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Star Trek TOS - Season 1 - Episode 15

Star Trek TOS - 1x15 - Shore Leave

Originally Aired: 1966-12-29

On shore leave, the crew's thoughts come to life. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

My Rating - 8

Fan Rating Average - 4.73

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Filler Quotient: 2, filler, but an enjoyable episode nevertheless. You can skip this one, but you'd miss out on some fun.
- This world is revisited in TAS: Once Upon a Planet, but it is not necessary to see this episode before watching that one.

- The yeoman's broken uniform was broken on the wrong side after she changed back into it after taking off the Medieval dress.


Remarkable Scenes
- Kirk getting a massage from his yeoman thinking it was Spock.
- McCoy to Sulu regarding Kirk: "You've got your problems, I've got mine. But he's got ours, plus his, plus 430 other people."
- McCoy seeing things from Alice in Wonderland come to life.
- McCoy describing what he saw to Kirk and Kirk believing he was joking.
- Spock maneuvering Kirk into taking some time off.
- McCoy and Kirk joking about the rabbit and reminiscing about Finnegan followed by Finnegan appearing out of nowhere and starting a fight with Kirk.
- Sulu's fight with the samurai.
- McCoy's apparent death.
- Spock and Kirk running through a set of dangerous illusions.
- McCoy's reappearance in the company of some 23rd century playboy bunnies.

My Review
This silly, whimsical episode manages to do humor better than any other so far. For most of the episode the unusually light hearted tone serves as a nice change of pace and the nonchalant way in which the crew investigates the strange things they're seeing is amusing. It was nice to see the characters get lost in some mostly harmless fascinations without the need for the plot to manufacture some danger to justify the aside. Unfortunately, things got considerably less entertaining after McCoy's apparent death.

Granted, it was a fantastically shocking moment when McCoy suddenly died while refusing to believe what he was seeing was real, but the shock's implications weren't taken quite seriously enough as the episode seemed to stubbornly refuse to change its tone once McCoy had seemed to die. The most annoying example of this is that Kirk's immediate reaction to McCoy's apparent death is to start chasing down imitation Finnegan so he can delight himself with an irreverently prolonged brawl with his imaginary friend.

I find it beyond irresponsible that Kirk would choose to focus on this rather than getting some answers. Sure, he tries to ask Finnegan for some answers, but Kirk should have known better than to expect Finnegan to give them to him. After a while Kirk seemed to give up on answers anyway and just enjoy the fight at which point Spock restores some sanity to the plot by deducing the cause of these manifestations.

Another unsatisfying aspect of the plot is the alien race which owns the planet who refused to identify themselves and the purpose of their seemingly uninhabited planet until after the crew was sufficiently traumatized. This omission of such a basic courtesy to foreign visitors to their world was rationalized by the idea that this alien race is so intelligent that they're unable to think the way humans do; a weak excuse. Overall though these critiques are small flaws in what is otherwise a highly entertaining story that is predicated on well executed comical absurdity.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From technobabble on 2010-11-22 at 7:03pm:
    I enjoyed this episode very much as well, lighthearted romp in a pastoral backdrop after a tense space battle.

    Only explanation for Kirk's Finegan reaction after McCoy's death is the fantasy world's hallucinations may had an affect on psychologically distracting the crew. Like Sulu shooting the firearm and fascinated with it without being cautious.

  • From CAlexander on 2011-04-23 at 1:24pm:
    The main plot is effective if you accept the premises. Not an episode of great significance, but memorable.

    - The episode is sort of a variant of the Naked Time, revealing the hidden fantasies of the characters.
    - I came to the same conclusions as the previous comment. The crew acts irrationally from the very beginning, paying little attention to the peculiar inconsistencies of the planet. Everyone acts like they are intoxicated by the visions they see. The show seems to imply that this is a normal part of being a humor episode, but if you want to look at things logically, it makes a lot more sense if you assume that the planet can influence minds as well as read them.
  • From Mike Meares on 2012-04-10 at 3:44am:
    A highly entertaining episode of Star Trek, which I thoughly enjoy. And still enjoy watching it, despite the many, many, many flaws in the script.

    I loved the concept of the show. And much like the Enterprise crew I become mesmerized by what I am seeing appearing right before my eyes.

    But if we take a step back and look at this episode "logically" it is really a very weak story, filled with a lot of mistakes.

    I rate this episode a six because of it's entertaining value. But it could have been produced much better.

    Over the years some of the writers have admitted that this episode, as well as many other episodes, went though so many re-writes that the flow of the story suffered greatly. It is said Roddenberry was re-writing scenes as they were actually being shot. Not sure how true that is, but it would explain some of the problems in the story.

    The biggest problem in the script is the death of Dr. McCoy. The story explains that this race is so advanced that it can "repair" or bring someone back to life who is stabbed to death in the chest! REALLY? And we are suppose to beleive this just because they say so! I am sorry the explaination leaves something to be desired!

    And while we are on the subject, this knowledge is something the Federation is not really interested in? Give me a break please! No one seems to care that this race can actually bring back the dead! I get more reaction from somebody when I show I can open a bag of bagels.

    To make matters worse, this "advanced" race doesn't realize that the crew of the Enterprise doesn't understand what is going on the whole time! You have to ask yourself: why doesn't this advanced race show themselves after McCoy's death? Instead they "sneak" away McCoy's body without explaining to the rest of the crew what they are doing! The race continues with their illusions even though it is clear to a two year old human ( we must assume their two year olds are smarter than our two year olds! ) that at that point the crew of the Enterprise had abosolutely no idea what the hell was going on around them.

    And the crew's communications were interferred with because of transmissions of this "advanced race". Even the transporter power aboard the Enterprise. REALLY? And this "advanced race" doesn't realize this at all? You have got to be kidding me?

    Spock even says that the power was so strong that he reasoned that they only enough energy to beam down one more person before they lost the use of the transporter. Gee how lucky for them. I ain't buying it.

    And as Spock is beaming down Sulu makes a staement that I am still scratching my head about. Sulu says, "Someone beaming down from the BRIDGE." Oh really? And how does Sulu know where the person is beaming down from? Spock could be beaming down from the Sick Bay for all Sulu knows. Correct me if I am wrong, but if you saw someone beaming down wouldn't you just assume they are beaming down from the.... eh.... oh I don't know.... THE TRANSPORTER ROOM!

    All of these mistakes are due to the writing and should have been corrected before fliming. And they are all weak plot devices used to make the story workable, but they are just not every creative.

    Everytime I watch this episode I have to ignore these aspects of the story or else I can't enjoy the show.

    It is very odd but this episode can be summed up in three words. Enjoyable but flawed!

  • From Scott Hearon on 2014-03-05 at 6:48pm:
    Just watched this episode, and I agree with much of what "Kethinov" has to say. It gets annoying to see the downed crew members give Spock so much flack. It was a bit overdone (presumably in the name of selling this particular element of the episode), but I liked the basic premise and dynamic.

    Yeah, that ambassador was a real jag-off. Could have been much less heavy-handed with that character.

    The choice of giant, hairy primitives seems odd. I can't help but think that this was a bit of dumbing down, possibly by the network, so things didn't get too (gasp!)...intelligent or creative!!

    Overall, though, it's a decent enough episode. Nice job touching up the visuals, too. What year did they do that, anyway? They look damn good.
  • From Yonagonaf on 2016-04-23 at 3:07pm:
    There is a word in the sentence “The yeoman's broken uniform was broken on the wrong side after she changed back into it after taking off the Medieval dress.” that needs to be changed.

    The word “broken” is incorrect.

    The words “torn” or “ripped” are used when describing damage done to material.

    In this case a uniform.
  • From Kelly on 2017-08-17 at 7:15am:
    A very fun and scenic episode, that is not really deep, but simply meant to be a getaway fantasy episode. Just watched it 2 times in a row, over the last few days, but found several small but still irking mistakes!
    On a planet with supposedly no life or animals or bugs, a few close ups show flies around the faces of characters, especially the scene with Ruth.
    There are tree stumps, and logs on the ground that are obviouly chainsaw cut.
    The grass is freshly cut and there are even trails leading around, and one thing no one seems to ever catch, a BUILDING in one scene with Kirk and Spock walking around the glade. Look again its a hut that appears to have a natural look made from maybe logs and plant material, but none the less an actual building. I Know the crew was all excited, but no one saw any of this??
    Most likely obvious mistakes, but could have been better hidden!
  • From Jake on 2019-11-22 at 9:04pm:
    I think some take this episode a bit too seriously. But if you watch the show closely you can catch all sorts of little things. Like the chain on the tiger's paw. Or that the strafing plane is one time a Navy Corsair, and then suddenly a Japanese Zero. Or the changing dress tear. But this, like many others, just needs to be watched for entertainment which it did provide.

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