The Enterprise receives a distress call from a human colony on Beta XII-A. Captain Kirk beams down with a landing party but finds no evidence of a human settlement. Moments later a landing party from a crippled Klingon ship, led by Commander Kang, beams down to the planet and capture Kirk and his men.
Kang denies attacking any human colony but asserts that his ship was fired upon unprovoked by the Enterprise, and he demands that Kirk surrender his ship. Suddenly Ensign Chekov accuses the Klingons of having killed his brother, Piotr; Kang takes this as an opportunity and tortures Chekov with an agonizer until Kirk gives in. Kirk pretends to agree and surrender quietly, but manages to trigger a security alert to First Officer Spock on the bridge just before beaming up. When Kirk's team, along with their captors, returns to the Enterprise, Kang and his crew are "held" in the transporter beam, rematerializing later and finding themselves surrounded by an armed security force. The Klingons surrender.
Undetected by the crew, a strange swirl of energy sneaks aboard the Enterprise. The entity interfaces with the ship's main computer, and suddenly the Enterprise jumps into warp at maximum speed on an uncontrolled heading to the edge of the galaxy. Fear and anxiety begin to rise as the ship races out of control. Emergency bulkheads begin to close throughout the ship isolating the majority of the crew away from the conflict and evening out the number of Enterprise personnel with the Klingons.
Suddenly the crew's phasers disappear, replaced by swords and knives. Armed with primitive weapons, Klingons and Federation forces start a ship wide rumble.
Kirk wants his crew to stop fighting, especially after Spock detects an alien life force on board that feeds on violent emotions. But the crew is out of control. Kirk and Spock decide to try to reach Kang, in order to alert him to the situation, and to reason with him. Meanwhile, an insane-looking Mr. Chekov roams the ship looking for "payback" for the death of his brother Piotr - even though Lt. Sulu points out that Chekov is an only child. When Chekov finds the Klingon female Mara, who is Kang's wife and science officer, he makes a series of leering sexual threats. Sickened by all the violence, Kirk knocks Chekov out.
Although Mara is wary of Kirk's help at first, she finally leads Kirk to Kang. Mara tries to explain the presence of an alien life force to her husband, but Kang insists on finishing Kirk in a man-to-man swordfight. The entity soon appears to feed off their anger.
Despite the presence of the being, Kang continues fighting. Kirk, however, struggles to ask Kang if he would like to spend the next thousand lifetimes satisfying the alien's twisted desires. Mara also convinces her husband to lay down his arms. Kang now realizes the fight is pointless and agrees to a truce. To combat the alien entity, the Klingons and Enterprise crew begin to laugh and shout and act friendly to each other. This finally drives the weakened alien life force from the ship.
Errors and ExplanationsEdit
The Nitpicker's Guide for Classic TrekkersEdit
- When the alien seals most of the Enterprises crew in the lower decks, Kirk visits Kang and tells him about it. Does this seem sound strategically? Why would you tell your enemy that they are no longer vastly outnumbered? Additionally, during this discussion, Kirk and the security guards allow the Klingons to encircle them, almost completely blocking their way out of the room. ls the alien being causing the Starfleet officers to make these kinds of blunders? Perhaps Kirk is trying to negotiate a peaceful settlement, especially as the Klingons are aboard his ship.
- I've heard of a “glass jaw.” As I understand it, the term refers to a person who gets knocked unconscious with even a light tap to the chin. Until this episode I had never heard of a “glass elbow." When the Klingons capture Engineering, two of the warriors chase Scott out into the hall. As the fighting threesome cross the threshold, a Starfleet security guard brings his weapon down on a Klingon's elbow. The Klingon promptly falls down, unconscious. Applying pressure on the elbow of a Klingon could have a similar effect to a Vulcan nerve pinch.
- On the surface of the planet, Kang claims that Klingons have no devil. lf that's true, it creates a changed premise in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Devil's Due. In that episode, Ardra changes herself into the Terran and Klingon versions of the devil.The Klingon that Ardra impersonated was Fek'lhr, the 'guardian' – ie gatekeeper - of Gre'thor,[N 1] which is not the same thing.
- In “Arena,” Sulu could sense when the Gcrn ship engaged their transporters. Yet in this episode the Klingons beam down to the planet but no one informs Kirk that they are coming. Are the Enterprises sensors unable to detect Klingon transporters? The Klingons are obviously better at masking their transporter signature.
- This episode marks the first time that more than six people have beamed up to the ship simultaneously. Originally Kirk, McCoy, Chekov, and Johnson transport down to the planet. Then five Klingons arrive. Moments later, Scott brings everyone back to the Enterprise. In The Apple, six officers beam down and then three more. This make sense, because there are only six transporter pads. On the other hand, it is possible that the transporter can scoop everyone off the surface but only reconstitute them six at a time. More likely that Enterprise has more than one transporter room.[N 2]
- Desiring to speak with Kang, Kirk risks intraship beaming to transport to Engineering. From the bridge Spock sets the controls and tells Kirk that he will have eight seconds to get on the pad. Kirk flips the controls, goes to the pad, walks back to the transporter console, pauses, lays down his sword, and finally gets back on“ the pad. Depending on when you start the countdown, it takes twelve to fifteen seconds. Something must has caused the countdown to slow down.
- Todd M. Pence on Tuesday, October 27, 1998 - 10:36 am: This evil disembodied entity doesn't use its abilities nearly as well as it could. If it can really alter people's memories, as it did with Chekov, why doesn't it make the Enterprise people forget about its existence whenever they are in danger of discovering it? Perhaps it needs people to remember it's exsistance in order to use them to maintain itself.
- Johnny Veitch on Saturday, April 03, 1999 - 6:22 am: At one point McCoy says "You can`t think of making peace with those friends!" I suppose that was a misprint and it should be "fiends", because if they were friends they wouldn`t need to make peace because they already had! McCoy is probably being sarcastic.
Internet Movie DatabaseEdit
- When a sword appears in Kirk's hand, it is obviously blunted and dulled. It should have been sharp and dangerous for the camera close-up. The creature could have deliberately supplied swords that were blunt, in order to minimise injury, thus prolonging the lives of the combatants.
- ↑ The place where dishonoured Klingons spend eternity.
- ↑ This would make sense, as it would allow them to switch to another set of pads if the main pads fail. (Assuming, of course, nothing happens to disable to entire system, which is obviously what happened in The Enemy Within!)