| Season 1
D. C. Fontana
| Ralph Senensky|
| D. C. Fontana
"This Side of Paradise" is the twenty-fourth episode of the first season of the original science fiction television series, Star Trek. It was first broadcast on March 2, 1967, and was repeated on August 10, 1967. The episode was written by D. C. Fontana and Jerry Sohl (using the pseudonym Nathan Butler), and directed by Ralph Senensky. The title is taken from the poem "Tiare Tahiti" by Rupert Brooke and the novel "This Side of Paradise" by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
In this episode, the USS Enterprise visits a planet where the inhabitants are under the influence of strange plant life.
This Side of Paradise (Star Trek: The Original Series) Wikipedia
Enterprise is ordered to a Federation colony on Omicron Ceti III. Shortly after the colony was founded some years prior, it was discovered the planet was bathed in Berthold rays, a lethal form of radiation. Having lost communications with the colony recently and fearing the colonists deceased, the Federation wants the Enterprise crew to recover the colonists and their equipment.
The ship arrives in orbit, and Captain Kirk, along with First Officer Spock, Chief Medical Officer Leonard McCoy and others beam down to the colony. They are surprised to find the colonists all alive and well in a paradise-like setting. Their leader, Elias Sandoval, welcomes them and explains they only lost communications due to equipment failure. Sandoval and other colonists allow McCoy to examine them, who not only sees them in perfect health but is surprised to find Sandoval has a healthy appendix despite having it removed before leaving for the colony. Kirk orders the away team to learn more about the colony. They notice the lack of any animal life including those brought with them to the colony, which Sandoval explains away by saying that they have adopted vegetarianism to sustain themselves.
Spock encounters Leila Kalomi, a colonist who had fallen in love with him many years prior. Kalomi offers to show Spock how the colonists have survived, and takes him to a field of strange flowers. The flowers expel spores that cover Spock, and despite his emotional training as a Vulcan, he becomes elated and romantic with Kalomi. Kalomi and Spock bring some of the flowers back to the colony and the other members of the away team are affected by the spores. Kirk manages to elude these, and observes the strange behavior of his crew.
Kirk returns to the ship while the rest of its crew, exposed to flowers brought aboard by others, are staging a peaceful mutiny and have abandoned the ship; Lt. Uhura has sabotaged the communication system to prevent contact with Starfleet. Kirk is soon the last one aboard, and inadvertently gets covered by the spores. He too prepares to abandon the ship, but as he is about to beam down to the planet, he recounts his Starfleet career, causing him to think violent thoughts. The spores die out, and the effect on Kirk disappears. Recognizing that the flowers and their spores wither in the presence of violent emotions, Kirk lures Spock back aboard Enterprise and goads him into anger. The powerful emotions of Spock's Vulcan mind end the spores' hold on him.
Spock studies the flowers and devises a means to bring the crew to their senses by broadcasting a subsonic frequency through their communicators. Kalomi beams aboard to find Spock no longer affected by the spores, and insists he return with her. Spock refuses but allows her to have one more romantic interlude. Kirk and Spock use the subsonic signal to restore the rest of the crew, and then quickly help the remaining colonists come to their senses. As the colony is still in danger of Berthold radiation, Kirk agrees to help Sandoval and the other colonists find a new planet to recolonize. As they leave orbit with the colonists safely aboard, Kirk asks Spock about his experiences on the planet – to which Spock replies that for the first time in his life, he was happy.Writer Jerry Sohl had his name replaced by the pseudonym "Nathan Butler", after D.C. Fontana rewrote the original draft (entitled "The Way of the Spores").
This was actor Frank Overton's last performance before his death on April 24, 1967, less than two months after the episode first aired.
The shot of the empty Enterprise bridge was reused in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Relics", to depict Scotty's holodeck re-creation of his old ship.
Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club gave this episode an "A" rating, describing it as "an intriguingly ambiguous episode", and he praised its sense of humor.