Where No Man Has Gone Before

The Enterprise picks up a distress call that seems to emenate from a ship, the S.S. Valiant, which has been missing for two hundred years. The bridge crew are able to locate the source of the call and beam it onto the ship. Kirk and Spock are not on the bridge as this point as they are in the mess hall playing each other at three-dimensional chess. When they take a look at the object that has been beamed aboard it appears to be an old fashione beaacon which was meant to be ejected from a ship was in trouble. Spock suggests that the ship had been destroyed.

All of the department heads are summoned to the bridge and Spock uses his computer to look at the data fro the beacon. He manages to get something from the crafts memory banks showing that the captain gave the order to destroy his own ship after seeking out information on extra sensory perception.

Then the ship comes across a force field but the strange thing is that the sensors can’t pick it up despite it clearly being there. When the ship comes into contact with the field the ships power starts to drain and the consoles start exploding.

Spock is able to get them away from the field but nine people have been killed and two crew members Doctor Elizabeth Dehner and Gary Mitchell were zapped by some unknown force. When Mitchell awakes his eyes have turned silver!

It turns out that all of the people who were killed and injured had higher than usual ESP rating with Mitchell having the highest rating of all.

Oddly, the nine people who were killed had higher than normal ESP ratings—Dehner also has a high rating, and Mitchell’s was higher than anyone’s.

In the sickbay Mitchell is seen to be reading incredibly fast, much faster that he had ever done previously and also when quizzed rememberes exactly what he has read, which he had never previously shown ability to do. Dr Piper can find nothing wrong with him but he certainly isn’t himself as he is able change the lifesign readings in the machinery above his bed just by the power of his mind.

When Lt Kelso visits Mitchell he tells him that the points are burned out on the impulse packs. Mitchell tells Dr Dehner that he saw them in Kelso’s mind.

There is a breifing about Mitchell where Kirk learns that he has been manipulating the bridge controls with his mind and Dr Dehner tells him about his altering of the lifesign reasings in sickbay. It is also reported that Mitchell is getting stronger and strong and more powerful.

Spock recommends that they visit a planet where they can get the parts needed to fix the ships engines and also either strand Mitchell there or kill him. Kirk finds it difficult to do this to his oldest friend but agrees with Spocks plan and gives the order.

When they are in orbit around their destination Mitchell is visted and he tells them that he knows what they are planning and he tries to stop them. They manage to sedate him and take him down to the station where they place him in a cell whilst they repair the engines.

Kelso who is supervising the repairs wires up a switch which will destroy the station if necessary. Mitchell realises this and promptly kills Kelso before breaking out of his cell and knocking everyone else out apart from Dehner who also now has silver eyes.

Kirk is revived by Dr Piper who tells him that Mitchell and Dehner have left the compound. Kirk goes after them with phaser rifle and orders them to leave if he doesn’t return within twelves hours and then recommend that the planet be bombarded with radiation.

Mitchell shows Dehner what he can now do and she is now able to do simplke things like create items and buildings out of nothing. Kirk shows up and tries to shoot Mitchell who is now immune to the phaser beam.

Mitchell creates a grave for Kirk and is about to end Kirks life when Dehner who still has a little bit of humanity left in her tries to get him to stop by attacking Mitchell with electricity.

Whilst they are fighting against each other Mitchell is temporarily weaked so him and Kirk have a proper fight and he manges to eventually get Mitchell in the gracve and then causes a rock slide to bury him alive.

Dehner does not survive her altercation with Mitchell and Kirk notes in his log that both of them died in the line of duty.

I am not entirely convinced that Where No Man Has Gone Before is a better pilot episode than The Cage was, but it was the one that got the series a full run when The Cage didn’t so I guess that it must be better than The Cage. Musn’t it? I still remain to be convinced if I am honest.

I also think that this episode is probably just as ‘cerebral’ as its predecessor with all of its talk of extra sensory perception and its effects on the crew of both the Enterprise and the previously destroyed ship.

I also accept that the odds of there being lots of people with high ESP ratings all on the same ship at the same time are probably very low indeed, but not in this episode as there are at least twelve people on board the Enterprise who has those kinds of levels and by the end there are twelve less people with high ESP values. It’s a bloody good job that none of the main characters have high values isn’t it?

Talking of the main character we see the return of Mr Spock but a rather different Spock to the one seen in the previous episode. This Spock actually admits that he is an alien in his first scene in the episode and later on in the episode he is named as Vulcan and he also appears to have the emotionless side of the character of Number One from the last episode, which is also a hallmark of his particular race, although he does admit to having a human ancestor so he isn’t totally Vulcan and does have some humanity in him even if it isn’t really present in this episode.

The new captain of the Enterprise, James Kirk, is quite a bit younger than Pike but seems to be just as driven, but not quite as pissed off as Pike was. He also seems to have a much closer relationship with his crew than Pike did but also knew when to take control which moved him closer to the Pike character but had much more of a warmth to him than Pike did which made him a more engaging character. He also had the ultimate test of his command in this episode: could he sacrifice his best friend for the good of the rest of his crew!

Other regulars made their first appearances in this episode with George Takei taking his bow as Sulu, but as a physicist rather than the better know helmsman. He is hardly in the episode to be honest and only has a couple of lines but he is there.

James Doohan also makes an appearance as Scotty in this episode and has a bit more screen time than Takei and a few more lines but is mostly in the background for the episode and you could almost forget he was there. It did seem odd that he didn’t take control of trying to fix the Enterprise engines remaining on the bridge when all of the action was taking place though but he was definitely the head of engineering as well as the main teleport operator.

The main guest characters in this episode were Gary Mitchell who was Kirk’s best and oldest friend, Dr Elizabeth Dehner who had recently joined the crew as part of the medical staff and Lt Lee Kelso who was the navigator on the ship as well as being reponsible for trying to get the Enterprise engines working again.

One of the best things about the episode was the cameraderie of the ships crew. They really seemed like they new each other and worked well together and it certainly didn’t look like they were all new and appeared to have been together for quite long time judging by how comfortable they all appeared to be around each other.

That gave this episode a bit of an edge over the previous episode as you could believe that this crew had been together for a while and that they actually got along with each other.

This is is shown mainly in the friendship between Mitchell and Kirk, who are clearly firm friends. You don’t get that idea that Kirk and Spock are great friend yet, but they do get along and enjoy games of three dimension chess together so its a start.

Mitchell and Kirk are also good friends with Lieutenant Kelso and are on first name terms with him. He had a lot more depth to him than Tyler the previous navigator had and when he was killed by Mitchell you can see how far he had gone from the person that he used to be as you would imagine that Mitchell himself would not have done that to Kelso as they were friends.

He sort of threatened Kirk at first and it wasn’t until he became more and more powerful that he tried to kill Kirk as well but Kirk was a bit more canny that Kelso was and Kirk wasn’t going to be so easy to take out as Kelso had appeared to be and considering how powerful Mitchell was supposed to be at the end he did seem to be quite easy to get rid off just by a load of rocks falling on top of him.

You might have imagined that he would have been able to throw them off him quite easily. Perhaps he did that after the Enterprise had left the planet, or perhaps he wasn’t as powerful as we assumed him to be.

Dr Dehner was not quite such as interesting character as Mitchell but did play her part in the episode despite taking Mitchell’s side for a lot of the episode.

Andrea Dromm’s Yeoman Smith might as well not have been in the episode as she has one line and just stood there looking cute, which is probably what the captain’s yeoman was designed for, in the mind of Gene Roddenberry at least.

The Enterprise’s chief medical officer in this episode was Dr Mark Piper who didn’t make an impression at all but was just a generic Doctor character.

I would say that this was a much more likeable and believeable Enterprise crew than that of the previous Enterprise crew and that was one of the reasons this pilot was successfull.

We even got an exciting punch up at the end of the episode between Mitchell and Kirk, made all the more exciting by the fact that they where the best of friends. Kirk even got his shirt ripped off him during the fight. That would never have happened to Pike!

In the end I can see why this was successful when compared to The Chase, but I still think that the only thing that this episode had that The Chase lacked was the cameraderie of the crew that was so obvious in this episode! Or perhaps it was Kirk’s shirt getting ripped of him that made all the difference.