Star Trek TOS: Star Trek Tries a ‘Merica Episode
Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 2, Episode 23
The Omega Glory
Something funky was occurring on a neighboring planet, Omega IV, and Kirk, Spock, McCoy, plus a redshirt beamed down to investigate the nearby ship, USS Exeter. They found an empty uniform filled with crystals. Spock and the redshirt inspected the entirety of the ship, only finding more uniforms stuffed with crystals.
All told, over 400 crewmembers from Exeter were missing. A mystery, indeed.
McCoy determined the missing humans on the vessel were, in fact, the crystals. They’d be reduced to chemicals from a virus that ravaged the populace. Kirk and friends departed Exeter for Omega IV. There, a man Kirk was familiar with, Ron, was the one Federation member on the planet. Ron called the native people of Omega IV “savages” — a crass noun to describe folks, often used to degrade.
On Omega IV, Kirk and his pals contracted a virus, a malady in which Ron explained Kirk’s men must stay on the planet and heal — otherwise, death was imminent. Interestingly, McCoy likened the infection on Omega IV to biological warfare he recalled from the 1990s. Just like other spots of Star Trek’s first two seasons, the writers evidently did not hold a rosy view of what the future might bring.
Before too long, Ron and the native people — so-called savages — turned on Kirk, capturing the group and lying to the crew on Enterprise about the happenings on the planet.
Ron Tracey had gone rogue.
Rogue Ron explained that the folks on Omega were immune to all diseases and lived into their thousands for age. Yes, thousands.
The paradox in The Omega Glory is the episode attempted to compare the natives on Omega IV to Native Americans from North America. But Omega natives were totally immune to disease, whereas Native Americans were damn near wiped off the face of the earth because of disease. Figure that one out.
Kirk was imprisoned with two “Yangs” and spent a good amount of time physically fighting with them, although he didn’t know why they wanted to hurt him. While conversing with Spock in a nearby cell, one of the Yangs overheard Kirk exalting freedom. Well, that word — freedom — struck a chord with the Yang guy. He perked up, seemingly interested in freedom. They had something in common.
Yang and Kirk worked together to tear down a metal guard bar from a jailhouse window. But then the Yang turned out Kirk, bashing him over the head with the bar. The plot thickened.
Kirk was knocked out for seven hours. Wowzers. He and Spock eventually overtook a native security guard — until Ron caught up with them once again. Kirk and Spock also got into a fight but were quickly captured by the Yangs.
The episode became really weird after that. The Yangs showcased an American flag while the national anthem played in the background. The leader of the Yangs even began to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, which Kirk finished for him to prove fellowship.
Again, Kirk and Ron fought amid the crowd of Yangs. Kirk survived with some help from Spock, and the Yangs perceive Kirk as a type of God, mainly because he knew the Pledge of Allegiance. Kirk could’ve slit Ron’s throat — of course, he didn’t do that, nor would he ever — but chose to turn him over to the justice of Enterprise.
Kirk was handed a copy of the United States Constitution, in which he explained the true meaning to the Yangs.
All in all, this was a garbled attempt to illuminate the fruits of freedom — with some weird parallels and shoutouts. The scriptwriting was messy, but the gung-ho America-forever crowd probably got a kick out of it.
Themes: Freedom, ‘Merica
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).