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Rediscovering Star Trek : TOS S01E02 : Where No Man has Gone Before…

Memory Alpha description:

An encounter at the limits of our galaxy begins to change Lieutenant Commander Gary Mitchell and threatens the future of the Enterprise and the Human race itself.

Notes while watching:

  • Spock is very smug and condescending.
  • Engineering wears a copper color, like DSC
  • “Gravitation on automatic” – one would think gravity wouldn’t be manually adjusted
  • Spock touches Kirk, something that we later learn is something Vulcans avoid.
  • Kirk was a bookworm. The Lab Technician Gary throws at him is (at least in beta canon) Carol Marcus.
  • Spock had no hesitation suggesting Gary be killed before he harmed the crew. Logic is cold and hard sometimes, like firing on a hostile race without waiting for their first shot.
  • Kelso is the first onscreen death, and he’s wearing what becomes a red shirt.
  • The tombstone is James R Kirk
  • And the two fisted punch makes its first appearance.
  • Kirks shirt gets torn. Of course.

Discussion:

First episode filmed, 3rd aired. What do we have?  A strange warning that we are not ready for advanced powers yet.  That power corrupts both who are touched.

For all the talk about how cerebral Star Trek is, and how annoyingly action packed the movies or DSC pilot was, and here we have plenty of action. Lower budget, but still more action then talking.   Kirk goes a hunting with a rifle, ready to kill.   Kirk wins by talking to Elizabeth, but also with fighting. Talking got him an ally, but it was fists, phasers, and bad stunt doubles at the end of things.

God-like aliens and power that humans shouldn’t have/aren’t ready for yet are ongoing themes in Star Trek. So is that power corrupts, which may explain all the bad admirals….

The tombstone highlights a question that the existence of ENT and DSC raise – how beholden should creators be to visual canon?  Especially on background graphics and errors.   Here, it’s a middle initial on a tombstone that will later be changed from R to T.  Later shows have lots of in-jokes in the Okudagram graphics.   Should we accept that there is a ship with the crew of the West Wing?

My gut feeling on most of these is accepting it as canon unless and until explicitly contradicted, but also not being *too* concerned if it is.