Star Trek: Season 1, Episode 5

The Enemy Within (6 Oct. 1966)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 1,099 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 8 critic

A transporter malfunction splits Captain Kirk into two halves: one meek and indecisive, the other violent and ill tempered. The remaining crew members stranded on the planet cannot be beamed up to the ship until a the problem is fixed.

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Title: The Enemy Within (06 Oct 1966)

The Enemy Within (06 Oct 1966) on IMDb 7.8/10

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Ed Madden ...
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Garland Thompson ...
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Storyline

While beaming back aboard the Enterprise, a transporter malfunction results in two vastly different Captain Kirks being beamed aboard. His personality has in effect been split into two. One Captain Kirk is weak and indecisive, fearful of making any kind of decision; the other is a mean-spirited and violent man who likes to swill brandy and force himself on female crew members. Meanwhile, as Scotty struggles to repair the transporter, the landing party is stuck on the planet below with temperatures falling rapidly. Written by garykmcd

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6 October 1966 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

The subplot of Sulu and three crewmembers stranded on the freezing planet was not in Richard Matheson's original script but was added by staff writers. Matheson did not like that this was done. See more »

Goofs

After the dog-like creature dies, Dr. McCoy orders an autopsy on the animal; the term he should have used is "necropsy", which is used to describe post-mortem examinations on animals. See more »

Quotes

Captain James T. Kirk: The impostor's back where he belongs. Let's forget him.
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User Reviews

 
Kirk vs. Kirk
30 March 2009 | by (Italy) – See all my reviews

The Enemy Within is one of the finest episodes of Star Trek's first season, and its central idea has gone on to inspire similar scenarios in other genre shows, most notably Buffy The Vampire Slayer (see episode The Replacement in Season 4). It deals with a classic theme of horror and sci-fi literature, the double, and gives William Shatner the chance to have lots of fun with his role(s).

Sticking with formula, the episode starts with a patrol exploring a new planet. Unfortunately, when it's time to beam them back up on the Enterprise, the transport system starts malfunctioning, which results in Captain Kirk being literally split in two: one half is calm and rational, the other determined and impulsive. This triggers a race against the clock, since neither Kirk can survive without the other part, but also because if the transport device isn't fixed in time, Mr. Sulu and the other crew men left on the planet will freeze to death.

Having a double of a well known character is always interesting, whether it's an impostor, a robot or something different altogether. In this case, what really makes the story interesting is the fact that the "replacement" Kirk isn't a villain in the proper sense of the word: he's just a specific part of the captain's personality, with no rational components to keep the more violent sides of his nature under control. As such, The Enemy Within is a peculiar spin on the traditional Jekyll/Hyde "myth", made possible by the infinite possibilities of science-fiction storytelling.

More important, though, is what the episode allows in terms of performance: just like Naked Time gave some cast members the opportunity to fool around, this time Shatner has the unique privilege of being able to take Kirk (well, part of him, actually) to some darker places, expanding on the previous episode's idea of the character being torn between duty and private desires. It adds lots of tension, but it's also a very funny double portrayal, and one of the key ingredients of Trek's long-lasting success.


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