The Great Star Trek Rewatch: Wink of an Eye

When the Enterprise responds to a distress call from planet Scalos, they are surprised to discover that no one appears to be on the planet. Little do they realise that the aliens they have come to rescue are hyperaccelerated beings who are invisible to the naked eye, and that their plan is to hijack the Enterprise and use the crew as breeding stock – starting with Captain Kirk.

Already a galactic Lothario, Captain Kirk takes a step up in this episode, becoming a preferred sperm donor for an alien race. In fact, this is actually a pretty good episode – not only because the storyline feels a little different from the standard Star Trek fallbacks, but because we have a strong female character in the form of Deela. As queen of the Scalosians, she is ruthlessly pragmatic, putting aside her love for one of her own in favour of her duty to breed with as many alien as possible – and as she says, if she has to do it, she might as well like it too! In fact, this is quite a racy episode by the network standards of the time, featuring a scene in which Kirk is pulling on his boots and Deela is brushing her hair. Oh my goodness, they must just been undressed and having sex! Who know people could do such things?

The weird, wonderful and not always scientifically accurate world of Star Trek

  • The Scalosians were once pretty much human, but a natural disaster on their world released radiation which rendered all the males and most of the females sterile, and also accelerated them far beyond the range of human perception (more on this in a minute, just roll with it for now). Having tried and failed to return to normal, they have resigned themselves to luring in starships with a disrtress call, then capturing compatible males. The males are accelerated by drinking the tainted water, and although this shortens their lifespan and makes them tremendously susceptible to dying from the slightest physical damage, it allows the Scalosian women to breed with them.
  • To normal ears, the Scalosian voices sound like the buzzing of an insect, whilst they are invisible to humans. There don’t appear to be any relativistic effects going on, so the Scalosians shouldn’t really be invisible – perhaps they could move so fast as to be a mere shadowy blur, but certainly any time they stay still they should be visible. Also, was the buzzing their movements or their voices – if the latter, one would expect the frequency of their voices to be so high as to be inaudible to humans (although perhaps audible to any stray dogs or cats on board).
  • At the speed the Scalosians move, there should be tremendous drag from the atmosphere of the planet or the Enterprise.
  • Even if Deela is sped up, unless she can move at warp speed, there is no way she can sidestep a phaser beam.
  • When Kirk and the others are looking for invisible intruders, they appear to be able to ‘spray’ their phasers (set to stun) around as if they were using fire hoses.
  • You know what would have stopped the intruders? Increasing the artificial gravity. Just saying. Also, if there were better security controls on the doors, maybe they wouldn’t have been able to move around the ship quite so easily in the first place.
  • We get our first look at Environmental Engineering, where life support is controlled.
  • Did the transporter not detect extra people being beamed aboard? For that reason, why couldn’t the sensors detect the Scalosians? Do they have a really low sampling rate?
  • At the end, Kirk and Spock are decelerated, and the Enterprise flies away happily ever after. Did no one think to discuss with the Scalosians how McCoy’s cure might help them too, or at least might provide a starting point? Or did Kirk consider fucking Deela to mean his job was done? For that matter, how was McCoy so easily able to find a cure when Scalos’ finest minds couldn’t?
  • Who was filming the landin party when they went down to Scalos?

Summary – Wink of an Eye: Blink and you’ll miss it.

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