Star Trek : Spock’s Brain

April 7, 2014 in Guest Blogs, Star Trek by GuestBlogs

A Guest blog by Mindless-Droid and Siblings


This week’s classic Star Trek episode is Spock’s Brain which you can watch the original version on the official site here. While on routine patrol the Enterprise is approached by an alien vessel with advanced ion propulsion. As the ship approaches a transport beam is activated and an alien women appears on the bridge. Rendering the crew unconscious the alien walks over to Spock placing her hand on his head. After some time the crew awakens. All seems well until a frantic call from sick bay. It seems Spock’s brain has been removed and taken from the ship. With only hours till Spock’s body dies Kirk must engage in a desperate search to find Spock’s brain and save his friend.


Following an ion trail left by the alien ship the Enterprise arrives at the Sigma Draconis system. Although three of the planets are class M none of them possess the technology capable of constructing an advanced space ship. Kirk gambles that the sixth planet although glaciated and sparsely populated may be the key due to strange yet regular energy readings coming from underground. Beaming down to the planet the landing party discovers a large underground complex. They also find the male inhabitants living on the surface and no females present. Chekov discovers a cave in which a trap is set. Kirk realizing this is the way in has McCoy beam down with Spock’s body controlled by a neural stimulator and remote control device. They spring the trap and are taken below ground where they discover the female inhabitants of the planet. Spock’s brain is now installed as the controller a vast computer complex run by a living brain.


The landing party contacts Spock’s brain with their communicators he informs them of the planet’s civilization and after a brief confrontation Kirk gains the upper hand. It seems the knowledge to restore Spock’s brain comes from the central computer via the teacher a device placed on the head of the leader. After the leader refuses Kirk’s plea to help McCoy volunteers to try the device in hopes of restoring Spock’s brain. At first it works but being alien to the device McCoy loses the knowledge quicker than normal, but with help from Spock and drawing on his own surgical knowledge finishes the operation and Spock is saved.


This was the first episode of season three. A season that almost wasn’t but a letter campaign by the fans got the network to change their minds although not whole heartedly. Why do all my favorite Sci-fi series get canceled before their time? That’s a blog for another time. This episode is widely panned as one of the worst and there is some merit to that opinion but I found some things that really are not all that bad about it. I think this is another example of a great idea that they just didn’t get quite right. The idea of a living brain controlling a vast computer complex is quite interesting. You can see this as Spock explains that he feels like he is preforming all the regular functions a brain would do as he is wired into the computer. It’s just how they got him back into his body that made the episode campy.


The episode did not start out bad. I liked the new alien ship design for the re-master it’s much more futuristic than the old Buck Rodgers rocket in the original. Also this was one of the few episodes that was shot from behind Kirk’s command chair and was a new shot and not the reused one that they often inserted. It is also one of the few to have a moving star field on screen as someone walked in front of it. What were they thinking with Scotty’s new hair style?


I know it’s the era they were made but why must the female alien invaders always look like 60’s Go-go dancers one of Star Trek’s few failings. They never should have gotten rid of Number One. Sigma Draconis is a cool name for a star system and it was a nice touch seeing the star system map on the view screen. I like the new shots of the Enterprise and the planets although it was a nice move that they included the original versions on the Blu-Rays as well. That slip by Kirk was a nice touch when he on reflex asked Spock for sensor readings and he wasn’t there. It was funny too when he tells Chekov he has a thick skin. There are two red shirts in the landing party which usually means trouble but in this case they both make it.


Up until McCoy beams down with Spock this isn’t such a bad episode but then things go south. First there is the campy over dramatic dialogue “Brain and brain what is brain.” the fact they are walking Spock around with that goofy hat on controlled by a remote and what is with the clicking noise? Then you have the whole brain restoration first McCoy can do it then he forgets then he wires in Spock’s vocal cords then Spock tells him how to operate finally sitting up like nothing happens. Another thing if they pulled Spock’s brain out of the controller how did everything keep running without it?


I see they also have Play-doh food on Sigma Draconis. It was also one of the few times we see Sulu in the command chair still wish they would have made a movie with Sulu in command of the Excelsior always liked that ship and its crew from Star Trek VI. Figures Kirk would recognize the delight aspect of the givers of pain and delight always brings me back to that Star Trek VI quote “What is it with you anyway?” It’s fun to spot things that have been repurposed in this series the controller computer looks a lot like the M5 at times. The actual control room is not a bad piece of set work. It gave the impression of a centralized brain controlling everything.


Although the brain restoration was not the best, the scene between the big three before McCoy puts on the teacher was nicely done with McCoy willing to risk his life for Spock. Spock not wanting him to and Kirk having to make the ultimate decision. I would have liked to hear more of the planet’s history but they had to camp it up about not reconnecting Spock’s vocal cords and what are they were going to do with the people now that they have no controller they all have to live on the surface I hope they have thick skins. The ending was kind of sudden. Well at least no red shirts were harmed in this episode.

Sister: I’m going to try Mindless Droid’s method of blogging the episode.

Is this the only OS episode to have a character’s name in the title?
Oooo, I like seeing Mr. Sulu’s sighting scope thing come up, usually we just see it as being up or down, without the transition. Later on in the episode we get to see Kirk and Chekov in front of the forward view screen too.

Now the opening text is blue. I wonder what the reason was for changing it from yellow. Love how the star field is made of up blue and red stars instead of just the stereotypical white used in computer screensavers.

Some of the dialog… Why would the studio choose this to be the opening episode?

Before beaming down, we have a scene in which Captain Kirk must decide which planet to travel to. With Spock, McCoy, and Scotty all off the bridge, Sulu, Uhura and Chekov have a moment to look useful. It’s good to see more of the crew working together and trying to piece things together, because let’s face it, usually Spock figures out a situation with minimal assistance from the rest of the bridge crew.

That is quite an impressive remote control Scott and McCoy built, with a button to make Spock move his finger over to press the red button on the bracelet.

Spock was quite animated in his interest in the circumstances leading up to the situation shown in this episode. And I don’t blame him, it is such a strange situation, and I would gladly have sat and listened to him explain it for a while.

If you overlook the rather silly plot of Spock’s Brain, there are actually a number of good aspects to the episode

Brother: What on Earth—I mean, what on Sigma Draconis would it be like to grow in this crazy split society? At what age are the boys kicked out to live on the surface? Do they never form good relationships with their female relatives? Probably, they would be kept separate from any sisters that they might have, but one would imagine that they would still need their mothers for a few years before they could be sent out to live in a 40 degree environment.