(written from a Production point of view)
As the Enterprise comes under attack on the way to a diplomatic conference on Babel, one of the alien dignitaries is murdered, and Spock's estranged father Sarek is the prime suspect – but he is also deathly ill, and only Spock can save him.
The USS Enterprise arrives in orbit around the planet Vulcan, picking up the last delegation of Vulcans to add to an assortment of 114 ambassadors and dignitaries aboard (including Andorians and Tellarites). The delegates will be attending a conference on the neutral planetoid named Babel to decide the admission of the planet Coridan to the Federation, which is rich in dilithium but is poorly defended. As the Vulcan delegation arrive on the shuttle Galileo, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy greet the Vulcan ambassador to Earth, Sarek, and his Human wife Amanda. Welcoming the ambassador aboard, Kirk offers to have Spock take him and his wife on a tour of the ship, but Sarek coldly asks that someone else give it. Sensing unpleasantness between the two Vulcans, Kirk suggests to Spock that, with two hours before the ship leaves orbit, he should beam down to the planet and visit his parents. But Spock says that would be unnecessary, because Ambassador Sarek and his wife are his parents.
- "Captain's log, stardate 3842.3. We have departed Vulcan for the neutral planetoid code-named Babel. Since it is in our sector, the Enterprise has been assigned to transport ambassadors of Federation planets to this vitally important council. The issues of the council are politically complex, the passengers… explosive."
As Kirk conducts a tour of the ship for the ambassador and his wife, he seeks out the roots of estrangement between Spock and his parents once they pass by Spock in Engineering. The rift seemingly sprang from Spock's election to attend Starfleet Academy over his fathers' choice of the Vulcan Science Academy as Sarek followed his father's teachings. Kirk voices support of Spock's choices and notes that he has a personal friendship with Spock to his mother Amanda, who appreciates the sentiment but also warns that the estrangement between father and son may be permanent, since it has been 18 years.
- "Captain's log, stardate 3842.4. The interplanetary conference will consider the petition of the Coridan planets to be admitted to the Federation. The Coridan system has been claimed by some of the races now aboard our ship as delegates, races who have strong personal reasons for keeping Coridan out of the Federation. The most pressing problem aboard the Enterprise is to make sure that open warfare does not break out among the delegates, before the conference begins."
The delegates meet at a reception on the Enterprise. The Tellarite ambassador, Gav, confronts Sarek asking about his vote on Coridan's admission, to which he replies that it would be known at the conference.
Kirk and Sarek move on to other guests while McCoy discovers a hint of Spock's childhood from Amanda, that he had a pet sehlat, "a fat teddy bear," as Amanda says, delighting the doctor. Spock corrects his mother's sentiment, saying that on Vulcan, the "teddy bears" are alive and have six-inch long fangs.
Kirk also learns the Enterprise is being tailed by a mysterious unidentified vessel. On the bridge, they determine that the vessel is an unknown configuration, unauthorized, and not responding to hails. Kirk orders an intercept to take a closer look.
Meanwhile, Amanda speaks with her husband against their son's estrangement in their quarters, but Sarek resists, saying that Spock is due respect for his own achievements, not for feelings of pride. Amanda believes Sarek feels pride in Spock despite his disapproval of Starfleet but won't show it.
The unidentified vessel makes a pass at the Enterprise at warp 10 without firing.
Later, Sarek is again confronted by Gav at the reception area, and Sarek reveals that he would vote in favor of admission, citing that Coridan needs the Federation's protection against illegal dilithium mining, which alludes to illegal Tellarite mining operations on Coridan. A brief struggle between the two ambassadors ensues, broken up by Kirk who just arrived.
Kirk, Spock, and McCoy investigate Gav's murder. McCoy explains his neck was broken in a very precise manner, leading Spock to conclude it can only be a Vulcan execution technique called tal-shaya. Kirk then deduces that Sarek is logically the prime suspect, but when he is confronted by Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, it is revealed that Sarek is becoming increasingly ill with a cardiac defect, and claims he could not have committed the murder, as he was in solitude at the time of Gav's death on the Enterprise's observation deck. McCoy takes him to sickbay.
Kirk and Spock go to the bridge and rule out the Romulans and Klingons. Uhura additionally finds that the communication signal is being received inside the ship, but not pinpointed.
It falls on McCoy to attempt to heal the ambassador with heart surgery, but the doctor has reservations, what with his own limited surgical experience on Vulcan physiology and the requirement of large amounts of a rare Vulcan blood type, T-negative. Spock elects to take the role of blood donor, risking his own life by taking a dangerous stimulant only tested on Rigelians to induce blood cell production despite Amanda's objections. They debate this for a while.
However, Kirk is suddenly stabbed by the Andorian delegate Thelev. He subdues Thelev in a corridor on deck five just outside his quarters and alerts Spock on the bridge through an intercom panel just before passing out in the corridor.
- "Captain's log, stardate 3843.4. First officer Spock in temporary command. The captain has been critically wounded by one of the delegates to the Babel conference. The ship is on alert status. We are still being followed by the intruder vessel."
Thelev is placed into custody in the Enterprise's brig. Kirk has survived the assassination attempt, but now Spock refuses to participate in the procedure while his commanding officer is lying in sickbay, stating his first duty is to the ship, and cannot relinquish command due to "personal privilege."
He goes to the brig and questions Thelev. However, even under a verifier scan and truth drug, he does not answer. The lead Andorian doesn't know him that well, and can't help other than to say the Andorians have no quarrel with Kirk.
Amanda comes to Spock to convince him to help Sarek, but Spock's decision is unchanged. However, in a bold move, despite objections from McCoy, Kirk assumes command before he is fully healed, and sends Spock to surgery, with the intent of handing command over to Scotty while Spock is undergoing the blood transfusion and recover in his quarters. When he does, however, the alien vessel comes closer and Uhura picks up a signal and determines that it's being received in the brig. Kirk orders red alert and security to search Thelev.
As McCoy takes blood from Spock and begins to operate on Sarek, Thelev attempts to escape from his cell while being searched, and the security officers use their phasers to stun him. As Thelev falls to the floor unconscious, his antenna breaks — revealing a transmitter used to communicate with the intruder vessel.
The intruder ship begins to open fire on the Enterprise. The smaller vessel makes unbelievably quick passes and phaser strikes against the larger starship, too fast for Enterprise to return fire effectively, missing with a phaser attack. Despite being faster than the Enterprise, their weapons only consist of standard phasers according to Ensign Chekov, indicating to Kirk they have little chance of success. The Enterprise continues to fight a battle against the smaller and faster ship, shuddering with each successive hit and suffering power losses. McCoy fears he may lose both his patients if the ship continues to take a pounding.
As Enterprise struggles against the unknown vessel, missing with a full spread of photon torpedoes, Thelev is brought to the bridge, where Kirk confronts him as to his true identity as a spy. Thelev is uncooperative, preferring to taunt Kirk and enjoy the view of his fellow ship succeeding over the larger Enterprise. As the power goes out in sickbay, Sarek goes into cardiac arrest. McCoy and Nurse Christine Chapel try to make do with portable resuscitation equipment in an attempt to restart his heart again.
Meanwhile, Kirk, fed up with Thelev's taunts and the other ship's apparently superior tactical ability, does the unthinkable. He drops the shields, then systematically fakes losing all power to lure the other ship in. The Enterprise appears dead in space. The enemy ship appears to hesitate, then slowly closes in for the kill. As soon as it is in range, Kirk delivers phaser fire that cripples the vessel, to the observing Thelev's disappointment. The mystery ship then self-destructs to avoid capture, and Thelev dies of an apparent suicide via slow poison.
In sickbay, Kirk discovers that Sarek's surgery was a success, and not only are he and Spock recovering well, but they are also talking again as father and son. They even tease Amanda together, Sarek explaining that despite her rampant emotions a marriage to Amanda seemed at the time the only logical thing to do. When Kirk orders McCoy to perform an autopsy on Thelev to determine his true identity, Spock surmises Thelev and the attackers in the enemy ship were Orions, who had much to gain from disrupting the Babel conference so they could continue to loot Coridan of its dilithium. Kirk then slumps, finally too exhausted and in too much pain to continue, but he continues to protest as he is led to another empty bed in the ward by McCoy and Nurse Chapel. McCoy, exercising his rightful medical authority over his patients, is eventually successful in telling Kirk and Spock to lie still and be quiet, finally and gleefully getting "the last word".
"I feel like my neck's in a sling."
- - McCoy to Kirk, on wearing the dress uniforms as they prepare for Sarek's arrival
"That hurts worse than the uniform."
- - McCoy, after attempting a Vulcan salute
"Vulcans believe that peace should not depend on force."
- - Amanda, to Kirk regarding Spock and Sarek
"Isn't it unusual for a Vulcan to retire at your age? After all, You're only 102."
"102.437 precisely, doctor. Measured in your years. I… had… other concerns."
- - McCoy and Sarek, discussing the latter's early retirement
"Tellarites do not argue for reasons. They simply argue."
- - Sarek, rebuking Gav on his need to know Sarek's vote at the conference
"On Vulcan, the teddy bears are alive. And they have six-inch fangs."
- - Spock, describing a sehlat to McCoy
"You're showing almost Human pride in your son."
- - Amanda, to Sarek on Spock's Starfleet career
"It does not require pride to ask that Spock be given the respect which is his due…not as my son, but as Spock."
- - Sarek, to his wife, Amanda, after being accused of having pride in his son, Spock
"Threats are illogical. And payment is usually expensive."
- - Sarek, after Gav threatens to make him pay for his accusations
"Vulcans do not approve of violence."
- - Spock, after McCoy states that Sarek is the prime suspect in Gav's murder
"Perhaps you should forget logic and devote yourself to motivations of passion or gain. Those are reasons for murder."
- - Shras to Spock, on explaining Thelev's actions
"You're Human, too. Let that part of you come through."
- - Amanda, pleading with Spock to save Sarek's life
"My patients don't walk out in the middle of an operation."
- - McCoy, as Spock tries to get up during Sarek's surgery
"So is your father's life."
- - Spock and McCoy, on the latter's attempt to leave in the middle of the operation to attend to matters on the bridge.
"Logic! Logic! I'm sick to death of logic!"
- - Amanda, during a rare emotional outburst
"Emotional, isn't she?"
"She has always been that way."
"Indeed. Why did you marry her?"
"At the time, it seemed the logical thing to do."
- - Spock and Sarek, teasing Amanda about her outburst
"Well, what do you know? I finally got the last word."
- - McCoy, after successfully silencing everyone in sickbay
Story and script
- D.C. Fontana's writing of this episode was inspired by several references to Spock's parents that had been littered throughout the previous installments of TOS. Fontana later admitted, "'Journey to Babel' grew out of previous writing […] There were all these little things that were running around in my brain."  One of the past references, dialogue said in "This Side of Paradise" (which Fontana had previously worked on as a writer), was especially influential to the story. Explained Fontana, "The idea really came out of the line toward the end of 'This Side of Paradise', where Spock says, 'My mother was a school teacher, my father was an ambassador.'" (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 2, pp. 84-85)
- Fontana presented Gene Roddenberry with the idea of featuring Spock's parents in an episode. She reflected, "I was kicking around stories and I finally went in to Gene […] and said, 'I want to do something about Spock's mother and father […] Let's explore that relationship.'"  "I said to Gene, 'We've talked about them, let's show them,'" Fontana continued. "He told me to do it, and I came up with 'Journey to Babel'." (Starlog issue #118, p. 18)
- Another influence on the episode was an extreme interest in exploring Spock's parentage. "We needed to see the family background that Spock was raised in, what's going on with him truly personally," Fontana related. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 2, pp. 84-85) Furthermore, she was interested in not only who Spock's parents were but also how they had shaped his identity. 
- After D.C. Fontana chose to feature Spock's family in the episode, she began to formulate some of their backstory. Said Fontana, "I made some notes about what was going on with them." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 2, p. 85) She elaborated, "I sat down and created two characters, emphasizing the triangular relationship – the rift between Sarek and Spock, with Amanda positioned in the middle." (Starlog issue #118, p. 18) It was Fontana who named Spock's mother "Amanda"; she chose that name because it means "worthy of being loved." (Star Trek: The Original Series 365, p. 217)
- D.C. Fontana was interested in making the aforementioned rift multi-dimensional. She remembered, "One of the points I […] wanted to make believable in 'Babel' was that both Spock and Sarek were right – as their own convictions applied to themselves – and wrong – as their convictions applied to each other." (Babel #5; Enterprise Incidents, number 11, p. 27) This interpersonal friction, despite being between a full-blooded Vulcan and his half-Vulcan son, enabled Fontana to somewhat humanize the story. She observed, "It was really about the generation gap which […] can be either a wall or, you know, something warm and lovely. And in this case, it was a wall, as far as between the father and son."  Fontana also reckoned that the family dynamic of having the hybrid Spock biologically between the extremities of the two others was "bound to create a lot of character problems." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 57) Gene Roddenberry approved of taking the opportunity to center the episode on the conflict between Sarek and Spock.  The multi-faceted character dynamics within the family propelled Fontana to write the story and script. "This was the first mention [in 'Journey to Babel'] that [Spock] and his father had been estranged. Well, why?" she wondered. "What's with his mother, what feelings does she have in this particular triangle between husband and son? And what kind of a woman was she to marry a Vulcan, go to Vulcan, live like a Vulcan, raise a half-Vulcan son? What was that all about?'" (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 2, pp. 84-85)
- The storyline concerning intrigue between the various ambassadors on board the Enterprise was subsequently added to the plot. With an indirect reference to the narrative about Spock's parents, D.C. Fontana stated, "I wrapped it up in a mystery, and in an adventure." 
- The multiple minor differences between this episode's first draft and its ultimate embodiment include a brief discussion between Amanda and Spock in which she tried to persuade him to talk to his father. (Star Trek Monthly issue 29, p. 28)
- In the first draft script, Sarek and Amanda had been married for thirty-eight years, Sarek had been an astrophysicist before embarking on a career in politics, and his father (Spock's grandfather) was Shariel, a famous Vulcan ambassador. (The Star Trek Compendium, p. 89)
- In an early draft, D.C. Fontana planned for a Vulcan city to be shown in the episode's teaser, when Spock meets up with his parents. She explained, "The cost of doing a 'matte,' or painting of the city, was prohibitive." (Babel #5; Enterprise Incidents, number 11, p. 26) Hence, the shot was removed. 
- Fontana was not concerned, while writing this episode, about how costly producing the story's variety of aliens would be, since she was aware that – because the installment is set entirely aboard the Enterprise with no extra planetary or ship sets needed – the finances could be spent wholly on the costumes and makeup. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 11/12, p. 46)
- In the original script, Sarek and his company were beamed aboard the Enterprise, but after going over budget with the expensive Vulcan, Andorian, and Tellarite make-up as well as the outer space footage of the Orion ship, there was no money left for the transporter effect. The Vulcans' transportation to the ship by shuttlecraft was decided upon because it could be done completely via the use of stock footage from "The Galileo Seven". (The Star Trek Compendium, p. 89)
- In D.C. Fontana's opinion, not much was altered between how she envisioned this episode and the way in which it turned out. "It was shot pretty much as I wrote it – only a couple of things were changed," related Fontana. "One scene was added in which Amanda talks to Kirk about Sarek's relationship with his son. It seemed to me that that would have been inappropriate, and that she would not have blurted out all this information to Kirk. I did not have anything to do with that scene, and I think Gene Roddenberry rewrote it." (Star Trek Monthly issue 26, p. 25)
Makeup and costumes
- Actor John Wheeler, in character as Gav, had so much trouble seeing through the prosthetics over his eyes that he was forced to raise his head to see his castmates. This added to the early mythos that all Tellarites were arrogant as well as belligerent and aggressive. (Star Trek: The Original Series 365, p. 220)
- William Blackburn, in an unused make-up scheme for the Tellarites from a make-up test, can be seen in the end credits of "The Deadly Years" and "A Private Little War".
- Andorian make-up was very expensive. Three different sets had to be created, for William O'Connell, for Reggie Nalder, and for Jim Shepherd, the stuntman doubling for O'Connell. (citation needed • edit)
- Many of the costumes worn by extras in the hallway and reception room scenes were recycled from several first season episodes, including the outfits worn by Galactic High Commissioner Ferris in "The Galileo Seven" and by Lazarus in "The Alternative Factor". A female extra (Jeannie Malone) can be seen wearing a faux fur dress worn by Lenore Karidian in "The Conscience of the King", complete with other recycled costume pieces. Another female alien is wearing Areel Shaw's civilian dress from "Court Martial", and a third one is wearing a costume left over from "Wolf in the Fold". Scotty's dress uniform was also reused on an extra (Joe Paz) playing a Starfleet delegate.
- The completed episode was very well-liked by NBC. The network urged the production staff to finish post-production of "Journey to Babel" quickly, so that it could be scheduled for the earliest possible airdate. As a result, the visual effect shots of the Orion scoutship were not ready when the trailer for the episode was assembled, hence the trailer features a different (much more primitive) effect depicting the vessel. For the same reason, the Enterprise fires purple phasers in the trailer, while phasers are blue in color in the episode itself. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season Two)
- The matte shot of Uhura appearing on the screen in engineering is one of the smallest mattes ever used in the series, until the view discs in "All Our Yesterdays".
- For some unknown reason, during the fight between Thelev and Kirk, just after Kirk's failed wall kick, the comical sound effect of a coconut conk can be heard. This may have been meant to indicate Thelev's head hitting the floor. In the remastered edition of this episode, this effect has been removed from the fight.
- The noise of the coded message sent by Thelev is also used in "Miri".
- The Orion ship was recycled as the missile in "Patterns of Force".
- The Tantalus field controls used in "Mirror, Mirror" can be seen behind McCoy while Amanda is inquiring about Sarek's condition. The couch from Kirk's Starbase 11 quarters in "Court Martial" can also be seen in McCoy's office. (The Star Trek Compendium, p. 89)
- The Tellarite ambassador is found dead in "Deck 11, section A3" which, according to Matt Jefferies' original internal schematics, is at the bottom of the main interconnecting dorsal. (citation needed • edit) The "slanting wall tube" that the Tellarite is found sprawled in is also identified as "Engineering Circuit Bay" by the wall plaque in another episode. (citation needed • edit)
- Leonard Nimoy regarded this episode's depiction of Spock's relationship with his parents as a very worthy allegory for the difficulty many teenagers encounter with their own parents. 
- When Mark Lenard was cast as Sarek for this episode, he was forty-three, only seven years older than Leonard Nimoy. (Star Trek: The Original Series 365, p. 218)
- Before he was cast as Sarek, Lenard played the first major Romulan character seen on Star Trek, the Romulan Commander in the episode "Balance of Terror".
- When she was offered the part of Amanda, Jane Wyatt had never heard of Star Trek before, and thought of it as a comedy. She expected to have a week of laughing on the set, but upon arriving for her first day of working on the episode, she was very surprised by how seriously everyone was taking the show.  As a tribute to her long and distinguished career, Wyatt is called "Miss Jane Wyatt" in the episode's closing credits.
- D.C. Fontana was uninvolved in the casting of Mark Lenard as Sarek and Jane Wyatt as Amanda but ultimately approved of the selections of those two guest stars. "[They] were brilliant together […] The two of them together looked superb," Fontana enthused. "They were just wonderful and they carried it off so well, even the Vulcanisms that we had to put in." 
- Leonard Nimoy once recalled that Mark Lenard and Jane Wyatt came to him for advice on Vulcan culture. Nimoy replied that he had come to believe Vulcans placed great importance on their hands and hand gestures, and suggested Lenard and Wyatt find a way to demonstrate that, when on screen. The actors then created the finger-touching gesture seen in the episode. ("To Boldly Go…": Season 2, TOS Season 2 DVD special features)
- James Doohan (Scott) and George Takei (Sulu) do not appear in this episode, although Scott is mentioned.
- Frank da Vinci plays one of Sarek's aides. Russ Peek, who plays the other aide, also appeared as mirror Spock's Vulcan bodyguard in "Mirror, Mirror".
Continuity and trivia
- Sarek appears on screen for the first and only time on TOS. He was not seen again until Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, seventeen years later.
- This episode introduces the Andorians and the Tellarites. Later episodes established that, along with Humans and Vulcans, they are two of the four founding members of the United Federation of Planets.
- The gathering of aliens in this episode is of notable continuity. D.C. Fontana stated about the installment, "It was the first show we had done with a number of different aliens all together in one place with some goal in mind." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 2, p. 85)
- This episode marks the first mention of Starfleet Intelligence in Star Trek production history.
- This episode is also the first mention of a pet sehlat that Spock owned in his youth. This animal appears in D.C. Fontana's Star Trek: The Animated Series first season episode "Yesteryear", which also establishes the creature's name as I-Chaya.
- Shras' suggestion that Spock forget logic and consider motivations of passion when investigating Gav's murder and Kirk's stabbing foreshadow the Vulcan-Andorian conflicts seen a century earlier, throughout Star Trek: Enterprise.
- The conclusion of this episode involves a rare breaking of the fourth wall. (Star Trek: The Original Series 365, p. 219) McCoy was looking slightly to the right of the screen and appeared to be speaking to Amanda and Nurse Chapel when he expresses delight at finally having the last word. However, a more direct breaking of the fourth wall occurred in "The Changeling" as Uhura, attempting to read the word "blue" on her viewscreen, turns directly to the camera and the viewers as she mispronounces the word as "blu-ee."
- Spock's decision to join Starfleet rather than attend the Vulcan Science Academy is seen in the film Star Trek, wherein he makes the choice after being told by the head of the VSA admissions board that his academic accomplishments were all the more impressive given the "disadvantage" of having a Human parent. While this occurs after Nero's incursion changes the timeline, screenwriter Roberto Orci stated that this took place in the prime timeline as well. (citation needed • edit)
- Tellarites were seen in two Season 3 episodes, with greatly modified masks: "The Lights of Zetar" and "Whom Gods Destroy".
- Manny Coto originally pushed to have the short, gold-skinned species from this episode attend the Coalition of Planets conference in "Terra Prime", but it proved too expensive. He named the species Ithenite, a name that is mentioned in "Azati Prime" by time traveler Daniels. (citation needed • edit)
- Spock reports that he gets readings of "trititanium" in the Orion ship's hull. It is not clear if the entire hull is made of it or parts of it. Trititanium is the material that the Enterprise's hull is made of, as Gene Roddenberry says in the novel Star Trek: The Motion Picture. It is not clear whether it is the same material as "tritanium" which is reported to be "twenty times as hard as diamond" in TOS: "Obsession".
- In DIS: "Light and Shadows", which is set in 2257, eleven years prior to this episode, Sarek and Spock share a scene together on Vulcan. Although this might seem to contradict Amanda's statement to Kirk in this episode that Spock and Sarek have not spoken "as father and son for eighteen years", her wording is still technically correct, since Spock was not in a proper state of mind in that episode, and Sarek does not directly address his son.
- D.C. Fontana has repeatedly named this episode her favorite out of all the Star Trek episodes she wrote. ("To Boldly Go…": Season 2, TOS Season 2 DVD special features; Star Trek Magazine issue 128, p. 46; et al) She noted, "It went into the Vulcan relationships between families. I think that's a story that's universal and timeless – that communication between parents and children. And that to me was the big story. The rest of it was an adventure, it was a spy story, it was a mystery, it was an action story – but all in all it was really about the parents and the child… There had still been a vast lack of communication between them and they needed to find each other as parent and child." ("To Boldly Go…": Season 2, TOS Season 2 DVD special features) Generally, Fontana enjoyed the writing of this episode. "'Journey to Babel' was a very happy experience," she noted. (Star Trek Monthly issue 26, p. 25) She also remarked, "Bringing in the whole murder and the whole political background was a lot of fun. That was the main story, but personally I was more involved, in terms of interest as a writer, with the personal story of Spock and Sarek and Amanda." Fontana also commented that, despite the fact that the family-centered storyline "takes up very little room," it turned out to be the memorable aspect of the episode. "That's the part of the story that everyone remembers," Fontana concluded. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 2, p. 85)
- Leonard Nimoy enthused, "Mark had a real sense of the dignity and the authority that the character needed. Jane was very Human – which is exactly what that character needed. They were terrific together." ("To Boldly Go…": Season 2, TOS Season 2 DVD special features)
- Director Joseph Pevney was selective with his opinion of how successful this episode was, though he was especially impressed by makeup supervisor Fred Phillips' work on the outing. "That was a good show in certain ways," remarked Pevney. "I thought the greatest contributor to it was the makeup artist. He did a fabulous job of bringing alien humanoids on board." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 57)
- While Spock (Leonard Nimoy) was often deluged with fan mail on a regular basis, this trend was outdone following the broadcast of "Journey to Babel". Indeed, the fan mail poured into the studio at an incredible rate, only this time addressed to Mark Lenard, who for two weeks, topped those coming in for Nimoy. (The World of Star Trek)
- The reference book Star Trek 101 (p. 18), by Terry J. Erdmann and Paula M. Block, counts this episode as one of the "Ten Essential Episodes" from Star Trek: The Original Series.
- In the unofficial reference book Trek Navigator: The Ultimate Guide to the Entire Trek Saga (p. 123), both Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross (the book's co-writers) individually rate this episode 4 out of 5 stars (defined as "Classic!").
- The unauthorized reference book Beyond the Final Frontier (p. 32) comments on this outing, stating, "[An] episode that is rich with color and texture. The relationship between Spock and Sarek is done extremely well, with Amanda's concern and disappointment adding an absent emotional context that makes the father-son relationship seem more tragic."
- In the souvenir magazine Star Trek 30 Years, (pp. 89 & 90) the magazine's makers included this installment as one of their all-time favorite episodes from the original Star Trek series and described it as "an enjoyable romp with a heartfelt ending." They went on to say, "Mark Lenard is appropriately stiff as Spock's Vulcan father, Sarek, and Jane Wyatt is endearing as his Earth-born mother, Amanda."
- TV Guide ranked this as the fifth best Star Trek episode for their celebration of the franchise's 30th anniversary. (TV Guide August 24, 1996 issue)
- In the magazine Cinefantastique, writer Sue Uram rated this episode 4 out of 4 stars and commented, "'Journey to Babel' marks a high point in D.C. Fontana's remarkable association with Star Trek […] Clearly, 'Journey to Babel' is important from the Federation historical perspective of attempting to form a United Nations sort of body […] However, it is the inner conflict of Mr. Spock with his father and the remarkable insights we are given into his unhappy childhood which make this show unique […] Jane Wyatt and Mark Lenard put in sterling performances as Spock's parents. It almost breaks my heart when Amanda, loving her husband and her son, must use the ultimate emotion to force Spock to face his duty – that of guilt." The same issue of Cinefantastique also included the installment among "Trek's Top Ten." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 11/12, pp. 75, 76 & 103)
- This episode was used wholesale in the Star Trek Online expansion Agents of Yesterday. In the mission "Return to Babel", the player character is sent back to the event to prevent the Na'kuhl from disrupting it. Gav's death and Kirk's stabbing were perpetrated by the Na'kuhl and the mystery ship was a collaboration between the Orions and the Na'kuhl, its destruction not a self-destruct, but the player character planting a bomb that was meant for the Enterprise in the ship itself.
- A cat version of "Journey to Babel" was featured in Jenny Parks' 2017 book Star Trek Cats.
- The remastered version of this episode premiered in syndication the weekend of 3 February 2007 and featured several notably altered effects. The Enterprise shuttlebay and landing sequence was completely redone digitally, featuring a number of background actors visible within the viewing galleries. Also revamped were shots of Vulcan (now more closely resembling its appearance in Star Trek: Enterprise) and the battle between the Enterprise and the Orion ship, now more featuring an identifiable design.
- The next remastered episode that aired was "The Doomsday Machine".
- Story outline by D.C. Fontana: 23 June 1967
- First draft teleplay: 8 August 1967
- Second draft teleplay: 22 August 1967
- Final draft teleplay by Gene L. Coon: late-August 1967
- Revised final draft: 31 August 1967
- Revised final draft script – 14 September 1967
- Second revised final draft by Gene Roddenberry: 19 September 1967
- Additional revisions: 20 September 1967, 21 September 1967, 26 September 1967, 27 September 1967
- Filmed: 21 September 1967 – 28 September 1967
- Day 1 – 21 September 1967, Thursday – Desilu Stage 9: Int. Kirk's quarters, Bridge
- Day 2 – 22 September 1967, Friday – Desilu Stage 9: Int. Bridge, Corridors, Brig
- Day 3 – 25 September 1967, Monday – Desilu Stage 9: Int. Corridors, Recreation room (redress of Briefing room)
- Day 4 – 26 September 1967, Tuesday – Desilu Stage 9: Int. Hangar deck, Engineering, Sarek's quarters
- Day 5 – 27 September 1967, Wednesday – Desilu Stage 9: Int. Sickbay (Lab, Doctor's Office, Exam Room)
- Day 6 – 28 September 1967, Thursday – Desilu Stage 9: Int. Sickbay, Spock's quarters
- Original airdate: 17 November 1967
- Rerun airdate: 5 July 1968
- First UK airdate: 22 June 1970
- Remastered episode airdate: 3 February 2007
Video and DVD releases
- US RCA CED Videodisc release (1982)
- Original US Betamax release: 1986
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 23, catalog number VHR 2358, 2 April 1990
- US VHS release: 15 April 1994
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 2.5, 5 May 1997
- Original US DVD release (single-disc): Volume 22, 24 April 2001
- As part of the TOS Season 2 DVD collection
- As part of the TOS-R Season 2 DVD and TOS Season 2 Blu-ray collections
Links and references
- Nichelle Nichols as Uhura
- William O'Connell as Thelev
- Majel Barrett as Nurse Chapel
- Walter Koenig as Chekov
- John Wheeler as Gav
- James X. Mitchell as Josephs
- William Blackburn as
- John Blower as Babel conference officer
- Jerry Catron as Montgomery
- Billy Curtis as Copper-skinned alien 1
- Frank da Vinci as Sarek's aide 2
- Steve Hershon as security guard
- Jeannie Malone as Purple-skinned alien
- Jerry Maren as Copper-skinned alien 2
- Eddie Paskey as Leslie
- Joe Paz as a Human delegate 2
- Russ Peek as Sarek's aide 1
- Kai J. Wong as medical technician
- Unknown actors as
2165; 2235; 2250; 2264; accusation; "after a fashion"; aide; alert status four; "all right"; alternative; ambassador; ambassador's party; amount; analysis; anatomical type; answer; antenna; antidote; antimatter pile; Andorian; area; argument; "as a last resort"; attempted murder; "at the time"; autopsy; auxiliary power; Babel; Babel Conference; Babel sector; bait; bearing; benjisidrine; blood; blood bank; blood donor; blood plasma; blood pressure; blood reproduction rate; blood test; blood transfusion; blood type; body; "Bones"; brig; cardiostimulator; cardiovascular system; career; centimeter; children; choice; chronological age; circumstantial evidence; civilization; cloak; code; Columbus; commission; computer; computer component; computer records; computer science; computer statistics; conclusion; Constitution-class decks; contact; control computers; Coridan; Coridan system; Coridanite; council; council chamber; council session (aka council meeting); course (aka heading); curiosity; critical level; crying; cyrogenic open-heart procedure; damage control procedure; damage report; data; day; death; delegate; density; dilithium crystal; directional locator; distance; donor; duty personnel; Earthmen; efficiency; emergency back-up system; emotion; engineering section; estimate; evening; "excuse me"; execution; experience; expert; fact; family doctor; fang; Federation; Federation law; Federation planets; fire control; frequency; friend; Galileo; general quarters; "get my hands on"; "get out"; guide; habit; hail (aka hailing frequency); hangar deck; head; heart; heart attack; heartbeat; heart valve; high warp speed; home base; honor guard; hour; hull; Human (aka Earthman); Human factors; hundred; I-Chaya; identification; information; instruction; Ithenite; intercept course; intercom; interplanetary conference; interplanetary war; interrogation (aka questioning); intruder; K-2 factor; kilometer; Klingon; knowledge; liver; location; logic; loyalty; lung; madam; main control; malfunction; marriage; medical record; meditation; mind; mining; mining operation; minute; mission; missus; motivation; murder; name; nature; neck; "no matter"; oath; observation deck; "of course"; offense; "on your mind"; opportunity; organ; Orion; Orion (planet); Orion scout ship; "out of the question"; parallel course; parent; passenger; patient; patricide; payment; peace; percent; personal receiver; pet; petition; phasers; phaser bank; phaser range; photon torpedo; physical examination; physician (aka doctor); physiology; planetoid; plot; plot; poison; port; power; power utilization curve; prescription; pride; prime suspect; prisoner; probability; pronunciation; puncture; quadrant; quarterly physical; race; reader tube; reception; recorder; red alert; respect; retirement; Rigel V; Rigelians; Rigelian test subjects; risk; Romulans; Sarek's physician; Saurian brandy; science station; scientist; Scott, Montgomery; scout ship; search; security team; self-destruct; sehlat; sensor; sensor locator; sensor probe; shadow; shield; sickbay system; "sick to death of logic"; signal; size; Skon; slander; slap; sledgehammer; sling; smile; smuggler; "sort of"; speculation; speed; spy; "spit and polish"; spleen; stamina; "stand by"; starboard; Starfleet; Starfleet Command; Starfleet dress uniform; Starfleet Intelligence; Starfleet regulations; sterile field; stimulant; stubborn; sublight; suicide; suicide mission; surgeon; surgery (aka operation); surgically altered; surgical support frame; surgically altered; surrender; suspect; suspicion; symbol; T-negative; tag; tal-shaya; teddy bear; Tellarite; Tellarite ship; terror; test subject; "the last word"; thief; thing; thousand; threat; tour; training; transceiver; translator broadcast; transmission; tri-tritanium; truth drug; universal translator; universe; verifier scan; volunteering; vote; Vulcan; Vulcan (planet); Vulcan High Command; Vulcan philosophy; Vulcan salute; Vulcan Science Academy; way of life; weapon; wealth; week; witness; worry; wound; year; yellow alert; youth
- "Journey to Babel" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Journey to Babel" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Journey to Babel" at Wikipedia
- "Journey to Babel" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
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