Star Trek: The Devil in the Dark

September 3, 2013 in Guest Blogs, Star Trek by GuestBlogs

A guest blog by Mindless-Droid and Siblings

“I’m a doctor not a bricklayer!” – Dr McCoy


This week’s classic Star trek episode The Devil in the Dark is one of the best from season one and showcases one of the main themes of the series. You can watch the original version here and read the episode summary here The phrase “To seek out new life…” is in the introduction to each episode and as Spock at first rightly theorizes life can come in many different forms and it should never be assumed that just because it may take a different form it isn’t intelligent.


The main plot concerns an alien killing the miners of Janus VI but as we learn the title has a duel meaning. At first it is the creature that you assume is the devil but as the story unfolds you realize that it is the miners that are also devils in the dark. The miners look at the Horta as the devil because of what seems to be random acts of murder but after discovering that the miners have been unknowingly destroying the Horta’s eggs from the Horta’s point of view it is the miners who are the devil. When Kirk and Spock make the realization that both sides misunderstood the other a peace is reached in which both sides benefit.

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On a side note if anyone ever asked you what a “red shirt” is? One word Schmitter

Actually there are quite a lot of red shirts in this one but one scene stands out when one of the crew is killed by the Horta you see a pained Kirk kneeling next to the body showing his grief at the loss of a crewman. Not only did Kirk lose a crewman but William Shatner also lost his father during filming of this episode. He mentions in his autobiography that he was grateful to the cast and crew for helping him through the death of his father. Kirk also shows his knowledge of Vulcan empathy as he understands the risk of Spock’s mind meld. Spock’s mind meld with the Horta is another well done scene you really get to understand that the Horta is not just a mindless animal.


We get more character development between the big three as they debate the existence of Silicon based life. You get a glimpse of the friendly rivalry when Spock says he has already given Doctor McCoy sufficient cause for amusement. When McCoy is asked to help the Horta we get one of his classic I’m a doctor quotes as in “I’m a doctor not a bricklayer” and another good one “I think I can cure a rainy day”.


Security Chief Giotto will get a promotion in season two as Barry Russo who plays the part is cast as Commodore Robert Wesley in The Ultimate computer. I don’t know what Vanderberg’s men thought they would do with clubs against the Horta but they could have been a little less harsh when they subdued the Enterprise crewman Ensign Leslie took quite a beating. I would have loved to have seen some of the Horta Hatchlings scurrying about. In one non canon novel a Horta joins the crew of the Enterprise.


The re-mastered scene were few this week. The usual shots of the Enterprise plus the mining facility was improved and the scene were the Horta breaks through the rock into the chamber were Kirk is was enhanced. Next week we meet the Klingon Empire in Errand of Mercy as always Live Long and Prosper

Sister: Was anyone else reminded of “Doctor Who” at times?

Unlike some episodes, I can actually pinpoint a favorite moment in “Devil in the Dark.” As Spock is talking to Captain Kirk over the communicator, hears the cave in, and switches to calling him Jim, I find myself grinning. Somehow it caught me by surprise just as much this time around as it did when I watched it first. (Admittedly, this was only our second time, and several years later.) Also, I quite enjoy McCoy’s amusement at Spock’s theory of a Silicone based life form. In the end our favorite science officer is proven right, as is always the case, but Spock clearly doesn’t want to be laughed at and so refuses to speculate further.

And I still can’t decide if “NO KILL I” is brilliant, or a simple lack of grammatical knowledge.

Brother: When it was mentioned that the miners would hunt down the Horta “with clubs if they had to,” I assumed that it was exaggeration. But then I noticed that the guy in purple actually had a metal pole. At first I assumed that was because he was going to be leading a team of miners and would use it to dramatically point “Let’s go this way!” but then it turned out that many of the miners thought it would work as a weapon. Huh? “Gee, we can’t stop it with our phasers, and it’s killed fifty people, let’s cudgel it to death!”

On the positive side, I love what they have done with the title of this episode. It’s not a pun, but it tricks you into thinking it’s talking about the Horta, but then later, it’s the Humans who are called “devils!” Of course, it seems kind of stupid to mention it because it’s so obvious.