SCORE: (4/5 stars)
The Enterprise is sent to negotiate mining rights on Capella, a primitive planet with a very complex code of honor and taboos. McCoy served some time on the planet in the past providing medical care, so he has a legitimate reason to tag along on the away mission, being experienced with their ways. The redshirt on the away mission also has a legitimate reason to tag along, being as that the Capellans have also entered into trade discussions with the Klingons. Soon as the Klingon is seen, the redshirt draws a weapon—breaking a taboo as a guest of the Capellans, who turn his red shirt red.
The Klingon has struck a deal with Maab, a Capellan with eyes on the title of Teer (something like a chieftan). They stage a riot in which Maab is able to kill the current Teer, Akaar. But that isn’t sufficient to make him Teer, as Akaar’s wife Eleen has a little tiny Teer in her tummy. The honor code states that she die. While she is willing to submit, Kirk and crew aren’t so pleased to do so, and they rescue her despite her protestations. Kirk is unable to contact the Enterprise, as the Klingons have led them on a wild goose chase, pursuing false distress signals. Since Maab has sided with the Klingons, the only way for them to secure the mining rights is with Eleen’s child. They find a cave in a rocky area that totally doesn’t look like the rocky area they found on every other planet ever. Spock and Kirk plan their defense as Maab’s men work to find them, and McCoy has to “convince” (slap) Eleen to let him do his doctorly duties with her pregnancy, which turns to labor.
The search party is forced back when Kirk and Spock create a resonance frequency with their communicators that trigger a rockslide. While they have the landing party’s phasers, Kirk and Spock manage to craft makeshift bows and arrows. After Eleen has her child, she bludgeons McCoy with a rock and sneaks off back to the tribe that has made its way to the other side of the rocky chasm. She lies to them, telling them that her child and the Starfleet men are dead. This causes the Klingon to come out to see for himself. It looks like he’s won, until he takes an arrow to the knee. (I’m so terribly sorry, but that’s actually what happened. I promise I’ll never make this joke again.) Angered, he pulls out his phaser, which reveals that he dishonored the Capellan honor code, as all guests are to remain disarmed. Clearly, his deal is over. Maab sacrifices himself as bait to get the Klingon to come out of hiding, and though he is vaporized, the Klingon takes a boomerang knife to the gut. With Maab dead, the new Teer is the baby Leonard James Akaar. Eleen, the regent, grants the mining rights to the Federation.
- Pretty much the entire plot is a severe violation of the Prime Directive. Not only are the Capellans a pre-warp tribal society, but Kirk and crew are deliberately interfering with their customs despite Kirk’s promise that the Federation wouldn’t interfere.
- While the right sonic frequency could certainly trigger an avalanche, it would not trigger what looks like a controlled pyrotechnic demolition.
- Kras: I am unaware of any state of war between our peoples, Captain—or is it your policy to kill Klingons on sight?
- Kirk: I must protest the killing of one of my crewmen.
Akaar: If it was your man, was it not his privilege to die for you? I do not understand.
Maab: Their customs are different, Teer.
Kras: And different from those of my people, too, Teer. The sight of death frightens them.
McCoy: Let me take this, Jim. What Maab has said is true. Our customs are different. What the Klingon has said is unimportant, and we do not hear his words. [to Kirk] I just called the Klingon a liar.
- Kirk: Do you think we could create a sonic disruption with two of our communicators?
Spock: Only a very slight chance it would work.
Kirk: Well, if you don’t think we can, maybe we shouldn’t try.
Spock: Captain, I didn’t say that exactly.
- McCoy: Capellans aren’t human, Jim, they’re humanoid. There’s certain internal differences. I don’t have the equipment to handle them in an emergency.
Kirk: Well, if you don’t think you can handle it…
McCoy: Forget it! I can do it. The last thing I’ll want around is a ham-handed ship’s captain.
- McCoy: I’m a doctor, not an escalator! Spock, gimme a hand!
Eleen: No! I will allow only your touch.
- Kirk: How’d you arrange to touch her, Bones, give her a happy pill?
McCoy: No. A right cross.
Kirk: Never seen that in a medical book.
McCoy: It’s in mine from now on.
- Scotty: There’s an old, old saying on Earth, Mister Sulu. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
Chekov: I know this saying. It was invented in Russia.
- Kirk: There’s just one thing I want.
Spock: The Klingon?
Kirk: One of us must get him.
Spock: Revenge, Captain?
Kirk: Why not?
- McCoy: [to the baby] Ootchie wootchie kootchie koo!
Spock: [to Kirk] Ootchie wootchie kootchie koo, Captain?
Kirk: An obscure Earth dialect, Mister Spock. Ootchie kootchie kootchie koo. If you’re curious, consult linguistics.
- Spock: The child was named Leonard James Akaar?
McCoy: Has a kind of a ring to it, don’t you think, James?
Kirk: Yes, I think it’s a name destined to go down in galactic history, Leonard. What do you think, Spock?
Spock: I think you both are going to be insufferably pleased with yourselves for at least a month, sir.