Star Trek: “The Galileo Seven”


This episode, to me, will always hold a special place in my heart for you see, this was the first episode of the original series that I ever saw. I remember I didn’t think much of it the first time I saw a bunch of people in a space van crashed on a planet with fur-wearing monsters, but in retrospect, this is a nifty episode that has far more going on than meets the eye.

First, this is the story of Spock and his first command. Naturally, as first officer of the Enterprise, he has commanded before but never on this scale. Never to the point that lives depended on his every move. You can almost see the Vulcan suffer from anxiety in this episode and Leonard Nimoy, having finally gotten a hold of his character, plays it to the hilt.

Secondly, this is the story of how Spock is held up to more scrutiny than a human commander. He is treated inordinately, questioned, second-guessed and insulted. Still, Spock stubbornly soldiers on. It’s almost inspirational at some points as you consider that Spock is going up against 23rd century racism.

Third, it’s the story of survival. It’s ugly, it’s desperate, and it makes for great TV. The Galileo Seven is like an old disaster movie – a ship full of extras and you never really knew who was going to live and who was going to die. Add in the ticking clock of the Enteprise having to leave, and you’ve got a damn fine hour of TV.

The major downfall of this episode is that the cavemen don’t offer much of a credible threat and end up taking a lot of air out of the episode’s tires.


Interesting Fact: The shuttlecraft was built by workers at AMT corporation with the work supervised by automotive designer George Winfield, who would later go on to construct the full-sized vehicles featured in the film Blade Runner. AMT built the shuttle craft in exchange for the rights to sell the model kits of it

“I realize that command does have its fascination, even under circumstances such as these, but I neither enjoy the idea of command nor am I frightened of it. It simply exists, and I will do whatever logically needs to be done.”
– Spock

About the author

Jason Donner

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

    The “Hew-Mon” interaction, not all of it positive, or in Spock’s case, “half-hew-mon”, is what makes this episode worthwhile. Otherwise, it’s full of enough plot holes to pilot a D’deridex-class Warbird through. Why the Federation’s flagship, the Enterprise, is on what is essentially a CARGO run is incredulous, any sizeable military today has a fast ‘airlift’ capability to move material quickly, and Starfleet ought to be no exception, with dedicated cargo spacecraft, many likely even fully automated, that would perform this single mission far more effectively than a multi-billion, if not trillion, credit spacecraft that serves multiple functions of combat, exploration, and diplomacy. If indeed the Enterprise is the only ship in the ‘right place at the right time’ to save the colony in question (Is Starfleet’s charter to go about ‘stamping out fires’ and correcting exploration fuckups?), then why are the two critical division heads (Engineering, Medical) and the FIRST OFFICER sent to recon in person a friggin’ planet that isn’t going anywhere, when it’d suffice to send a probe and gather telemetry! That alone would land Kirk’s ass in the sling! Not to mention that there’s a hot yeoman out there that Kirk hasn’t bagged, apparently…come on, writers, get it together!