|"This Side of Paradise"|
|Star Trek: The Original Series episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1|
|Directed by||Ralph Senensky|
|Story by||D. C. Fontana|
|Teleplay by||D. C. Fontana|
|Featured music||Alexander Courage|
|Cinematography by||Gerald Finnerman|
|Original air date||March 2, 1967|
"This Side of Paradise" is the twenty-fourth episode of the first season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek. Written by D. C. Fontana and Jerry Sohl (using the pseudonym Nathan Butler) and directed by Ralph Senensky, it was first broadcast on March 2, 1967.
The USS Enterprise is ordered to a Federation colony on Omicron Ceti III. Captain Kirk, First Officer Spock, Chief Medical Officer Leonard McCoy, and others beam down to the colony, and discover the colonists all alive and well, a surprise since the planet is bathed in Berthold rays, a form of radiation which humans cannot survive for longer than a week. Their leader, Elias Sandoval, welcomes them and explains they only lost communications due to equipment failure. Also present is Leila Kalomi, a botanist Spock met on Earth six years before; she loved him, but he was unable to return her love. The landing party notices a lack of animal life, including livestock brought to the colony. During medical exams, McCoy finds no sign of disease or injury in any of them: even Sandoval, who has had an appendectomy, now has a healthy appendix. Kirk nonetheless insists that the colonists be evacuated due to the Berthold rays, against Sandoval's objection.
Kalomi offers to show Spock how the colonists have survived, and takes him to a field of strange flowers. The flowers expel spores that cover Spock, after which he professes his love for Kalomi, and blithely disregards orders to begin the evacuation of the colony. The rest of the landing party are also exposed to the spores and, with the exception of Kirk, exhibit the same sort of behavior. As part of a symbiotic relationship with their human hosts, the spores provide perfect health, including protection from Berthold rays.
Kirk returns to the ship while the rest of its crew, under the influence of spore plants that have been brought on board, beam down to the planet. Lt. Uhura has sabotaged the communication system to prevent contact with Starfleet. After exposure to the spores, Kirk too prepares to leave, but as he is about to beam down, he is seized by frustration at his own abandonment of the ship. The effect of the spores disappears, and Kirk surmises that violent emotions destroy them. Kirk lures Spock back aboard Enterprise and uses derogatory racial remarks to goad him into attacking. As Spock is about to bludgeon Kirk with a stool, he notices that the spores' influence on him is gone.
Kalomi beams aboard to find Spock no longer affected by the spores, and her heartbroken reaction frees her also. Kirk and Spock induce a similar effect on the planet below by broadcasting an irritating subsonic frequency to the crew's communicators, provoking fights among the colonists and crew. Once everyone is cleansed of the spores, Sandoval agrees to the evacuation.
As they leave orbit with the colonists aboard, Kirk asks Spock about his experiences on the planet. Spock replies, "I have little to say about it, Captain, except that for the first time in my life ... I was happy."
In 2016, IGN ranked "This Side of Paradise" the 24th best episode of all Star Trek including later series. They note this episode for featuring a romance of sorts between Spock and an inhabitant of the planet Omicron Ceti III.
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