***** (5 stars out of 5)"The Tholian Web" is one of the best. Or, properly, one of my favourites. I especially enjoy its more descriptive (if not entirely spoiler-free) Japanese title: "Crisis of Captain Kirk, Who Was Thrown into Different-Dimensional Space".
Searching for the missing U.S.S. Defiant, our Starfleet pals find it drifting. Space itself is breaking up in an unprecedented way around the derelict and the crew are dead by each other's hands.
"Has there ever been a mutiny on a starship before?" asks Chekov.
"Absolutely no record of such an occurrence, Ensign." Spock asserts.
Spock hasn't seen 'This Side of Paradise" recently. Where he, himself, participates in a mutiny while under the influence of happy plants. Or he literally means there is no record, perhaps because the logs have been deleted. So that's the way they do things! No wonder Jim Kirk hasn't ever been fired for breaking the Prime Directive. He doesn't snitch on the crew, and they don't report him.
They do lose him, though, to the interphase space which is periodically dissolving the Defiant into another reality. The interphase is also driving people into wild fury. They launch attacks against whoever is near. Chekov was first. If that wasn't bad enough, a bunch of crystalline jerks called the Tholians show up in their diamond-shaped ships, lay claim to the space, and trade shots with Enterprise.
The Tholian vessels begin to spread energy filaments that englobe the wounded starship.
Either remembering how important funerary closure is to humans from his adventure with the Galieo seven, or wrongly concluding they just have some spare time, Spock conducts a funeral for Kirk where the participants are wigging out, all screamy and punchy.
"Vulcans are probably immune, so just take your time." McCoy snarks in private later. Spock and Bones can't see eye to eye, even though both want what's best. They play Kirk's last message to them. Jim advises Spock to use intuition as well as logic, and to rely on Bones more often. Similarly, he urges McCoy to show more loyalty to Spock.
Uhura sees the ghostly form of Spacesuit Jim and, of course, sounds crazy when she tells the doc. But McCoy has to take her straps off when he and the others see the floating Kirk apparition, too. (If they're all crazy then it's too late.) Still, McCoy's cure is an alcohol and Klingon nerve poison cocktail, and that sounds sane enough. It deadens the nerves to the point where phaser stun would be ineffective. Scotty walks off to try it with Scotch.
Spock and McCoy bond a teensy bit over their glasses. Spock also expresses to Uhura and Chekov that they were missed while ill. Kirk is beamed out of the interphase, and Enterprise hops across it to escape the Tholian Web.
Kirk wonders: any problems while he was gone?
"None worth reporting," equivocates Spock.
Jim hopes his last orders helped?
"We never had a chance to listen to them," McCoy lies.
And that's how it's done! Always a treat, I wish there were more episodes like this one.
Now, drink a glass of theragen and Scotch before we have to tackle the next episode.