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Star Trek TOS - Season 1 - Episode 03

Star Trek TOS - 1x03 - Where No Man Has Gone Before

Originally Aired: 1966-9-22

Kirk's friend Gary Mitchell is transformed into a god-like entity. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

My Rating - 1

Fan Rating Average - 2.45

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Filler Quotient: 3, bad filler, totally skippable.
- This episode is profoundly annoying in characterization and filler plot-wise. Unless you're a hardcore fan, you should probably just skip this one.

- The existence of a gigantic and unexplained barrier at the edge of the galaxy which prevents ships from leaving requires an extremely high degree of suspension of disbelief, but who knows, maybe some god-like alien put it there...

- The uniforms and makeup in this episode are slightly different because this was the second episode to actually be produced (after The Cage). As such, not all of the visual continuity in this episode is consistent with the rest of the series.
- This episode establishes that Spock is part human.
- This episode did not have the "Space, the final frontier" introduction.
- This episode establishes that Kirk's full name is James R. Kirk. This will later be retconned to James Tiberius Kirk.
- This episode strongly implies that humans during the time of Star Trek are slowly evolving telepathic abilities.
- Dr. McCoy is notably absent in this episode.

Remarkable Scenes
- Gary "sensing" trouble with the engines while in sickbay.
- Gary reading people's thoughts.
- Kirk: "I didn't order any..." (Spock walks in with the phaser rifle Scotty was referring to.) Kirk: "Affirmative, landing party out."
- Kirk trying to convince Elizabeth to realize that god-like power was never meant for humans because they lack the wisdom to use it properly.
- Kirk defeating Gary.

My Review
The Enterprise travels to the edge of the galaxy where it inexplicably encounters a gigantic energy barrier preventing ships from leaving the galaxy. Rather than the plot of the episode focusing on such an amazing discovery, instead we spend all our time focusing on Gary, who has become a god-like being due to exposure to said barrier. Why the energy barrier seems to impart god-like abilities on humans with high ESP ratings is a question also completely glossed over because, apparently, that's not interesting to the writers of this plot.

Instead, the plot drones on mercilessly telling us a story about how humans must not acquire such terrible powers, for they will abuse them with all due haste. Consequently, a story that could have been jam packed with the thrill of incredible scientific discoveries on a cosmic scale is reduced to essentially a rehash of Charlie X, except Gary somehow manages to be even more annoying a character than Charlie. I guess it's because at least Charlie has a decent excuse, given his childhood isolation. In any case, this episode is a huge flop and a big missed opportunity to do something much cooler.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Tony on 2008-09-23 at 12:09am:
    Quick Factoid: This was the second pilot episode created for the series; “The Cage” was rejected, but the series was given a chance to create a second pilot and they made this, obviously, it was accepted.
    And now for my review. I felt that this was a great episode, technical issues aside. It was engaging, and had an interesting situation. According to Wikipedia (Memory Alpha), the fist fight was what got this episode accepted, but that is hardly the best part.
  • From curt on 2010-04-06 at 12:06pm:
    Again this is you being way to hard on the seies. We all know that this episode has its faults, but keep in mind its the 2nd pilot. Even the characters have not been fully created. And you call it cliche because of it's godlike premise, but this episode was made before Charile X. So I would say Charlie X is more cliche(Although I do like Charlie X). I know thats not the way it aired but you cant take anything away from an episode just because what order you watch them. Like the episode in Voyager season 1 where they try to get home, by going through a wormhole or someshit. If it bothers you to much, just watch them in a different order. Why cant people look over little plotholes and enjoy the overall story. Its not real life you know.
  • From john bernhardt on 2010-04-26 at 11:07pm:
    An alternate edit of this episode is available on the recent Star Trek Third Season Blu-Ray.
    This includes a new intro and alternative opening monologue from Shatner along with different music cues and some never aired footage.
  • From CAlexander on 2011-04-03 at 8:22pm:
    I feel that this episode was OK, but could could been better. The way it is paced feels odd to me, sort of flat. We have very little time to see what Gary's original personality is, then he becomes a threat. They talk about his escalation of power being geometric, but it doesn't feel geometric at all – he instantly becomes a creepy supermind, then very slowly gains new powers. On the plus side, Gary does a good job of acting creepy and disturbing, without being so obviously bonkers that you want to kill him right away. And I felt for poor Kirk – how do you put your best friend to death because he is weird right now, but you think it is likely he will become an unstoppable menace in the future? It violates all normal laws and morals.
    - Problem: After Gary is knocked unconscious, he has to stand upright on the transporter pad in order to be transported. It looks pretty weird.
    - The psychiatrist seems to be about as good at psychiatry as the redshirts are at security. She does nothing useful! At least she makes up for it at the end by zapping Gary with her god powers. I liked that part.
  • From Robert Koenn on 2011-08-03 at 2:57pm:
    I found this episode to be fairly good. It's main theme was most definitely scifi core stuff and for being the first episode of this new series at the time was quite good. I gave it a six. Of course there were flaws, even a perfect episode has flaws but the overall theme and plot were very good. It was to me one of those more esoteric plots of the far future. A bit along the lines of some of the early Clarke conjectural stories. There are other episodes like Trouble with Tribbles that use the scifi universe for a fun time but this used it for a very intelligent plot and interesting story. Just my thoughts, hardly a big favorite but still fairly good.
  • From Mike Meares on 2012-02-07 at 5:17am:
    I am not sure I would call “Where No Man Has Gone Before” a flop, but I do agree it could have been better.

    The odd thing about this episode was although it wasn’t the first one aired it was one of the first ones I saw. It really drew me into the Star Trek world and it will always have a warm spot in my heart.

    I do agree with the criticisms here but like someone pointed out it was the second pilot. But watching it now you can really see how the episode is struggling to form the ideas and characters that were later to develop into Star Trek.

    The episode feels a little like Phase Two ( but much more professional of course ) in that it seems a little raw and uneven.

    But one scene stills stand out for me in this one.

    The scene in the Briefing Room with Kirk and Spock talking about what to do with Mitchell. That scene still gets to me.

    When Spock says, “Then you have one other option, kill him while you still can,” that still floors me. I can’t think of another TV show that would ask our hero to commit murder. Very powerful.

    Although I do agree not one of the best episodes but still pretty good.
  • From Glenn239 on 2012-10-04 at 11:44am:
    A '6'

    Gary from Where No Man Has Gone Before is more interesting than the later “Q” or Trelane, but the Godlike powers he evolves and adversarial relationship with Kirk are a dead-end combination, as the ending to this episode showed. Gary was much more interesting to me in sick bay reading quickly and making observations about why the impulse engines were going to blow up than he was later strutting around the planet. They should have toned down Gary’s powers, make the relationship between him and Kirk as much distrusting as it is adversarial, give him vulnerability and a common problem to solve. Maybe even have Gary survive, though we’d certainly have to drop him off at a starbase rather than seeing the egotistical Shatner put up in the rest of the series with a rival that is in every way his equal.

    I liked the strong female lead, even though that character’s opinions were unhelpful whenever they weren’t wrong. Shades of Troi, with the strong ESP thing. Pity the show didn’t stick to there being a strong female lead. I also liked seeing the evolution from the original plot to the second pilot. You can literally see the production team fixing one problem after another – casting, sets, props, uniforms – as they go, and their alterations are invariably steps in the right direction.
  • From Schreck on 2013-05-23 at 1:23pm:
    this second pilot has a lot of continuity errors, and i find it weird that the studio didn't like the first pilot because it was called "too cerebral" yet, they liked this one...i still think gary mitchell would have made a better story line than kahn for into darkness...i give it a 6.5 and my brother a 7...
  • From john on 2014-03-31 at 7:23pm:
    This was a great episode. One of my favorites. It shows the fascination and desire for power inherent in all of us but that that goal is ultimately corrupted by human nature. Good production values, action sequences and dramatic story of Gary's escalating powers and the ambiguity in morality of how to deal with it.
  • From jd_juggler on 2015-03-22 at 9:48am:
    This episode did not establish kirk's full name as James R. Kirk; it established that Gary Mitchell THOUGHT that was kirk's full name. And nowhere in the original series is kirks full middle name given.

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