman Rand Grace Lee Whitney , he must regain his self-awareness through sheer force of will. In a thrilling escape from the planet's orbit, Scotty and Spock discover that they have sent the Enterprise back three days in time.

This is Star Trek at its comedic best, but the episode is also cherished for Leonard Nimoy's performance as a tormented Spock. According to his autobiography, Nimoy told writer John D. Black that he had the following in mind for that particular scene: "It's about emotion versus logic, love versus mathematics, grief versus pi-r-squared. The premiere episode of Star Trek's second season takes us to the Vulcan homeworld, where mysteries of the Vulcan way of life are revealed. When Spock suddenly suffers from pon farr , a Vulcan mating cycle occurring every seven years, he must return home to take a mate or face imminent death.

Shockingly, Spock's would-be wife invokes kal-if-fee, her right to have Spock fight for her. What's more, she picks Kirk as her unwilling champion! The episode features one of Leonard Nimoy's very finest performances as Spock and brings Spock and Kirk closer together than ever before. Nimoy's performance is nuanced and moving, culminating in a scene in which Spock believes he has killed not only his captain but his dearest friend. In addition to establishing the concept of pon farr, which later appears in Star Trek: The Search for Spock , the episode introduced the Vulcan salute and the immortal phrase: "Live long and prosper.


While developing star maps of a distant region of space, the Enterprise is confronted by a powerful spherical alien ship called the Fasarius, the flagship of the First Federation commanded by a ruthless, sophisticated being named Balok. When Balok threatens to destroy the ship, Kirk comes up with a cunning bluff to convince the alien that the Enterprise is harboring a deadly substance called corbomite capable of destroying both ships.

It's also the most classic example of the importance of bluffing in the original series. Kirk bends the rules for the greater good and turns a potentially fatal situation into a victory, laying the foundation for similar events in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek: The Search for Spock. Through the power of imagination, a better outcome than violence is achieved. Kirk's bold move to break with Starfleet regulations and make the wrong decision at the right time solidifies his place as a leader who thinks outside the box to protect his crew.

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Another way "The Corbomite Maneuver" surprises in its reveal that appearances can be deceiving in a final act featuring Clint Howard in an early role. Star Trek takes on Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde in a sci-fi context in an episode that delivers a classic performance by William Shatner. During a survey of the planet Alpha , a technician is exposed to a magnetic ore that alters the function of the Enterprise's transporter. When Kirk beams aboard the ship, the transporter splits him into two beings: one good, one evil. After the new animalistic Kirk attempts to force himself on Yeoman Rand, Spock deduces that there is an imposter aboard the Enterprise.

Meanwhile, Kirk experiences problems with decision-making, while Sulu and three other crew members remain stranded on the planet's surface. McCoy informs Kirk that all humans have a dark side to them and that his strength of command lies in his negative self.

After a confrontation on the bridge where it's unclear which Kirk is which, Evil Kirk eventually breaks down under the strain of the circumstances around him, crying out, "I want to live! It's difficult to take one's eyes off William Shatner in this episode. Moving from hesitance to lustfulness, from violence to sorrow, Shatner delivers his most nuanced, albeit over-the-top performance in the history of Star Trek. The episode is also celebrated for its insightful look into the conflicting dualities of human nature.

By the way, did I mention that a certain adorable alien canine gets divided into two adorable alien canines? This one is a must-watch. The first episode of Star Trek to air on television, "The Man Trap" develops whimsical chemistry between our favorite crewmembers and features both a creepy monster-of-the-week and a gorgeous planetary backdrop. Mysteriously, each crew member perceives Nancy as a different woman from his past.

Also odd is Dr. Crater's intense desire for salt tablets. When the red shirt is found dead nearby due to a sudden lack of salt in his body, it becomes evident that McCoy's former lover is not what she appears to be. The wise-cracking between Kirk and McCoy about the past romance between Bones and Nancy immediately establishes Kirk as something more spontaneous than an authoritarian ship captain and Bones as a charmingly ornery country doctor.

Spock's logic-based personality is also fleshed out here, notably through a flirtatious scene between the Vulcan and Uhura, which may have inspired the romance between Uhura and Spock in the J. Abrams Trek films.

The tragic existence of the Salt Vampire is sorrowfully compared to that of the buffalo. The U. Enterprise battles a Romulan ship suspected of destroying outposts in the Neutral Zone in a thrilling cat-and-mouse space opera based on the movie The Enemy Below, with the Enterprise taking on the role of the American destroyer and the Romulan Bird-of-Prey with its cloaking device playing the role of the submarine. Viewers learn that since two-way visual communications did not exist during the Earth-Romulan war of the recent past, Romulans and humans have never seen one another.

Not only does the Enterprise have to confront a brilliant tactician, but it must also confront its own bigotry. When it's revealed that the Romulan commander, brilliantly played by Marc Lenard who later assumes the role of Spock's father Sarek resembles a Vulcan, Lieutenant Stiles Paul Comi begins to suspect that Spock is a Romulan spy. Following the Romulan ship into a comet's tail, the Enterprise and the Romulan ship exchange plasma torpedos and phaser fire.


The Trouble with Tribbles: The Story Behind Star Trek's Most Popular Episode

After Spock saves Stiles and the ship itself, severely damaging the Romulan vessel, Kirk and the Romulan commander share a moving scene in which the Romulan tells Kirk he admires him and that they could have been friends under different circumstances. Rather than accepting capture, the Romulan commander chooses to destroy his own craft and himself with it.

One of the strongest episodes of Star Trek, "Balance of Terror" introduces a new alien race in the Romulans in a bold entry in the larger Trek mythos that showcases Kirk's ability to outmaneuver his enemy under most dire conditions. Captain Kirk squares off against the Gorn captain in a battle of both might and wits on a desolate planet in one of the most enduring Star Trek episodes of all time.

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Suddenly, the Enterprise is contacted by a species of aliens called the Metrons voiced by Vic Perrin who zealously guard their sector of space against outsiders. They announce they will pit the respective captains of both ships against one another in a "trial by combat", a one-on-one battle to the death, with the ship on the losing side to face destruction and the other ship free to leave.

The captains are beamed down to a rocky desert planet with various resources that might be used to fight one another. On the Enterprise , the crew helplessly looks on while Kirk engages the reptilian Gorn voiced by Ted Cassidy in mortal combat. In an episode centered on themes of survival and mercy, Kirk must learn to understand his enemy's thought process and overcome the fact that he is wholly outmatched by a physically stronger opponent.

While "Arena" is a thrilling and ethically interesting romp in space, it will forever be remembered for its amazing Gorn costume. Charming levels of '60s science fiction cheese elevate "Arena" into the upper echelon of Star Trek lore. The Visitor Deep Space Nine 5. Yesterday's Enterprise Next Generation 4.

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Amok Time Original Series 3. The Inner Light Next Generation 2. City on the Edge of Forever Original Series. It's interesting to note that "The Trouble with Tribbles" clung onto the No. As bad as "Voyages" was, "City" represents one of Trek's finest moments. It's a love story. It has time travel. It has a great sacrifice. And it's a shining example of the chemistry and camaraderie between Trek's lead trio of Kirk, Spock and McCoy.

While Kirk approaches the challenge as another in a long line of assignments in his five-year mission, for Decker the search has become an all-consuming obsession. In a classic Kirk moment, as he's about to be destroyed by the machine, he repeatedly asks of his crew: "Gentlemen, I suggest you beam me back up.

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Khan, who came from what was then the near future, represented a nadir for humanity, but Kirk and his crew represent how far the human race was able to come between the 20th and 23rd centuries. Season 2, Episode 4: "Mirror, Mirror" The first ever use of the now-common sci-fi device of the mirror universe, "Mirror, Mirror" imagines a reality in which the Federation is replaced by the Terran empire, a ruthless and Klingon-like entity. Everything in this reality, from the uniforms to the attitudes of those on the Enterprise, is the polar opposite of the Federation we'd come to know.

Season 2, Episode "The Trouble With Tribbles" When Cyrano Jones, a galactic smuggler and general hustler, brings furry creatures known as tribbles aboard Deep Space K-7, he unknowingly starts an interplanetary incident.