Me: I remember this one being a lot creepier when I was a kid, like that movie Phantasm and clowns in general. Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Yeoman Rand, and a couple of redshirts beam down to a planet with an Earth-like atmosphere – and Earth-like studio lot ruins – to investigate a distress signal. What they discover triggers an adventure part Children of the Corn and part Lord of the Flies with a dash of that episode of the 1967 Spiderman where Spidey gets knocked out in a meat locker and wakes up to a post-apocalyptic Earth where guys sporting football helmets ride around on dinosaurs.
Cookie Monster: Did me miss someting but what happened to de two redshirts who come down to planet wit dem? Dey just disappear halfway thru episode. Early on, Kirk try his best to get dem killed off tho. Notice how everyone stick together EXCEPT redshirt who sent off on his own. And STILL not manage to get himself killed!
Me: Well, it wasn’t from lack of trying. Still, a nice twist early on as the redshirt, who we’re assuming will be killed, remains unharmed while McCoy is the one who gets attacked.
Cookie Monster: The Bonester checking out tricycle and get jumped by zombie boy. Kirk come to do reskue, punching out zombie boy TREE times before knocking him down.
Me: Wouldn’t it have been more humane to simply stun him with his phaser?
Cookie Monster: Sure, but not as much fun. Kirk’s knuckles need love too!
Me: This episode does a wonderful job of slow-burning the creepy premise. The desolation is unsettling enough, but when those unseen children start chanting….yeeeikes.
Cookie Monster: Even Spock is spooked. At one point, he searching, hear noise, and scream: “Guards!” like my little cousin Demoika dat time spider crawl up her calf.
Me: Kirk makes a startling discovery in a closet. A young teenager named Miri.
Cookie Monster: Monster not sure what more creepy: kids or Kirk turning on de charm for teenager. “Pretty name for a pretty girl. Veeeeer pretty.” Veeeeery creepy.
Me: He has no control over his charm powers. In many ways, it’s a curse. “She likes you, Jim,”Spock says at one point. “She’s becoming…a woman!”
Cookie Monster: Just like horrible blue scab Miri notice on his hand. She be like: “You infekted!” And he be like: “Hey! How DAT get dere?!”
Me: Yeah, you’d think he would have been the first one to notice. Anyway, pretty soon, everyone notices as they all get infected – with the exception of Spock who is, nevertheless, a carrier.
Cookie Monster: Speaking of carriers, monster couldn’t help noticing Yeoman Rand’s wicker basket hairstyle. What she hiding under dere?
Me: Unfortunately for them, NOT her communicator. In one of the episode’s most puzzling moments, all off the communicators get stolen when everyone – EVERYONE! – leaves them behind to investigate something. When they come back, they’re gone. I mean, come on. Everyone?! Did they forget that there’s a special place on their belts where they go
Cookie Monster: De Bonester get to work on vaccine for virus – but it frustrating work. Virus affekt deir minds. Pretty soon, everybody snapping at each other like dey at an Oscar de Grouch family reunion.
Me: Turns out these “kids” are 300 years old and the infection develops at puberty. But McCoy is close to completing the vaccine. The only problem is – without their communicators, they can’t contact the Enterprise to test it! (P.S. After they hadn’t heard back from the Captain for a while, you’d think the Enterprise would send a second party down to check up on him.). And testing it without the Enterprise could have disastrous consequences. As Spock points out, it could be a “beaker full of death”!
Cookie Monster: Coinsidentally, Beaker Full of Death be name of old muppet band dat played at Bert and Ernie’s wedding.
Me: Things get desperate for everyone, especially Yeoman Rand who asks Kirk to check out her (now spotty) legs.
Cookie Monster: Finally, Kirk confront plastic bat-wielding kids. He plead for communikators! “No blah blah blah!”he scream. So dey beat him up instead. In hindsight, he should have stuck wit de blah blah blah.
Me: But never underestimate Kirk’s powers of persuasion. If he’s not seducing robots or convincing them to turn against their creators –
Cookie Monster: Or getting teenagers to fall in love wit him.
Me: Or getting teenagers to fall in love with him, he’s convincing a group of kids that their 300 year old lifestyle is wrong and in need of a complete overhaul. He gets his communicators back just in the nick of time –
Cookie Monster: To find Bonester on de floor, unconscious after taking vaccine. But it work! Everyone cured!
Me: Our crew returns to the ship where Yeoman Rand informs Kirk: “Miri. She really loved you, you know.” To which Kirk replies: “Yes. I never get involved with a older women, Yeoman.” Er, oookay. Technically she’s 300 years old but physically… Ah, let’s just forget it and move on to the next episode.