James T. Kirk 101: Four episodes that define the Enterprise captain

By: H&I Staff     Posted: November 16, 2016, 9:30AM

It's been said before that we love Captain James T. Kirk. We are not discrediting the other captains, but you have to show some love for the man who originally went where no man had gone before. (Yeah, yeah, we know, Christopher Pike in "The Cage." You know what we mean.)

We want to share the love and give you the lowdown on Captain Kirk. He's daring, dramatic, smooth and, well, classic! 

"Risk is our business. That's what this starship is all about. That's why we're aboard her." — "Return to Tomorrow"


Kirk is a hero for the ages and a man among men. He is admired by his peers and respected by his oppenents. This captain is known for his ability to think outside the box and maneuver tricky situations like a chess aficionado. However, nobody is perfect. He does have his flaws. For example, he tends to ignore regulations when the ends justify the means. He is commited to his vision, his crew and his "cowboy diplomacy" that his served him well. But where did he come from and how did it all begin? 


"Conquest is easy. Control is not." — "Mirror, Mirror" 


James T. Kirk was born in Iowa on planet Earth and became a serious student at Starfleet Academy. When it comes to being a Starfleet officer, he is a great example of contrast. Despite depending on 23rd-century technology, he resovled conflicts with a primative, hands-on approach. His dream is "a beach to walk on" with a beautiful woman by his side, but his passion for his crew and his ship is always top priority. While he is a ladies man, no woman can come between him and the Starship Enterprise. 

Shatner shines in every episode, but if you're looking for some extra Kirk-tacular episodes, we've got a manageable list for you: 

"The Enemy Within" (season one, episode five)
Evil Kirk versus Good Kirk! Yin and yang! An eerie yellow ore from the planet Alfa 177 (home to some adorable unicorn dogs) splits the Captain into two. The evil twin acknowledges, and exacerbates, the faults in Kirk.

"Court Martial" (season one, episode 14)
 Kirk is on trail for the death of one his subordinates. (Not a Redshirt, surprisingly.) Kirk eagers accepts the challenge of standing up for himself: "I demand it! And right now…"

"Shore Leave" (season one, episode 15) 
Kirk wrestles some ghosts from his past — quite literally — when the crew takes a not-so-relaxing vacation. His long-lost love, Ruth, also materializes on the planet that brings fantasies to life. In Kirk's case, this means both adversaries and lovers.

"The City on the Edge of Forever" (season one, episode 28)
"Spock… I believe… I'm in love with Edith Keeler," Kirk confesses to his friend. "Jim, Edith Keeler must die," Spock bluntly, logically reminds him. It's not easy being in charge in another stellar episode about balancing the heart and the mind.


Want to get to know this captain better? Look for these essential Kirk episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series on H&I, weekdays at 6pET and Sundays at 7pET. 

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