Director: Marc Daniels
Writer: Lee Cronin
Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Marj Dusay, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Majel Barrett, James Daris, and Sheila Leighton
Composer: Fred Steiner
Air Date: 9/20/1968
Production #: 60043-61
A humanoid named Kara (Marj Dusay) teleports herself aboard the Enterprise and removes the brain from Spock’s body, thus forcing Kirk, McCoy, and Scotty to explore the “pre-industrial” world of Sigma Draconis VI. Once there, the crew discovers a primitive alien race governed by the Controller—a living computer who intends to replace his own brain with that of Spock. After receiving instructions from another machine known as the Great Teacher, McCoy makes a risky effort to restore Spock’s brain to its original home.
A fun, campy episode, “Spock’s Brain” more closely resembles a 1950s B-movie than a typical episode of Star Trek. That being said, series enthusiasts may enjoy this bizarre tale for its occasionally thought-provoking subject matter.
After commencing the search for Spock’s brain, Captain Kirk and his fellow officers encounter a variety of situations that will no doubt amuse, albeit unintentionally, Star Trek fans with a sense of humor. Notably, McCoy’s ability to maneuver Spock’s body via remote control should entertain viewers for obvious reasons, while William Shatner’s hammy delivery of the line, “What have you done with Spock’s brain?” offers a memorable addition to an otherwise mediocre episode.
Even if one were to ignore the absurd premise on which it operates, “Spock’s Brain” raises more questions than it ultimately answers. Specifically, no attempt is made to explain how the Morgs (males) and Eymorgs (females) could have survived for thousands of years without intimate knowledge of each other’s existence (of course, it is possible that the Controller provided his subjects with a means of reproduction when necessary). Also confusing is the fact that Spock manages to guide McCoy through the transplant procedure after regaining use of his speech center, yet no prior dialogue indicates that Spock would possess the surgical knowledge required to reconnect his own brain (again, the Controller may have given Spock the information in question; however, such an explanation does not touch upon his motivations for keeping the Vulcan science officer alive in the first place).
Similar to “Catspaw,” “Spock’s Brain” forgoes the penetrating insight for which Star Trek is known in favor of mindless (no pun intended) entertainment, which is exactly where it excels. Gene L. Coon’s narrative never tries to be anything more than a simple alien adventure piece, though it should be noted that more thoughtful allusions to artificial intelligence acting as a potential substitute for human productivity are present.
While a silly approach detracts from the intellectual commentary outlined above, “Spock’s Brain” is nonetheless an underrated episode. In addition to its implicit exploration of the “needs of the many” philosophy, this inaugural third season installment contains a number of humorous sequences that should make for a delightful viewing experience.
Overall Quality: 6/10
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