Where No Man Has Gone Before - Recap
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The Enterprise is exploring the outer edges of the galaxy when it picks up a recorded distress signal. They intercept the probe and beam it aboard, and discover it’s an old-style distress beacon from the S.S. Valiant, lost decades ago. As the ship prepares to breach the barrier at the edge of the galaxy, Spock determines that the Valiant impacted the barrier and was thrown back, then… something happened aboard. The crew researched ESP, and the captain was forced to order self-destruct.
Kirk calls the department heads to the bridge, including psychologist Elizabeth Dehner. Kirk’s friend and helmsman, Lt. Cmdr. Gary Mitchell, tries to flirt with her with no success. The Enterprise enters the barrier and is badly shaken, and both Mitchell and Dehner are surrounded in energy fields. They manage to get back out of the barrier but when Mitchell wakes up, his eyes have taken on a silvery cast.
The ship’s space warp engines have taken heavy damage and nine crewmen died. Dehner notes that selective parts of their brains were burned out and Spock notes that all of affected crewmen had high ESP ratings. Dehner and Mitchell have the highest ratings of anyone on-board. Kirk goes to visit Mitchell who is strangely distant and taking a new interest in reading. Kirk returns to the bridge to find Spock monitoring Mitchell going through the ship’s library absorbing information at an accelerated rate.
Dehner goes to see Mitchell who shows off his newfound powers by shutting down his autonomic responses. When navigator Lee Kelso comes in Mitchell warns him that the power points are burned out: power points that Mitchell couldn’t have possibly known about. Kirk calls a briefing and Kelso relates that information, while Scotty notes that the controls started moving by themselves. Sulu concludes that Mitchell’s powers are growing geometrically and Spock says they should head for nearby Delta Vega, which has an automated dilithium cracking station. There they can refuel… and strand Mitchell there before he takes over the ship. Given the alternative of killing Mitchell, Kirk orders them to head for the planet.
Kirk goes to see Mitchell who can read their minds and knows what they’re up to. He stuns them both temporarily but Kirk manages to hold him down long enough to give him a sedative. They beam down to the planet and put Mitchell in a force field brig, while Kelso works to recharge the dilithium crystals. They visit Mitchell who tries to appeal to Kirk out of friendship. When that doesn’t work, he throws himself into the force field and is temporarily weakened, his eyes reverting to normal. His powers quickly return and he warns Kirk he should have killed him when he had the chance.
Kelso and Scotty complete repairs and Kirk has Kelso rig a self-destruct. He goes to visit Mitchell one last time, unaware that Mitchell has telekinetically killed Kelso. Mitchell stuns Kirk and Spock then walks through the force field and shows Dehner that she now has the same silver eyes that he does.
Dr. Piper wakes Kirk up and tells him what happened, and Kirk goes after Mitchell with a phaser rifle after telling Piper to get Spock to the ship and order a neutron bombardment if they don’t hear from him. In the wilderness, Mitchell brings new life forth for the benefit of himself and Dehner. Sensing Kirk, h sends Dehner to confront him and realize how much they’ve evolved. Kirk warns her that Mitchell will have skipped over all the evolution that Mankind must go through and will lose all humanity. Mitchell shows up and offers Kirk a respectful burial out of friendship… but first Kirk must bow down before him. Shocked, Dehner attacks him with her powers and he fights back, fatally wounding her. Mitchell reverts to normal and Kirk attacks him, managing to hold him at bay. The captain prepares to crush in Mitchell’s head with a rock but hesitates one second too long and Mitchell gets back his power. Mitchell casually knocks Kirk aside but the captain manages to knock him into the grave, grab his phaser rifle, and bring down a boulder atop the would-be god, killing him. Dehner apologizes before dying. Back aboard the ship, Kirk enters commendations for them both and resolves not to blame them as they didn’t ask for what happened to them. Even Spock, who advised Kirk to kill his best friend, admits that he felt for Mitchell.