Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Original Series, Season 3: Spectre of the Gun

The Original Series, Season 3
"Spectre of the Gun"
Airdate: October 25, 1968
57 of 80 produced
61 of 80 aired
Click here to watch on


Ignoring warnings to turn back, the Enterprise travels to Malkos V on a mission of exploration. Upon beaming down, a mysterious voice tells them that they have trespassed and that the penalty for their crime is death. Suddenly, they find themselves in a surreal approximation of Earth's Old West. Despite wearing Starfleet uniforms, the people in this strange town don't seem to think them out of place. In fact, they recognize them as members of the infamous Clanton gang. When Wyatt Earp and his brothers appear, Captain Kirk quickly deduces the method of their execution: to die, as the Clantons did, in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

All right folks, we need to keep everything holstered during our visit here...


This was an interesting outing, to say the least. This episode is a great example of how being forced to work inside budget constraints can lead to some really creative solutions. Unable to recreate an entire Western town, the fragments they do build create a fascinating surreal landscape that only heightens the tension. The means by which they evade death was both clever and cool. A few plot holes that we discuss in the podcast keep this from the top ten percent of the series, but Matt and Kevin both gave this a 4, for a total of 8.


  1. Absolutely love this episode, one of my favorites. The creepy, half-empty/half-finished backdrop sets a great tone and lends heft to the episode's central concept. And I'm not ashamed to admit I liked Chekov getting shot; I saw this ep right after the one where he nearly rapes the Klingon Commander's wife/first officer and it was both satisfying and obviously not going to be permanent.

  2. Betsy, if you had to put a number on our scale to it, what would it be?

    Don't be too hard on poor Pavel. He got a lot less creepy towards women after "Day Of The Dove." I'm going to guess he went to Starfleet therapy to deal with his issues.

  3. Oh, I don't come here to give my own rankings, just to criticize those of others.

    There are issues and then there's being creepy, but I'm under the impression that a lot of what I don't like about Chekov is anachronistic. In the Abram movie commentary they talk about how Chekov is supposed to be the cute one, which is why the TOS writers always have him chasing girls. But it's one of those 60s things (along with his hair) that's hard to get behind.