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For other uses, see Eye of the Beholder.

The Eye of the Beholder was the 15th episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series, aired on 5 January, 1974. The episode was later novelized in Log Eight, the eighth installment of Alan Dean Foster's Star Trek Logs, in July 1976.


Another exciting episode from television's most popular science fiction series.
Complete in this volume:
The Eye of the Beholder
A routine follow-up mission to investigate an overdue survey ship leads the crew of the Enterprise to a world where visitors are always welcome… very welcome indeed.
Kirk, Spock and McCoy are suddenly captured by strangely intelligent alienstelepathic Lactrans who look upon the Enterprise crew as no more than interesting specimens for their already well-stocked zoo.
It was not a happy situation for Captain Kirk and his crew. And there seemed to be no way out...


Captain's log, stardate 5537.1 (novelization). The Enterprise is embarked, for a change, on a routine follow-up mission—to search for a survey ship overdue for report-in in the vicinity of Epsilon Scorpii, last known to be investigating the system of a G4 sun designated Lactra on Federation starcharts.
Captain's log, supplemental (novelization). We have encountered and visually observed the missing survey ship. It continues to maintain communications silence. There is no evidence of violent damage or sentient attack. Mr. Spock will lead a security team in boarding the ship.
Captain's log, stardate 5501.2 (episode). We are orbiting the planet Lactra VII. Our mission is to discover the whereabouts or fate of a six-member science crew. Voice contact having yielded nothing, a landing party beamed aboard to see if the deserted ship's log and computers could give us any information.
Ariel ship's log (novelization). It is now 32 minutes since our last contact with the three members of our crew who beamed down to the planetary surface. Each member of that crew was instructed to report in at ten-minute intervals. As this deadline has long since passed, and subsequent to our repeated failure to contact any member of the landing party, I have decided to take the following action. As senior officer aboard, I, Lieutenant Commander Louis Markel, take full responsibility for this action and any consequences thereof. All three remaining members of the survey team, myself included, will beam down in an attempt to discover the whereabouts of our comrades and, if necessary, to effect a rescue. If for any reason we should fail to return, I, Lieutenant Commander Louis Markel, do hereby accept and acknowledge that I...
Ariel ship's log (episode). It is now 32 minutes since our last contact with the three members of our crew on the planet surface. As the senior officer aboard, I, Lieutenant Commander Markel, have made the following decision. The three remaining crew members, myself included, will beam down to effect a rescue. If, for any reason, we do not return, be it known that...

Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down to search for the missing crew, avoiding unusual creatures in oddly distinct environments, first in areas of boiling water, then a desert, then a rainforest, revealing highly sophisticated terraforming on the planet, but with no apparent rhyme or reason. The trio are suddenly ensnared by the tentacles of 30-meter-long slug-like Lactrans. The lifeforms carry the officers to the Lactran city, where they are deposited in a habitat comfortable for Humans secured with a force field — they are Human zoo specimens.

Missing Ariel officers Randi Bryce and Tom Markel greet them; a third officer has also survived but is sick. Through experimentation, the officers learn what they can of their captors, who are highly intelligent, advanced and telepathic, thousands of years more advanced than Starfleet. Spock is unable to reach them telepathically. McCoy conveys with conviction that a medkit is necessary to help Nancy Randolph, and his kit is brought to him. Spock realizes that if the Lactrans were to go to the trouble, they would be capable of understanding specific thoughts from the landing party. Kirk feigns illness and the group concentrates on the need for a communicator. A six-year-old Lactran picks up a communicator from the exhibit table and brings it into the habitat to Kirk. When Kirk reaches out and signals the ship, the child swiftly retrieves the device, just in time for it to be caught in the transporter beam, confounding Montgomery Scott when it rematerializes in the transporter room.

The child's parents panic, having been unaware that Humans might be deadly. They probe Kirk's mind to find out what had happened to their baby. Scott is able to convince it that the ship isn't a toy and that Scott isn't a pet. They beam back together, saving Kirk from a mental attack by five concerned adults.

After the parents "dumb down" their thoughts to a level comparable to baby talk, the infant is able to relay those messages to Spock, and communication is established. After some deliberation, the Lactrans agree to free the officers, on condition that they retrieve a final exhibit for their Lactra VII zoo: a jawanda, a nearly mythical non-sentient creature of which they know little except for where to begin their quest. Although initially hesitant to bring their child along, the Lactran parents are set up in a cargo bay near the hangar bay where the ship's corridors are widest.

The Enterprise proceeds to the Boquin system near the edge of the Milky Way Galaxy. A landing party travels through the hostile atmosphere of Boqu II in a shuttlecrawler and meets Hivar the Toq. The treelike Boqus are suffering from an epidemic, and are willing to help with the jawanda if McCoy can cure them. Eventually, McCoy and K'ang Te identify the cause of the affliction and develop a viable treatment.

Jawanda are massive cosmozoans that feed off interstellar radiation away from gravity wells. Boqu II radiates more energy than it absorbs and has a weak gravity, which made the planet a delicacy for the jawanda, but their presence cooled the surface and made life harder for Boqus. They eventually drove the jawandas away by using massive gravitic engines installed on six of the planet's moons which could herd and repel the huge creatures. Hivar renovates an ancient control mechanism which will allow the moons to follow the Enterprise during a trip into intergalactic space in search of a specimen.

Six days later, heading at a maximum speed of warp three, they detect the transmissions of a jawanda, but have to jettison the moons in order to travel at warp five to intercept it. The millimeter-thick animal is the size of North America and wraps itself around the ship to absorb radiation from the warp drive. With the ship powered down, Kirk, Spock and McCoy examine the creature in spacesuits, then are stuck on it when it unwraps and departs at warp speed like a huge flying carpet. The Enterprise catches up with it and retrieves the officers, only to become enveloped again. They use the opposite tactic this time, engorging the animal with maximum warp power for several minutes. As it moves off, bloated, Hikaru Sulu and Hivar are able to entrap the creature. It then changes its radio transmission patterns into a wail, essentially a distress signal to others of its kind.

During the return trip, sensors pick up three or four significantly larger jawanda in pursuit. A shuttlecraft is rigged as a diversion to transmit louder distress signals, but their captive simply amplifies its own calls in response. As the Enterprise nears the gravity well of a star, the red giant NGC 7332, they detect a jawanda approaching at close to warp 10 with a diameter of more than 100 Earths, large enough to engulf Sol. It nearly catches them, but the Enterprise reaches the gravity well first and it is forced to turn away at the last moment.

Resigned to its fate, the captured jawanda ceases its distress calls during the trip to Lactra, and it is placed in a polar orbit around Lactra VII. The Enterprise then returns with Hivar and returns the six Boqu moons around Boqu II.



Episode characters

Arex Na EthRandi BryceJames T. KirkJohn KyleShiboline M'RessTom MarkelLeonard McCoyNancy RandolphMontgomery ScottSpockHikaru Suluunnamed LactransCanopus III dinosaurMaravel dragonUSS Enterprise (NCC-1701) personnelunnamed USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) personnel

Novelization characters

Arex Na EthRandy BryceHivar the ToqJohn KyleJames T. KirkShiboline M'RessLouis MarkelLeonard McCoyMeyersNancy RandolphMontgomery ScottSpockHikaru SuluNyota Uhuraunnamed LactransCanopus III dinosaurMaraville dargoneerjawanda
Referenced only
Alan Dean FosterAzathothChristine ChapelK'ang TeM'bawwOld OneProxSeelens

Starships and vehicles

Episode starships and vehicles

USS Enterprise (Constitution-class heavy cruiser)
Referenced only
SS Ariel (survey ship/scout)

Novelization starships and vehicles

SS Ariel (survey ship/scout) • USS Enterprise (Constitution-class heavy cruiser) • hovercraftmapping droneshuttlecraftshuttlecrawler


Episode locations

Lactra (Lactra VIILactra VII zooLactran city)
Referenced only
Canopus IIIEarth Maraville

Novelization locations

Boquian system (Boqu IIDrasidLethiqLathoqMett OneMett TwoOj) • Epsilon ScorpiiLactra (Lactra VIILactra VII zooLactran city) • Milky Way GalaxyNGC 7332
Referenced only
Canopus IIIEarthGalactic Historical ArchivesGalaxy M33MaravilleNubecula MajorS. Monicus ISolWaimangu Valley

Races and cultures


States and organizations

sciences divisionStarfleetUnited Federation of Planets

Science and technology

airlockantennaaurorabiologybridgebriefing roomcommunicatorcomputercoordinatedilithium crystalecologygeologygravitygreenhouse effectIQlaboratoryUSS Enterprise (NCC-1701) library computerforce fieldhand-held weaponimpulse powerlibrary computerlife-support beltlight yearmathematicsmedical kitmedikitphaserphoton torpedoradio telescoperadio wavesciencescopesensorship-mounted weaponshuttle baysoloidstarshipsun lamptechnologytransportertransporter roomtricorderviewscreenvisual pickupxenobiologyxenology

Ranks and titles

admiralchief engineerchief medical officercommandercommanding officercommunications officerdoctorfirst officerhelmsmanlieutenantlieutenant commandermedical labmisternavigatorofficerphysicianscience officersecuritysenior officertransporter chiefxenologist


amoebaantanimalbacteriacetaceandinosaurdolphingrasshumanoidinsectjawandaMaraville dragonplantsilicon-based lifeformsix-legged canineslugtribbletwo-headed pythonunicornwaul

Other references

alienanatomyAnimaxatmosphereboarding partybraincaptain's logcargo holdcitycivilizationclass M planetcolonycometcommunicationDark Agesdaydesertdiseaseemergency rationseyeepidemicfeverfirst contactflying carpetG class stargalaxyghidgovernmenthourkilometerlanding partylifeformlog entrymalariamedicinemeteoriteminaghidminutemultinevarnation-statenevarorbitpiñataplanetprimatepulsarquasarraces and culturesradio nebularain forestrankseafoodsentient lifeship's logsign languagesiliconspacestarstar chartstar systemstarbaseStarfleet regulationsStarfleet uniformStarfleet uniform (2265-2270)steakstellar classificationsuicidetelepathytemperatureterraformingtitleuniformuniversewaterweaponweekyellow starzoo


Six weeks prior to stardate 5537.1
Ariel officers abandon ship to search for their missing comrades on Lactra VII
2269 (stardate 5537.1)
Enterprise locates Ariel in orbit of Lactra VII and rescues survivors
Enterprise traveled for two weeks between Lactra VII and Boqu II
Enterprise officers spent three weeks researching the Animax epidemic
Enterprise traveled for six days in the direction of Galaxy M-33 in search of a cosmozoan jawanda
Enterprise spent one day approaching and trapping a jawanda
Enterprise traveled for a "considerably longer" period than two weeks returning to Lactra VII at warp three
2269 (stardate 5537.2)
Enterprise completed its return trip to Boqu II traveling at warp six.
stardate 6111.3
Log entry recordings of this mission are transcribed by Alan Dean Foster at the Galactic Historical Archives on S. Monicus I.



  • This is the eighth of Alan Dean Foster's TAS adaptation collections which have been reprinted a number of times, often in omnibuses with other Star Trek Log books. Most recently in 2006 by Del Rey Books, an imprint of the original Ballantine Books publishers, as part of Star Trek's 40th Anniversary celebrations.
  • While the episode itself mentions stardate 5501.2, the novelization states a date range of 5537.1 to 5537.2, and the dates mentioned in log entry occurrences are altered accordingly.
  • The episode ends with the crew leaving the Lactran zoo and with Markel aboard the Enterprise. The novelization continues the story, however, with the Enterprise helping the Lactrans capture the cosmozoan.
  • An image of the Lactran city was printed on the first edition cover to Log Six.
  • Ariel was given the SS prefix at
  • The novelization incorporated many elements that were not seen in the aired episode, but rather which originated in David P. Harmon's final draft script dated 21 September, 1973:
    • Spock led a boarding party to the survey ship and found Markel's log tape. In the episode those events were summarized in the briefing room. In the script, Kirk, Spock and McCoy boarded the ship and listened to the log there.
    • Prior to being captured, Kirk, Spock and McCoy fled towards a cave to avoid a pack of wild six-legged canines with razor-sharp fangs. The dogs ended up attacking an enormous two-headed python which came out of the cave.
    • En route to the Lactra VII zoo, the three Lactrans traveled a fair distance with the landing party within a cylindrical-shaped subway hovercraft (described as a type of bullet train in the script) and then sterilized their specimens.
    • A herd of unicorns were seen in one habitat.
    • In an attempt to convince the Lactrans that the landing party was intelligent, Spock wrote a complex mathematical formula on the ground with a twig, which prompted quivering motions which Spock translated as laughter. Spock concluded that Lactrans were so advanced that his actions were regarded as playing with a child's building blocks.
    • Security officers fired at the Lactran child with phasers, but it was impervious to the stun setting.
    • The Human habitat drew larger crowds on rest days.

Details unique to the novelization

Details unique to the script

  • Randi Bryce was written as Leonard McCoy's daughter. The elder McCoy had recommended her for the survey assignment. When introduced to Spock, she said she'd heard a lot about him from her father. She was on the bridge along with Markel when Spock received the Lactrans' final message.
  • Lactra VII was the size of Jupiter with an ammonia atmosphere, lakes of molten lava, and a gravity of 11.1 G. The transporter altered the survey team's biological structure so they could explore the surface. Kirk, Spock and McCoy were similarly altered.
  • The aquatic creature was conceived as a lava-dwelling "octopotamus," a hippopotamus/octopus-like animal.
  • The survey crew consisted of Engineer Markel, First Officer James, Nurse Randolph, Randi, and two others. The vessel's captain appeared to be one of the casualties.
  • Lactran city was 5,000 square miles in size. While Lactrans considered humans ugly, Spock said they regarded his ears as "almost bearable."
  • Pavel Chekov was present when the Lactran child carried Scott onto the bridge.
  • The Lactran parents "spanked" their child telepathically after it beamed down with Scott.



published order
Previous novelization:
Log Seven
Star Trek Logs Next novelization:
Log Nine
Previous episode:
The Terratin Incident
TAS episode produced Next episode:
Once Upon a Planet
Previous episode:
The Slaver Weapon
TAS episode aired Next episode:
The Jihad
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Previous Adventure:
The Counter-Clock Incident
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External links