"The Devil in the Dark" plays on a hypothetical I've often wondered about myself: what if there were a life form based on some element other than carbon? The Enterprise visits on a vital mining colony on Janus VI to investigate a creature who has been killing miners. Sensors and phasers are ineffective because the critter is silicon-based rather than carbon-based.
Apparently, this was William Shatner's favorite episode. In his words, it was "exciting, thought-provoking and intelligent, it contained all of the ingredients that made up our very best Star Treks." I enjoyed it, too, though there were a few sections that dragged, particularly an extended mind meld between Spock and the creature. I appreciated the authenticity of the miners. They came across as run-of-the-mill blue collar types - all credit to the actors for that.
Ken Lynch (Chief Engineer Vanderberg) was born July 15, 1910 in Cleveland, Ohio. He built his career in 1940s radio, performing in numerous dramas in that medium, including Hop Harrigan, One Thousand Dollars Reward and Gunsmoke. He had a substantial resume in television, too, with multiple appearances on Perry Mason, McCloud and Bonanza among many others. He managed to score a few roles in major films as well, including North By Northwest and Anatomy of a Murder. Lynch died of a virus in 1990.