I would rank “The Enterprise Incident” among the classic episodes of TOS Season 3, as well as one of the best of the series as a whole. I’ve likened it to a “City on the Edge of Forever” for Mr. Spock. For that reason, I really wanted the song to be perfect. I spent a long time writing it as well as recording the demo, and insisted we keep the studio version very similar to the original.
This was one of the episodes that really stuck with me from childhood, but as I had not seen it in several years, I found that my reasons for enjoying the episode had shifted. As a child, I loved seeing Kirk sneaking onto the enemy ship in the guise of a Romulan, and I enjoyed the faux conflict between Kirk and Spock. Coming back to the episode as an adult, I found Spock’s understated conflict and his relationship to the Romulan Commander much more interesting. For all the memorable female characters that set TOS apart in its heyday, the Romulan Commander may be the most memorable of all female villains in the series. She is strong-willed and military-minded, yet retains a feminine softness that makes her quite unique in TOS’s run. How much Spock was actually interested in the Romulan Commander and how much was pretense to fulfill his mission is open to conjecture, but there were a few moments in the episode which seemed indicative of inner conflict.
I had the initial inspiration for the song almost immediately upon re-watching the episode; it would be a duet between Spock’s Vulcan and human halves, in conflict between his duty and personal desires. Though I could have simply overdubbed both vocal parts, I decided early on that I wanted to have Chris reenact the Vulcan half of the lyrics, many of which stem almost directly from Spock’s recorded statement in the episode. I thought it necessary to differentiate the two primary voices so that the tension would be heightened and the meaning of the song clear. Once the vocals were recorded, we spent a long time adding textural elements to the track, including cymbal swells, some symphonic keys, and a fluid bassline. One of the primary differences between the finished track and the demo is the insistent kick drum, which helps propel the song and keep it moving.
Overall, I would place “The Enterprise Incident” as one of my more accomplished Star Trek-related tunes. It may not be as immediate or fun as some of the others, but I feel it accomplished what I set out to do very well. And most of all, I feel that the results did justice to an episode that is among Trek’s best.
Five Year Mission
The Enterprise Incident
Written by Patrick O’Connor