I Want to Live: TOS “The Enemy Within”

A transporter malfunction splits Kirk into two beings, one a savage Kirk, one a docile Kirk, while crew members on a freezing planet below cannot be rescued until the malfunction is fixed.

  • In the enhanced graphics, we see a nice planet below the Enterprise orbit.
  • The episode’s cute alien animal is a small dog fitted out with a unicorn horn and a weird long tail.
  • There are curious continuity errors: in the early scenes, Kirk’s shirt has no insignia at all. Then when the evil Kirk challenges McCoy for Saurian brandy, his shirt has the usual insignia; and in subsequent scenes, the docile Kirk’s shirt does also. As the story develops, the docile Kirk wears his green wrap-around shirt for much of the episode, presumably to allow viewers to easily tell the two Kirks apart.
  • This story, written by the accomplished author Richard Matheson (though as always presumably rewritten by the producers to conform to the Trek bible), is curious in several ways. First, it challenges the notion of the transporter, how it dissolves a person at one end, and recreates them (him/her) at the other. What are the implications of this? Is the essence of the person held in electronics somehow, in the interim? James Blish’s one original Trek novel was called Spock Must Die! and it dealt with a similar implication: suppose the transporter created two Spocks? In that case both Spocks are identical and claim to be real. What to do? The topic is the subject of metaphysical qualms. If a Trek transporter existed, would you go through it? That is, if the transporter recreated your entire physical structure, every molecule and every atom, would the result be you? Or would you worry about some essence, a soul perhaps, that might not be transported along with the physical body…? Or leaving the neuro-physiologically discredited notion of soul aside, would you worry that somehow something implicit in the structure of your brain, in an emergent way, not appear in a duplicate? And what if, as these stories suppose, a duplicate would be created? Is that your identical twin?… or some kind of zombie?
  • I think the best understanding of neurology is that such a complete duplicate would in fact be another creature with a ‘soul’, however you choose to think of it, equivalent to yours. On the other hand, I think the idea of such a transporter is not very plausible.
  • Trek premise: this is a relatively early episode, which is why, viewing this later, we can’t point out that the Enterprise has *shuttlecraft* which might go down to the planet to rescue the stranded crewmen.
  • At the same time, this episode exhibits the “it was raining on Mongo” cliché, the idea that some weather condition is happening everywhere on the planet; in this case, that the temperature is dropping in the area where the landing party, including Sulu, is stuck. Maybe so.
  • The evil Kirk hits on his yeoman, Janice Rand, claiming feelings they’ve suppressed, and seemingly about to rape her, until she scratches his fact and struggles free. This would be the first time in the series Kirk has displayed his amorousness, albeit in a violent, atypical way. Later, Yeoman Rand tries to explain, almost to excuse what her captain did: “I can understand, I wouldn’t even have mentioned it…” – which by today’s standards is remarkably lame.
  • In terms of the dramatic arc of this story, the ‘evil’ Kirk is captured and restrained relatively early; the last half of the episode consists of several discussions between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, about the idea of good vs evil in the human personality, and how without the aggressiveness of Kirk’s ‘evil’ side, the ‘good’ or docile Kirk finds himself more and more difficult to make decisions. The script, and the direction, are very good here. Spock emphasizes that the docile Kirk’s *intellect* will help him prevail.
  • [Added thought, 2019: this dichotomy is analogous to that between the intuitive/emotional and self-reflecting/rational modes of the human mind — Jonathan Haidt’s elephant and rider, Daniel Kahneman’s System 1 and System 2 — a more nuanced distinction than simple ‘good’ vs. ‘evil’.]
  • McCoy has an iconic line in this episode – “He’s dead, Jim”, — though he’s talking about that alien dog with the unicorn horn.
  • The scenes of the crewmen, including Sulu, on the freezing planet below are striking – “Rice wine would be fine too” – but probably not plausible. 117 degrees below zero, and they are still alive huddled under heat blankets?
  • Spock’s comment to Rand, at the very end, is out of character, and rather unforgivably crude – she’s been assaulted and almost raped, and Spock wonders if she didn’t find that version of Kirk had some “interesting qualities”. The actress to who played Rand (Grace Lee Whitney) was unhappy about the scene, and you might wonder if Leonard Nimoy mightn’t have objected, if the series had been further along and his character more firmly established.

The Lawrence adaptation, in ST8, p31:

  • A fairly complete adaptation of the script, with minor variations perhaps revealing an alternate draft, or changes made during filming and edited. And also several odd wordings, as if the adapter(s) were not very familiar with watching the actual show.
  • The text calls the second Kirk the ‘double’.
  • There’s an encounter between McCoy and Kirk1 before McCoy sees Fisher—and Kirk2.
  • The adaptation omits ‘Saurian’ in reference to brandy. There are more lines here, including McCoy advising Kirk to drink the brandy in his quarters, and a call from McCoy to Spock before, as broadcast, Spock visits Kirk in the latter’s quarters. At the end of this scene Kirk reaches for “his Captain’s coat.”
  • P35 reference to Deck 12 being “corridors above” Kirk in his quarters.
  • Then the adaptation refers to the second Kirk as ‘it’.
  • P36 example of too much (dubious) character analysis, here in which we’re told that Rand has always thought Kirk was the most desirable man she’d ever met. Is that so?
  • Kirk is much more brutal to Fisher here than we saw in the broadcast version.
  • P38 the Kirk double “pries” open the door to his quarters, and then “unlocks” the door to the sleeping compartment. Had the adapters ever seen the show? (Is it possible copy-editors at Bantam who’d never seen the show made these changes?)
  • Note that the adaptation makes no attempt to explain why shuttlecraft aren’t used to rescue Sulu and the others. (They weren’t because the story was conceived and filmed before anyone thought the Enterprise might have shuttles.)
  • After the second Kirk is found and confined in sickbay, Spock’s analysis is much longer than as broadcast, and does not use the terms good and evil. The scene reads as if tightened for the better, albeit replacing terms like “positive and negative energies” with the more simple-minded “good and evil.”
  • Later McCoy, in the adaptation, uses the words wolf and lamb to describe the two sides that must be recombined. Here again, the broadcast version, which omits those words and stresses strength of command and intelligence, seems better.
  • P56 Quite oddly, it is Rand who wants to apologize to Kirk (when the second Kirk has escaped and finds her), rather than, as broadcast, her reacting rather passively to the second Kirk’s show apology.
  • When the two Kirks meet on the bridge, the adaptation has the first Kirk use his phaser to take down the double, rather than, as broadcast, the two of them both realizing, in dialogue, that they need each other.
  • The adaptation includes, and even repeats, Spock’s final lewd suggestion to Rand that the duplicate had some interesting qualities.
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