Episode: 04Title: The Naked TimeStar Date: 1704.2Writer: John D.F. BlackFirst Shown: 29th September 1966
In the original series of Star Trek, I’d say that this is the very first classic episode in that all the characters are here, and it plays out the strongest themes that the show often covered – those being imminent jeopardy, loss of control and dealing with suppressed emotions.
It starts simply enough, with Spock and another crewman transporting down to a survey station on a planet that’s about to disintegrate. The six people on that station are already dead, and their deaths appear bizarre and irrational.
The cause is a strange red liquid that appears to want to move towards living flesh. Once it touches the crewman his hand starts to itch, and once onboard the Enterprise he starts to act irrationally, eventually stabbing himself with a blunt-looking knife. The illness he carries is transferred through touch and soon almost the whole crew is acting strangely in some fashion or another. This leads to some memorable Trek moments, not least Sulu (George Takei) running around the Enterprise with shirt off brandishing a sword. We also see the emotional turmoil of Spock surface for a rare appearance, and it also marks the first time that we meet Nurse Christine Chapel (Majel Barrett) and discover that she’s got a thing for Spock.
Actually, this story is chock-full of firsts that would become staple items, including Scotty’s infamous “I can’t change the laws of physics”, to Kirk’s “Engage” and it’s the first time the Enterprise time travels.
The story takes a serious turn when Lt. Kevin Reilly locks himself in engineering and disables the warp drive while singing I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen very badly. They eventually get into engineering but with insufficient time to restart the engines normally, and are therefore forced to create an anti-matter implosion inside the engine to escape falling into the collapsing planet.
This accelerates them so much the clocks on the bridge start to run backwards, until they apply reverse. This one event spawned numerous stories in both this series, the subsequent series and movies. Originally, this was to be a cliffhanger that leads into the story that became Tomorrow Is Yesterday, but it was changed to be unconnected.
Lt. Kevin Reilly only appeared once more on the Enterprise in The Conscience Of The King, although the way he’s presented in this story suggests he might have been a candidate for more outings.
The Blu-ray version of this completes the first disc, and has some small but subtle modifications to bring the shots of the Enterprise up to scratch and a matte shot of the science station on an icy mountain. My only disappointment was that we don’t get to see the Enterprise break out of the atmosphere of the planet, and the time travel effect is just a little too subtle.
But The Naked Time is traditional Star Trek and up next is another science fiction favourite with the fans, The Enemy Within.