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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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Wu's father was born well before 1268. See more »


Tracey asks "How long would a man live if all disease were erased?" The problem is the immune system would breakdown without something to fight, just as muscles atrophy due to lack of use. See more »


Captain James T. Kirk: If my ancestors were forced out of the cities... into the deserts, the hills...
Mr. Spock: Yes. I see, Captain. They would've learned to wear skins, adopted stoic mannerisms, learned the bow and the lance.
Captain James T. Kirk: Living like the Indians, and finally even looking like the American Indian. American... Yangs - Yanks? Spock - Yankees!
Mr. Spock: Kohms... Communists? The parallel is almost too close, Captain.
See more »


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

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User Reviews

Tragically Misunderstood and Unfairly Criticized
12 June 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Sadly, this episode is very lowly rated by fans, and a recipient of much unfair criticism. This is undoubtedly due to a misunderstanding regarding the origin and premise of the story.

This story was one of the two dozen or so, that Roddenberry presented to the networks, when initially pitching to them the idea of "Star Trek." At this early stage, it had not been established just how far into the future the series would supposedly take place. Some of his story ideas were set in a future only a few decades from the present, while others were set centuries, or a thousand years, into the future. This story was envisioned as being set *many* centuries into the future. The people on Omega IV were the descendants of two Earth colonies, one American, one Communist Chinese, which had left Earth centuries before, and had long since been forgotten and "written off."

This concept was even part of the original television episode, as evidenced by this bit of trivia:


Another McCoy-Spock debate was filmed for this episode, but edited. Just before the landing party left the Yangs' flag room, Kirk cut short an argument which seems to be about nothing. The reason McCoy and Spock were in an argument was cut from the episode. The dialog excised from the final print was as follows (taken from the final draft shooting script for the episode):

McCoy: Jim, the parallel's too close. They seem so completely Human. Is it possible that... ?

Kirk: The result of Earth's early space race?

Spock: Quite possible, Captain. They are aggressive enough to be Human.

McCoy: Now listen, Spock, you...


But instead, over the years, we have been presented with a plethora of ridiculous "parallel development" theories, and such. Sad.

If taking into account the original concept behind this episode, I easily rate it a 10 out of 10.

25 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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