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The Omega Glory (episode)

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
"The Omega Glory"
TOS, Episode 2x25
Production number: 60354
First aired: 1 March 1968
Remastered version aired: 30 June 2007
55th of 80 produced in TOS
52nd of 80 released in TOS
36th of 80 released in TOS Remastered
52nd of 728 released in all
Tracey and Wu
Written By
Gene Roddenberry

Directed By
Vincent McEveety
Unknown (2268)
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The Enterprise discovers the derelict starship Exeter drifting in space, its entire crew killed by an unknown plague and her captain missing.

Summary

Teaser

The USS Enterprise discovers the starship USS Exeter in orbit around the planet Omega IV. When Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Lieutenant Galloway beam over to the ship's engineering section to investigate, they discover the ship to be seemingly abandoned... only uniforms and some crystals remain.

Act One

Kirk uses the ship's intercomm to raise anyone on board the ship. Spock hails Kirk and reports the same thing as in engineering, while Galloway reports all four of the Exeter's shuttlecraft are on board, proving the crew didn't leave that way. McCoy and Kirk then head to the bridge and then order both men to meet them there.

"Captain's log. Aboard the USS Exeter, commanded by Ron Tracey, one of the most experienced captains in Starfleet. What could have happened to him, and the over 400 men and women who were on this ship?"

McCoy's analysis finds the crystals to be what was left of the crew with all the water removed. A tape left by the Exeter's ship's surgeon reveals the crew was killed by a virus which was brought up to the ship by the landing party; only Captain Ronald Tracey remained alive by staying on the planet's surface.

(Log entry made by medical officer of the USS Exeter) "If you've come aboard this ship... you're dead men! Don't go back to your own ship. You have one chance. Get down there. Get down there fast. Captain Tracey is..."

Kirk orders the landing party to beam down to the planet at once, and gazes down at the remains of the ship's surgeon.

Once on the planet, Captain Tracey informs them there is a natural immunity offered by the planet's environment – they will stay alive only as long as they remain on Omega IV. Captain Tracey lives among the Kohms, an iron-age people engaged in a war with the Yangs, a seemingly primitive, savage and fierce tribal culture – one of whose leaders has just been taken captive. Kirk learns that Tracey has been driven insane by the loss of his crew and ship. The result of that nervous breakdown has led Tracey to the use of Federation technology to assist the Kohms in their fight. Because of this, he has become something of a leader of the group, for which is a clear violation of Starfleet's Prime Directive of non-interference with developing civilizations.

"Captain's log, supplemental. The Enterprise has left the Exeter and has moved into close planet orbit. Although it appears the infection may strand us here the rest of our lives, I face an even more difficult problem – a growing belief that Captain Tracey has been interfering with the evolution of life on this planet. It seems impossible. A star captain's most solemn oath is that he will give his life, even his entire crew, rather than violate the Prime Directive."

Act Two

Tracey explains that his goal was mere survival, but Kirk soon learns that he has an ulterior motive. The Kohm people have no record of any kind of disease but possess extremely long lifespans, well over 1,000 Earth years. He wishes to use the resources of the Enterprise to isolate the cause for this "super-immunity", cure themselves and share the agent with the Federation. To do this, he must keep the Yangs at bay, and asks for additional phasers to slaughter the remaining Yang force. When Kirk refuses to assist him, Tracey confiscates the landing party's phasers, takes the party prisoner and throws Kirk into a cell with the Yang "savage" while he plans a massive assault against the Yang armies. After a fight, however, Kirk comes to realize that the Yangs worship concepts such as freedom and bear remarkable similarities to the native peoples of North America – the "North American Natives" – and helps the Yang prisoner escape. However the Yang prisoner knocks Kirk unconscious with an iron bar while he and his female partner escape. Seven hours and eight minutes later, Kirk awakens and together he and Spock (who is in the next cell) get the keys to escape their cells.

Act Three

McCoy, in the meantime, learns that both the super-immunity enjoyed by the Omega IV inhabitants, and the plague which killed the Exeter's crew are the results of biological warfare experiments similar to those researched by Earth in the late twentieth century. He discovers that the longer a person stays on the planet, the more well-established the immunity; if the Exeter landing party had stayed on the planet just a few hours longer, no one would have died. But this also means that the Yangs' longevity is simply the result of evolution, and not any magical "Fountain of Youth" that Tracey believes in.

Since they are now cured of the plague, Kirk tells Spock to repair the transmitter so they can beam up to the Enterprise. Just as Spock does so, the console is destroyed by a phaser blast, injuring Spock. Tracey stumbles into the room, trembling, and recounts how his Kohm force was routed by the Yangs, despite the thousands of Yangs that Tracey and his allies killed with their phasers. Tracey realizes that Kirk freed the Yang prisoner to warn the others of the attack. Kirk demands that Spock be beamed up to the Enterprise for medical attention. When Tracey objects that they are still infected, McCoy tells him that they are all safe from the plague now.

Excitedly, Tracey demands to know if McCoy has isolated the "serum" he is seeking. Kirk and McCoy furiously tell him that there is no serum - the Kohms' lifespans are the results of natural evolution, and there is nothing that Tracey can "extract" and return to a grateful Federation. On being told that he has thrown away his crew, his career, and his honor for nothing, Tracey seems to lose what remains of his sanity. Focusing on the impending Yang attack, Tracey marches Kirk outside and tells him to call the Enterprise and have it beam down more phasers. Kirk tries to overpower him, and the two men fight, only for them both to be taken prisoner by the Yangs. Kirk and Spock eventually realize that Omega IV's culture was an extremely close parallel of Earth's ("Yangs" is a mispronunciation of "Yankees", while "Kohms" originally were "Communists") except the Omegans fought the war Earth managed to avoid, and the Kohms took over the planet. The Yangs have been fighting to regain their land ever since; this is confirmed when the victorious Yangs bring in their battle standard – an ancient, tattered "stars and stripes" US flag.

Act Four

CloudWilliamPledge

Cloud William badly mangles the Pledge of Allegiance

The Yang prisoner is Cloud William, their chief, and the "holy words" (which only a chief may speak) are a badly slurred version of the Pledge of Allegiance. Kirk interprets the Pledge and speaks the words himself, and begins to explain where he is from, but Tracey picks up on the theme and tries to turn the Yangs against Kirk by declaring he was "cast out of heaven" – pointing to Spock's appearance as similar to the appearance of "the evil one". To test Kirk, Cloud William reads from the "greatest of holies" and challenges Kirk to translate. Unable to initially translate, Kirk counters that their sacred legends promise that good is stronger than evil, and fights Tracey man-to-man to prove it. While the fight takes place, Spock uses his telepathic abilities to get Cloud William's mate, Sirah to use one of the communicators, after which a landing party of volunteers from the Enterprise, led by Lieutenant Sulu, beams down to take control of the situation. Fortunately, Kirk wins the fight with Tracey anyway. Seeing these events, Cloud William believes Kirk to be God's servant. Kirk informs the Yangs that the "holy words" were not merely written for chiefs, but for everyone, even the Kohms. He reads the "greatest of holies" – the preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America, and tells Cloud William the words must apply to everyone or they are meaningless. When Spock asks Kirk if his actions do not also violate the Prime Directive, Kirk explains he was simply explaining the meaning of what they were fighting for... as all the Yangs read the Constitution.

Memorable quotes

"If you've come aboard this ship, you're dead men."

- Carter, chief medical officer of the Exeter in a recorded message


"A star captain's most solemn oath is that he will give his life, even his entire crew, rather than violate the Prime Directive."

- Excerpt from Kirk's log entry, on Tracey's actions


"Pity you can't teach me that."
"I have tried, captain."

- Kirk and Spock, on the Vulcan nerve pinch


"That is a worship word. Yang worship. You will not speak it."

- Cloud William, after he hears Kirk say "freedom"


"They sacrificed hundreds just to draw us out in the open. And then they came, and they came. We drained four of our phasers, and they still came. We killed thousands and they still came!"

- Tracey, on slaughtering the Yangs


"There's no serum! There are no miracles! There's no immortality here! All this is for nothing!"

- Kirk to Tracey, on the search for human longevity


"Ay plegli ianectu flaggen, tupep like for stahn –"
"And to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

- Cloud William and Kirk, both reciting the Pledge of Allegiance


"Spock, I've found that evil usually triumphs unless good is very, very careful."

- McCoy, as Kirk and Tracey prepare to duel


"What are you doing?"
"I'm making a suggestion."

- McCoy and Spock, as Spock uses his mental powers on Sirah


"They must apply to everyone or they mean nothing!"

- Kirk to Cloud William, on the Holy Words


"Liberty and freedom have to be more than just words."

- Kirk, before departing Omega IV

Background Information

Story and script

  • This was one of three draft stories considered for the second pilot of the series, first draft 7 June 1965. The other unchosen draft was "Mudd's Women". "Where No Man Has Gone Before" was the script eventually picked. (The Star Trek Compendium, p. 17) "The Omega Glory" was filmed in middle and late December 1967.
  • The original 1965 script draft named the missing starship as the USS Argentina. The Enterprise landing party consisted of Kirk, Spock, a young navigator named Lieutenant Commander Piper, a helmsman called Lieutenant Phil Raintree, and the ship's doctor named Milton Perry. The latter two were killed during the actions on the surface. At the climax, Kirk fought Tracey in a western-style gunfight, during which Tracey shot Spock twice. However, he survived, because of the different anatomy of Vulcans (his heart not being in his chest). The first draft also featured a comic relief of the Enterprise computer having a female personality, an aspect which was eventually used in "Tomorrow is Yesterday". (The Star Trek Compendium, p. 100) In his novelization of the episode in Star Trek 10, James Blish uses the Raintree character in place of Galloway.
  • Spock attempting to telepathically "suggest" Sirah to pick up the communicator, was reminiscent of the early concepts that Spock has special powers over women. (The Star Trek Compendium, p. 100)
  • A letter reprinted in Inside Star Trek: The Real Story reveals that Roddenberry personally submitted his teleplay for consideration for an Emmy Award.
  • Robert Justman wrote a long memo to Roddenberry, in which he pointed out the flaws of the episode's script, but he thought it was too devastating, and tore it up, and made a few suggestions orally instead. "[Roddenberry] took the advice, but as anyone who has seen the episode knows, it didn't do much good". (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, p. 137)
  • Another McCoy-Spock debate was filmed for this episode, but edited. Just before the landing party left the Yangs' flag room, Kirk cut short an argument which seems to be about nothing. The reason McCoy and Spock were in an argument was cut from the episode. The dialog excised from the final print was as follows (taken from the final draft shooting script for the episode):
    • McCoy: Jim, the parallel's too close. They seem so completely Human. Is it possible that... ?
    • Kirk: The result of Earth's early space race?
    • Spock: Quite possible, captain. They are aggressive enough to be Human.
    • McCoy: Now listen, Spock, you...
  • A fairly lengthy scene from the final shooting script was edited from the final print of this episode. Soon after the landing party arrived on Omega IV, Kirk directly confronted Tracey about the possibility of his having violated the Prime Directive and Tracey attempted to defend his actions. Tracey also displayed open hostility towards Spock during this scene, revealing his dislike of Vulcans. James Blish does write up the scene in his adaptation of the episode in Star Trek 10.
  • While analyzing the crystals into which the Exeter's crew have dissolved, McCoy says that we are all about 96% water. The actual figure is closer to 70%.

Reception

  • According to author Daniel Leonard Bernardi, "Like the Federation, the Comms have full command of the English language (although they speak with a homogenized 'Asian' accent). The beginning of the episode thus shows that those with white skin can be uncivilized savages and those with yellow skin can be civilized and rational [...] This would be counter to the hegemonic representation of Asians in the United States media; that diverse collective of peoples are consistently constructed in film and television as a menacing 'yellow horde'." Bernardi goes on to say: "'The Omega Glory' is not, however, a counter-hegemonic episode. In fact, the episode not only reveals an unwillingness to be critical of the hegemony of racist representations, but also systematically participates in the stereotyping of Asians. As the story progresses, the Yangs are constructed as noble savages; their cause to annihilate the Comms is established as justified. The Comms, on the other hand, are constructed as brutal and oppressive; their drive to suppress the Yangs is established as totalitarian. This more hegemonic articulation of race is made evident when Kirk and Spock realize the extent to which the Yangs and Comms parallel Earth's civilizations. In this light, the Yangs are no longer savages, but noble warriors fighting for a just and honorable cause. They want to regain the land they lost in a war with the Asiatics." (Star Trek and History: Race-ing Toward a White Future, pp. 57-58)

Continuity

  • In this episode, the USS Enterprise visits another world possessing a parallel-Earth culture. Other such examples include "Miri" and "Bread and Circuses". There are also Earth cultures in "A Piece of the Action", "Patterns of Force", "The Paradise Syndrome", and "Plato's Stepchildren", but they were introduced deliberately or accidentally and did not originate organically.
  • This is the second of three times the Enterprise encounters another Template:ShipClass starship with the entire crew dead. The other two were in "The Doomsday Machine" and "The Tholian Web".
  • It is learned that the Exeter had a standard complement of four shuttlecraft. During the search for survivors, Galloway informed Kirk that "all four of the craft" were still on the hangar deck. Whether all Constitution-class vessels were equipped with that number of shuttles is not made clear.
  • This is the first time the chief medical officer of another Federation starship, Dr. Carter, is seen. Although he is sitting in the command chair on the bridge, it is unclear if he is in command of the Exeter or is merely recording his warning. Not until Dr. Crusher was placed in command of the USS Enterprise-D in "Descent, Part II" would a doctor clearly be in command of a starship. (Dr. Crusher was technically in command in "Remember Me" when she was the only crewmember left; however, since it wasn't the real Enterprise, it cannot be counted.)
  • This episode marks the first and only time in the original series that reference is made to phaser "power packs."

Production

  • Roy Jenson's voice was electronically altered for this episode. The preview for the episode contains unaltered dialog for Cloud William which doesn't have the "slowed down" effect.
  • Fred Steiner arranged the "Star-Spangled Banner" motifs for this episode. (The Star Trek Compendium)
  • Identical female screams are heard in this episode and in "A Private Little War" and "The Gamesters of Triskelion".
  • The shot of Sulu manning the helm station with an empty captain's chair in the background in mid-Act One is recycled from "Arena".
  • One of the places on the Exeter seen empty during Kirk's intercom hail is engineering. Curiously, that's the location of the landing party.
  • NBC announced that Star Trek would be renewed for a third season during the closing credits of this episode, on 1 March 1968. In the announcement, they also wrote "Please do not send any more letters", responding to the vast amount of mail received during the protests organized by Roddenberry and Bjo Trimble. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, p. 386)

Cast and characters

Other information

  • This was the first of five Star Trek projects to be adapted into View-Master reels. In a duplicate of one of the shots from the episode taking place at the communication station on the bridge, George Takei is taking advantage of the time for the View-Master shots to study his script: you can see it open on the console in front of him as he sits in Nichelle Nichols' chair and she stands next to him looking down at him.

Production timeline

Remastered Information

The remastered version of "The Omega Glory" aired in many North American markets during the weekend of 30 June 2007. The episode included dramatic new effects shots of the Enterprise and the Exeter in orbit of a more Earth-like, computer-generated Omega IV. Among the fine details inserted into the show, a small glimpse of the Exeter appears on the Enterprise viewscreen as it approaches the planet at the start of the episode.

Apocrypha

In the novel Forged in Fire Sulu's presence in the landing party which rescued Kirk, Spock and McCoy would turn out to be fortuitous - having assisted Kang, Kor, and Koloth in their hunt for The Albino, disobeying orders from Starfleet Command in doing so, Sulu is also infected with the blood oath-spawning genetic virus (actually a retrovirus, which is why it was the children of the Klingons who were killed), but because bacteriological elements from Omega IV, to which Sulu had become immune, were a key component of the virus, it did not affect him as intended.

Video and DVD releases

Links and references

Starring

Also starring

And

Guest star

Also starring

Uncredited co-stars

References

1990s; American Indian; Asiatic; auto-navigation; ax; bacteriology; blood-analyzer unit; bow; calcium; carbon; chief; common cold; Communist; Earth; evil; Evil One; Exeter, USS; fire box; Fountain of Youth; God; good; Haggai; hangar deck; heart; Holy Word; king; Kohm; lance; logic; medi-scanner; mortar; Omega IV; Omega IV virus; Omega IV native; phosphorus; potassium; pound; power pack; Prime Directive; red bird; republic; skin; shuttlecraft; star captain; Starfleet Regulation 7; tribe; United States Constitution; United States of America; Vulcan; Vulcan nerve pinch; warrior; water; Yang; Yankee; Year of the Red Bird

External links


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"Assignment: Earth"
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"By Any Other Name"
Next episode aired:
"The Ultimate Computer"
Previous remastered episode aired:
"Plato's Stepchildren"
TOS Remastered Next remastered episode aired:
"Return to Tomorrow"

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