‘Star Trek: The Original Series’ Revisited: “Where No Man Has Gone Before”

The title “Where No Man Has Gone Before” quotes Star Trek’s famous intro. The phrase—in itself and in light of where the franchise boldly went—sounds like a rousing, optimistic call for exploration and adventure.

The Enterprise is on a mission to navigate out of the galaxy. Before it reaches the galactic edge, it finds a flight recorder from the Valiant, a ship lost 200 years ago. The damaged tapes suggest the ship tried to leave the galaxy but failed, and the crew then frantically researched ESP before the ship was destroyed. Which is eerily prescient of the plot of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Keep reading to know more!

Captain Kirk (William Shatner) makes the (questionable!) decision to pursue the mission anyway. Sure enough, the ship is badly damaged while flying into a mysterious pink special effect and has to pull back with their warp drive badly damaged.

GOING BEYOND

While in the galactic barrier, several crew members mysteriously collapse, including the ship’s new psychiatrist Dr. Elizabeth Dehner (Sally Kellerman), and Kirk’s longtime friend, helmsman Gary Mitchell (Gary Lockwood.) Gary’s eyes glow a disturbing silver when he wakes up. Foreshadowing!

The storyline here is a Frankenstein riff; the puny humans reach for knowledge beyond their kin and are duly punished. In this case, though, they are reaching for knowledge not by digging up dead bodies for research. Instead they’re crossing borders and pushing back the, ahem, final frontier. 

THE STARS HAVE A LIMIT

The consequences of the overreach are also telling. The danger of projecting power across borders is not an enemy attack. It’s not even that you’ll stretch your resources too thin. The danger of exercising power is that one becomes too powerful.

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