goes back in time to visit the year 1968 to observe and report.(Wild Mass Guessing
: Possibly, the Eugenics Wars destroyed a lot of records. Amazingly, they discover a transporter beam signal, something that didn't exist in 20th Century Earth. They intercept and beam aboard a humanoid called Gary Seven and his black cat, Isis. Mr. Seven soon escapes, sending a few Redshirts
to la-la land. (No one dies in this ep. In fact,they all have blissful smiles on their faces as they're incapacitated.) As he beams down to Earth, Kirk and Spock follow to make sure he doesn't pollute the time stream since his excuse of being from a planet they never heard of and being there as an agent of protection seems far fetched.
Who is Gary Seven, and why is he so insistent on getting to Cape Kennedy?
Tropes for this episode include:
- And the Adventure Continues: Kirk and Spock refer to interesting experiences Roberta and Gary will have once NBC green lights their series.
- Aliens From Earth: Gary is of Earth stock but comes from a planet in the future unknown even to the Federation.
- Cat Girl: In human form, Isis wears her hair to vaguely look like cat ears.
- Changed My Jumper: Kirk and Spock first blend in with modern Earthlings by each wearing a Conspicuous Trenchcoat and a toque for Spock. (Hey, that rhymes!) The second time, they wear nondescript suits and ties and a Panama for Spock. (That doesn't rhyme at all!)
- Curse Cut Short: Roberta stops a computer before it can say where her star shaped mark is located. (Granted, the computer probably would've used medically acceptable terminology for whatever part of the anatomy her mark was on.)
- Fanfic Fuel: Gary Seven has been used as the ideal nemesis for Khan Noonien Singh during the Eugenics Wars in various Trek novels
- Field Trip to the Past: It's a time travel story. Gary must convince the people of Earth to be excellent to each other by not blowing each other up.
- Forcefield Door: Gary is kept locked in by one, until he opens it with a pen that's remarkably like a sonic screwdriver.
- Harsher in Hindsight: Spock lists several scenarios that Gary Seven could have been sent to effect in 1968 Earth. One of them is "an important assassination". The episode aired March 28, 1968. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. To twist the knife even further, Robert Kennedy's assassination occurred just two months after King's.
- Hey, It's That Girl!: This isn't the last time Roberta will have Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
- Or deal with a rotating wall.
- Actress Terri Garr is also one of the few Trek guest-stars who would (judging by her interview in Starlog magazine in the early 80's) rather not be reminded she was ever even a part of the show.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Finnegan the Irish bully is also a NYPD officer in 1968.
- Impersonating an Officer: Gary creates a batch of fake ID cards with various police and intelligence credentials. When he realizes that he's let Roberta Lincoln see more than she should, he covers himself by claiming to be a CIA agent.
- Kindhearted Cat Lover: Gary Seven. He can even understand what Isis is saying. (Of course, she's no ordinary cat.) Spock is shown petting Isis who seems to adore the attention. Spock has an even harder time hiding his affection for her than he did with the Tribbles!
- Mundanization: Again with the modern day Earth!
- Poorly Disguised Pilot: Assignment: Earth was meant to be a half hour show conceptualized by Roddenberry. It was written way back when Star Trek's first season was still in production. It never got off the ground, but why waste a good story? It's actually pretty obvious they barely rewrote an existing script to feature the Enterprise crew, since they have no effect on events whatsoever.
- Punk in the Trunk: Gary hides from security in the trunk of a car.
- Recurring Extra: Lieutenant Leslie (Eddie Paskey) wears simultaneously his usual red shirt, a yellow shirt and an engineering suit. Lieutenant Hadley (William Blackburn) is also a NASA technician.
- Right-Hand Cat: Isis seems a bit nicer than Sylvia from "Catspaw". She's a sweetheart as cats go, as long as you don't harm Gary.
- Self-Destruct Mechanism: The missile carrying the orbital nuclear warhead platform has a self destruct device to destroy it in case it goes off course. Gary Seven deactivates it as part of his plan to scare the Earth governments into not using such weapons.
- The Sixties: Like, man, can you dig Roberta's groovy threads? (Dig 'em? I wanna bury 'em!)
- Special Guest: Robert Lansing is the only actor in the entire run of the series to warrant a "Special Guest Star" credit in the first act.
- Had NBC bought the show, they would have had to find a new lead actor as Lansing had expressed a decided disinclination to doing a weekly series again. (This is why his character, the lead in "12 O'Clock High," was killed off.) One might even surmise that one reason NBC didn't pick up the show was they knew Lansing wasn't going to stick around, especially since the same thing happened with another Roddenberry-produced, Lansing-starring pilot two years earlier, "The Long Hunt of April Savage."
- Stock Footage: Courtesy of NASA.
- Sword of Damocles: The U.S. is about to launch an orbital nuclear warhead platform. Gary Seven's mission is to make it malfunction to scare other nations into not using them.
- Twenty Minutes into the Future: The crew travels back to 1968. Keep in mind, the episode premiered in 1967.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Is Isis a cat who can turn into a woman or a woman who can turn into a cat?
- What Could Have Been: We could have had an American Doctor Who, complete with sonic screwdriver and youthful companion!
- You Already Changed The Past: Gary Seven was supposed to carry out his mission after all.