Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.
Star Trek: Season II, Episode XVIII (47): The Immunity Syndrome (1968) Directed by Joseph Pevney, Written by Robert Sabaroff, Created by Gene Roddenberry
Dr. McCoy: Spock, how can you be so sure the Intrepid was destroyed?
Mr. Spock: I sensed it die.
Dr. McCoy: But I thought you had to be in physical contact with a subject before...
Mr. Spock: Doctor, even I, a half-Vulcan, could hear the death scream of four hundred Vulcan minds crying out over the distance between us.
Dr. McCoy: Not even a Vulcan could feel a starship die.
Mr. Spock: Call it a deep understanding of the way things happen to Vulcans, but I know that not a person, not even the computers on board the Intrepid, knew what was killing them or would have understood it had they known.
Dr. McCoy: But, 400 Vulcans?
Mr. Spock: I've noticed that about your people, Doctor. You find it easier to understand the death of one than the death of a million. You speak about the objective hardness of the Vulcan heart, yet how little room there seems to be in yours.
Dr. McCoy: Suffer the death of thy neighbour, eh, Spock? Now, you wouldn't wish that on us, would you?
Mr. Spock: It might have rendered your history a bit less bloody.
On routine patrol, the Enterprise encounters a profound disruption in many systems; communications, ships engines, and most alarmingly, the crew’s biosigns. While exploring the phenomena, Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) is struck as he realizes that the crew of the USS Intrepid, Vulcans all, has just died. While Vulcans are known telepaths, this seems unlikely, and yet events bear out Spock’s assertions.
What the Enterprise encounters is a life form, as long as the diameter of the earth, that feeds on energy; specifically, the ships energy, and the life force of the crew. Further, it is like a one celled amoeba, reproducing by mitosis; splitting into two. It is an infection that could wipe out the galaxy, and it is up to Captain Kirk to find a way to kill it.
This episode is fairly straightforward science fiction. There is a great deal of science to it, in point of fact, it got me through a biology test I had not studied for. Yet the stories true strength is in character development, particularly between Mr. Spock, and Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley). The rivalry that exists between them is defined by their approaches to life; logical and empathic. Each quality is central to each character’s make up, and they tease the other, rather mercilessly, for their “lack.” Yet no one can doubt the deep respect and genuine affection for each other they display.
Captain Kirk (William Shatner) is also deepened by his decision; they must have information about the life form. The only way to obtain it is to send a shuttle craft within the creature itself. This is a suicide mission, and the only two men qualified to complete it are his best friends, Spock and McCoy. He must choose one of his friends to die. In this he shows his strength as a captain, and his deep affection for Mr. Spock, who must be the one to go.
This episode is a favorite for the ongoing debate about the nature of Kirk and Spock’s relationship. For those who say that Star Trek has always had a gay romance, they point to the depth of feeling. For those who want to say that both Kirk and Spock are strictly heterosexual, they point to the circumstance and insist it is strictly platonic. While I firmly believe that the Kirk/Spock romance is present, indeed pervasive in the subtext of the series, I have to say, this episode does not strengthen the gay theory. There is much love expressed, but no passion, hidden or otherwise. I guess having your life-force sucked out of you by a giant space amoeba sort of takes the passion out of an evening.
Still, this episode is rock solid on many levels, both scientific, speculative, and literary, building the relationships of the big three like few other episodes do.
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Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children up Ages 8