Recap: Star Trek S 3 E 3 The Paradise Syndrome
Exterior shot: a Bob Ross
painting. Pan right: Our Heroes (Kirk, Bones, Spock) beam down. They comment on how beautiful the place is
, how unusually it is like Earth, considering how far away they are from Earth. The only difference between this place and Earth is a mysterious metallic obelisk. Astronomical as the chances are to have a planet with the exact flora and fauna as Earth is, they're more concerned about the asteroid that's about to collide with the planet. They've only got 30 minutes before they have to return to the Enterprise
, but Kirk thinks that's enough time to score- er- explore!
Our Heroes observe a Native camp from a distance. Spock observes that they do not only appear Native American, they are
Native American. A blend of Delaware, Navajo and Mohican to be precise. Kirk admires the people, briefly contemplates what it would be like to be one of them, then goes about his way to save them all from the incoming asteroid. Unfortunately, Kirk just happens to stand on a secret passage outside the obelisk, just happens to say the secret password "Kirk to Enterprise
" and just happens to fall through and vanish without a trace. Bones wants to look for the missing Captain, but Spock explains to him, using rocks as puppets, why they must hurry and destroy the asteroid.
Kirk, meanwhile, gets hit by a surge of Imported Alien Phlebotinum
. And he may ask himself "How did I get here?"
And later, he may ask himself "How do I work this? Where is that large spaceship?" And he may tell himself "This is not my birch bark teepee! This is not my beautiful wife!" (Then again, maybe it is!)
When Kirk leaves the obelisk, he meets Miramanee and her handmaiden, who are convinced he's here to fulfill the prophecy. After doing some CPR on a half drowned boy, Kirk is made medicine man. While the medicine man's badge has the unfortunate appearance of an L on the forehead, the former medicine man, Salish, is loathe to part with it. He's even more loathe to part with Miramanee, who as chief's daughter must marry the medicine man. (Sound familiar?
) Salish hasn't been this upset since he saw someone littering!
How long will Kirk's happiness as "Kirok" last?
Tropes for this episode include:
- As You Know: Since the episode starts with the crew arriving on the planet, the script strains a bit to have Spock explain what they're doing there.
- Braids, Beads and Buckskins: The people are supposed to be a mixture of Delaware, Mohican and Navajo, but live in tipis like Plains people and have almost no Navajo characteristics. Feathered cloaks are Aztec, not Native North American. Miramanee is wearing a headband woven of glass seed beads, which were a European trade item.
- Captain's Log: Since Kirk is missing and amnesiac, Spock gives the opening narration.
- The Chief's Daughter: Miramanee.
- CPR (Clean, Pretty, Reliable): Kirk uses a (now outdated) variant of the Silvester Method (pumping the legs) on one of the locals.
- Disco Tech: potentially world-destroying asteroid is held at bay by a repulsive field that is controlled through the use of music- or saying the correct sequence of consonants and vowels that just happens to sound like "Kirk to Enterprise".
- Easy Amnesia: One little zap and Kirk forgets everything. He's almost sure his name starts with a K and he has dreams about a giant metal lodge floating through space. Spock uses Vulcan Mind Meld to help him recover.
- Forgot the Call: Kirk forgets he's a starship captain and becomes a medicine man of a native tribe and marries Miramanee. Until all Hell breaks loose.
- Fourth Date Marriage: Miramanee doesn't even know Kirk's name (well, neither does he at this point) and she's ready to marry him before you can say "Salish who?"
- God Guise: Kirk can't remember who he is, so if some people tell him he's a god, he won't argue.
- Impostor Exposing Test: Kirk plays along with Miramanee's people who think he's a god, until Salish cuts him and contemptuously exclaims, "A god who bleeds!" Still, the people continue to revere "Kirok" as a god, until it's clear he can't stop the impeding disaster. Then out come the rocks! The concept of "A god who bleeds" is explored in the Next Gen episode "Who Watches The Watchers?"
- The Insomniac: Spock goes without sleep for around two months. He states that Vulcans under enough stress can go without sleep and/or food for much longer than humans. Bones tells him to rest anyway.
- Last Kiss: The episode ends with Kirk kissing Miramanee just before she dies. Because in the future, if you need a new kidney, you only need to take a pill, but if you get hit by a rock, you're screwed. Her Last Words are "Each kiss is as the first."
- Noble Savage
- Nubile Savage: Miramanee again. Her handmaiden's pretty hot too.
- Shirtless Scene: Kirk doesn't need a shirt to frolic with Miramanee! Note that she seemed pretty eager to remove his shirt bare moments after they meet.
- The Simple Life Is Simple: Even Kirk dreams of chucking it all just to live at one with nature. He seems to have no trouble doing so.
- Transplanted Humans: Ever wonder why there were so many humanoid aliens throughout the galaxy? It's because Precursors "seeded" the galaxy with them in hopes of preserving them. So it's not because it's just easier to use human actors!
- Values Dissonance: Yeah, you would definitely not see an episode like this nowadays. It's basically a perfect storm of every offensive "Native American" trope imaginable, plus Miramanee is played by a white actress in brownface.