Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Spectre of the Gun

TOS Season 3 Episode 6
Air Date: October 25th, 1968


The Enterprise encounters a buoy that intercepts them and won't move out of the way. A voice is projected onto the bridge warning them to leave the system. Kirk hears the voice in English, Chekov in Russian and Uhura in Swahili. It seems it is telepathic communication. Kirk says that they are ordered to make contact with the Melkotians in this system at all costs. Kirk hails the buoy and gives the usual greeting with no response. The Enterprise moves past the buoy and heads to the Malkotian planet anyway.

On the planet, they encounter intense fog that was against what they detected from space. All technology stopped working as well. Then a disembodied zombie head appears and tells Kirk that he must be penalized. Then the entire away team appears in an old west town, Tombstone Arizona though an incomplete version, almost like a movie set. The phasers change into revolvers. The date is October 28th 1881, the fight between the Earp brothers, Doc Holiday against the Clanton gang who it turns out the away team are representing.

The events then play out as you would expect. The Earps show up and tell the Clantons to get out of town before 5pm otherwise they will all be killed. The away team tries to leave town but there is a force field that is keeping them in the town.

While trying to gather materials to make a tranquilizer, Chekov gets into an altercation with the one of the Earps over a women and is shot and killed. Kirk has enough restraint to prevent the rest of the away team from getting into an immediate gunfight. Spock realizes that in the real gunfight at the OK coral, the persona that Chekov represents Billy Canton, survives. Which means there is no certainty of death.

When the tranqualizer was made they tested it on Scotty, but it didn't work. Spock concludes that it must have worked but since it didn't then what is happening is not real. The away team is suddenly transported to the OK coral. Spock tells Kirk that since none of this is real, it is all based on what you think is real. So if they believe that the Earp's guns don't have sustenance so they can't be hurt by them.

McCoy points out that humans will always have doubt and that doubt will get them killed. Spock uses the Vulcan mind meld to give the away team confidence to believe the bullets are not real. When they face the Earp brothers and Doc Holiday, they get shot many times, with no damage done. Kirk then fights Morgan Earp and wins, takes the revolver and decides not to kill him.

Next we are on the bridge McCoy scanning Chekov who is alive and well. The Malkotian buoy is again in front of the Enterprise, maybe never left to begin with, starts emitting radiation. The Enterprise is about to shoot it but it blows up on it's own. Then the zombie head re-appears and asks if it is the way of humans to not attack, of peace. The zombie head invites the Enterprise to go to their planet.


"We come in peace. But we'll defend ourselves if necessary." - Kirk

"We're just human beings, Spock. We don't have that clockwork ticker in our head like you do. We can't turn it on and off." - McCoy

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