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- "Come here, mum, everybody, come quick, come quick, there's a black lady on television and she ain't no maid!" The sheer audacity of Roddenberry and NBC in putting a black woman at back center stage — right behind the Captain's seat, where you couldn't miss her — is one of the most awesome moments in television history.
- It's what got Goldberg into acting, Trek, and a role in TNG.
- In his very first episode, Kirk manages to beat up a would-be god.
- Kirk's entire speech.
Kirk: This is the Captain of the Enterprise. Our respect for other life forms requires that we give you this... warning. One critical item of information that has never been incorporated into the memory banks of any Earth ship. Since the early years of space exploration, Earth vessels have had incorporated into them a substance known as... corbomite. It is a material and a device which prevents attack on us. If any destructive energy touches our vessel, a reverse reaction of equal strength is created, destroying—
Balok: [on intercom] You now have two minutes.
Kirk: —destroying the attacker. It may interest you to know that since the initial use of corbomite more than two of our centuries ago, no attacking vessel has survived the attempt. Death has... little meaning to us. If it has none to you then attack us now. We grow annoyed at your foolishness.
- This line from Sulu pretty much sums up Spock's brilliance:
Sulu: Try to cross brains with Spock, he'll cut you to pieces every time.
- Kirk's battle of wits with the Romulan commander. For both captains.
- Also for the Romulans in general. The Romulan ship is smaller than the Enterprise and fusion-powered, meaning she should be a lot less powerful than the Federation ship... And yet, the Romulan Bird of Prey outguns the Enterprise, with the latter's only hope of surviving being hit is to be far away enough that the hit loses power. When you add that the Federation crew isn't too surprised by this, you start to understand exactly why it took the creation of the Federation to take them on, and over a century later, the Federation is still scared of them.
- Spock's flat assessment of the titular character, who has spent much of the episode having "fun" with the powerless crew. Bonus points for Kirk's quirking a smile at the end - it's the first time anybody managed to upset the bastard.
"I object to you. I object to intellect without discipline. I object to power without constructive purpose."
- Spock decided to cut loose a little and actually punched out a guard.
- Dr. McCoy when Khan suddenly grabs him and holds a scalpel to his throat:
McCoy: Well, either choke me or cut my throat. Make up your mind.Khan: English. I thought I dreamed hearing it. Where am I?Khan: Answer my question.Khan: I like a brave man. [lowers the scalpel]
- The Kirk/Khan fight is pretty awesome, including the part where Kirk finally defeats Khan by hitting him with a plastic toy hammer.
- From the same episode, it's a brief see-it-or-miss-it moment, when Scotty punches out one of Khan's superhuman minions in one blow. And then had enough smarts and speed to escape from the knock-out gas entering into the room.
- Khan has taken over the Enterprise, with Kirk held inside a decompression chamber, slowly getting deprived of oxygen. Khan demands that the crew bow down before him, but the crew firmly refuses, leading Khan to shout "IT'S SO USELESS!"
- Spock is under the influence of a Lotus-Eater Machine, and Kirk has to get him mad enough to shake off its effects—not easy with a Vulcan. Once he's done insulting him, his race, and his girlfriend, and Spock's finally had enough, he throws Kirk around like a rag doll, even bending the metal bar Kirk tries to use to keep him at bay. He's about to remove Kirk's head when he finally comes to his senses. A hilarious moment for Kirk when he's trying to provoke him, and a rare look at what a Vulcan who's finally had enough is capable of.
Kirk: It isn't every first officer who gets to belt his captain ... several times.
- McCoy's response on being told the colony doesn't need a doctor, also a CMoF:
"Oh no? You like to see just how fast I can put you in a hospital?"
- On a professional aspect, Dr. McCoy saves an entire species by successfully treating a severely wounded Horta, a silicon-based lifeform—something he is not only completely unfamiliar with, but didn't believe was possible in the first place until that very day.
McCoy: By golly, Jim—I'm beginning to think I can cure a rainy day!
- A mix of Moment of Awesome and Funny Moments: Kirk and Spock have snuck out of their holding room, and see across the hall a group of armed guards escorting people to the termination booths. Spock casually walks up to one of them, says, "Sir, there is a multi-legged creature crawling on your shoulder," gives him a Vulcan nerve pinch, snatches his gun, and calmly walks away while the other guards just stare.
- Scotty standing up to an all-too-trusting ambassador:
Ambassador Fox: Diplomacy, gentlemen, should be a job left to diplomats. You will, of course, immediately resume a peaceful status.Scotty: No, sir—I will not!Fox: What did you say?Scotty: I'll not lower the screens; not until the captain tells me to.Fox: You are taking orders from me.McCoy: Mr. Fox! They've faked a message from the captain, they've opened fire on us, now you expect us to trust them openly?Fox: I want and expect you to comply with my lawful orders!Scotty: I understand, sir; but I'll not lower the screens.Fox: Your refusal has jeopardized the success of this mission! I could have you sent to a penal colony for this; my authority—Scotty: I know all about your authority, but the screens stay up!
- This was supposedly based on a real-life experience James Doohan encountered in the Canadian armed services, according to a documentary included in the first season collection, and the Star Trek wiki:
As a lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Artillery, James Doohan was threatened with court martial for real for saying "No sir, I will not," to a visiting colonel when he realized a training exercise order would entail blowing the heads off some of his own men. Fortunately, his immediate superiors backed him up and, like his fictional character, he was eventually promoted to captain.
- This was supposedly based on a real-life experience James Doohan encountered in the Canadian armed services, according to a documentary included in the first season collection, and the Star Trek wiki:
- Later in that same episode, Ambassador Fox gets one when he decides to get dangerous and become Ambadassador Fox.
- Part of the solution to the crisis involves setting things up so that unless Kirk countermands his order, the Enterprise will destroy all life on the planet in two hours. The true awesome comes when you realize that it is not a bluff—the question is whether the Enterprise crew will do it, not if the Enterprise can do it.
- In a meta moment of awesome, this is generally considered the best episode of the entire Original Series.
- Spock trying to convince T'Pau to release Kirk from participating in the Kal-i-fee. Spock, who has been beaten up over his human half for his whole life, gives his people more fuel and even takes a few shots from T'Pau, the woman Kirk described as "all of Vulcan wrapped up in one package." While Spock is never in any physical danger in this scene, it may be the bravest thing he ever does in the entire series.
- It's more than that; before Kirk gets enrolled in all this, Spock was deep in Vulcan "blood fever," of which T'Pau herself said "He will not speak again until this is over." Despite this, he manages it nonetheless, and the determination is only enhanced by the faint-yet-audible disbelief in T'Pau's "Thee speaks?"
- Likewise, after "praising" T'Pring for the coldly logical way that she manipulated events to her favor, there are his parting words to T'Pring and Stonn.
Spock: After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.
- McCoy pulls off a last-minute Indy Ploy out of nowhere to keep Spock from killing Kirk, and bluffs the hell out of everyone there, including Kirk and T'Pau, in order to pull it off. And gets in a dig at Spock at the end for good measure. Beautiful.
- T'Pring herself should get a mention for the scheme she pulled off. To recap: the original plan was for Stonn, her lover, to fight Spock. Easy enough. And then Spock beams down with Kirk and McCoy, and she changes her plan on the fly in a perfectly executed Xanatos Gambit.
T'Pring: If your Captain were victor, he would not want me, and so I would have Stonn. If you were victor, you would free me because I had dared to challenge, and again I would have Stonn. But if you did not free me, it would be the same. For you would be gone, and I would have your name and your property, and Stonn would still be there.
- Kirk uses a Logic Bomb on the "perfect" Nomad probe, revealing that it is actually faulty and thus, by its own logic, must destroy itself. Spock compliments him afterward. When a Vulcan compliments you on your logic, you done good.
Kirk: You must sterilize in case of error?Nomad: Error is inconsistent with my prime functions. Sterilization is correction.Kirk: Everything that is in error must be sterilized?Nomad: There are no exceptions.Kirk: Nomad, I made an error in creating you.Nomad: The creation of perfection is no error.Kirk: I did not create perfection. I created... error.Nomad: Your data is faulty. I am Nomad. I am perfect.Kirk: I am the Kirk, the creator?Nomad: You are the Creator.Kirk: You are wrong! Jackson Roykirk, your creator, is dead. You have mistaken me for him. You are in error. You did not discover your mistake. You have made two errors. You are flawed and imperfect and you have not corrected by sterilization. You have made three errors!Nomad: [in high-pitched voice] ...Error. Error. Error. Examine.Kirk: You are flawed, and imperfect! Execute your prime function!Nomad: [high-pitched, shaking, circuits audibly frying] I shall analyze error... analyze...
- Spock, or specifically the bearded version in "Mirror, Mirror," when he warns his version of Sulu that if he is killed, he has associates who would avenge him, capped off by appending "...and some of them are Vulcans." Sulu's "Eep!" look at this statement and the accompanying music sting is all you need to convey the fact you do not mess with this Spock!
- Regular Spock has his moment too. Namely, while Kirk and his crew worry at what trouble their barbaric counterparts are causing in their dimension, the next scene shows they should have more faith in Mr. Spock, as he has instantly figured out what is going on and has the barbarians hauled to the brig.
- Uhura intimidates the mirror Sulu into backing down with nothing but a cool voice, a steely stare, and a dagger the size of her hand.
- The final five minutes. A dramatic countdown as Kirk pilots the USS Constellation on a suicide run—but the transporter shuts down before he can beam off, effectively trapping him on the doomed ship, while Scotty races to fix the transporter. One of Trek's all time biggest Moments of Awesome.
- Not to mention the Crowning Music of Awesome pounding away in the background...
- When Kirk finds out the mentally unstable Decker had taken control of his ship and is expecting Kirk to follow his orders as well, he refuses and tells Spock to relieve Decker of command, on his personal authority as captain of the Enterprise. Also one for Spock, who proceeds to do so with the threat of being hauled off by security if Decker doesn't go quietly. Decker claims he's bluffing; Spock simply responds, "Vulcans never bluff." That simple matter of fact statement from that Vulcan is all that is needed to remind Decker that he playing against an officer who cannot be intimidated when he has set his mind to a task, and stands down.
- Uhura gave a very convincing performance to the androids, pretending to sabotage the Enterprise crew's attempt to sabotage the androids.
- The crew's brilliantly executed Logic Bomb crosses this with Crowning Moment of Funny.
- Bones manages to perform open-heart surgery on Sarek, when he's never even operated on a Vulcan before. Not only that, but he keeps both Sarek and Spock alive, when Spock is participating in the surgery by donating his blood while using an experimental drug. Not only that, but for a significant part of the surgery, the Enterprise was under attack, losing power, and shaking violently. Bones proves that he's one hell of a Doctor.
- When Kirk pulls the Corbomite bluff again to escape a Romulan attack, minutes after having recovered from Rapid Aging-onset senility. The Romulans' hasty retreat combines this with Crowning Moment of Funny.
- One of the nerdiest solutions to a catastrophe ever. The non-corporeal demon Redjac gets into the ship's computer system, and seemingly has total control of the ship. What do Kirk and Spock come up with? Ask the computer, under high priority, to calculate to the last digit the value of pi.
Kirk: That should keep that thing busy for a while.
- Scotty gets another one when he decks a Klingon who calls the Enterprise a garbage scow in "The Trouble with Tribbles", after he stopped Chekhov from attacking them for insulting Captain Kirk.
Kirk: You hit the Klingons because they insulted the Enterprise, not because they...Scotty: Well, sir, this was a matter of pride!
- Cyrano also deserves mention for his Moment of Awesome in this same scene. He watches the brawl while gleefully consuming multiple glasses of wine (free of charge, thanks to the bartender's absence). He then fairly waltzes across the room, carefully avoiding all the humans and Klingons being thrown around, then stands at the door and raises his wine glass, preparing to drink it. The bartender returns at that moment with security and swiftly snatches the glass from his hand without even breaking stride. Cyrano, undaunted, pulls another wine glass out of his pocket and drinks it with a self-satisfied smirk. Pure. Win.
- Even better, despite being weaker in physical strength, and despite a moment where Chekov's Klingon No Sells his punches, the fight the Enterprise crew give the Klingons is pretty much equally-matched throughout.
- This exchange, which sums up what Star Trek is all about and why Kirk is still, in the minds of many, the best of all the Star Trek captains.
Kirk: Bones? You could stop all this by saying no. That's why I called you all here together. We'll all be deeply involved. It must be unanimous.McCoy: Then I'll still want one question answered to my satisfaction. Why? Not a list of possible miracles, but a simple basic understanding of why that overrides all danger! And let's not kid ourselves that there is no potential danger in this.Kirk: They used to say if man could fly, he'd have wings. But he did fly. He discovered he had to. Do you wish that the first Apollo mission hadn't reached the moon, or that we hadn't gone on to Mars and then to the nearest star? That's like saying you wish that you still operated with scalpels and sewed your patients up with catgut, like your great-great-great-great-grandfather used to. I'm in command. I could order this. But I'm not. Because Doctor McCoy is right... in pointing out the enormous danger potential in any contact with life and intelligence as fantastically advanced as this. But I must point out that the possibilities, the potential for knowledge and advancement, is equally great! Risk... risk is our business! That's what the starship is all about. That's why we're aboard her! You may dissent without prejudice. Do I hear a negative vote?
- The crew realize that an easy way to disorient the Kelvans (and thus, disarm them) is to get them in touch with human emotions and sensations. Smart plan, but the moment of Awesome goes to Scotty, who takes the plan a step further by offering some liquor to the Kelvans. He then proceeds to drink one of them under the table. Also a Crowning Moment of Funny.
Scotty: [to his empty scotch bottle] We did it, you n' me! [mwah!]
The Enterprise IncidentOther
- The Reveal halfway through the episode that Kirk's reckless, embittered behavior throughout the episode, as well as Spock's seeming betrayal, was all a big scheme to steal a part from a Romulan ship. The episode thus becomes an Awesome moment for Kirk and Spock. Bonus: we get the rare sight of Spock mackin' on the Girl of the Week.
- Spock, when the gang is trapped in a surreal Death Trap nightmare of no escape. When Spock reveals he figured a way out, the atmosphere instantly changes to hope as you hang onto every word Spock says, as he explains the truth of the situation and the solution. Which, of course, works perfectly in suddenly making the landing party the ones with the real edge in that nightmare.
- Spock's solution leads to the pure, grade-A Badass image of Spock, Kirk, Bones and Scotty standing up to a crew of gunfighters, and responding to direct hits with completely deadpan expressions. For just that moment, the crew of the Enterprise were the biggest BAMFs in the galaxy.
- Kirk and Uhura have the first interracial kiss; mainly because, in that same episode, Kirk acts like a horse so a midget can ride him. And later, the same midget is being telekinetically controlled by some aliens to attack Kirk with a knife. And Kirk responds in kind.
- The behind the scenes story is pretty great too. The network was skittish about the kiss, and asked that they shoot a few takes where Kirk and Uhura stop before they actually kiss. William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols responded by deliberately screwing up every single take the director tried to do of them not kissing, forcing the editors to use a take where they did.
- In fact, if you read their respective autobiographies, it becomes pretty clear that the events of the Kiss Scene are the only thing the two see eye-to-eye on. Nichols and Shatner really don't get along.
- Kirk psyching out Bele like a boss, by initiating the Enterprise's Self-Destruct Mechanism.
- When Dr. Janice Lester, an ex-lover of Kirk's, is in his body and acting as captain and trying to sentence both Kirk (who's in her body) and Spock (who found out about the switch) to death, Scotty and McCoy privately have a conversation about what to do, as they suspect something but have no proof to directly prove it.
Scotty: Suppose you voted with me in favor of Spock. That's two to one and Spock is free. What do you think the Captain will do?McCoy: I don't know.Scotty: You know, all right. It'll stick in his craw. He'll never accept it.McCoy: We don't know that.Scotty: I tell you, he won't. Then, Doctor, that's the time we move against him. We'll have to take over the ship.McCoy: We're talking about a mutiny, Scotty.Scotty: Aye. Are you ready for the vote?McCoy: I'm ready for the vote.
- Janice Lester gets one (more like a Crowning Moment Of Evil) for recording the whole conversation above and effectively using it to sentence Scotty and McCoy to death for trying to mutiny against her, the "captain."
- Chekov and Sulu defying Lester's orders toward the end of the episode. At this point, she has already locked up Kirk, Spock, Scotty, and McCoy, and planned to have them executed as mutineers. It would be small beans for her to add their names to the list. But that doesn't matter. These two are not assisting this Ax-Crazy body-swapper in succeeding with her plans.
- A meta case; William Shatner deserves a mention for acting as Janice Lester in this episode, being crazy that she was, and throwing a particularly nasty fit once the crew all refused to obey her orders, exposing her as the scheming, insane shell of a woman that she once was.
- Also Sandra Smith deserves a mention for doing a fine job of playing a weakened, though still determined and composed Kirk during his time in Lester's body.
- And Leonard Nimoy gets one for exposing Roddenberry's motives. He verified that Roddenberry did want to establish Starfleet as forbidding women captains, and that his goal was to show that a woman in command "would blow it." Because women are all crazy and hormonal.
- From the comics, a cross between Crowning Moment of Awesome and CMOF: Army. Of. TRIBBLES.
- A Real Life example, told in Star Trek Memories: Nichelle Nichols had come to work in spite of being in a car wreck on the way there, and fainted on set when the anesthetic took effect. William Shatner pulled his rank as star of the show to take her home before he resumed shooting.