As my husband and I are going through our second full watch of Star Trek as a couple, I thought it would be fun to report on the highlights along the way. So I decided to copy the same format as Charlene at Bookish Whimsy, who is going through her first-ever run of Star Trek and sharing her favorite five episodes for each season. To compare, see her top 5 favorite episodes of season two of The Original Series.
Season 2 of TOS is filled with a lot more “blah” episodes than season 1, so I had a much harder time choosing a Top 5, when I felt like there were only 3 truly stand-out episodes. I thought about doing a worst episodes list instead, or at the suggestion of my husband, listing my favorite episode three times (because really, it does deserve it), but I buckled down and looked at the few “just fine” episodes and picked two of those to round out this list.
5. Journey to Babel
It is kind of neat, especially if you haven’t seen any other Star Trek that comes after this, to see Spock’s parents and how they interact with Spock. And even though Spock drives me up the wall in this episode, I’m glad he finally caved and decided to the transfusion to save his father. Also, this episode was worth it for me because of the “Andorian fight scene.” You’ll have to listen to podcasts from the Trek FM network to fully understand that joke.
4. Patterns of Force
I don’t even remember this episode from my first run-through of the series. It has some problems, particularly in that it suffers from some of the lame reoccurring themes of the season (Starfleet person goes crazy, parallels with Earth), but there’s something about WWII, even if it’s not real WWII, that fascinates me. The whole Nazi party is interesting psychologically too, and this could have been an awesome two-parter that really delved into all that. We didn’t quite get all that, but I did like the underground movement that helped Kirk and Spock as they tried to figure out how to get “The Fuhrer” without getting themselves killed.
3. Mirror, Mirror
Part of me resents this episode’s existence because it brought about way too many lame mirror universe episodes in Deep Space Nine, and the highly regarded mirror episodes of Enterprise that I can’t stand because it’s ALL about the mirror versions of the characters and not the ACTUAL characters and they’re just mean and I don’t like them. But ANYWAY, if I look at this episode by itself, it is kind of neat. And who doesn’t love Mirror Spock and his goatee? The whole episode is worth watching for that alone. I also love that Regular Spock recognizes right away the landing party are their mirror counterparts and locks them up. Go Spock!
2. A Piece of the Action
Seeing Spock and Kirk dressed as 1920s gangsters is priceless. Kirk’s invention of Fizzbin is hilarious. The territory leaders are great in their roles. Really, I just love so much in this episode.
1. The Trouble With Tribbles
Could this have possibly been any other episode? The Trouble With Tribbles is hands-down my favorite TOS episode, and one of my favorites of all of Trek. And I love even more that Deep Space Nine later honored this episode with Trials and Tribbleations. It is truly priceless. I just find it impossible to resist the cute, furry, cooey tribbles! And Kirk in that pile of Tribbles… it’s just great. Nearly every moment in this episode is just perfection.
So why all that hate towards season 2? Aside from a lot of mediocre episodes, there were also a lot of reoccurring themes that really bothered me, such as…
- Starfleet officers gone crazy
- Kirk unfit for command (I think this only happened twice, but it was two episodes in a row!)
- Parallels with Earth and/or America that felt forced and strange (ESPECIALLY in The Omega Glory, OMG)
- Evil computers
- Computers getting talked to death by Captain Kirk
- Interference with cultures (AKA breaking The Prime Directive… of course this happens all the time in all the series…)
But it’s not all bad. For instance, you learn that Spock secretly has an affinity for soft, furry creatures, including Tribbles and cats…
I was glad to see Chekov make his appearance in season two. He got more screen time than I expected for his early episodes, but apparently they had to rewrite some of the episodes to feature him instead of Sulu because George Takei was caught up in another project for a time. Though Chekov was created for a younger audience and is pretty much supposed to be the Davy Jones of Star Trek, I think there is more to him than that. I really like him as a character and I’m glad they added him in.
One last notable mention: Seeing Zefram Cochrane in the episode “Metamorphosis.” If the episode had not ended so strangely I might have put it on my Top 5, but when I saw the episode for the first time the name of Cochrane meant nothing to me. Seeing him after having seen the rest of Trek though (particularly the movie First Contact) meant a lot more!
If you’ve seen season two of Star Trek’s original series, which episodes are your favorite? Does Kirk talking computers to death or the crazy Star Fleet officers or the Earth parallels drive anyone else crazy?