Star Trek: “The Enemy Within”


Does it take having a little evil in you to be a great commander? The very thought is scandalous and against everything science fiction had ever offered. After all, commanders were Mr. Robinson, Flash Gordon, and Captain Proton! The hero of the story cannot have a dark side, it’s just unthinkable!

It’s this very idea that brings an extra dimension to “The Enemy Within” as what appears on the surface to be a gimmicky twin episode turns into an exploration of the human psyche.

Personally, though, I wish they would have explained why being evil makes you sweaty. Then again, why didn’t they just beam Sulu and his team up if it was a life or death situation? Sure, they would have split into good and evil halves, but you could always stun them and cure them later.

Eh, but I’m nitpicking…

With the ticking clock of the crew down below and the psychological journey of a neutered captain, “The Enemy Within” is a blast, pure and simple. It’s one of my favorites of the series.


Interesting Fact: The original script called for Spock to “karate” chop the evil Kirk at one point. Leonard Nimoy felt the action was too violent for a pacifist character, and so developed the famous “Vulcan Nerve Pinch” instead. This episode is also notable as the first time that Bones utters the phrase, “He’s dead, Jim.”

“You’re the captain of this ship. You haven’t the right to be vulnerable in the eyes of the crew. You can’t afford the luxury of being anything less than perfect. If you do, they lose faith and you lose command.”
– Spock

About the author

Jason Donner

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

    Or WHY they didn’t just SEND DOWN A SHUTTLECRAFT when the transporter went out. Never mind that on a planet where the nights get very cold they don’t have proper outerwear or even survival gear or shelter? And if they did beam down a shelter kit which is likely a ‘put it together’ affair, and the transporter makes TWO of them, well, hey, hey, hey…hard to see how a glorified tent that gets duplicated by a finicky transported wouldn’t still serve its function. The only part about why not the shuttlecraft not being able to go down and fetch them is that when the ‘bad boy’ Kirk shoots his phaser, he also disables the access doors to the Shuttlebay. I guess in the 23rd century they see no need for hardening or redundant systems. I know, this early neither the shuttlecraft or its bay had been devised and therefore weren’t available as a plot device. Still, a sloppy story.

    • William Johnson

      Yeah, the shuttlecraft was pretty obvious. The other issue is that they could have beamed anything from blankets to shelter materials down since the only problem was with complicated devices not functioning. They could have even beamed down separate chemicals which could have been combined to generate heat. Basic chemistry was apparently not affected if a human could still exist even if two were created.
      I also wonder how Scotty could witness a transporter problem and then beam the CAPTAIN