Recap / Star Trek S2 E26 "Assignment: Earth"
goes back in time to visit the year 1968 to observe and report. 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 McKinley Rocket Base?
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.
- As You Know: Gary Seven explains to his computer (and thereby the audience) what his mission is; the computer already knows, but insists on a demonstration that he knows, as proof that he's who he says he is.
- Cat Girl: In human form, Isis wears her hair to vaguely look like cat ears.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- Intelligible Unintelligible: Gary Seven responds to Isis's mewing as if it were intelligible speech.
- Kindhearted Cat Lover:
- Gary Seven.
- 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!
- No Communities Were Harmed: The fictional McKinley Rocket Base stands in for the real-life Kennedy Space Center.
- No Sell: One of the first indications that Gary Seven is not a normal human is when Spock's nerve pinch has no effect on him.
- Orbital Bombardment: The U.S. puts a nuclear warhead platform in orbit. During the episode it falls out of orbit and drops toward an enemy country: it will go off on impact.
- 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.
- Shaggy Search Technique: How Roberta discovers the secret alcove containing Gary Seven's teleporter.
- The '60s: 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.
- 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.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Is Isis a cat who can turn into a woman or a woman who can turn into a cat?
- You Already Changed the Past: At the end of the episode, Kirk checks the Enterprise's historical records and finds a mention of the orbital platform being destroyed exactly as it was, suggesting that not only Gary Seven's mission but also the delays caused by Kirk's interference were already part of history.