shore leave

Shore Leave (Star Trek)

"Shore Leave" is a first-season episode of Star Trek: The Original Series. It was first broadcast on December 29, 1966, and repeated on June 8, 1967. It is episode #15, production #17, and was written by science fiction author Theodore Sturgeon, and directed by Robert Sparr.

Overview: The crew of the Enterprise visits a bizarre planet of dangerous illusions.

Plot

On stardate 3025.3, the starship USS Enterprise, under the command of Captain James T. Kirk, arrives at a planet in the Omicron Delta system. Scans reveal the planet to be congenial, and Kirk announces shore leave for all off-duty personnel.

Not long after beaming down, the landing parties discover some strange things are going on. Dr. McCoy sees a large, humanoid white rabbit hop past hurriedly, and a moment later Alice asks McCoy if a rabbit has passed by. Lt. Sulu is attacked by a katana-wielding samurai. Yeoman Tonia Barrows is accosted by Don Juan.

Kirk beams down to confirm McCoy's seemingly ludicrous report of seeing characters from Alice in Wonderland. At first, Kirk doesn't believe the doctor's story, but then he spots large bunny tracks as proof. Kirk then stumbles upon young Finnegan, a cocky practical joker he knew back from his academy days and a former girlfriend, Ruth, whom he hasn't seen in years.

Kirk orders a temporary halt to the beaming down of personnel until they can discover what is really happening. At the same time Mr. Spock reports that the planet is emanating a strange force field which seems to be drawing energy from the ship's engines. If the drain continues it could jeopardize the ship. He also reports that the energy patterns suggest some kind of industrial activity.

Spock beams down to gather sensor readings as communications with the ship are nearing impossible. Just as Yeoman Barrows finishes changing into a medieval dress, a knight charges her. McCoy steps in front of Barrows to protect her, and is impaled with the lance. Kirk shoots the knight with the pistol he confiscated from Sulu. Kirk and Spock analyze the body of the knight and find out it is not human but similar to the plant life around them and appears to be "manufactured". A fighter plane then strafes the landing party, and during the commotion, the bodies of Dr. McCoy and the knight mysteriously vanish.

Spock deduces a connection between the visions and the landing party's thoughts just before the visions appear and asks Kirk what was on his mind just before his "vision". Kirk recalls thinking of his academy days, then as Spock expected, Finnegan reappears. Finnegan taunts the Captain then runs off, with Kirk on his heels. The chase ends in a ravine where Finnegan sneaks up on Kirk and attacks him. Remembering all the torment the older cadet put him through, Kirk fights back and knocks Finnegan out. Spock and Kirk realize that their thoughts are conjuring up their fantasies, but the visions are starting to prove deadly for them. Kirk orders everyone to come to attention and stop thinking about anything.

An elderly man appears and identifies himself as the "Caretaker". Accompanying him is Dr. McCoy, who was revived by the sophisticated machinery below the planet's surface. McCoy smiles and confirms he's all right and shows off the two sexy Rigelian cabaret girls he conjured up.

The Caretaker informs Kirk that planet is a sophisticated "amusement park", but the illusions are not designed to be harmful or to last permanently. He apologizes for the misunderstandings and offers the services of the planet to the Enterprise's weary crew, with the caution that the visitors must choose their amusements with care. Kirk accepts the offer as Ruth appears again, and authorizes the crew to beam down. Spock however, has had his fill of shore leave, and requests to be returned to the Enterprise.

40th Anniversary remastering

This episode was re-mastered in 2006 and was first aired May 26, 2007 as part of the remastered 40th Anniversary original series. It was preceded a week earlier by the remastered version of "Patterns of Force" and followed a week later by the remastered version of "Bread and Circuses". Aside from remastered video and audio, and the all-CGI animation of the Enterprise that is standard among the revisions, specific changes to this episode also include:

  • The recreation planet has been changed to appear more Earth-like. Not much else was altered.

Notes

  • This episode, particularly the Kirk and Finnegan fight scenes, was filmed in part on location at the Vasquez Rocks and in the Africa U.S.A. compound.
  • Barbara Baldavin here reprises her role as Ensign Angela Martine, previously seen in "Balance of Terror". In that episode she was left bereaved by the death of her husband-to-be, but by this episode has become involved with crewman Estaban Rodriguez. Though in transmission order the episodes are concurrent, they were recorded separately. Angela appears to be endangered: in one scene, she is either killed or simply faints halfway through this episode. She is later seen alive and well in the background in the final planet-side scene, reunited with Rodriguez. As the planet's caretaker has explained, supposed dangers are merely illusory --they are all part of the adventure.
  • There is an annual science fiction convention held in the vicinity of Baltimore, MD, called "Shore Leave" in homage to the episode. Information on the convention can be found at http://www.shore-leave.com/.
  • This was director Robert Sparr's only episode in the series. He was killed in a plane crash in 1969 that also seriously injured Star Trek Director of Photography Gerry Finnerman.

Revisit

The animated Star Trek episode "Once Upon a Planet" involved the Enterprise returning to the amusement park planet for another rest. However, the caretaker has died, and the computer left to run the planet, a fairly intelligent machine, now resents its role as servant, and turns against visitors using the props and personalities the visitors think about, even if they don't intend to summon them. Although McCoy didn't intend to meet her, the Queen of Diamonds appears and hollers, "off with his head!" The computer also abducts Uhura, and begins building a computer on the starship to take control of it.

Spock and Kirk use a ruse to get Spock taken underground as a "sick" visitor needing to be cared for. Spock then argues with the computer, persuading it that it can learn much from visitors while those visitors come to be entertained. The computer restores pleasure operations, releases Uhura and the Enterprise, and Spock is more than willing to spend his shore leave exchanging views with the computer.

External links


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