SCORE: (1/5 stars)
In this episode, the writers remove Spock’s brain, and then their own. If I had to pick one episode out of all the original series of Star Trek to be given the proper MST3K/Rifftrax treatment, it would be this one. If you’d like to play along at home, you can make a drinking game out of it. Every time they say “Spock’s brain,” stab yourself in the liver. You’ll actually live longer than from the alcohol poisoning. If you absolutely have to drink, avoid the word “brain” and just take a drink every time someone says the same thing twice in a row. You’ll get nice and drunk without needing your stomach pumped, probably. So, as you might have surmised, Spock’s brain gets removed. An advanced spaceship encounters the Enterprise, incapacitates the crew, and takes the brain they came for. When the crew awakens, McCoy finds Spock delivered to sickbay and quickly gets him on life support, but without a brain, he’ll be unable to brain ever again.
Kirk chases the ion trail of the ship to a system with three inhabited planets, none of which have the technology to have constructed such an advanced vessel, let alone perform brain transplant surgery. Kirk decides to check out the least advanced planet, because while it has no signs of any industrial development or technology of any kind, there is a power source with a regularity that suggests it’s artificial as opposed to a random, volatile volcano. The humanoids living below are divided sharply. The men live on the surface where they are dressed in animal skins and behave like primitive cavemen, while the women live underground in a hidden technological paradise, their every need met save education. The facility is maintained by the Controller, a living brain that treats every system of the facility as if it were a part of its body. The old Controller was dying, and so Spock was chosen as a suitable replacement. I can’t say I disagree. I’d trust Spock’s brain to run just about anything.
Of course, Kirk and his away team is comprised of the silliest thing the show has ever had: the brainless Spock, with a metal device on his head, and a remote control operated by McCoy. Yup, ten buttons on a remote control are enough to properly, fluidly, intelligently move Spock’s body around. If you don’t believe me, Google QWOP and play that. It’s SUPER easy! Anyway, a device that imparts knowledge for three hours at a time is used to download the brain surgery techniques into McCoy’s mind, who quickly gets to work reattaching Spock to Spock. The knowledge begins to fade during surgery, and McCoy quickly reattaches Spock’s speech centers, allowing Spock to dictate his own surgery. With the Controller gone, Kirk promises that the Federation will aid the planet in learning how to take care of themselves again, their dependence on the advanced technology having stagnated their culture.
- So many things wrong with removing Spock’s brain, I don’t know where to begin. Let’s take the whole “brainless body” bit. Yes, we have examples of infants born without brains, as vegetables, but they have to be kept on life support or they expire. While medical technology has certainly advanced 300 years from now, I refuse to believe that you can take a thin metal strip, apply it around the head of a brainless body, and have it control all bodily functions, obviating the need for any external life support assistance. And if you were able to use this thin metal strip to control all the nerves that would have been attached to the brain, it therefore follows that brain surgery would have progressed to the point where you could in fact remove and reattach the brain.
- Yet again, Kirk violates the Prime Directive by offering to teach the humanoids on the planet how to survive without their machines making things so easy for them.
- McCoy: Spock’s body is more dependent on that tremendous brain for life support.
Kirk: Then we’ll take him with us.
McCoy: Take him? Take him where?
Kirk: In search of his brain, Doctor.
- Kirk: If I guess wrong, Mister Spock is dead. Spock will die.
- Chekov: Temperature, a high maximum of forty. Livable.
Kirk: You have a thick skin.
- McCoy: We just want to talk to somebody about Spock’s brain. That’s all.
Kara: Brain and brain! What is brain?
- McCoy: I knew it was wrong. I shouldn’t have done it.
Kirk: What’s that?
McCoy: I should have never reconnected his mouth.