"The Enemy Within"

Written By: Peter Casey

Published: Issue 28, Monday, October 16, 2000


This is another first-year entry that is outstanding.


When a crewman transports back to the Enterprise from what seems like a routine away mission covered with what is thought to be only dust, our crew is suddenly thrust into the middle of a life-and-death crisis.


Before they know it, the transporters are not functional. Anything transported is either disfigured or split in two.


The away team, led by Sulu, is trapped on the planet below. With temperatures falling swiftly, the outlook for their survival is grim. And to make matters worse, after Kirk had beamed up earlier, he fell victim to being split in two.


The effect of this splitting, if you will, is that one half has the more aggressive, hostile characteristics, while the other is more compassionate and docile. This leads to a classic spin on the good-versus-evil story so often told in our society.


As the hostile Kirk wreaks havoc on other members of the crew, the compassionate Kirk grows weaker, with less ability to command.


When Spock and Kirk realize this, they set the wheels in motion for the apprehension of the "other" Kirk. Once successful in this endeavor, they are able to repair the transporters, and save Sulu and his away team.


What makes this episode so interesting is, as Spock so accurately assessed, it is the aggressive, "evil" side of humans that makes us able to be strong enough to lead. Without it, we lose our ability to command.


And, of course, this leads to a classic TOS confrontation between said first officer and McCoy, with the doctor's argument that you can lead even without the "evil" side via your intelligence.


Let's not forget that it was the intelligent Kirk who for not one moment forgot his fellow crew members on the planet's surface. He was the one willing to risk his life before Scotty could properly test the transporters.


In the end, Kirk realizes, quite correctly, that he needs both. Just like all of us. But tempered, as McCoy stated, with our intellect.


Once again, another classic.


Rating: Highly Recommended