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Captain Kirk (William Shatner) & Doctor McCoy (DeForest Kelley) plus
crewman Darnell (Michael Zaslow) from the Starship Enterprise beam doown onto a
deserted planet to perform medical checks on an archeologist couple Robert
(Alfred Ryder) & Nancy Crater (Jeanne Bal) ... with the female part
of the couple being McCoy's long lost love ...
& would you know it, all 3
men from the Enterprise see her differently: Kirk sees a woman in her 40's,
McCoy sees her exactly as he left her, & Darnell sees her as a blonde
bombshell (then played by Francine Pyne). To little surprise to the audience,
she is of course some kind of shapeshifter, & it is also not very
surprising that crewman Darnell soon turns up dead when left alone with her.
aboard the ship, the doctor finds out the man died from something as impossible
& inexplicable as salt deprivation, but when he & Kirk with 2 crewmen
go down to the planet again to question Robert Crater, his wife in all secrecy
kills the 2 crewmen & sucks their salt, before turning into one of them,
crewman Green (Bruce Watson), & as him gaining easy access to the
Aboard the Enterprise, Nancy the Saltvampire finds it incredibly
easy to get to people to szuck their salt, leaving Captain Kirk & even his
logic-obsessed first officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy) baffled ... so baffled that
the pair of them decides to beam down onto the planet yet again to force Crater
to accompany them to the ship & help them find the creature at gunpoint.
on the Enterprise, Crater, Kirk, Spock & McCoy try to make up a plan to
hunt down the creature - according to Crater the last of its kind that must be
kept alive at any cost -, but Crater seems to show little cooperation ...
& McCoy is really the saltvampire in disguise. Soon Crater & the fake
McCoy even manage to overcome Spock, before the saltvampire, in a sudden urge
for salt, sucks Crater saltless, then it goes after Kirk ... in McCoy's
sleeping quarters no less, & the real McCoy is unable to shoot the
saltvampire as it has taken on the form of his love Nancy again. But when it
starts sucking the salt out of Kirk, it (inexplicably) turns back to its
original form, a hideous monster, & now McCoy shows little hesitation to
The first ever aired episode of Star Trek
(other episodes, including the actual pilot The Cage, were in fact
filmed sooner but shown later (in the case of The Cage much later).
series was actually only moderately successful during its original run, but
once it was discontinued in 1969, it gained such a momentum that an animated
series (in 1974), a series of motion pictures & 4 spin-off series followed.
episode is not especially clever in storytelling (the fact that Nancy is
a shapeshifting salt-vampire is given away way too soon), & it doesn't
feature any special effects to speak of that would elevate it above other 60's
sci-fi-stuff, but it does feature a certain naive gung-ho attitude towards
space travel that would permeate the original Star Trek series (& was sadly
amiss from all the spin-offs), where there was little that couldn't be sorted
out in a fistfight, & if in doubt, there was always the possibility to shoot
IT. This might of course not be entirely politically correct from today's
point of view, but it makes a nic piece of mindless, highly entertaining