Originally Aired September 20th, 1968.
Hello and Welcome to Episode 5 of Truth or Myth. Every 5th episode we’ll be taking a look a specific Star Trek Episode in any of the Trek series and pointing out everything they got wrong. From simple prop mistakes to blatant contradictions in already established behaviour and Trek lore, our goal is to point out some things that you may have missed when you were watching the episode. With that in mind, let’s begin!
Spock’s Brain is universally declared the worst episode of Star Trek The Original Series. In fact, it’s SO bad that it’s become a favourite cult classic among many Trekkers.
While the Enterprise is investigating a ship on an intercept course with them, the Enterprise crew is suddenly rendered unconscious when a woman beams on to the bridge. When they wake up they discover that Spock’s Brain has been removed and stolen. Attempting to get Spock’s brain back, the trail leads them to the Sigma Draconis star system. After attempting to decide which planet, out of 3 class M, to beam down to, Kirk and a landing party beam down to Planet 6. Once there Kirk finds out that Men live on the surface of the planet, while the woman lives underground, capturing male to procreate with. After being caught numerous times by the females, Kirk and crew overpower the women using Robotic, Brainless Spock and discover that the females use a device called the teacher to temporarily gain advanced knowledge that had been lost to their civilization. Interrogation proceeds and we find out Spock’s Brain was stolen to actually run the facility, without it all the underground tech would not function. In order to re-install Spock’s Brain, Doctor McCoy uses the Teacher to gain the surgical knowledge he needs, and when it starts failing he hooks up Spock’s speech centre to allow Spock to help him complete the procedure. McCoy jokes about Spock’s Mouth and the Enterprise Crew Travel on their merry way all laughs and smiles!
Without a doubt, one of the most far-fetched and just plain weird episodes, Spock’s Brain was written by Lee Cronin which is actually the Pen name of Gene L Coon who wrote many screenplays for series such as Dragnet, Wagon train and The Munsters to name a few.
But more importantly, he’s credited with creating the Klingons, Khan and Zephram Cochrane. Add to that that he wrote episodes like The Devil in the Dark and Errand of Mercy, this outing of his into the Trek World seems confusing at best.
The Entire Episode seems to be really sexist saying women are dumb unless something helps them, but look at their short dresses. And so with Star Trek being a forward-thinking show this episode really doesn’t fit at all… You can really see Gene Roddenberry’s lack of involvement, but let’s get on to specific mistakes in the episode itself.
First off, Kara, the head of the damsels is really creepy! Watch her, with the knowledge, on the bridge of the enterprise float around creepily touching Spock’s head… Gives me shivers.
While following the Ion Trail to try and find Spock’s Brain, Kirk orders Maximum speed and Sulu immediately calls out “Aye Sir, Warp 6” Warp 6? Can’t the Enterprise go faster than that? I mean we’ve seen her travel at warp 8 in Arena and many other episodes, so why with such a time-sensitive mission doesn’t Kirk order Warp 8? Guess he wasn’t in that much of a hurry!
During the discussion to try and figure out which planet to investigate, Kirk keeps looking at the back of the bridge and stating how much time is left to get Spock’s Brain back… Where exactly is he looking? I don’t recall a clock at the back of the bridge. And why doesn’t Kirk send landing parties to all the planets just to be sure? I mean the enterprise can travel pretty fast between planets, right? So why not beam down landing parties to each? Or send landing parties in shuttles?
When Spock’s Robot body is beamed down to the planet why does it make clicking sounds? Is it the controls or is it that Spock’s body needs to be oiled?
Once on the Planet McCoy is able to tell that the women have the minds of children and that Luma is telling the truth. How does he know that? it’s a race not studied by the federation besides the basics, probably because of the Prime Directive, yet he can make these deductions? In the episode Basics, the Doctor says they can’t tell if the Kazon is telling the truth or not because they don’t have a baseline for comparison. Does this mean that automatic truth-telling by Tricorders is a lost technology after TOS?
As a little side note, where are the children on this planet? We don’t see them above or below. True they could be safe somewhere hidden away but does that mean that little boys after being weened are sent to the surface while little girls are kept below? Does that seem logical? Do the women that bore these children really give them up that easily?
The women below use the teacher to temporarily give them the knowledge, but why was it lost in the first place? What caused the divide between males and female or lead to the females overpowering and banishing the males? This episode raises a LOT of that kind of questions.
During one of the first scenes in the underground complex, Kirk and crew are rendered unconscious, Kirks’ hand are stretched out when that happens, then there’s a cut to Kara, then back to Kirk and his left hand is suddenly on his chest. Then after the commercial, we see the crew members are STILL unconscious but they’re sitting in a chair. Have you ever tried sitting in a chair unconscious? It can happen!
When Kirk and crew are in the controller’s room, after forcing the knowledge on her, Kara pulls out a phaser from under her dress, where exactly did she hide that? There’s not much to the dress that’s for sure. Of course, it’s under her big bow, but for a second It made you wonder right?
In regards to the phaser though how did Kara know how to set it to kill? We see her pull it out and it’s already set to the kill setting which means she did it BEFORE she gained the knowledge. She doesn’t even know what a brain is and yet we’re to believe she knows how to set a phaser to kill?
When McCoy offers to use the teacher on himself he says if he could retain the knowledge he could bring this technology to the world. What world exactly is he talking about? Should he have said something more like he could bring this Technology to the Federation? Or to the Galaxy?
Spock has had extensive surgery twice now in this episode and yet, amazingly there are no surgical lines, not even a stray hair out of place, well done McCoy if he ever gives up medicine he could be the Enterprises Hair Stylist!
Final Thought: Even though this episode is absolutely ridiculous in every way I can see exactly why it is a cult classic too so many fans. It has just the right about of absurdity and gorgeous woman to make worthy of that status. Until next time, Live Long and Prosper, hopefully with your brain intact!
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