Star Trek (1968): S02E23 – The Omega Glory


Introduction

“The Omega Glory” is the twenty-third episode of the second season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek.

Written by Gene Roddenberry and directed by Vincent McEveety, it was first broadcast 01 March 1968.

In the episode, Captain Kirk must find the cure to a deadly disease and put an end to another Starfleet captain’s cultural interference.

The story was one of three outlines submitted for selection as the second pilot of Star Trek, the others being “Mudd’s Women” and “Where No Man Has Gone Before“.

Outline

As the Federation Starship Enterprise approaches planet Omega IV, the USS Exeter is found orbiting the planet, and Captain Kirk, along with First Officer Spock, Dr. McCoy and Lt. Galloway, beams over to investigate. They find the ship deserted, save for a few uniforms covered with a crystalline substance found to be human remains. The ship’s logs reveal that the Exeter’s crew has died from an infectious disease brought from the planet, and that Enterprise’s landing party must beam down to the planet if they are to survive.

Kirk’s party beams to the last coordinates in the Exeter’s computer and discovers Exeter Captain Ron Tracey (Morgan Woodward) in what resembles a Tibetan village. Tracey explains that he was stranded when the disease ravaged his ship, and has discovered that remaining on the planet confers immunity. Tracey then reveals that the villagers, known as “Kohms”, are at war with savages called “Yangs”.

After a Yang attack, Spock investigates the field of battle and finds evidence that Tracey has been helping the Kohms in violation of the Prime Directive. Kirk tries to contact the Enterprise, but is prevented by Tracey. To justify his actions, Tracey reveals that not only have the natives become immune to the mysterious disease, but they have developed lifespans of over 1000 years.

Tracey orders McCoy to investigate the secrets of their longevity and has Kirk and Spock locked up in a crude jail with two Yang prisoners, one male and one female. Kirk has the Yang male loosen the bars of the cell window, but the Yang knocks Kirk out and escapes with the woman. When Kirk recovers, he and Spock make their own escape.

Reunited with McCoy, Spock modifies some medical equipment into a makeshift communicator, which is destroyed by Tracey. McCoy and Kirk try to explain that the natives’ longevity has nothing to do with their immunity to the disease, but Tracey’s mind snaps, and he attempts to force Kirk to order more weapons to be sent down from Enterprise.

During a struggle between the two, Yang warriors arrive and carry everyone back to their village. Their leader is Kirk’s cellmate, known as Cloud William. During a ceremony to celebrate the Yang victory, Kirk and Spock, discussing the Yang culture, connect the names Yang and Kohm with “Yankee” and “Communist”. Spock surmises that the history of Omega IV closely paralleled that of Earth, until the former was devastated by a biological war which Earth had avoided. This hypothesis is confirmed when William produces a very old American Flag, along with ancient documents from which he recites the Pledge of Allegiance in a garbled accent. The Yangs are shocked when Kirk completes the Pledge.

Tracey, in an attempt to save his own life, denounces Kirk and Spock, claiming that they were cast out of Heaven, and points to Spock’s similar appearance to the devil as proof. William asks Kirk to prove himself by completing the “sacred words” from another document. Because of the accent, Kirk doesn’t understand the words and instead suggests trial by combat between himself and Tracey. As they fight, Spock sends a mental suggestion to William’s female companion to activate the communicator lying near her. Sulu and a security detail beam down to investigate, and Tracey is taken into custody.

Cloud William now kneels before Kirk as if he were a deity, but Kirk orders him to stand. The second document proves to be a version of the American Constitution. Kirk rebukes the Yangs for forgetting its meaning, and declares that the words were meant not just for the Yangs, but “must apply to everyone or they mean nothing.” William does not fully understand, but swears to Kirk that the words will be obeyed

Star Trek TV Series

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Star Trek TV Series, Films, and Documentaries

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Vincent McEveety.
  • Writer(s): Gene Roddenberry.
  • 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: 01 March 1968.
  • Running Time: 50 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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