Lt. Uhura sits this episode out and we get our first glimpse of the cat-like alien M’Ress who apparently hold the comm position when Uhura is absent. That said, actress Nichelle Nichols still got her voice in here as a female security officer. That was nice.
That said, as always when it comes to the Animated Series, I may have some questions.
The plot deals with the Enterprise discovering a crippled ship out in space with a lone survivor: Carter Winston (voiced by an uncredited Ted Knight). Carter Winston is a big time philanthropist. Fabulously wealthy, he spends a lot of time giving away his vast fortune to those in need.
Or, he did, because he disappeared and was believed dead five years earlier.
So, here’s my question: do they still have billionaires on Star Trek? I was always under the impression that money wasn’t really a thing for the Federation. Sure, there are aliens who love the stuff, but not humans anymore. Then again, it is the Animated Series, and lots of folks say it may or may not count.
What is more likely is Winston’s fiancee, Lt. Anne Nored, is a security officer on the Enterprise. Wait, that’s actually less likely as it is more of a hell of a coincidence. Then again, finding lost loves is probably a clause in the Enterprise‘s mission statement by now, so here we are.
But it turns out that Winston isn’t Winston. He’s an alien squid that can change his molecular structure to basically become anyone or anything roughly his size. McCoy’s medical tests pick up on that indirectly, but the viewer knows it when Winston changes into the Vendorian, knocks Kirk out, takes the Captain’s form, and orders the Enterprise into the Romulan Neutral Zone. And if the Romulans catch them, they can have the Enterprise as salvage, so either the alien has a good reason to get to the other side of the Neutral Zone or he’s working for the Romulans.
He is totally working for the Romulans.
There’s actually some fun to be had here. The Vendorian takes the form of an exam table in Sickbay at one point, but oddly enough it is Kirk and not McCoy who recognizes there are too many tables in the room. Likewise, he replaces McCoy at one point, and Kirk and Spock figure it out when the fake McCoy is polite to Spock. Where the game changer comes is the alien’s motivations. On his own world, he’s considered useless. As a Romulan agent, he’s contributing something to someone. The real Winston crash landed on the Vendorian homeworld, but he lived another year afterwards. Plus, the more time the alien spends in the form of Winston, the more he starts to actually become more like Winston. That, apparently, is weird quirk of the shapeshifting his race does.
It’s probably a good thing he didn’t stay as an exam table for very long.
That all means that the Vendorian, eventually, also falls in love with Lt. Nored and even becomes the ship’s deflector shields after first sabotaging them. Since that action was key to surviving a Romulan attack, even though the alien is under arrest and will go on trial, Kirk will put that in for consideration and Lt. Nored will accompany him as she kinda loves him now and the feeling is kinda mutual.
To be fair, it isn’t as if the alien and Nored are completely in love. She loves Winston, and he has only a portion of Winston in him. It’s enough to make them…something. I’m not sure. I doubt there’ll be a wedding in the future anytime soon.
So, yeah, alien poses as billionaire philanthropist and comes out a better person. Only on Star Trek could romantic love stop an alien espionage plot to steal a starship.