(written from a Production point of view)
The Vedala, the oldest known spacefaring race, summon Kirk and Spock to recover the Soul of the Skorr, a stolen religious artifact that has the potential to ignite a holy war across the galaxy. (Season finale)
- "Captain's log, stardate 5683.1. We're making a rendezvous with the Vedala asteroid on a unique mission. The Vedala are the oldest space-faring race we know. They say something incredibly dangerous to the safety of our galaxy is developing and they have sent for selected specialists including Spock and myself."
Kirk and Spock beam down to the asteroid and are welcomed by a Vedala female, who introduces them to the others who will form their expedition: Tchar, the hereditary prince of the Skorr and Master of the Eyrie; Sord, a powerful reptilian; Em/3/Green, an expert lock-pick and thief; and Lara, a great hunter with a flawless sense of direction. The Vedala tells them that Spock was chosen for his analytical mind and scientific expertise, and Captain Kirk for his leadership abilities and adaptability. Tchar explains their top-secret mission. Two centuries past his people were great warriors with advanced military technology and the ability to breed vast armies rapidly. Today they are a civilized people because of Alar, a religious leader, their teacher and salvation, who brought them peace and made them great. He died and was made immortal by recording his brain patterns and preserving them in a piece of indurite sculpture, the Soul of the Skorr.
The Vedala tells the team that the artifact has been stolen, but that the theft has been kept secret. If it is discovered missing, it could ignite a galaxy-wide holy war – a jihad. Now it is hidden on a very unstable "mad planet". It has constant earthquakes, harsh weather, gravity shifts, tidal waves, volcanic lava flows, and severe cold winds. Three previous expeditions have tried to recover the Soul of the Skorr, but they all were all lost. Kirk agrees to lead this next expedition. The Vedala transports the group to the planet where the Soul of the Skorr is hidden. After barely escaping a lava river at the cost of their land vehicle, they near a position that Tchar spots from the air. Kirk and Lara explore the terrain ahead while Tchar flies on to investigate the fortress where the Soul of the Skorr is being kept.
Spock notes the Vedala were efficient in equipping them and he will become acquainted with their supplies. Lara comes from a world with numerous females and tells Kirk she finds him attractive. He puts her off by reminding her of the importance of their mission. Rejoining the group, they head for the fortress on foot to rendezvous with Tchar. Encountering an ice field, Em/3/Green plummets into a crevasse and Spock manages to grab his hand, with Kirk close behind, grabbing the Vulcan's feet. However, Tchar flies above the crevasse and manages to rescue him. After his rescue, Em is tired and wants to be left behind, but Kirk has Sord carry him, as the group needs his unique abilities to complete the mission. Sord sees a lifeform on the supposedly uninhabited planet. Upon reaching the fortress, Em must quickly pick the locks or they will explode. The team is attacked by mechanized sentinels that protect the building. They narrowly make it inside, bypassing a booby-trapped lock on the entrance.
They find the Soul of the Skorr a thousand feet up in the air within the fortress, but the group is caught in a place without locks, so Em/3/Green can't free them. Kirk expected this, concluding that the previous missions failed because of sabotage from within each expedition. Kirk suspects that it was Tchar who originally stole the artifact. Tchar swoops down from high above and admits his treachery, saying that his people have become a docile race, slaves to the illusion of peace, cowards lost in their comfort. This sick dream, as he views it, has stolen the Skorrs' souls. He is the Prince who wants to lead his people into battle because the ensuing war will make the Skorr great again, or if his race dies, they will have at least fought well, living and dying with honor. Tchar starts a fight with Kirk and Spock, who win thanks to their null-gravity combat training they conducted the week before. After defeating him, they insist on taking Tchar back to the Vedala. Kirk and Spock manage to hold down Tchar, while Kirk hooks his foot on the artifact and calls for them to be retrieved.
Arriving back on the Vedala asteroid, they thank them and assure them Tchar will be treated for his madness, but the Vedala can offer no reward to the expedition: for the good of the Skorr, their mission must always remain secret. The Vedala promises there will be no questions and no medals, only their thanks. In time, the members of the expedition will even lose their memory of the mission. Kirk and Spock beam back to the Enterprise and find that, remarkably, only two minutes have passed since they beamed down to the asteroid. Kirk tells Sulu the Vedala changed their minds and orders everyone back to their stations. The crew of the Enterprise still have a lot of places to go in their exploration of the galaxy.
"I was sentenced to this mad expedition. My people are cautious, what you would call cowards."
- - Em/3/Green
"I like this place. It's got variety!"
- - Sord
"Vulcans. Never liked them much myself. Cold-blooded critters, all of them."
"I wouldn't say that. Mr. Spock is a... unique personality."
"But not Human, like you and me. Maybe you got different customers. My world there's a lot of females, not so many men. Come we find a man attractive, we say so. I'm saying so. How do you find me?"
"Fascinating. But we're not here on a pleasure trip, Lara."
"All the more reason to take what pleasure there might be in it."
- - Lara and Kirk
"We'll all die here!"
"A statistical probability."
"You ever quote anything beside statistics, Vulcan?"
"Yes, but philosophy and poetry are not appropriate here."
- - Em/3/Green, Spock, and Lara
"We're tired, sore, hurt, and angry. But we're also just about there."
- - Kirk
"Far too close, captain. I appreciate your action on my behalf but your first duty is to the group and the mission."
"Quite right, Spock, and that responsibility includes not losing the best science officer in Starfleet."
"You two going to argue honors or are we going to get on with it?"
- - Spock, Kirk, and Sord
"I can't go any farther. I'm not even afraid anymore, just very tired."
- - Em/3/Green
"The re-wiring of the power leads is complex and time-consuming."
"I could do it if you can diagram the schematics, sir."
- - Spock and Em/3/Green
"Kirk, there is a ravine sixty meters to your left. If it can be blocked, the lava will flow past those rocks to one side."
- - Tchar and Kirk
"That's it. End of a long hard journey."
"We still have to go back, James. I'd tell you true, I find you an attractive man. If we were...together, the trip'd be easier. And if anything happened, why... we'd have some green memories."
"I already have... a lot of green memories. "
- - Kirk and Lara
"I'm not built for that sort of thing, I'll wait for you down here."
- - Sord
"I know where you are, a thousand feet up, no method of reaching the soul except by air, by flight, Tchar."
- - Kirk, accusing Tchar
"We cannot reward you. For the good of the Skorr, this must be forever secret. You have only our thanks."
"Got nowhere to keep a medal, anyway. "
- - Vedala and Sord
Story and script
- This episode's writer, Stephen Kandel, also wrote "Mudd's Passion", as well as the two Harry Mudd episodes of TOS: "Mudd's Women" and "I, Mudd". Kandel was also a writer and story editor for Mission: Impossible, a series that shares the same basic concept of this episode: a team of specialists brought together to handle an "impossible" mission. He recalled his idea for this installment; "'Jihad' was an idea I'd had for a long time. It was a message story and difficult to sell on network television. Network executives would have said, 'My God, what are you doing? That's a message story!' I jumped at the opportunity to drop it into a Star Trek format, which we did." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 99)
- This episode's final draft script was submitted on 23 November 1973. That draft was entitled simply "Jihad", though this was evidently changed to "The Jihad" for the episode's final version.
Cast and characters
- This is one of two TAS episodes that do not feature James Doohan voicing the character of Montgomery Scott (the other installment being "The Slaver Weapon", in which the character does not appear), although Scott does appear here and Doohan did voice two other characters for this installment (namely, Sord and Tchar).
- David Gerrold, who was a writer on both Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Animated Series, voiced the character of Em/3/Green for this episode. "It was my idea to do a voice," he recollected. "I asked [Director] Hal Sutherland. I said, 'You know, I need my SAG card. Please let me do a voice.' He said, 'We don't really have it in the budget to do guest stars, but come on, you brought in Stanley Adams for 'Tribbles' and Roger Carmel for 'Mudd.' We've got enough in the budget for one little voiceover.' It was like $75, but it was enough to get me my SAG card." Despite rumors to the contrary, this is the only episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series for which Gerrold voiced a role. He later cited the facts that he "got to do a voice" and "got an SAG card" as personal highlights of working on the series.  Ultimately, he was not, however, completely pleased with the type of voice he created for Em/3/Green. "I wasn't all that happy with how it turned out," he said. "I figured out a better voice two days later." 
- The four starships seen in orbit of Vedala were drawings reused from "The Time Trap".
- The birdlike mechanized sentinels that launch an attack against the team of specialists were a recycled character design that was previously used to portray both the swoopers in "The Infinite Vulcan" and the Maravel dragons in the episode immediately before this one, "The Eye of the Beholder". New backgrounds were added for the reuse of the footage, though the actual animation remained the same, a standard shortcut in the animation industry. (The Star Trek Files: The Animated Voyages End, p. 29)
- The animated design of Tchar was another reuse, having previously been used for the look of the Aurelian Aleek-Om in "Yesteryear". The reason for this reuse was simply that it saved money. (Star Trek Magazine issue 158, p. 52)
- In addition to the usual production inconsistencies, (incorrect rank insignia and incorrect positioning of the Starfleet insignia):
- The Vedala explains that the "mad planet" has temperatures ranging from 20 to 270 degrees Kelvin (-253 to -3 Celsius). This doesn't coincide with the climate seen on the planet nor with the clothing the characters would be expected to wear in arctic temperatures.
- After "Yesteryear" and "The Slaver Weapon", this is the third of three animated episodes that do not feature any scenes set on the USS Enterprise's bridge.
- Stephen Kandel found this episode to be a successful one. "It worked very well," he enthused. "In fact, I won a humanitarian award for it." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 99)
- The editors of Trek magazine collectively scored this episode 3 out of 5 stars (a rating that they termed "good"). (The Best of Trek #1, p. 111)
- In The Star Trek Files magazine, John Peel critiqued, "The planet isn't the only thing unstable in this story. The thin plot barely disguises the theft of the Soul, since there are only a few suspects who could have done it. And when Tchar vanishes, the solution is almost shown us in neon lettering. The only thing that puzzles me is if he took it in the first place, why is he keeping the theft a secret? He wants to use the theft to start a war, so why bother with the play-acting? Why not just blow the lid at the start? It's all very well to dismiss the planet as geologically unstable, but there simply is no way that all the differing effects shown in this tale could exist on one planet in such close proximity to one another. It's just plain shoddy writing to try something like this." (The Star Trek Files: The Animated Voyages End, pp. 31-33)
- In the unofficial reference book Trek Navigator: The Ultimate Guide to the Entire Trek Saga (pp. 122 & 123), co-writer Mark A. Altman rates this episode 2 and a half out of 4 stars (defined as "average") while fellow co-writer Edward Gross ranks the episode 3 out of 4 stars (defined as "good").
- In Star Trek Magazine's "Ultimate Guide" (Star Trek Magazine issue 163, p. 26), this episode was rated 3 out of 5 Starfleet arrowhead insignias.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (CIC Video): Volume 4, catalog number VHR 2538, 20 January 1992
- As part of the The Animated Series DVD collection
- As part of the The Animated Series Blu-ray collection
Links and references
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- "The Jihad" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "The Jihad" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "The Jihad" at Wikipedia
- "The Eye of the Beholder" & "The Jihad" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
"The Eye of the Beholder"
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