One of the very last handful of original Star Trek episodes broadcast, “That Which Survives” is a rather joyless exercise in mystery with beauty queen (and onetime Catwoman) Lee Meriweather as a planetary siren who kills Enterprise crewman with a touch—and with just the right amount of reluctance.
It’s a plot that doesn’t leave much room for anything but redundant scenes of Meriweather’s Losira threatening the Enterprise landing party—including Kirk, McCoy, Sulu and an expendable geologist named D’Amtato. D’Amato is so expendable in fact that after he’s killed the grieving Kirk, McCoy and Sulu bury him with a gravestone that they mark “Lt. D’Amoto”—didn’t any of them know this guy’s first name?
That means ample time for a typical classic Trek “B” plot—something which more often than not took the form of a technological problem on the Enterprise, a ticking clock and an exasperated Scotty fulminating on how the ship’s whatsis wasn’t designed to take this, etc.
The stuff on the planetoid is grim, lifeless, right down to the deep purple lighting scheme, enlivened by the ongoing appearances of Losira, who disappears with an eerie vocal cue and a collapsing “door” effect. The Enterprise scenes are more entertaining, although as in “The Gamesters of Triskelion” (which also features Spock in command of the Enterprise, trying to track a landing party across the galaxy), Spock’s literalism and impatience with ordinary human reactions and emotions is pushed to the point where it becomes downright annoying. Scotty gets more than his usual screen time and James Doohan does a good job of playing off Nimoy, and his one-man-show inside a dangerous engine chamber is probably the most entertaining scene in the episode. There’s also nice support from Booker Bradshaw as Dr. M’Benga. Although he has far less to do than he does in the much better “A Private Little War,” Bradshaw makes enough of an impression in two episodes to register as one of the strongest supporting players in the series.
While CBS-D doesn’t have much to do here they do conjure up a convincingly barren, mysterious-looking planetoid and add a subtly blurring, “shifting” effect to indicate the Enterprise being thrown 990.7 light years away from the planetoid. “That Which Survives” features a lot of hand phaser fire and it’s better-animated than usual, not really requiring any touch-ups from the new effects team. With or without redone effects this one’s a tough slog.
Spock was an absolute *a$$* in this one, but he did find the landing party. I gotta give him that.
Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|
Great Scotty episode.
And nice to see him play off of Spock.
The rest of it was pretty cut and dry, including Kirk’s egomaniacal “GET IN HER WAY SO SHE CAN’T KILL ME!” tactics, and his later “let’s dance around her like a maypole” ones.
New effects were nice. Nothing special here, though.
Thought the new planet really added to the episode. Well done.
Really one of the throw-away episodes. Not a lot to talk about with this one. But I agree, great Scottie episode!
What romantic words:
“I am for you, James T. Kirk.” Isn’t that what Kamala said to Ulrik of Valt? (sp?).
I am for you, Mr. Poopey face…
Nah. Doesn’t work. Sorry dude.
Excellent Scotty episode. I agree, RetroWarbird.
yeag great scott ep and great planet
but was wondering if the fx team coulda added something to the ‘sky’ backdrop for those landing party scenes.
and i was wondering casue i wasnt paying enough attention. did you notice if during the ex shots of it semed the ship was going faster each time in relation to the stars etc to go with the lines and tention build as we learned the ship was going faster and faster?
now i havent seen them all but i noticed last night. it looke dlike the impulse engines had a split exaust.
I am for you, James T. Kirk,,
Yip Kirk sure was the ladies man,,
Whats the differnce between the Titanic and James T Kirk ?
Not everyone went down on the Titanic
I thought this was pretty well done. I like the feel of the dead planet and the Enterprise’s glow of being knocked 990.7 light years away!! I love the dialogue between Scott and Spock. ‘please ,mr.scott restrain your leaps of illogic! LOL”
This episode always sent a slight chill up the spine. A woman having to just touch you and you’re a gonner!! Ensign Watkins trying to lie about the machinery and boy did he pay for that!! However, he sure yelled out for Scotty!
Also a rare movement in the transporter beam that was also a nice one.
It may be entirely coincidental, but…
On April 4th 1968 “2001: A Space Odyssey” premiers in Los Angeles.
Ten months later, on January 24th, 1969, “That Which Survives” airs.
Both contain the following elements:
A murderous super-computer conflicted by its own emotions.
An ancient alien force capable of instantly propelling a spacecraft vast distances.
An ancient alien representative that appears and disappears and is suggestive of length, breadth and height. It is accompanied by eerie musical vocalizations.
An attempt by a lone man to disable a dangerous mechanism that can only be accessed inside a claustrophobic, horizontally-oriented, electronic corridor.
Finally, when the super-computer is ultimately disabled, its last conscious act is to replay an old video-recording of a talking head. The talking head proceeds to give much needed background exposition.
I know it is strange to compare 2001 with one of Star Trek’s less beloved episodes, but Kubrick’s film proved very influential and “That Which Survives” may be one of the earliest, and oddest, examples of that influence.
Wow – you guys are harsh. Always enjoyed this episode. Beauty survives.
The adventure continues…
The 3rd season is the best, simply because the show stopped being so full of itself.
#13… and became filled with crap by an uncaring producer. “Bitter Dregs” indeed.
The 3rd season still has some very good eps imo. That Which Survives may not be one of those, but the great Scotty moments sort of make up for the episode’s otherwise rather substandard quality.
Anyway, Beauty survives and TOS survives!
If you’re a fan of the type-II hand phaser this episode is for you. Lots of phaser action.
I actually felle asleep during this episode!
#13 the third season of trek was a joke, the network modivated by it’s unstellar ratings put the show on a 10 oclock time slot, the studio, cut the budget and bad scripts that would not have even been considered in the first two seasons got greenlighted for production, On top of this Fred Freidberger though he success in the movies, was not able to translate that success to the small screen, of course he went to produce the second season of the scifi schlock classic Space 1999 and the ever forgettable Superboy. Seaon three of trek gave us such scif embarasments as Spock’s Brain,The Way to Eden, and the Children shall lead, and the scif sillyness of that is That Which survives. I will give you this, It was one of season threes better episodes and believe me that is not saying much at all.
#8… classic joke! Must remember that…
I love the concept of Dr M’Benga, and seeing him was something we should have had more of… to think McCoy was the only doctor was absurd. How can one be the Cheif Medical Officer when there aren’t any others to cheif over?
That pic of Lee Meriweather – I swear she looks like one of Jack Kirby’s Eternals!!
And yeah. Season 3 is pretty awful. There are really only a cfew episodes from this terrible season worthy of not falling asleep. My favorite episode from Season 3 – and I’m not sure exactly why – is the Wild West one (damn I forgot the name!!)
#22 Spector of the Gun, that one was okay but if you look really carefully at the sets you see evidence of cost cutting on the show. also kirk wastold by the Melkosians that they wanted not contact yet they basically his actions violated the prime directive of non interference by forcing them selves on the Melkoisians. The whole premise of the episode with the gunfight at the OK Coral strikes me as being a little on the loopy side.
Was it Spectre of the Gun??
23. Garovorkin you posted before me
Hey Anthony! .It’s St Paddy’s Day! What? No irritating clip of Finnegan?
Yes! Specor of the Gun – thanks guys
The building fascades were definitely a direct result of cost-cutting, yes. The way I look at it though is that it added a sense of creepiness to the episode… an almost “nightmarish” vibe. Even before I read that in one of the Trek books (the cost-cutting angle), I always accepted the fake storefronts as part of the vibe of that wierd place they were in. And I know there are issues with the Prime Directive but the episode still had a few things going for it, at least for me:
• sense of dread, impending doom
• some decent acting on the part of the cowboys (Earp, Doc Holiday, right?)
Better than “That hich Survives” IMO – by a MILE!
I am for Barack Obama.
Wait…what was the question?
I don’t know if it was mentioned in the ep, but what was that keypad thing Spock was carrying around? All I can tell is that it made Spock turn into kind of a jerk.
#27 JL i will give the episode props( No Pun intended) for a few of those things that you mention. interesting bit of trivia I think the actor who played Earp had a bit part in Star trek 5 The Final Frontier. It is probably the best of the third season episodes. The thing is that the writing, editing and production in season three, was very sloppy and lacked the coherence of the first two seasons, it was like Friedberger had no idea what he was doing. In the case of that which survives The computer on the planet transports the ship 1000 light years away?when it would have been simpilier to destroy it makes no sense to meat all. The engineer encounters a strange woman in engineer and rather then run for help engages it in conversation? The ship going to Warp 14 which contradicts the Warp 9 limit and the fact that beyond Warp 9 the ship would quickly tear itself apart, that bit off continuity is thrown out the window. The who notion that Losara the holographic computer construct who was designed to protect the planet from intruders felt conflicted about killing. Please, that made no sense whatsoever. The computer isprogramed to defend and to kill, its can’t be designed to feel sorry for its enemies. The fact that each image was made to kill a specific person one at a time, very silly.
People are far too hard on this episode. No, doesn’t match up with the best of the first and second seasons, but still, it has an atmosphere of depressed closeness to it that always had a strong effect on me. Not the best thing to build a plot on, I admit… but far from crap.
There’s something…. claustrophobic about “That Which Survives,” or something ghostly about it. Somehow they managed to make an ultra-babe like Lee Meriwether seem creepy, sad, menacing and weird all at once. Neat trick.
Give the episode a break. With more time to spend on it, maybe they could have polished it up a bit and made it more interesting, and not merely atmospheric… but it’s hardly an out-and-out failure.
3. RetroWarbird – March 16, 2008
Great Scotty episode.
Yes. I don’t need a bloomin’ coo-ckoo clock.
I always liked this episode, probably because I’ve always been a Scotty fan. Any episode that highlights Scotty’s “Miracle Worker” status automatically gets a leg up in my list of favorite TOS episodes.
But then again, I’ve always thought people were a bit too harsh on Season 3 overall. Sure, it wasn’t up to Seasons 1 or 2, but still there were episodes like The Enterprise Incident, Day of the Dove, The Tholian Web, The Empath, For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky, and All our Yesterdays, all of which are very very good Trek episodes, if not quite up to “excellent” status. Spectre of the Gun, IMO, was a great example of doing the most you can with a limited budget – the alien version of Tombstone with the one-sided buildings, clocks hanging in mid-air, etc, did a lot to create a surreal alien atmosphere that helped the episode a lot IMO.
Even some of the episodes that were overall dogs have their moments, the character of Alexander from Plato’s Stepchildren being a prime example. Another great moment was the self-destruct sequence from Let That Be Your Last Battlefield.
I guess all I’m asking is that people bear in mind that Season 3, while definitely not as good as Seasons 1 and 2, did still have its moments…
#31 Randall what this episode could have been is not the point. The episode was poorly written and produced. The story has far to many holes to be considered any good. as for the whole Atmosphereic thing well that Ill give you that. Lee Meriwhether is beautiful, but as an actress did not impress. I see very little to admire int his episode or season 3 as a whole .and I don’t think remastering will ever add to the viewing pleasure of any of these particular episodes
Oh, not another Earth-type planet. Why can’t they make something else? How about a little variety?
Huh? It’s NOT Earth-like?
Checkov is mentioned by Kirk in this episode but not in it. Even though Spock has no tolerance for emotional outbursts, Scotty seems to be the only subordinate of Spock’s to rarely question orders. I like the ship scenes in this episode better then the planet scenes.
The final epic speech by a lone member of a society which has been extinct for ions is always entertaining to see.
“My fellow Kalandans” always makes me think of Futurama and its frequent use of the phrase “my fellow Earthicans”.
As for the episode, its pretty dreary business and I always hated that Sulu turns into an idiot in this show, stuck with a lot of generic question-asking to set up Kirk’s exposition: “Gee, Captain, what do you think happened? Gosh, Captain, what was that? Wow, Captain, what do you think happened to the Enterprise?” Sulu was better than that.
But its hard to hate it completely. There are only 79 of these things, so even the ones you don’t like, you do.
This is actually an example of one of the few movies that isn’t improved by the remastering. It’s largely because it’s one of the script heavy, drama orientated episodes. You can’t really maximise the new technology in a situation like that!
The appearance of M’Benga and Scotty makes this one worth watching. As Vulcanista observes, Spock IS a complete ass in this one and he needed McCoy to take him down a notch or two. And the girl at the helm ranks as one of the worst actors to ever steer the ship. But still not a “bad” episode and certainly nowhere in the leagues of And the Children Shall Lead.
And let me say this, I’ve never subscribed to this “3rd season is rotten” nonsense that fandom has built up over the years. I had the good fortune to grow up on these episodes in syndication, where I didn’t know 1st season from 3rd. They might show Amok Time one day and Day of the Dove the next. Granted, there were plenty of stinkers in the 3rd season. But for every MArk of Gideon there was a Day of the Dove. For Every Spock’s Brain there was a Paradise Syndrome. For every That Which Survives there was an Enterprise Incident. Like the other two seasons, the thrid season offers some good epiodes as well as some not so good episodes, but it isn’t the godwaful nightmare that so many fans tend to label it.
– But for every MArk of Gideon there was a Day of the Dove. For Every Spock’s Brain there was a Paradise Syndrome. For every That Which Survives there was an Enterprise Incident. –
I just want to say to paramount that this whole star trek remastered thing was pretty weak. I’m a big fan of the old series, but even I have to be convinced to buy the whole series, potentially again. The fact that the so-called remastered episoses were obviously rushed and needed a larger budget makes it hard to justify spending all that money. I appreciate much of the work that was done, but the truth is that there are really only a few episodes that are worth watching anyway (maybe half at best) and if you guys were smart what you would have done is take all the best episodes and sell them as a package, fully remastered and perhaps even slightly redited for continuity. The hardcore would buy followup packages of the crappy episodes anyway, but a good remastered best of is something I would’ve bought, even as a gift for non trek watcher
YEAH!!! Dr. M’Benga!!! Whoo hoo!!!!!!!!
This episode creeped me out when I was a little kid.
It was good classic B SciFi movie material. Much more entertaining than reruns of the Brady Bunch, The Patridge Family, The Little Rascals, and My 3 Sons and all of the other crap that was on TV in those days.
This was 10 times better than most things in sydication in the early 70’s.
I still remember running home after school to watch Star Trek at 4 p.m. every day.
At recess we used to play Star Trek and nobody wanted to be Dr. McCoy. Everybody wanted to be Kirk, Spock, Sulu, Scotty, Chekov, Lt. Boma (I know he was only in one episode but he was also in “Land of the Giants” and he made quite an impression in his only Star Trek appearance) a red shirt.
Brings back some great memories.
An excellent episode from the standpoint of the digital improvement, I must say. Lee Meriwether is as appealing as ever.
One note: I was passing through California State University Northridge this morning. They are filming establishment shots for the new movie with hundreds of extras and elaborate set dresses of the main library building. There are three partial pillars in the main plaza and at least two gigantic bluescreens on either side. A most impressive event.
Decloaking . . .
Nice to see alot of seldom heard voices (and maybe some new?) here today.
1. The Vulcanista – Critical of Spock? I’m in shock! Hey that … you know.
Peace. Live long and prosper.
11. Engon – Your “2001” comparison is very interesting and well thought out. I never fathomed that before — bravo!
12. CanuckLou – “Wow – you guys are harsh.”
ITA (thanks for that Vulcanista). I think Anthony Pascale said it best. In his words, we are “PADANTIC” — great word, look it up. I did.
13. Battletrek – “The 3rd season is the best.”
WOW !!! In my 36 years of hard core Trekkin’, I’ve never heard any Trek fan say that before. Fascinating.
16. Ro-Dan – The phaser to this day, is still one of the greatest sound effects ever created. Wouldn’t you agree? I would love to know how they did that.
18. Garovorkin – ITA. Whenever I’m trying to turn someone on to Trek, I steer them away from season 3 TOS, except “The Enterprise Incident” (and a few others) — one of the greatest eps in all of the Trek saga.
“That Which Survives” I only watch for all the Scotty stuff and Spock as an A**.
Hey, I still can’t start STOGaM Pt. 2, anyone else with that problem? Or have the Trek gods cast me aside as Apollo did Scotty?
“That Which is Surly” …
What? Was every lad just crabby as all hell on this episode?
yarrr… it did have a creepy vibe to it, and I didn’t fall alseep watchin’ it so can’t be all bad…BUT…
As said afore- Spock was an emormous ass…. yup! A real kneebiter nerk! I’d have punched him out and gone ta tha brig happily.
Sulu was really obsessed with the Enterprise blowing up… how many times did he hafta say that?
Kirk being short with Sulu “Shut it Sulu! If I wanted a Russian history lesson, I’d have brought moptop!”
Even McCoy, after Sulu weeped, “How can you joke when D’Amato just croaked?” and Bones a’going “It’ll be worse if he gets company.”
Geez… arrr… then Scottie having Spock drive him batsy… “bloomin’ cuckoo-clock”… Scott getting dramatic… “nothin’ in tha universe will stop us from blowin’ up… just like Mr. Sulu seems ta want.”
arrrr… was sorta creepy and scary at times… very much a desolate feel to it all, in characters and in setting…
Now, if ya wanna perk up for St patty’s Day,
I have me St Pat poem posted in that thar “Chat” tab at the top, I believe it be thread 285…
Another failure of the third season was due to the Genes and DC having almost no involvement in rewrites. That’s where Freddy made a mess of it. The good scripts stayed good, but the poor ones didn’t get that last-minute tweaking that the Genes and DC were so great at in seasons 1 and 2.
This episode would have been improved by a few minor nitfixes. Having Losira’s original purposes be found to interact with any visitor “as a pleasing force-hologram made especially for that visitor” (a la the Salt Vampire’s trick) so that the messages for Kalanda would be well-received and listened to… could have crossed with the defense systems inadvertently. Thus, the killing-Losira-made-for-you could have been a similar snafu a la Nomad.
The other thing that would have made the shipboard sequences make more sense would have been having a physiological/psychological effect as a result of the 990.7 ly slingshot. It could have “caused severe mental stress” that Dr McCoy could have said it will take us days to shake off, and maybe weeks for a Vulcan.
As to D’Amato’s grave… I don’t think it was intended to be permanent. I’d think they would have taken his remains with them when the left, and not left them on the planetoid.
Good job this time by the CBS-D team to make the planet look non-Earthy. The original NEVER made sense for an “artificial planetoid” or whatever the exact words were.
In the beginning, after the landing party beams down, everybody on the planet and the Enterprise starts shaking. Was the planet set constructed on a trampoline? It looked like the rocks, ground and people where shaking independently (maybe a stevedore behind each rock jiggling them around?)
I never noticed how much the horizontal Jeffries Tube that Scotty ends up in the end looks a lot like the TNG-era conduits that Geordie, Data et. al ran through (the TNG ones had little sliding doors that automatically opened between sections.)
Also, what exactly did Scotty end up doing with his magnetic wrench? Just shoving it into the antimatter stream fixed the fused warp speed accelerator? Ship reassembled out of phase? Seems overly silly. Hope Scotty ordered all the wrenches be re-greased after his got stuck.
I missed the one shot of the Enterprise barrelling head on at the camera–that should have been remastered.
What was that thing Spock picked up from the navigation console and carried for the rest of the show? It looked like the remote control prop from “Spock’s Brain”
So tired of the “realistic” planets. Seriously.