Star Trek TOS: Star Trek Goes Full Anti-War

Star Trek TOS: Star Trek Goes Full Anti-War
Star Trek TOS: Day of the Dove

Star Trek: The Original Series

Season 3, Episode 7

Day of the Dove

A redshirt, Chekov, McCoy, and Spock beamed down to a planet with pink exotic plants said to be home to 100 humans. Quickly, Kirk (who was back on Enterprise) and Spock, theorized Klingons were to blame. 

They were correct.

A Klingon arrived on the planet and smacked Kirk in the kisser. Commander Kang, the Klingon, accused Kirk of damaging his ship and claimed him as a prisoner due to the “act of war.” Kirk proclaimed innocence, but Kang wasn’t buying it, insisting his men were ambushed somehow by Federation forces. 

Kang was angry and demanded the Enterprise as repayment. Kirk refused. Kang replied with threats of torture, so — per usual — Kirk needed to find a way to wiggle out of this one. The Klingons started with Chekov, burning his face with a Klingon agonizer. 

Kirk caved because of Chekov’s duress, yielding to the request of Kang. All parties on the planet beamed up to Enterprise. Some trickery was used at this juncture as Kirk selectively beamed back with just his counterparts, segregating the Klingons, at least temporarily. 

Meanwhile, a colorful ball-like presence of light toured Enterprise. The sphere-ish light was present on the planet, too. A mystery, indeed.

Suddenly, Enterprise began traveling at an incredibly fast speed, terrorizing the crewmembers and forcing Kirk to go deal with the Klingons in confinement. They were fingered as the culprits for the ship’s departure from the galaxy.

When Kirk chatted with Kang, he flat-out punched him in the face. That sparked a fight, but everyone’s weapons turned to swords and daggers (for some reason or another). 

Klingons ended up breaking into the ship, swords flying around and hellbent on vengeance. They targeted redshirts and chanted “victory!” when they overpowered most of them. Kirk and Spock debated reason and logic, leading the pair to a possible resolution with the Klingons that would involve a peace treaty. They realized the colorful light ball was an alien force, likely causing the turmoil on Enterprise. But when McCoy heard overhead about the potential kumbaya, he raged on Kirk and Spock. 

Kang overtook Enterprise, so the plot thoroughly thickened. Kirk, Spock, and Scott eventually realized everyone’s temper was vamped by a foreign, unknown force. 

Kirk fired off a speech about senseless war — it was a very progressive Trekkian speech — and Spock concurred something was amiss with the personalities of the crew. To put it simply, everybody on Enterprise became militarized. 

The alien light existed on the hate of others — was the theory devised by Spock. Kirk talked sense into Kang’s wife, explaining the unnecessary aggression generated by the alien light. But Kang wasn’t so convinced. Kirk and Kang dueled with each man’s “armies” arriving at the tryst before too long. 

Ultimately, Kirk and Kang compromised, opting to kick the alien out of Enterprise. The Federation and Klingon nations laughed in approval. 

This episode was a vehicle to denounce senseless hate and war. Star Trek opposed bloodlust and eternal warfare, and Day of the Dove was an hour-long ode to anti-war sentiment. In fact, it was the most critical statement about war to date from the franchise.

Themes: Anti-War

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).