Dr. McCoy discovers his old flame is not what she seems after crew members begin dying from a sudden lack of salt in their bodies.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Bruce Watson ...
Michael Zaslow ...
Vince Howard ...
Francine Pyne ...
Nancy III


In the series premiere, the Enterprise visits planet M-113 where scientists Dr. Crater and his wife Nancy, an old girlfriend of Dr. McCoy, are studying the remains of an ancient civilization. When Enterprise crewmen begin turning up dead under mysterious circumstances, Kirk and Spock must unravel the clues to discover how, why, and who is responsible. Written by JW Kearse

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Release Date:

8 September 1966 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This is a very rare episode that reveals something from Dr. McCoy's past, namely his former love Nancy. Most other episodes keep his past a secret. See more »


When Kirk jumps out from behind the rock after stunning Crater with his phaser, the large "stone masonry" structure next to him wobbles when he nudges it, revealing it's fake. However, the rock on planet M-113 may be volcanic rock or rock such as pumice which is lightweight and the stone masonry made of such, and thus, movable. See more »


[first lines]
Captain James T. Kirk: Captain's log, stardate 1513.1. Our position, orbiting planet M-113. On board the Enterprise, Mr. Spock, temporarily in command. On the planet, the ruins of an ancient and long-dead civilization. Ship's surgeon McCoy and myself are now beaming down to the planet's surface. Our mission: routine medical examination of archeologist Robert Crater and his wife Nancy. Routine but for the fact that Nancy Crater is that one woman in Dr. McCoy's past.
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Spoofed in Red Dwarf: Camille (1991) See more »


Theme From Star Trek
Written by Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

Dr. McCoy's old Girlfriend is a Salt-Sucking Monster
17 June 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The very first episode of the original Trek series to air, though this was the 6th one filmed. The execs wanted to start things with a 'monster-of-the-week' mentality, but though the creature in this one is responsible for a number of crew deaths, it's more to be pitied than reviled by the end of the episode. It possesses startling chameleon powers, coupled with hypnotism & telepathic ability, enabling it to fool all the cast members during the story as it imitates several of them. Unfortunately, it craves salt, which it needs to survive, and human bodies fill the need very well. This is an example of sheer incompatibility between two races, which an angry Captain Kirk instinctively realizes in the 3rd act - he knows it's either his crew or the creature - there can be no half measures. We learn how intensely Kirk feels when he loses a crewman - check out the first killing here - and he has to go thru it a few more times in this episode.

The Enterprise is on a routine check-up of 2 archaeologists on a planet with the ruins of an extinct civilization - but not all the inhabitants are extinct, as it turns out; there's one left. The storyline contains mystery and a chilling revelation. But, much of this episode emphasizes the routine: we never find out anything more about the dead civilization - it's probably one of many the Federation finds and explores; ship's and crew's routines are viewed during the creature's stalking, notably Yeoman Rand and Sulu; there's a casual banter between Kirk & McCoy which we all came to appreciate and look forward to in the next 3 years. Overall, this episode shows that future life, while with obvious differences in technology, will be largely the same for us humans. If there's a theme in this episode, it has to do with the inevitable extinction of a species, such as the American Buffalo, as if it's a rule of the universe. We can express sorrow for such a loss as part of the human equation, but, in the end, there's nothing we can do about it.

However, the reason this episode probably gained some loyal followers of the Trek franchise right of the bat was probably not the monster. No, it must have been that easy interplay among the crew, especially the central trio - yes, including Spock, who right away starts insisting in this episode how he's immune to emotion but obviously enjoys a friendship with Kirk (Uhura even spells this out). And the human equation is delineated in McCoy's story in this one: he's reunited with his old girlfriend, so he's charmingly nervous as all hell, but in quick order, finds out she's been dead and her imitator must be killed, even though she's the last of her kind. Not only is this a personal tragedy for him, but he's also responsible for sealing the coffin on an entire species. The anguished look on his face towards the end is what makes this a memorable entry in the Trek mythos.

25 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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