Star Trek TOS: Losira, the Killer
Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 3, Episode 17
That Which Survives
Enterprise cruised near a youthful planet that oddly possessed Earth-like qualities. This perplexed Kirk as the planet should not have developed that quickly. So, Kirk and some men beamed down for a gander. Simultaneously, a woman appeared out of nowhere, instructing the men to leave.
The group transported, arriving on a planet that rocked back and forth as if beset by an earthquake. Enterprise was rattled, too, while Spock and Co. quickly noticed in space the disappearance of the Earth-like planet.
Kirk attempted to radio back to Enterprise, but in their interpretation, the ship vanished – just the like the folks believed the planet’s fate in their purview. Stuff was weird.
Spock theorized Enterprise was “displaced through space,” a catchy phrase to describe the predicament. This was a semi-familiar spot for Spock – in charge with Kirk’s status uncertain.
Kirk’s team started a survey of the planet, determining the nonexistence of water. During the exploration, the woman from the top of the episode appeared again, confronting D’Amato, an Enterprise crewmember. The woman touched D’Amato, and he died. McCoy quickly (somehow?) surmised every cell in D’Amato’s body was destroyed.
Then, the woman encountered another crewmember, this time back on Enterprise. She was shifting back and forth between locations. The crewmember was Watkins, and he died as well. Back on the planet, Kirk and his crew opted for some sleep while Sulu remained on lookout. Of course, that didn’t end well as the woman found Sulu and stalked him. Kirk – evidently a light sleeper – intercepted the woman. When she touched Kirk’s shoulder, the captain was unaffected. She demanded to “touch Sulu.” Kirk adamantly refused, and the woman went invisible again – but not before laying a hand on Sulu’s shoulder. That section of his body lost all cellular function.
Spock and Scott dealt with some repairs on Enterprise after the emergency overload bypass was manipulated by something, presumably the killer woman. While Scott was crawling in the guts of the ship, the woman – she was finally given a name, Losira – showed up back on the planet. She wanted Kirk and declared herself the “station commander.” Kirk obviously refused any cooperation, so she disappeared for approximately the fifth time.
An additional Losira debuted, looking more malicious than her fallen predecessor. Soon, a total of three were on-screen threatening Kirk, Mccoy, and Sulu. In the backdrop, Spock figured out where Kirk and the crewmembers were located, beaming down just as the three Losira began their pounce.
At the end of the episode, Losira popped up again in apparition-like form. She instructed the group on a disease that ravaged her planet. Her whole goal in That Which Survives was to warn anyone who inhabited the planet after the elimination of a population. A single computer remained since the disease wreaked havoc, and it created images of Losira to defend against intruders.
Kirk and Spock hypothesized the landing party survived because the Losira figments were too beautiful to kill. Remorse set in, per the theory.
This was another Trekkian take on disease, interwoven with artificial intelligence’s clash with humanity and beauty.
Themes: Beauty, Disease
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. His odyssey with Star Trek starts from beginning to finish, watching ‘The Original Series,’ all the way to the present day. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).