Writer: Jerome Bixby
This episode is based on a fairly silly premise – that equal numbers of humans and Klingons are forced by another shapless entity to fight aboard the Enterprise with primitive weapons. The entity (which feeds on the emotions bought on by conflict) kills all one hundred members of a Federation colony, causing the Enterprise to come in and find out what happened. Then the Klingons turn up, their ship having been attacked, and all but forty of their crew dead. The Enterprise crew think the Klingons killed the colony. The Klingons think the Enterprise killed their crew. And Checkov wants revenge for the fact that the Klingons killed his brother. Sulu later points out that he never had a brother.
So they are taken aboard the Enterprise, the surviving Klingons held in a conference room. Most of the Enterprise crew get trapped below decks, so the numbers are equal. Then all the weapons turn into knives. They all fight, and find that they cannot die.
This episode should be rubbish, but actually it is okay. Sure, we have another shapless entity, but what I really like about this is that the Klingons feel like Klingons. Although they do not look like the bumpy headed nutters we see in later versions of the show, their attitude is much more like what we are used to, and it makes the episode much more interesting.
There are some nice comic moments as well. I love the moment when Scotty goes down to the armoury and finds racks and racks of swords where the guns should be. He even finds a claymore that he takes a shine to.
The end, of course, is rather predictable – the crew convince the Klingons of what is actually going on and between them thet get rid of the entity.
So, a bit silly, but the Klingons are here. Finally.
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 45