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According to Memory Alpha's In Universe Timeline, the story sequence is:
The Empath : The Mark of Gideon : Spock's Brain.
In the Remastered Episodes Chronology, the release sequence is
Whom Gods Destroy : The Mark of Gideon : The Lights of Zetar.

Summary

Kirk is going to beam down to the isolationist planet of Gideon, but instead of the ground he materializes on a totally unmanned Enterprise. Moreover, he lost nine minutes in which he obviously bruised his arm. Kirk meets an apparently confused woman named Odona who too was transferred to the empty Enterprise. As Kirk gets closer to Odona, he notices that they are being watched. He is not on the Enterprise, but on a perfect replica of the ship.

It was built for the sole purpose to bring Kirk and Odona together, to infect her with the deadly Vegan choriomeningitis, whose virus Kirk is carrying. Gideon is hopelessly overpopulated, and by introducing an illness Hodin, the council leader and Odona's father, hopes to ease the situation. Meanwhile Spock has defied orders from his superiors and Hodin's warning and has beamed down to search the captain. He beams back with Kirk and Odona, and McCoy successfully treats her infection. Odona, however, is now carrying the virus and still hopes to "help" her people by spreading it.

Errors and Explanations

The Nitpicker's Guide for Classic Trekkers

Plot Oversights

  1. Just after coming aboard the fake Enterprise, Kirk says that he has searched every area of the ship. When Spock beams in, he states that the copy is an exact duplicate of the real Enterprise. How would Gideon, a nonaligned world, get exact specifications of a Starfleet vessel’? Probably the same way they found out about Kirk once having Vegan Choriomentingitis.
  2. If space is at such a premium on Gideon, why go to all this trouble—and space--to build this rather large starcraft, which will be used for only a relatively short amount of time? (Presumably the Gideons didn't intend for Kirk to live there the rest of his life. Maybe they planned to use it as an amusement park.) Perhaps they built it deep underground, in order to teach their children about the Federation.
  3. All the group shots of Gideons show them dressed in bland unisex clothing and head-hugging hoods. Where did they get Odana's outfit—Frederick's of Orion? And why does she seem so comfortable in it even when she strolls around the real Enterprise? ls this standard attire for the council leader's daughter? She is part of the planet's elite, and would need clothing to reflect her station in life.
  4. As Odana grows sick, Hodin asks her, “What’s it like to feel pain?" Come on . . . doesn't anyone stub his or her toe on this planet’? Hodin is probably referring to serious pain.
  5. The Gideons must have an amazing agricultural base. Normally, runaway populations are curbed by lack of resources. For some reason, this rule doesn't apply on Gideon. Odana claims that the entire planet is one mass of people. lf that's true, how do they grow their food, and where do they get their water’? They probably have underground chambers.
  6. The Gideons had planned for Kirk to fall so hopelessly in love with Odana that he would gladly stay and provide deadly transfusions to change the course of their world. They certainly miscalculated on this point! They had no idea just how fast our dear captain can fall in and out of love.They probably don't expect a man to reject her.[N 1]

Equipment Oddities

  1. At the beginning of the episode Kirk beams on to the fake Enterprise. Thinking that he is still on the real Enterprise and upset that Spock left the room before completing the transport, Kirk marches off the pad and snaps on the intercom. He pages Spock and, receiving no answer, snaps it off and then on and then off before leaving. At the end of the episode, Spock does something very similar, except the intercom makes “boops” when the Vulcan flips the switch. What changed’? Why is this fake intercom suddenly making sounds? It may be starting to malfunction.

Internet Movie Database

Plot holes

  1. Given the amount of time Kirk has spent on his ship, he should have known immediately that he was no longer on his ship.Spock states that the copy is an exact duplicate of the real Enterprise.
  2. Of all of the methods Kirk offers to solve Gideon's problem of overpopulation, the obvious solution is never addressed: sending the surplus population to colonize other planets, something done regularly by all spacefaring cultures in the Star Trek universe. They may have refused to leave.
  3. The Gideon plot to trick Kirk to think he's back on his ship when he's still on Gideon, is unnecessary. They just want any sickness his body might contain to infect a Gideon, which could be achieved by having him interact with any Gideon person in the council chamber, or anywhere else in the region. The disease in Kirk's blood is dormant, meaning that normal interaction would not result in the disease spreading.

Nit Central

  1. Murray Leeder on Saturday, December 12, 1998 - 10:49 am: Seeing that they have Federation connections and therefore spaceflight, why not just evacuate a portion of the population? Where would you evacuate them to? How would you choose who went and who stayed? How would you pursuade the 'departees' to leave? How would you carry out this 'evacuation'?

Notes

  1. However, there is the problem that the Gideon's plan would require Kirk to violate the spirit of the Prime Directive. He would also be reluctant to agree to the plan due to his memories of the mass murder engineered by Kodos, as mentioned in The Conscience of the King.

Sources


The Original Series Season 3
Spectre of the Gun I Elaan of Troyius I The Paradise Syndrome I The Enterprise Incident I And the Children Shall Lead I Spock's Brain I Is There in Truth No Beauty? I The Empath I The Tholian Web I For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky I Day of the Dove I Plato's Stepchildren I Wink of an Eye I That Which Survives I Let That Be Your Last Battlefield I Whom Gods Destroy I The Mark of Gideon I The Lights of Zetar I The Cloud Minders I The Way to Eden I Requiem for Methuselah I The Savage Curtain I All Our Yesterdays I Turnabout Intruder
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