It's back! Let's get the second season of the original series completed, then we'll see what else we fancy. Possibly Enterprise. Possibly Space Dandy.
Captain Kirk vs. the Monster from his Past
The Mission: Survey planet Argus X. Rendesvouz with the Yorktown in order to transfer vaccines to planet Beta VII.
Argus X: A craggy planet with some plantlife, rich in tritanium (twenty times as hard as diamond, dontchano). It's a thousand light years from...
Alien Life forms:
The Cloud Monster: When you can't afford an alien, use a cloud. The alien appears as nothing more than a big cloud of dry ice. It's composed of dikironium, which should only exist in the lab. It's surprising, in that case, that the tricorders can even scan for it, and the life form does not immediately register. It can change its state and structure, hiding from scans. It can travel at high warp speed, travelling thousands of light years, using gravitational fields to propel itself. Oh, and it's a vampire! It drains the body of red corpuscles, which is good and scary although it does make you wonder how the hell it could have evolved in the first place. And it smells of honey.
Captain James T: For a moment, he appears paranoid, immediately reacting to a familiar smell as if it means his old enemy is present. He's right though, although he's needlessly mysterious about everything. He puts tracking down the creature ahead of his mission to get the vaccines to the Yorktown, ignoring communication from Starfleet. He's seriously gung-ho in this episode; we haven't really seen him like this before.
Eleven years ago, Kirk encountered the alien while he served on the USS Farragut. He's convinced it's intelligent. He's extremely hard on the one surviving security officer for not taking the creature down with his phaser – the son of his old captain, Garrovik. He blames himself for the death of his old captain, for freezing just like the younger Garrovik. He becomes increasingly obsessed and irrational as time passes.
Green-Blooded Hobgoblin: He's handy to have around when you need some reading done, since he can get ten hours worth done in a few hours. He accepts that the alien is intelligent once confronted with its actions. He goes to cheer up Garrovik, telling not to blame himself for being a foolish, instinctive human. He's not harmed by the alien – it can't eat his copper-based blood cells.
The Real McCoy: Both he and Spock decide that Kirk's behaviour has become irrational, and move to have him declared unfit for duty – unless he makes his actions clear. He stands up to Kirk against his monster hunt once the creature gets on board. He apologises, though, even though he's actually in the right; the alien would never have attacked the ship if Kirk hadn't chased it.
Future Treknology: An antimatter bomb, containing only an ounce of antimatter, is enough to blow a hole in a planet.
Cliche Count: It's yet another Moby Dick tale, not long after the last one. There'll be a few of these over the years. Four redshirts die on the planet, and at least one other crewman bites it on the ship.
The Verdict: The second episode in a row that deals with Kirk's competence being questioned, but considerably better done than the previous. It's pretty obvious that the alien will turn out to be immune to phasers, making both Kirk's and Garrovik's guilt unecessary. Kirk's belief that it's the very same creature that he encountered before is never proven; there could be a whole species of these things out there. Nurse Chapel gets some nice moments, which is needed in this rather butch episode.