Star Trek (1966): S01E04 – The Naked Time


Introduction

“The Naked Time” is the fourth episode of the first season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek.

In the episode, a strange, intoxicating infection, which lowers the crew’s inhibitions, spreads throughout the Enterprise. As the madness spreads, the entire ship is endangered.

This was the first episode in which the audience saw the Vulcan nerve pinch (the nerve pinch was actually produced (filmed) first in “The Enemy Within“, but “Enemy” was broadcast a week after “Naked Time”).

The story has a sequel in Star Trek: The Next Generation, the episode “The Naked Now“.

Outline

On stardate 1704.2, the Federation starship USS Enterprise, under the command of Captain James T. Kirk, arrives at the dying planet Psi 2000. Their mission is to observe and document the planet’s breakup, and to retrieve a research team stationed on the planet. Mr. Spock and Lt (junior grade) Joe Tormolen beam down and find the researchers’ life support system shut down and the team frozen to death—one fully clothed in a shower, another seated at a control console as if nothing was wrong, and one woman who was strangled. Tormolen removes his environmental suit glove to scratch his nose and comes in contact with a strange red liquid. The landing party is beamed back to the ship and examined by Chief Medical Officer Dr. McCoy. McCoy finds no medical issues with them and allows them to return to duty.

While having lunch, Tormolen begins to act irrationally, expressing hostility towards other crew members, and threatening Lieutenants Sulu and Riley with a knife before turning it on himself. His wound is not life-threatening, but in sick bay he dies after a successful surgery, to McCoy’s bewilderment.

Meanwhile, both Sulu and Riley also begin to behave irrationally. Sulu acts like a 17th-century swashbuckler in the style of The Three Musketeers, while Riley revels in his Irish ancestry, locks himself in the Engineering section, and proclaims himself captain of the Enterprise. Those whose skin they have touched soon follow suit, and the infection quickly spreads through the crew. As they abandon their posts, the ship’s orbit destabilises and she begins to fall into the planet’s erratic gravity well. As the Enterprise enters the upper atmosphere, the hull begins to heat.

Chief Engineer Scott eventually regains control of Engineering from Riley, but Riley has shut down the engines. It will be impossible to restart them by normal procedures before the Enterprise crashes into the planet.

Spock becomes infected when Nurse Chapel takes his hands and confesses her love for the Vulcan science officer. Spock struggles to contain his emotions, and infects Captain James T. Kirk when he tries to help. McCoy studies blood samples from his patients and water from Psi 2000 and finds that the water from the planet possesses a previously undetected complex chain of molecules that affects humanoids like alcohol, depressing the centres of judgement and self-control, and is transmitted by touch. He develops a serum to reverse the effects, administering the initial doses to the command crew to allow them to bring the ship back under control.

Kirk orders Scott to make a full-power restart of the warp engines, a dangerous process that mixes matter and antimatter in a cold state to create a controlled implosion and drive the ship away from the planet. This is suggested by a theory postulating a relationship between time and antimatter, but it has never before been attempted. The restart is successful, propelling the Enterprise at impossible speed away from the planet into a space-time warp that sends the ship back 71 hours in time. While Kirk hopes reliving the last three days is nothing like what they have already experienced, Spock comments that they now know a way to travel back through time. Kirk’s response is “We may risk it someday, Mr. Spock.”

Star Trek TV Series

You can find a full index of Star Trek TV series here.

Star Trek TV Series, Films, and Documentaries

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Marc Daniels.
  • Production: Desilu Productions (1966-1967) and Paramount Television (1968-1969).
  • Distributor(s): Paramount Pictures (1966-2006), CBS Paramount Television (2006-2007), and CBS Television Distribution (2007-Present).
  • Original Network: NBC.
  • Release Date: 29 September 1966.
  • Running Time: 50 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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