"The Savage Curtain"
Perhaps best known as the episode in which Abraham Lincoln is seen, rather absurdly, floating through space in a big ol' presidential chair, "The Savage Curtain" is one of those death-match shows in which a busybody alien wants to witness true human(oid) mettle in an arranged battle. Lincoln asks Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) to accompany him to a planet where Excalbians have organized a fight between good (Kirk's party plus a Vulcan icon) and evil (Genghis Khan, Kahless the founder of the Klingon Empire, and two guys you never heard of). The derivative, obvious story was half-written by Gene Roddenberry and dumped on another writer, Arthur Heinemann, after Roddenberry pulled back from Star Trek
in its third season. Heinemann added some interesting moral underpinnings, but this is one of those instances in which a good television show seems to be mimicking itself. On the plus side, the show gives Sulu (George Takei) a rare opportunity to command the Enterprise
bridge--experience that surely served him well later as a Starfleet captain in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
. --Tom Keogh
"All Our Yesterdays"
The Enterprise prepares for the evacuation of doomed planet Sarpeidon, but Captain Kirk (William Shatner), Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) find that all inhabitants have left via a time-travel device that has sent them to different periods of their own choosing. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy accidentally pass through the device, with the captain landing in the middle of an 18th-century-style witch-hunt while Spock and McCoy travel back 6,000 years to the Ice Age. The script, by UCLA librarian and spec writer Jean Lisette Aroeste (who also wrote "Is There in Truth No Beauty?" for the original series), gives the episode a special charge with its dual story lines set in the past. The dramatic weight of the story, however, is clearly with Spock, who regresses into the savage emotions of his prehistoric ancestors--eating meat, choosing another transportee (Mariette Hartley) as a mate, and nearly killing McCoy when the good doctor insults him. This is a favorite among some Trekkers, made all the more enjoyable by the anxious, White Rabbit-like performance of Ian Wolfe as a Sarpeidon librarian in charge of the time-travel facility. --Tom Keogh
"The Savage Curtain," Ep.77 - Kirk, Spock, Abraham Lincoln and Surak must fight four of history's greatest tyrants in a battle of good and evil staged by the Excalbians. "All Our Yesterdays," Ep.78 - When Spock and McCoy try to rescue Kirk from a time machine accident, they emerge in an ice age. Spock, now a throwback to earlier Vulcan times, falls in love and refuses to return to Kirk or the starship.