The potentially good elements are:
- The Enterprise responding to a distress call, only to find the colonists dead, leaving an apocalyptic log warning of what might be the Enterprise's fate.
- The creepy legend that turns out to be true.
- The psychology of how children both resent and love their parents, and how an evil being can use that to manipulate them.
- Mind control and resistance to it.
But, with the exception of the log, none of these elements has any of the sort of personal details that round it out and give it character. It is told in generics. The legend is simply about a "band of marauders," defeated by their victims but awaiting a catalyst to return. The Gorgan exercises his control over children because evil maintains power by misleading the innocent. Neither his motives nor the children's are ever addressed. The children are oblivious to their parents being dead, even as they frolic among the bodies, until Kirk shows them the bodies and tombstones on film. The Enterprise crew falls to pieces, sometimes in response to things that are obvious unreal or impossible. Captain Kirk starts to fall to pieces, then shakes off the mind control and says the beast lost its power in the light of reality. Once the children see their dead parents on screen, it all becomes much more real than in person and they start to cry. And once the children start to cry the Gorgan breaks out in hideous sores for no discernible reason and disappears.
Clearly to make this into a decent episode it needs a lot of work. Things that will either need to be fleshed out or explained include:
- The nature of the beings who once lived on this planet
- What happened to them?
- The nature of the Gorgan. He appears to have no power in the material realm, being unable to so much as push a button and needing material surrogates to do it for him via mind control. So what sort of being is he?
- The origin of the name Gorgan.
- The reason children and adults react differently to to Gorgan's mind control.
- The Gorgan's motives. OK, we get a hint here that his plan is to conquer to Universe, but we could use just a little more specificity.
- The children's motives.
- Why Marcus XII?
- Why was Kirk and only Kirk able to overcome the mind control?
- Why did seeing dead parents on the screen have so much more effect on the children than seeing them in the flesh?
- Why does the Gorgan turn hideous when the children turn against him?
- Many, many other things as well.
In an attempt to keep this to a manageable number of posts, I will combine these into a few larger topics:
- The apocalyptic log
- The legend (including the nature of the Gorgan)
- How the Gorgan controls the children
- How he extends his control to adults
- How they defeat his mind control
These subjects are in rough chronological order. They are also in order, in my view, from what works best to what works worst. So let's address these topic one by one.