1) The action takes place on ANOTHER world which is remarkably similar to Earth. 2) Kirk gets beaten up, and finds it an enjoyable experience, *again*. 3) Spock, defies Kirk's orders and gets away with it, *again*. 4) Kinky elements - Fighting-for-fun, rape, humiliation, dressing in costumes, and role-play. 5) Kirk encounters a pretty woman from his past, *again*. Small galaxy, huh! 6) Something *very* slashy occurs between Kirk and Spock.
Pay attention to Kirk's interactions with women, versus with men. Notice that his male/male interactions are more involved, physically and emotionally, by a very large degree. Not just in this episode, either. That's true in basically all of them, but it's especially obvious here.
It all begins on the bridge of the Enterprise. Spock crosses the bridge to stand behind Kirk's chair, as Kirk looks at a tablet with Yeoman Barrows, a pretty redhead.
To Spock Jim says, "Anything from the landing party?"
"They should be sending up a report momentarily." Spock replies.
Her task complete, the Yeoman steps away from Kirk. Kirk then straightens in his chair and puts a hand back, acting uncomfortable.
"Something wrong?" Spock asks, concerned.
"Kink in my back." Kirk complains.
Without being invited to do so, Yeoman Barrows steps in next to Spock, sticks her hand down and starts rubbing Kirk's back.
"That's it! A little...little higher, please. Push. Push harder!" Kirk says, obviously appreciating the gesture. "Dig it in there, Mr. Sp..."
Kirk suddenly falls silent, because Spock has moved beside his chair and is now giving him THE LOOK.
Realizing who it is back there, Kirk's manner changes instantly, like shutting off a light. "Thank you , Yeoman, that's sufficient." He dismisses the woman perfunctorily, without a smile.
[NOTE: at this point Spock breaks the fourth wall to toss us (the audience) a look, as if to say, "Did you see that?". As far as I know, this is the only the second time that ever happens in TOS. The first was in MIRI]
Barrows acts a little put out that Kirk doesn't seem more grateful. She starts to remind him that he needs more rest, as if to say "Don't be such a crabby baby". Kirk interrupts her to shut her up by saying "I get enough of that from Doctor McCoy" as if to say, "Who do you think you are, my mommy?"
Spock patiently waits until the woman is gone, then resumes his conversation with Kirk as if she were never there.
"There's not a crewman aboard who's not in need of a rest. Myself excepted of course."
[NOTE: That includes Kirk. Obviously he means that the doctor is right, that Kirk ~does so~ need a rest.]
Kirk smiles at this, and doesn't argue.
[NOTE: It's OK when ~Spock~ acts like his mommy.]
A few minutes later Spock strolls into Kirk quarters (without knocking, as if he lives there himself), and cleverly convinces Jim to order himself to take shore leave.
Down on the planet surface, Doctor McCoy has just seen a large White Rabbit and Alice, like he's in Wonderland. He reports this to Kirk, and Kirk thinks it's a joke.
Kirk beams down with Yeoman Barrows, but she's not his date. I'm not sure why he brings her, but they don't stick together. Maybe he just wanted to be seen beaming down with a girl for appearance's sake. The first thing that happens is Bones shows Jim the big rabbit tracks. Jim postpones shore leave because he wants proof the rabbit is harmless before bringing people down.
Things get weird very quickly after that. Kirk takes off running in the direction of the sound of a gun shooting. It's Sulu, who found a old-fashioned bullet-shooting pistol lying on the ground. Jim pulls rank and confiscates the gun.
[NOTE: He sticks it into the waistband of his pants, apparently intending to add it to his private collection. This is only one of many times Kirk steals stuff from other guys. He takes their guns, their clothes, and anything else he can get away with.]
Next, Kirk starts reminiscing about his academy days and a bully who used to torment him then, a guy named Finnegan. Magically, Finnegan suddenly appears, greets Jim with a smile, and decks Jim with a punch. Jim's reaction is quite bizarre. He stands, faces Finnegan, smiles, and lunges at him, ready to fight. Before he can get going good though, the sound of a woman's scream distracts him, and he abandons Finnegan to go rescue the lady.
Barrows was just attacked by a would-be rapist. She frankly admits to Kirk and McCoy that she had been fantasizing about wanting to meet such a person moments before.
[NOTE: Symbolically speaking, what a telling juxtaposition, eh, what?]
[NOTE: It now becomes obvious why Kirk and Barrows beamed down together first. She turns out to be as kinky as he is. Apparently, in the 2200's they allow people who are kinky, handicapped, or who are women with small children to beam down first, just like we allow the elderly and such to board airline jets first today.]
Kirk suddenly wonders aloud where Sulu went and impulsively runs off to look for him.
[NOTE: Yeah, right! He's going to look for Finnegan! He is obviously thinking of his academy days again, because the next person he meets is also of that era.]
Kirk turns a corner, sees a pretty flower, and picks it.
[NOTE: BUTCH, yes? No.]
[NOTE: See? He's *not* looking for Sulu!]
Next thing you know he sees a pretty blond lady and stops dead in his tracks to stare at her.
"Ruth?" he asks, astounded. "RUTH?"
The doll strolls up to him, saying, "Jim, darling, it is me. It's Ruth."
She comes very close, lightly places a hand on Kirk's face (which he permits) then places her face next to his on the opposite side and presses her cheek against his opposite cheek, by way of greeting. Kirk is not overjoyed. He seems simply puzzled.
[NOTE: No hug, no kiss. She says hello to him like they are a pair of sister divas. Come to think of it, how do we really know Ruth isn't really Ricky, a very passable transvestite?]
Kirk tries to hail McCoy...no response. He tries to talk with "Ruth".
"Ruth...how can it be you? How can you possibly be here? You haven't aged. It's been over 15 years!"
[NOTE: Darling, how do you do it!? I want your beauty secrets, NOW!]
Ruth (obviously a rocket scientist) replies, "It doesn't matter. None of that matters."
McCoy gets through: "Jim, have you found Sulu yet?"
"No." Jim says, "But I'm sure he's all right."
[NOTE: See? Kirk doesn't give a fuck about Sulu! He never did! First he steals the poor guy's gun, now this. "I don't know where he is, and furthermore, I don't care."]
Kirk gets a call from another guy who complains about birds. Kirk decides to have all his people rendezvous at the glade (where he last saw Finnegan). Finnegan sure as hell ain't up here.
Ruth: "You have to go?"
KIRK: "I don't want to"
Ruth: "You'll see me again if you want to."
KIRK: "You haven't told me... you haven't told me..."
Ruth: "Do what you have to do, and I'll be waiting."
She walks away with Kirk's flower, and he runs off.
[NOTE: Translation - You're not Finnegan, are you? You are very nice, but you are not Finnegan. Sorry doll. Keep the flower as a consolation prize.]
Spock gets Kirk on the horn and Kirk explains that he's seen many funny things, including an apparition who punched him in the jaw.
[NOTE: Kirk doesn't mention Ruth. Guess she's not important.]
Spock warns Kirk that he's noticed weird industrial-like power emanations and that this is somehow interfering with communications and other stuff. Oh my gosh! Is the ship in danger now, too!?
[NOTE: I wouldn't be surprised if Spock sensed something funny going on with Kirk's emanations, too. He beams down moments later, as if he doesn't think he can trust Kirk on his own anymore. BTW, he defies Kirk's orders to do this, as Kirk reminds him, but Spock just shrugs it off, like "So? Whatcha gonna do to me, huh?" This is only one of many times Spock does what he bloody well wants, Captain's orders or no Captain's orders, *and* gets away with it. Obviously, everybody is subordinate to the Captain EXCEPT SPOCK. This is now the second time in this one episode where Spock trumps Kirk's ace and takes the trick.]
Sulu runs up to Captain Kirk. He's being chased by a Samurai! Oh, here's Sulu! Kirk is happy to see that Sulu is all right. Yeah, right!
[NOTE: OK, he's not all right, he's being harrassed by a Samurai... but at least now we know where he is... not that Kirk really cares.]
Suddenly, Spock beams down although he was specifically forbidden by Captain's orders to do so. Spock to the rescue, hoorah! Sulu is standing there, so Kirk challenges Spock, and Spock offers up some plausible mumbo-jumbo to explain for Sulu's benefit why he has come down to baby-sit Kirk.
Darn! They just realized their communicators and phasers aren't working! Spock informs Kirk that the transporter now won't work anymore, either.
[NOTE: That's what you get when your shit is built by the lowest bidder.]
They hear a tiger growl. Kirk decides to go Tiger hunting. Huh? I guess that makes sense, after all, Spock is here to help now....
Meanwhile, back at the glade, more weird shit. Yeoman Barrows goes for the big prize: kinkiest crewperson ashore! She takes her stance, and here's the pitch - she fantasizes aloud about being a middle-ages kind of gal to Doctor McCoy, apparently hungering for some real rough knights. McCoy, with sadistic glee, agrees it would be cool to see a whole army of rapists getting medieval on her ass. Magically, her costume appears, and McCoy encourages her to dress for the party and get herself in the mood double-quick. Barrows happily does what she is told. Hey, he's the doctor: you gotta do what he says!
As soon as she is dressed and ready a knight on horseback appears. McCoy has no weapon nor armor so he wisely decides to cut the guy down to size with his rapier wit. It doesn't work. Hmm. Shoulda sharpened that wit.
Kirk can't find (Finnegan) the tiger, so he goes back to the glade (where he last saw Finnegan). He's just in time to see McCoy get impaled on the knight's lance. He pulls the pistol out of his pants and shoots the knight with an ordinary bullet. Thank goodness, this works. They examine the knight, and Spock announces that it's not made of living tissue. That in fact, it's a "mechanical contrivance".
A plane strafes a couple of Kirk's people, then heads off to harass the folks who have gathered at the glade. While Kirk and company are distracted by the plane, McCoy's body and the knight both mysteriously vanish.
Spock, tired of these shenanigans, asks Kirk to explain how all this silliness began, as if Kirk has some control over it. Kirk reflects back, starts reminiscing aloud about the day's events, and Finnegan suddenly reappears, and begins taunting Kirk anew.
OH, JOY! Kirk takes off after Finnegan like a kid let out of school. He chases the guy for a while, and then Finnegan allows himself to be caught up with.
"I want some answers!" Kirk hollers at Finnegan.
"Comin' up!" F cheerfully replies, and dives onto Kirk.
They fight, and fight, and fight. It gets real dirty. Kirk gets hurt. They fight some more. Kirk gets knocked out. F waits for Kirk to come to, and they fight some more. Kirk gets battered, bloodied, verbally abused, and thoroughly beaten up. He gets his shirt half torn off, and gets his face rubbed in the dirt, and they still fight on. Finally they stop to catch their breath.
"Not bad!" says Finnegan. "Kind of makes up for things."
"A lot of things!" Kirk agrees, then asks, "What's been happening to my people?"
[NOTE: He doesn't care about what's happening to himself.]
Finnegan sneers, "I never answer questions from plebes, Jimmy Boy."
[NOTE: Hey, look at the cute, familiar nickname.]
"I'm not a plebe!" Kirk protests. "This is today...15 years later! What are you doing here!?"
"I'm being exactly what you expect me to be, Jimmy Boy!"
[NOTE: OK, he answered the question, so Jim *isn't* a plebe anymore. I guess that means the game's over.]
Kirk stands and pulls Finnegan to a wobbly standing position. With evident glee he knocks Finnegan all the way to next week with one solid punch to the jaw, laying the guy out flat, and he's done. The fight's over.
"Did you enjoy it Captain?" asks Spock.
[NOTE: Hey! How long has *he* been there!?]
Kirk is a bloody, filthy mass of bruises and welts. "Yes, I enjoyed it." he readily admits. "After all these years...I did enjoy it! The one thing I wanted after all these years was to beat the tar out of Finnegan!"
[NOTE: But not before getting very well beaten up himself first, it seems.]
Spock now explains it all for us and declares "We must all control our thoughts!" Spock and Kirk rush back to the glade to warn the others. Moments after Kirk has whipped his raggle-taggle band of waywards into something resembling a line of military people at attention, a stranger appears, a nice old guy, who explains that the planet is nothing but a highly sophisticated amusement park, where everything they wish for can come true. McCoy appears, accompanied by two sexy chorus girls. He isn't really dead!
Oh, OK! Shore leave for everybody!
When Barrows acts a little jealous about the chorus girls, McCoy relinquishes them and one goes to Sulu, the other to Spock. Spock is not interested.
Spock tells Kirk he is going back to the ship. "I've already had as much shore leave as I care for."
Kirk starts to order Spock to stay, starts to say he'll return to the ship, then spots "Ruth", still holding her breath waiting for his return, (poor dope) and, realizing he still has unfinished business with his android du jour, says:
"On the other hand, I'll stay for a day or two!"
Kirk strolls toward Ruth, obviously to tell her to find something worthwhile to do, and goes off to conjure up Finnegan again.
At the end, everybody gathers around the Captain's chair for the last word of the day. And the moral of the story is?
Spock: "Most Illogical."
Yep, that about sums it up.
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