Star Trek (1966–1969)
26 user 5 critic
Trapped in an alien laboratory, Kirk, Spock and McCoy meet an empath and are involved in a series of experiments.


John Erman


Gene Roddenberry (created by), Joyce Muskat

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Episode complete credited cast:
William Shatner ... Capt. Kirk
Leonard Nimoy ... Mr. Spock
DeForest Kelley ... Dr. McCoy
Kathryn Hays Kathryn Hays ... Gem
Alan Bergmann Alan Bergmann ... Lal
James Doohan ... Scott
George Takei ... Sulu
Davis Roberts ... Dr. Ozaba
Jason Wingreen ... Dr. Linke
Willard Sage ... Thann


Kirk, Spock and McCoy suddenly find themselves in an underground laboratory where they meet an attractive young woman who is not only mute but also an empath who can absorb someone else's pain. When their captors make themselves known, they refuse to explain why the three men have been taken prisoner or why they and the young woman, whom McCoy has named Gem, are there. Inexplicably, they set about torturing them for no apparent reason. Fortunately, Gem's empathic powers allow her to take away their pain, but only at great sacrifice to herself. When their captors tell Kirk that he must choose which of his men to die, their selflessness comes to the fore, leaving Dr. McCoy volunteering himself. They all soon learn that the object of the experiment is Gem herself. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

6 December 1968 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Sound effects of the Vians' laboratory were previously used in the android Norman's lab in "I, Mudd". See more »


When Kirk is being tortured, the wide shot from behind shows his arms outstretched almost sideways in the manacles, but when the shot changes to the front, his arms are bent at the elbow, and his wrists extend upward out of the frame. See more »


Captain James T. Kirk: If my death is to have any meaning, at least tell me what I'm dying for.
Thann: If you live, you will have your answer.
See more »


Referenced in Star Trek: The Counter-Clock Incident (1974) See more »

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User Reviews

The Message is the Thing
7 May 2014 | by HitchcocSee all my reviews

Yes, it has shortcomings. It is done on the cheap. It is also an intriguing, interesting episode with a message we need to learn from. It has a marvelous performance from the young woman playing Gem. She has one of the most expressive faces I have ever encountered. Granted, it is difficult to watch. The scenes of torture are really quite unnerving. The beings that are testing the young empath are cruel and have lost their right to make judgments. Nevertheless, to react with such rage about this episode. Unless it is some throwaway summer B horror movie to throw a one rating at it is like spitting on someone's birthday cake. Let's consider what else was on in those days, the vapid sitcoms and crummy cop shows. At least let's consider the effort to confront philosophical issues and stretch our minds a bit.

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