Operation: Annihilate!

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"Operation: Annihilate!"
Star Trek: The Original Series episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 29
Directed by Herschel Daugherty
Written by Steven W. Carabatsos
Featured music Alexander Courage
Cinematography by Jerry Finnerman
Production code 029
Original air date April 13, 1967 (1967-04-13)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The City on the Edge of Forever"
Next →
"Amok Time"

"Operation: Annihilate!" is the last original episode from the first season of the original American science fiction television series Star Trek. It is episode #29, production #29, and was broadcast April 13, 1967, it is written by Stephen W. Carabatsos, and directed by Herschel Daugherty.

In the episode, the crew of the USS Enterprise must find a way to exterminate malevolent parasitic creatures that have taken over the bodies of residents of a Federation colony.


The Federation starship the USS Enterprise is tracking a path of mass insanity that has gripped several planets in its wake, causing collapse of their civilizations, they approach Deneva, a Federation outpost where Captain Kirk's (William Shatner) brother, Sam, has been stationed along with Sam's wife Aurelan and son Peter. On entering the system, they witness a ship directly dive into the local sun, its pilot raving incoherently about being "free" up until its destruction, and the Enterprise crew fear they may be too late.

Transporting to Deneva, Kirk, First Officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Chief Medical Officer Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) and a security detail find the outpost quiet. A group of men from the outpost come out and try to warn the landing party away and suddenly fall into a fit of violence. Kirk has the men stunned, and McCoy finds that they are still being stimulated to behave violently despite being unconscious, they explore the outpost and locate the Kirk family home; Sam (William Shatner in a dual role) lies dead on the floor, while Aurelan (Joan Swift) acts irrationally before passing out and Peter (Craig Hundley) is comatose. Kirk and McCoy return with the survivors to the Enterprise, where McCoy finds they are suffering from violent tendencies similarly to the outpost men. McCoy gives both painkillers, and Aurelan wakes briefly to tell Kirk that horrible "things" came eight months ago, and are looking to spread beyond the planet through the ability to control people's bodies. Aurelan begs Kirk not to let them go any further, after screaming in pain, she dies.

Kirk returns to the planet and joins Spock in search for these entities, they find a number of macroscopic single-cell organisms attached to the walls and ceiling of one building. The organisms fly, and attempt to attack the humans; the landing party finds they are immune to phaser fire. One makes contact with Spock before Kirk can pry it off, and Spock falls in pain, they transport back to the Enterprise, and McCoy determines that the creature has injected some of its tissue into Spock's spinal column, and it will be impossible to remove surgically. When Spock regains consciousness, he is able to break free of his bonds and attempts to take control of the ship but McCoy sedates him in time. Later, Spock apologizes to Kirk and asserts that his mental discipline can control the pain, but that he must return to the surface to acquire a specimen to study. Kirk and McCoy agree, and Spock, on return to the outpost, is able to stun a creature. Returning to the Enterprise, Spock determines that the creatures are part of a hive mind, and apparently indestructible, they recall the ship pilot that claimed he was free before diving into the sun, and suspect the sun's properties may harm the creatures. Despite numerous tests, Spock and McCoy fail to find a solution.

Kirk holds a senior staff meeting, asserting they must find a solution before these creatures reach the next inhabited planet, holding over a million people, without harming them. A debate ensues, but Kirk rejects offered solutions as having too high a toll. While using a computer, he realizes that they have not tried visible light as a means to defeat the creatures. An initial test of blinding light results in the death of the specimen in sick bay. Spock then volunteers to be exposed to an intense beam of light without eye protection to prove that the creatures can be killed while infecting a host. While the test proves successful, Spock—now freed of the influence of the creatures—has gone blind, it is only then that analysis of the initial test shows that only a non-visible portion of the light spectrum was necessary to kill the creature, which causes Kirk and McCoy to realize that Spock was unnecessarily blinded. The Enterprise floods the outpost with ultraviolet light from an array of satellites, killing the creatures on the planet and purging the parasites from the survivors, as the Enterprise prepares to leave orbit, Spock reveals that his secondary Vulcan eyelids had prevented permanent blindness and that he can now see again.

Production notes[edit]

The script, which was written by Steven W. Carabatsos, was originally titled "Operation: Destroy". Aurelan was a Denevan woman in love with a man named Kartan, and it was Kartan who flew the ship into the Denevan sun in the cold open sequence. Aurelan's father was also a major character in the teleplay, and the two colonists were not infected by the "Denevan neural parasites". Instead, they helped Dr. McCoy and Mr. Spock with the research into how light could destroy the parasites,[1] the script did not originally end with the Enterprise crew using light to destroy the parasites. Instead, the ship learns the location of the aliens' home world, and destroys the central controlling "brain" located there. Author James Blish used this draft of the script when adapting the episode for print, and this ending appears in the chapter "Operation: Annihilate!" in the anthology Star Trek 2.[2]

This was the first episode of the series to be directed by Herschel Daugherty. Daugherty would later direct Season Three's "The Savage Curtain" as well,[3] it was also the first appearance in Star Trek for child actor Craig Hundley, who played "Peter Kirk". He would also portray "Tommy Starnes" in the third-season episode "And the Children Shall Lead".[4]

Location shooting occurred in two places, the scene where the Enterprise landing party beams down to the surface was filmed at the TRW Space and Defense Park (now the Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems Space Systems Center of Excellence) in Redondo Beach, California.[5] The entrance of Sam Kirk's laboratory is the cafeteria on the TRW campus,[5][6] the exterior of Sam Kirk's laboratory, which features white pylons, is Schoenberg Hall at the University of California, Los Angeles.[5] Filming at TRW occurred on February 15, 1967.[6]

The neural parasites were created by prop designer Wah Chang from bags of fake vomit.[7]

The episode aired on April 13, 1967, and was the final episode to air in the series' first season.[8] One scene did not make it into the episode, this scene came at the end of the story, and featured Peter Kirk (dressed in a command division tunic) sitting in the captain's chair on the bridge while his uncle, James T. Kirk, agrees to let him return to Deneva to live with Sam Kirk's research partner and friend, although filmed, it was edited out due to time constraints.[9] This left actor Hundley with no lines in the finished episode; the character of Peter Kirk spends the entire show unconscious. It also left the episode with no explanation of what becomes of Peter.


Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club gave the episode an 'B+' rating, describing it as "a little rocky in places" but otherwise praising the alien menace and Nimoy's acting.[10]

The episode is popular for revealing new facts about Vulcan physiology. Galaxie 500, an American alternative rock band, wrote a song about the episode for their 1990 album This Is Our Music, the song was titled "Spook", but the band secretly used the title "Spock" since the lyrics referred to Spock's blindness in this episode:[11]

When you went blind

Then I nearly lost my mind It didn't last

'Cause you have another eyelid


  1. ^ Asherman, p. 65.
  2. ^ Blish, p. 82.
  3. ^ Clark, p. 221.
  4. ^ Schuster and Rathbone, p. 211.
  5. ^ a b c Okuda, Mirek, and Okuda, p. 530.
  6. ^ a b Morison, Jeanette. "May I See Your Badge, Mister - Uh, Spock?" The Retirees Association. No date. Archived December 30, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Accessed 2014-01-02.
  7. ^ Clark, p. 167, 237.
  8. ^ Schuster and Rathbone, p. 349.
  9. ^ "Peter Kirk." Memory-Alpha.org. No date. Accessed 2014-01-02.
  10. ^ Handlen, Zack. "The City On The Edge Of Forever" / "Operation--Annihilate!" The A.V. Club. April 24, 2009. Accessed 2012-07-15.
  11. ^ Wareham, p. 143.


  • Asherman, Alan. The Star Trek Compendium. New York: Pocket Books, 1981.
  • Blish, James. Star Trek 2. New York: Bantam Books, 1968.
  • Clark, Mark. Star Trek FAQ: Everything Left to Know about the First Voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Milwaukee, Wisc.: Applause Theatre & Cinema, 2012.
  • Okuda, Denise; Mirek, Debbie; and Okuda, Michael. The Star Trek Encyclopedia. New York: Pocket Books, 2011.
  • Schuster, Hal and Rathbone, Wendy. Trek: The Unauthorized A-Z. New York: HarperPrism, 1994.
  • Wareham, Dean. Black Postcards: A Memoir. New York: Penguin Books, 2009.

External links[edit]