Written by: Samuel A. Peeples
Direct by: James Goldstone
Now this would have made a great first episode for the series. As you’ll notice in the title, this is episode 01 even though it aired third. The episode even takes place a year before the ones airing before it. “Where No Man Has Gone Before” was the second pilot ordered after “The Cage” was met with lukewarm reception. Things were drastically changed including the main cast which replaced Captain Pike with Kirk, the original Number One was replaced by Spock who was promoted, Sulu and Scotty were added to the cast, and the uniforms were changed up a bit. The phasers and communicator tech were the same as they were in “The Cage”, though.
I love this episode. It’s great science fiction and it’s great Star Trek. Now, for this review, I watched the special unaired extended version found on the Star Trek: The Original Series Season 3 Blu-Ray. It was my first time watching that version of the episode. I have to say that the intro was weird and the breaks for the different acts was something that felt very out of place for me, no matter how normal it might have been in 1965. Outside of that, nothing really jumped out at me as a new scene.
The plot is great sci-fi. Members of the Enterprise crew are contaminated with some kind of special energy that, at least for Gary Mitchell (played by Gary Lockwood) and Elizabeth Dehner (played by Salley Kellerman), significantly increases our mental capacity, allowing a human to read the entire ship library in a day, move objects with their thoughts, and even injury other people using some kind of electrical charge. Mitchell is a great bad guy. I hesitate to call him a villain for the same reason Kirk cuts him some slack in the official log. Gary never asked for this. The episode has action, suspense, drama, some fun special effects, especially with the sparkling eyes, and solid acting by the main and secondary cast.
Lockwood and Kellerman both do a great job and it’s a shame they were unable to continue on, given their characters’ end.
“Where No Man Has Gone Before” is a perfect example of what the soul of Star Trek is as a franchise and not just for The Original Series. Tones from this episode are seen throughout Trek and I hope to see more of it in the upcoming 2017 CBS series.