Star Trek (1966–1969)
21 user 5 critic

The Tholian Web 

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With Capt. Kirk and the derelict USS Defiant apparently lost, the Enterprise grapples with an insanity causing plague and an attack by the Tholians.


Herb Wallerstein


Gene Roddenberry (created by), Judy Burns | 2 more credits »





Episode complete credited cast:
William Shatner ... Capt. Kirk
Leonard Nimoy ... Mr. Spock
DeForest Kelley ... Dr. McCoy
James Doohan ... Scott
George Takei ... Sulu
Walter Koenig ... Chekov
Nichelle Nichols ... Uhura
Majel Barrett ... Nurse Chapel
Sean Morgan Sean Morgan ... Lt. O'Neil


Kirk and the derelict starship Defiant vanish into a spatial interphase between universes. To rescue him, Spock must maintain position despite a growing, violent hysteria aboard the Enterprise, like that which destroyed the Defiant's crew, as well as a force field being laid around the Enterprise by Tholian patrol ships. Written by Tom D.

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TV-PG | See all certifications »


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Release Date:

15 November 1968 (USA) See more »

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Did You Know?


This is the third time that the Enterprise has encountered another Constitution-class star ship with the entire crew dead. The others were in "The Doomsday Machine" and Star Trek: The Omega Glory (1968). By the end of "The Ultimate Computer" a fourth Constitution class, the Excalibur, is also lifeless. See more »


When Chekov and McCoy return to the Defiant's bridge, via the turbo lift, the turbo lift doors open with a distinct "clunk". However when the turbo lift doors close, they close with the usual "swoosh" sound effect. See more »


Dr. McCoy: [about Kirk] He was a hero in every sense of the word, yet his life was sacrificed for nothing. The one thing that would have given his death meaning is the safety of the Enterprise. Now you've made that impossible, Mr. Spock.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Special Enhanced version Digitally Remastered with new exterior shots and remade opening theme song See more »


Referenced in Mind Meld: Secrets Behind the Voyage of a Lifetime (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

Tholians, Derelict Ship, Madness, Space/Time Ripping Apart, Kirk Missing
13 January 2017 | by Rainey-DawnSee all my reviews

Season 3, episode 9. The Enterprise in previously uninvestigated territory run across the USS Defiant, a ship that is considered derelict and it vanished 3 weeks prior. Space is essentially breaking up, according to Spock's readings and logic. Sensors do not pick up the Defiant but they see it on their viewing screen, and their is no response from the ship when hailed. Kirk, Spock, Chekhov and McCoy board the Defiant wearing protective gear - they find 2 crew members dead, one seemingly about to chock the other when they died... looking like maybe a mutiny was about to occur. McCoy examines them and finds the Defiant's captain's neck broken. Kirk calls for some security because they fear that mutineers are aboard the ship and have all area of the Defiant searched... then he cancels the the security crew orders to Mr. Scott. All are dead on the Defiant when the ship is searched. While searching the area Chekov is overcome by something, almost fainting. Bones reported that all appeared to have killed each other on the Defiant. Then McCoy reports that the ship is dissolving, his hand just went though a solid object. The Enterprise can see the Defiant dissolving and is happening to the Enterprise as well. Only 3 can be beamed back aboard the Enterprise, Kirk decides to beam back last and he his disappeared along with the Defiant before Scotty can get him back to the ship. All contact with Kirk has been lost, with Spock in command of the Enterprise they must find away to get Kirk back before the Enterprise and crew disappears as well. Another problem: they must do this before all crew members go mad and kill each other or they will have the same fate as the Defiant. Time/Space fabric is ripping apart at that part of the Universe so it's a race against time - and space. The Tholians have taken over at area of space and will tolerate deceit - they are also punctual as Spock pointed out.

This is an episode that I recall rarely being shown on TV in the 80s when I was watching Star Trek fairly regularly. Having acquired all the Star Trek episodes recently, I am very pleased to see this one again. The Tholians are indeed a good foe and they are up against the always logical Mr. Spock acting as captain of an excellent starship crew. A very exciting episode.


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