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Star Trek TOS - Season 3 - Episode 07

Star Trek TOS - 3x07 - Day of the Dove

Originally Aired: 1968-11-1

Synopsis:
A malevolent entity pits Klingons against the Enterprise crew. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

My Rating - 8

Fan Rating Average - 3.63

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Filler Quotient: 1, partial filler, but has important continuity. I recommend against skipping this one.
- Kang's character will recur in DS9: Blood Oath and Voy: Flashback. However, it isn't absolutely essential to watch this episode first in order to fully get his character in those later appearances.

Problems
None

Factoids
- This is the first episode to feature a Klingon woman.
- This episode establishes that beaming from one point in a ship to another point in a ship is extremely dangerous.

Remarkable Scenes
- Chekov's outburst against Kang for having killed his brother.
- Scotty freezing the Klingons in the transporter buffer.
- McCoy and Chekov expressing unrestrained bias and hatred toward the Klingons.
- The Enterprise destroying the Klingon ship.
- The sword fight between the Klingons and the Enterprise crewmen.
- Sulu claiming Chekov is an only child and that his "brother" was fictional.
- Kirk: "What about the armory?" Scotty: "I'm in there now, sir. And you've never seen such a fine collection of antiques in your life!" The camera pans out and a massive sword collection is displayed.
- McCoy freaking out about Kirk and Spock planning a truce.
- Kirk and Spock discovering the alien entity.
- Scotty, Spock and Kirk freaking out too.
- Kirk trying to convince Kang's wife to team up against the entity.
- Kirk, goading Kang to stab him: "In the heart, in the head, I won't stay dead!"
- Kirk and Kang calling a truce, thus robbing the entity of its power over them.

My Review
A great idea for an episode with only a few flaws. The central success of the story is pitting the Klingons and the Federation against a common enemy. A similar theme is hinted at in Errand of Mercy when Kor briefly proposes to Kirk that they work together to defeat the Organians, but this episode takes that idea and crafts an entire story out of it; quite a good one at that.

Aside from simple pleasures like watching Kirk outmaneuver the Klingons using the transporter buffer and taking in the ridiculousness of sword fights on a starship (Sulu always seems to find a sword to go rampaging with, doesn't he?), the story has some measures of intelligence and depth as well. I was particularly fond of the hints of propaganda influencing bias of both sides against the other and I was fond of the characterization of Kang's wife in that she would not trust Kirk until he proved by not executing her that not everything she believes about the Federation is true. Likewise, the moment Kirk and Spock both briefly questioned whether their own judgement could be trusted due to the entity's mind-altering nature was a nice touch.

The biggest flaw in the story, not unlike so many other Star Trek episodes, is that it takes them all so long to figure out that the entity is responsible for their conflict. The climax of absurdity here is the moment when swords start appearing in the rec room and nobody questions it at all. Everyone just picks up a sword and starts fighting. Even after the Klingons have a moment to reflect on that event, they don't bother to question their good fortune. They just keep plotting against the Enterprise crew seemingly oblivious to the fact that something was terribly wrong.

But it wasn't just the Klingons who were slow on the uptake there. Not long after that scene, Kirk starts rattling off a hypothesis about how the Klingons could have transformed ordinary objects into weapons. Spock quickly brings some sanity back to the discussion by pointing out that it's ridiculous to assume that the Klingons could have done that. One of my favorite lines was when Spock said "if they had such power, would they not have used it to create more effective weapons and only for themselves?" Thanks Spock for stating the obvious. Apparently Kirk needed to be slapped around with elementary logic today.

There are a few other smaller groan-worthy details in the story too. Scenes when characters talk to the computer are almost always annoying and Spock's conversation with the computer analyzing the entity in its shrill, monotone voice and drawing obvious conclusions was no exception. Kirk also had a few choice awkward lines in this episode too, such as telling Kang to "go to the devil" and declaring (sarcastically?) that it's "stardate armageddon" at one point.

Though this sort of awkwardness is not uncommon for Star Trek by this point and it's easily forgiven. With more polish, better plotting, a faster pace, and perhaps a more compelling common enemy for the Federation and the Klingons to engage, this episode easily could have earned a perfect score. Certainly one of the better installments of the series thus far.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Orion on 2011-05-08 at 12:51am:
    Silly and over-the-top, but we like that in an old episode of Trek. You also get a possible moral lesson; the episode may be alluding to the Vietnam war, as well as racial tensions of the time. We even see Spock almost go into a racial rage. These kind of moral components in Trek can sometimes be too obvious, but this episode keeps the issues just under the surface.

    Regarding the high def release:
    The outside-the-ship shots near the beginning of the episode have been improved quite a bit.
  • From Alan Feldman on 2012-09-03 at 2:04am:
    This is a fun episode.

    Michael Ansara is great as Kang, no?

    Walter Koenig does some great screaming, no?

    The scene where the alien entity changes the ship's course to exit the galaxy (starting at 12:12) is great! It starts with Uhura getting all worked up over her trouble making outside contact while telling Kirk about it. Then the boom and the ship starts shaking. I love how Shatner plays this. Look at the fear in his face as he backs away from Sulu. At one point you can even see him swallow. Very well done!

    I think the alien special effect was also well done. When it goes down the corridor and goes down into the hole, it looks like it's really at that distance (well, pretty damn close, at worst). It looks pretty good the rest of the time, too.

    Right about 21:24, Sulu gives a quick karate chop to a shoulder of one of the Klingons. This knocks him unconscious. Is it really this easy to bring a man down? (Hey, who needs the Vulcan neck pinch when a simple karate chop will do?) This type of thing happens a lot in Star Trek TOS.

    At about 35:23, the alien entity shows itself to Kirk, Spock, and Mara. Why? How can an all-powerful entity make a simple blunder like this? Overconfidence, I guess. And what does it take to convince Mara that the alien entity, which is in plain sight, is responsible for all the violence? On top of this, Lt. Johnson enters the scene all agitated by the alien entity, all charged up, ready to kill all the Klingons -- "It's them or us, isn't it?" -- thereby providing a clear example of what's going on. Then Kirk and Spock figure out the whole schmear, explain it clearly with Mara right there, with all of them staring at the entity, and _still_ she doesn't believe.

    I love seeing everyone getting so worked up seeking vengeance (losing it, so to speak). Everything is normal and then an individual suddenly gets angry, agitated, and vengeful (or enters the scene this way). It's always a trip when our heroes get out of character, like Spock on spores in "This Side of Paradise", or Chekov in "The Way to Eden".

    Intra-ship beaming: "Pinpoint accuracy is required. If the transportee should materialize inside a solid object . . ." says Spock. Well, there never seems to be a problem with materializing with one's feet in the ground, or one hanging in the air, or one's head in the ceiling, or upside-down, etc. Whatever. Just add it to all the other absurdities I mentioned in my comments on another episode (The World is Hollow . . . , I believe).

    The actress playing Mara does some great acting when Chekov is upon her.

    Did you catch Mara tossing a sword to Kirk? What a great toss and a great catch! Doesn't seem to me to be such an easy thing to do. That's probably why it was done in separate shots.

    I like it when Bones, Spock, and a few red-shirts just walk down the corridor (la-dee-dah) and suddenly start sword fighting with a few of the Klingons. Great scene.

    The alien's ability to rapidly heal the wounded -- even those with fatal wounds -- is a bit much. But we couldn't have a story, otherwise.

    At the end: Boy, what does it take to convince Kang that there's an alien entity keeping them fighting? It's in plain sight and still he pauses. Kirk clearly explains what's going on and he's still not convinced. I think either Kang thinks it's "one of Kirk's tricks" (perhaps a holographic projection) or his heart is hardened -- no, sorry -- his mind is affected by the entity.

    It seems to me that there are a few times when the alien is the wrong color.

    OK, here's my big question for this episode: The Federates (is there a better term? "Members of the Federation"? "The humans and Spock"?) and the Klingons make peace. The alien entity departs. Then what? Kirk just gives them a ride to the nearest Klingon outpost or planet? What do these sworn enemies do along the way? Have dinner together, play cards and 3D chess, engage in some light chit chat, dance and party with each other?

    Imagine being Kang and having to explain this to your superior: "Yeah, an entity made of blurry spinning-pinwheel lights killed 400 of my crew, made us and the Federates all angry, agitated, and vengeful over nothing, turned phasers and other items into swords, sent us racing out of the galaxy at warp 9, . . . ." Yep.

    Kirk's speech to the entity is a little too preachy and, well, silly. There has to be a better way to end it.

    Side note: The Klingon ships just don't look scary to me. The head of the ship looks like it's wearing a hat. The Romulan ships look much more menacing.

    Bonus point: Was the name "Klingon" derived from "cling on"?

    AEF
  • From Scott Hearon on 2014-04-11 at 10:23pm:
    I have several problems with this one, though there was enough to keep me engaged throughout the tale.

    Firstly, if the agitating force was composed of pure energy, why did is linger around where the humans or Klingons could see it an surmise its essence? Pretty stupid that, for an otherwise exceptionally powerful entity.

    On top of that, the writers played it pretty fast and loose with exactly what this creature could do. It can transform physical objects into whatever will stimulate hatred, but it can't do so when the combatants start to figure things out and act against it? It doesn't really hold up under much scrutiny.

    The ending was horrendously awkward. Watching the Enterprise crew and the Klingons forcing themselves to laugh at the antagonist, leading right into the credits was just plain weird and abrupt.

    And my god, the amount of bronzer used on the caucasian actors playing the Klingons? Yikes.

    And still, there were a few decent things about this episode. As a study of the culture of violence, it does show some thoughtful consideration of the futility of hatred of such a stance. The Klingons exemplify one of the more destructive aspects of the human experience, and this episode does a nice job of using that idea effectively. Unfortunately, this is one of the few positives about this episode.

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  • From Chris Long on 2018-08-04 at 10:01pm:
    The most stupid episode of all time!
    Good god!
    Really? "You wrecked my ship and therefore I claim yours"? Really?!?!
    Then the beam-up 'treachery'?!? Kirk has to be honorable in this BS? War sucks baby, even an honorable one!
    Pure nonsense through and through and the entire premise is stupid beyond words!!!
    I hate the episode at every turn!!!
    Spock's Brain was far more entertaining and even realistic!!!

    Who wrote this crap?

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