48. The Immunity Syndrome
FORMULA: The Doomsday Machine + Obsession
WHY WE LIKE IT: Great interplay between the three stars, and Kirk has to make a Sophie's choice.
WHY WE DON'T: Plays fast and lose with physics, with no explanation of the giant cell forthcoming.
REVIEW: I have a lot of reservations about this episode because it flies in the face of science. This is a lot closer to science fantasy, which is a lot less believable. A dark area where physics work in reverse outside the ship, but fairly normally inside it; a giant amoeba that literally comes out of nowhere; and an anti-matter solution that is touted as logical, but is actually a leap of faith. If at least there were some kind of explanation offered for the creature, but there isn't. I prefer to believe that it came from another dimension, with the dark area being a rift in our space, but that's just speculation.
The real reason to watch The Immunity Syndrome is the performance and dialogue of Kirk, Spock and McCoy. In fact, the episode really just plods along until it's time to send a shuttle into the belly of the beast. Kirk has to choose between two friends as to which will be sent to his death. A well-executed moment. McCoy and Spock's rivalry is well-used throughout, not only in their initial competition for the assignment, but later as well. During the rescue attempt for example (the sarcastic "CAPTAIN McCoy") or when McCoy tells Spock he botched some experiment or other at the end. The tight friendship between these three will increasingly become the focus of the show (and the films to follow). Uhura gets something professional to do here, but you know that new focus will sadly mean less to do for the other regulars.
LESSON: It's not a good idea to have crews composed of only one species. The all-Vulcan Intrepid bites it in this episode. The Constellation was probably all-human.
REWATCHABILITY - Medium: A bit slow, and with an outlandish, unbelievable menace, but a good turn for the characters we watch the show for.