Wink of an Eye
It's unfortunate when you must discard in full the very premise of an episode in order to consider it, but that's what is needed here. At the different time scales of the two story lines here, generations of aliens would come and go in the time it takes Kirk to figure out what has happened. In fact, the entire ship could have been subdued in the time it took for the landing party to step off the transporter platform. For that reason, the premise must be forgiven. (When Voyager did a similar episode decades later, they had similar problems, but solved them much more sensibly. That episode is a rare remake that is much better than the material on which it was based.)
What we're left with is yet another dying civilzation trying to use the Enterprise crew to perpetuate itself. This one has modestly interesting twists in suspended animation and mass infertility, but they never rise to the level of good Trek.
On the character level, we have a love triangle which has almost nothing to it. Rael loves Deela, though we know nothing of their backstory. Deela loves Kirk, and at least gives a few reasons as the story progresses. But beyond being queen, we know nothing about Deela. And Kirk blatantly manipulates her (including, presumably, sleeping with her) to get what he wants. This would be interesting if it were not already well-established that Kirk will do almost anything for his ship. It's a dead end. Kirk comes off as simply taking advantage of an easy roll.
There's no character interaction between our heroes, save for the wonderful moment when Kirk meets Spock in the corridor and simply smiles -- a rare moment of restraint in the third season.
It must be acknowledged, however, that Theiss has outdone himself yet again at both ends of the scale. The creation for Deela is quite lovely, and nicely avoides going over the top. It may not be a very pracitcal garment, but she is the queen and can wear whatever she pleases. At the opposite end of the scale, the shiny dentist outfits on the men are completely hideous and ill-fitting. Clearly, Theiss likes to work with the female form much better, and has wonderful imagination for how to best show it off (it helps that Browne has at least one stunning leg).
The idea for the episode apparently came from Gene Coon, who was so disappointed with the outcome that he removed his name. One has to believe that if he had seen it to completion, problems of the time differential would have been solved, and the character interaction beefed up. Without these things, this episode contains barely a whiff of Trek.
Rating: Bottom (6)
I think you are way off on your evaluation here. I love this episode and think the idea is magnificent! Like the aliens moving out of the way of the phaser fire because it is so slow. Totally cool. Totally fun.
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Those interested in this Star Trek episode could try reading H.G. Well's short story "The New Accelerator" (1901). The full text can be found at www.classicreader.com.
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