Stardate: 5275.6 (2270)
Original Air Date: September 28, 1974
Writer: Dario Finelli
Director: Bill Reed
“The wanton slaughter of hundreds of people is not a joke, captain.”
After successful delivery of medical supplies to the planet Dramia in the remote Dramian star system, Kirk, Spock, and Dr. McCoy are preparing to beam back aboard the Enterprise when the Dramian High Prefect (James Doohan) and his associate, Commander Demos (Lou Scheimer), arrest Dr. McCoy under the accusation of unleashing a plague which had killed hundreds 19 years earlier on Dramia II.
While Dr. McCoy is imprisoned, the Enterprise travels to Dramia II to investigate the situation. Meanwhile, Demos attempts to sneak aboard the Enterprise but he is easily captured and his ship is impounded (Kirk deliberately orders the gateway for ships opened in order to lure Demos’s ship aboard the Enterprise). The crew then encounters an aurora and on Dramia II they follow a Dramian creature as it runs into an underground cave where the crewmen meet an elder survivor of the plague, Kol-Tai (James Doohan), who claims he was actually saved –rather than harmed– by Dr. McCoy. They bring Kol-Tai aboard the Enterprise but he quickly begins turning blue, along with the rest of the crew amidst an outbreak of the plague. Only Spock remains immune.
Spock rescues Dr. McCoy from confinement and, together, they discover that the aurora has been the true catalyst for the virus. Dr. McCoy uses his existing antibodies to cure everyone, and in the end, he is honored by the Dramians.
My Thoughts on “Albatross”
The idea that an ominous (albeit convenient) aurora is causing a brutal plague among the Dramians bears striking resemblance to the computer disruption caused by the energy field featured in the prior episode, “The Practical Joker.” Why did no one else suggest that the unusual glowing aurora is causing the plague? And why would no one think to use antibodies to cure the plague, in the same way Kol-Tai was previously cured of Saurian virus? Unfortunately, many of these episodes seem to be simply recycling narrative themes we have seen many times over as we rapidly approach the conclusion of the Animated Series.
This episode was the only Star Trek written by Dario Finelli. As far as I can tell, his only other work was the 1970 film Scorpio ’70.
Star Trek Trivia:
- Filmation co-founder Lou Scheimer supplied the voice of a Dramian guard and Demos.
- James Doohan voiced the Dramian Supreme Prefect as well as plague survivor Kol-Tai.
- The aliens in this episode are referred to as Dramian, Draman, and Dramen.