Star Trek 2.18: The Immunity Syndrome

The Immunity SyndromeI couldn’t remember what “The Immunity Syndrome” was about before rewatching this episode, and even halfway in I didn’t remember how the rest of the plot played out. Not a good sign, although it’s not actually a bad episode.

It starts with Kirk entering a log about how worn out the crew are as they head to a starbase for much-needed R&R. They never get there, as they are called to an emergency in the Gamma 7A system, where the ship Intrepid, crewed by 400 Vulcans, is patrolling. The Intrepid suddenly vanishes, which affects Spock through some psychic connection, and a scan of the system shows it to be entirely dead – billions of inhabitants, just dead. The Enterprise cancels shore leave and races to investigate, coming across a mysterious black blob in space that reminded me of a giant black pudding from Dungeons & Dragons. This zone produces mysterious readings which Spock can’t describe – not merely can’t understand, but literally can’t describe except to say that he can’t describe them. It also seems to be sucking the life from everyone on the Enterprise, as most of the crew come down with dizzy spells. McCoy gives everybody massive doses of stimulants to keep them going.

So do they flee and report back to a Starbase what they’ve found, before they have all the life drained from them? No, they go into the dark zone! This turns out to be some sort of Bizarro zone, in which they are getting pulled towards an object in the middle, and the only way they can resist it is to use forward engine thrust, which seems to hold them back. They make a big point out of everything affecting things in a backwards way, yet at no point do they even raise the question of whether McCoy’s stimulants might be making them tired rather than alert. The pressure builds as they can’t escape, and everyone on board starts sweating profusely.

At the centre of the dark zone is a giant space amoeba, which Spock speculates is a hostile organism trying to “infect” the galaxy. They send in an unmanned probe, which Spock counts down with the line, “Probe impact in 7.3 seconds.” Couldn’t he have waited 0.3 seconds and just said, “impact in 7 seconds”? The probe basically tells them they need to send a person in to manually take readings, which precipitates a rivalry between Spock and McCoy to volunteer for the suicide mission. Kirk chooses Spock, who flies into the amoeba in a shuttlecraft, stating on the way, “Contact in 18.3 seconds.” Spock sure likes those 0.3 of a seconds.

Spock sends back data which allows them to figure out how to kill the amoeba, then apparently succumbs to its life-draining force. Kirk tells McCoy, “He knew the odds.” They fire some custom-modded photon torpedoes to inject antimatter into the nucleus and destroy the amoeba. They back out of the amoeba and notice Spock’s shuttleccraft drifting, so grab it with tractor beams, despite Spock’s protests to leave him to save power. Scotty declares the ship to be completely dead, with no power – yet the lights are still on on the bridge. Kirk warns the entire crew to “brace for impact”, which results in everyone on the bridge bracing in their seats, except for McCoy, who simply stands next to Kirk’s chair and grabs hold of the railing behind him. You’d think that bracing for impact would involve something slightly more, I don’t know… braced?

The amoeba blows up, and Spock is alive, yay! And power levels quickly return to normal. And the episode ends, really suddenly. There’s no real denouement or amusing ending or anything. All up, the episode is a bit… average. Nothing actually bad, but then nothing particularly memorable either. It’s like a middle-of-the-road monster-of-the-week thing.

Tropes: My Significance Sense Is Tingling, A Million Is A Statistic, Negative Space Wedgie, Bottled Heroic Resolve, Bizarro Universe, Space X, Ludicrous Precision, Suicide Mission, Sadistic Choice, Deus Ex Nukina, Complaining About Rescues They Don’t Like, Not Quite Dead, Monster Of The Week.
Body count: 400 Vulcan crew of the Intrepid, “billions” of inhabitants of the Gamma 7A system, all in the pre-credits sequence.

2 Responses to “Star Trek 2.18: The Immunity Syndrome”

  1. Monica says:

    I remember watching the beginning of this episode when channel-surfing one day and thinking, “What, did Spock feel a great disturbance in the Force? How blatant a rip-off can you…oh. Wait.” My “list of things Star Trek did first” is getting pretty long.

    And it has always bugged me how few spaceships have seat belts. I can sort of understand why they weren’t in TOS Enterprise, because that was when they were first standard in cars, but by Next Gen they should have been standard..

  2. mookers says:

    I remember this one for the ridiculous line Spock has when he enters the amoeba.

    “The area of penetration will no doubt be sensitive.”

    Ah, those were such innocent times.

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