Star Trek (1968): S03E03 – The Paradise Syndrome


“The Paradise Syndrome” is the third episode of the third season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek.

Written by Margaret Armen and directed by Jud Taylor, it was first broadcast 04 October 1968.

In the episode, an alien device on a primitive planet erases Captain Kirk’s memory, and he begins a new life with the planet’s indigenous people modelled on Native Americans.


Captain Kirk, First Officer Spock and Chief Medical Officer Dr. McCoy transport to the surface of an earth-like planet, from which they are to deflect an approaching asteroid. They discover an obelisk with strange markings, and observe a settlement whose inhabitants, according to Spock, are descended from Native Americans. Kirk, while out of sight of the others, falls through a trap door into the obelisk, where a beam shocks him into unconsciousness. Spock and McCoy are unable to locate Kirk and return to the Federation starship USS Enterprise to complete their mission.

Kirk awakens with amnesia, and a pair of women, including Miramanee, the tribal priestess, see Kirk emerge from their “temple.” He is hailed as a god, and taken back to their village, where the tribal elders demand proof of Kirk’s divinity. At that moment, a drowned boy is brought in. Salish, the medicine chief, declares the child dead, but Kirk uses mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to revive him. The elders accept Kirk as a god, forcing Salish to relinquish his position to Kirk.

In the meantime Spock, taking command of the Enterprise, rushes at maximum warp speed to meet the approaching asteroid. However, having pushed the energy and propulsion systems beyond their normal limits, there is not much energy left to deflect the asteroid. Attempts result in a change of 0.0013 degrees in its course, which the crew deems insufficient to avoid collision with the planet. Having exhausted their options, the Enterprise begins a slower travel back to the planet to attempt to rescue people ahead of the asteroid impact.

Following the tradition that the tribe priestess and medicine chief marry, Miramanee rejects Salish for Kirk. Meanwhile, the Enterprise crew intercept the asteroid, but fail to deflect or destroy it. Spock orders the ship to shadow the asteroid back to the planet. Kirk falls deeper in love with Miramanee, though haunted at night by dreams of people he feels he should be with. Miramanee happily tells Kirk that she is pregnant.

As the Enterprise nears the planet, Spock succeeds in partially deciphering the markings on the obelisk. It is an asteroid deflector built by the “Preservers”, an ancient race that resettled various endangered humanoid populations on other planets in order to ensure their survival. Spock surmises that the obelisk has malfunctioned.

As the asteroid nears the planet, the sky darkens, thunder roars and strong winds blow, and the elders tell Kirk he must go into the temple to stop the storm. As Kirk pounds fruitlessly on the side of the obelisk, the tribe turns against him, stoning him and Miramanee. Spock and McCoy materialise, frightening the villagers away. Spock uses a mind meld to retrieve Kirk’s memories, while McCoy tends to Miramanee’s wounds. Kirk is able to open the trap door and Spock activates the deflector with minutes to spare. McCoy tells Kirk that Miramanee will not survive.

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Jud Taylor.
  • Writer(s): Margaret Armen.
  • 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: 04 October 1968.
  • Running Time: 50 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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