|||[Boldly Going]||| Star Trek: The Original Series—Season One: Ep. 1.16 “The Galileo Seven” – (Original air date: Thursday, January 5, 1967)


Welcome to my rewatching of the original 79 episodes of the series that launched the franchise. Below are the bulletpointed notes I jotted down while watching “The Galileo Seven.”

  • Happy New Year!!!
  • Welcome to 1967. On this day in 1967: The Monkees’ “I’m a Believer” was the #1 single on the US charts. It’s a great song, but what strikes me now is the #2 single on the chart. It was “Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron,” by The Royal Guardsmen. I remember having that one. Maybe not in 1967, but I certainly owned the 45 a few years later. It was one of my favorite records when I was in low single-digits.
  • Ten, Twenty, Thirty, Forty, Fifty or more. The Bloody Red Baron was rollin’ up the score. Eighty men died tryin’ to end that spree. Of the Bloody Red Baron of Germany.
  • This is an incredible sense memory for me. I was a huge fan of Snoopy at a young age. My mom said I had an imaginary friend for a while, and it was Snoopy. Even my imaginary friend came from someone else’s imagination. I’ve always been an entertainment nerd, it seems.
  • And we’re back—-
  • The Galileo Seven” is the first episode of the original Star Trek to air in the year 1967 AD. It’s also a good one, for which I’m relieved.
  • Here’s the premise. The Enterprise is en route to Makus III with a cargo of medical supplies, in time to transfer them to the New Paris colonies, where a plague is raging out of control. However, their course leads them past Murasaki 312, a quasar-like formation, and the ship has standing orders to investigate all quasars and quasar-like phenomena. Since it’s three days to Makus III, and the rendezvous doesn’t take place for five, Kirk sees no problem with taking a slight detour to study Murasaki 312.
  • Galactic High Commissioner Ferris is also on board the ship. And, he thinks nothing is more important than getting the medical supplies to Makus 3. You know, where the plague in the New Paris colonies is raging out of control.
  • I know, Ferris is obviously supposed to be The Douchebag in this episode, standing in the way of what Kirk wants to do. Is it a bad thing that I find myself kind of agreeing with the High Commissioner here? This seems like a case where delivering medical supplies should take precedence over exploring interesting scientific phenomena. The interesting phenomena will still be there. The plague victims may not be.
  • As we get our first look at the Galileo Seven, I am acutely aware that we’re watching the remastered version of the episode. The special effects have been upgraded from the original. We see the shuttle taking off from the shuttle bay. We also get a glimpse of the Columbia shuttle in the bay as well. It’s impressive.
  • I should add that the remastered Murasaki 312 effect and Taurus II also look good. I don’t mind tinkering with classic series when it improves the overall effect.
  • We get our first look inside the shuttle. It appears much roomier than the later shuttles we see on TNG. We’re told it is a 24-foot shuttlecraft. We see the familiar faces of Spock, McCoy and Scotty on board, plus the new (to us) crewmembers Boma, Latimer, Gaetano, and Yeoman Mears, our lone female.
  • It will surprise no one that Yeoman Rand was originally supposed to be aboard the Galileo Seven. She was let go, as we discussed before. Yeoman Mears took her place in this episode.
  • The quasar plays havoc with the scanners. The shuttle is pulled off course. And communications are spotty.
  • On the Enterprise bridge, Uhura is able to decipher the message ‘pulled off course,’ but little else. Now the crew is faced with the task of finding the mission shuttle with non-working instruments and at least four solar systems in the immediate vicinity. Kirk says finding a needle in a haystack would be child’s play comparatively.
  • This is the end of the teaser. Let’s move on to Act One.  Oh, yeah.  Roll the opening Shatner monologue about splitting infinitives and 1960s bouncy orchestral music with wailing sopranos.  Then, Act One.
  • Immediately, the dramatic clock begins to tick. Kirk says that he has two days to find his crew before he must leave to make the rendezvous on Makus 3.
  • Uhura points out that there is only one planet in this solar system capable of sustaining human life. It’s type M, with an oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere. It’s called Taurus II but hasn’t been explored. It is located at the dead center of the Murasaki effect. Convenient.
  • Ferris seems pleased that things are going wrong for the crew of the Enterprise. Even if he has an interpersonal conflict with Kirk, this attitude doesn’t make sense for someone with the title of ‘Galactic High Commissioner’ (which, incidentally, will become ‘Federation High Commissioner’ after the concept of the Federation is invented later).
  • As much as I agree with Ferris that stopping to study the quasar was the wrong decision in the moment, I find myself wanting to punch his lights out the way he’s acting after the shuttle disappears. Not cool.
  • Kirk decides to search for the Galileo Seven on Taurus II. When Ferris points out that it’s hopeless, Kirk says that if they’re not there, then they’re dead by now. Cheerful thought.
  • We cut to: The Galileo Seven. The shuttle appears to have landed in one piece. McCoy is doing the doctor thing, taking care of minor injuries to the shuttle party.
  • Spock takes charge of the shuttle crew. When he asks McCoy about the atmosphere, he pronounces is breathable if you’re not running in competition.
  • Spock tells McCoy that as long as they are grounded, their chances of being located by the Enterprise without instrumentation is very slim.
  • Because of all the radiation and other quasar-type interference, the transporters aren’t functioning properly. So, Kirk tells the flight deck to prepare the shuttle Columbus for immediate departure to search the planet surface.
  • Ferris lounges around on the bridge, arms crossed, with a smug look on a face that seems to ask for a fist to plant itself in the middle of it. He’s serving as a human chronometer countdown. When he begins to quote regulations to Kirk, Kirk cuts him off brusquely. He plans to search for his friends until the last possible moment.
  • Back with the Galileo Seven. Scotty, as Chief Engineer, must play the role of shuttlecraft mechanic. He announces that they’ve lost a great deal of fuel and have no chance of ever reaching escape velocity. If they ever hope to make orbit, they’ll have to lighten their load by at least five hundred pounds.
  • Spock points out that this is the weight of three grown men. Of course, that’s a logical deduction. Probably not something that should have been said aloud, however. When McCoy mentions it’s also the equivalent weight in equipment, Spock doubles down and says they will need virtually every piece of equipment to attain orbit.
  • Boma seems especially incensed by Spock’s cold-blooded Vulcan demeanor. When he drills Spock for more info, asking him who’s to choose who stays behind, Spock says that, as commanding officer, the choice will be his. Spock’s not winning any popularity points with his crew.
  • Then Latimer gets killed by a huge spear in the back.
  • Spock and Boma arrive at the scene, and at Act Two,  where Gaetano describes the alien that attacked them as something huge and terrible, like a giant ape. Spock thinks this is a good time to compare the spear’s point to an archaeological find in New Mexico in 1925. These kinds of dispassionate observations are not endearing him to his crew. Not at all.
  • Another bridge scene. Kirk tells the transporter room to try to use overload power, whatever that is. They just have to get the transporters working. Columbus is continuing its search, grid by grid, with no luck so far. Kirk orders them to open up their course by two degrees on every lap from now on, to have a fighting chance to cover the majority of the planet surface.
  • Ferris announces that they have twenty-four more hours. Tick-tock, Captain Kirk.
  • Back on the planet surface, they’ve managed to lightened the load to only a hundred and fifty pounds overweight.
  • Spock continues to win friends and influence people by refusing to lead a funeral service for Latimer. They are working against time and he has higher priorities. All of which is true.
  • And apparently pointless, as one of the lines give and they lose the last of their fuel. Spock challenges Scotty to think of alternatives. There are always alternatives!
  • Which is patently not true. Sometimes, in fact, there are no alternatives. Probably not this time, though.
  • The crew of the Galileo Seven is attacked by some of the Taurus II giant ape creatures. Spock orders the crew to fire their phasers not to injure or kill, but to frighten. McCoy, Gaetano and Boma wanted to attack to kill. Yeoman Mears didn’t get a vote, apparently. Doesn’t matter anyway, since Spock overrided all of them. Spock’s plan seems to do the trick, however.
  • Except that Gaetano is left standing guard alone. I’m sure he’ll be perfectly all right.
  • Scotty has the genius plan to adjust the main reactor to function with a substitute fuel supply: The crew’s phasers. Once they power up, they should be able to achieve orbit, but they won’t be able to maintain it for long.
  • Back on the Enterprise, the transporters are now safe for human transport. Kirk sends down landing parties to the planet surface. He’s doing everything he can as the clock continues to tick down.
  • Gaetano is attacked by the giant Taurean ape-creatures, of course. End of Act Two. On to Act Three.
  • Spock hands over Gaetano’s dropped phaser to Boma and tells him to get it to Scotty to help fuel the reactor. After Boma comments on Spock’s lack of feeling, Spock hands over his own phaser, and tells him to give it to Mr. Scott in the event he doesn’t return. He’s going to look for the missing Gaetano unarmed. He orders McCoy and Boma to return to the shuttle.
  • Spock finds Gaetano’s body and carries it back to the shuttle.
  • McCoy and Spock discuss why the aliens didn’t stay frightened for long. Spock says it’s an illogical reaction. McCoy points out that the aliens are reacting not logically, but emotionally, with anger. Spock’s logic helped bring the aliens down upon them.
  • Back on the bridge, Ferris announces that they have two hours and forty-three minutes to find the missing crewmembers. After that, he will pull rank and make the ship leave orbit and head for Makus III.
  • On the planet surface, Scotty rigs the shuttle batteries to electrocute the aliens trying to bash their way through the shuttle’s hull.
  • Mr. Boma insists on a burial for Gaetano’s body, which Spock just said must be left behind. Boma says he’s “sick and tired of this machine!” meaning Spock. I assume that Spock wouldn’t really mind being compared to a machine. Boma ends up getting his way.
  • Back to the ship. One of the landing parties has suffered casualties. One dead, two injured.
  • Time’s up. Ferris assumes authority and orders Kirk to abandon his search. He orders him to recall his search parties and proceed to Makus III immediately.
  • Kirk makes the necessary orders and recalls the Columbus. He tells Sulu to set a course for Makus III. Reluctantly. End of Act Three.
  • As Act Four begins, we find out that the Columbus will be back and docked within 23 minutes. We have only 23 minutes to save the survivors of the Galileo Seven.
  • When Scotty finishes draining the last of the phasers, he estimates that they will have enough power to maintain orbit for a few hours and perform a controlled burn reentry.
  • Spock assists McCoy and Boma in burying Gaetano.
  • After the Columbus is docked, Kirk orders Sulu to begin to head for Makus III at “space-normal speed,” and he orders full reverse sensor scans, with beams directed aft.
  • McCoy, Boma, and Spock are attacked again. Spock is pinned against a rock face by another large rock. He orders to others to take off without him, but they disregard the order and save him. Highly illogical.
  • With the alien ape-monsters trying to hold them down, the shuttle has to fire its boosters to break free. Without the boosters, however, they won’t be able to land again after attaining orbit. Instead, they will burn up on reentry.
  • Once they achieve orbit, Scotty estimates they have enough fuel to maintain orbit for 45 minutes. Spock makes a unilateral decision—an act of desperation—and jettisons the fuel, igniting it in the hope that the Enterprise will see the flare and rescue them. This cuts their time down to 6 minutes.
  • Of course, the gamble pays off. Sulu sees their flare, and the Enterprise beams the crew out just as the ship is about to be incinerated.
  • Then Kirk tells Sulu to head for Makus III at warp factor 1.
  • In the epilogue, on the bridge, Kirk and McCoy try to get Spock to admit that igniting the shuttle’s remaining fuel was a purely emotional act. Spock says, instead, that in the moment it was the logical decision to act in desperation. Since it worked, who can really argue with him?

I liked “The Galileo Seven.” It helped to further define Spock’s character, who, up to this moment, was more prone to the occasional smirk or apparently angry rejoinder. Boma was correct in comparing Spock to a machine, and this seems to be how Vulcans were portrayed (mostly) going forward in the series.

There was also the addition of the dramatic clock, the last-minute rescue, the douchey top brass . . . all good things in the Trek universe. I especially liked how the crew of the shuttle never stopped trying to rescue themselves, while Kirk was doing everything in his power to make sure they could be rescued. Teamwork.

This is definitely on the All-Time Best Trek list. 4 out of 5 stars.

3 thoughts on “|||[Boldly Going]||| Star Trek: The Original Series—Season One: Ep. 1.16 “The Galileo Seven” – (Original air date: Thursday, January 5, 1967)

  1. I agree about the high commissioner being essentially correct, even if he’s a huge jerk through the rest of the episode. It’s a bit of a pet peeve of mine when the obstacle jerk character makes points which would be completely reasonable in the real world – helping plague victims is obviously more important than investigating random phenomena – but seem unreasonable in the fictional world, where it would admittedly be pretty boring if the Enterprise just arrived early with the supplies (as we would absolutely want them to do in the real world).

    Liked by 1 person

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