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Star Trek TOS - Season 2 - Episode 18

Star Trek TOS - 2x18 - The Immunity Syndrome

Originally Aired: 1968-1-19

A giant space amoeba threatens the entire galaxy. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

My Rating - 2

Fan Rating Average - 5.28

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Filler Quotient: 3, bad filler, totally skippable.
- Pretty lame episode with no significant long term continuity.

- Throughout the episode numerous characters make mention of the giant space amoeba threatening all the nearby "solar systems." This is a common error. The term they were looking for is planetary system. The planetary system we live in is called the Solar System because our star is named Sol. As such, the term "Solar System" is a proper noun, not a generic term.
- At several points during the episode the characters switch fluidly between the metric system and English Imperial Units for no discernible reason. Hardly scientific...
- Spock's explanation in this episode that Vulcan has never been conquered would seem to contradict McCoy's statement in The Conscience of the King where he stated in regards to Vulcan: "Now I know why they were conquered," in response to Spock's refusal to drink alcohol. However, I suspect McCoy's statement was hyperbole in reference to Vulcan's admittance to the Federation, an organization which appears to be run largely by humans.

- This episode establishes that it is common for ships in the Federation to have a racial bias. For instance, the Enterprise has a mostly human crew, while the Intrepid has a mostly Vulcan crew.
- This episode establishes that Vulcan telepathy is powerful enough to sense the mass death of Vulcans across relatively great distances.
- According to Spock, Vulcan has never been conquered.

Remarkable Scenes
- Spock sensing the Intrepid's Vulcan crew dying before the ship's sensors could detect it.
- Kirk sending Spock on the suicide mission, much to McCoy's irritation.
- McCoy: "Shut up Spock! We're rescuing you!"

My Review
This episode is a rehash of The Doomsday Machine, but considerably less entertaining, mostly due to the fact that it's slower paced and lacks the subtleties, intrigue, and overall dramatic appeal that The Doomsday Machine had in spades. To fill the time, the episode is laced with useless filler scenes depicting Kirk making all hands announcements or log entries, despite the fact that they only have a short time before the ship is destroyed by the giant space amoeba. Likewise, the scenes with loud, high pitched sounds generated by probe telemetry certainly didn't help the episode's entertainment value either.

The only redeeming quality of the story is McCoy and Spock competing over which of the two shall go on the suicide mission. Their valor combined with their their posturing and mock(?) contempt for one another was rather amusing, although it isn't terribly well established why a probe or even the shuttle itself couldn't have been remote piloted into the center of the space amoeba to mitigate the danger. Likewise, the whole technobabble scene that rambled on about "anti-power" and "everything in reverse" so Kirk could conclude that they needed to detonate an antimatter bomb at the center of the space amoeba was unnecessarily incoherent.

Overall while this episode had some potential despite its unoriginality, it failed to deliver on most of it. What's left is a sombre, depressing, slow, and tired story with no subplots. It reminded me quite a bit of The Corbomite Maneuver for all the wrong reasons.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From rhea on 2008-04-27 at 6:07pm:
    True, in a lot of ways it is The Doomsday Machine II, but on the level of character interaction, we still learn something new. The captain is (all too briefly) in captain mode, deciding which of his friends to send to death. The inability of McCoy to wish Spock luck but being worried nonetheless is quite telling, more clearly defining their love-hate-relationship. Spock is remarkable in his stoic expectation of death. What annoyed me was that it was again Kirk who saved the Enterprise with the idea of the antibody and the antimatter bomb, when clearly Spock had the same idea before (but was unable to communicate it). Why not once give the credit to him?
  • From Orion Pimpdaddy on 2010-06-06 at 10:09pm:
    I just watched the Blu-Ray version and I thought they did a great job with the new visuals. They didn't do a complete redesign of the organism; they just show more detail. That's a good thing.

    As far as my overall opinion of this episode, I'd say it's a good one. There's a lot of tension and drama. Spock embarks on a dangerous mission, Kirk has to make tough decisions, Scotty's having troubles with the ship, etc. I think we see real suffering with the crew, as opposed to manufactured suffering.
  • From Glenn239 on 2012-09-27 at 9:10am:
    A solid drama-based episode that is in the top 1/3rd. That it was a rehash of the Doomsday Machine speaks for it, not against it. Star Trek repacked everything and I'd rather it reprise its great moments than its weak ones. I find much of what is called 'character building' in the series to be exercises in piling onto pre-existing cliques. I'm much more interested in a story establishing an interesting premise to which the crew responds - like this one does – and then examining the relationships between each member along the way, only as is necessary to resolve the problem. Yes, we get it. McCoy backbites Spock every chance he gets and Kirk and Spock are secretly in love or whatever. Now, can we please go phaser the Klingons? That’s why this episode is a ‘9’; good premise, good resolution, and good character interaction along the way.
  • From Chris on 2018-08-15 at 1:22am:
    What I hate about this episode is...
    - When they clearly went into the 'dark zone' and Kirk is mystified as to where the stars went! What????
    - McCoy might have survived if he'd been wearing a helmet and a seatbelt!
    - Spock's clearly smug attitude towards McCoy about superior whatever... abilities...

    I do think that Kirk just took a key from Spock's last transmission and figured out what he was trying to say. I don't think he came up with it on his own.

    I liked the McCoy-Spock interactions and thought that part was excellently done! ... for the most part.

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