Amok Time

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"Amok Time"
Star Trek: The Original Series episode
Arlene Martel T'Pring Star Trek 1967.jpg
Arlene Martel as T'Pring
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 1
Directed by Joseph Pevney
Written by Theodore Sturgeon
Featured music Gerald Fried
Cinematography by Jerry Finnerman
Production code 034
Original air date September 15, 1967 (1967-09-15)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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List of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes

"Amok Time" is the second season premiere episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek. It is episode #30, production #34, first broadcast on September 15, 1967, in the series' new time slot of 8:30 pm on Friday night, and repeated April 26, 1968. It was the first episode to air (though not the first filmed) featuring regular cast member Walter Koenig, as the ship's navigator, Ensign Pavel Chekov, and also the first one to list DeForest Kelley as Dr. McCoy in the opening credits. It was written by science fiction author Theodore Sturgeon, scored by Gerald Fried, and directed by Joseph Pevney.

The episode features First Officer Spock returning to his homeworld for a brutal Vulcan mating ritual. It is the only episode of the series to depict scenes on the planet Vulcan.


Spock, the first officer of the Federation starship USS Enterprise, begins to exhibit unusual behavior and requests that he be granted leave on his home planet Vulcan. Captain James T. Kirk and Chief Medical Officer Dr. McCoy, having witnessed one of their friend's outbursts, agree and Kirk diverts the ship to Vulcan. En route, Kirk receives orders from Starfleet to travel to Altair VI to represent the Federation at the inauguration ceremony for the planet's new president. Though Kirk instructs the crew to set course to Altair VI, Spock secretly changes course back to Vulcan. Kirk confronts Spock, who claims to have no memory of ordering the course change.

Kirk orders Spock to Sick Bay, where McCoy finds evidence of extreme physical and emotional stress, a condition that will kill him within eight days if not treated. Spock is forced to explain that he is undergoing pon farr, a condition male Vulcans experience periodically throughout their adult life, and that he must mate or die. Kirk contacts Starfleet to request permission to divert to Vulcan but is denied. Kirk disobeys orders, believing that saving the life of his friend is more important than his career.

At Vulcan, Spock invites Kirk and McCoy to accompany him to the wedding ceremony. He explains that Vulcans are bonded as children so as to fulfill the pon farr commitment, and that T'Pring is to be his mate. T'Pring arrives with Stonn, a pureblood Vulcan, whom she prefers to Spock. T'Pau, a matriarch renowned as the only person ever to refuse a seat on the Federation Council, prepares to conduct the ceremony. However, T'Pring demands the kal-if-fee, a physical challenge between Spock and a champion she selects. To everyone's surprise, she chooses Kirk instead of Stonn. Spock begs T'Pau to forbid it as Kirk is unaware of the implications, but T'Pau leaves the decision to Kirk; another champion will be selected if he refuses. Kirk accepts the challenge, only to learn that it is "to the death."

The two begin combat with lirpa, a traditional Vulcan weapon. Kirk is challenged by Spock's strength and agility, even in his current state, as well as the thinner atmosphere of Vulcan. McCoy convinces T'Pau to allow him to inject Kirk with a tri-ox compound to offset the effects of the Vulcan atmosphere. The battle continues, with Spock eventually garroting Kirk with an ahn'woon. McCoy rushes to Kirk's body and declares him dead, and requests immediate transport back to the Enterprise.

Spock renounces his claim on T'Pring, but not before demanding an explanation from her. She explains that she feared losing Stonn in the kal-if-fee. By choosing Kirk, she would be assured of having Stonn in some capacity regardless of the outcome, as the victor would probably free her and would certainly leave Vulcan. Spock, his pon farr ended, returns to the Enterprise, warning Stonn that "having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting."

Aboard the ship, Spock announces his intent to resign his commission and submit himself for trial for killing Kirk, when he discovers Kirk is alive and well in sickbay. McCoy explains that the injection he gave Kirk was a neuroparalyzer drug that merely simulated death. Asked about what followed, Spocks states that he lost all desire for T'Pring after he thought he killed Kirk. Kirk then learns that Starfleet, at T'Pau's request, has belatedly given the Enterprise permission to travel to Vulcan.


For the franchise's 30th anniversary, TV Guide ranked "Amok Time" No. 2 on its list of the 10 best Star Trek episodes.[1] Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club gave the episode an A rating.[2]


Gerald Fried's incidental music for the fight—titled The Ritual/Ancient Battle/2nd Kroykah—became a standard underscore for combat scenes in season 2.[3][4] It was notably spoofed during the Medieval Times sequence in the Jim Carrey film The Cable Guy (1996).[5]


  1. ^ Logan, Michael (August 24, 1996). "10 Truly Stellar Episodes". TV Guide. 
  2. ^ Handlen, Zack (May 1, 2009). ""Amok Time" / "Who Mourns For Adonais?"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved November 2, 2012. 
  3. ^ 'Star Trek' boldly going symphonic, Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved August 23, 2010
  4. ^ Music makes movies memorable, Canadian Online Explorer, June 11, 2000. Retrieved August 23, 2010
  5. ^ "A Loose Live Wire: Carrey's Mugging Turns 'The Cable Guy' into Farcical Turnoff", San Jose Mercury News, June 14, 1996

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