"The Deadly Years"
Series Star Trek
Season 2, Episode 12
TOS 2x12 001
Air date December 8th, 1967
Writers David P. Harmon
Director Joseph Pevney
Producers Gene Roddenberry; Gene L. Coon; Robert H. Justman
Starring William Shatner; Leonard Nimoy; DeForest Kelley
Episode guide
"Friday's Child"

"The Deadly Years" is the twelvth episode of season two of the American science fiction television series Star Trek and the forty-second episode of the series overall. It was directed by Joseph Pevney and written by David P. Harmon. It first aired on NBC on Friday, December 8th, 1967. It was first commercially released in Betamax format in the United States in 1986. It was released in VHS format in 1994 and was first pressed to DVD in 2001. The episode has been included on the Star Trek: The Complete Series DVD collection, and disc three of the remastered Star Trek: The Original Series: Season Two HD-DVD collection.

Synopsis Edit

TOS 2x12 002

Yeoman Atkins speaks with the aging Captain Kirk.

On Stardate 3478.2, the starship USS Enterprise, on her way to Starbase 10, makes a stop at the planet Gamma Hydra IV, to resupply the research station on the surface. A landing party, consisting of Captain Kirk, first officer Spock, ship surgeon Doctor McCoy, engineer Montgomery Scott, navigator Ensign Pavel Chekov, and Lieutenant Arlene Galway, beams down to the facility.

Once there, they find the station completely empty, and no personnel are seen. This is bizarre since Kirk spoke to the station's leader, Robert Johnson, an hour earlier. Exploring further, Ensign Chekov discovers the body of a man who apparently has died of old age and panics.

Suddenly Johnson appears with his wife Elaine. Both are in their late 20's, yet appear to have aged 50 more years. The landing team beams back to the Enterprise with Johnson and his wife. There are still no clues to what is going on, as the two soon die in sickbay. Doctor McCoy rules their cause of death as "extreme old age".

Commodore Stocker (who is on his way to Starbase 10) wants some answers. Kirk has Mister Spock and Dr. Janet Wallace (an old flame of Kirk's) assist in the investigation. The only theory Spock can give at this time is a strange comet-like object passed by Gamma Hydra IV quite recently. It may have somehow caused the rapid aging effect, but how is not certain.

Soon the landing party begins to experience the rapid aging effect. Scotty turns up in sickbay with white hair, and claiming to feel unwell. Kirk begins to have memory loss and arthritis symptoms in his hands. His hair is turning grey and wrinkles are forming on his face. In fact, by McCoy's estimate, he's aging at the rate of 30 years per day. McCoy also has white hair and facial wrinkles. Soon almost all of the landing party, Spock, McCoy, Scotty and Lieutenant Galway are all showing signs of rapid aging. Ensign Chekov, however, remains unaffected. Lieutenant Galway ages more rapidly than the other members of the landing party, on account of her metabolism, and soon dies. By now they have learned that the comet-like object gave off radiation that apparently caused the effect, but standard radiation sickness treatments using the drug hyronalin prove useless.

TOS 2x12 003

Bones is not dealing with it well.

As Kirk continues to age, he becomes increasingly forgetful, prompting Commodore Stocker to order Spock to commence a compentency hearing in order to rule him unfit for command. With Spock also afflicted, and himself being the only flag officer on hand, Stocker takes over the ship. Stocker has no deep space training, but he believes he can command the ship nevertheless. He orders a fast, direct course to Starbase 10, ignoring the warnings that his short-cut will take the ship right through the Romulan neutral zone.

Meanwhile, Kirk, McCoy and Spock try to figure out why Chekov has not been affected. McCoy is forced to use Chekov as a guinea pig test subject, which Chekov doesn't particularly enjoy. Remembering that Chekov had displayed extreme fear during the unexpected discovery of the dead body, McCoy surmises that Chekov's increased adrenaline levels at the time may have protected him in some way. He recalls research that showed adrenaline was a promising treatment for radiation sickness, but the research was abandoned when hyronalin was discovered. Mr. Spock and Dr. Wallace begin work on an adrenalin-based drug to treat the landing party's symptoms.

In the meantime, several Romulan ships detect the Enterprise's intrusion and immediately attack, quickly surrounding the Enterprise. Commodore Stocker tries to contact the Romulans and explain his reason for trespassing in the Neutral Zone, but they ignore him. Stocker, because of his non-experience with commanding a starship, is paralyzed with indecision and even considers surrendering, but is reminded that Romulans take no prisoners.

With the Enterprise's shields rapidly failing, Spock announces that the drug is ready, although it may kill instead of cure. Kirk insists on taking the first injection so that he can resume command before the ship is destroyed. The drug successfully reverses the aging effect, and Kirk heads to the bridge and relieves Stocker.

Kirk bluffs the Romulans by sending a fake message to Starfleet Command (using the recently-broken 'Code 2') announcing that the Enterprise will self-destruct using the Corbomite Device which will destroy the Enterprise and any ship within a 200,000 kilometer diameter. The ruse works and the Romulans back off. Kirk then orders an immediate retreat at Warp 8 back to Federation space. With the help of the new drug, the rest of the landing party are reverted to their physically normal ages.

Cast Edit

Principal Cast Edit

Actor Role
William Shatner Captain James T. Kirk
Leonard Nimoy Science Officer Spock
DeForest Kelley Leonard "Bones" McCoy

Guest Stars Edit

Actor Role
James Doohan Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott
George Takei Ensign Hikaru Sulu
Nichelle Nichols Lieutenant Nyota Uhura
Majel Barrett Nurse Christine Chapel
Walter Koenig Ensign Pavel Checkov
Felix Locher Robert Johnson
Carolyn Nelson Yeoman Doris Atkins
Laura Wood Elaine Johnson
Beverly Washburn Lieutenant Arlene Galway
Frank da Vinci Lieutenant Brent
Roger Holloway Lieutenant Lemli
Eddie Paskey Lieutenant Leslie

Notes & Trivia Edit

  • Stardate: 3478.2
  • Production code number: 60340

Allusions Edit

Bloopers Edit

Quotes Edit

See also Edit


The World of Star Trek

Star Trek miscellaneous

External Links Edit

Series links Edit

Episode links Edit

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