Where No Man Goes Before is a bit of a mixed bag. From a historical point of view it’s fascinating (shouty Spock) but I do find it drags a little midway through. One niggle I have is that since this episode (in production order) gave us our first sight of James T. Kirk, it’s slightly too much that we’re also introduced to Jim’s best friend, Gary Mitchell (Gary Lockwood) at the same time.
As we don’t really know Kirk yet, it’s hard to feel that invested about his lengthy off-screen friendship with Mitchell. So when Mitchell suddenly acquires god-like powers it doesn’t have a great deal of impact. Kirk’s moral dilemma – will he have to kill his old pal? – is a meaty one, but would have played better had this been a mid-series story and Mitchell was a semi-regular.
Sulu and Scotty are present, although they don’t do much except stand around awkwardly. The Kirk/Spock relationship is tentatively established, although the info dumping about Spock’s Earth heritage feels a bit crude.
Kirk:Have I ever mentioned you play a very irritating game of chess, Mister Spock?
Spock: Irritating? Ah, yes. One of your Earth emotions.
Kirk: Certain you don’t know what irritation is?
Spock: The fact one of my ancestors married a human female.
Kirk: Terrible having bad blood like that.
Although William Shatner gets the chance for a nice spot of fisticuffs, the episode really belongs to Gary Lockwood and Sally Kellerman (as Dr Elizabeth Denyer). The 1960’s series would often have an issue with strong female professionals, and it’s something which begins here – Dr Denyer is dubbed a walking freezer unit by Mitchell.
Decent enough overall then, but there’s a real sense that something’s missing. Dr Piper (Paul Fix) didn’t really have much of an opportunity to shine but his replacement would fare somewhat better ….