This episode should be idiotic, but somehow it isn’t. A blob of hamburger lava is killing miners (good to know a Brooklyn accent will still survive among the working class many centuries from now) and the Enterprise is sent to investigate. The monster (a Horta) leaves tunnels and silver spheres in her wake and after a Vulcan mind-meld we realize it is just a big misunderstanding. Despite the giant human and horta bodycount, everyone agrees to work together and mine for a more profitable future. Now: despite the fact that the Horta looks like a pepperoni pizza with fuzzy feet, the suspense manages to be real. It’s a solid monster hunt. And we actually feel bad for the Horta when we learn she is protecting her eggs. (This bubble is burst when McCoy performs an emergency cement spackle.) This episode has one of the most beautifully idiotic exchanges in all of Trek. Spock says something about the miners being unable to stop the monster with their phasers, however they are only equipped with “Phaser 1.” Kirk retorts, “We can equip them with Phaser 2!” Spock, just for the aid of those of us in the audience who may not have caught on, quips back, “Which is considerably stronger than Phaser 1.” Awesome.