The fifth episode shot but the first ever aired. And wisely so. A tremendous amount of fun — a shapeshifting monster is on the loose and searching for salt! Wearing its 60s liberalism on its sleeve the show asks that we not hate the monster for killing us — it’s just his way! (And allusions to the extinct buffalo and by extension the American Indian genocide are peppered in for good measure, too.) But never mind that. There’s a salt vampire on the loose! And McCoy is blinded by his past lust and is powerless to stop it!
What I love so much about the early episodes is how the Star Trek world hadn’t yet been scrubbed of its inelegant earthly elements. (Read: Crewman Darnell’s reference to “Wrigley’s Pleasure Planet.”) Also: character arcs that never really went anywhere. Sulu is a botanist here and Uhura has the hots for Spock. Also, the sound effects aren’t quite all there yet. I love the dopey echo when they first get to the Professor’s dwelling.
Anyway, this is a top notch episode. Highly recommended. And not just cause the Professor’s wife licks her salty fingers after she touches Kirk’s sweaty head.