Star Trek: “Amok Time”


Now we begin the second season and if the ending of the first was hokey and disappointing, the beginning of the second is classic Trek all over. The exploration of a new world and culture, great character interaction, and the friendship between the characters taking center stage. Great episode.

As far as action, drama, and humor the episode is surprisingly balanced with no one element detracting from the others. Nimoy is brilliant in this episode as he plays the unemotional Spock reduced to feeling ashamed and embarrassed of his biological process, becoming so weary that, by the end of the episode, his emotional explosion is understood and perfectly within character.

Not only is this a great episode, but it’s become a signature of Americana and very few television shows can claim that honor as their own.


Interesting Fact: This episode was originally (and perhaps rather unfortunately) summarized by TV Guide with the double-entendre “Mr. Spock succumbs to a powerful mating urge and nearly kills Captain Kirk.”

“After a time, you may find that “having” is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as ‘wanting.’ It is not logical, but it is often true.”
– Spock

About the author

Jason Donner

Jason Donner devoured the universe and you are all living inside him.
  • Douglas Self

    This was indeed, a great episode, from the standpoint of exploring the complexities and contradictions of Vulcan society, and Spock’s dealing with it, as he’s biologically only halfway there. Interesting to note that subterfuge and deceit aren’t necessarily bad in Vulcan society (T’Pring double-crosses both Spock and Stonn by choosing Kirk, and T’Pau, for what is essentially a high magistrate, commit what would be considered criminal non-disclosure under almost all legal systems by not informing Kirk of the deadly nature of the fight), it just has to be ‘logical’. So much for Vulcan moral superiority.

    My greatest problem with this episode is the whole notion of the cyclical nature of the Vulcan male sexual drive. Though it gave shaky credence to the reason why the Enterprise must divert to Vulcan and why Kirk risks his captaincy and career over his friend (and then later his life), it painted the whole of Vulcan physiology and sexual dynamics into a corner. Does this mean that Vulcans have sexual intercourse only once every seven years? Where’s the ‘logic’, let alone the desirability of that? Does this mean that all Vulcan families have a child only on seven year intervals, if that? That too, if true, would have a profound effect on their society and their family structure! The writers really fouled up on this, and attempts to retcon it are clumsy, or just disregarded altogether. It’d have been better to explain that Spock is the Vulcan equivalent of the ’40 y.o. virgin, and must finally yield to biology. And never mind T’Pring…does she fend off HER desires with self-pleasure or take a lover anyway (after all, deceit is ok if it’s “logical”), or are Vulcan females so sexually repressed on her wedding night that all they do is lie back and think of ShiKar? Maybe that’s why T’Pau, the crone magistrate, bellows “Kroy-Kah!” so vehemently when Stonn gets out of line…lots of repressed emotions in the old gal.

    Another comic deals with Spock dealing with the petulant offspring (T’aaris) of Stonn and T’Pring, who rebels by stealing a Federation shuttlecraft with a teenaged boy of a race that resembles bipedal horses. T’Pring had left Stonn and her baby daughter to become a priestess (but again, family abandonment is fine if it’s ‘logical’). Stonn remarries, to an overweight Vulcan woman (so ’emotional’ eating is like a problem for Vulcans too, more for her ability to care for the child than any perceived attractiveness and, Stonn is apparently perceived likewise as a wimp after still marrying T’Pring even though she had double-crossed him and likewise isn’t perceived as much of a ‘catch’). Stonn is Federation ambassador to a neighboring planet whose system the ‘Gi are part of, who look like reptilian bipedal ‘horses’ or lizards, and has recently negotiated a treaty with these skittish folk. Kirk offends the magistrate of this world when he intervenes on behalf of T’aaris b/f, and the treaty is abrogated. Stonn falls ill, and both wife and daughter suspect each other of poisoning him. T’aaris hacks the planets judicial database and secure’s the ‘Gi boy’s release, and they flee to his planet, where they find the locals are just as xenophobic as their own oppressors. Spock goes after her and rescues her, and apparently wins her over to behave and do something productive with her life. It’s implied that he also bags her.
    Stonn dies, and the treaty remains broken, but Kirk gets in a final word with the Magistrate, telling him that he’s welcome to deal with the Romulans if he chooses, and the Federation will respect their decision, but they will regret it. Step-mother and daughter reconcile, and T’aaris expresses her desire to enter Starfleet academy.