Most helpful critical review
A real lowlight, followed by a reprieve
on September 1, 2003
The Lights of Zetar-Yet another dull and pointless episode, this one sees Scott's love (Mira Romaine) possessed by an alien life form represented by flashing lights. Scotty's romance plays only slightly better than McCoy's earlier in the season; whereas McCoy's romance seemed flat, Scotty is over the top, acting
completely irrational and out of character. At least Jan Shutan's stiff performance provides some counterpoint to Doohan's overacting! The episode has few highlights, and no ultimate message. It also lacks the quirky style of many 3rd season shows; there is no original music (although revisiting the Where no Man has gone Before soundtrack was an interesting decision, and they were running out of money after all), and the close up shots of the eye were kind of interesting. When such
minutiae are the best thing going for an episode, you've got problems. (1.5 stars)
The Cloud Minders-This episode, concerning a socially and
vertically stratified society of mine and cloud dwellers, temporarily staunched the haemorraging occurring at this point in the 3rd season. While not exactly action-packed (not many 3rd season shows were) this episode has an ebb and flow lacking from many of its contemporaries. The premise is also interesting enough, with obvious implications for our own society. The decision to take on the nature vs. nurture question was all admirable. While they were of course correct to pick nurture, the zenite quick fix was a copout. Obviously those deprived of knowledge for generations will require some time to get up to speed (the same could be said of Uhura's experience in the Changeling).
While the Spock romance was out of character, I didn't find it totally implausible or regrettable. They did seem to have a rapport, at least. The episode is hurt by weak performances from the other two guests though.
Tidbits: Production was getting really sloppy by this point. For example, after the crew have been corralled on the planet's barren surface, Kirk is heard to utter through totally unmoving lips, "Who are you? What is the meaning of this attack?" (3.5 stars)