(written from a Production point of view)
The Enterprise encounters the ship of a noted Federation philanthropist, missing for nearly five years, near the Romulan Neutral Zone.
- "Captain's log, Stardate 5143.3. While patrolling the edge of the Romulan Neutral Zone the USS Enterprise has changed course to assist a one-manned vessel which has fallen victim to a meteor swarm. Sensors indicate the occupant is still alive."
The vessel is registered to Carter Winston, who has been missing for more than five years. Captain Kirk, Spock and Dr. McCoy greet the long-lost philanthropist in the transporter room. By coincidence, his fiancée, Lieutenant Anne Nored, is serving aboard the Enterprise, as a part of the vessel's security personnel.
Spock tells Winston that they will notify her as soon as they verify his identity with his identity tapes. When McCoy protests, Spock reminds him that it is standard operating procedure, along with a medical exam McCoy must perform. Winston agrees and produces the tapes.
- "The Enterprise has rescued a living legend, the foremost space trader of our time. Carter Winston has acquired a dozen fortunes, only to use his wealth, time and again, to assist Federation colonies in times of need or disaster."
Winston's readings are a little off on his medical exam. McCoy makes note of it but passes it off as sickbay equipment in need of recalibration.
When everything checks out Kirk says, "It seems we'll have a distinguished passenger for a while." Immediately following his reunion with Anne, Winston tells her that he has changed and can no longer marry her, ever.
Winston goes to see Kirk in his quarters about his ship, but Kirk informs him it has only scrap value. While there Winston shapeshifts and renders Kirk unconscious. Nurse Chapel can find nothing wrong with the instruments but the readings are still slightly off.
McCoy notes some of the rest of the tests are off while some are not and vows he will find the answer. Winston takes Kirk's form, goes up to the bridge, and orders Sulu to steer the Enterprise into the Neutral Zone. Spock says, "It does not seem prudent to take the risk of trespass into the zone." Winston/Kirk assures Spock that it is vital to proceed to the planet Rator III, as the entire population may depend on the Enterprise's assistance. Spock is still not comfortable with the order but Winston/Kirk insists.
- "Ship's log, stardate 5148.7, first officer Spock reporting. The captain's course change has taken us deep into the Romulan Neutral Zone."
When the real Kirk recovers, he and Spock discover the ruse and Kirk orders the ship out of the Neutral Zone at warp 8. After speaking to Winston/McCoy, Kirk and Spock realize he was not McCoy at all. The real McCoy wakes up on the lab floor.
Kirk is sure Winston shapeshifted again and is still in the room. Kirk realizes that Winston has shapeshifted into a bio-bed. He shapeshifts out of hiding after Kirk threatens to pour orientine acid onto him. Spock states he is a Vendorian, who escapes, eludes capture, and are known for their practice of deceit as a way of life. Romulan ships, having been advised of the breach of the Neutral Zone, surround the Enterprise.
- "Captain's log, supplemental. Due to interference by the alien Vendorian aboard, the Enterprise has been detected violating the Romulan Neutral Zone. By the terms of our treaty the Romulans have a legal right to seize and impound the Enterprise. To complicate matters, we have not been able to apprehend the Vendorian responsible for putting us in this position."
The Romulans demand surrender. Kirk believes the Vendorian to be their spy, and refuses to surrender because they were lured there.
Later, the creature reveals his identity to Nored, explaining that her fiancé is dead, but since he absorbed so many emotions from him, he can indeed love her. He reveals his true form as Vendorians are cephalopods rather than humanoids, and asks Nored, "How could you love… this?"
The Romulans attack the Enterprise. Realizing he has put his love in jeopardy, the Vendorian takes the form of key components in the main deflector shield around the ship. The Romulans retreat and Kirk informs the Vendorian he will stand trial but his efforts to save the ship will be considered.
Nored tells him he is much like her former lover and that he will enjoy life on Earth, perhaps even together with her. After Winston has been apprehended, McCoy jokes, "If he'd turned into a second Spock, it would have been too much to take." (This joke proves to be eerily prophetic, and anticipates "The Infinite Vulcan".) Spock quickly one-ups him with, "Perhaps, but then two Dr. McCoys just might bring the level of medical efficiency on this ship up to acceptable levels."
"Done, tested out normal."
"Are you sure there is no possibility you made an error?"
"Well there's always that possibility. I'll go over them again if you like."
- - Winston/McCoy and Spock, when Winston, in McCoy's form, is asked about Carter Winston's test
"Doctor, you are a man of curious habits, but I have never known you to nap on the laboratory floor."
- - Spock
"All right, Winston, you can come out now. I suggest you show yourself, Winston, or... whatever you are."
- - Kirk
"You say I'm a man of curious habits? Jim's talking to a table!"
- - McCoy
"This is a vial of orientine acid, Winston. It can burn through almost anything but this crystal. If you've never seen it work, I'll demonstrate on you."
- - Kirk
"Spock to bridge. Put me on ship's audio. All security teams, intruder alert. Repeat, intruder alert. The intruder is a Vendorian, capable of assuming any shape or identity."
- - Spock
"Lieutenant Nored, you could've stopped him. Why didn't you fire?"
"I... I couldn't! I knew he had to be the intruder, captain, but I couldn't harm the image of the man I loved!"
"Lieutenant, he is not the man you loved. Carter Winston is dead."
"I know that, too... now."
- - Kirk and Nored
"You appear to have a propensity for trespassing in the Neutral Zone, Captain Kirk."
- - Romulan commander
"You caught him."
"Acute observation, doctor."
"I'm glad to see him under guard, Jim. If he'd turned into a second Spock, it would've been too much to take."
"Perhaps. But then two Doctor McCoys just might bring the level of medical efficiency on this ship up to acceptable levels."
- - McCoy and Spock
Story and production
- This is the only episode in which Dr. McCoy's daughter, Joanna, is mentioned. She was in the writer's guide in TOS, but was ultimately never featured in or even referred to in that series. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 16, p. 68; et al.) The character was featured, however, in D.C. Fontana's original draft of "The Way to Eden", which was originally titled "Joanna" and had McCoy's daughter as one of the "space hippies," before that female character instead became Irina Galliulin. Fontana's frustration with Joanna McCoy being completely excluded from "The Way To Eden" led to her replacing her name with the by-line "Michael Richards" on its script.
- Ted Knight, a frequent voice actor in Filmation cartoons aside from his live-action television prominence, provided the character voice of Carter Winston's impostor.
- Although Uhura appears in the background throughout this entire episode, when Kirk requests a Yellow Alert, he addresses M'Ress.
- This episode featured the first appearances of M'Ress, Gabler and the Romulans in the series. The Romulans, however, are shown as being likely to take captives, and they do not employ their cloaking technology in this installment. Also, they are shown to still be using a type of battle cruiser which was introduced as a Klingon ship in TOS: "Elaan of Troyius" but was later established as a Romulan vessel in TOS: "The Enterprise Incident".
- During the battle scene between the Romulan ships and the Enterprise, Anne Nored abruptly appears on the Enterprise's bridge.
- After TOS: "The Man Trap", this is the second time that Dr. McCoy has been incapacitated and impersonated by a shapeshifter. It is also the third time that a crewmember of the Enterprise learned that someone who claimed to be their past lover was in fact, not. (The Man Trap [McCoy] and TOS: "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" (Christine Chapel) are the other two.)
- The editors of Trek magazine collectively scored this episode 2 out of 5 stars (a rating that they termed "fair"). (The Best of Trek #1, p. 109)
- In the unofficial reference book Trek Navigator: The Ultimate Guide to the Entire Trek Saga (pp. 230 & 231), 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. 25), this episode was rated 3 out of 5 Starfleet arrowhead insignia.
- This episode was novelized by Alan Dean Foster in Ballantine Books' Star Trek Log 2 (along with "The Lorelei Signal" and "The Infinite Vulcan"). As such, this story is described as predating both "The Lorelei Signal" and "The Infinite Vulcan", in that order, despite "The Lorelei Signal" being an earlier episode of the animated series (immediately before both "More Tribbles, More Troubles" and this episode). The novelization of this episode also depicts the story taking place against the backdrop of a Christmas celebration aboard the Enterprise. In addition, it explains Anne Nored's sudden appearance on the Enterprise's bridge, saying that she took a turbolift there with Kirk (although only Kirk is shown exiting the lift in the actual episode).
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (CIC Video): Volume 2, catalog number VHR 2536, 6 December 1991
- As part of the The Animated Series DVD collection
- As part of the The Animated Series Blu-ray collection
Links and references
- George Takei as Hikaru Sulu
- Nichelle Nichols as Anne Nored
- Majel Barrett as
- James Doohan as
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- "The Survivor" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "The Survivor" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "The Survivor" at Wikipedia
- "More Tribbles, More Troubles" & "The Survivor" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
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