Star Trek “Spock's Brain” (part 1 of 4)

SUMMARY: A beautiful woman appears aboard the Enterprise and renders the crew unconscious. When they awake, they discover Spock’s brain has been surgically removed from his body. Captain Kirk utilizes his Babe-Dar and follows a trail to the Sigma Draconis star system, where he finds Spock’s brain being utilized to control the workings of a society of airheaded go-go girls. Kirk once again wipes his ass with the Prime Directive as he destroys yet another machine-run civilization, “freeing” the women. Meanwhile, there’s a super-advanced teaching tool that helps Dr. McCoy restore Spock’s brain, but unfortunately, it isn’t powered by long-lasting Energizer batteries.

For this, the second installment of The Worst of Trek, I decided to take on “Spock’s Brain”. And I’ll be straight with you, the only reason I picked this episode is because of how little most Trek fans think of it. I would guess that there’s two big reasons why this episode is looked upon with such contempt.

1) This episode is goofy. Like, really goofy. Watching it, you will find yourself filled with inescapable despair once you realize this is the same cast that performed mini-epics like “The City on the Edge of Forever” or nail-biting thrillers like “Journey to Babylon”. However, as a B-movie fanatic, I can pretend this isn’t really Star Trek, but rather a futuristic take on the “lost tribe of women” genre of movies (a genre that includes The Wild Women of Wongo, Mesa of Lost Women, Prehistoric Women and Thor and the Amazon Women) and enjoy it on that same campy level. Heck, all you’ve really got to do is put the estrogenic culture found in this episode in buckskin bikinis and you’ve got yourself One Million Years B.C. In Space. (Of course, had this truly been a B-movie, the title of this episode surely would have been They Saved Spock’s Brain!)

2) This episode is incredibly sexist. Even for the chauvinist atmosphere of late 60’s TV, some could say this episode crossed the line. For only in the darkest, most patriarchal corners of Trekdom could an idea such as this one germinate and spread like a fungus to living rooms across the country. See, the message promoted here goes like this: When women are separated from men for any length of time, they will become mentally retarded. Feeble. Too stupid to breathe. And their only hope for survival lies in their ability to cravenly steal the brain of an Alpha Male in order to ensure their lifestyles of shopping, baking cookies, and picking the kids up from school in the station wagon.

Which is not to say that I disagree with either of these points. Clearly, this episode is deeply flawed, and should have never been made in the first place. But unlike the wheezing, gasping invalid struggling to reach its conclusion that was “And the Children Shall Lead”, “Spock’s Brain” is a brisk fifty minutes that never bogs down or makes you stare at the clock praying and hoping for it to end. (Your life, that is, not the episode.)

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Multi-Part Article: Star Trek "Spock's Brain"
TV Show: Star Trek

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