Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down to a planet to tell them that their sun is soon going to go supernova and take out their planet. They find a library with a guy named Mr. Atoz and his clones but no one else. He says the people went to the place they selected and urges the landing party to do the same. He instructs them to look at these discs. Kirk plugs one in that looks like 17th century Earth. When he hears a woman scream aieeee he darts through this machine and goes to the time he was looking at. McCoy and Spock follow and vanish only to end up in an ice age place because that’s what McCoy was looking at. Thanks a lot, Bones. Kirk wonders where the others are, but he jumps into action and knocks down some guys wearing puffy clothes and sporting swords. Unfortunately for Kirk he just defended a thief and ran off some lawmen who have gone for help ooops. Kirk tries to find his way back, but the puffy pants wearing guys come back with help and march him off to jail. Meanwhile McCoy is freezing his bottom off and Spock tries to help him, but then a hooded figure shows up and leads them into a cave. Spock turns to say “thank you, sir” only to find that it isn’t a sir. She introduces herself as Zarabeth and says she was sent to this frozen wasteland by a mean dude. She helps McCoy to get better-oh how nice. Spock explains what happened to them and she says they can’t go back. Meanwhile Kirk is in deep poo. He’s already in jail for assaulting lawmen, but the person he helped and the lawmen accuse him of witchcraft because he tried to talk to Spock and McCoy back in the alley. The people of this time think he was trying to talk to spirits ahhhhewwww. Back in snow city McCoy has recovered, but feels down when Spock says they are stuck there. Then Spock starts getting weird. No I mean even weird for Spock. He starts to fall for Zarabeth, he eats meat and threatens to kill McCoy. What the heck? Hold that thought and let’s go back to Kirk. He talks to a prosecutor who reacts oddly when Kirk mentions how he came to this time by the portal. He realizes this guy came that way too. The man tells Kirk since he did not have his body set for the travel that he needs to hurry on back or he’ll die. The guy helps Kirk get back to the library, but Mr. Atoz thinks Kirk is a looney and he tries to push him back in time. Meanwhile in a frozen cave McCoy questions why Spock is acting different and they realize it’s because it’s a long time ago and Spock is acting like his primitive Vulcan ancestors did. McCoy also pins Zarabeth down and she admits that she can’t go back but they can. Spock and McCoy find their way back to the spot where they came in and hear Kirk directing them back. Spock says goodbye to Zarabeth, they get back to the library, Mr. Atoz hustles off to his time, the landing party get back to the ship, the planet is destroyed kaboom and roll those credits.
The negatives-My only real gripe is that if Spock acts in a primitive way because it’s back in time then wouldn’t McCoy have been effected in a similar way?
The positives-This is one of the few really good 3rd season episodes. Kirk gets a problem solving part, but Spock gets to let down his hair a bit whether he wanted to or not. He may not have wanted to, but fans certainly had to be intrigued by seeing Spock falling for someone while not under the influence on alien plants or being driven crazy by Vulcan mating rituals. There’s certainly a bit of sadness to the events when Spock returns from the past and realizes that those events did happen, but Zarabeth has now been dead for centuries.
Mariette Hartley was perfectly cast as Zarabeth. You likely know her most from the Polaroid commercials she did with Jim Garner. She has been in everything from Gunsmoke to the Mentalist. No stranger to sci-fi she has been episodes of Twilight Zone, Logans Run, The Incredible Hulk , a couple of Gene Roddenberry run pilot episodes and the 1969 space film Marooned.
Ian Wolfe was Mr. Atoz. He had a career that spanned seven decades. You probably saw him in the second season Trek episode Bread and circuses. He was in tons of movies like Mad Love and the Raven through to his last appearance in 1990’s Dick Tracy plus he was in many TV shows and was in everything from the Andy Griffith show to Cheers.