Series: Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 3, Episode 21
Original Air Date: February 28, 1969
|via Memory Alpha
The planet Ardana is the only known source of zenite, a mineral required to stop a plague on Merak II. (Lots of epidemic-related stories on Trek's third season.) The ground-dwelling, miner Troglytes are oppressed by the residents in the city Stratos that floats above the surface. The relationship between them is reminiscent of the Eloi and Morlocks in H.G. Wells's The Time Machine. Obviously, Kirk and company must violate the Prime Directive in order to sort out the social injustice.
This story started with great potential, involving several classic Trek elements: social relevance, forbidden love (this time, a Stratosian's infatuation with Spock), a Prime Directive dilemma and that wonderful suspense for how our heroes will resolve the intractable mess in the episode's final ten minutes. Then the good is undone by awkward pacing in building to the end. The third non-Kirk love story in four weeks is an interesting trend in itself. Perhaps the writers realized - too late to save the show - the value in developing stronger characters beyond the captain.
Jeff Corey (Ardana's High Advisor, Plasus) was born Arthur Zwerling in Brooklyn on August 10, 1914. A career on stage and screen was derailed when Corey was called before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. For refusing to name names, he was blacklisted.
Unable to find his own acting work, Corey turned to teaching - a brilliant career move, as it turned out. Over the years, Corey coached numerous Hollywood stars, including Jack Nicholson, Rita Moreno, Robin Williams and, most significantly to Star Trek, Leonard Nimoy. His return to the screen in the '60s brought roles in some high profile films: The Cincinnati Kid, True Grit and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Corey was married to his wife, Hope, for 64 years. They had three children. Corey died in 2002 from complications from a fall.