(written from a Production point of view)
Enterprise crew members are stranded on a ghost planet and terrorized by the image of a beautiful woman.
The USS Enterprise investigates a planet whose size is approximately that of Earth's moon, yet mass and atmosphere are similar to Earth. Stranger yet is that it is apparently only a few thousand years old. Its geological age is much less than the indigenous vegetation and atmospheric content would indicate. Captain Kirk is intrigued by the unexplainable planet and organizes a landing party consisting of himself, Doctor McCoy, helmsman Sulu, and senior geologist D'Amato. But as the landing party steps onto the transporter platform and starts to transport down to the surface of the planet, a mysterious woman suddenly appears as if from nowhere, telling them all that they must not go. She then touches the transporter operator, an Ensign Wyatt, who instantly crumples to the deck as the dematerializing landing party watches helplessly. She is too late to prevent the beam down, and moments later the four men materialize on the planet's surface. Once on the planet, Kirk attempts to contact the Enterprise with his communicator to report the attack, but before he can do so, a powerful tremor rocks the planet. At the same instant the Enterprise is tossed about in some sort of turbulence. Both disruptions subside simultaneously, and the crew of the Enterprise quickly discovers that the planet is no longer on the viewscreen.
On the planet D'Amato's tricorder reads an energy burst of almost immeasurable power. When Kirk is unable to raise the Enterprise on his communicator, Sulu discovers that the Enterprise is missing from orbit, effectively stranding the landing party on the planet.
The landing party is at a loss to explain the Enterprise's sudden disappearance. Sulu conjectures that the Enterprise must have blown up, citing high radiation readings as evidence of a matter/antimatter intermix explosion. Kirk quickly dismisses Sulu's theory due to a lack of residual radiation. McCoy then suggests that the Enterprise may have crashed onto the planet itself. Neither of these theories fits the facts. Recognizing, that regardless of the Enterprise's fate, the landing party will soon need food and water, Kirk orders a detailed analysis of the planet's resources. But the report of that analysis is not encouraging, as all plant vegetation on the planet is poisonous to Humans, there is no evidence of rainfall or surface water, and the only other form of life is a virus-like plant parasite. During the survey, Sulu makes a sweep with his tricorder and registers a sudden magnetic reading that quickly dissipates, like a door opening and then closing again. McCoy also detects a powerful lifeform reading that appears and then disappears. These fluctuations occur as the same woman who appeared in the transporter room of the Enterprise confronts D'Amato, killing him with her touch. McCoy reports that all the cells of D'Amato's body have been disrupted from the inside. Kirk attempts to dig a grave for the geologist with his phaser, but the surface of the planet withstands its force. Further investigation reveals that the planet is an artificial body.In the meantime, the crew of the Enterprise attempts to discern what had happened. Scott reports no damage to the ship's engines. Uhura reports that the ship is functioning normally and there are nothing more than bumps and bruises as a result of the turbulence, save one casualty: transporter officer Wyatt has been found dead. Doctor M'Benga reports that they are not yet sure of the cause of death, as Dr. Sanchez is in the middle of Wyatt's autopsy. Spock orders Scott to have the transporter checked for malfunctions. Helm officer Lieutenant Rahda notes that there is no debris, which would have been left over from a planet breakup. She then reports that the position of the stars have changed. She verifies her findings by replaying a recording of the stars made just prior to the turbulence on the viewscreen. Spock is able to interpolate that, in a manner of seconds, the Enterprise has somehow been thrown 990.7 light years from its previous position. The preliminary autopsy on the transporter officer comes in and the causes of death appears to be cellular disruption, as if every cell in the body had been blasted from inside. Spock orders that the Enterprise return to the planet at top warp speed, which turns out to be warp factor 8.
Although the ship did not appear to suffer any damage, chief engineer Montgomery Scott is disquieted, and reports that the ship feels "wrong." Spock initially dismisses this as emotional. Still concerned, Scotty instructs crewman Watkins to check the bypass valve on the matter-antimatter reaction chamber to ensure that it is not overheating. While Watkins is doing this, the woman appears in the control room and inquires about the engine mechanisms. She then kills him in the same manner as the others. Before Watkins dies, he cries out a warning about the intruder to Scott, but she disappears before Scott can see her.
Back on the surface of the planet, Sulu volunteers to keep watch while Kirk and McCoy sleep. But while the captain and the doctor are sleeping, the woman appears to Sulu and, although she is able to briefly touch him, disrupting all the cells his shoulder, she fails to kill him. Sulu yells out for help and Kirk and McCoy run to his rescue. Sulu cries out not to let her touch them since that was how D'Amato had died. The woman insists that she is for Sulu and that she must touch him. When she touches Kirk on his shoulder, however, nothing happens. Kirk asks how she can destroy others and she explains that she does not want to destroy. She then disappears. The landing party surmises that the woman's destructive power can only be directed at one specific person at a time.
Aboard the Enterprise, which is warping back to the planet, the warp engines begin to race out of control. Scott discovers that the emergency overload bypass of the matter-antimatter integrator has been fused, although it would have taken all the power of the ship's phasers to do so. It becomes apparent that the woman is responsible for this sabotage. With this damage, the Enterprise has less than fifteen minutes before its engines will explode.
Spock and Scott devise a risky plan to save the ship – Scott will enter the crawlway leading to the matter-antimatter reaction chamber and attempt to manually shut off the flow of fuel with a magnetic probe. Scott installs explosives at the end of the service crawlway that will permit Spock to jettison the pod if Scott ruptures the magnetic bottle. Recalling Scott's earlier assertion that the ship felt wrong, Spock runs an analysis comparing the condition of the Enterprise with its ideal condition.
When the woman reappears to kill Kirk, the landing party is able to use this information to defend him. Kirk questions her with McCoy and Sulu keeping her at a distance. She calls herself Losira, commander of the station. When Kirk asks how she feels about killing him, she says that the act of killing is wrong but that she must do so. She says that she is sent to defend the station, although the people who once lived on it are no more. Kirk presses her, sensing her confusion and loneliness, and she disappears again. Following their tricorder readings, the landing party eventually finds an underground door to the planet-station.
Spock's analysis proves crucial, for he has discovered that the Enterprise has been put through a molecular transporter and then reassembled slightly out of phase, which will require Scott to reverse the polarity on the magnetic probe in order to seal the incision. Scott attempts to do so as the final seconds tick down, but the mechanism on the probe becomes jammed. Scott insists multiple times to Spock that he jettison him, but Spock gives him a few seconds more. Scott is able to loosen the tool and, just moments before the engines go critical, accomplishes the task and the Enterprise finally begins to slow down to a safer cruising speed.
On the planet, the landing party enters a computer room, where they are confronted with three versions of the destructive woman, each programmed to kill one of them. The landing party seems to be out of options when Spock and a security officer, materialize into the room and Lemli uses his phaser to destroy the computer. The women disappear and are replaced by a recorded image of Losira. In the recording, Losira welcomes her fellow Kalandans to the colony. She explains that the population of the colony has been destroyed by a disease that they accidentally produced when they created the planet. Losira is the last survivor, and because she does not believe she will survive until help arrives, she has adjusted the station defense mechanism controls automatic to defend selectively against all lifeforms but their own.
McCoy surmises that the colony's supply ships most likely spread the disease back to the Kalandans' home planets, that the entire Kalandan species was destroyed by the disease, and that the image of Losira has been waiting thousands of years to deliver her message to a people who have become extinct. It is apparent to the landing party that the computer defense mechanism called upon the only image available, that of Losira, but the replication was too perfect and projected so much of her personality that it felt regret and guilt at killing. They agree that she was a remarkable and beautiful woman. Spock says that beauty is transitory, but Kirk disagrees, saying, "Beauty... survives."
"What is it, Jim?"
"A planet that even Spock can't explain."
- - McCoy and Kirk, on the Kalandan outpost
"The occipital area of my head seems to have impacted with the chair."
"No, Mister Spock. I meant what happened to us?"
- - Uhura and Spock, after the Enterprise is hurled away from the planet
"Mister Sulu, if I'd wanted a Russian history lesson, I'd have brought along Mister Chekov."
- - Kirk, after Sulu refers to the Tunguska Oblast of Siberia
"Can you give me warp eight?"
"Aye, sir. And maybe a wee bit more. I'll sit on the warp engines myself and nurse them."
"… That position… Mister Scott… would not only be unavailing but also… undignified."
- - Spock to Scott, in a measured, very logically thought out response to Scott saying he will sit on the warp engines and nurse them
"I am only for D'Amato."
- - Losira and D'Amato, before she kills him
"What a terrible way to die."
"There are no good ways, Sulu."
- - Sulu and Kirk, after discovering D'Amato's body
"Mister Spock, the ship feels wrong."
- - Scott, in the engineering room
"It looks so lonely there."
"It would be worse if he had company."
- - Sulu and McCoy, at D'Amato's grave
"Mister Scott, there's a strange woman who knows the entire plan of the Enterprise!"
- - Watkins, before Losira kills him
"Well, your guess is as good as mine."
"My guess, doctor, would be valueless."
- - M'Benga and Spock, on the cause of death for Watkins
"Stop or I'll shoot! I don't want to have to kill a woman!"
- - Sulu, to Losira
"How can such people be, captain? Such evil and she's so, so beautiful."
- - Sulu, as McCoy treats him
"Mister Spock, what are the chances of the captain and the others being alive?"
"Lieutenant, we are not engaged in gambling."
- - Uhura and Spock, after the red alert is canceled
"This thing is going to blow up, and there's nothing in the universe can stop it."
- - Scott to Spock, on the sabotage
"You'll be killed, man!"
"Unless a solution is found quickly, that fate awaits all of us."
- - Scott and Spock, on going into the crawlway
"I'm so close to the flow now it feels like ants crawling all over my body."
- - Scott, inside the crawlway
"I know what time it is. I don't need a bloomin' cuckoo clock."
- - Scott, as Spock counts down
"You might at least say thank you."
"For what purpose, Mister Scott? What is it in you Humans –"
- - Scott and Spock, after Scott fixes the sabotage
"Beauty is transitory, doctor."
- - Spock, on Losira
- - Kirk, to Spock
- Series proposal, "Star Trek is...": 11 March 1964 – Mentions similar story idea "The Radiant One"
- Story outline by D.C. Fontana, titled "Survival", 8 March 1968
- Revised story outline 12 April 1968
- Second revised story outline, 8 August 1968
- First draft teleplay by John Meredyth Lucas, titled "That Which Survives", 8 September 1968
- Second draft teleplay, 13 September 1968
- Final draft teleplay by Arthur Singer, 20 September 1968
- Additional page revisions by Singer, 23 September 1968
- Revised final draft teleplay by Fred Freiberger, 24 September 1968
- Additional page revisions by Freiberger, 25 September 1968
- Filmed, 26 September 1968 – 3 October 1968
- Day 1 – 26 September 1968, Thursday – Desilu Stage 9: Int. Bridge
- Day 2 – 27 September 1968, Friday – Desilu Stage 9: Int. Bridge, McCoy's office, Engineering
- Day 3 – 30 September 1968, Monday – Desilu Stage 10: Ext. Planet surface
- Day 4 – 1 October 1968, Tuesday – Desilu Stage 10: Ext. Planet surface
- Day 5 – 2 October 1968, Wednesday – Desilu Stage 9: Int. Jefferies tube; Desilu Stage 10: Ext. Planet surface
- Day 6 – 3 October 1968, Thursday – Desilu Stage 10: Ext. Planet surface; Desilu Stage 9: Int. Transporter room, Int. Underground chamber
- Original airdate, 24 January 1969
- Rerun airdate, 29 July 1969
- First UK airdate 3 November 1971
Story and production
- In the story outline, "Survival" (8 August 1968) the image of Losira was more brutal and caused crewmembers to fight among themselves in a manner that seems reminiscent of the Defiant's crew in "The Tholian Web". Final draft script 16 September 1968, filmed late September, early October.
- This is the last episode of TOS in which Enterprise crewmembers (Wyatt, D'Amato and Watkins) are shown to die.
- This is the last episode of TOS to have an unknown stardate.
- D.C. Fontana was so frustrated with how her story premise had been altered that she removed her name from the script and used her "Michael Richards" pen name as the byline for its story instead.
Sets and props
- In addition to the standard planet set, Matt Jefferies designed a "rocker plate" set within the set that gave the illusion of a "real" quake. Evidence of this new "rocker stage" can be seen by the movement of the individual "plates" on the stage, followed by sequence of the landing party stepping off it onto the main stage and resting on their hands and knees. Jefferies' original sketches depicting its design are found in the Star Trek: The Original Series Sketchbook (p. 30).
- The bypass valve room that Watkins enters consists of re-used pieces of the Yonada control room from "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky". The control panel was re-used from the Vians torture chamber in "The Empath".
- A new access tube was created to show where the matter-antimatter reaction chamber was. Designed by Matt Jefferies, it had sliding doors accessing the crawlway. Jefferies' original sketches depicting its design are found in the Star Trek: The Original Series Sketchbook (p. 30).
- The central chamber which housed the outpost's central brain was created especially for this episode. Designed by Jefferies, whose original sketches are again published in the Star Trek: The Original Series Sketchbook (p. 30), the central chamber contained a "frosted 2D cube – rotating lights inside."
- The center section of D'Amato's tricorder differs substantially from the standard Starfleet model. Instead of tape discs and a moiré pattern, it features an intermittently glowing white panel and what appears to be a tubular sensor. In deference to D'Amato's specialty, some prop-conscious fans have dubbed this a "geological tricorder." Franz Joseph combined elements of both models to produce a "medical tricorder" in the Star Trek Star Fleet Technical Manual.
- Former Miss America Lee Meriwether went on to co-star with Buddy Ebsen (The Beverly Hillbillies) in the '70s television series Barnaby Jones. (Star Trek 30 Years) Previously, she was a regular on Irwin Allen's short-lived science fiction series The Time Tunnel, along with James Darren and Whit Bissell.
- Booker Bradshaw reprises his role as Doctor M'Benga in this episode. He appeared previously in "A Private Little War".
- Walter Koenig (Chekov) does not appear in this episode, although Kirk mentions him.
- This is the second time Enterprise crewmembers create a resting place for a fallen comrade; it had happened before in the first season's "The Galileo Seven", where crewmembers Latimer and Gaetano were buried. Captain Picard buries Captain Kirk in a similar way on Veridian III in Star Trek Generations.
- Sulu mentions the Hortas of Janus VI from "The Devil in the Dark", one of the few examples in the series of a past episode being referenced. Interestingly, Sulu did not appear in that episode.
- At warp 8.4 traveling 990.7 light years would take 1.67 years, not 11.33 hours (which would equate to 766,486c or warp 91.5).
"That Which Survives" was the sixty-first episode of the remastered version of The Original Series to air. It premiered in syndication on the weekend of 15 March 2008 and aside from the standard CGI replacement footage of the Enterprise, including one of the ship undergoing molecular transport, this episode most notably featured new effects shots of the Kalandan outpost.
- The next remastered episode to air was "Is There in Truth No Beauty?".
This episode was used as the background for the Star Trek: Gateways novel One Small Step, by Susan Wright, which elaborates extensively on the story. The mysteries of this episode were used to help tie in the original series with the rest of the Gateways books.
Video and DVD releases
- Original US Betamax release: 1988
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 36, catalog number VHR 2432, 7 January 1991
- US VHS release: 15 April 1994
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 3.5, 24 November 1997
- Original US DVD release (single-disc): Volume 35, 23 October 2001
- As part of the TOS Season 3 DVD collection
- As part of the TOS-R Season 3 DVD collection
Links and references
- Lee Meriwether as Losira
- James Doohan as Scott
- Arthur Batanides as Lt. D'Amato
- George Takei as Sulu
- Nichelle Nichols as Uhura
- Naomi Pollack as Lt. Rahda
- Booker Bradshaw as Dr. M'Benga
- Brad Forrest as Ensign Wyatt
- Kenneth Washington as Watkins
- Majel Barrett as the computer voice
- William Blackburn as Hadley
- Frank da Vinci as Vinci
- Roger Holloway as Roger Lemli
- Jeannie Malone as Yeoman
- Unknown actors as
Stunt and body doubles
- Unknown stunt performer as George Takei's stunt double
- Unknown performers as Lee Meriwether's body doubles
1st millennium BC; acceleration; access panel; access plate; access tube; "all right"; alloy; analysis; android; answer; ant; antimatter; apparent age; artificial planet; assistant; assumption; atmosphere (aka air); atmospheric analysis; aurora borealis; automatic distress; autopsy; autopsy report; beam-down coordinates; beauty; body; "Bones"; brain; bruise; button; bypass valve; casualty; category; cause of death; cell; cellular disruption; centigrade; central brain; chance; chair; Chekov, Pavel; chromosome; chronometer; circle; circuit; civilization; commander; communicator; comparison analysis; comparison coordinates; computer; computer study; conference; conclusion; contact; course; "course of action"; crawlway; crawlway door; cuckoo clock; culture; custody; cut-off switch; damage control report; dance; danger; death; debris; deck; degree; diburnium; digging; disease; disease organism; distance; door; dream; Earth; earthquake; emergency bypass control; emergency overload bypass; emotion (aka emotionalism); energy; energy stream; engineer; entrance; estimated time of arrival; evidence; evil; evolution; existence; expedition; explanation; explosion; explosive separator charge; eye; fact; fate; Fifth Interstellar Geophysical Conference; food; forest; friend; fuel; gambling; geologist; ghost; ghost planet; grave; guilt; hand; harm; head; helmsman; history lesson; home; Horta; Human; ideal condition; igneous rock; image; "in a flash"; "in fact"; "in that case"; "in time"; incision; information; intruder; investigation; invitation; Janus VI; job; joke; Kalandan; Kalandan homeworld; Kalandan outpost; Kalandan supply ship; life (aka lifeform); light year; logic; luck; Luna; malfunction; magnetic bottle; magnetic field; magnetic flow (aka fuel flow); magnetic force; magnetic force indicator; magnetic probe; magnetic sweep; mass; matter; matter-antimatter engine; matter-antimatter integrator; matter-antimatter integrator control; matter-antimatter reaction chamber; matter-antimatter reactor; maximum overload; medical assistance; melting point; memorial; meteor; millimeter; Milky Way Galaxy; minute; mission; molecular transporter; moisture; murder; name; necrosis; necrotic tissue; "never mind"; nurse; occipital bone; "one by one"; opportunity; order; organism; osmium; outphase condition; overload; overheating; painting; parasite; person; phaser; phaser bank; phenomenon; physician; planet; plant; period of time (aka space of time); personality; place; pod jettison system; poison; polarity; power; power level; power reduction; power surge; present condition; problem; question; radiation; rain; readout; red; red alert; regret; replica; report; representative; result; rock; Russian; sabotage; safety control; Scots language; search; second; security alert; security sweep (aka security search); seismic disturbance (aka geological disturbance); seismic force; seismic stress; sensor probe; service crawlway; sharing; shoulder; Siberia; silicon creature; size; solar hour; space; speculation; speed; star; star pattern; Starfleet; static electric charge; station; subspace report; supernatural; supernova; survey party; survival; "thank you"; theory; thousand; tissue; tomb; tool; topsoil; top warp speed; transporter; transporter chief; transporter factor M7 (aka M7 factor); transporter malfunction; transporter officer; transporter room; tricorder; top warp speed; unconsciousness; vegetation; virus; underground water; universe; warp drive pod; warp engine; watch; water; "wee"; "what the devil"; word; wound; year
- "That Which Survives" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "That Which Survives" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "That Which Survives" at Wikipedia
- "That Which Survives" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
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