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The Enterprise crew is being observed as their suitability to meet with advanced civilizations.


Gene Roddenberry (created by), David Gerrold




Episode cast overview:
William Shatner ... Capt. Kirk (voice)
Leonard Nimoy ... Mr. Spock (voice)
DeForest Kelley ... Dr. McCoy (voice) (credit only)
George Takei ... Sulu (voice) (credit only)
Nichelle Nichols ... Uhura / Alien Entity (voice)
Majel Barrett ... Nurse Chapel (voice) (credit only)
James Doohan ... Scott / Ari bn Bem / Arex (voice)


An alien observer aboard the Enterprise, capable of detaching its body parts, chooses a dangerous mission to test Kirk and Spock's resourcefulness to deem them worthy of contact with his people. His interference (deliberately switching Kirk and Spock's communicators and phasers with fakes) imperils Kirk's and Spock's lives - especially when a bodiless entity arrives, angered by the harm they pose to the lizard-like tribe she watches over. Written by statmanjeff

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Official Sites:

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Release Date:

14 September 1974 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Color | Color (technicolor)
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Did You Know?


This episode was originally developed for the first season of this series; however, it was postponed because Gerrold and D.C. Fontana were disappointed with the script due to Gene Roddenberry's frequent changes to it. See more »


Kirk maintains an eye on Commander Bem among the aborigines, fearing against permanently losing track of him otherwise. This doesn't make sense. Commander Bem is a unique species in the area. It shouldn't be hard for the Enterprise to locate him in the relatively small area. See more »


Capt. Kirk: This is an odd time to remain adamant.
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Featured in Drawn to the Final Frontier (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

BEM is pretty weird...and annoying.
12 April 2015 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

As usual, the animation quality of the show is sub-par--even by 1970s standards (which were extremely low to begin with). The cell count (which controls the fluidity and realism of the animation) is terrible, the drawings amateurish (as if done by children) and the show is an abomination to lovers of animation. Trek fans might be more forgiving of this than most because of their love of the franchise, but objectively speaking it is a lousy looking episode.

As for the plot, a Mr. BEM is serving, temporarily, aboard the Enterprise. This weird looking alien starts behaving strangely on a landing party and he's replaced Kirk and Spock's communicators with non-working fakes. It turns out he's testing the two to determine if the Federation is civilized or not--and there is a strange disembodied voice who gets involved as well. Do they pass? And who is that weird voice?

This show is kind of weird, as Mr. BEM can split in pieces and do really weird things! As it's a cartoon, this is possible--but there is no way such a character would have been possible on the live action show! Was it good? Not especially good but watchable if you are a die-hard Trek fan. Otherwise, easy to skip--mostly because the BEM character is so stupid and annoying.

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