Sep 20, 2016

The Enemy Within the Codependent Heart

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BBC America has been celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek by playing full, uncut episodes of the original show. I must confess that it dominated my television screen for an entire weekend. I think I may have even begun to convince my teenage daughter of its genius.

A standout episode for me is "The Enemy Within." Captain Kirk is split in two after a transporter accident. His "strange alter-ego," his dark half, becomes a sentient Kirk look-alike. But, no one sees this Mr. Hyde materialize on the platform moments after a very normal appearing Kirk has left the transporter room. He goes about functioning much as our internal shadow does, with neither Kirk, nor anyone else aware of his existence. Yet, a drunken, rampaging lout, who looks a lot like Captain Kirk, begins acting out his worst impulses.

Kirk's better half seems at first to be in every way the Kirk they all know – the split-off shadow like some foreign monster, "a thoughtless brutal animal" that the apparently normal Kirk would rather live without. But, it rapidly becomes clear that this calm, reasonable Kirk has lost some key components of his personality. He's indecisive. His instincts are dulled. "Good" Kirk is unqualified for command.

Eventually, the disowned shadow does what it will do. It overpowers the weakened, good-natured Kirk and takes command. It takes all that's left of his strength and support from his crew for the saner Kirk to confront and embrace his dark nature and reintegrate it.

"I've seen a part of myself no man should ever see." 
~ Capt. James T. Kirk