A subtle call back to the first episode here, with the Enterprise doing another check of remote scientists.
The ‘comedy old people’ bit gets old. Yes, we get it: old people are cranky and have arthritis. I thought the makeup was pretty good for the time, and it was a nice touch to have the alien Vulcan physiology produce a different reaction in Spock.
I had a characterisation problem in this episode – I just didn’t believe that Kirk is the kind of person who would hang on to command when his faculties were failing. Maybe you could blame that on the ageing, but I think the show has established previously that he would easily hand over command to Spock when needed.
It’s suggested early in the episode that it might be a Romulan plot. It’s a pretty clever one if it is (after all, they never explain what caused that comet to emit the radiation). Think about it – by seeding remote scientific colonies with these diseases you could wipe out half of the command staff of Star Fleet.
Laugh of the episode: “That’s a stupid place to hang a mirror.” Yes, yes it is.
The other callbacks (the Romulans and the Corbomite) show that Star Trek is starting to build its mythology, slowly but surely.
41 down, 696 to go.