Day of the Dove couldn’t have been more explicit in his condemnation of war, violence, and torture. The episodes sends this pacifist message totally in line with the ideals of Gene Roddenberry with a story with Klingons, now undoubtedly the most present antagonists of Kirk and the whole Federation (see Errand of Mercy, Friday’s Child, The Trouble with Tribbles, and A Private Little War). The episode begins with a distress call from a Federation colony but when Kirk and his landing party get there they cannot find any trace of it. When a Klingon ship appears, everyone immediately thinks of a new weapon of mass destruction used by the arch-enemies on the poor colonists.
But things soon turn out to be more complicated, since the Klingon ship is not in good shape, only a few members remain of the crew, and it seems that they too have been attracted by a distress call and accuse the other party, in this case the Enterprise, to have attacked them. After an initial exchange of pleasantries that’s anything but friendly, Kirk with a trick manages to imprison Commander Kang (Michael Ansara) and his men (also his wife, actually, scientific officer Mara, Susan Howard), who however turn out to be guests extremely difficult to keep at bay. And this is especially true because weapons begin to materialize on board the Enterprise, and because the aggression levels of all those on board increase dramatically for no apparent reason. Why?
As usual, the responsible is a very powerful (non-humanoid) alien who studies the behavior of humans and Klingons by launching the Enterprise at full speed towards the borders of the galaxy. Although different, this episode reminded me of The Killing Game, double episode of the fourth season of Star Trek: Voyager in which the Hirogens take control of the USS Voyager and use the holodeck to test the resistance and aggressiveness of the Starfleet crew. The alien does the same thing in Day of the Dove, and it also increases people’s regenerative abilities to make sure they fight relentlessly. Actually, I should have started this paragraph by writing that The Killing Game reminded me of Day of the Dove, since the original series can only inspire Star Trek: Voyager and not vice versa!
In short, this is another remarkable episode. The message is clear and nice, it was undeniably a source of inspiration for subsequent episodes of Star Trek (Michael Ansara would even reinterpret his character both in an episode of Deep Space Nine, Blood Oath, and in one of Voyager, Flashback), and although the ending is perhaps a little too rushed, it’s great to see some optimism suggesting that maybe even us bellicose humans of the XXI century could stop fighting each other and regain control of our ship (Earth) which is on the verge of self-destruction… Hopefully we can do it! Ciao!
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