Recap: Star Trek S3E18 "The Lights of Zetar"

The Enterprise is transferring new equipment to Memory Alpha and Lieutenant Mira Romaine has been assigned to supervise. Scotty himself is doing quite a bit of supervising the new lieutenant himself. Seems he's finally over Lt. Palamas. She isn't discouraging it. Suddenly, it's disco inferno! An energy storm creates a flashy light show worthy of Vegas that destroys all the inhabitants of Memory Alpha and wipes out its computer banks. It's the destruction of the Library of Alexandria IN SPACE! Mira, meanwhile, appears to be having an epileptic seizure brought on by the sparkly lights. Or is it more than that?

Particularly notable for its writers: ventriloquist Shari Lewis and her husband.

Trivia: The Star Trek Wiki is called "Memory Alpha" after the inter-galactic library mentioned in this episode.

Tropes for this episode include:

  • Assimilation Plot: The eponymous creatures are a floating energy hive mind comprised of the last members of a doomed civilization. Their goal is to find a compatible human to merge with so they can regain physical sensations and abilities.
  • Author Appeal: The Zetari control Mira's actions and speak through her. Almost as if she were a puppet....
  • Author Avatar: Mira supposedly started out as a very obvious one for Shari Lewis, though script consultant Arthur Singer pared this back to the point where she has a much more generic personality. Indeed, Lewis had hoped to play Mira herself.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Nurse Chapel puts on a Scottish brogue when praising Scotty's bedside manner for his lady love.
    Ye're in the wrong business!
  • Cassandra Truth: Once again, Scotty nearly dooms everyone by scoffing, this time at the possibility that Mira might be psychic.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Kirk gets a chance to snark, aiming mostly at Scotty, who's finally getting some. He ends the episode by pointing out an Enterprise first. Bones and Spock agree with each other!
  • Deus ex Machina: The reason the pressure chamber works is basically "We had the prop."
  • Dr. Jerk: An inversion! Mira is Patient Jerk, much to Bones' consternation.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: While not particularly eerie (at first), Mira does have dark hair and fair skin. Possession by the Zentari pushes her deeper into the trope.
  • Eye Motifs: A lot of close ups are shown of Mira's eyes, showing reflections of the glittering lights, her flashes of the future and her fight against the possession of the Zetarians.
  • Fainting Seer: Mira becomes one.
  • Green Eyes: The close ups show Mira to have pale green eyes. Possession by the Zentari gives her the power of precognition. She's also a bit of a spitfire who doesn't like being pushed around.
  • May-December Romance: Scotty used to work with Mira's dad. Kirk just rubs in the age difference by often referring to Mira as "the girl".
  • Monkey Morality Pose: Not shown, but very subtly demonstrated. During the light storm, Uhura is unable to respond to a hail from Starfleet, (Hear no evil) Chekov cannot move his eyes to see how to set in a new course, (See no evil) and Sulu is unable to speak (Need I say more?).
  • Pietà Plagiarism: Scotty holds Mira many times in this style. When the Zetarians zap Scotty, Kirk holds him like this.
  • The Power of Love: It is speculated that the pressure used to drive out the Zetari may have been aided by Mira's love for Scotty.
  • Powers via Possession: Not only does Mira get the ability to see the future through possession by the Zetari, but her brain wave pattern is changing to match theirs.
  • Sickening Sweethearts: Scotty can't seem to take his eyes or his hands off Mira. Kirk seems mildly annoyed by their goofy obsession with each other.
  • Space Madness: Scotty says that going on your first deep space trip can affect a person's mind.
  • Tempting Fate: Scotty tells Mira "We have all the time in the world." Yeah, Scotty? A spy by the name of James Bond said this on his wedding day. Things turned bad. Fortunately, she doesn't die, but her work at Memory Alpha is going to separate them for a long time. In fact, even in the novels and comics their only other confirmed meeting takes place aboard the Enterprise-A.
  • Torture Always Works: When the Zetari don't respond to the Kirk Summation, Kirk drives them out of Mira's body by putting her in a pressure chamber. It's the terror of knowing what this world is about, watching some good friends scream "Let me out!" That song just seems so apropos right now....
  • We Come In Peace: Kirk tells the Zetarians "We wish you no harm." Too bad the feeling isn't mutual.