According to Memory Alpha's original in Universe Timeline, the story sequence is:
Wink of an Eye : Whom Gods Destroy : Let That Be Your Last Battlefield.
In the Remastered Episodes Chronology, the release sequence is
A Private Little War : Whom Gods Destroy : The Mark of Gideon.


Kirk and Spock beam down to Elba II, a penal colony for the criminally insane, to deliver a medicine that could heal them. They are welcomed by Governor Cory, who leads them to a cell in which Governor Cory is being held as a prisoner! The wrong Cory turns out to be Captain Garth, who has acquired the ability of shapeshifting and who is leading a mutiny of the prisoners. Garth morphs to Captain Kirk, but he fails to fool Scott on the Enterprise, because he does not know the password.

Garth tortures Cory and then Kirk himself to get the password, but in vain. His attempt to trick Kirk into revealing the password by morphing into Spock fails as well. After a bizarre "coronation ceremony" Garth demonstrates his power by killing his inmate Marta with a powerful explosive. Spock manages to escape from his cell, only to face two Kirks that both claim to be the right one. But he finally identifies Garth in disguise and stuns him with a phaser. The treatment of the prisoners with the new medicine proves to be almost immediately successful.

Errors and Explanations

The Nitpicker's Guide for Classic Trekkers

Plot Oversights

  1. It has not been a good year for Starfleet. In The Tholian Web, Spock emphatically states that-until the discovery of the mutinous crew of the USS Defiant-there has never been a mutiny aboard a starship. Yet this episode states that Garth’s crew mutinied when he ordered them to destroy the inhabitants on Antos lV. So either Garth's mutiny happened some time ago and Spock simply forgot, or Startleet has had two mutinies in very recent history. Garth is described as the newest inmate at the asylum, which logically means his mutiny must have occurred AFTER the events of The Tholian Web.
  2. When Garth changes from the appearance of Cory back to himself, his clothes alter as well. The real Cory states that Garth’s ability to assume different appearances comes from cellular manipulation. If that's true and the clothes change, then the clothes must be part of Garth’s body. This actually makes sense because of the ring on Garth's right index finger. Alter Garth as Kirk discovers that the real captain has created a special password to gain access to the ship, he gets very angry. He pounds the floor and reverts to his normal appearance. In the process, the top of his ring goes bouncing across the floor. Yet, in a later scene, it is suddenly back together. It the ring is pan of his body, Garth could simply pick it up, hold it against his skin, and command the cells to reconnect. Garth’s abilities are even more amazing than this, however: When he changes from Cory to Garth, a working phaser appears on his waist. Did he hide this phaser in his stomach, or can he actually create functioning machinery from body parts? Maybe a combination of the two.
  3. Spock's behavior at the end of this episode is nothing short of ridiculous. There are a multitude of ways to determine which is the real Kirk, and Spock avails himself of none of them. The simplest way would be to stun them both—a suggestion that Kirk finally throws in the face of the Vulcan at the end of the fight, since Spock seems unable to conceive it. They are standing too far apart for Spock to hit them poth with a single stun beam, which would be the only way to imobilise both at once (Stunning them in turn is too risky, as stunning the real Kirk first would allow Garth to attack Spock. In any case, stunning them might impair the effectiveness of a mind-meld.) Only slightly more complex is asking information that only he and Kirk would know. For instance, “What was the first weapon used in the Koon-ut-kal-if-fee?" (It was the Iirpa, for those of you who do not remember.) There is a possibility of Garth working out the correct answer from the question. [N 1]
  4. At the very end of the episode, Kirk talks with Spock about his method of flushing out Garth and comments, “Mr. Spock, letting yourself be hit on the head is not exactly a method King Solomon would have approved.” Garth didn’t hit Spock on the head. He shoved the Vulcan into a wall as Kirk watched. [N 2] Spock's head must have hit the wall when Garth pushed him.

Internet Movie Database

Revealing mistakes

  1. When Garth (as Kirk) and Kirk are fighting, it is very obvious that Garth/Kirk is a double. The stress of the fight is sufficient to disrupt his impersonation of Kirk.

Nit Central

  1. John A. Lang on Friday, June 13, 2003 - 5:43 pm: Just why are there TWO planets for insane people? (Elba II & Tantalus IV) Isn't there room for the 15 people on Elba II to live on Tantalus IV? Sure, the people on Elba II are more insane, but still, 15 more people on Tantalus IV shouldn't take up THAT much room! Just put an addition on one of the buildings and there you go! Tantalus IV - from Dagger of the Mind - may have been closed down, possibly due to either the actions of Dr Adams, the retirement of Dr Van Gelder, or both.

Ex Astris Scientia

  1. Why isn't McCoy or anyone of his staff in the landing party when the mission is to deliver a medicine? Interestingly, McCoy didn't beam down to Tantalus either in The Original Series: "Dagger of the Mind", but that was because he had an argument with Kirk about Dr. Adams's methods. Enterprise is there only to deliver the medication, so McCoy doesn't really need to attend.
  2. What happened to Cory's staff? It is never mentioned.Perhaps Garth, while impersonating Cory, tricked the staff into letting themselves be locked away!


  1. Phil Farrand: Of course, Spock exercises an option fraught with unpredictabilities. He lets Garth push him into a wall and then watches as the two captains duke it out. (I suppose we can allow this over-sight, given that Spock's brain was reconnected by McCoy at the beginning of this season. Yes . . . it's the excuse that keeps on giving!)
  2. Phil Farrand: I know. I know. I've read about this episode in Star Trek Lives. I know that the fight scene was rewritten because Nimoy adamantly refused to have Garth knock him out with one blow to the head. Quite correctly, Nimoy held fast to the premise that Spock had never been knocked unconscious before in a fight, and he felt it would violate his character. This is the wonderful thing about being a nitpicker. l don't have to deal in reality!

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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