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Human psychology clashing with technology

  • Oct 16, 2003
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Human psychology takes center stage in this episode. A transporter malfunction creates a second Captain Kirk by siphoning out essential characteristics of his personality. Since only negative characteristics are placed in the copy, it is a feral creature, dominated by lust and other primitive emotions. The episode is well acted by all three of the principle characters, Shatner as the good Kirk appears properly drained, showing progressive weakness as he loses the will to command. However, his best performance is when he is playing the feral Kirk, fearful, yet full of animal vigor. Spock serves as psychoanalyst, properly dissecting the Kirk personas as he physically observes both parts. The crankiness so characteristic of McCoy begins to emerge.
It is in this episode where we are introduced to two fundamentals of the show. The first is the appearance of the rivalry between Spock and McCoy and the second is the first use of the Vulcan neck pinch to subdue the evil Kirk. The first time we see the rivalry is when Spock goes to the captain's quarters to investigate McCoy's assertion that Kirk is acting like a "wild man." Kirk's response is that the doctor is putting you on again, stated so routinely that it speaks volumes about the relationship between Spock and McCoy.
However, it is the mind of the captain that makes this story. We see the powerful Kirk vulnerable and afraid, and it is easy to see those two sides in our own personalities when we watch it. We all have our animal sides, and for most of us it rarely surfaces. Which is quite healthy, as a normal person is as repulsed as Kirk when it appears.
An episode that begins to flesh out the two other major characters and also the first time we hear the memorial McCoy line, "He's dead Jim!", it takes an old theme of good and evil and packages them in one person, but two separate bodies. While it is not one of the very best episodes in the original series, it shows us a new way in which a classic story can be told. It also points out that human psychology will remain what it is and clash with whatever technology we manage to develop.

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review by . December 27, 2011
Supreme Shat
This episode is a classic.  It's the infamous "Good Kirk and Evil Kirk" episode.  It's also noteworthy of bringing to light that this is where we get to see both sides of William Shatner's acting skills.  His full on clipped voiced, ham eating finest, and his softer and dramatic skills.  This single episode proves on both sides that Shatner is full of camp and skill and not just one or the other, but it does show that he has range.      …
Quick Tip by . December 27, 2011
Transporter mishap leaves Kirk divided between his passive and compassionate milquetoast self and an aggressive, angry and savage monster self all the while Enterprise crewmen are stranded on a rapidly freezing planet. Sluggish at times but gives the fans of Shatners camp antics and his serious dramatic side a chance to shine.
About the reviewer
Charles Ashbacher ()
Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
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Written by renowned novelist-screenwriter Richard Matheson (The Incredible Shrinking Man), the outstanding episode "The Enemy Within" proposes a transporter malfunction that results in Captain Kirk being divided into two versions of himself, one aggressive and brutal, the other sensitive and good. Essentially, the personality mix that makes Kirk an effective leader and balanced man is scattered like so many marbles, and the result is one captain running around mauling women and wreaking havoc while the other is frightened and indecisive. The production is very effectively done, and William Shatner's performance is among his most interesting.--Tom Keogh
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Studio: CBS Paramount International Television

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