And here we go again, this week we’re talking about “This Side of Paradise”, which again, I have no memory of. I feel like I must have seen it, but these kind of brain-altering episodes start to blend together in my brain. I started out thinking it was going to be boring, then I thought it would get stupid, then it got interesting, and then it got boring again.
Kirk and the gang beam down to a Bonanza set and meet a bunch of cowboys who used to be Starfleet scientists. They’re supposed to be dead - what with the planet being bombarded by deadly rays. You’d think somebody would have told them ahead of time that maybe that wasn’t a great planet, but at least Starfleet will come along a few years later and pick up your corpse. But, again, the cowboys aren’t dead, but very happy.
Spock wanders off with a lovely young lady who shows him a planet that shoots confetti at him. He gets a headache, then he gets horny. A little while later Kirk tries to talk to the now much less horny Spock, who tells him to piss off in polite Vulcan terms. Now everybody is getting in touch with their happy but petulant side as they’re all exposed to the confetti-shooting triffids. Kirk soon finds himself alone, and for a bit there I was interested in what was going to happen, with his entire crew mutinied and abandoning ship, and he sat on the bridge alone, pondering his fate. Then a plant that got left on the bridge confettis him, and he gets happy. Then he gets mad, which cures him. How convenient.
Not a whole lot happens this episode, it’s more or less just an inversion of “The Enemy Within” except this time Kirk stays himself while everyone else goes nuts. I’m going to guess that this episode was a cost-saving effort, since they obviously reused some western set and probably had a bunch of house plants lying around for the spore producers. As I mentioned, I liked the little bit where the entire crew of the Enterprise has left Kirk alone onboard and he realizes he’s stuck, he can’t pilot the ship on his own and wouldn’t abandon his crew even if he could. But at that point we’re needing a conclusion so after getting spored himself, finds his inner anger and beats the “infection” such as it is. I guess it’s consistent at least, calling forward? to Star Trek V, where Kirk refuses to be relieved of his pain because it’s part of who he is.
But this one is overall ok. I liked the crew moments with Kirk, Spock and McCoy. I liked Spock’s moment of melancholy after being “cured”, and his remark that for the first time in his life he was happy. But not a lot really happens, it’s kind of a filler episode overall.