Star Trek: Operation: Annihilate!   Rewatch 
February 7, 2015 9:56 AM - Season 1, Episode 30 - Subscribe

The Enterprise crew attempts to exterminate a plague of amoeba-like creatures from possessing human hosts at a federation colony. The crew must stop the creatures from spreading throughout the galaxy. This is the final episode of Season 1.

"Operation: Annihilate!" is the last original episode from the first season of the original American science fiction television series Star Trek. It is episode #29, production #29, and was broadcast April 13, 1967. It is written by Stephen W. Carabatsos, and directed by Herschel Daugherty.

Memory Alpha Link

Review of the episode.

The episode can be viewed on Netflix and Hulu.
posted by Benway (4 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The monsters look like ketchup packets. I've thought this since I was about 12 and every time I see this episode, I can't help but think, "ARRRG, the ketchup!"
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:10 AM on February 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

This freaked me out as a kid but watching it last night in HiDef really showed how silly the monsters looked. They had the right idea though, some more mucus and more whipping tendrils and those things would be terrifying.

It's an exciting and well paced episode up until the resolution. Spock's blindness and recovery is a total cop out and we never even hear what happened to the colonists or even Kirk's nephew.

"Sorry about your parents, kid. We are going now, have fun as an orphan on a planet filled with tramatised survivors. Scotty, energise transporter"
posted by AndrewStephens at 6:52 AM on February 8, 2015

Per the Memory Alpha link "A filmed scene cut from this episode featured dialog between Kirk and his nephew Peter. The dialog concerned Peter's returning to Deneva to live with Sam Kirk's partner. The scene was edited from the episode."

It's funny how much of what became the canon of Vulcanalia were just inventions of the moment for solving a particular plot point. The nerve pinch, the mind meld, the planet Vulcan being desert-like. I forget, did Roddenberry ever have to put a kibosh on writers coming up with new magical abilities for Spock? (Or did Shatner complain about it? I remember reading once that he used to read through new scripts counting up their lines of dialogue and complain if Nimoy had more lines than him.)
posted by oh yeah! at 9:37 AM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

The space blobs! I love them! I wish someone had thought a few seconds about their life cycle and told us what it was. Making your host spread you is a real parasite strategy, but could have been filled in a little more to explain whether the parasite had a resting stage that could sit for a thousand years on an abandoned spaceship until a new entity discovered it. This episode had all kinds of potential, with the "neurons" able to communicate with each other and with the moral dilemma of what to do with the millions of infected Denevans, but somehow it never meshed into something coherent.

As a scientist, I can assure you that this is not how science is done. Spock would have collected a bunch of those blobs to use as test subjects and performed controlled experiments (except if those things could communicate, how come they didn't fly away when the first one got hit?). Because in the future people will surely understand that radiation forms a spectrum of different wavelengths, no one would ever contrast "radiation" versus "light". I couldn't help but think of Trump suggesting people drink bleach to cure coronavirus when McCoy suggested that visible light would penetrate the human body and kill the parasite. I liked the screenwriter's original idea of going to the home planet and killing the home entity in order to save everyone. Would all the neurons die immediately, or would there be a speed-of-light lag? Who knows! It would make more sense than this. We already know my plot solution: going through a transporter beam would rid you of the parasite! Every time! On every planet!

That said, I love the space blobs.
posted by acrasis at 5:34 PM on December 21, 2020

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