The war between the United Federation of Planets and the Klingons is coming to a head and it looks like the peaceful settlement on the planet Organia is stuck in the middle. Kirk puts Sulu in charge of the Enterprise
, reminding him that his duty will be to the ship, not to the landing party consisting of Kirk and Spock. The people of Organia are a peaceful, welcoming bunch, content with their medieval way of life. When Kirk informs them of the war encroaching on their planet, the Organians seem unconcerned. When the Klingons make their grand appearance and start occupying Organia, Kirk and Spock go undercover as traders, hoping to get the drop on the Klingons and drive them out. Much to Kirk's shock, the Organian council of elders betray them to the Klingons, only to rescue them from jail easily enough. Kirk is increasingly chagrined by the Organian's refusal to fight back against the tyrannies that the Klingons are imposing on them. As the moment of full blown war approaches, the Organians reveal the truth. They are actually Sufficiently Advanced Aliens
of pure energy who cannot be killed by conventional weapons. In fact, they use their mental abilities to neutralize not only all the weapons present, but the weapons on the ships orbiting the planet, and induce the Federation and the Klingons to sign a peace treaty. The Organians bid them farewell, expresses a wish that both races will learn not to be so violent and disappear.
Tropes for this episode include:
- Actual Pacifist: The Organians
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: The reason why the Organians don't always look like glowing balls of light.
- Foreshadowing: Ayelborne informs Kor and Kirk that one day in the distant future, their races will learn to get along. Kor looks disgusted. Kirk looks skeptical. Guess what happens many, many years later?
- Great Escape: Subverted. Ayelborne just opens the door and tells Kirk and Spock they can go. These things happen when you're a being of pure thought.
- Speaking of doors, notice on how this supposedly-backwards planet the doors open and close by themselves?
- Heel Realization: After the affair is concluded, Kirk admits to Spock that he found his own protesting of the Orgainians stopping the war rather embarrassing.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Count Baltar is a Klingon commander!
- Hey, It's That Voice!: One of the wolves who raised Mowgli is head of the Organian council!
- Humans Are Bastards: But Klingons are even worse.
- I Have Your First Officer The Klingons try to manipulate Kirk by threatening Spock, which greatly upsets the captain. Ho Yay abounds.
- Improvised Weapon: Kirk uses the simple rope belt on his costume to garrotte a Klingon to force him to give information.
- Not So Different: Invoked by Kor to try and persuade Kirk into turning traitor on the Federation, as he notes that the two of them have more in common with each other than with the "sheep-like" Organians. Kirk denies this, but the implication that Kor has a point is hardly subtle, especially when Kirk angrily declares his detestation of the seemingly spineless and sheep-like Organians, or when Kirk and Kor are both furiously berating the Organians for interfering in the war between their species'.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: The Organians do it without even trying very hard. Kirk tries to fake being dumb to pass for an Organian, but Kor sees through it right away. Spock's mental disciplines mean he can even trick a machine into thinking he has no idea what's going on.
- Playing with Fire: The Organians make all weapons, including the control panels on the Enterprise (and presumably the Klingon ships as well), too hot to handle. Even hand to hand combat causes burning pain.
- The Quisling: The Organians seem this way, at first.
- Stepford Smiler: The Organian Council of Elders.
- Strange Salute: Ayelborne greets Kirk and Spock by bowing and making fluttery circular motions with his hands. Kirk and Spock catch on quickly and return the greeting. In Kirk's case, rather sarcastically at times.
- Training the Peaceful Villagers: This is what Kirk and Spock attempt to do with the Orgainians to make them resist the Klingon occupation, only to find that they are firmly uninterested and for good reason.
- Understatement: Kirk points out Spock's talent for this.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The people who live like medieval peasants take no notice of the two strange men who have beamed down into their midst.
- Worthy Opponent: Kor expresses outright admiration for Kirk, and is deeply disappointed that they didn't get to meet on a battlefield.