I can’t even begin to tell you how much I enjoy this episode. “The Devil in the Dark” has always been in my top 5 for the entire series. It possesses all of the elements that make a great episode.
I won’t go into plot details here because that would make this post longer than it should be.
What makes this episode stand out is the acting of Leonard Nimoy when he is mind-melding with the Horta. To give you a small taste, watch this clip:
“PAAAAINNNN!!!” is what I will always remember. As many fans know, William Shatner’s father died during the production of this episode, and it’s a long told anecdote of his that when he got back to the set and Nimoy did that bit for him, he said “Somebody get that Vulcan an Aspirin!” Who knows if that is true or not, but it’s hilarious camaraderie on the set.
The moral questions raised by this episode are great ones. When it is finally revealed that the miners have inadvertently been killing the Horta’s children, everyone takes the right course of realizing what had gone wrong and are truly sorry. I always appreciated how everyone, while feeling they had to kill the creature to get the mining facility back up and running, that when they find out you have the last of a kind creature instead… you take a different spin. The crew realizes that such creature had cause for what was going on.
Eventually, coexistence wins out. That allegory still could teach everyone in this modern world, 50 years later. A lot of people could learn from the other and coexist together. At the danger of sounding political, that lesson is still very, very relevant today.
All in all, this is a top tier story of any Star Trek series.
No show next week, as Star Trek was preempted for an NBC special, so we’ll see you back in two weeks for the introduction of some people you might recognize!