Responding to a distress signal, Kirk finds Captain Tracey of the U.S.S. Exeter violating the prime directive and interfering with a war between the Yangs and the Kohms to find the secret of their longevity.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Irene Kelly ...
Yang Scholar
Lloyd Kino ...
Ed McCready ...
Frank Atienza ...
Kohn Villager


As the Enterprise approaches planet Omega IV, they find another starship, the U.S.S. Exeter, in orbit. Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam aboard to find the ship abandoned but strewn with uniforms and crystals. The last log entry from the ship's surgeon tells them they have been infected with a deadly virus brought aboard from a returning landing party. Kirk's party beams down to the planet's surface and finds there is one Exeter survivor: Captain Ron Tracey. He has apparently ignored the Prime Directive and has taken sides in a local dispute supporting the Kohms against their arch-rivals, the Yangs. As McCoy tries to find a cure for the virus, Spock and Kirk try to make sense of the situation. They eventually realize there is an odd parallel with Earth's own history. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

1 March 1968 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This is the second of three times the Enterprise encounters another Constitution-class starship with the entire crew dead. The other two were in "The Doomsday Machine" and "The Tholian Web". See more »


Dr. Carter's shirt is a lightened olive color during his last log entry right before his death, but when Kirk looks down at his crystallized remains, the shirt is definitely a light blue. See more »


Yang Scholar: One of them lies.
Cloud William: But which one? If we should kill good, then evil would be among us.
See more »


Featured in William Shatner's Star Trek Memories (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

Racism... the Polar Opposite of Star Trek
31 January 2016 | by See all my reviews

I have to get this off my chest. I see so many idiots who like this episode purely because "it's a cool idea." They missed the entire basis of the dislike if they think the story, which is illogical and filled with plot holes by itself, is the basis for hatred against this episode. This is the only episode of Star Trek I've ever seen that suffers from this very serious problem that no Star Trek movie or show since this episode has ever repeated. And that's the blatant racism. In the context of this story, the audience is supposed to accept the racism as morally correct.

In this story, a planet has evolved similar to earth (with no explanation) so that the good guys, who are all white, are the enslaved Yankees, persecuted by the evil, and completely Chinese, communists. The white Yankees have all the American tropes, our historic documents and symbols of freedom. Then you have the immortal force of evil in the Chinese Communists, who are far more dangerous an advanced and kidnap yankees and lock them up for their own amusement.

This message contradicts a message in a previous episode known as "Errand Of Mercy" stating that the Cold War was stupid as it was purely based on fear with no origin in hostile intent from the other. This episode contradicts that beautiful statement through promoting the racist contortions we created in this time period. It promotes that foreigners are these evil and unnatural creatures, twisted as savages and against the American ideals and thus a threat which should be destroyed.

The worst part in all of this, is that it's the polar opposite of Star Trek. Star Trek represented the putting aside of differences, that no race was above another and that all peoples of all races should be equal, contradicting the supposedly "happy" ending of this episode where literally only the white Yankees are literally granted this, in the stupid twist ending. It promoted that no race was completely bad, even if its rulers promoted evil. It didn't paint such a blindly overall image of a race in a way like this.

This episode promoted casting out a specific race, throwing everything Star Trek stood for in one episode. It threw away the peace in overcoming differences and cast aside the equality in literally saying that only one specific race should have it. Gene Roddenberry must have been sick at the sight of this episode, probably helping to fuel his decision to leave the show after this season.

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