Thursday, August 7, 2014

Star Trek 3x1 "Spock's Brain"

rating: **
Memory Alpha summary

Frequently cited as one of the worst if not the worst episodes in the whole franchise, "Spock's Brain" has infamy for certain.  Does it deserve it?

Actually, probably not, if subsequent Star Trek history has anything to say about it.  People attempted to "collect" Data no less than three times in The Next Generation ("The Measure of a Man," "The Most Toys," "A Matter of Time"), while Voyager featured similar scenarios multiple times as well (medical theft in "Phage," for instance, or "Think Tank," which sees Seven receive the Data treatment).  That's a considerable legacy.

But "Spock's Brain" is also synonymous with the phrase "jumping the shark" (originated from Happy Days, with the Fonz pulling off the questionable move), and finds a latter-day comparison in the Voyager episode "Threshold," which suggests human evolution may lead to...lizards.  It's the idea of Spock's brain being stolen that's considered ludicrous, Spock walking around without his brain.
via Trek Core. On the other hand, NBC finally made a monster out of him.
Sometimes the fans have trouble being open-minded.  Which can be peculiar.  They'll accept far more insane things than this, but call "Spock's Brain" terrible, the worst of the worst, presumably because it appears to be so humiliating to an otherwise perfectly dignified character.  I guess.  That's as much as I can make of the episode's reputation.  

Except the franchise, like I said, seemed on the whole to think it was a pretty good idea.  Granted, the later episodes unquestionably did much better stories with the concept, which in the end in, this incarnation, degenerates into a fairly standard and as a result generic and otherwise unmemorable story in the series.  But the idea of it is not terrible.  Most of it addresses very directly, as most of the best episodes of the series do, that it's Spock who's the real star.  For a season that was basically one long Hail Mary for something that at that point wouldn't even dare dream of its later wide success as a franchise, that's shrewd thinking.  Certainly not "Amok Time," but logical all the same.

It's time to let go of the stigma, folks.  It's just another episode, and in some ways more than just another one, in a good way.

four quarter analysis
franchise * series * essential * character

notable guest-stars:
Majel Roddenberry


  1. Leonard Nimoy said, "Frankly during the entire shooting of that episode, I was embarrassed - a feeling that overcame me many times during the final season of Star Trek." I agree with him. It was embarrassing.

    1. Jolene Blalock hated the final episode of Enterprise. I respect her. But I love that episode. Actors and/or creators aren't always right about their projects.


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