|March 9th, 1967|
Script: (8.5) Great story all around, good message, thoughtfully and intelligently executed. The exchange between Spock and Kirk at episode's end is amusing enough, though it sometimes boggles the mind how much everyone makes (and how often) of Spock's ears. Still, it serves a point here: what we see is alien is always in the eye of the beholder.
Theme: (8.5) I'm not sure if "humanizing" the monster is quite as groundbreaking as some of the reviews I've been reading indicate. I agree that it's a well-developed theme, but wasn't it fairly common to sci-fi by 1967? Definitely in print but even in tv and film. Doesn't take anything away from "Devil in the Dark," of course; this is more of a comment on the reviews and re-watches and memoirs.
|"This is not a zoological expedition."|
It is a little odd to discover this Pergium business. You'd figure the matter/antimatter equation would solve a lot of energy problems. But the "this planet has the one element the entire Federation inexplicably needs to survive" artery hadn't hardened yet, so this episode gets a pass. (By the time you get to "The Cloud Minders" and "Requiem for Methusaleh," it's much more of a liability.)
Visual Design: (3) One word:
The story of how the alien's appearance came into being is repeated everywhere this episode is mentioned, so I'll skip it.
|Trek conventions haven't changed much.|
|Spock's "I am quickening my pace" line always makes me laugh. But I'd wager that when people think of Spock and this episode they think of:|
From the AV Club: "(The mind-meld) should be ridiculous. Spock's basically groping a puppet and treating it like a massive spiritual and moral struggle. But it works. (...) It's not memorable because it's campy, either. Nimoy's acting sells it because he never allows for a moment that what he's doing is absurd."
"He commits, as my old acting teacher would say, and the sequence becomes this whole tragic, horrifying tribute both to his skills as a performer and the writer behind the episode." Hear hear.
Shatner, too, deserves a tip of the brim.
|His father died during shooting of this episode, but the show must goes on. RIP, Shatner, Sr.|
|First use of the "I'm a doctor, not a..." McCoyism.|
|This guy at the beginning dies memorably. "Sure is daaahk down here..."|
"Like the others... burned to a crisp..."
Reasonable questions. Nothing (above or below) is in danger of eclipsing the episode's good points, for me - (I think the fact that the Horta does burn a message/ carry off the piece of equipment is evidence enough that it can do so; how we don't really need to know) - but I was amused enough to keep a list of some of them.
- McCoy's "I'm beginning to think I can cure a rainy day" line was a little odd. Haven't they learned to control the weather already? Other episodes give this impression.
|Isn't Pergium even mentioned as essential to atmospheric modification/ weather control in the script itself? I could be confusing this with some Un-obtainium from another episode.|
|Or perhaps the credits are put into a trust that the Federation then administers. Let's hope not.|
Memorability: (3) Walk carefully in the vault of tomorrow.
Total Points Awarded: 56.5