Director: Marc Daniels
Writers: D.C. Fontana and Jerome Bixby
Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Warren Stevens, Barbara Bouchet, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, Majel Barrett, Stewart Moss, Walter Koenig, Robert Fortier, Lezlie Dalton, Carl Byrd, and Julie Cobb
Composer: Fred Steiner
Air Date: 2/23/1968
Production #: 60350
While responding to a fake distress signal, Captain Kirk takes a landing party to a planet occupied by powerful humanoids called Kelvans. Rojan (Warren Stevens), the Kelvan leader, assumes control of the Enterprise so that he may return to the Andromeda Galaxy and warn his people about the radiation levels that will render their home world uninhabitable in ten thousand years’ time. However, after winning the affections of a female Kelvan known as Kelinda (Barbara Bouchet), Kirk finds out that Rojan is not as immune to primitive emotions as he would have others believe.
Similar to “Catspaw” and “Return to Tomorrow,” “By Any Other Name” explores the concept of a superior alien race becoming vulnerable to human vices after relinquishing a higher form of existence. Despite a few silly moments stemming from Scotty’s attempt to inebriate his Kelvan guest, this episode will appeal to Star Trek fans for its intelligent commentary on the aforementioned premise.
In contrast to his usual authoritative self, Kirk is forced to remain helpless for the majority of D.C. Fontana’s narrative. The captain’s indecisiveness and lack of control, especially when faced with the option of destroying the Enterprise upon crossing the galactic barrier, will fascinate audiences who are accustomed to watching Kirk gain the upper hand in every circumstance.
Also worth mentioning is the fact that Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Scotty are each required to play a unique role when outmaneuvering the Kelvans (this exhibition of teamwork will no doubt appeal to fans who have come to view the Enterprise crew as a family unit). Especially commendable are Kirk’s efforts to seduce Kelinda and infuriate Rojan as a result, which redeem the captain from his ineffectual tendencies during previous encounters with the Kelvan people.
Once again, Kirk sets a worthy example by extending mercy to his enemies. That being said, many viewers may feel frustrated over the fact that Rojan is never punished for killing a human being in cold blood.
Though lacking in justice, “By Any Other Name” embodies the Star Trek philosophy by having Kirk find a peaceful and diplomatic resolution to his conflict with a hostile alien species. Additionally, those who enjoy the original series for its campy moments will appreciate Scotty’s dialogue with an intoxicated alien.
Overall Quality: 9/10
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