The Great Star Trek TAS Rewatch: One of Our Planets is Missing

 

The Enterprise, engulfed by a sentient space creature

The Enterprise stumbles upon a massive cloud that is able to devour entire planets – only to discover that an inhabited planet is right in its path. As the ship rushes to aid the colony, it too is swallowed up by the cloud, leaving the Enterprise crew to figure out an escape route.

If you were hoping that The Animated Series was going to bring you new and original content that wasn’t possible in TOS, then you may want to skip this episode. Huge space creatures were a TOS staple, and this episode is basically more of the same – essentially a reworking of the Doomsday Machine in which the planet devourer turns out to be sentient.

Spock reaches out to mind meld with the entity

Unlike the previous episode, where there was plenty to discuss, this is a mediocre, on-the-rails adventure. We even get a classic “Spock’s mind meld powers save the day” outcome – to add insult to injury, mere seconds after claiming that he can only do a mind meld by physical contact, Spock is able to just sit in the captain’s chair, reach out his arms, and meld with the space creature. Never mind that its consciousness and ways of thinking should be far too different to Spock’s for them to be able to connect in the first place!

Notes and observations

  • Lieutenant Arex (aka James Doohan, again) gets his first speaking appearance in this episode.
  • Kirk and Spock get the entity to go back the way it came, which does at least save Mantilles and any other planets on its original course, but seems prone to additional problems. Either there’s no ‘food’ left on that route, which means the cloud will starve to death, or there are planets it missed on the way out that will now be endangered when it returns. And what happens when it returns to its starting point? Does it wait there until it dies? Are there others of its kind floating around the galaxy? At the very least, Kirk and Spock could have impressed upon it the reason why it shouldn’t eat inhabited planets, and perhaps direct it to look for sources of matter it could eat without killing anyone. Let’s see some social responsibility here.

Summary – One of Our Planets is Missing: The most entertaining thing about this episode is the title.

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