Star Trek: “By Any Other Name”


It seems odd to me that only two episodes after doing basically the same story in “Return to Tomorrow,” the story is rehashed and given new life by making it a little campier, a little more slapstick, and strangely… a little more effective.

What makes “By Any Other Name” a fun episode is the way that it uses characterization to its advantage. When the remaining Enterprise crew have to retake the ship from the Kelvans, they use the unique gifts that they come equipped with: for Kirk, it’s womanizing, for McCoy, it’s medicine, and for Scotty, it’s being a drunk. It’s silly, but the episode knows that it’s silly and it makes the silliness work for it.

In the end, the episode is better than it should be.


Interesting Fact: One of the drinks Scotty gives to Tomar is described only as “green”; Scotty doesn’t know the name of the drink. In the Next Generation episode “Relics”, Data gives a Scotty a drink which he doesn’t know the name of and refers to it as “green.”

“We did it, you and me. Put him right under the table.”
– Scotty… the goddamn alcoholic.

About the author

Jason Donner

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

    The ‘silliness’ of Kirk and Scotty was the point: Since the Kelvans had transformed themselves into Humans TOO faithfully (they acquired a propensity for emotional and hormonally-driven behavior), they would rapidly lose Kelvan cultural values as well, and the multi-generational Enterprise, when it finally got to the Kelvan home world in the Andromeda Galaxy, they would be rebuffed as invaders themselves and likely imprison or destroyed. Kirk and Scott each showed the Kelvans the full nature of what they’d become, and they realized that they’d sabotaged the whole point of their mission.
    But more HUGE plot holes that are unresolved. First, the device that converts a sentient being into a dodecahedron cracker, and back (unless crushed, never mind why it won’t work on a pile of sawdust, poor Yeoman Thompson). Then the ability to shorten the travel time for the Enterprise to Andromeda from several thousand years to ‘only’ 300. And finally, the ability of the Kelvans to transform themselves into another species. I wonder WHY the Federation wasn’t conducting some serious negotiations with these erstwhile Kelvans for intellectual rights and trade secrets, the technical implications of these capabilities would have been staggering!