(written from a Production point of view)
Spock faces difficult command decisions when his shuttle crashes on a hostile world populated by barbarous giants.
- 1 Summary
- 2 Memorable quotes
- 3 Background information
- 4 Links and references
- "Captain's Log, stardate 2821.5. En route to Makus III with a cargo of medical supplies, our course leads us past Murasaki 312, a quasar-like formation. Vague… undefined. A priceless opportunity for scientific investigation. On board is Galactic High Commissioner Ferris, overseeing the delivery of the medicines to Makus III."
On the bridge of the USS Enterprise, Captain Kirk receives a signal from Spock that the shuttlecraft Galileo is ready for launch. A crew composed of Spock, Lieutenant Commander Scott, Dr. McCoy, Lieutenants Latimer, Gaetano, and Boma, and Yeoman Mears, has been assembled aboard the shuttlecraft for this scientific mission.
High Commissioner Ferris enters the bridge from the turbolift and reminds the captain of his objection to this diversion from the greater priority of delivering medical supplies. The plague on the New Paris colonies is spiraling out of control, he contends, and the Enterprise must make the rendezvous on Makus in order for the supplies to be transferred from there to the colony.
Kirk understands this, but he also states that he is under orders from Starfleet to investigate "all quasars and quasar-like phenomena" and observes that the rendezvous is in five days, while the trip to Makus will only last three. Hence, he reasons, he has 48 hours with which to study the phenomenon.
The Galileo proceeds to launch. While inside the phenomenon, the shuttlecraft encounters some rough turbulence, knocking it off-course. The electrical interference generated by the phenomenon makes sensors unreliable and communication impossible for the shuttlecraft, as well as for the Enterprise. However, Uhura does manage to make out the words "blown off-course" in an extremely garbled transmission. Kirk must attempt a rescue without working sensors inside a quasar-like formation which contains four solar systems in the immediate vicinity.
- "Captain's Log, stardate 2821.7. The electromagnetic phenomenon known as Murasaki 312 whirls like some angry blight in space. A depressive reminder that seven of our shipmates still have not been heard from. Equally bad, the effect has rendered our normal searching systems useless. Without them we are blind, and almost helpless."
While Scott attempts repairs on the damaged craft, Latimer and Gaetano are sent out to scout the area and instructed to maintain visual contact with the ship. Meanwhile, on the Enterprise, the sensors remain inoperative and the transporters are not operating in a safe manner. Kirk orders that a second shuttlecraft, Columbus, prepare for launch in order to search the planet's surface for the other craft.
Tensions mount between Kirk and Ferris as Kirk makes it clear that he plans to use every spare minute to search for his stranded shipmates. Uhura temporarily acts as science officer and helps to narrow the search for Galileo by discovering that one planet in the area, Taurus II, is type M. Kirk has Sulu set course for the planet.
As Scott assesses the damage, he finds that the Galileo has lost a great deal of fuel – so much that they would be unable to reach escape velocity, and to even reach orbit they would need to leave at least five hundred pounds lighter than when they arrived.
Noting that very little of the equipment on board is dispensable, and that five hundred pounds roughly equals the weight of three grown adults, Spock prepares himself for the difficult decision of which three crewmen to leave behind in order that the rest may survive.
It is at this point that Spock's cold logic begins to unnerve some of the crew, most noticeably Lieutenant Boma. Boma proposes that they draw lots to determine who stays behind, but Spock replies that he is better qualified to make the decision than would be a "random drawing of lots."
While on their scouting expedition, Latimer and Gaetano hear strange grinding sounds, seemingly coming from all around them in a dense fog. Attempting to escape back to the Galileo, they encounter a giant, spear-wielding, "cave man"-like humanoid. The creature is hostile, and attacks the two crewmen. Taken by surprise, Latimer is hit by a spear in the back, mortally wounding him. He falls from a rock ledge to the ground and Gaetano then attempts to fend off the Taurean with his phaser, firing blind.
Gaetano, successful in driving the Taurean away, is found by Spock and Boma, slumped over, staring dumbfounded at the body of his fallen crewmate. After running a bit ahead to make sure that the giant is gone, Spock returns and examines the spear. He observes a similarity to the Folsom point, commenting that it is "crude" and "not very efficient." Again, Spock's words unnerve his crewmates, who find it highly inappropriate for him to be musing about archaeology when one of their comrades has just been slain. Spock, logical as ever, responds, "My concern for the dead will not bring him back to life, Mr. Boma."
Boma and Gaetano decide to carry the body back to the ship. Spock has no objection, since doing so will not interfere with the repair efforts. When he offers to help them, they refuse.
- "Captain's Log, stardate 2822.3. We continue to search. But I find it more difficult each moment to ward off a sense of utter futility, and… great loss."
There is no change in the status of sensors, transporters, and communications. The search party has found no sign of the Galileo or its passengers. Kirk orders the Columbus to "widen its course two degrees on every lap from now on." Sulu objects that this leaves significant gaps in the search area, but Kirk notes that they simply do not have enough time to cover the entire planet, and this way they cover the most area, even if they leave gaps in doing so. Kirk advises Sulu to keep his attention on the helm.
Back inside the shuttlecraft, McCoy and Yeoman Mears report to Spock that they were able to gather about one hundred and fifty pounds of non-essential machinery for removal from Galileo. Spock commends them, but observes that even after dumping that weight, they are still 150 pounds too heavy. McCoy and Spock argue a bit about the ethics of leaving behind one man to save six, but they are interrupted by Boma, who upon entering the craft announces that they are ready for Latimer's funeral ceremony. Spock has no interest in performing such a ceremony as his expertise is needed in assisting Scott with the repairs. He attempts to push off the funerary duties to Dr. McCoy, but McCoy insists that it is Spock's responsibility as their commanding officer. Spock accepts this duty, but insists that the repairs take the utmost priority. He argues that by taking care of "first things first" he intends to maximize the chances of survival for the remaining crew. Boma leaves and closes Galileo's doors.
Later, while Scott and Spock continue to attempt repairs, a ruptured tube leaks all the remaining fuel. The shuttlecraft is now without any means of propulsion. Disappointed by the event, Spock advises a pessimistic Scott to "consider the alternatives," stating, "there are always alternatives."
Outside, loud grinding noises are heard again. Spock identifies the sounds as wood, rubbing on leather. Boma suggests that if the Taureans are a tribal culture, and thereby have a sense of unity, the crew can use that to their advantage. By hurting them, they can be dissuaded from bothering the crew again. McCoy and Gaetano agree that this is a "logical" course of action. Spock is hesitant, but concedes that there is logic to the plan, though he abhors unnecessary violence toward other forms of life. He proposes a third plan – to scare them by blasting phasers near the giants – firing not to injure or kill, but to simply frighten. He sends McCoy and Mears back to the shuttlecraft to assist Scott, while he leads Boma and Gaetano towards the Taureans.
The plan appears to be executed successfully, and Spock returns with Boma to the shuttlecraft, leaving Gaetano to stand guard and stay in communication with the ship. When he returns, Scott tells Spock of an idea he has to reconfigure the main reactor to function on the energy from the hand-held phasers. Unfortunately, their only means of escape happens to be their only means of defense. Using the phasers for fuel disallows their use for defensive measures against the giants. Spock and the others conclude that it is their only option. Scott begins the modifications.
The Enterprise transporters are now operational, and Kirk decides to beam three landing parties down directly to the planet in hopes of increasing the chances of finding the lost crew.
Crewman Gaetano is attacked and loses his phaser when a large rock is thrown against his hand. He tries to scramble up a cliff, but cannot, and is ultimately killed horribly by a Taurean.
Spock, McCoy, and Boma arrive at Gaetano's last known position. He is nowhere to be found but Spock discovers his phaser lying on the ground. Spock orders the other two to return to the craft and hands over Gaetano's phaser to Scott for conversion. Boma objects, but Spock's response is to hand them his (Spock's) phaser as well. Spock then pursues a "scientific curiosity" regarding what happened to Gaetano.
Sneaking up to the Taureans, Spock finds Gaetano's lifeless body and carries it off towards the shuttlecraft. The Taureans soon notice him and begin throwing numerous spears, one of which just narrowly misses Spock's head, but is blocked by the tip a protruding rock. Soon after Spock makes it back, one of the creatures (which followed Spock) begins assaulting the craft itself by slamming large rocks against it, with the terrified crew inside. Spock notes, as much to himself as anyone, that logic has completely failed him in this instance, he had not anticipated that the creatures would attack after seeing their superior weapons, just as he didn't anticipate the resentment shown by his crew during the mission. As the shuttle shakes, Scott reports it'll be another hour at least before the phasers are drained, an hour the crew clearly doesn't have right now.
- "Captain's Log, 2823.1. Our landing parties are on the surface of Taurus II, and we continue to hope. Instruments are only slowly returning to an operable condition as the ion storm slowly disperses. On the ship, we can only wait helplessly."
Spock comes up with an idea to use the ship's batteries to electrify the outer hull. Apparently the Taureans were actually touching the ship at the time it was electrified, as the creatures leave shortly after.
Boma then argues that it is time to perform the funeral rites for their two fallen crewmates. Eventually, Spock relents and allows the burial, "provided the creatures will permit it."
On the Enterprise, landing party two has just beamed back with a few casualties and no shuttlecraft survivors. Lieutenant Kelowitz, who led the party, reports back to the captain, describing the same giant creatures encountered by the Galileo crew. By his account, Ensign O'Neill "got a spear through the body before we even knew they were around." Lieutenant Immamura survived with severe lacerations and a dislocated shoulder but should be fine.
Commissioner Ferris arrives on the bridge and informs the captain that his time has run out. Ferris now assumes command of the ship under the powers granted him by Title 15, Galactic Emergency Procedures. Kirk orders the remaining landing parties to return and calls the Columbus back in, holding out hope that the Galileo might still report in the time it takes for the others to return. With great reluctance, Kirk commands Sulu to set course for Makus III.
- "Captain's Log, supplemental. The search parties have returned to the ship. The Columbus is on its way back. I have been compelled to abandon the search."
According to Uhura, the Columbus will be back and docked within 23 minutes. Thus, only 23 minutes remain for the search.
On the surface, Scott has just finished draining the last phaser into the ship's power supply and estimates that they have just enough power to maintain orbit for a few hours, and even enough to perform a controlled-burn re-entry. Scotty says that the ship will be ready to take off in eight minutes. Spock then tells McCoy and Boma that they have ten minutes to bury Gaetano, and that he will assist them.
The Columbus returns to the Enterprise and docks. The landing parties have all been beamed aboard. Kirk is left without any further excuses for delay. Therefore, the Enterprise begins the trip to Makus III at "space-normal speed", and Kirk, not ready to give up hope for the Galileo crew, orders full reverse sensor scans, beams directed aft.
On Taurus II, the funeral ceremony is interrupted by flying spears. McCoy, Boma, and Spock are attacked by the Taureans again, and race back to the ship. After throwing one of the spears back at the assailants in order to buy more time for the others, Spock turns and makes for the ship as well. But after just a few steps, a large rock is hurled at him and traps him against a rock face. He tells the others to take off without him, but they disregard the command and roll the heavy boulder off of him so that he can return.
The three make it back to the shuttlecraft, but the extra time taken to free Spock allowed the Taureans to gather around the ship and physically hold it down to prevent it from taking off. After firing the boosters they are able to break free and take off. Unfortunately, once they attain orbit, they come to the realization that without the boosters, they will not be able to make a soft landing, and if they are not rescued, will face a burn-up in the atmosphere upon re-entry. Spock grimly reminds his party that thanks to Boma and McCoy trying to save him, they will have ruined their slim chance for survival. At this point, Scott reminds Spock of his earlier comment that "there are always alternatives." Spock, in an act that surprises the others, acknowledges that he "may have been mistaken."
When they achieve orbital altitude, while chasing the Enterprise, Scott estimates they have enough fuel to maintain it for 45 minutes. At this point, Spock commits an act of desperation. He jettisons the fuel and ignites it in the hope that the Enterprise might see the flare and come to their rescue. This leaves them just 6 minutes of orbit. The Galileo crew is shocked, but soon Scott realizes that Spock's action was "like sending up a flare", and offering that it was "a good gamble."
Fortunately, the gamble pays off. The flare catches Sulu's watchful eye, whereupon he informs the captain, and they change course 180 degrees to once again attempt a rescue, this time without Ferris noticing.
As the Galileo's orbit begins to decay, the five surviving passengers prepare for the inevitable burn-up. Just as the ship is about to incinerate, the Enterprise beams the crew out, alive and well. Upon hearing the good news, an emotional Kirk orders Sulu to resume the course to Makus III at warp factor 1.
With Spock and McCoy safe and sound on the bridge, Kirk confronts Spock at his science station about his actions, trying to get Spock to admit that the flare was a purely emotional act. Spock tries to evade the question by framing the action as a logical decision to act in desperation. Kirk puts it to him directly, asking if he is going to admit that it was a purely Human emotional act. "No, sir." replies Spock. Kirk then comments that Spock is a very stubborn man. "Yes, sir." is Spock's response. With the exception of Spock, the bridge crew all has a good long laugh.
"Finding a needle in a haystack would be child's play."
- - Kirk, on the missing Galileo
"Picturesque descriptions will not mend broken circuits, Mister Scott."
- - Spock, after Scott describes the Galileo's damage as a mess
"Mister Spock, life and death are seldom logical."
"But attaining a desired goal always is, doctor."
- - McCoy and Spock, on leaving three people behind on the planet
"It is more rational to sacrifice one life than six, doctor."
- - Spock to McCoy, on leaving one person behind after Latimer's death
"Mister Scott, there are always alternatives."
- - Spock, on finding a new fuel source for the Galileo
"I'm frequently appalled by the low regard you Earthmen have for life."
- - Spock to Gaetano and Boma, on attacking the anthropoids
"I am not interested in the opinion of the majority, Mister Gaetano!"
- - Spock to Gaetano, angrily opposing the latter's opinion on how to deal with the anthropoids
"Mister Spock, respect is a rational process. Did it ever occur to you they might react emotionally? With anger?"
- - McCoy, as the anthropoids continue their attack
"Strange. Step by step, I've made the correct and logical decisions – and yet two men have died."
- - Spock
"I intend to continue the search. Foot by foot, inch by inch, by candlelight if necessary, until the last possible moment!"
- - Kirk, to Ferris
"I'm sick and tired of this machine!"
- - Boma, on Spock
"Mister Spock, remind me to tell you that I'm sick and tired of your logic."
"That is a most illogical attitude."
- - McCoy and Spock, after the Galileo lifts off
"Well, at least I lived long enough to hear that."
- - McCoy, after Spock admits to making a mistake
"It may be the last action you'll ever take, Mister Spock, but it was all Human."
"Totally illogical. There was no chance."
"That's exactly what I mean."
- - McCoy and Spock, on jettisoning the fuel
"Mister Spock, you're a stubborn man."
- - Kirk, after Spock denies making any desperate acts
- Story outline by Oliver Crawford: 1 April 1966
- Revised story outline: 7 April 1966
- First draft teleplay by Crawford: 25 April 1966
- Second draft teleplay by Crawford: 23 May 1966
- Revised second draft teleplay by Shimon Wincelberg: 18 August 1966
- Revised teleplay by Steven W. Carabatsos: 1 September 1966
- Revised teleplay by Gene L. Coon: 13 September 1966
- Final draft teleplay by Coon: 15 September 1966
- Additional revisions: 20 September 1966, 22 September 1966, 27 September 1966
- Filmed: 22 September 1966 – 30 September 1966
- Day 1 – 22 September 1966, Thursday – Desilu Stage 9: Int. Bridge
- Day 2 – 23 September 1966, Friday – Desilu Stage 9: Int. Bridge
- Day 3 – 26 September 1966, Monday – Desilu Stage 9: Int. Bridge, Transporter room; Desilu Stage 10: Ext. Planet surface (Rocks)
- Day 4 – 27 September 1966, Tuesday – Desilu Stage 10: Ext. Planet surface (Rocks, Outside the Shuttlecraft
- Day 5 – 28 September 1966, Wednesday – Desilu Stage 10: Ext. Planet surface (Rocks, Outside the Shuttlecraft
- Day 6 – 29 September 1966, Thursday – Desilu Stage 10: Int. Shuttlecraft
- Day 7 – 30 September 1966, Friday – Desilu Stage 10: Int. Shuttlecraft
- Original airdate: 5 January 1967
- First UK airdate: 27 December 1969
Script and story
- The story of this episode originated from writer Oliver Crawford, who thought about a science fiction retelling of the 1939 film Five Came Back, which co-starred a young Lucille Ball. 
- The writing of this episode was influenced by the Spock character having proved popular. Leonard Nimoy noted that, as a result of the character's success, "somebody said, 'Let's do a show where Spock takes command of a vessel.'" (Smithsonian magazine, May 2016 issue, p. 59)
- Several lines of dialogue in the preview did not make it into the final cut. The commissioner says, "Do you know what you have done? You've concerned yourself with only seven people. You said something about a needle in a haystack. It's useless." Kirk replies, "If they're not there, commissioner, then they're dead by now."
- In the closing credits of the show, the title for Script Supervisor is misspelled "SCPIPT SUPERVISOR".
- The observation deck model was designed to match up with the set seen in "The Conscience of the King". (The Star Trek Compendium, p. 44)
- After this episode was filmed, no new shots of the shuttlecraft miniature were taken. All shuttlecraft model shots used in the series were stock footage from this episode, sometimes matted into different backgrounds.
- A still of the shuttlecraft model, facing forward inside the miniature hangar deck, appears in the end credits of this episode, with the center window of the shuttlecraft open.
- To make the creatures look larger than they really were, small spear and shield props were made for Buck Maffei to fling at the crew. The one that is dropped near the three men is fairly small in size, but in the next shot, it is much larger. (The Star Trek Compendium, p. 45)
- Wah Chang created the ape-creature makeup. It was considered too grotesque to show in close-ups, but the faces of the creatures can still be seen in a few scenes. A close-up of the creature was filmed, but ended up as a deleted shot.  Also, NBC Broadcast Standards ordered that the view of Latimer with the large spear in his back shall not be clearly seen. When Gaetano fires his phaser into the mist, there is an additional mist optical effect, which had to be added in post production, that blocks a view of the impaled officer. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One, 1st ed. p. 306)
- Although the Galileo was destroyed in this episode, it appeared again in two later episodes, "Metamorphosis", and "The Way to Eden". However, it wasn't until its final appearance in "The Way to Eden" that the full-scale ship was repainted to read Galileo II. A shuttlecraft of similar design appeared in three episodes: "Journey to Babel", "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield", and "The Menagerie, Part I" – being an unnamed Enterprise shuttlecraft in Babel and unnamed starbase shuttlecraft in the other two episodes.
Cast and characters
- Leonard Nimoy struggled with his role of Spock in this episode because, in many of his scenes, he had to account for the absence of William Shatner. Nimoy later recalled, "I experienced it as a failure […] Put into the position of being the driving force, the central character, was very tough for me." (Smithsonian magazine, May 2016 issue, p. 59)
- Phyllis Douglas returned as one of the "space hippies" in "The Way to Eden". The part of Yeoman Mears was originally written for Yeoman Rand, but Grace Lee Whitney had just been written out of the series. (The Star Trek Compendium, p. 45)
- John Crawford, in an interview in Starlog magazine, stated that he had a very unpleasant time in his scenes with Shatner on the bridge.(citation needed • edit)
- Don Marshall previously appeared in the controversial episode "To Set it Right" of Gene Roddenberry's previous series, The Lieutenant, in which Nichelle Nichols played his character's girlfriend.
- The producers liked Marshall's performance as Boma, and intended to bring the character back. However, by that time, Marshall was already signed with Irwin Allen to co-star in Land of the Giants (which began filming in 1967, but only premiered a year later). (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One, 1st ed. p. 313)
Props and sets
- The tool that will later be the laser beacon in "The Squire of Gothos" is sitting above the nacelle of the shuttlecraft in an early scene.
- The episode marks the first appearance in Star Trek of the rank of "ensign", as Ensign O'Neill is mentioned in this episode.
- This episode establishes that there is more than one transporter room on the Enterprise. Kirk clearly uses the plural, "transporters". In all other episodes, only the singular is used.
- Ferris is called "Galactic High Commissioner" because the name United Federation of Planets had not yet been created. Two years later, in "Elaan of Troyius", the term "Federation High Commissioner" was used instead.
- Beginning with this episode, a somewhat re-orchestrated version of the opening theme is played over the opening credits.
- The tan belts to which phasers and communicators are attached make a re-appearance after being gone for several episodes.
- In this episode, Spock states he doesn't believe in angels, implying that he didn't believe anyone would save him or the others aboard the Galileo, in case the Enterprise didn't come for the rescue. Ironically, in the second season of Star Trek: Discovery, it is revealed that Spock's foster sister and her mother had saved quite a number of people from impending doom wearing a suit that resembled, as Spock himself put it, a "Red Angel".
- Bantam Books published a series of novelizations called "fotonovels" which took photographic stills from actual episodes and arranged word balloons and text over them, to create a comic book-formatted story. The seventh installment was an adaptation of this episode.
- In the novel Dreadnought!, it is stated that Scott demanded (and got) a court-martial against Boma due to his insubordination toward Spock. (Spock had not mentioned anything about Boma's attitude in his own report.) As a result, Boma was discharged from the fleet.
- The alternate reality's version of events is depicted in issues three and four of IDW Publishing's Star Trek: Ongoing comic series, "The Galileo Seven, Part 1" and "The Galileo Seven, Part 2".
The remastered version of "The Galileo Seven" aired in many North American markets during the weekend of 16 September 2007. The episode received fairly heavy treatment, due to the number of special effects in the original. Like all other remastered episodes, the physical model of Enterprise has been wholly replaced by a CGI model throughout the episode. Similarly, Enterprise is universally shot at different – and typically closer – angles than in the original. As might be expected, this episode also required a new CGI model of Galileo itself.
The most widely employed new effect is that of the "Murasaki effect" and the planet Taurus II. Whereas in the original the graphic is largely confined to a long-range viewscreen shot of the Murasaki 312 quasar itself, the remastered version depicts the phenomenon as more of an omnipresent "effect", serving as the background for most shots. Also, in the original, the planet Taurus II is seen as primarily green in color, while the remastered planet is largely grey and rocky, like the surface.
The shuttlebay and launch sequences of shuttles received a thorough reworking. The resting Columbus can now be seen briefly during the Galileo launch, and the Galileo's takeoff occurs with a more naturalistic "wobble" as the ship stabilizes before achieving forward momentum. Once launched, Galileo now casts a shadow on the shuttlebay to further lend verisimilitude to the sequence. As the "Galileo" departs the shuttlebay the interior shot of the shuttlebay is missing the "Columbus".
The new TOS-R chronometer is also briefly seen in the episode.
The final flight of Galileo has been given perhaps the most significant narrative attention. The "flare" caused by Spock's fuel dump is now more evident, both in close-ups of the shuttle and in long range Enterprise viewscreen images of the planet. As Galileo descends into the atmosphere, the ship glows a brilliant red-orange to indicate the heat – something that did not noticeably occur in the original version.
As of October 2017, the HD-DVD version of this episode is the only place to find the Starfleet Access bonus feature. The feature, for whatever reason, has not been ported over to any Blu-Ray release.
Video and DVD releases
- Original US Betamax release: 1985
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 8, catalog number VHR 2258, release date unknown
- US VHS release: 15 April 1994
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 1.5, 9 September 1996
- Original US DVD release (single-disc): Volume 7, 22 February 2000
- As part of the TOS Season 1 DVD collection
- As part of the TOS Season 1 HD DVD collection
- As part of the TOS Season 1 Blu-ray collection
Links and references
- George Takei as Sulu
- Nichelle Nichols as Uhura
- John Crawford as Commissioner Ferris
- Peter Marko as Gaetano
- Reese Vaughn as Latimer
- Grant Woods as Kelowitz
- Buck Maffei as the creature
- David Ross as the transporter chief
- Majel Barrett as the computer voice
- William Blackburn as Hadley
- Frank da Vinci as Brent
- Eddie Paskey as Leslie
- Ron Veto as Harrison
- Unknown performers as
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- "The Galileo Seven" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "The Galileo Seven" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "The Galileo Seven" at Wikipedia
- "The Galileo Seven" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
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"The Conscience of the King"
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|Next episode aired:|
"The Squire of Gothos"
|Previous remastered episode aired:
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|TOS Remastered||Next remastered episode aired:|
"The Conscience of the King"