The Naked Time – First aired on September 29, 1966
It might seem like the concept of “let’s get our whole crew drunk and have them do ridiculous things” is a little bit simple at first. However, one of the tricky side effects of alcohol is that it tears down the walls of inhibition that we place in our minds. This often results in us saying things that we otherwise would never even dream of uttering aloud. Usually, this just results in superb moments of embarrassment. We get plenty of that from the Enterprise crew, as well as an intriguing look at some of the deeper thoughts and motivations buried within their personalities.
Of course, the crew doesn’t become inebriated through drinking, no Starfleet Officer would ever be drunk while on the job! No, the crew isn’t done in of their own accord, but rather by the inability of a certain Lieutenant Joe Tormolen, to follow standard procedure. The Enterprise has been sent to monitor the breakup of a planet, and when they get there Joe goes on an away mission with Spock to investigate the strange deaths of some scientists. Joe removes his glove because of an itchy nose and comes in contact with some blood-like substance. We never find out if it was blood or if it was something else (they do call the thing affecting them a virus, but the virus could still have been contained in another organism). Personally, I like to think that it was not blood. The reason for that is because when we see the clip of the substance dripping onto Joe’s hand, it “drips” sideways. It is possible that gravity was doing some funky things on this planet because it was beginning to break up. I find that unlikely though because a shift in gravity would have affected other things in the environment as well, such as Joe himself, but that didn’t happen. I prefer to think that maybe this red liquid was some kind of life form, perhaps one that was indigenous, or perhaps one that evolved due to the circumstances of the planetary breakup. At least that would explain why it seems to defy the laws of physics. It also gives the episode a much creepier tone when you see a goopy red life form reaching out and infecting Joe rather than just a sideways blood drip.