Silly Trekker! Star Trek: Where No Man Has Gone Before
Where No Man Has Gone Before was filmed as the second pilot for Star Trek, and as a result there are several distinct differences between it and other episodes: Dr McCoy isn’t the ship’s doctor, an old man is. The mini-skirt uniforms are (tragically) nowhere to be seen and something isn’t quite right about Spock’s make-up, emotions and eyebrows. The tops worn by all crew members (both male and female) have sleeves that are too short and everyone wears unflattering black trousers. Thankfully someone had the courage to make the necessary changes before the rest of the series went into production. Nonetheless, it still feels like Star Trek.
There are a few unfamiliar faces on the bridge. Gary Mitchell (an old friend of Kirk’s), a delightful space girl called Smith who frankly should have been brought back in every episode, Doctor Old Man and the attractive space girl Doctor Elizabeth Dehner.
The story isn’t bad at all. A swirly pink patch of space drains the ship’s batteries and has a strange affect on certain crew members. For anyone with higher than normal levels of Extra Sensory Perception, they receive what can only be described as a zappin’. Gary Mitchell and Doctor Dehner receive exactly that.
After being zapped off his seat, Gary’s eyes take on a strange metallic tint, which even by today’s standards is a very nice special effect. As he recuperates in sick bay, it becomes apparent that the zappin’ gave him more than just a glint in his eye. Mitchell can now read and absorb information at lightening speed, perform telekinesis, and make weird and vague threats towards Kirk. It seems Mitchell is evolving into something more. More rude, that is.
Kirk holds a meeting of the departmental heads. Doctor Dehner rants emotionally. Spock doesn’t. Instead he offers Kirk two solutions to the Gary problem. Either they kill him, or they maroon him on the same mining planet where they plan on recharging the ship’s batteries. Kirk doesn’t like either option and Gary likes them even less. They sedate him, much like BA Baracus in the A-Team, and take him to the planet’s surface.
Mitchell’s powers grow to the point where he can strangle an expendable crewman using only his mind (and a cable). He convinces Doctor Denher to accompany him on his escape by promising free tickets to Alton Towers or their equivalent cash value. Then her eyes go all glowy too. Kirk sends everyone away and goes after the metal eye twins alone.
In an exciting battle scene Mitchell shows Kirk the haunting image of a gravestone with his name on it. Almost. He got Kirk’s middle initial wrong. Some poor soul called James R Kirk is now a tombstone short. Mitchell really is rude.
Eventually Kirk persuades Dr Dehner to help him defeat Mitchell but at the cost of her life. All in all it’s quite a rollercoaster.
Looking back at it now, it could be argued that the character of Dehner was important in shaping how women would be portrayed in the show. By daringly showing her heroic self-sacrifice, it planted the seed right from the outset that women would not always fulfil the role of mere eye candy on Star Trek. Sometimes, just sometimes, they’d be the key to the show. Sometimes, they’d boldly go where no woman had gone before.
William Shatner as James T. Kirk
Leonard Nimoy as Spock
James Doohan as Montgomery Scott
George Takei as Hikaru Sulu
Gary Lockwood as Gary Mitchell
Sally Kellerman as Dr. Elizabeth Dehner
Paul Carr as Lieutenant Lee Kelso
Paul Fix as Dr. Mark Piper
Lloyd Haynes as Lt. Alden
Andrea Dromm as Yeoman Smith
Director: James Goldstone
Written By: Samuel A. Peeples