TOS: Episode 38: A Private Little War
McCoy gathers samples of organic compounds upon a distant planet where Kirk and Spock search for inhabitants. In the midst of their investigation they discover the prints of the Mogatoo, a violent creature that stands as the only threat on the planet.
Suddenly, a noise is heard. Spock and Kirk run to investigate just in time to discover that the inhabitants they are looking for are not the primitive bow-and-arrow types they’d previously expected. Instead, it turns out somehow the villagers have gained technologies beyond their own natural development.
One set of villagers have acquired guns, while the other set still fight with bow-and-arrow. Observing the interaction of fighting groups, Kirk realizes that in the group with less effective weaponry is his friend from previous planetary visits. Unwilling to let his friend be ambushed, Kirk throws a rock to distract the men with guns. He and Spock are forced to run in order to return to McCoy and lead the gun toting fighters away. In the midst of their escape Spock is shot. He collapses and the away team beams aboard. While McCoy treats Spock, Uhura calls in a message that a Klingon vessel has been spotted. The ship goes to yellow alert. Kirk, worrying about his friend, deals with the Klingon threat by keeping the Enterprise out of view, then returns to sickbay to visit Spock. We discover that Spock has suffered organ damage, without the availability of replacement organs. Whether Spock will survive is up to his own bodily ability to recover.
Aboard the Enterprise is a doctor that had served in the Vulcan war (the first we've heard of such a historical event in Star Trek history). As a result, McCoy is able to leave Spock in the other doctor’s care so that Kirk and McCoy can return to the planet to contact Kirk’s friend from the previous visit. In the midst of travel to the village, a Mogatoo attacks, and Kirk is hurt. The Mogatoo, we discover, besides being a large white fluff ball creature, also turns out to have poisonous fangs. Our Captain is hurt, and as a result gets to deliver a brilliantly shaking performance of the after effects of poison. Another pleasant after effect comes in the first McCoy voice over Star Trek has ever offered.
As the episode progresses, we meet Kirk’s friend, and his wife who is said to be able to cure the effects of the Mogatoo poison. We discover that the wife is not only a healer, but also power hungry. She walks into the cave Kirk is being kept in to discover McCoy using his phaser to warm rocks. Seeing the power of the phaser she becomes hungry for the use of them to claim power over the planet.
Meanwhile, aboard the Enterprise, Nurse Chapel worries over her love Spock. In the midst of holding his hand she discovers that Spock is not actually dying, but instead is simply concentrating that he appears unconscious. His concentration is reflective of how Vulcans heal.
Back on the planet the wife of Kirk’s friend performs an overly eroticized sex dance above Kirk’s naked body as an activity of healing him from the poison. She then collapses across him and he wakes to discover the dark-haired, ethnic beauty beside him, and what looks like a clump of shit upon his shoulder—an apparently healing root remedy. McCoy inspects the wound to discover that the sex dance plus shit ball have healed it and in fact any trace of there ever having been a wound. After Kirk recovers we discover that the sex dance the woman performed was effectively a soul-spirit marriage ceremony and as a result Kirk belongs to the woman. According to her, however, it is not merely a social commitment that binds them, but in fact his very soul has been mixed with hers and now he can refuse her no wish.
Upon meeting the woman that has cured him, Kirk is obviously confused. His earth believes demand that the woman belongs to his friend. But he is strangely compelled by her. Further, against the traditions of earth women (which clearly do not usurp political leadership), the wife acts as though she should be able to help make political demands too. Though the men go off to meet on their own, the wife breaks into the meeting and demands phaser like power for the sake of dominance. Kirk resists her demands, however. Kirk’s friend demands that he will not kill anyone, though his wife demands that he must gain weapons to kill the others. When Kirk continues to refuse to give phasers to them, the woman threatens to leave her husband. In the midst of the drama, Kirk’s friend’s wig becomes incredibly messed up, going from an enormous dirty blond look alike mass of soft-drip ice cream, to a rat’s nest atop his head.
Kirk’s friend guides Kirk and McCoy into the village. We discover along the way that the villagers used to be peaceful people, but then began making guns and using them to kill hill people’s men, and steal hill people’s women. In the midst of their investigations, we find too that the guns, though now produced by the villagers themselves were actually delivered originally by Klingons that began trading them for their own advantages. It turns out the hill people took to the use of guns as an easier, faster means of gaining what they desire. Kirk and McCoy are discovered, however, and must run from the villagers.
Meanwhile, back on board the Enterprise we discover Spock gaining consciousness. Nurse Chapel at his side, Spock demands that she begin slapping him to help him regain consciousness. As a result we are granted a dramatic scene of Nurse Chapel slapping Spock across the face repeatedly until he finally comes to and turns cold to her affections again.
Back on the planet’s surface, Kirk has escaped the village with his friend, McCoy, and a gun. Kirk goes on to teach the hill people how to use the gun. McCoy confronts Kirk, threatening him with the claim that the woman really did use her magic to mislead Kirk, now providing guns to the people. Kirk refuses the idea though, and instead looks for the wife to use her to convince his friend that he must fight. Going to visit the woman, she uses a strong aphrodesiac herb on Kirk. Kirk fights the herb, but begins to succumb to its sexual implications just as his friend walks into the wooded area with the gun. Though the friend raises the gun at first, he stops himself and drops it, running away into the woods just as a Mogatoo approaches and goes after Kirk and the magical woman. The Mogatoo begins to attack the woman, but while she writhes on the ground trying to escape, Kirk pulls out his phaser and kills the Mogatoo. The woman knocks Kirk out with a rock, and then steals his phaser, running away with it. As she runs away villagers approach. She approaches offering the phaser as a new weapon to gain power for the hill people. The villagers attack her, threatening rape. In the midst of the attack she takes a knife, but then is stabbed by it again. She does not know how to use the phaser, and in the midst of her treatchery is killed. The friend is forced to fight, against his own vows, as he sees his wife killed. The hill people succeed in fighting off the villagers, but the woman is dead, and Kirk’s friend is psychologically scarred.
In the face of his wife’s death, Kirk’s friend demands more guns so that he may war with those that have killed his partner. The future fate of the planet is sealed. A beautiful garden of Eden is forever changed with the face of war as a result of the betrayal of a mythical woman. No sexist overtones here. No. No. Just the retelling of a Classical Story.