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The Original Star Trek Scene That Always Has Fans Seeing Red

Whether you're a media-seasoned child of the '60s or a native of the Too-Much-Information 2000s, phrases like "Beam me up, Scotty!" and "Vulcan nerve pinch,"(which was actually an improvised "Star Trek" moment) will doubtless conjure up similar mental imagery. Because when it comes to parsing the influence of the original, iconic "Star Trek" TV series, it's hard to overestimate the show's impact on subsequent science fiction on TV and in film, or indeed its tractor-beam-grip on broader pop culture in general.

For anyone unfamiliar with the show who happens to innocently tune in, they'll certainly have opinions about everything from ham-handed dialogue to the often-rudimentary special effects. The truth is, the late Leonard Nimoy, who donned pointy ears as Science Officer Spock, had his own thoughts about the visual effects, telling the Television Academy in this 2010 interview, "We did not have an awful lot of special effects in the original series," he said, adding that the few instances used on the series "were done very crudely and very quickly."

On the other hand, the show pushed boundaries at the time concerning a variety of social issues like race and the non-violent settlement of interplanetary squabbles. So considering all of the above, what's the one scene from the original "Star Trek" series that has fans setting their TV critic phasers to "stunningly inappropriate?"

Captain Kirk's behavior in The Enemy Within has fans cringing

In the 1966 "Enemy Within" episode of the original series, the starship Enterprise's transporter system malfunctions, splitting Captain Kirk (William Shatner) into two opposite versions, one benign, the other sinister. In a later scene, the "evil" Kirk attempts to rape Yeoman Janice Rand (Grace Lee Whitney), who manages to fend him off.

Posting in a discussion on the show's subreddit asking fans to suggest the show's worst scenes, user u/byu says they vote for this disturbing moment and a follow-up scene at the episode's conclusion where, "Spock just leers at Rand while he says: 'The impostor [Kirk] had some very interesting qualities, wouldn't you say, Yeoman?'" adding this is the "creepiest thing Spock ever did." Redditor u/superstubb agreed, saying they took issue with "THE WHOLE EPISODE," while u/ety3rd also chimed in "Agreed on 'Enemy Within.'"

Commenting to TrekMovie.com, actress Whitney said the scene was tough to film, explaining that producer Gene Roddenberry "was there and he wanted it to be real but glamorous. And I thought 'How can you do that?'" She then added that the interaction with Shatner was actually so violent she was "black and blue for a while."

So, for many fans of the original "Star Trek," it's the rape scene coupled with Spock's tone-deaf comment about it in "Enemy Within" that stands as the most objectionable ever and a far cry from the best James T. Kirk episodes ever made. 

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).