Star Trek : The Naked Time

November 3, 2014 in Guest Blogs, Star Trek by GuestBlogs

A Guest Blog by Mindless-Droid


This week’s classic Star Trek episode is The Naked Time. The Enterprise is sent to Psi 200 to pick up a scientific team studying the brake up of the ancient world. Upon arriving the landing party finds that the research team is dead and under very strange circumstances. Unknown to the landing party they inadvertently bring the virus that caused the death of the research team back to the Enterprise. The virus causes the host to lose their inhibitions and rational thought. As the virus spreads chaos ensues and Lieutenant Riley takes over in engineering shutting off the engines at a crucial time as the planet is breaking up and the ship is locked in orbit. McCoy races against time to find a cure as Kirk and Spock fighting the disease themselves try to regain control of the ship.


This is a great character episode and this is when Star trek is at its best. The disease brought onto the ship revealed a lot about each character starting with Tormolen and his repressed anxieties. We then see Sulu as he engages in some fancy sword play acting out his “swashbuckling” nature. One thing though, when Sulu is subdued on the bridge don’t Kirk Spock and Uhura get infected if as McCoy discovers the virus is spread by perspiration and Sulu was covered in it, a minor point but it did give us Spock’s line “Take D’Artagnan here to sickbay.”


We then move onto Riley who as Spock says fancies himself a decedent of Irish kings. I can sympathize with Kirk when he lost his cool with Uhura when she couldn’t shut off Riley’s singing. We also find out after Riley takes control of engineering and starts issuing orders as Captain Riley that the Enterprise serves ice cream (I wonder if it is the play-doh kind like the food) and that the Enterprise has a bowling alley. Riley had passed the virus onto Nurse Chapel. The rattlesnake type sound effect used when the virus is passed or takes hold of the victim was a nice way of letting the audience know who was infected and how. Nurse Chapel reveals her affection for Spock and in doing so transfers the virus to him.


We really get a great exposition into Spock’s character when his human half surfaces while he is infected and the inner struggle he deals with on a daily basis. The scene in which he struggles to control his emotions reveals a lot about his character. That scene was not originally in the script only a quick sight gag was planned but Leonard Nimoy wanted something deeper and improvised the entire scene in one take. Spock passes the disease onto Kirk who reveals his devotion to the Enterprise and the cost of that devotion.


During all this we see McCoy struggling to find an antidote for the virus. McCoy avoided infection and as more and more crewman become infected it makes his job that much more difficult but in the end he discovers the cure. Since Chekov wasn’t on board yet it fell to Sulu to have the long scream when the antidote was administered. Scotty also avoided being infected and was hard at work trying to regain control of engineering after Riley had locked everyone out. In the original version of the episode as Scotty is cutting the bulkhead trying to gain access to engineering the phaser beam effect is missing. It was either missed in postproduction or as I always though the phaser was set so low as to not damage the internal circuits in the wall that it wasn’t visible. The beam has been inserted in the re-mastered version.


Riley having shut off the engines as the ship spiraled into the planet made for a great climax. The implosion restart was very tension filled and the way the ship reversed out of orbit was well done. It is here that I wished they would have went with what was to be a two part story. According to one source the time warp that the Enterprise was thrown into originally was the cause of the ship ending up in the late 1960’s and would have concluded with the episode Tomorrow is Yesterday. Instead Spock states that they were only thrown back three days. Now does this mean that the entire rest of the OS is in a different timeline? The debate could get complex so I’ll leave it at that.