Review “Shore Leave” Remastered

From the opening moment of “Shore Leave” you can tell this will be a different type of Star Trek episode. Kirk’s mistaking a backrub from the lovely Yeoman Barrows to be one from Mr. Spock shows the whimsical and subtlety sexually charged nature of one of the more fun outings for the Enterprise’s crew. Down scouting out a rest stop Sulu exclaims “no animals, no people, no worries,” seemingly shocked to find a planet that isn’t overrun with gangsters, Indians, or Nazis. What they have found is an idyllic planet full of misadventures that looks ever better now fully remastered in living color. It is a good thing that Kirk ignored McCoy’s report of spotting a large white rabbit, not a Florida White Rabbit, a human-sized one (with Alice of Wonderland trailing) or we would never get to visit this “Shore Leave” Planet.

Although the making of fantasies into reality is a bit of a silly plot device, it actually allows some interesting insights into the characters…especially the captain. We learn that our ever so confident and yet fun loving Kirk was ‘serious’ and ‘grim’ in his days at the academy only 15 years prior. Plus he seems to be carrying some baggage in both the way he was mistreated by an upperclassman (Finnegan) and a certain long lost love (Ruth). Might this Ruth actually be that ‘little blonde lab technician’ that Kirk almost married? Although we add some depth, in the end we see is that our Captain Kirk really just likes a good dustup in a classic fight scene with one of Trek’s most memorable characters – Finnegan. For Sulu we learn that he is a weapons fetishist when he finds an ‘ancient’ six shooter (which ends up shooting seven shots). And we learn that McCoy is a bit of a horn dog. Not only does he reveal genuine feelings for the young Yeoman Barrows, but moments after being resurrected the first thing that comes to mind was a couple of strippers (sorry chorus girls) from Rigel II….much to the chagrin of the aforementioned Yeoman. It is a pity Scotty doesn’t appear in this episode, who knows what kind of bacchanalian fantasy that guy could cook up. And even though Spock has no need for the planet we get a glimpse of a previously unseen devious streak when he tricks Captain Kirk into ordering himself down to the planet with a report of an unnamed crewmember performing below par.

McCoy and Kirk indulge their favorite hobbies

Underlying all the silliness and character development is quite a lot of sexuality. This is not a surprise as the episode was written by Theodore Sturgeon who also wrote the ‘Spock gets horny’ episode “Amok Time.” Sturgeon’s work outside of Trek was also known for its sexual themes and fellow sci-fi and Trek writer Norman Spinrad told me that it was something of an obsession for ‘Teddy.’ Characters are hooking up all over the place. Kirk starts with Barrows and then upgrades to Ruth. Barrows first thinks being ravished by Don Juan is a good idea, then moves on to playing princess for McCoy. All the while Angela Martine cowers with Lt. Rodriguez. Alas poor Sulu only gets is a Samurai…until McCoy hands him one of his ‘extra’ girls in the end. Even though it is intriguing to see the show deal with so much sexuality, it is disappointing to have most of the women be so submissive. Barrows line “look at me doctor, a lady to be protected and fought for” is not exactly a rallying cry for women’s lib. That being said Emily Banks actually gives a good performance as Barrows, especially in the scene when McCoy (apparently) gets killed. Her wardrobe also gives a good performance by getting ripped and then moving the rip around from scene to scene and then magically fixed. The one relationship that seems a bit more equal is that of the enigmatic Ruth and Kirk. Ruth is quite different than the usual love-em-and-leave-em variety for Kirk and we can see some genuine emotion between the two. This is enhanced by Ruth’s own theme provided by Gerold Fried (who coincidently also did the score for “Amok Time”). Ruth must have been some woman since the episode ends with Kirk going off to spend a few days with just this idealized fantasy version of her.

Protect me you big strong men

Probably the most notable thing noticed with the remastered version are the colors. This episode has more location shooting than any other and the outdoor scenes look brighter and more colorful than ever. You can now see clearly where the production team dressed the planet with oddly colored plants in the background. And the Rigel II dancers never looked so good.

As for the new CGI, these were limited to a number of establishing shots of the Enterprise in orbit. The original version had an oddly green blob with the ship (strangely) orbiting right to left. Although it is likely this was due to simply reversing a previously used image to create a new show, it could be argued that the reverse direction also hinted at the strangeness of the planet. The CBS-D team decided again to simplify. So the strange looking planet gets redone as a perfect looking Earth-like planet and the direction is turned around to conform with all other orbits. It appears there is some Starfleet rule that says the port side of the ship must face the planet. However I see no need for them to change the direction. The shots are done well and the ship is lit perfectly, even with nice blue reflections of the planet off the hull. CBS have certainly got very adept at making these planets and one by one all the weirdly colored planets are being redone as variations on our home world. Maybe this world can create Earth like environments for its visitors, but does it have to appear just like Earth from orbit? This is a wacky zany planet and the crew showed up a bit off their game, so why not have the wrong direction around a strange new world?

Ship and planet look great, but must all orbit shots be the same?

All in all one of Trek’s funnest episodes gets a needed (albeit playing it safe) digital upgrade.


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Better late then never Mr. Pascale. ;-)

Nice review, Anthony. Interesting notes about Theodore Sturgeon’s hobby.
Coupla things… So much has been made of the de-reversed orbit. When my buds and I were kids, it was a trivia question to name the “only” episode where the Enterprise orbits “backwards.” We all rushed to say “Mirror, Mirror.” Of course, I now know we were twits.
As to the color of the planet… there’s way more green and purple to those majestic mountains than Earth’s.
I love this episode, because it’s got an energy and pacing that’s right at the top for Trek. I do wish we knew more about Ruth, but who knows… maybe she’s in STXI.
I really can’t wait for Spock’s Brain. I LIKE IT. I know it’s DUMB. But, I think it’s Trek at its best and worst at the same time. Hopefully, the Ion ship will be more than the Aurora rejiggered.

I don’t want to see Ruth in STXI. I’d rather see “that little blonde lab technician” that Gary Mitchell aimed at Kirk.

Interesting that some suppose that Ruth might be “that little blonde lab technician” that Mitchell aimed at Kirk. I always assumed that Carol Marcus (from ST II: TWOK) was the woman spoken about in that line.


It’s too bad the woman Kirk was shacked with in his fantasy world in Generations wasn’t named Ruth. It would have been a nice continuity touch.

Okay, it’s too bad Generations was made with Kirk at all. But it was a lost opportunity for a little “fan service.”

I always thought the lab tech was carrol too.

good review…but I prefer Jeff Bond.


btw….another candidate for the lab tech

Lovely episode. Great to see a story where the crew are mostly having a rest and not in ‘conventional’ mortal peril. Can’t wait to see the remastered version here in the UK. Wish they’d sort out the HD format war, cos I’m not buying the show until then!

Thanks for the review Anthony. I look forward to all the reviews and appreciate all the different styles and point of view.

I do not consider switching from Yeoman Barrows to Ruth an “upgrade.” I am very fond of Yeoman Barrows :) I wish Yeoman Barrows was in every episode. Why didn’t they have Yeoman Barrows appear more? WHY, WHY, WHY?!?!?!?!

anthony,,you forgot to say your first ;)

If you take a close look at the original pics of the Enterprise in orbit, you will notice the following:

-The “NCC-1701” is reversed
-The green blob planet is actually a reverse of the Earth

Not noticable on a B&W TV back in the ’60s….

Perhaps if things had been different, Grace Lee Whitney would have played the yeoman role as Janice Rand.

#12 & Anthony-
I can understand why you appreciated the reverse orbit in the show, however, #12 is right! It’s a reverse negative of the ship in orbit with all of the “print” showing up backwards. Because of that I am glad they fixed it. The planet is much better, too.

#10-I’m with you…more, more, more!!!! ;-)

Anthony… one little note… you said that in the original version of the episode that the Enterprise orbits “from left to right”. Actually, it was right to left.

Too bad for random yeomen every week. Barrows (or Emily Banks) was really hot.

Anthony -Beware of the Nitpickers,……Beware!!!!!

Good review of a favorite and fun episode
Not much to say about the effects the were quite excellent and quite few and far between. Stock footage or not it appears they have all the Planet and In orbit effects down Pat. Print was crisper and more vibrant than I have ever seen it.

Emily Banks was gorgeous and it seemed if you read between the lines was getting herself some Captain and Ship’s surgeon. Seriously though seemed she could act and would have made an interesting replacement for Rand.

I still want a wemastered wabbit… Boo hoo
Anthony…good review. subject but I responded on the Quinto thread.


As to the ship using one side for orbits, one side of the big ship model (the left or starboard side if you’re looking from the front) was not fully finished and had wires flowing out of it . I think they also used reversed decals to show port as starboard in some shots; or just reversed film for long shots.


Don’t sell yourself short–this was a fine review of a favorite episode. I’m grateful in any case that you didn’t hand it over to Dennis Bailey, since judging by some remarks he made in his own review of “Amok Time,” his views on this show would have necessitated a smackdown. Which would have been a shame, as I greatly admire his work.

As with all other aspects of the series, the take on the female Starfleet crew members in “Shore Leave” is a product of its time, and should be viewed as such. (And Ted Sturgeon did indeed have some, um, interesting views on human sexuality, which I won’t go into out of my profound respect for the man and his work.) That kind of paternalistic attutide towards supposed professionals wouldn’t play today–nor should it–but it’s one of the many things that makes TOS a period piece, and maybe even adds to its charms. And let me add my voice to those who think that Emily Banks would have been a welcome addition to the show’s ensemble.

correx: wires came out of port side (that’s the right side if you look from the front).

Orbital motion is counterclockwise I belive, so for teh Enterprise’s bow to be moving forward, it must be orbiting with its port facing the planet… I’d Say Carol Marcus is the little blond lab tech, but that depends on how old David is supposed to be in Wrath of Khan… if he is too young then its Ruth or Janet Wallace [hopefully not the latter since “The Deadly Years” is not an episode that needs to be referenced]. I don’t think the movie will be during the Academy, since evidence points to it being the first or an early mission with Kirk as Captain of the Enterprise. Also, Harve Bennet could sue if they did an academy flick.

My vote also for Ms. Marcus, since the relationship was serious enough to conceive a child. Handled well enough, it could make an interesting backdrop to Abrams’ movie.

What I remember this episode best for is that Shanter’s toupee flips up during the fight with Finnegan:

The image I’ve got is blurred but if anyone with a DVD or Tivo would like to find a better one I’d love to see it.

“Kirk’s mistaking a backrub from the lovely Yeoman Barrows to be one from Mr. Spock shows the whimsical and subtlety sexually charged nature of one of the more fun outings for the Enterprise’s crew. ”

It’d have been more fun if Kirk had mistaken a backrub from Spock for one from Barrows. Hilarity ensues!

Maybe Ruth, & Carol are sisters? – could make for an interesting love triangle.

I’ve never really liked this episode–I always figured that once you had the big reveal at the end, it was kinda done with. I appreciate the fresh perspective Anthony brings here.

Why don’t you do more of these, Tony? Beats the heck out of… quite a few reviews I’ve read.


Mark 2000 —
I’m not sure that’s the Shat who’s a member/president in that shot. It’s obvious he did most of this sequence, but there’s clearly a non-Shat in some of the shots:

trekcore doesn’t have the exact flip, dadgummit!

It’s all moot, anyway. By the time of TMP, Shat was clearly a member in good standing of the Manly Men’s Hair Club for Men.

28, you’re right that’s not shat in some pics, but what are the odds both the double and the star have a rug? I’m going to hang on to the hope its him.

27, I think what keeps this episode a favorite is that you get to see McCoy as a very charming southern boy, something no often seen but always welcome. McCoy in love was a great pleasure in my book, as opposed to the juvenile lust rampages of kirk or the equally juvenile over bearing smother fests of scotty.

Excellent review! Short, sweet, to the point, no political jabs, no pearing through the lense of todays social, political views, well maybe a little. Over all, an excellent review. Exactly what I’ve asked for.

A review of the episode based solely on the merits of that episode!

Thank you Anthony. Thank you!

That’s Shatner all right – back of his neck is distinctive.

There was a bald stuntman (he plays a small role in Trouble with Tribbles so as to let him get into the bar fight) but he was much balder than Shatner (more of a Picard in fact.) From the accounts given by Justman in his book, by James Doohan, and by Joan Collins, Shatner just had wisps of hair on top, which fits the picture here.

I too would like a clearer copy. From my on-line searching, there is not one picture of Shatner without wig, and not even one of him thinning. He must have started to lose it real early.

Re #24 – Well if you look really close, that is a STUNTMAN and not Shantner, sine the hair style is slightly different from what Shanter wears, and the hair color is just a bit darker and the man has a few more pounds on him. Nice link but its not Shatner.

Anthony wrote:
“It appears there is some Starfleet rule that says the port side of the ship must face the planet.”

Special effects requirements of the original series’ model aside, there likely WOULD be a Starfleet rule for establishing planetary orbits. Why? Traffic.

Right now, almost all spacecraft, satellites, and space stations orbit in the same direction: towards the ‘East.’ Or, if viewed from space (and assuming that the North pole is always ‘up’): from left to right.

We do this in the 20th and 21st centuries for a simple reason: it’s cheaper. We know the Earth spins from West to East. A point on the equator moves at about 1,700 km/hour, and doesn’t move at all at the poles. . It makes sense to work with this energy boost when building to orbital speed – it’s a heck of a boost. (Which is why space shuttles are launched from Florida and not from, say, Boston: the closer you are to the equator, the more speed you have.)

Launching a spacecraft in the opposite direction, or East to West, would mean you’d have to give up that 1,700 km/h advantage. In fact, you’d have the Earth rotational speed working against you, and you’d have a 3,400 km/h deficit to overcome. Looking at the numbers, it’s safe to say that most things being sent into Earth orbit will be orbiting towards the East for the foreseeable future.

So, would Starfleet continue this convention when orbital launches are cheaper in the future?

I would say, yes, for the same reason that airplanes and jets fly at different standard altitudes depending on which direction they’re flying: a collision could really ruin your day. You’re less inclined to hit something if planes, or starships, are all headed in similar directions.

Even if a starship has no speed advantage in entering a standard orbit from one direction or another, it’s probably safe to assume that other civilizations will also take advantage of their own ‘energy boosts’ and launch their various spacecraft in West-to-East orientations. (Unless their planetary rotations are retrograde, or East-to-West.)

Let’s say a starship came visiting Earth at the same altitude as our space station, about 380 km above the Earth’s surface. A starship travelling in a West-to-East direction would see the space station moving at approximately the same speed, or 27,648 km/h, in the same direction. Relatively speaking, there would be little speed difference between them. But if the starship came in the opposite direction, East to West, then the space station would whip by them at a relative speed of 55,296 km/h — or 15 km per second. Somewhat more difficult to make contact — though the special effects could be impressive.

I’d assume that Starfleet would want to avoid embarrassing incidents of accidentally running into a planet’s satellites or space stations, and would decree that ‘standard orbit’ would match a planet’s orbital direction. So, it looks like TOS had it right all along in having Enterprise orbit with her port side to the planet.

(A good site showing orbital altitudes and speeds: )


Sounds good, but we ALL KNOW that the original effects and production people were INFALLIBLE and incapable of mistakes, so the flipping of the film of used footage for this episode should be considered “canon” and sacrosanct, an artistic decision, and untouchable by the unwashed and unhallowed hands of today’s digital effects artists, who surely don’t know as much as the creators of the show did.

Yeah, right. :)

I’m all for correcting mistakes, or money/time saving shortcuts they took while under pressure back then.

John in Canada, eh?

That was one of the best posts ever. Thanks for the info!

You might be right – denied again. Take a look at this

and better still (baldness showing)

Isn’t Shatner. Damn! The Holy Grail recedes!

Oh, and did they remove the chain from round the tiger’s neck?

I have an eye that can pick out the instant a shot switches to a stuntman on either Shatner or, more rarely, NImoy. It comes from nearly a lifetime of watching them, and knowing their body types so well. I can spot the stuntman in every shot. But I remember when I was younger, I never noticed them! Now they are painfully obvious.


That does look like Paul Baxley, the stuntman from “Tribbles” that you referred to.

If you want to see Shat’s wig move arround, there is a brief shot right before the teaser ends in “The Empath”, where Kirk gets knocked out. As he falls backwards to the floor, you can see his toup’ flop up a little bit (as if it wasn’t properly attached). You’ll have to put your DVD in super slo-mo to see it.


Why would a man as vain as the shat allow a bald stunt double? Doesn’t make sense.

Yeah, I’d also really like to know if the tiger’s chain was erased, as it is the single most thing I wanted altered. It always struck me how more dangerous it would seem in the shots if it wasn’t tethered safely from the actors… Missed opportunity by the team if it’s not been removed.

They really should have removed that second zero in the one shot. I suppose more could have been conjured up by that point, but it sort of ruins the intent. My guess it wasn’t terribly visible on TV at the time, but pops right out in HD.