The Great Star Trek Rewatch: The Paradise Syndrome

When Kirk goes missing on an away mission, the Enterprise must temporarily leave him behind whilst they attempt to deflect an asteroid heading straight for the planet. Meanwhile, having lost his memory after an encounter with an alien obelisk, Kirk begins a new life as “Kirok”, medicine man of a Native American tribe living on the planet. And could it be that the quiet, idyllic life of Kirok is happier than that of the starship captain Kirk?

Since pretty much the beginning of the series, one of Star Trek’s overriding themes has been that the captain is married to his ship. The captain’s chair on the bridge is where Kirk needs to be, and no amount of paradise-like planets or beautiful women can lure him away from it for long. But just as Spock got a brief taste of relaxation and happiness in This Side of Paradise, here it’s Kirk’s turn to enjoy a life free from pressure and responsibility. But the only way he can ever enjoy himself in that life is to forget – about his friends, his ship, his ambitions and his duties.

Facts About the Galaxy We Didn’t Know This Time Last Week

  • A powerful alien race known as The Preservers spend their time making jams and chutneys relocating endangered tribes and races to safe planets – in this case, they relocated members of various Native American tribes. It’s suggested that they are responsible for at least some of the planets we have encountered with humanoid civilisations – can we use this to retcon the Yangs and Kohms, or the Roman planet? Perhaps, but it’s still stretching it a bit. Also, if the Preservers are so all-fired powerful, why did they send the Native Americans to a planet continually at risk from asteroid impacts? Yes, they left a deflector behind, but it doesn’t even work automatically – it’s song-activated, and there’s a single point of failure in that only one person knows the song (in fact, by the time the Enterprise visits, that person had died before passing the knowledge on to his son).
  • Although it’s a strain on the warp engines, Scotty is now able to get the ship up to Warp 9 for sustained periods of time. I guess the ship is undergoing constant upgrades and improvements.
  • Vulcans can go for weeks without sleep, and don’t appear to need to eat much in that time either.
  • Would Kirk have stayed behind if Miramanee had lived? Would he have asked her to come and live aboard the Enterprise with him? Or would he have abandoned his wife and unborn child?
  • Whatever happened to the phaser control room? Mostly we see Sulu firing phasers and Scotty providing power for them. Perhaps the phaser room is still hard at work on calibrating and aiming the phasers offscreen, ready for when Sulu wants to fire.

Summary – The Paradise Syndrome: Don’t let them promote you. Don’t let them transfer you. Don’t let them do *anything* that takes you off the bridge of that ship, because while you’re there… you can make a difference.

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