Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Recap: Where No Man Has Gone Before (1 of 4)

This is the second in a series of recaps of the original Star Trek episodes that I first posted to the alt.startrek and rec.arts.startrek.misc newsgroups back in 2005. Today's selection: the second pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before" by Samuel A. Peeples.

Our story opens some time in 1965, when the suits at NBC, having rejected Gene Roddenberry's pilot episode for his Star Trek series, decide to have him make a second pilot. In an unusual moment of candor, the suits admit that they were the ones who chose "The Cage" story, so it's not really GR's fault that the resulting pilot is so "cerebral" (ie intelligent). The suits draw up a laundry list of changes to the series concept, rejecting most of the cast and asking in particular that the half-alien character Mr. Spock, with his Satanic pointed ears and upswept eyebrows, be dropped from the series. GR agrees to the rest of the suggested changes, but balks at losing Spock, and eventually he prevails. When Jeffrey Hunter turns down the role of the captain, it is (according to Wikipedia) also turned down by Jack Lord before being given to William Shatner. With a new actor playing the role, the character is renamed James Kirk. Mr. Spock is moved up a place in rank to first officer, and will be played again by Leonard Nimoy.

To make sure there's no repetition of the cerebral story fiasco, the suits ask Desilu to produce three complete shooting scripts for the second pilot. GR, Desilu and NBC get together and agree to hire two freelance writers, Samuel A. Peeples and Stephen Kandel, to produce two of the scripts, while GR himself will write the third. By early June the three scripts are ready: "Where No Man Has Gone Before" by Peeples, "Mudd's Women" by Kandel, and "The Omega Glory" by GR. The suits choose the first, and production is slated to begin on 5 July 1965.

Art director Matt Jeffries calculates that the starship Enterprise is 947 feet in length, rather more than his original estimate, and the ship's crew complement is boosted from 203 to 430. The remaining characters in the second pilot are finalized, and actors are chosen to play them. Doctor Philip Boyce is changed to Doctor Mark Piper, played by Paul Fix. Yeoman Colt is changed to Yeoman Smith, played by Andrea Dromm. The nameless communications officer is given the name Alden, and will be played by Lloyd Haynes. Two other new regulars will be chief engineer Scott, who will be played by James Doohan, and astrophysicist Sulu, who will be played by George Takei. Three guest stars will be Gary Lockwood, playing navigator Gary Mitchell; Paul Carr, playing helmsman Lee Kelso; and Sally Kellerman, playing psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Dehner.

There had been four Enterprise sets built for the first pilot: the bridge, the corridor, the transporter room, and the briefing room, which with suitable redressing doubled as the captain's cabin. For the second pilot, they also build a sickbay set. James Goldstone is chosen to direct, and filming of "Where No Man Has Gone Before" begins on 19 July 1965.


A starscape, with the Enterprise approaching the viewer. A piece of background music that we can call the Enterprise theme is playing; it was actually the title theme for the episode, and might have become the title theme for the series had GR not switched back to the title theme used in "The Cage" when the series went into production.

We hear the voice of Captain Kirk: "Captain's log, stardate thirteen twelve point four. The impossible has happened." This is the first recorded use of the "captain's log" device for providing exposition, and also the first use of stardates. Stardates allowed GR to give a sense of the passage of time on the show without being tied down to an actual time period for the show's setting. After the show's run ended, it was decided that the series had been set in the 23rd century, but this wasn't established at the time. In the Star Trek Concordance, Bjo Trimble sets the original series in the 22nd century.

Cut to an Enterprise-view of the space ahead, as stars drift by. Kirk's voice continues: "From directly ahead, we're picking up a recorded distress signal, the call letters of a vessel which has been missing for over two centuries." We pull back to reveal that the starscape is on a monitor screen being watched by Kirk and Spock as they play three-dimensional chess in the briefing room. According to Stephen E. Whitfield in The Making of Star Trek, this scene was originally set in Kirk's cabin, but was changed to the briefing room to save money (there were other scenes set in the briefing room, but no other scenes set in Kirk's cabin, so changing the setting of this scene meant one less set to dress and light).

Kirk's voice continues: "Did another Earth ship probe out of the galaxy as we intend to do? What happened to it out there? Is this some warning they've left behind?" Kirk, Spock, and the crewmen watching them are all dressed in the same uniforms worn by the crew in the first pilot. Kirk and Spock are wearing muted gold tunics and black pants. Both have the starburst command insignia. According to The Making of Star Trek, this scene was the first to be filmed.

Kirk is watching the monitor. "Your move, captain," says Spock.

Kirk's mind is definitely not on the game. "Should have intercepted by now," says Kirk. "Bridge said they'd call."

"I'll have you checkmated your next move," Spock observes.

That's enough to get Kirk's attention. He turns back to Spock, laughs, and says, "Have I ever mentioned you play a very irritating game of chess, Mr. Spock?"

Spock looks momentarily puzzled, then brightens. "Irritating? Ah, yes, one of your Earth emotions."

Still smiling, Kirk moves a bishop up a couple of levels. Spock's look of smug superiority transforms into dismay. He's not quite as emotional as he was in the first pilot, but he's still not quite the stoic Vulcan of legend.

A grinning Kirk says, "Certain you don't know what irritation is?"

Still looking unhappily at the bishop, Spock says, "In fact, one of my ancestors married a human female." If you look behind Spock as he says this, you can see a woman wearing the same red sleeveless top and pleated white miniskirt who passed Captain Pike in the corridor in the first pilot. Man, you'd think she would have gotten a new outfit in eleven years.

"Terrible, having bad blood like that," says Kirk.

Any further comments Kirk might have chosen to make are interrupted by a comm whistle. "Bridge to briefing lounge," says Lee Kelso, in a muted peach tunic. Oddly, he has that round insignia that would later be science and medical, but is evidently engineering and support services here, since everyone in a peach tunic has one. The monitor switches to a view of Kelso sitting at the helm console on the bridge. We can see that the bridge is rather more colorful than it was in the first pilot, with the rails, turbolift doors, and helm-navigation console trimmed in red. Also, the video monitors on the gooseneck mounts are gone from the helm and navigation. "Object is now within tractor beam range."

"No visual contact, Mr. Kelso?" asks Kirk.

"No, sir," Kelso answers. "Too small to be a vessel. Only reads about one meter in diameter." A surprising use of the metric system, here. This is 1965 after all.

"Not large enough even for a lifeboat," Spock observes.

"Small enough to bring it aboard, sir, if you want to risk it," says Kelso.

"Lock on to it, Mr. Kelso," says Kirk. He and Spock rise from the table and head for the exit.


Close-up on the transporter console as a pair of hands in muted peach work the controls. We pull back to reveal that the hands belong to Mr. Scott. Kirk and Spock are already in the transporter room. "Materializer ready, sir," says Scott. As with the helm-navigation console on the bridge, the transporter console is now red with a gray top, and no longer has any video monitors on gooseneck mounts. (As the Okudas note in the DVD commentary, this is because the transporter console was the helm-navigation console. As they also note, there are no slide controls.) The wall to the left of the transporter stage has a large display of a spiral galaxy.

"Bring it aboard," orders Kirk. This, GR thinks, is going to be the viewing audience's introduction to the transporter. We hear a rising hum, the transporter stage lights up, and with the familiar sparkle and materialization sound, we see a tapering cylindrical object appear. It has a dome on top, and stands on three legs, and looks like it's seen some action. The name VALIANT can be made out on the top.

"Old style ship recorder," Kirk notes. "It could be ejected when something threatened the ship."

"More like destroyed the ship in this case," says Spock. "Look at it: burnt, pitted."

"Let's hope its tapes are intact," says Kirk. To Scott he says, "We'll feed it through Mr. Spock's computer."

"Yes, sir," says Scott.

The dome on the recorder begins flashing. "It's begun transmitting, sir," says Scott, accompanied by a dramatic sting.

"Flash to bridge," says Kirk decisively. "Put all decks on the alert."

As Kirk and Spock emerge into the corridor from the transporter room (there's a sign above the doorway that says TRANSPORTER), the alert alarm sounds, a single rising tone that's much more authoritative than the wimpy two-tone alert we heard in the first pilot. We pan left as Kirk and Spock make their way down the corridor, then cut to a flashing red light as a dramatic version of the Enterprise theme ushers us out of the teaser and into the

The opening notes of Alexander Courage's title theme. The Enterprise comes into view from the left and passes on the right as the first dramatic sting sounds. Cut to a view of a distant red planet as the Enterprise passes by on the left and heads toward it. Shot of the Enterprise orbiting the red planet. As the second dramatic sting sounds, we cut to a shot of space as the Enterprise flashes silently past. The synthesizer version of the title theme plays as the words STAR TREK come up in the familiar angular font. Another silently zooming Enterprise heralds the words STARRING WILLIAM SHATNER. Yet another silently zooming Enterprise brings us the words LEONARD NIMOY AS MR. SPOCK as the title theme ends.


The Enterprise passes from left to right as the words "WHERE NO MAN HAS GONE BEFORE" appear. Cut to a shot of the corridor as crewmen pass back and forth. Cut to an overhead view of a turbolift door as Kirk and Spock enter. Just as the doors are about to close a third man, in a peach tunic, dashes in, saying, "Hold it, Jim."

Cut to the interior of the turbolift as the doors close. The man in the peach tunic is Gary Mitchell. A smiling Kirk says to him, "Getting into shape?"

"Yeah, well, I figured you weren't on the bridge," Mitchell responds. "Kelso's voice sounded a little nervous." Something I never noticed before: as the turbolift starts rising, the camera drops ever so slightly, adding to the impression that the lift is rising. A nice touch from Goldstone. Turning to Spock, Mitchell adds, "Well, uh, you finish the game?"

Spock nods. "He played most illogically. His next move should have been the rook." Kirk grins and makes a throat-cutting gesture accompanied by a shhhk noise. Note that this is Mr. Spock's first ever reference to logic.

The turbolift doors open onto the bridge. Yeoman Smith is standing to the left of the turbolift holding a computer tape. Kelso is seated at the helm console. A crewman in a blue tunic (a black man, btw) enters the lift from the left.

Mitchell steps up to the navigation console and says, "You're relieved, Mr. Alden."

"Acknowledged, Mr. Mitchell," says a blue-tunicked Alden. According to Michael Jan Friedman's "My Brother's Keeper" trilogy, Alden's first name is Daniel. Alden's insignia is the gearwork "e" that would later be the engineering symbol; everyone in a blue tunic has it. Alden moves to the communications console as Yeoman Smith follows Kirk to the captain's chair. Kelso smiles at Mitchell.

"Screen on," says Kirk as he sits. Shot of Kelso flipping a switch, then a shot of the main viewscreen over the shoulders of Kirk, Kelso and Mitchell. As in the first pilot, the main viewscreen has rounded corners and flashing lights above it rather than below. The screen comes on, revealing stars.

"Screen on," Kelso acknowledges.

Kirk, with Smith standing behind him, glances to his left. The helm-navigation console no longer has the gooseneck-mounted monitors it had in "The Cage", but the other stations do, as does the captain's chair. We see Spock at his library computer station, listening to the signal from the recorder. Another shot of Kirk, then one of Kelso as he says, "Approaching galaxy edge, sir."

"Neutralize warp, Mr. Mitchell," Kirk orders. "Hold this position."

Mitchell works his console. A shot of the viewscreen as the stars slow to a stop. We hear Mitchell say, "Neutralize warp, sir." A bit of treknobabble that didn't make it into the regular series.

"Address intercraft," says Kirk.

Mitchell waves his hand over his console, producing a transporter-like bleep, and says, "Intercraft open." The navigator opened intercraft in the first pilot, too. A nice bit of continuity.

"This is the captain speaking," says a reverbed Kirk. "The object we encountered was a ship's disaster recorder, apparently ejected from the S.S. Valiant almost two hundred years ago."

"Tapes are burnt," says Spock, as he lifts an earphone on a cord to his ear. "Now trying the memory banks."

"We hope to learn from the recorder what the Valiant was doing here and what destroyed the vessel," Kirk continues on intercraft. Behind him, the turbolift doors open to reveal Doctors Piper and Dehner, Mr. Sulu and Mr. Scott. The first three are wearing blue tunics. "We'll move out into our probe as soon as we have those answers. All decks stand by."

Mitchell turns and explains, "Our department heads, sir. You wanted everybody on the bridge before we left the galaxy." It would have made more sense for Kirk et al to meet in the briefing room, but dramatically that would have interrupted the momentum that's building for the big probe into the intergalactic void.

Kirk turns and looks at his department heads, then rises from his chair. Finding Yeoman Smith in his way, he says, "Uh, Jones?"

"Name's Smith, sir." Kirk gestures for her to get out of his way (well, I guess it beats bumping into her, like Pike did), then goes up to join the department heads.

"Astro-sciences standing by," says Sulu.

"Engineering division ready as always," says Scott with a slight smile, which Kirk returns.

"Life sciences ready, sir," says Piper. "This is Doctor Dehner, who joined the ship at the Aldebaran colony." (Wikipedia notes that Aldebaran is a red giant star in the constellation Taurus, spectral type K5 III, and that it is 65.1 light years from Earth.)

"Psychiatry, captain," Dehner amplifies. "My assignment is to study crew reactions in emergency conditions."

We hear a beeping sound coming from Spock's station. "Getting something from the recorder now," says Spock.

Kirk joins Spock at his station, and Dehner follows him, saying, "If there was an emergency, I'd be interested in how that crew reacted, too."

Mitchell says, " 'We're improving the breed', doctor, is that your line?" You know, even without any super mental powers, he's kind of an asshole.

"I've heard that's more your specialty, Commander," Dehner responds with a malicious smile. "Line included." Ouch!

Mitchell, confirming his asshole status, turns to Kelso and says, "Walking freezer unit."

"Decoding memory banks," says Spock. "I'll try to interpolate." Mr. Spock's ability to discern the information in the recorder by listening to its beeps has been compared to reading a teletype message by listening to it print out. "Valiant had encountered a magnetic space storm and was being swept in this direction."

"The old impulse engines weren't strong enough," Kirk notes.

"Swept past this point about a half light year out of the galaxy," Spock continues. "They were thrown clear, turned, and headed back into the galaxy here." (A fuller account of the Valiant's last days can be found in Michael Jan Friedman's Next Generation novel The Valiant.)

"I'm not getting it all," says Spock, "the tapes are badly burnt. Sounds like the ship had encountered some unknown force." Spock pauses, and we see shots of Kirk and Alden listening attentively. "Now orders, counter-orders. Repeated urgent requests for information from the ship's computer records for anything concerning ESP in human beings."

"Extra-sensory perception?" says Kirk. Spock nods. Kirk turns to his department heads and calls, "Dr. Dehner." A psychiatrist! Boy, talk about your lucky coincidences! "How are you on ESP?"

Dehner says, "In tests I've taken my ESP rated rather high." It's a bit of necessary foreshadowing, but Dehner misunderstanding what Kirk wants makes her sound dense.

"I'm asking what you know about ESP," Kirk clarifies. Also, we need some exposition for the audience.

"It is a fact," Dehner exposits, "that some people can sense future happenings, read the backs of playing cards, and so on." By an interesting coincidence, playing cards also play a minor role in Kandel's script for "Mudd's Women". "But the esper capacity is always quite limited."

"Severe damage," Spock relays from the recorder. "Seven crewmen dead. No, make that six. One crewman seemed to have recovered." Recovered from being dead? That's never a good thing. "That's when they became interested in extra-sensory perception. More than interested, almost frantic about it." Another pause, while we glance at the department heads standing in front of the turbolift doors. "No," Spock finally says, "this must be garbled. I get something about 'destruct'." A musical sting. Spock continues, "I must have read it wrong. It sounded like the captain giving an order to destroy his own ship." More dramatic music, accompanied by shots of Mitchell, the department heads, then back to Kirk and Spock.

We pan right as Kirk crosses back to the department heads. "Comments?" he says to them.

"The only fact we have for sure is that the S.S. Valiant was destroyed," says Piper.

Kirk nods and says, "That's probably the best argument to continue the probe. Other vessels will be heading out here someday and they'll have to know what they'll be facing." Seating himself in the captain's chair, Kirk announces, "We're leaving the galaxy, Mr. Mitchell. Ahead warp factor one."

Mitchell operates his console, and we hear the engines ramping up. On the viewscreen, the last few stars pass out of view. More shots of crewmembers looking at the screen. Back to the screen, where we see a shifting reddish haze. The energy barrier theme plays.

"Forcefield of some kind," announces Spock.

"We're coming up on it fast," says Mitchell.

Kirk glances at Spock, who calls out, "Sensor beam on."

"Sensor beam on, sir," acknowledges Kelso.

"Deflectors full intensity," calls Spock.

"Deflectors full intensity," acknowledges Kelso.

Another shot of a concerned-looking Kirk. Another shot of the ever-growing reddish haze.

"Deflectors say there's something there, sensors say there isn't," Spock calls out. Nimoy has since acknowledged that his loud readings of Spock's lines here were a mistake. "Density negative. Radiation negative. Energy negative."

"Whatever it is," Kelso says, "contact in twelve seconds." As an aside, I'll note that Kelso makes this statement eight minutes and forty-eight seconds into the episode.

Shot of Mitchell taking hold of Smith's hand. Hmmmm. I guess Dr. Dehner wasn't kidding about Mitchell's efforts to "improve the breed", one female crewmember at a time.

Shot of the Enterprise approaching the swirling red haze. The Enterprise theme joins the energy barrier theme.

Wide angle shot of the bridge. Mitchell is still holding Smith's hand. At 9:05 the engines start to slow down. At 9:07 the bridge lights flicker and go dim.

Shot of the shifting red haze filling the viewscreen.

At 9:20 the first sparks start flying. "Gravitation on automatic," Kirk orders.

At 9:31 the first console blows up. It's the one just to the left of the main viewscreen. (According to Franz Joseph's Starfleet Technical Manual, this is the Engineering Sub-Systems Monitor.)

At 9:32 a second console goes up, this one is second to the left of Spock's station. (Per Joseph, the Defense and Weapons Station.) "Emergency stations," Kirk orders. "All decks at fire alert."

More sparks are flying. "Neutralize controls," Kirk orders. "Kelso, put it on manual."

9:43: shot of Kelso waving smoke away from the helm console.

Kirk turns to Spock. "Any radiation? Anything?"


The department heads are standing there, watching the mayhem around them.

"Helmsman," Kirk shouts, "take us out of here!"

Shot of Mitchell, who is still holding Smith's hand.

Shot of the viewscreen, showing the swirling haze turning yellow.

9:51: shot of Dehner getting zapped. Scott grabs her as she falls over.

9:56: shot of Mitchell getting zapped. His hand comes loose from Smith's as he falls to the deck.

"Mitch!" Kelso calls to Mitchell.

"Helmsman!" Kirk calls to Kelso as he takes Mitchell's place. "Lateral power!"

Spock crosses to the navigation console and replaces Kirk there.

Shot of the Enterprise as she heads out of the energy barrier.

Shot of the bridge. Sulu is hanging on for dear life to the railing. Spock and Kelso are struggling with their controls. Kirk steps up next to Spock and orders, "Take damage reports."

"Damage control reports, all stations," Spock calls out.

As the faint voices of damage control reports make themselves heard, Kirk joins Scott and Sulu as they assist Dehner. "Something . . . hit me," she says. "Like an electrical charge."

Piper joins them, nods toward Mitchell. "He's alive. Appears to be in shock."

As Kirk passes by navigation Spock arrests him with a hand on his arm and says, "Main engines are out, sir. We're on emergency power cells. Casualties, nine dead."

Kirk kneels down next to Yeoman Smith, who is cradling Mitchell's head in her hands. "Gary," he says, "Gary, are you all right?" As Kirk takes over from her, Smith leaves.

"I'm a little weak for some reason, Jim," says Mitchell, who is lying on his right side with his face turned away. "But I feel all right now." He turns his head, opens his eyes, and we zoom in for an extreme close-up of Mitchell's brightly glowing silver eyes. The picture slowly fades to black, leaving only those glowing silver eyes, then they fade out too.

(continue to part 2)

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