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 ...
Morgan Farley ...
Yang Scholar
David L. Ross ...
Lloyd Kino ...
Ed McCready ...
Frank Atienza ...
Kohm 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?


In the adaptation of this episode done for the ViewMaster (3-D) slides, the Yangs were renamed the Meraks. See more »


Early on, when Kirk is calling from the Exeter's engineering section to the rest of the ship, we see various shots of different parts of the ship. One of those shots is of an empty engineering deck, which makes no sense - that is where he is calling from. See more »


Captain Tracey: [about the Yangs] Animals, who happen to look like us. Still think the Prime Directive's for this planet?
Captain James T. Kirk: I don't think we've a right or the wisdom to interfere, however a planet is evolving.
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Featured in William Shatner's Star Trek Memories (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

I liked it.
27 March 2010 | by (The San Francisco Bay Area) – See all my reviews

Yeah, this episode's got some problems. No, strike that, it's got some serious plot holes, and Shatner's speechifying at the end is a double edged sword; it both helps salvage an iffy episode and at the same time drive another nail into a story that was half baked.

But, for all that, I happen to think it an okay installment. The starship captain gone rogue is something that would have reared its head sooner or later in the series, so why not here?

Yes, the whole Com (Kohm?) and Yang thing was trite. It feel very deus machina, but only in retrospect. By the time the planet's environment and history are fully surmised you're too invested to take any notice. Oh sure, you'll have the "what now?" moment, and maybe even a touch of "oh-come-on" if you're an unforgiving sci-fi fan, but, imagine you don't know the back-story for a moment. If the story had been set in a purely alien environment it would've have worked just as well, if not better by the mere fact that Trek wasn't recycling the parallel-Earth thing.

And that's kind of the heart of matter. Morgan Woodward is an excellent actor, and gives us a black shirted starfleet officer with gold braid. He's the heavy, and does a superb job. The fact that the production values had to fit within a certain budget isn't his fault, nor the fault of any of the cast. The story of an officer falling for temptation is not a unique one. Here the execution is a little wobbly, but otherwise it grabs and keeps your attention. Me, I don't find this episode to be too much of a mess. If the two warring factions in this episode had been Polka-dot aliens versus the striped aliens, would that have made this episode any better? I'm not sure it would have. It may have led some credibility to the science and fiction in this work of science-fiction, but, to me at least, it's a secondary consideration. We're here to see Kirk, Spock and McCoy bring Ron Tracy to justice. They're met with some obstacles, but it all works out. How does the setting alter this? Personally, I don't think it does (or at least not by much).

If I had a real complaint, it would be the fact that Woodward's character seemed to really fly off the handle. And I mean in a big way. He wasn't sinister so much as obsessed with riches and long life. I guess a starship pension wasn't good enough for him. Oh well.

Look, bash it if you like, because this episode deserves some of the criticisms leveled at it, but it is sci-fi show made in the 60s. I mean, Desilu studios HAD it's limitations.

Take it for what it's worth.


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