For more than fifty years, Star Trek has been showing us that words are more powerful than the strongest phaser or mightiest army. How many episodes have been resolved through an eloquent, heartfelt speech to the right individual, inspiring a ceasefire or encouraging a change in mentality? It’s a staple of our beloved franchise, and part of why Star Trek is so unique. However, there have been instances in which words have literally been used to destroy or fatally incapacitate an enemy- specifically, a computerized enemy. In particular, The Original Series had a habit of encouraging machines to destroy themselves using nothing but words- out of 79 episodes, a whopping 5 have been concluded in this manner, or in something similar.
This week’s poll asks you for your favorite episode in which Kirk and company destroyed a computer, or caused said computer to commit suicide, using nothing but speech, arguments, and visual stimuli. Was Nomad, from “The Changeling”, your favorite victim, who met his end when Kirk pointed out that the murderous probe’s actions proved it was just the sort of imperfect being it itself sought to eliminate? Or were you more swayed by the M5’s realization that it had killed hundreds of innocent people, in “The Ultimate Computer?” Perhaps the more light-hearted, comedic approach of “I. Mudd” was more to your taste? Never again would the crew of the Enterprise act so silly. Or did you prefer something else, one not mentioned here?