This super episode is one of the least slashy ones available. There is some strong K/f action going on, and other things that makes a K/S interpretation difficult...but not impossible, as I shall demonstrate.
Midway into the episode, there is one very weird conversation between Spock and McCoy where Spock first expresses his misgivings about the Karidian company's presence, and the Captain's odd behavior.
[NOTE: Spock confiding in McCoy? Especially while McCoy is trying to get some serious drinking done? Spock has definitely picked a bad time to try to have a serious conversation with him.]
Spock complains that Kirk arranging to transport the actors is illogical, and what he means is that he thinks it's wildly uncharacteristic of Kirk.
Bones says, "Did it ever occur to you that he simply might like the girl?"
Spock curtly replies, "It occurred. I dismissed it!"
"You would!" Bones retorts.
[NOTE: Hmm! We can understand why Dr. McCoy thinks it's only natural for Spock to be immune to the woman's allure, but why he thinks it's natural for Spock to think Kirk should be immune to her allure is never explained.]
Oh, the lovely Lenore. At first blush it looks to our eyes as if Jim Kirk simply finds her attractive, and as if the feeling is instantly and quite emphatically mutual. But please, let's be clear-headed about this: Lenore has just killed Jim's friend and fellow Tarsus 4 survivor, Tom. Now she has come to the party looking for Kirk, and Kirk is there to confront Karidian, whom he suspects is "Kodos the Executioner". Kirk knows Lenore is Karidian's daughter. He's glad to see her, all right. Kirk thinks he can use her to get to her dad (as he frankly admits himself later in this same episode).
[NOTE: It's no trouble at all for Jim to convince this homicidal bitch who is stalking him to go for a little walk with him. Jim doesn't know at this time that Tom is dead, or that Lenore is the murderer, but he knows she can help him get to Karidian/Kodos, and that's reason enough for him being there. He admits later to her face that in the beginning she was just a tool to him.]
He arranges to transport the actors because he's investigating Karidian, not because he's nuts about Lenore, but it's to his advantage that it looks as if he's doing it because he's nuts about Lenore. Spock sees this going on and thinks it's all very odd.
[NOTE: Come to think about it, it is seriously all very odd.]
Lenore, while begging for a ride: "I'll make a bargain with you, Captain... (promises the players will perform for the crew, etc.)"
Kirk: "You've got me backed into a corner...the men would never forgive me if I deprive them of your performance, and your presence."
[NOTE: Kirk staged this whole thing. He's negotiating with the woman on the bridge, not in private (which is unusual), so that there are witnesses to the agreement that has been struck. Officially, Kirk agrees to help the actors out in exchange for free shows. Nothing *personal* in it, officially.]
Soon, it does start to look like Kirk's letting Lenore actually get to him a little. At this point, for all he knows, she's the innocent daughter of the actor Karidian (who may or may not be the terrible Kodos). He doesn't know she is hunting him, but she is. She goes to work on seducing Kirk, and really pulls out all the stops. Jim likes it. He doesn't often meet an attractive lady who can play the seduction game with his same degree of confidence and flair. He's getting a kick out of it. It's fun playing this game with this lovely lady.
[NOTE: A pattern has been set. By the time this episode aired Kirk has shown that he has definite preferences when it comes to women, and Lenore Karidian has everything that Kirk loves in a woman: she's a very intelligent and sophisticated career woman who's a great-looking dame. She's also sexually assertive: she practically climbs on top of Kirk, for cryin' out loud. It's worthwhile to note that Kirk always prefers women who take charge in the relationship. This pattern holds true through the entire series. Look at his "torture me" date with Helen Noel in Dagger of the Mind, for example. Watch for it in other episodes.]
Lenore's quite unequivocal about welcoming Jim's interest, but she doesn't rush him. She's very smart about stoking his enthusiasm, while letting him choose his moment and method. Jim likes it. He likes her style a lot. He allows himself to get caught up, especially when she starts fantasizing out loud about playing Caesar and Cleopatra. Man, that does it! Jim can't hold back any more! They kiss, and I believe at this point Jim means it.
[NOTE: But we've seen this ep before, and we know she doesn't.]
[NOTE: More evidence that Kirk is turned on by roleplay scenarios]
We cut away at this point, and there is *no* follow-up evidence that indicates that they had sex. Therefore this one is not counted as one of Kirk's "conquests". I will grant it looks as if they might have been headed that way, but we are given no reason to believe they went all the way. Here's a good reason to believe they didn't: Kirk was still alive the next day. She's planning to kill him, remember?
[NOTE: It might be argued that the phaser on overload in Kirk's cabin is reason enough to believe she was granted access to his inner sanctum, but really, it's just that Kirk doesn't lock his door. Eve let herself in in the ep Mudd's Women, and Kirk was genuinely surprised (and dismayed) to see her there. If one uninvited woman could let herself in, two could. Besides, Kirk first suspects Kodos did it. What, did Kirk have sex with Kodos too? No, he didn't.]
Look, we know for sure Lenore and Kirk didn't "do it", because if she had succeeded in getting alone with him, he would have been dead soon after.
So much for Caesar and Cleopatra - Kirk now starts playing Hamlet. Should he accuse Karidian, shouldn't he? He can't make up his mind. Gee, that doesn't seem right. That's not the Kirk I'm familiar with.
Here's another oddity: Spock (in the presence of Dr. McCoy) confronts Kirk about his suspicions and Kirk's reaction is quite unusual (for him).
Kirk snaps, "Aren't you getting a little out of line, Mr. Spock? My personal business..."
Spock snaps back, interrupting him, "...IS my personal business, when it might interfere with the smooth operation of this ship!"
Kirk: "I don't like anyone meddling in my private affairs, not even my second-in-command!"
McCoy, who is a witness to this exchange, blurts, "Jim! It's his job! You know that!"
[NOTE: Hey! Didn't we just see, in What Are Little Girls Made Of, that Kirk *expects* Spock to meddle in his personal affairs, and that normally he welcomes this? Yes, we did. So what's this bullshit now? I'll tell you what it is: It's a smoke-screen. McCoy is there, and he would no doubt wonder why Spock is so bloody mothersucking interested in Kirk's personal matters, and Kirk and Spock don't exactly feel inclined to explain ~everything~ to him, so they are explaining themselves like this for his benefit.]
[NOTE: Another oddity: when Spock says he is certain that Karidian is Kodos, that normally would be enough for Kirk. But not this time. Weird. ]
Kirk seems actually is interested in Lenore. Hey! He's human! He apparently likes girls! We have established that fact! Of course, once the nasty facts about her lyin', sneakin', murderin' ways come out, he drops her. Perfectly fine. That's just what anybody would expect him to do.
What *does* make Spock so sure that Kirk is *not* doing this because he's really interested in the girl? Hey, he was right about Kodos. Consider the possibility that he's right about this girl thing too. Especially since Kirk basically admits as much to Lenore Karidian himself.
Lenore Karidian: "I was a tool, wasn't I? A tool to use against my father."
Jim Kirk: "In the beginning, perhaps..."
[NOTE: In other words, yes. In other words, Spock is right.]
[NOTE: ~DID~ Kirk ever really care for her? At the end, McCoy presses the point...]
McCoy (to Kirk): "You really cared for her, didn't you?"
Kirk basically ignores McCoy's question.
McCoy (to Kirk): You're not going to answer my question, are you?
Kirk: "Ahead warp factor 1 , Mr. Leslie."
[NOTE, continued: ... and the answer apparently is NO. It certainly isn't yes.]
[Special Breakdown NOTE: Well, NOBODY ever said that Kirk's not *bisexual*. Just because he acts like he sort of likes girls on rare occasions doesn't mean that he and Spock aren't lovers. To those who point to Kirk's rare half-assed interest in women as proof that he can't be Spock's lover, I say...SORRY!]
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