Trek Review: “This Side of Paradise”

If you’ve ever wanted to see an episode of Star Trek where Spock comes out of his shell a bit.   You know, let the human half of him hang out…… that sounded gross, didn’t it….

Sorry.

Anyway, thanks to some spores on a planet where nobody is supposed to be alive, all of a sudden, Spock is bouncy and in love!

A truly great episode, “This Side of Paradise” is an examination of a world where the colonists should be dead, but thanks to the effect of some inconspicuous spores, they are alive!

I have always been truly fascinated by the character of Leila Kalomi (played so wonderfully by Jill Ireland.)  I would love to have more on the backstory of when she was interacting with Spock before their meeting here.  That would be an interesting love story to see unfold.  As it turns out here, Spock just simply cannot love her because of the way he is.

I loved the scene in the final act where Spock beams Lelia up and she realizes that he is no longer under the influence of the spores.  Just watch:

Both Leonard Nimoy and Jill Ireland are just so great in this scene.  It is one of the best scenes in the entire first season, and the tracked music from “Shore Leave” really is well used here.

The one problem I have with the plot of this episode is how the spores just all of a sudden take over the whole crew of the Enterprise.  I mean, couldn’t someone just stop it?  Surely there are enough knowledgeable people on board to not let the situation get out of control.  So much as to the whole crew beaming down to the planet against their will and putting Kirk in the highly dramatic situation of being marooned on his ship!

Don’t get me wrong, I like any excuse to see Shatner ham it up to the extreme as much as the next guy, but come on!  The whole crew?  I hear you out there again… “suspend your disbelief!!!”

But the solution is rather ingenious.  Sonic vibrations to drive the effect of the spores out.  Quite clever.

That’s it for this week… coming up next week, one of the top 10 episodes of the whole series!

Leave a Reply