Thursday, January 19, 2012

Recap: Where No Man Has Gone Before (4 of 4)

This is the fourth and final part of a recap of the second Star Trek pilot (and third aired episode), "Where No Man Has Gone Before", that I posted to the rec.arts.startrek.misc newsgroup back in November 2005 under the screen name Empok Nor. The first three parts are here, here and here.

The starship Enterprise under Captain James R. Kirk has discovered a ship's recorder from the S. S. Valiant, lost 200 years earlier. The Valiant encountered a strange energy field beyond the edge of the galaxy, and was disabled. Then, after looking up information on extra-sensory perception, the captain of the Valiant destroyed his ship. When the Enterprise encounters the same energy barrier, Second Officer Gary Mitchell and Dr. Elizabeth Dehner suffer some form of electrical shock. The shock has seemingly had no effect on Dehner, but has turned Mitchell's eyes silver.

While he's recovering in sickbay, Mitchell begins exhibiting paranormal powers: he can read a page of text in moments and recall it perfectly; he can stop his heart and start it up again; he can telekinetically operate controls on the ship's bridge. Dehner, who has always had a soft spot in her heart for supermen, fall in love with Mitchell. First Officer Spock, though, is worried. He thinks they either have to maroon Mitchell on a deserted planet, or kill him. Kirk orders him to set course for the deserted planet Delta Vega.

On Delta Vega, Mitchell is imprisoned behind a force field while the crew succeeds in repairing the warp engines. A worried Kirk has a self-destruct switch set up, in case he gets loose.

The lithium cracking station on Delta Vega. "Captain's log, stardate 1313.3," Kirk voiceovers. "Note commendations on Lt. Kelso and the engineering staff."

The mining station, as Kirk watches Kelso and the engineering staff at work: "In orbit above us, the engines of the Enterprise are almost fully regenerated." As the engineering staff all make for the door: "Balance of the landing party is being transported back up." Kelso seats himself on the console.

Mitchell is standing in his room. The hair on his temples has gone gray: "Mitchell, whatever he's become, keeps changing, growing stronger by the minute."

Dehner, Spock and Kirk stand outside the room. Spock still has the phaser rifle, and looks like he wants to use it, now. Dehner has an odd half-smile on her face. "He's been like that for hours now," she says.

"Have Dr. Piper meet us in the control room with Kelso," Kirk tells Spock. "We'll all transport up together."

"If he should try to stop us?" asks Spock.

"Kelso will be on the destruct button until the last minute," says Kirk. "I think he knows that."

"I'm staying behind with him," Dehner announces suddenly.

As we look at Mitchell, Kelso in the control room dissolves into view. Kelso is talking into a communicator: "Uh, fission chamber three checks out. The station seems to be running fine."

"You're a talented thief, Kelso," Scott's voice replies. On the floor behind the console, one of the cables rises up. Mitchell dissolves out of view. "Everything you sent up seems to be fittin' in place." Cut to a grinning Kelso as the cable rises into view behind him.

"I'm kinda proud of the job we've done," says Kelso. "Are we going to be ready to transport u--" The cable slips over Kelso's head and wraps itself around his neck. As his struggles grow weaker, we dissolve back to Mitchell.

"You're leaving with the ship, doctor," Kirk informs Dehner.

"He is not evil!" insists Dehner, oddly echoing Default Vina's "They don't mean to be evil" from the first pilot.

"I gave you an order, doctor," Kirk states.

Their dispute ends when Mitchell announces, "You should have killed me while you could, James." In the reverby voice, he adds, "Command and compassion is a fool's mixture." As Kirk steps closer, Mitchell does a little twiddle thing with his fingers and Kirk gets hit with another electrical shock. Spock levels the phaser rifle and gets hit as well. Both men are out of action.

Dehner slowly turns to face Mitchell, who waves his hand and makes the force field go away. He walks up to Dehner, brushes his hand against her face, then guides her into the room. He shows her to a mirror, and we can see that her eyes have become just like his.

We dissolve to a shot of Kirk and Spock lying on the floor outside Mitchell's room. Piper rushes up and checks the two of them for lifesigns. As Kirk starts to sit up, Piper gives him a pill. "It hit me too, whatever it was," he tells Kirk. "Kelso is dead -- strangled. At least Spock's alive."

"Dr. Dehner?" asks Kirk.

"She went with Mitchell."

Kirk stops Piper as he's about to revive Spock. "Don't give him a pill until after I'm gone. My fault Mitchell got as far as he did." A sigh, then, "Did you see their direction?"

"Why, yes. There was some morning light. They were headed across the valley to the left of the pointed peaks. There's flat land beyond."

Struggling to his feet, Kirk tells him, "When Mr. Spock recovers you'll both transport up immediately to the Enterprise." Ignoring Piper's attempt to interrupt him, and picking up the phaser rifle, Kirk continues, "Where, if you have not received a signal from me within twelve hours, you'll procede at maximum warp to the nearest Earth base with my recommendation," and here he pauses to give a dramatic snap to the phaser rifle's rotating barrel, "that this entire planet be subjected to a lethal concentration of deutron radiation." When Piper again attempts to speak, Kirk says, "No protest on this, Mark. That's an order." Hefting the phaser rifle, Kirk heads out.


Delta Vega, to the left of the pointed peaks. Mitchell and Dehner are walking casually through a windstorm. With its jagged, rocky surface and green-tinged cloudy sky, Delta Vega looks remarkably similar to Talos IV.

"It would take almost a miracle to survive here," Dehner observes.

"Then I shall make one," says Mitchell in his Burning Bush reverb voice. You know, it's never a good thing when a mutant superbeing starts using the word "shall" in casual conversation. Or "behold".

"Behold," he says, and with a wave of his hand, a stretch of barren ground acquires a pool of water, a bubbling fountain, and various plants. The wind dies away.

Dehner looks astonished. She and Mitchell walk forward into his little oasis. Mitchell flings his arms out wide and laughs. Another bad sign. Dehner picks a flower, while Mitchell kneels down, cups some water in his hand, and lets it trickle through. It occurs to me at this point that Mitchell should have just let Kirk maroon him here. Kelso would still be alive, and Kirk would have probably left Dehner behind anyway as soon as her eyes turned all shiny.

"You'll soon share this feeling, Elizabeth," says Burning Bush Mitchell. "To be like God, to have the power to make the world anything you want it to be."

Back to Kirk, toting his phaser rifle through the howling desolate emptiness of Delta Vega.

Back to Mitchell and Dehner as Burning Bush Boy looks up suddenly. Standing up, Dehner asks, "What's wrong?"

"A visitor," says Mitchell. "A very foolish man." I've got to agree with him on that one. The Enterprise should already be maximum warping its way the hell out of there. Who knows what Mitchell will be capable of twelve hours from now?

Back to Kirk, struggling his way through the pointed peaks. A nearby rock suddenly decides to roll past him.

Back to Mitchell and Dehner. "You'll enjoy being a god, Elizabeth." When she turns and looks at him, Mitchell sneers, "Blasphemy? No. Let there be food." Gesturing with his hand, he says, "Kaferian apples," and a Kaferian apple tree (or maybe bush would be a better word, it's pretty small) appears.

Back to Kirk, still making his way through the pointed peaks. He's spooked, now, looking around for any more rolling rocks. Vengeance is mine, saith Burning Bush Boy.

Back to Mitchell and Dehner, the former holding two halves of a Kaferian apple. "Whenever we visited that planet, I always favored these." He hands her half. Just like the last time, see, only this time, it's the man giving the woman the apple.

Back to Kirk, as he peers over a rock.

Back to Mitchell and Dehner, munching on their Kaferian apples. "Can you hear me, James?" reverbs Mitchell.

Kirk, toting his phaser rifle, can. "You cannot see me. I'm not there. You follow the right path, James, you'll come to me soon."

Back to Mitchell and Dehner. A smiling Dehner says, "I can see him in my mind too."

Taking the half-eaten apple from her (and what are the theological implications of that, huh?), Mitchell says, "Go to him, Elizabeth. Talk to him. Now that you're changing, I want you to see just how unimportant they are."

Kirk moves forward, then comes across Elizabeth standing there. Well, she looked at me, and I, I could see, that the way she looked was way beyond compare. Now, how could I dance with another when I saw her standing there? With her shiny silver eyes? "Yes, it just took a little longer for it to happen to me," she tells him. She approaches him, and he takes a step back.

After looking around for Mitchell, Kirk says, "You must help me, before it goes too far."

"What he's doing is right, for him and me," Dehner informs him.

"And for humanity?" asks Kirk. "You're still human." Dehner starts to contradict him, but Kirk insists, "At least partly, you are, or you wouldn't be here talking to me." He's got a point there. The urge to chatter on and on is definitely our most human trait.

"Earth is really unimportant," Dehner casually tells him as he prowls around. "Before long, we'll be where it would have taken mankind millions of years of learning to reach."

Kirk dramatically rushes up to Dehner's side. "And what will Mitchell learn in getting there? Will he know what to do with his power? Will he acquire the wisdom?"

"Please go back while you still can," Dehner warns him. Perhaps she's worried that he's starting to make sense.

"Did you hear him joke about compassion?" Kirk calls out to Mitchell, "Above all else, a god needs compassion! Mitchell!" When Mitchell doesn't answer, Kirk turns back to Dehner. "Elizabeth --"

"What do you know about gods?" Dehner demands.

"Then let's talk about humans," Kirk responds, "about our frailties. As powerful as he gets, he'll still have all that inside him."

Kirk is starting to make too much sense again, so Dehner tells him, "Go back." She turns to leave, but he grabs her arm. The fact that she doesn't just zap him then and there tells us that he's starting to get through to her.

"You were a psychiatrist once," he reminds her. "You know the ugly, savage things we all keep buried, that none of us dare expose. But he'll dare! Who's to stop him? He doesn't need to care." Kirk is practically pleading now. "Be a psychiatrist for one minute longer. What do you see happening to him? What's your prognosis, doctor?"

"He's coming," Dehner tells him, giving no sign that she's heard a word he's said. Kirk quickly lets go of Dehner's arm and brings up the barrel of the phaser rifle.

"Then watch him," Kirk tells her. "Hang on to being a human for one minute longer."

"I'm disappointed in you, Elizabeth," says Reverb Boy. Kirk goes into a diving roll and comes up pointing the phaser rifle at Mitchell. He fires. The effect (in both senses of the word) is just like the laser cannon Number One fired at the rocky knoll in the first pilot: splashes of animated backblast, and none. Mitchell just stands there smiling at Kirk until Kirk stops firing. Then, with a wave of his hand, Mitchell tears the phaser rifle out of Kirk's hands and sends it flying, leaving Kirk kneeling on the ground.

Still with that little smile, he says, "I've been contemplating the death of an old friend." He turns to look at a rock face to his left, focusing his attention on a big ol' slab of basalt. "He deserves a decent burial, at least." A wave of his hand, and there's an open grave in the ground. Another gesture, and a tombstone appears with the words JAMES R KIRK c1277.1 to 1313.7. (Since Mitchell was born on stardate 1087.7 and Dehner was born on 1089.5, that must make Kirk about five years old.)

Mitchell looks back up at the slab of basalt in the wall, gestures, and the slab detaches itself from the rock face and leans over the grave. Dehner, who apparently has indeed been watching Mitchell toying with Kirk with a critical eye, says "Stop it, Gary."

Now, if Mitchell was really smart, he'd say, "You know, Elizabeth, you've got a point. James, just to show there are no hard feelings about your attempt to kill me just now, I'll let you call the ship and beam up. I'll even throw in a bushel of Kaferian apples, just to show I'm willing to let bygones be bygones. You go on your merry way, and I'll stay marooned here on Delta Vega for the rest of my unnatural existence just like you wanted. Deal?" Instead, he just responds with an imperious "Morals are for men, not gods." Under the circumstances, not the wisest thing he could have said. Which also kind of proves Kirk's point.

Kirk stands up and says, "A god, but still driven by human frailty." He looks over at Dehner and says, "Do you like what you see?"

Proving he still doesn't get it, Mitchell says, "Time to pray, Captain. Pray to me." A gesture, and Kirk is forced forward.

"To you?" Kirk sneers. "Not to both of you?"

"Pray that you die easily," Mitchell tells him, and with another gesture sends Kirk down on his knees. A second gesture brings Kirk's head up.

"There'll only be one of you in the end," Kirk says. Another gesture from Mitchell brings Kirk's hands together palm to palm, a final one twists his face into an expression of adoration. "One jealous god," Kirk gasps out, "if all this makes a god. Or is it making you something else?"

"Your last chance, Kirk," says Mitchell.

Mitchell keeps Kirk's eyes fixed on him, but Kirk is speaking to Dehner. "Do you like what you see? Absolute power corrupting absolutely."

Convinced, Dehner slowly raises her hand and send a lightning bolt at Mitchell, then a second. Mitchell responds with several of his own, and the two trade lightning strikes back and forth. By the time they're done, both are on the ground, and Mitchell's eyes are back to normal. "Hurry," Dehner says, "you haven't much time."

Kirk belts Mitchell in the chops, and follows up with a left to the breadbasket and a double-handed club to the back of the head. Mitchell stumbles forward, turns, gets another left to the gut, one to the torso, and a karate chop to the neck. Kirk follows up the chop by throwing Mitchell over his shoulder. A roundhouse to the jaw sends Mitchell flying over a boulder, and Kirk dives over the boulder to bring Mitchell to the ground, tearing his tunic in the process to expose his left shoulder and some manly torso. Mitchell recovers enough to give Kirk a left to the jaw, then a right as Kirk starts to rise. Kirk recovers and charges Mitchell, buring his face in Mitchell's chest. Kirk's stunt double (Paul Baxley) slams Mitchell's stunt double (Hal Needham) with a powerhouse right to the kisser, leaps onto the prone Mitchell's stunt double, then grabs a nice big rock and lifts it over his head.

A shot of Kirk, scrapes on his right temple and right cheek, holding the rock above his head. "Gary, forgive me."

A shot of Mitchell, as his eyes go silver again. His hands shoot up and he arrests the fall of the rock. "For a moment, James," he says in his reverb voice, "but your moment is fading." He pushes.

A shot of Kirk's stunt double being thrown off of Mitchell's stunt double.

Kirk and Mitchell face each other across a prone Dehner. Kirk moves back and to the right until he comes up against the rock face. He aims a punch at Mitchell, which is intercepted. Mitchell sends Kirk spinning through the air to a hard landing. Mitchell picks up a much bigger rock, pauses (or poses) with the rock held over his head, then throws it. Kirk ducks under the rock, grabs Mitchell, and pulls him into the grave. Then he jumps out again, runs and grabs the phaser rifle, points it up at the basalt slab which is still hanging suspended over the grave, and shoots it. The ground shakes, pitching Mitchell back into the grave. The tombstone falls over onto him, followed by the basalt slab.

As the dust settles, Kirk crouches down by Dehner, the phaser rifle still cradled in his right arm. He sets the rifle down when he sees that she can't move anything below her neck. "I'm sorry," she says. "You . . . can't know what it's like to . . . be almost a . . . god." Sure he can, he's a starship captain, isn't he? At any rate, these are Dehner's last words before she closes her eyes and dies, thereby saving Kirk the trouble of killing her himself (as he was obviously prepared to do).

Kirk brushes a hand against her sleeve, then picks up the phaser rifle and stands up. He pulls out his communicator (which looks just like the ones Captain Pike's crew used), flips it open, and says, "Enterprise, from Captain Kirk. Come in."


Dissolve to a shot of Enterprise leaving Delta Vega.

Cut to a shot of the bridge, angle on the captain's chair. Yeoman Smith is standing nearby, while Scott mans the navigation console. Kirk, his right hand bandaged, adjusts the monitor on the gooseneck mount to face him. "Captain's log, stardate 1313.8. Add to official losses Dr. Elizabeth Dehner. Be it noted she gave her life in performance of her duty." As Spock joins Kirk, he adds, "Lieutenant Commander Gary Mitchell, same notation." He switches off the monitor. Kirk looks at Spock and says, "I want his service record to end that way. He didn't ask for what happened to him."

"I felt for him too," Spock states.

Still looking at Spock, Kirk says, "I believe there's some hope for you after all, Mr. Spock."

The two exchange a look, then resume watching the main viewscreen.

Cut to the main viewscreen, showing stars moving past.

Cut to a shot of the Enterprise moving off into the starry distance. The words DIRECTED BY JAMES GOLDSTONE appear, followed by WRITTEN BY SAMUEL A. PEEPLES, then CREATED AND PRODUCED BY GENE RODDENBERRY.


Shot of the Enterprise caught in the Galactic Barrier.


Shot of Damsel Vina approaching Captain Pike on Rigel VII.


Shot of Mitchell and Dehner looking out from the mirror.


Shot of the laser cannon shooting at the rocky knoll on Talos IV.


Shot of the frozen engineer on PSI 2000.



Shot of Glistening Green Vina dancing.



It took a long time, days, before Mitchell was strong enough to escape from beneath the basalt slab. By then, the Enterprise was light-years away, well beyond his reach. As he stood in the clearing, pondering his options, there was a flash of light, and a man was standing in front of him. The man had short, dark hair and wore a Starfleet Captain's uniform. "Jim was right, you know, Gary," the man told him. "You were corrupted by your power. Absolutely."

"Who are you?" Mitchell wondered.

"I'm a member of an extremely advanced noncorporeal race that inhabits a realm we call the Q continuum. You can call me Q."

"Are you here to rescue me?"

"No, Gary. I'm here to imprison you for eternity."

With a gesture, Mitchell directed a bolt of energy at Q's body. Q vanished in another flash of light, then reappeared again. "That wasn't very friendly, Gary," Q observed. Q gestured in his own turn, and Mitchell found himself encased in a glass box. He smashed his fist into it, but it didn't break. He sent a bolt of energy into it, and it still didn't break. He threw his body against it, and it still didn't break.

Q sighed, then gestured. There was a momentary flash of light all around him, then Mitchell found that he was no longer on the surface of Delta Vega. Instead, he was somewhere in outer space. He was still inside the glass box, though, and the force of gravity was the same as it had been on Delta Vega. Spread out before him was a spiral galaxy, which he recognized immediately as the Milky Way Galaxy. There was an image of it on one of the walls of the transporter room, back on the Enterprise.

Q was still with him, a few feet away from the glass box, standing nonchalantly on empty space. Mitchell asked him, "Is this where you're going to imprison me? Inside this box, hanging here in intergalactic space?"

"Oh, no," Q assured him. "I'm afraid intergalactic space isn't nearly secure enough. I'm sure the Kelvans or somebody will come blundering along in a few centuries and set you free, and we certainly don't want that. No, I've just brought us here to get our bearings, so to speak. We were there," he pointed down towards the fringe of the galaxy, "on Delta Vega. Our destination is there," he pointed across to the center of the galaxy, "in the center of the galaxy."

"There's supposed to be a black hole at the center of the galaxy," Mitchell pointed out. "Are you just going to throw me into it, then? Won't that kill me?"

"Oh, that's not a black hole," Q assured him. "It might look that way to limited beings such as humanity, but it's not. It's actually a barrier. I like to call it the Great Barrier." Q gestured again, and the two of them were once again standing on the surface of a planet. Mitchell was still in the glass box. The surface of the planet was barren, rather like that of Delta Vega. The sky was clear, and held shifting blue curtains of light like an aurora borealis.

"Well, this is it," said Q. "Take your time, look around, get to know it. You're going to be staying here for the rest of your life. However long that is." With a final gesture, Q disappeared in another flash of light, and the glass box was gone.

Mitchell was free. And he was alone, on a desolate planet that was walled off from the rest of the universe. Come on, he told himself, think. You're God, aren't you? You can come up with a way out of this place.

Mitchell stood and pondered, for a long time.


Elizabeth Dehner opened her eyes, and saw a man standing over her prone form. He had dark hair, and wore the uniform of a Starfleet Captain. "Hello, Liz," he said.

"I prefer Elizabeth," she said automatically. "And why aren't I dead?"

"You aren't dead because you've been exposed to the energy of the Galactic Barrier," the man told him. "You cannot die."

"Are you from Earth? Where is Captain Kirk?"

"Earth? Hardly," the man said with distaste. "And Captain Kirk beamed back up to his vessel. He's convinced that you and Gary are both dead. As for me, I'm a member of an extremely advanced noncorporeal race that inhabits a realm we call the Q continuum. You can call me Q. I was observing your little drama with Gary and Jim, and I must tell you I was quite impressed with your actions. I'm here to invite you to join me in the Q continuum. You'll like it there. A much healthier place for you than among these mortals you've been living with." He reached down with a hand, and helped her to her feet.

"What about Gary? Will he be coming to this . . . Q continuum with us?"

"I'm afraid I wasn't nearly as impressed with Gary's behavior," Q confided. "Gary will be spending his days in . . . another place."

Dehner sighed. "I'm afraid he always was kind of an asshole. Very well, Q. Show me the way."

And he did.


Per the Okudas, filming on "Where No Man Has Gone Before" wrapped on Wednesday, July 28, 1965, with the fight scene between Kirk and Mitchell. Whitfield notes that this was one day more than had been originally planned. On Friday the 23rd, a heretofore unknown nest of wasps made its presence known on the soundstage, stinging Sally Kellerman in the back (according to Whitfield; Robert H. Justman implies that she was actually stung on her ass) and William Shatner on the eyelid. Fortunately, when filming resumed on Monday the 26th the swelling had gone down enough for Shatner to resume shooting.

GR was initially unable to devote much attention to postproduction work on "Where No Man Has Gone Before". He spent much of August 1965 producing a second pilot for Desilu called "Police Story" (no relation to the anthology series of the same name that eventually ran on NBC from 1973 to 1977), and much of September producing a third called "The Long Hunt of April Savage".

It was not until October that GR could devote his full attention to the second pilot. In addition, the Star Trek production team had an enormous amount of difficulty finishing the pilot's optical effects. What with one thing and another, it wasn't until the end of January 1966 that he managed to ship the second pilot off to the suits at NBC, after having taken ten months and $330,000 (Solow says $354,974) to produce it. In the middle of February, Herb Solow returned to Desilu with news that NBC had decided to buy the series.

Quite a bit of lore has grown up around "Where No Man Has Gone Before". The second half of Margaret Wander Bonanno's 1987 novel Strangers from the Sky is a prequel to the second pilot in which Kirk, Spock, Mitchell, Dehner and Kelso travel back to the 21st century. The first novel in the "Vanguard" series, David Mack's Harbinger (2005), which takes place shortly after the second pilot, has the Enterprise arriving at a newly-built Federation starbase after leaving Delta Vega.

Michael Jan Friedman's "My Brother's Keeper" trilogy (1999) follows the Enterprise's return to Earth after the events of the second pilot, though most of the trilogy consists of flashbacks showing Kirk's fifteen year friendship with Mitchell. (The third novel in the trilogy, Enterprise, begins its flashback with the Enterprise preparing to leave Dimorus and Mitchell still flat on his back in sickbay from the aftereffects of the poisoned dart.) As noted above, Friedman also related the story of the S.S. Valiant in his 2000 TNG novel of that name.

GR and Peeples were clearly trying to give their fictional universe a sense of historical depth, such as having the Enterprise come across a 200-year-old warning beacon, Tarbolde's 1996-vintage love sonnet, Kirk and Mitchell's history at "the academy" and Dimorus and Deneb IV. Nevertheless, to someone steeped in Star Trek lore, the stage on which the second pilot is played is a bare one. No United Federation of Planets, no Starfleet, no starbases, not even any food synthesizers or red and yellow alerts. We still don't know anything about Mr. Spock's background except for the fact that one of his ancestors married a "human female". The name "Vulcan" has yet to be mentioned. All we really have are the ship and its crew, and a handful of names: the Aldebaran colony, Delta Vega, Deneb IV, Canopus, Dimorus.

In 1965, Samuel A. Peeples was a 48-year-old writer with nine years' experience writing for television, mostly episodes of Western television series. He would go on to write an episode of the animated Star Trek series called "Beyond the Farthest Star", and contribute to the story for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. He died on August 27, 1997.

Internal chronology: Per Memory Alpha, it is now generally accepted that "Where No Man Has Gone Before" takes place in the year 2265, placing it one year before the first regular season episode, "The Corbomite Maneuver", and eleven years after the first pilot, "The Cage".

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