My mom was a nurse until she retired a few years ago. During the course of her career, she worked for two different hospitals. The first let her go when a colleague or two (who didn’t like her for some reason) accused her of sleeping on the job. The hospital had a one strike policy for that, and there was no appeal process, but Mom, honestly, wasn’t sure if the charge was true or not and wasn’t inclined to fight the charges as a result.
Point is, I totally get why McCoy does what he does for this episode.
The Enterprise is visiting the planet Dramia, where the residents are all about seven feet tall, yellow, with goat-eyes and long tentacle fingers. They may be the best design I’ve seen on the show so far. And since there are only two episodes left, it seems unlikely that a better design will come along any time soon.
Anyway, things are running smoothly when the planetary leader, the Dramian Supreme Prefect, and the chief prosecutor, Demos, reveal something unexpected just as Kirk is getting ready to leave: a warrant for the arrest of a member of the party.
Why they didn’t do this when the Enterprise first arrived, I have no idea.
Anyway, Dr. McCoy is under arrest for genocide. A planet where he treated the entire colony population with a vaccine had everyone there die of a plague not long after he left. Kirk and Spock want to fight the charges. McCoy? Well, he isn’t sure if he’s guilty or not, so he submits and awaits punishment.
Seeing McCoy give up rather easily seems a little weird. But, as I said above, I get where that came from there.
Of course, Kirk won’t settle for that and decides to investigate anyway. Of course, the Dramians aren’t stupid, and Demos opts to follow. En route, we learn the disease causes people to change colors three times before dying and Vulcans, conveniently, are immune.
Well, Demos isn’t very good at following, and Kirk tricks him into coming on board the Enterprise where he is easily arrested. The rest of the trip seems to be going well. The ship arrives at the colony world and finds a survivor that McCoy had treated for some other illness. Since a healer cannot also be a killer by this guy’s reckoning, he volunteers to speak on McCoy’s behalf back on Dramia.
Man, this all seems to be going rather easy. We need a twist of some kind. Oh yeah! That plague! After flying through some kind of space aurora, everyone on the Enterprise, including Demos and the witness, get the plague. Spock is immune, and he takes over running the ship little by little, eventually getting back to Dramia and going to get the one man who can help: McCoy.
So, we need Spock and McCoy to work together to save the day. Normally, this would be a moment where we could see some good Spock and McCoy interaction, but this show only runs a little over 20 minutes per episode, so there isn’t really time for that. We do get to see Spock initiate a jailbreak with the Vulcan neck pinch on the lone guard outside McCoy’s holding cell.
And then, it’s Kirk who points out that the aurora might be causing the color changes, and McCoy can easily treat everyone with the same treatment he gave the surviving witness before.
So, no one dies.
And then the very planet that was set to execute McCoy honors him since the plague came from those auroras and not from any vaccine.
You know, I type this as I sit at home, doing some “shelter in place” stuff, in a world where anti-vaxxers are a thing. Maybe this episode isn’t as far fetched as it should be…