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Recap / Star Trek S1 E24 "This Side of Paradise"

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AKA "The One Where Spock Got High On Spores And Smacked Kirk Around". Also, Kirk mispronounces 'sabotage'.

The Enterprise arrives in orbit of Omicron Ceti III, planning to recover the bodies and record the destruction no doubt left by the deadly, flesh-destroying Berthold rays. Our Power Trio plus Sulu, DeSalle and Kilowitz beam down to find, surprise! Everyone is alive and well. A little too alive and well. A quick check up by Bones shows the leader of the colony is healthier than he was when he left Earth. Apparently, Elias has been taking appendix growing lessons from David Lister. Oh, and yet another blonde bombshell is head over heels for Spock.

There are unusual things about this farm. On this farm they have no animals, e-i-e-i-o. With no chick-chick here, no moo moo there, not an oink, not a baa, nowhere a quack quack. And Kirk is so disappointed there's no horsies to ride! Well, he can always look at all the hoes... that the men are using to tend the fields with. According to DeSalle, they have grown just enough to sustain themselves.


Leila talks Spock into going flower picking with her. She shows him one particular flower. Leila, She's got Spock on his knees, Leila. Then he tells her "I love you."

These Tropes of Paradise:

  • Absentee Actor: Scotty doesn't appear in this episode, although he is referenced and asked for by Kirk.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Subverted. Kirk does eventually succumb to the spores, but he then experiences a strong surge of emotion on seeing some of his medals, snapping him out of it.
  • Bling of War: Kirk has some that he looks at while he's packing. It snaps him out of the spores' influence.
  • Blunt "Yes": Kirk warns a red shirt lined up to beam down against orders he's committing mutiny. "Yes, sir. It is," the crewman calmly replies.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: Spock breaks up with Leila, causing an emotional reaction in her to overcome the influence of the spores.
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  • Chekhov's Gun: When Kirk finds that Uhura shorted out the long-range communications under the spores' influence, he throws the plant responsible across the bridge. This is the one that infects him while sitting at the helmsman station.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The Omicron Ceti III colony.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Kirk gets his ass handed to him by Spock, only surviving because Spock shook off the spores.
    Kirk: Anyhow, I don't know what you're so mad about. It isn't every first officer that gets to belt his captain... several times.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Bones gets a couple. Of the living and walking Elias, Bones says that it's his professional opinion that this man is alive. Later, when Elias walks off after stating he will not cooperate with any evacuation, Bones asks the captain if he would like to use a butterfly net on the colonists' leader. When Elias tells him they don't need a doctor, Bones responds "Oh, no? Would you like to see how fast I can put you in a hospital?"
  • Dramatic Downstage Turn: Appears in a conversation between Leila and Spock near the end of the episode.
  • Dramatic Irony: Sulu comments that he knows so little about farms he wouldn't know if anything was wrong if it were just 2 feet away from him. Just 2 feet away from him are the spore-producing flowers.
  • Everybody Must Get Stoned: Something was in the air that made an irradiated planet inhabitable, but made everyone happy and wanting to stay forever—except Captain Kirk.
  • The Final Temptation: The spores make people happy, at the cost of giving up any ambition to accomplish anything beyond personal comfort.
  • Fisticuff-Provoking Comment: Kirk intentionally delivers a series of vicious insults to Spock in order to anger him enough to fight off the influence of pacifying plant spores. Spock manages to hold out until Kirk says he belongs in a freak show with "the dog-faced boy". Curb-Stomp Battle ensues.
  • Foreshadowing: During Kirk's attempt at Your Mom (see below), Spock retorts that his father was an ambassador. We later meet his father, Ambassador Sarek, in "Journey to Babel."
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: In a pretty standard Trek move; a planet where you can send people to restore them to perfect health (including regrowing internal organs) is never considered as a potential solution to future health based problems. In fact it bears a striking resemblance to the effect of the later "metaphasic radiation" in Star Trek: Insurrection.
  • Gaussian Girl: When Leila shows up, the camera lens is suddenly smeared in Vaseline and the romantic flutes start playing.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: Kirk invoked this, insulting Spock's parentage to anger him so that he snap out of the spores' influence.
  • I Am What I Am: Spock tells Leila "I am what I am, Leila. And if there are self-made purgatories, then we all have to live in them. Mine can be no worse than someone else's."
  • Kirk Summation:
    • "Man stagnates if he has no ambition, no desire to be more than he is."
    • At the end, with a whole bunch of cliches too, the page quote for No Challenge Equals No Satisfaction. Spock points out that such poetic talk is 'nonregulation.' What else is new?
  • Large Ham: "I...can't...LEAVE!"
  • Lawful Stupid: Invoked and averted during Kirk and Spock's discussion after their fight.
    Spock: Captain... striking a fellow officer is a Court Martial offense.
    Kirk: Well... if we're both in the brig, who's going to build the device?
    Spock: ...Quite logical, Captain.
  • The Mutiny: They freely (so to speak, since they're under the influence of the spores) admit to it.
  • No Challenge Equals No Satisfaction: Kirk and McCoy provide the page quote. And when Elias has shaken off the spores' influence just after McCoy does, he mournfully realizes that "We've done nothing here... no accomplishments, no progress..."
  • Only Sane Man: For two-thirds of the episode, Kirk is the only one not under the influence of the spores.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Spock's flippancy concerns Kirk, then the spores soon make everyone act OOC. Even the reliably cranky Bones becomes an easygoing good ol' boy (with thick Georgia drawl to boot).
  • Orbital Mechanics Does Not Work That Way: Subverted for once. The Enterprise should indeed be able to remain in orbit for a minimum of a few months, assuming no drastic outside influences such as contact with an asteroid or tractor beams from the planet's surface.
  • Product Placement: Kirk's suitcase is a Samsonite™, a luggage so durable it can take a beating from a grown Mugato!
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Kirk has to deal a vicious one to Spock in order to piss him off enough to get over the spores' influence. An unusual case in that he didn't actually mean it.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: Gerald Fried's score from "Shore Leave" is heavily featured in this episode, most notably the "Ruth theme", successfully accompanying the lost love between Spock and Leila.
  • Send in the Search Team: How the episode started.
  • Settling the Frontier: The Enterprise on a rescue mission to a Federation colony, supposedly endangered by deadly (and fictional) Berthold radiation.
  • Space Amish: No motorized vehicles. Either We Will Use Manual Labor in the Future, or the spores make you forget how to drive. No animals either—since the spores couldn't affect them, they all died from the radiation.
  • Stepford Smiler: Everyone under spore influence, but especially Uhura, who cheerfully tells Kirk how she disabled the long-range communications systems.
  • That Cloud Looks Like...: Spock (under the influence of spores) and Leila go cloud gazing. Spock remarks that one looks very much like a dragon (in this universe, dragons are real, but all live on the planet Berengaria Seven). Unfortunately, to see what this scene looks like, you have to get the DVD!
  • That's an Order!: Unfortunately for Kirk, Uhura is too stoned on spores to open a channel to anyplace but the planet's surface. She couldn't if she tried, as she short-circuited long-range communications.
  • The Unpronounceable: Leila asks Spock if he has another name. He tells her she couldn't pronounce it. Of course, you'll have to Take Our Word for It
    • Spockanalia, a late-60's fanzine, established Spock's last name as "Xtmprszntwlfd." Unpronounceable, indeed.
    • Another fanzine suggested "Spock" is his last name, and his first name is something embarrassing, like "Harold."
    • Some expanded universe materials have said that "Spock" is his given name and his family name (which comes first) is "Sch'n T'gai". Pretty difficult to pronounce.
  • Your Mom: When trying to anger Spock, Kirk tells him his father was a computer and his mother an encyclopedia. As a response, Spock tells him that his mother is a teacher and his father is an ambassador. This was the inspiration for the writer of this episode, D.C. Fontana to introduce Spock's parents in the second season episode "Journey to Babel", also written by her.

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