"Amok Time" is the second-season premiere episode of the original science fiction television series, Star Trek. It is episode #30, production #34, first broadcast on September 15, 1967, in the series' new time slot of 8:30 pm on Friday night, and repeated April 26, 1968. This was the first episode to feature regular cast member Walter Koenig, as the ship's navigator, Ensign Pavel Chekov, and also the first one to list DeForest Kelley as Dr. McCoy in the opening credits. It was written by science fiction author Theodore Sturgeon, scored by Gerald Fried, and directed by Joseph Pevney.
The episode features First Officer Spock returning to his homeworld for a brutal Vulcan mating ritual. It is the only episode of the series to depict scenes on the planet Vulcan.
Spock, the first officer of the Federation starship USS Enterprise starts exhibiting irrational behavior and requests that he be taken to his home planet Vulcan. Captain James T. Kirk and Chief Medical Officer Dr. McCoy, having witnessed one of their friend's outbursts, agree and Kirk diverts the ship to Vulcan. En route, Kirk receives orders from Starfleet to travel to Altair VI to represent the Federation at the inauguration ceremony for the planet's new president. Though Kirk instructs the crew to set course to Altair VI, Spock secretly changes course back to Vulcan. Kirk confronts Spock, who claims having no memory of ordering the course change.
Kirk orders Spock to Sick Bay, where McCoy finds his blood chemistry is extremely active with a high hormone count, a condition that will kill him in seven to eight days if not treated. Spock is forced to explain that he is undergoing pon farr, a condition male Vulcans experience periodically throughout their adult life, and that he must mate or die. Kirk contacts Starfleet to request a diversion to Vulcan but is denied. Kirk disobeys orders and sets course to Vulcan, believing that saving the life of his friend is more important than his career.
At Vulcan, Spock invites Kirk and McCoy to accompany him to the wedding ceremony. He explains that Vulcans are bonded as children as to fulfill the pon farr commitment, and that T'Pring is to be his mate. T'Pring arrives with Stonn, a pureblood Vulcan, with whom she has fallen in love and prefers to Spock. T'Pau, Spock's family matriarch and renowned as the only person ever to refuse a seat on the Federation Council, prepares to conduct the ceremony. However, T'Pring requests the koon-ut-kal-if-fee, her right to a physical challenge between Spock and a champion she selects. To everyone's surprise, she chooses Kirk instead of Stonn. Spock begs T'Pau to forbid it as Kirk is unaware of Vulcan rituals, but T'Pau allows Kirk to decide if he wishes to act as champion; another champion will be selected if he refuses. Kirk decides to stay as T'Pring's champion, only to learn "this challenge is to the death."
The two begin to fight with lirpa, a traditional Vulcan weapon. Kirk is challenged by Spock's strength and agility, even in his current state, as well as the thinner atmosphere of Vulcan. McCoy convinces T'Pau to allow him to inject Kirk with a tri-ox compound to offset the effects of the Vulcan atmosphere. The battle continues, with Spock eventually garroting Kirk with another weapon, the Ahn'woon. McCoy rushes to Kirk's body and declares him dead, and requests immediate transport back to the Enterprise.
Spock renounces his claim on T'Pring, but not before confronting her over her choice of Kirk as her champion. She explains that she feared losing Stonn in the koon-ut-kal-if-fee. Instead, by picking Kirk, she would be assured she would be rid of Spock regardless of the result of the battle. Spock, his pon farr ended, returns to the Enterprise, but not before warning Stonn that "having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting."
Aboard the ship, Spock announces his intent to resign his commission and submit himself for trial for killing Kirk, when he discovers Kirk is alive and well in Sickbay. McCoy explains that the injection he gave Kirk was a neuroparalyzer drug that merely simulated death. Spock apologizes to Kirk, stating he lost all desire for T'Pring after he thought he killed him. Later, Kirk learns that Starfleet has belatedly given the Enterprise permission to travel to Vulcan at T'Pau's request, thus absolving Kirk of disobeying orders.
Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club gave the episode an A rating.
Gerald Fried's incidental music for the fight became a standard underscore for combat-scenes in season 2. It was notably spoofed during the Medieval Times sequence in the Jim Carrey film The Cable Guy (1996).
As noted above, this episode is the only episode of The Original Series to feature scenes on the planet Vulcan. It also is the first time the Vulcan hand salute is shown. It further marks the first appearance of the phrase which accompanies the Vulcan hand salute, "Live long and prosper."