Where No Man has Gone Before was the second pilot of Star Trek. And suddenly all the uniforms have changed. Obviously the episodes were aired out of sequence.
I want to love TOS but it does, to me, feel dated in a way that the other series do not. Although there is an episode of TNG where the solution is to, essentially, reboot the Enterprise. In today’s world that would be the first thing you’d try.
The technology of TOS doesn’t bother me. There was no way that the development of technology could have been predicted. What I am talking about is sexism.
I know I am flogging a dead horse with this discussion. (That horse is sleeping – I prefer to have nice pictures.)
However in TOS I keep coming up against the problem of the way women are treated in this series.
During the passage through the barrier Yeoman Smith holds Gary Mitchel‘s hand. This scene looks so awkward as Mitchel tries to control the ship with one hand. Yeoman Smith was essentially only present to be eye candy. Also according to Herbert F. Solow the only reason Andrea Dromm was hired was because Roddenberry wanted to sleep with her. So until we get out of TOS I’m afraid I will have to comment on the sexism of this show. It is everywhere. If you remember from The Cage – Captain Pike didn’t like the idea of having a woman on the bridge.
Then there is Doctor Dehner who is described as a ‘Walking freezer unit’ – by Mitchel.
TOS was very much of its time. I only wish that the sort of sexism we see in it, and behind the scenes, was a thing of the past.
Pushing those complains aside it was an interesting episode which contains the Trek staple of a distress signal.
The Enterprise answering a distress signal comes up again and again all over Trek. In this universe you do not want to be first. The ships that go first end up with the crew being killed in lots of horrible ways. Be second and then you may survive.
ESP is the main thrust of the story. I don’t recall it ever being mentioned again after this episode. Troi, Kes, and to a lesser extent Vulcan characters have special powers but those are tied to their alien nature. In this story it is humans that are effected and become like Gods.
If Mitchel was a good God then there would be no story. So he has to be evil. Maybe because he has absolute power?
Kirk basically has no choice but to maroon him on Delta Vega given how dangerous he had become. Dehner argues that he need not be considered dangerous. Even as he is murdering Kelso.
I will say this for the episode. Dehner, by the standards of the time, was a strong character. Without her help Kirk would have been killed. Although the episode does fall back on the emotional woman cliche.
The story feels a little half done to me. We don’t find out any details about the Galactic Barrier and why it was put in place. That might be an unfair criticism but it seems an obvious question.
Given this and The Cage as the two pilots I prefer The Cage in overall presentation. The Cage feels to me a bit more polished and a more interesting story. Even if both of them are science fiction staples. I’m sure we can all think of episodes of other shows where a character gets special powers, if only for a time, and ones where the characters are being studied by some alien force.
I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.