Written by Arthur Heinemann, Gene L. Coon, Arthur H. Singer, and Gene Roddenberry
Directed by Jud Taylor
I remember one time in a therapy session remarking to my therapist that when you look at our solar system and compare it to an atom with all of its orbiting electrons, I had to wonder if we weren’t just one of the electrons in an atom in some other creature and everything we are going through and agonizing for on this planet really amount to nothing. He suggested I study quantum physics for fun.
In Wink of an Eye, the Star Trek universe intersects with another universe operating at a different speed than our own universe. Sound complicated? It really isn’t, although this episode comes out somewhat disjointed.
The Enterprise receives a distress call from the planet Scalos. They beam a landing party down to the surface and locate no life remaining on the planet despite structures being intact. At the same time, Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) can see the transmission on her screen from people claiming to be the last remaining Scalosians. Captain Kirk (William Shatner) is annoyed by a buzzing sound he hears around him on the planet. A red shirt named Compton (Geoffrey Binney) hears it too, then disappears.
The remaining landing party beams back to the Enterprise. Once there, they find the ship’s systems being invaded by various alien technology. Who or what is responsible for it, isn’t apparent. At the same time, Kirk hears the same buzzing sound around him that he heard on the planet. After sipping on some coffee, he abruptly also disappears.
The crew on the bridge only knows the Captain has disappeared. Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) is once again in command. He has the Captain’s coffee tested.
From Captain Kirk’s point of view, he sees the crew slow down to the point that he cannot see them move. He then finds himself face to face with Deela (Kathie Browne), the Queen of the Scalosians. Deela informs Kirk they exist in a reality that moves at a different speed that the reality the Enterprise resides in. The buzzing he heard was the Scalosians interacting and moving around him. His coffee was doctored so now he moved in the same accelerated universe that they do. The purpose? All of the Scalosian males have become sterile and they need new breeding stock if the race is to survive. The machinery Kirk saw on the Enterprise is to freeze the crew for use with future breeding. Compton is all too happy to be there, that is until he is attacked by one of the other Scalosians and dies due to rapid aging once he has been injured.
There have been numerous episodes this season that puts the Captain out of the picture with commanding the Enterprise and left Spock and the rest of the crew to rescue him. This is another case where he is in deep peril and they must figure out what happened. Spock and McCoy (DeForrest Kelley) team up easily this time to solve the mystery of how to get the Captain back.
The concept itself is interesting. However, the episode has a few flaws such as Uhura using the intercoms to tell the Captain the intercoms have been one of the ship systems affected. Yeah. It’s slips like this that make for a few cringe-worthy moments. There’s a scene of Kirk shooting a phaser at Deela that she merely steps aside, yet the bridge crew in the “regular” universe shows no indication that they detected it nor was anything damaged. The same thing with the Enterprise doors opening and closing for them. Wouldn’t they be operating in the standard universe time so would just be opening for what seem like random things?
You’d think the Scalosians could have just asked for volunteers instead of resorting to kidnapping. I mean, I know a bunch of sexually repressed males who would jump at the chance to propagate the species with a beautiful alien woman. The plot makes no sense, which is a shame. The idea of a society being able to live side by side with another but in a different timeframe is fairly interesting.
I blame it on lazy writing that is at the point where they just think the audience won’t question it. That became a problem in later series as well with writers who put stories out there and when fans questioned things that didn’t make sense they were treated with contempt. It also treads out the “Captain is gone and we have to rescue him” plot for what seems like the millionth time this season.
Wink of an Eye is a mediocre episode filled with many plot holes. It’s not horrible the way some episodes of this third season were, but it just had the ability to be done better and written better rather than just coming across as lazy.
Previous episode in the series (link): Star Trek: The Original Series – Plato’s Stepchildren
Next episode in the series (link): Star Trek: The Original Series – The Empath