Instead of the usual trio, it's Kirk, Chekov, Bones and an unusually long lived RedShirt
who beam down to Beta XII-A, a planet of rocks and pink trees, to answer a distress beacon. While Kirk laments the hundreds of men women and children who have been murdered (we never actually see any bodies) Spock reports a Klingon ship in orbit, apparently in distress. A small group of Klingons, led by Commander Kang (no, not THAT Kang
) and his wife Mara (the first female Klingon to be aired thus far) beam down and accuses Kirk of attacking his ship and killing his crewmen. Kirk denies doing such a thing and brings up his counter accusation. Chekov accuses the Klingons (again, he calls them "Cossacks") of murdering his hereto unmentioned brother, Piotr. Kang tortures Chekov and threatens to do more if Kirk does not surrender his ship to the Klingons. Kirk pretends to surrender, but sends a secret signal to Spock that only the Enterprise
crew be beamed aboard, with the Klingon crew kept in stasis until security can handle them. Kang and his crew are detained in the lounge while a mysterious Anti-Tinkerbell
Tempers flare as Irrational Hatred
overrides good sense. Klingons and Federation had always shared an enmity, but now it's getting out of hand! Boing!
The chess set, some pool cues and the phasers have all turned into swords! Rather than question this turn of events, everyone decides to start buckling the swash.Can two warring species drive a hate fueled alien life form from a starship without driving each other crazy?
Tropes from this episode include:
- Attempted Rape: Chekov to Mara, while Chekov is under the influence of the alien.
- Battle Couple: Kang and his wife Mara. They serve on the same ship together.
- Bloodless Carnage: Though swords are swung about and even hit a few people, we don't see any blood. The energy being is keeping the injured alive so they can fight more, but this still seems a bit odd.
- Color Motif: In this episode where the theme is aggression, red lighting is used a lot.
- Cradling Your TKO: Kirk cradles Chekov as he takes him to sick bay, lamenting how he was driven to beat him senseless.
- Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Intraship beaming (using the transporters to get to another part of the ship). Apparently, the risk of Tele-Frag is much higher at extreme close range for some reason.
- Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion: An alien powerful enough to destroy a Klingon battlecruiser, transmute matter and control the minds of hundreds of beings simultaneously takes control of the Enterprise. How do the humans and Klingons get rid of it? By laughing at it. Seriously. Sooo... giggle at the ghostly....
- Emotion Eater: The big glowy entity that feeds off of negative emotions and is turned off by good ones. Kirk manages to get rid of it by laughing with a few Klingons.
- Energy Being: Again with the Klingons? Again with the Energy Being! Kirk and co. fight these more often than the Klingons!
- Everybody Laughs Ending: In a show of good spirits, everyone laughs together as the Energy Being slinks away. Kang's hearty slap on Kirk's back seemed a little stronger than need be, though.
- Evil Virtues: Kang admires Chekov's loyalty, even as he tortures him.
- Fake Memories: If the being doesn't think the hate is strong enough, it will season it with some unhappy memories. It's quite possible that the Federation colonists of Beta XII-A never even existed.
- Forced to Watch: Kang threatens to torture Kirk's crew while Kirk watches. Betcha thought he was gonna go for the Red Shirt first!
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: "Keep your Vulcan hands off me!" (see Parenthetical Swearing below). The script writer was apparently delighted when Jimmy Doohan made the decision during rehearsals to emphasise the word 'Vulcan' as if it were a swear word.
- Hate Plague: An Energy Being that feeds on hate brings the Federation and the Klingons, who are trying to abide by the peace treaty, into conflict. It goes as far as implanting False Memories so that the manipulated will have an extra source of conflict. An interesting part of this trope in Star Trek is that those who are killed are somehow brought back to life with their fatal wounds healed to fight again. Once they all figure it out the creature is repelled from the ship by laughter. Lots and lots of laughter.
- Hell Is War: The being pits the crews of the Enterprise and a Klingon ship against each other, gives them primitive weapons to deal the most damage, and heals any wounded. This allows the being to live forever off the crew's hate, as they are locked in battle forever, immortal. Luckily, Kirk figures this out before it happens.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Mr. Freeze is a Klingon!
- Humans Are Bastards: Mara thinks so.
- Hungry Menace: Like Redjac from "Wolf In The Fold" fed on fear, this being feeds on hate.
- I Have Your Wife: Kirk bluffs Kang with this. He doesn't fall for it.
- Involuntary Battle to the Death: The hate feeding entity goads the Klingons and Enterprise crew into one.
- It's Personal: The Energy Being feels that Chekov's strong dislike of Klingons needs to be seasoned with a personal vendetta. Lt. Johnson bounces back quickly for a Red Shirt, but decides the Klingons still have to pay for what they did to him.
- Just Ignore It: The entity that feeds on hatred is weakened when a truce is made between Federation and Klingon combatants, then driven off when the two sides start laughing at it.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: Kang's attitude towards the Klingon race.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Kirk has two such moments. One when he calls Spock a "half-human" and one when he beats Chekov senseless.
- No Such Thing as H.R.: Bones' and Spock's good-natured bickering becomes overheated in this episode.
- Not Afraid of You Anymore: Kirk tells the entity that it may as well leave because no one on this ship was going to feed it.
- OOC Is Serious Business: So many out of character freak outs! Chekov has expressed a strong dislike of Klingons, calling them "Cossacks" in "The Trouble With Tribbles", yet Scotty was able to talk him down (until he threw some punches himself.) Here, even Kirk has trouble holding back the enraged ensign. Uhura is usually serene, showing only mild concern when things go wrong with communications. Her hysterical freak out is combined with a wild accusation at the Klingons. Bones is known for the occasional emotional outburst, but his militant demand for the death of the Klingons is bit much. Spock says in a dry monotone that he has never much enjoyed working with humans, which is a screaming rage by Spock standards.
- Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Kirk tells Kang, "Go to the Devil!" (Couldn't say "Go to Hell" on TV in the 60's.) Kang replies, "We [Klingons] have no Devil... but we are very familiar with the habits of yours." Cue use of torture. In later series, it would be revealed that Klingon mythology does have a character called Fek'lhr who is much like the Judaic version of Satan, i.e., not necessarily evil, just having an unpleasant responsibility.
- Parenthetical Swearing: Scotty says the line "Keep your Vulcan hands off me!" with a very specific emphasis on the word 'Vulcan'.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Chekov decides killing's too good for Mara. Luckily, Kirk steps in just in time.
- Rivals Team Up: Kirk has to convince the Klingons who are trying to take over the ship to work together against an alien presence who is feeding off of their emotions.
- See You in Hell: Couldn't say that on TV in the 60's. Had to stick with "Go to the Devil."
- Theiss Titillation Theory: Averted for once! Mara's outfit frames her clavicles with an asymmetrical neckline, but is actually quite modest compared to other female outfits on the show. And then Lursa and B'Etor came along.....
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Scotty, of all people gives Spock a BLISTERING one. But he isn't himself.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Here, it's throwing your sword down that works.
- Unwitting Pawn: Spock concludes that this is what the Enterprise crew and the Klings have become to the Energy Being.
- The X of Y: The method used to name this episode.
- Worthy Opponent: Kang.
- You Fool!: Kirk has just explained to the Klingon captain Kang that the Enterprise is under the control of a creature that feeds on hate and wants the Klingons and humans to fight for its entertainment for the rest of eternity. Kang decides to fight Kirk anyway, at which point his wife Mara exclaims "You fool!". Later, Kang himself admits "Only a fool fights in a burning house."