Star Trek S1E04 – The Naked Time

Star_Trek_TOS_logo.svgI feel like this is the episode that feels like regular Star Trek. The main characters are all there, they’re all acting as they should (under normal circumstances), and this is one of those episodes that some may consider to be an all time classic. And just remember, this post contains spoilers!

Season 1, Episode 4: The Naked Time

Original Air Date: September 29, 1966

Stardate 1704.2

Planet: Psi 2000

Featured Alien: None

Main Cast: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scott, Uhura, Sulu, Rand, Chapel

Main Guest Characters: Lt. Kevin Thomas Riley, Lt. Joe Tormolen

Things I Noticed

At the beginning, we see Spock and Tormolen wearing environment suits. They are ridiculous. They could even stick their hands inside and scratch their noses. No protection at all. They look like cheap hazmat suits. And how could Tormolen be so absentminded to take off his glove and forget it?

Psi 2000 is collapsing. I’m just wondering how a planet collapses. It’s old, but what are the mechanics for it?

I like how the spectral analysis tapes look like the regular visible spectrum.

We get to see the food dispensers for the first time in this episode. Put a tape in and the food comes out. At least we didn’t see gelatin cubes.

This episode is Riley’s first appearance. We do get to see him again, I believe. Unless my memory is faulty. Pretty sure we do see him again.

In the last episode, sick bay was an awful shade of green. Now it’s quite dark during surgery. Isn’t that dangerous? You’d think it would be well-lit during surgery.

The planet’s collapse is still bugging me at this time. Just because the planet is collapsing doesn’t change the mass. So why would the orbit of the Enterprise degrade? It shouldn’t! The gravitational pull should be the same no matter how small it gets. This is simple physics.

I’m amazed they mentioned universal suffrage in this episode. This is the 23rd century, when that shouldn’t even be an issue. Why would anyone even mention that it’s great that they’re giving women a chance to do things like control the helm?

And back to sick bay. Did you notice there are 20th century spray bottles? Low tech!

I sound pretty nitpicky, don’t I? Well, up next is the shirtless Sulu scene! This is one of the best scenes in all of Star Trek!

Some more firsts in this episode. It’s the first time we see Spock’s Vulcan neck pinch. It’s also the first time we get to see engineering. It features prominently in this episode.

It’s amazing how much romantic interest there is in Spock in these early episodes. Now it’s Nurse Chapel, who is making her first appearance. She confesses she’s in love with Spock.

Love Spock in this one. McCoy and Scott are their usual selves. Kirk, well, he’s a bit over the top. But I think this is the first episode we actually get to see the characters acting as we expect them to. They’ve established the characters at this point.

Kirk says he will never lose you (meaning the Enterprise). The Enterprise is his love. But he has feelings for Rand. How interesting. This establishes his love affair with his ship.

McCoy ripped Kirk’s uniform. Was that necessary to give him a hypospray? But then, his uniform is often ripped. I think that’s a rule for Kirk. Must rip his shirt!

Interesting how they say they’re going faster than is possible for normal space. That would mean exceeding the speed of light. Warp is not normal space, so they can exceed light speed in that way. Superluminal speed in normal space would mean a time warp. Since the formula worked, they now have the ability to travel back in time, something they do in future episodes, but rarely.

This episode sets the stage for the TNG episode “The Naked Now.” The same thing happened, and everyone acts drunk. But I think The Original Series did it better.

My Impressions

Wow. This is one of my favourite episodes of Star Trek. And for it to be so early in the series, that’s saying something. But then, the first season had a lot of good episodes. I really enjoyed the acting in this episode. Spock showing his emotions as he loses control was one of the highlights. Kirk also lost control, but his acting is over the top. Leonard Nimoy was a better actor than William Shatner ever was, I think. McCoy and Scotty were their usual selves, as well. Nice to see. And then there’s Sulu. That shirtless fencing scene was great.

I’d say that this is a classic episode. It often appears on lists of the best Star Trek episodes, not only for this series, but all series. And I agree. It really was one of the best. There’s not much more I can about it.

Verdict

★★★★★

Your Voice

How about you? What did you think of this episode? Is it one of the best in your opinion? Let me know in the comments below.

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9 thoughts on “Star Trek S1E04 – The Naked Time”

  1. “I’m amazed they mentioned universal suffrage in this episode. This is the 23rd century, when that shouldn’t even be an issue. Why would anyone even mention that it’s great that they’re giving women a chance to do things like control the helm?”

    Clumsy writing, pure and simple. I much prefer the way some novel writers (David Weber comes to mind) these days handle such things: by just having it be FACT in their story’s setting and not having anyone make a big deal about it because, d’uh, of course we have equality and stuff — the only time to mention it is when they encounter a culture that doesn’t.

    Someone once told me years ago that the writers for Star Trek couldn’t figure out what they wanted for Kirk’s personality, either, so Shatner was left with having to make it up on his own, and he basically based Jim Kirk on himself — thus the flamboyant Shakespearean acting. This may be no more true than the basis for all those ‘tribble on the head’ jokes, but it does make sense.

    As for the inaccurate science… Well, it was the mid-60s. Even scientists didn’t necessarily know all this stuff the way we do now, much less people who just wrote for television. (At least they had a few sci-fi writers writing episodes. That greatly reduces the chances of getting idiot dialogue with characters referring to another stellar system as being in another galaxy.) Remember, when Star Trek first aired, no human had even set foot on the moon.

    I like the scene with Sulu fencing, too. After seeing that, you can’t think of him as just ‘that guy at the helm’ again. Also, it’s a reasonable excuse to get swords into sci-fi, which is cool.

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