Everyone is staring intently at the view screen. It seems a ship known as the Defiant
has gone missing. And it's a good thing everyone was staring so intently at the view screen. Everyone can see the faintly green glowing ship, but it's not picking up on any sensor readings. "Fascinating!"
says Spock. Kirk decides Chekov, Bones, Spock and himself will beam over and check it out. But first, a wardrobe change! Everyone beams aboard the Defiant
each wearing a chunky-funky Hazmat Suit
. It looks like Everybody's Dead, Jim
. Seems like the captain of the Defiant
was strangled to death by a disgruntled Red Shirt
, who is also dead.
What's more, this entire ship including the dead crew members are starting to dissolve faster than Denise Crosby's
career. And wouldn't you know it? The transporter is on the fritz! Scotty manages to mend it up with bubblegum and Scotch tape but says he can take only three at a time. Kirk bravely insists on being the last to beam aboard. Unfortunately, they can't get a fix on him. As Chekov observes, the "Defiant has simply wanished"—uh—vanished. And taken the captain with her.
Shortly thereafter, aliens called the Tholians demand that the Enterprise
get to steppin'. The now in command Spock insists that they will not leave until Kirk is rescued. The Tholians respond by opening fire. Spock, against Bones' suggestion, fires back. Fine, the Tholians decide. You don't want to leave our space? Then you'll just stay here FOREVER! Oh, and did we mention this is a part of space where people tend to go insane?
Chekov goes Froot Loops. Kirk is declared dead after attempts to save him have failed. Everyone is going bonkers one by one. Bones is even nastier to Spock than usual. How could things get worse?
Oh yeah, the Tholians are building the eponymous web in space using their jetstreams so they can't leave.
Tropes from this episode include:
- Absentee Actor: A very Kirk-lite episode. Which is quite unusual, as Shatner insisted throughout the show's run on having the most lines in every script.
- Beehive Barrier: the Tholians are making a spherical geometric web thing to trap the Enterprise. In this case, the barrier is to keep the Enterprise in.
- Blatant Lies: Spock and Bones flatly deny ever looking at Kirk's Video Will. Kirk doesn't seem to believe them, but plays along.
- Dead Man Writing: Kirk's taped message, though he doesn't actually die.
- Doctor's Orders: Page quote! Also, Bones name drops the trope when he insists on making a toast with the antidote. Scotty wonders if it mixes well with Scotch.
- Door Jam: Kirk gets stranded in "interspace" with only limited air in his spacesuit, while complications ensue for the rest of the crew.
- Due to the Dead: Spock calls for a moment of silence for Captain Kirk. Bones insists that he and Spock watch Kirk's Video Will. When it reveals that his Last Request is for Bones and Spock to try to get along, Bones apologizes for being Dr. Jerk and they attempt to comply with Kirk's wishes.
- Fish Eye Lens: Prominently used right in the beginning as the crazed Chekov's point of view, with a horribly distorted Spock front and center. Chekov screams, naturally.
- Friendship Moment: After Bones apologizes to Spock, Spock replies, "...I believe the Captain would merely have said ... 'Forget it, Bones'".
- Ghost Ship: the Defiant.
- Hate Plague: A Negative Space Wedgie drove the crew of the Defiant to kill each other, and then begins to drive the Enterprise crew to outbursts of anger.
- If I Do Not Return: Spock and McCoy view the message Kirk left behind for this contingency when Kirk is lost and presumed dead.
- Jitter Cam: The P.O.V. Cam gets a Fish Eye Lens and jitters when someone's starting to get a little craaaaazy....
- Kind Restraints: When Chekov goes violently insane due to the effect of area of space the Enterprise is in, he's shown strapped down to a table in Sick Bay screaming.
- Loafing in Full Costume: Averted. We finally get to see Uhura in civvies! She wears a very fetching red kaftan inspired dress and is about to accessorize with a gold necklace when she starts having chest pains.
- The Mutiny: Initially suspected, as the first sight they see is the Defiant's captain dead on the bridge with a Red Shirt's corpse grasping his (broken) neck.
- Premature Eulogy: Kirk is presumed dead when he is pulled into another universe. We get an official ceremony with about 50 people present and Spock lamenting his friend - as much as a Vulcan would, anyway. McCoy finishes up by giving another short eulogy in Kirk's quarters during the next scene.
- Prop Recycling: One of the spacesuit helmets can be seen ten years later in a first season episode of Mork and Mindy. The nameplate is removed so it is unknown whose it was.
- Send in the Search Team: How the whole mess started.
- Space Madness: Being in a particular area of space causes violent insanity by distorting the molecular structure of brain tissues and the central nervous system. Symptoms include dizziness, chest pains and attempting to murder your senior officer.
- Starfish Aliens: The Tholians look like 20 siders with Glowing Eyes. They would get a massive effects upgrade (along with the Gorn) when they finally returned in Star Trek: Enterprise.
- Tears of Joy: Uhura sheds a few when she learns that not only is she not crazy, but Kirk is indeed still alive.
- The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Kirk's "final orders" assume three things: that he's dead, that the tactical situation is critical, and that Spock and McCoy are at odds. He's right on 2 of the 3.
- Theiss Titillation Theory: Averted with Uhura's attractive yet modest kaftan. Played straight when we see her wearing a hospital gown. Even in the future they just barely cover your ass! (Just like medical insurance!) For some reason, Chekov gets to wear blue jammies instead of a barely there gown.
- 2-D Space: Averted. The web appears to be spherical.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: What happened to the Defiant? Over thirty years later, we find out in the Star Trek: Enterprise Mirror Universe episode "In A Mirror, Darkly".