"Star Trek: Where No Man Has Gone Before (#1.3)"
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Reviews & Ratings for
"Star Trek" Where No Man Has Gone Before (1966)

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28 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

Kirk and Crew About to be Squashed Like Insects

Author: Bogmeister from United States
17 June 2006

This was actually the 2nd Trek pilot filmed, after "The Cage," and so is the first appearance of Capt. Kirk, not to mention Scotty and Sulu, here a physicist. There's no Dr. McCoy yet, instead a Dr. Piper. I would venture that in the scheme of things Trek, this episode takes place about a year before the earliest episodes of the series - note the slightly different uniforms. So this is Spock's second show; his character is still forming after the rough outline in "The Cage," still raising his voice a bit too much for a Vulcan and almost smiling in one shot (during 3-level chess, also introduced). But then, the concept of Vulcan and even the Federation had not been created yet here - we're viewing the adventures of some Earth-based space fleet here, no more. The episode, like "The Cage," has a bit of an epic feel for a TV show; it was designed to impress the NBC executives, who green-lit an actual series based on this, a miniature science fiction movie when all's said and done.

Exploration is the highlighted theme, as it would be for the remainder of the series. Probing the unknown, Kirk directs the good ship Enterprise towards a mysterious galactic barrier, despite that what they know of this energy barrier makes it seem quite dangerous. Sure enough, the ship is damaged, 9 crew members are killed and 2 others, including old friend Gary, are mutated into superior beings. But, risk, as Kirk would say in a much later episode, is their business - that's what it's all about. Now begin the questions and search of another kind - how dangerous is such an ascendant man? Can he live with so-called normal human beings? The short answers, rather quick in coming, are 'very' and 'no' - Spock's the first one to voice this opinion. Only it doesn't transpire to be just an opinion. Rather than struggling with how to cope with his new powers, Gary shows that the old adage of absolute power corrupting absolutely is essentially a basic truth - it suggests all men have the need to dominate, to rule, buried somewhere inside, no matter how decent they seem. All it takes is a little power to bring it all to the surface.

Heavy and deep concepts for a TV show, eh? It's rather impressive that all these ideas came forth in the middle of an action-oriented show. Roddenberry and his crew wanted to show the NBC execs that such an expensive-looking (for TV) sf show can be filmed in a timely manner, but they also stressed a lot of action scenes, especially in the climactic battle between Kirk and his former friend. Actor Fix played Piper the doctor as a standard crusty older member of the crew; Kelley showed what could be done with the doctor's role in the next filmed episode, "The Corbomite Maneuver." The two actors/doctors were later in the same film, "Night of the Lepus"(72). The two main guest stars went on to stellar careers: Lockwood, who played Gary, soon appeared in "2001:A Space Odyssey"(68) while Kellerman, as the other mutate, is famous for her role in "M*A*S*H"(70).

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27 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

One of the best

Author: a_l_i_e_n from Canada
31 March 2006

"Where No Man Has Gone Before" really set the tone for the "Star Trek" series more so than even Rodenberry's original pilot, "The Cage". In this story we have Kirk forced into making agonizing life and death decisions/his close relationship with Spock and that character's adherence to total logic at times being compromised by his own human side/the heroic crew all game to explore the vast uncharted regions of space- it's all there like a blueprint for numerous "Star Trek" scripts that followed.

When Kirk's friend Gary Mitchell is endowed with astonishing powers of ESP and telekinesis, Kirk and Spock grow alarmed as he starts to test his ability to take over the Enterprise. Spock urges Kirk to maroon Mitchell on Delta Vega, an uninhabited planet. At first Kirk is outraged at even the suggestion, but eventually accepts the cold logic of this solution as Spock warns him, "we'll never reach another earth base with him on board."

The scenes charting Mitchell's evolution are well acted by Gary Lockwood. His personality shifts startlingly back and forth between the affable crewman he was and the detached mutant he is becoming, and these glimpses of Mitchell's former self help us retain a measure of sympathy for him. He, too is a victim in this story.

The silver contacts Lockwood wears are especially effective at making him appear as if his newly acquired powers have rendered him aglow from within. Plus, an echoing quality in his voice makes statements like "You Should Have Killed Me When You Could, James" sound especially frightening.

One of the episode's best scenes occurs when Mitchell, severely weakened after trying to break through a force field, returns momentarily to his old self. A few seconds later however, the glow in his eyes re-ignites, but now it's even brighter than before. As he slowly rises to his feet, it looks this time like he will be able to pass right through the force field. But instead Mitchell stops and with a smile calmly informs them, "I just keep getting...stronger. You know that, don't you?" It's superbly intense and Alexander Courage's terrific music adds just the right note of dread to this scene.

Of course Mitchell does eventually escape, taking the ship's psychiatrist, Dr. Daner, (played by Sally Kellerman) with him. She had also been affected by the mysterious force that has altered Mitchell and now they both have become mutants. Kirk bravely sets off on his own to track Mitchell down before his powers become so great no one can stop him.

I gotta say, even after 40 years, all the elements of this one still work. From the threat imposed by Mitchell's ever increasing powers to the agonizing questions it poses about what to do with him, and finally the physical conflict between Kirk and Mitchell at the end. Oh, and also the moment Dr. Daner must choose a side; it ALL works so well. James Goldstone deserves particular praise for his sure handed direction and this is certainly right up there with his excellent work on the original "Outer Limits".

I suppose "Trek" purists might criticize certain things like Mr. Sulu's then uncertain role on the ship and the moment where Spock actually smiles, but one must keep in mind this was only the second episode ever filmed, so the characters were still evolving. Anyways, such minor nitpicking's really don't detract from the obvious strengths of this superior entry in the series. I would place "Where No Man Has Gone Before" among "Star Trek's" four best episodes. It's a smart and thoroughly entertaining example of television science fiction done right.

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20 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

The true beginning of the legend

Author: Max_cinefilo89 from Italy
28 March 2009

Although it was the third Star Trek episode that aired, Where No Man Has Gone Before (the title is taken from the final phrase spoken by William Shatner in the intro) is actually the pilot of Gene Roddenberry's sci-fi classic. Correction: it's the second pilot, since NBC rejected Roddenberry's original pitch, The Cage (it was too cerebral, apparently), but was still willing to give Trek the chance it deserved. The result is one of the show's best episodes, one that covers relevant themes like friendship, power and the misuse of the latter.

Like most Star Trek episodes, it all begins as if it were just another day on the Enterprise. Then, out of the blue, the ship is hit by a magnetic storm. While assessing the material damage, Kirk and the crew make a horrifying discovery: two of the people on board, who have limited psionic abilities, are suddenly more powerful than ever, and soon that newfound power leads to insanity. At this point, Kirk must decide whether to kill them or not, before it's too late, and the choice is made even harder by the fact that one of the psychics is his best friend.

Star Trek has been lauded for its frequent uses of a science-fiction context as tools to deal with more contemporary issues, such as war, genetic manipulations or racism. One of the most significant examples can be found here, with the story taking on religious connotations in the last section. This is not uncommon in the genre, which often relied on ancient myths and legends, which were updated in the futuristic setting. In fact, it's hard to watch Where No Man Has Gone Before and not think of Bellerophon, the man who got so blinded by his power he believed he was to be treated like a god, and was severely punished for his behavior. Of course, the friendship element means there's much more at stake, the script giving Shatner many opportunities to prove he isn't just a charismatic lead with peculiar speech patterns.

Where No Man Has Gone Before isn't just a title, it's a statement. Gene Roddenberry wanted to do something new, something unprecedented, something that people would remember for years after it stopped airing. Boy, did he succeed.

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13 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

"Star Trek" at Its Best!

Author: doctorwholittle from USA
19 January 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A lot of people rank "The City on the Edge of Forever" as their favourite "Star Trek" episode. While this is certainly a deserving episode (despite everything that was excised from author Harlan Ellison's original script), for my money, the distillation of Trek is the 2nd pilot episode, "Where No Man Has Gone Before".

At no other time in the series do you see these characters, who became beloved sci-fi icons in just three short years, as raw & stripped down as in this episode. Yet it's not a traditional pilot by today's standards; there are no painful, mind-numbing "origin" scenes, no backstory explained, or need for either. It's as though the viewer has just signed aboard the Enterprise & is experiencing things from a cadet's perspective.

Although the obvious friendship between Bill Shatner's somewhat fastidious "Captain James 'R' Kirk" (a gaffe that has haunted Trek writers for decades!) & Gary Lockwood's rather libidinous helmsman & longtime friend from Starfleet Academy, "Gary Mitchell", is what fuels this episode, it's the insight we're given into these characters that we would come to know so well that makes this the most fascinating of the show's original 79-episode run. Jim Kirk is obviously beleaguered by the fact that his dear friend is, through no fault of his own, mutating into Homo-Superior & dangerously toying with the ship & its crew. Mr Spock, ever the logical one, is so coldly logical in this outing that one has to wonder how Kirk ever warmed up to him. The anguish that Kirk feels when the realisation finally sinks in that he may have no other choice but to kill his old friend was only ever equalled -- & just barely at that -- by Shatner's performance in the aforementioned episode, "City on the Edge of Forever", when he must let his love, Edith Keeler, die right in front of him in order to put the Universe back to rights.

Even the "throwaway" moments -- Lt Sulu as the ship's astrophysicist instead of helmsman, Dr Piper in lieu of Leonard "Bones" McCoy, future "Room 222" star Lloyd Haynes as the ship's communications officer, the warm knowing smile that Shatner gives to Jimmy Doohan's "Scotty" when told "engineering, ready as always!" -- give this episode a feeling of being well-worn. The crew know one another & work well together. The newbie on board, "Dr Elizabeth Dehner", played by the devastating beauty Sally Kellerman, shines through as she fights to have her new position validated by a crew that is already familiar & well-oiled.

While Trek provided many entertaining moments, few have come close to this seminal version. The series' first pilot (initially rejected by NBC brass), "The Cage" tried a bit too hard to make you feel that this crew had a history. Original cast members Shatner, Nimoy, Doohan, & Takei give as excellent a performance in this pilot as they did in the rest of the series, & the "ancillary" Lockwood, Kellerman, Haynes, Pauls Carr & Fixx only enhance the mood.

If you're looking to discover what Trek is all about, go no further than "Where No Man Has Gone Before".

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14 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Chunky Roll-Necks Ahoy!!

Author: Marcus Eden-Ellis from United Kingdom
28 January 2006

I am re-visiting the first season of the original series a long time after my first viewings. I watched Man Trap and then Charlie X and everything was bumping along nicely. I was enjoying the gradual build of characters and sets... and then I watched this episode.

I found >Where No Man Has Gone Before> far more fascinating from a historical ST developmental point of view, than I did for the story. In essence the story is workmanlike and solidly performed and does pick up some pace toward the end. But what keeps your eyes on the screen is the first incarnation of Spock, those chunky roll-neck sweaters that pass as uniforms and the marvellously wooden acting of some of the supporting players. (Check out the early scene where the Heads of Section arrive on the bridge - they come on in tight formation and remain that way for the next ten minutes...)..

This is an essential episode for any true admirer of the ST universe - this is where it really kicked off!

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12 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

One of the Best Star Trek Episodes and Outstanding Science Fiction

Author: classicalsteve from Oakland, CA
23 August 2007

Some writers have often made a distinction between "Sci-Fi" and "Science Fiction". "Sci-Fi" is sometimes relegated to the more escapist aspects of the genre, such as "Buck Rogers", "Flash Gordon", and "The Matrix". Sure, good space fun, but Sci-Fi is not particularly interested in deep thematic storytelling as it is with pure entertainment via action and plot. "Science Fiction" on the other hand has an aspect of deeper and more complex thematic development. Masterpieces such as "Dune", "A Canticle for Liebowitz", "The Left-Hand of Darkness" or the "Hyperion" books by Dan Simmons demonstrate the cutting-edge literary potential of Science Fiction. "Where No Man Has Gone Before", the first Star Trek episode that became the jumping-off point for the rest of the original series run, is a monumental television episode that easily fits into the latter definition of "Science Fiction".

The original Star Trek pilot, "The Cage", which was rejected by the networks, certainly has its moments (and achieved a resurrection in the superb episode "The Menagerie"). However, "Where No Man Has Gone Before" is a much more tightly written story, and the episode that green-lighted the series. Briefly, the story surrounds a star ship captain, James Kirk, who must make a terrible choice as one of his favorite crewmen, Gary Mitchell, experiences a strange transformation and begins to attain god-like abilities resulting from the ship having entered a strange energy field. Should the captain let him live or destroy him?

The thematic writing of this episode is what makes the story a notch above other sci-fi offerings. What Captain Kirk must face in this episode is not black and white but a moral dilemma tinged with gray as we learn not only about Kirk and Mitchell's friendship but about their past. On one side of the argument is his first officer, Spock, who advises the execution of Mitchell. The other side is Dr Dehner, a young psychiatrist, who believes that Mitchell may not be evil. But Kirk is running out of time as his friend becomes stronger and stronger.

The result is a truly satisfying tale that does not rely on cheap stunts or obvious "good vs bad". Is there action? Yes there is. Is there suspense? Absolutely. And yet, there is something a little deeper than just a western set in space, although Rodenberry, the creator, modeled much of Star Trek after the old serial and TV Westerns. There is even a "gun fight". This is Science Fiction at its best in which the story tells us something about the human condition through a tale of hyper-reality. That I think is what Science Fiction and Star Trek are all about when they are at their best, and why there is a difference between Sci-Fi and Science Fiction. Both have their place but Science Fiction has the potential to transcend itself and its readers.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Introducing Kirk and Company!

Author: russem31 from United States
8 May 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

ST:TOS:02 - "Where No Man Has Gone Before" (Stardate: 1312.4) is the 2nd episode to go into production (if you count "The Cage" as episode 1, and this is the 2nd pilot - the one that was accepted) but the 3rd aired on TV. It is a fitting first for Captain Kirk and co. While "The Cage" is the first pilot of Star Trek, this episode introduces many of the characters we will come to love and know (Kirk, Scotty, Sulu, and a more logical/emotionless Spock than we saw in The Cage). Gary Lockwood (of 2001: A Space Odyssey fame) makes a great guest appearance as Kirk's longtime friend. The score by Alexander Courage is very fitting especially in the more terse moments because his music fits the action sequences quite well. This episode also shows William Shatner as the action-packed captain he will become known as. A very well done pilot - no wonder the NBC execs at the time decided to create a series based on this.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

good start for classic series

Author: HelloTexas11 from United States
12 February 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's apparent while watching 'Where No Man Has Gone Before' that we are seeing a work in progress. This second pilot, and first season episode, shows a Star Trek still evolving- uniforms a little different, Spock's make-up and manner still harsh compared to later installments, and more importantly, the chemistry and balance between the characters still being worked on. But they're getting there. Roddenberry doesn't try to tell such a complicated story as he did with 'The Cage;' this one is a more straightforward, meat-and-potatoes sci-fi tale. And in a way, it's fitting that the first real 'Trek' takes them to the edge of the galaxy and through the 'great barrier' which affects two crew-members in particular, enhancing their already above-average capacity for extra-sensory perception. There are some genuinely creepy moments as Lt. Cmdr. Gary Mitchell morphs into a kind of super being, a 'god', who eventually loses all touch with his basic humanity and who unwittingly demonstrates absolute power corrupting absolutely. Leonard Nimoy was probably confused at how exactly to play Spock ("Ah, one of your Earth emotions," he says, smiling.) Spock here is pretty cold-blooded and brutal, urging Kirk to kill Mitchell while he still can, something that would be almost unthinkable with the character in later episodes. Kirk though is fully realized, the same character he would be throughout the series' run. So a very good start for 'Star Trek' proper, with most of the pieces in place... it just needed a little fine-tuning.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A journey of the mind and its limitless power

Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
13 April 2013

I'm agreeing with the reviewer that this episode was what really launched the Star Trek series toward cult status. Gary Lockwood who had done his time in outer space with 2001, A Space Odyssey plays one of two Enterprise crew members who are changed when the ship passes through a magnetic storm in space. The other crew member is Sally Kellerman who is assigned to the Enterprise as a psychologist who is changed and is able to understand the nature of the changes as Lockwood can't.

Both have some latent Extra Sensory Perception powers and both are seeing that increasing exponentially. Lockwood is affected far more than Kellerman.

Lockwood is truly a frightening person, one of the most frightening of Star Trek villains. He's been given absolute powers that are growing day by day. The Krels from Forbidden Planet could have served as a warning to him, his monsters from the ID are taking over completely.

And as captain, William Shatner has to deal with this on the level of a threat to his ship and the whole galaxy and on the level of a friend of Lockwood's saddened to see the changes in him and the humanity that has been driven from his soul.

A truly thought provoking episode, one of the best from Star Trek prime.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Solid kickoff

Author: Mr-Fusion from United States
19 April 2016

Like any pilot of a beloved TV series, half the appeal is seeing the show in its nascent stages before all of the wrinkles are smoothed out. In the case of 'Where No Man Has Gone Before', a great deal is already in place: Kirk's in the chair, Sulu's on board, Spock has toned down his militaristic line delivery, but other cast members are still being arranged on the chess board, so to speak, and as familiar as everything is, it's still different.

But not all that different. The Enterprise is still charting the outer reaches of space, and Kirk ends up taking the problem head-on in a brawl on another planet. There's the spirited action that this series is known for; but it's also a pretty good science fiction story, involving god-like beings, psychic powers, and the mighty fists of Shatner to ensure that everything is mixed just right. And it makes it a point to show that these people are out there in the void, at the mercy of an operable starship.

'Where No Man' might not have the popping colors that we've come to expect on the Enterprise, but it's a great start nonetheless.


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