Here's a very peculiar episode that actually set the tone in many ways for all of TOS:
1) The action takes place on world which is incredibly similar to Earth (This was only the first of many). 2) Kirk gets beaten up, and seems to ask for ~more~! Boy howdy, does he ever. In fact, it's a high point of the show. 3) Once again females throw themselves at Kirk, and once again Kirk humors them a little, and then throws them back where they came from.
The Enterprise intercepts an old-fashioned Earth-style distress signal, hundreds of light years from Earth, waaaaay out where there never were any Earth colonies. They trace it to a planet that is the weirdest thing they have seen since they left home: a planet that is an exact duplicate of Earth. I MEAN EXACT! We get a look at the Northern hemisphere, and there are the Great Lakes, for cryin' out loud.
Naturally Kirk wants to go ashore for some fresh air. FRESH AIR!? Guess this planet isn't really that much like Earth after all!
They marvel for a while at the fresh air, fertile soil, and clean water, then finally somebody wonders aloud about what possibly could have gone wrong around here. Spock explains that there don't seem to be any factories working day and night: there hasn't been a clock punched around here in centuries. Welp, that explains it.
Out of nowhere a freakish looking creature rushes out and acts all possessive about a rusty old tricycle. He begs for our guys to fix it, but when they actually agree, the shock is too much for the fragile critter, and he expires.
McCoy explains that the guy aged a century in just one hour, pretty much like we are all about to do.
Kirk hears a teeny, tiny sound, and he hollers "Come on!" and takes off running in a seemingly random direction, like a hyperactive kid who forgot his Ritalin. Naturally everybody stops everything and follows him: he's the Captain! You gotta do what he says! Kirk apparently enjoys testing them like this now and then.
[NOTE: Here's Kirk once again demonstrating his phenomenal ability to grok alien cultures. Here he is in the land of the children, and the first thing he does is initiate a rousing game of follow the leader, obviously in a fair attempt to blend in with the local culture.]
They chase whomever it is that is obviously trying to hide from them, pistols at the ready, a gang of big, fully armed strangers (several men, and one token woman) - kicking in the doors in hot pursuit like gangbusters - and then can't understand why their quarry, a lone, barely pubescent teen girl, is afraid of them.
Kirk and his party corner a young "woman" who is filthy, dressed in rags, and terrified out of her skull. Gee, what's she so afraid of? There's nobody here but this frightened chick who has only her grubby pinafore to protect her, and a room full of aggressive fully armed strangers from another world!
Kirk now gives us a taste of his phenomenal skills with females by attempting to calm the hysterical young woman by pointing a gun at her while saying he won't hurt her. Then he grabs her by the arm and drags her out of her hiding place while the silly cow continues to tearfully protest. Speaking soothingly, as if trying to calm a skittish wild mustang, he then wrestles the girl down into a chair, at which point Yeoman Rand then wisely intervenes.
Ohhh boy. That Kirk...what a smoothie. Smooth as a brick.
Spock is ordered by Kirk to take some guys and go scout around for other signs of life. True to form, the second Spock is out of Kirk's sight he sends his human comrades off in a whole different direction from the direction he's headed, so he can tear off a moment's peace for himself. He dutifully fires up the tricorder and scouts for signs of life (which you'd think they would have done before they even came down here), no doubt thinking all the while, "High bloody time!" Obviously he immediately detects signs of life and he takes a few steps to his left, peers at them through a dirty window, spots some local natives, and (Kirk's orders be damned) wisely decides to lead his human comrades ~away~ from them.
Meanwhile, Kirk interrogates his little captive, who can't believe that Kirk and company won't hurt her despite their protests. She's steadied herself, and is playing along with her captor's insanity, obviously thinking furiously about how she can get herself out of her dreadful predicament in one piece. She calls them "grups", and blames the grups for all the devastation.
"What happened? Where is everybody?" queries Kirk.
"You _know_." She responds, thinking Kirk is asking her why she's all alone, trapped in a room with a nasty bunch of alien invaders.
"You got a foolie and you want me to play, but I can't. I don't know the rules. You've got to know the rules." She tries to explain, the way people in usenet newsgroups periodically try to explain to newbies that USING ALL CAPS IS GENERALLY CONSIDERED TO BE THE SAME AS SHOUTING. Stupid friggin' insane grup has apparently forgotten that a foolie is supposed to have rules that *all* involved have *agreed* to.
"A foolie?" McCoy asks, betraying his perfect ignorance.
OK, she tries giving it to them in the Queen's English: "A game. You know. A game's got to have rules. Even grups should know that."
Savages. Now that she's explaining how to play a foolie, worse, what a foolie *is*, she knows she's REALLY in TROUBLE. These grups have scrambled eggs for brains, which is not a hope-inspiring sign.
Kirk and gang finally figure out that "grups" are grown-ups. Since the girl calls herself an "onlie" they deduce that onlies are children. The girl gives them enough detail for them to decide that some kind of plague here drives adults nuts and then kills them, while leaving children alive and unaffected.
"How many of you are there?" Kirk asks.
"All there are" the girl evasively replies. Smart girl.
OK, if that's how it's got to be, then McCoy and Rand know to step away and start talking to each other about the weather, allowing their Captain to try chatting one-on-one with his recalcitrant little hostage - no doubt figuring that the kid will be promising to tell them anything if they will only come back, within 30 seconds.
Kirk sits next to the girl and plays like he's coming on to her, figuring that she'll be promising to tell them anything in about 30 seconds once she realizes that her maidenly virtue might be on the line. But it backfires. Amazingly, the girl is actually flattered when Kirk tells her that she has a pretty name, and that she's pretty herself. The poor urchin is so love-starved and so near to becoming a woman that she actually is titillated by these ham-fisted blandishments.
Meanwhile, Spock (who knows nothing about Kirk's latest tactic or he'd do something to intervene in the name of good taste alone) is strolling along with his human guards in tow, trying to seem busy while he keeps them out of trouble. As is his wont, he once again encourages them to go exploring some harmless corner somewhere far from himself, so he can stop babysitting for a minute, relax, and collect his thoughts. Unlike most people on this show, Spock actually has thoughts, and he likes to actually think a few of them whenever he gets a chance. Suddenly, a noise startles him and he calls his guards over, lest they stupidly go rushing off to "save" him or something, and get killed.
He asks them to cover him, leaving them in what he hopes is a safe place while he goes off to do the real work. Suddenly shit starts raining down from above. Instantly recognizing that his guards don't have the wits to cover ~themselves~, Spock pulls them both to safety.
[NOTE: Spock's guys survive this episode, proof of the effectiveness of his system]
Overhead children's voices can be heard chanting "Shatner is a fat slob...Shatner wears a toupee..."
Spock reports to Captain Kirk: "Nothing but a stupid, filthy bunch of savage, ignorant, idiot children, Captain. The whole newsgroup, I mean the whole town is lousy with them!"
Kirk shrugs. That's not important. What they need is more information about the plague that afflicted the grups and left the onlies so lonely.
Kirk next asks Miri if she will pretty please lead him to the building where the doctors used to work. Thinking Kirk is inviting her to play the foolie, "Big Bad Doctor And Sexy Little Patient", she agrees.
Kirk, the big dumb galoot, simply thinks he's made a friend NO HE DOESN'T. He knows perfectly well the effect he's having on this pressure-cooker of a pre-teen, and he clearly sets out to milk it for all that it's worth. Not that he actually finds her attractive or anything like that (as he later explicitly admits). He's a man on a mission. He's got a task to accomplish, and this swooning teeny-bopper is just a convenient tool for him.
"I like you" he tells Miri.
"Really?" she asks
"I wouldn't lie to you" he lies.
"I wouldn't lie to you either" she lies back.
[NOTE: and thus begins a relationship that begins very much as all Jim's relationships begin, and BTW ends basically as all Kirk's relationships with women end.]
Uh oh, suddenly Kirk sees a blemish on his hand, and is told by Miri that it means the plague has infected him. Pretty soon all the humans who went ashore with Kirk are marred by signs of infection. Spock is thankfully immune.
Miri warns Kirk that the infection spreads quickly and is certainly destined to be fatal. They all dig furiously through the data at the medical building for information about the disease, which turns out to be the unfortunate result of a life-prolongation experiment that went horribly awry. They soon figure out that the kids have lived a very long time as children. So the experiment was partially successful, in a weird, tragic way.
McCoy and Spock verbalize their awareness that Miri has the hots for Kirk. Kirk isn't surprised: he already knew it. He proves his power over Miri by asking her to clean up around the lab, and she immediately agrees, acting waaay too eager to please him. Oh yeah, it's not even subtle. Not only does Kirk know it, but he's clearly casual about using it, which proves a little bit shocking to his comrades.
When Kirk smiles and asks Miri if she'd like to "go someplace" with him, and she smilingly agrees and takes his hand, hackles go up. Something about that just doesn't look right to McCoy and Rand, who bristle. After Kirk exits with Miri, Rand (oddly) turns to Spock to complain:
Frowning with concern, Yeoman Rand starts to explain to Spock why he should be worried. "That little girl..."
Spock is unperturbed. He decides to have a little evil fun with Rand. "...is about 300 years older than you are, Yeoman", he interrupts. "Think about it."
[NOTE: Spock is not worried about the situation because he knows damn well that Kirk's not *really* seriously interested in the girl, the same way he knew that Kirk wasn't *really* seriously interested in Lenore Karidian. Spock, in his own mysterious Vulcan way, ~just knows~ these things.]
[Special NOTE: immediately after this exchange, Spock breaks the fourth wall to throw us, the audience, a *look* as if daring the censors to do something. The only other time I know of that this happened in TOS is right after the controversial backrub bit in Shore Leave.]
Kirk wants Miri to lead him to the other kids. Miri proves she's a big fat liar by trying to lead Kirk away from them, but Kirk sees faces pressed against a window and insists on going that way. Crush or no crush, Kirk divines that Miri's no Sacajawea.
Naturally the kids see them coming from a mile off and hide. Kirk and Miri enter an apparently empty room and look around a little.
Another plague-ridden freak appears and jumps on Kirk. Simultaneously, all the terrified onlies come out of hiding and rush out of the place while Kirk grapples with his attacker. Kirk throws the sick "onlie" to the ground, then zaps her with his phaser, at which point she obligingly dies.
[NOTE: Way to go, Kirk. That's the way to assure Miri you're here only to be helpful]
Miri, stunned with horror, tells Kirk that the person he just killed was named Louise. Miri appears to realize that her life is in the hands of a violent madman, and next does what many sensible girls would do: she starts sucking up like mad, in an effort to mollify his homicidal fury. She hurls herself at him bodily and gives him a big hug as if to say, "Do anything you want to me, just don't kill me!"
Kirk's a little embarrassed by her womanly display of sheer desperation. He tries to explain that his phaser was set on stun and that it shouldn't have killed the kid, but Miri has no way of knowing what any of that means, so it goes in one ear and out the other.
Next thing you know, Miri is sharpening Kirk's pencil.
Everybody in the landing party puts their heads together and starts brainstorming. Time is running short. They are all destined to go mad within days - except Spock, of course, who remains free of any sign of infection.
"I'm a carrier." Spock explains "So I can't go back to the ship..." (and here Spock and Kirk exchange one of their trademarked ~special glances~) "...and I do want to go back to the ship!"
Kirk smiles at this, as if he, unlike the rest of us, understands what Spock truly means. Kirk's reason for smiling at Spock's remarks is a little secret that only he and Spock share. One of many, no doubt. Maybe Spock and Kirk left something simmering on the stove, who knows? They ain't tellin', that's for sure.
[NOTE: Spock doesn't explain what makes him a carrier or how he knows he's a carrier. Come to think of it, he doesn't specify what it is he's carrying - it could be almost anything. Come to think of it, maybe he's just bullshitting as a way of explaining why he refuses to abandon Kirk. As we have seen in other episodes, Spock can be a deceptive son of a bitch. Maybe all he's really carrying is a torch. Come to think of it, how DOES he know that Rand and McCoy don't really have to worry about Miri being alone with Kirk?]
As I was saying, they have maybe one week to live. Kirk does his part to help by ordering McCoy to come up with a vaccine.
"Is that *all*, Captain?" McCoy dryly replies, "We have five days, you know."
Well, the Gods must be crazy, because somebody thought Kirk and his people didn't have enough problems. The onlies decide to up the ante by distracting the grups long enough to steal their silly phasers and communicators n stuff. Smart kids! I guess they didn't want any more "accidents" like what happened to Louise!
Spock is the first one to realize that the communicators are gone. McCoy is the one who points out that without their communicators, they can't talk with their comrades on the ship. Kirk doesn't worry, because he knows that when Scotty doesn't hear from them at the regular check-in time that he'll probably just beam them down some more communicators n stuff.
A couple of days later, they are still waiting for Scotty to wise up, and NOW Kirk is starting to worry. He's also getting sicker, as are they all (except Spock). Kirk acts kind of rude to McCoy, McCoy is rude back, then Kirk decides to go out for some air before he hurts somebody. In his dash for the door Kirk blunders clumsily past Rand and carelessly knocks a beaker of precious test vaccine out of her hands. It shatters, as does Rand's fragile hold on what is left of her self-control. Yeoman Rand starts freaking out, and runs out into the hall to indulge herself in a classic "good cry".
Kirk runs out after Rand, obviously to apologize. Miri follows them both, and witnesses this touching scene:
A weeping Janice Rand shows Jim Kirk the blotches at her neckline, then tearfully admits that she used to want Jim to look at her legs. With only hours to live, she's tired of waiting for Jim to look at her legs, so she flat out asks him to.
Aww. Poor kid. Out of pity, Jim obliges her by taking a quick look at her blotchy legs.
[NOTE: Yeoman Rand is complaining about the fact that Kirk has to be asked to notice her legs. She has to ASK him to look at her "that way", apparently because he's never been moved on his own to do so. People, this is NO MINOR POINT. This alone is clear indication that Kirk is not the leering horndog playboy that lots of people like to imagine he is.]
Out of pity, Kirk gently gives the overwrought woman a soothing, completely platonic, big-brother-type hug. He holds her with a certain formal stiffness evident in his posture, and softly pats Rand on the back as if trying to burp a baby. There isn't the slightest smidgen of erotic undercurrent coming from him to her. Not a smidge.
Kirk DOES NOT SAY "Rand, I love you even like this. I've always loved you. I can't come this close to death without telling you." They also DON'T KISS.
Kirk DOES SAY: "We're all...frightened."
[NOTE: See? It isn't just Uhura who admits to being frightened once in a while. This is the 22 hundreds, folks. People don't have silly hangups about admitting to normal emotions.]
Miri makes the mistake of seeing something erotic in Kirk's completely platonic hug.
[NOTE: she's in good company. Lots of viewers make the same mistake.]
Thinking that she must be free to go now that the crazy Captain grup has a new girlfriend, she beats feet out of there while Kirk is distracted.
McCoy exults that he has isolated the virus. Hot dog! Now he can finally make some of that vaccine Jim asked him for.
Miri is next seen plotting with the other onlies to kidnap Yeoman Rand. She figures that if they grab Rand that Kirk will come looking for her, and that's when they can get the drop on the grups! Knowing that Kirk et al have limited time, the onlies agree that it's just time enough for a little payback time! Time for a little onlies vs. grups quality time, and how! Time to give Captain Phaser and his buttinski gang a little corner time! A little home-team style TIME OUT!
Miri dubs Kirk "Mr. Lovey-dovey" which, it seems, is a code word among these kids for guys who like kids too much and consequently are in severe need of a hammer-blow to the head. They start gleefully chanting "Bonk-bonk! Bonk-bonk!" in happy anticipation of the bloodshed to come.
Back at the makeshift lab, Spock and McCoy puzzle over a beaker full of fresh vaccine and wonder aloud to each other about what the proper dosage should be.
Simultaneously, Kirk further demonstrates his uncommon touch with women by trying to shake information out of Miri as if she's a piggy bank and he's trying to shake out a nickel.
"Where IS she!? Where's Yeoman Rand!?" Kirk hysterically demands to know.
"How should I know!?", replies Miri, who, strangely, is not one bit afraid of Kirk all of a sudden, even though he's clearly going out of his tree. This alone should tip Kirk off that she's not the tender bud he thought she was, but he's too sick to notice or care about such details.
"I've got to find Janice!" Kirk complains to Spock and McCoy.
"We've got to find those communicators" Spock complains back at him.
"We're TRYING, Mister SPOCK! WE'RE TRYING VERY HARD!" Kirk snaps.
McCoy snaps back. "THAT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH!"
[NOTE: Gee, he should have said that days ago.]
Long story short: Spock and McCoy want to have access to the ship's computers so they can use them to figure out the proper dosage for the vaccine. It's too dangerous to simply shoot up a couple of ounces of the stuff and hope for the best.
Kirk tries talking to Miri again. He tells her that all the kids will get sick and die unless Spock and McCoy succeed. He asks for her help.
[NOTE: Gee, he should have said that days ago.]
Motivated by fear of the disease, Miri agrees to lead Kirk to where the others hold Rand captive, since he clearly is never going to get around to looking for her like a lovesick dope like the onlies thought he would. Miri had Kirk all wrong!
[NOTE: minefield of Klassic Kirkisms dead ahead.]
The kids are clearly not friendly. Kirk is surrounded and vastly outnumbered by a nasty group of feral children who are acting very hostile. Kirk naturally therefore does the sensible thing and treads very carefully, very tactfully NO HE DOESN'T. The first thing Kirk does is grab the brat who is nearest to him and throws the kid down, humiliating him in front of a small army of his grubby comrades, as a way of saying "Hello".
[NOTE: Here we go again. Kirk is in a situation where the odds are very good that he's going to get the snot kicked out of him, and the first thing he does is try to make the odds in favor of this painful possibility even better, by provoking his enemies. If he is not a masochist who is flirtin' for a hurtin' then why does he always do this?]
[NOTE: notice there's no "Release my adored Janice from her bondage at once, you rascals!" Rand is on her own! So much for the "Mr. Lovey-dovey" scenario.]
"Listen to me!" Kirk cries. "We need our communicators to talk to the ship!"
"Blah, blah, blah!" The children smartly retort.
"NO BLAH, BLAH, BLAH!" Jim reasonably explains. "If you don't help us, there won't be anything anymore."
The kids apparently interpret this remark as a threat, and all things considered, who can blame them? They saw what he did to Louise! And he never fixed that trike like he promised either! Why trust him?
Long story short: Kirk tries to explain the situation but the kids gather around and start whacking on him with whatever blunt objects are at hand, crying "Bonk-bonk!" as they do so.
Kirk takes a good beatin', but as per usual, he shows he has a higher than average tolerance for pain. He takes a lickin' and keeps on kickin'. Battered and bloodied, but unbowed, he breaks away from the pack and directs his attention to the biggest kid in the room, who seems to be the one in charge, and tries to explain the situation some more. You see, that's what got him beat up before, and he hasn't had enough yet, so you see, in a crazy way that perhaps only another sadomasochist can understand, it makes sense for him to do that.
Miri has seen enough bloodshed for one day and she tries to persuade the kids to cooperate with Jim.
Kirk can't get through a whole episode without a ripped shirt, so, since the kids neglected to rip it off of him while they were working on him, he now he rips his own sleeves off to show the kids his blemished arms, and BTW flex some muscle.
"Look at my arms! This is what's going to happen to you, unless you let me help you!"
Then Kirk shows how sincerely helpful he can be by roughly helping the same brat to the floor that he shoved to the floor before, and then he double-dares the whole roomful of homicidal juveniles to do something.
[NOTE: Look, it's not even subtle. Kirk's begging for it. The poor brain-fried zipperhead is practically screaming at the kids to come on and give him the worst that they've got in them.]
They hesitate, uncertain.
Seeing his attackers beginning to quail in spirit, Kirk gives them a big pep talk.
When Kirk waxes eloquent and starts begging and pleading with them, and the wave of his masochistic musk hits them full in the face, they all almost faint. The kids are absolutely stunned with amazement. They've never seen anything quite that raw and perverse before. Full-blown masochism unleashed is something they know nothing about, and they don't know what to do. Normally when you hurt people they don't like it. It takes the fun out of beating him up when he seems to be so eager for it. They are all just stopped stone cold with pure confusion.
Meanwhile, back at the lab, Spock senses with his mysterious Vulcan telepathic faculties that Kirk is up to something unsavory, and he gallops off to intervene. While he's gone, McCoy impulsively decides that he can't afford to wait any longer, so he tests the vaccine on himself. Overwhelmed, overcome, he screams for Spock and collapses.
Spock finds him flat on the floor. Kirk suddenly returns, bringing all the kids and Rand with him. He's succeeded in convincing the kids, it seems. Exactly what all else it took is left to our imaginations.
Spock and Kirk hover over McCoy and watch, amazed, as McCoy's miraculous vaccine instantly erases McCoy's blemishes. The medicine works, the crisis is averted, hoorah!
Later, on the bridge, Kirk and Rand discuss the fate of the children with McCoy. Space Central will send them teachers, etc. In the meantime Kirk left them a small medical team from the Enterprise.
Speaking of (300 plus year old) Miri, Rand says, "She really loved you, you know."
Kirk quips, "I never get involved with older women."
[NOTE: Kirk never gets truly involved with any women. There are very few women of any age who'd want to be involved with Kirk, once they find out what's in store. Guy's a terrific starship captain, but let's face it, he's also a kinky kook.]
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