Series: Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 3, Episode 23
Original Air Date: March 14, 1969
|via Memory Beta|
Our heroes - Kirk, Bones and Spock, that is - arrive at Sarpeidon to save its population from a supernova. Funny thing, though: everyone's already gone apart from the librarian Mr. Atoz and his clone assistants. All of the planet's inhabitants have used Atoz's Atavachron to travel to a time period in the world's past in order to spare themselves from extinction. In their own toying with the device, Kirk travels to one era while Spock and McCoy end up in another.
Spock and the doctor find themselves in an ice age where they encounter a beautiful woman, Zarabeth, who provides them shelter. Zarabeth was exiled to this time by a tyrant. She believes the Atavachron only works in one temporal direction and therefore, her new friends are trapped with her as well.
Spock's reaction to the predicament is dramatic. He lashes out at McCoy and struggles to resist Zarabeth's advances. Emotion has prevailed over logic and astonishingly, the half-Vulcan is faced with a rare burden, at least for him: uncertainty.
Pretty good stuff, particularly by third season standards. Unfortunately, the reason given for Spock's failings detracts a bit from the story. Having traveled back 5,000 years in history, he is reverting to the more savage and violent nature of his Vulcan ancestors of that time period. The explanation doesn't sit well with me. No matter the time in which he finds himself, Spock is still Spock, surely influenced more by his own life experience than some societal reality drifting across the cosmos. I think the simpler explanation would have been better: even Spock has his limits. The future appears bleak. One of his only two companions for eternity is a man with whom he has a trying relationship. The other is a woman both desirable and willing, yet logic dictates that he must deny himself her charms. Understandably, he cracks. In this, the original series's penultimate tale, we finally get to see the human Spock with all of his earthly flaws.
|via Memory Alpha|
Like so many I've featured here, Hartley's acting career began on the stage. Her first film role came in 1962's Ride the High Country. Other early big screen gigs included the lead in Drums of Africa and a supporting role in Hitchcock's Marnie. Her television credits are extensive. In addition to many guest appearances, she's had regular roles on The Travels of Jamie McPheeters and Goodnight, Beantown. More recently, she has had a recurring role on Law & Order: SVU. She still gets stage work to this day. In 2014, she performed Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter. In 1978, she won an Emmy for her work on The Incredible Hulk.
In recent years, Hartley has written and spoken extensively on issues of mental illness, discussing her father's suicide and her own struggles with bipolar disorder.