We pay homage to six Star Trek the Original Series episodes featuring Captain Kirk’s doubles and impostors. Body-swaps, transporter malfunctions, and biological replication are all included. Can’t get enough of Kirk? You can have two.
#1: The Enemy Within
Captain Kirk becomes an unfortunate victim to unreliable technology. His transporter splits him in two, emotionally and physically. A psychodrama-thriller, the episode has us fooled following the “good” Kirk while his evil impostor runs wild through the Enterprise. Panic runs through executive command as Spock is obsessed, protecting Kirk’s infallible image and pushes for a cover up. The enemy is our reliance on technology that punishes Sulu’s party left stranded on a cold, brutal world while innocent dog-unicorn hybrids are sacrificed. Yeoman Rand’s emotional scars will never heal as Spock’s suppression of justice within Star Fleet goes unchallenged.
Season 1, episode 5.
#2: What are Little Girls Made Of?
Another example of a cold, icy planet inspiring the birth of a Kirk-clone. Captain Kirk may not know what little girls are made of, but he does learn how to make a robot. Clay putty and centrifugal force controlled by cartoon sized dials is all it takes to replicate and duplicate impostors. In a weird, yet ironic way, Kirk has his double eliminated using his womanizing ways.
Season 1, episode 7.
#3: Mirror, Mirror
Malfunctioning again, the transporter sends Kirk, McCoy, Scotty, and Uhura into an alternative universe. This time, Kirk and party are the doubles in a galaxy where cruelty and barbarism rules. Trying to save themselves and a nearby planet, Kirk attempts to bridge an alliance with evil-Spock. Meanwhile, back in their home universe, evil-Kirk and crew are funneled to the brig as good-Spock figures out what to do with them.
Season 2, episode 4.
#4 Return to Tomorrow
More of a body swap episode, but if it walks like a duck …
Captain Kirk gives up his physical identity, disturbingly quite easily. An ancient spirit trapped in a globe, kind of like a genie, borrows Kirk’s body. Spock and Dr. Ann Mulhall go along with this suspicious scheme often seen in horror films from The Invasion of the Body Snatchers to The Skeleton Key. The three god-like beings, as wise as they were, needed humanoid donors for nothing more than their limbs. He may not be Captain Kirk on the inside. He has all his moves on the outside.
Season 2, episode 20.
#5: Whom Gods Destroy
The Enterprise visits the last of the Federation’s mental institution. When Kirk arrives, he discovers the inmates are running the asylum. Password codes, protocol, and chess moves prevent escape. Unfortunately for Kirk, he meets the great, Captain Garth. Lord Garth, as he now known, knows more about star ships and combat than he. Garth also has the convenient ability to change his appearance, clothes and all. He takes Kirk’s image but none of his personality.
Season 3, episode 14.
#6: Turnabout Intruder
In an episode more known for its over reaching camp and the last of the series, “Turnabout Intruder” was another example of the body swap with Dr. Janice Lester working hard to imitate Captain Kirk and Captain Kirk working hard not to imitate Janice Lester. Dr. Lester has a hard time at command and shares an awkward moment with her co-conspirator, Dr. Coleman, that may still be light-years ahead of its time. It is filled with double-meanings about feminism, gender identities, and radical enforcement (or resistance) to political correctness. Then they shut down the series.
Season 3, episode 24.