Recap / Star Trek S 3 E 17 That Which Destroys

Do ignore the title of this article. The episode's title is "That Which Survives". Presumably, whoever made the list was mixing it up with "Whom Gods Destroy".

There is a puzzling Class M planet that the Enterprise has come across. A planet of its relatively young 1,000 years should not have vegetation and an atmosphere capable of sustaining life. (Shut up, Young Earthers!) Kirk beams down with Bones, Sulu and the not long for this universe Lieutenant D'Amato. With a "Boing!" a woman wearing enough eyeshadow to make Tammy Faye Baker cringe pops up out of nowhere and kills the ensign who's beaming the party down- with a single touch. Losira, as we later learn she's called, doesn't quite count as Girl of the Week since no one survives her touch long enough to make it with her.

Soon after, there's an earthquake on the planet and the Enterprise has another of its famous shake ups where Uhura does her best not to do a Panty Shot. It seems the planet and the starship have been mysteriously hurled several light years away from each other. However, the image of the same strange woman appears in both places, bringing a Touch of Death with her.

While Kirk wonders if they can be saved before they starve or get touched to death, Spock is driving everyone crazy with his unrealistic expectations of a very human crew.

This episode marks the first appearance of the Jefferies Tubes, named for set designer Matt Jefferies.
  • Or it would, had it not appeared in "The Doomsday Machine" and "The Ultimate Computer," just to name two from Season 2.

Tropes for this episode include:

  • Apocalyptic Log: The last survivor of a colony leaves a computer message for any of her people who might find it.
  • Baby Planet: Aversion: In the original Star Trek episode "That Which Survives" the fact that a Luna-sized world has Earthlike atmosphere is one of the clues that something's amiss.
  • Captain Obvious: When pondering who could be behind all these mysterious deaths, Kirk says "Someone did it." No! You think?
  • Catastrophic Countdown: Scotty has bare seconds to pull off his job in the Jefferies Tube. Quick! Cut to a commercial!
  • Cutlass Between the Teeth: It's a diagnostic tool rather than a cutlass, but this is how Scotty carries it into the Jefferies Tube.
  • Dead Man Writing: In Losira's Apocalyptic Log about the death of her colony she says "...we who have guarded the outpost for you will be dead by the time you take possession of this planet."
  • Go Through Me: Sulu and Bones get between Kirk and Losira to protect him. Justified, as she can only kill who she has recently named. Losira must've been a fan of Death Note. Sulu must've survived because she didn't seem to know his first name. Neither did the writers! Hikaru was suggested by the fans.
  • Gut Feeling: Scotty's feeling about something being wrong with the ship turns out to be correct.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: A beautiful woman wants to touch Sulu, all while saying she's for him. Sulu responds by drawing a phaser on her. Oh my! Later, he does comment that she's beautiful. But, maybe he just wants to know where she got those fabulous bell bottoms.
  • If I Wanted X, I Would Y: Sulu brings up The Tunguska Event. Kirk tells him if he wanted a lesson in Russian history, he'd have brought Chekov. (He'd probably add "And zat's how ze Russians inwented ze microwafe ofen!")
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: Kirk suggests this when they find themselves stranded on the planet.
  • Logic Bomb: Kirk forced a hologram to back off by making her consider the logic of killing to protect a dead world, and why she must kill if she knows it's wrong.
  • Mundane Utility: Kirk tries to use a phaser to dig a grave.
  • Media Watch Dog: Lee Meriwether wears a crop-top and bell bottom pants with a rectangular tab about four inches by five extending up from the waistband to conceal the forbidden sight of her navel. Will could show an entire leg, all the cleavage he wanted and occasionally side boob, but Heaven forbid we see the former Miss America's belly button!
  • Purple Is Powerful: Losira's peek-a-boo outfit is vibrant violet. She has the power to kill with a touch. In life, it was a case of Graceful Ladies Like Purple. She was a brilliant scientist who regretted that she would not live to see the habitation of the planet she helped create.
  • Red Shirt: The body count for this ep is 3. Technically, it's one red shirt, one blue shirt and one magenta jumpsuit, but the trope still stands.
  • Reverse Polarity: Spock orders Scotty to reverse the polarity of a "magnetic probe". Scotty's incredulous, "reverse polarity?!" qualifies as the Trope Namer.
  • Rock Paper Switch: A computer generated construct had the power to kill a specific human target by touch. When the Enterprise crew members facing it realized this, they interposed someone else between the opponent and its target, foiling the attack. Eventually the computer wised up and created a construct for each crew member, so the crew switched around until each was facing a construct meant for someone else.
  • Sole Survivor: Losira would count, if she hadn't been revealed to be a Hologram all along.
  • The Needs of the Many: Scotty tells Spock to jettison him and a malfunctioning part to save the rest of the crew. Uncharacteristically, Spock refuses, and Scotty is forced to pull another wonder out of his sleeve.