The 8th and last disc of season 2 has only three episodes on the disc. The first of them is The Ultimate Computer and it was first broadcast on March 8 1968. The 53rd episode was written by D C Fontana and it was based on a story by Laurence N Wolf. The Enterprise is ordered to a space station under command of Commodore Wesley. It looks like a big mushroom, huh. The Enterprise is to participate in some simulated war games with four other Federation star ships. The Enterprise will leave most of it's crew on the space station and have a new computer system installed to run the ship's functions. Doctor Daystrom is the designer of the computer systems found in Federation Starfleet ships like the Enterprise. His new computer, the M-5, is the bomb. It can control of many functions on the ship; eliminating crew positions and thus the danger to human life. Spock is impressed but Kirk and McCoy are doubtful. William Marshall plays Daystrom, some of you might remember him as Blacula or the King Of Cartoons.
Of course we know that new computer programs and war games are a bad mix and things go horribly wrong. Many people die when a ship is blasted by the M-5. The Enterprise nearly gets blasted to oblivion by the remaining star ships. Poor Daystrom, he's gone nuts and he nearly kills everyone trying to defend his computer. Luckily Kirk talks the M-5 into shutting down because it's killing people when it was supposed to be saving them. If only that had worked on Skynet.
March 15 saw Bread and Circuses air. The Enterprise discovers the wreckage of the SS Beagle, a Federation survey vessel, missing for 6 years. They follow the debris to an unexplored planet and discover a Roman society living there. They intercept a tv broadcast of Roman style gladitorial games. One of the fighters in this "to the death" match is identified as a crew member of the Beagle. Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down and are quickly captured by some slaves that have escaped the Romans. They live in caves and that older guy is their leader Septimus. Ian Wolfe played Septimus and he would return in a different role in the third season. He started working in movies in 1934, did stage work before that, later he did a lot of tv. He worked until 1990 dying a couple of years later at age 96.
Kirk talks the ex-slaves into taking him into the city so he can find the Roman leader. They get captured by the Romans soon as they get to town and tossed into a cell. They have to fight on tv with the Enterprise watching. The Roman leader is the captain of the Beagle. Upon arriving planetside he killed his way to the top. There's a bunch of fighting and eventually they get out of that predicament. The episode was written by the two Gene's, Roddenberry and Coon.
Episode 55 was Assignment: Earth and it was first aired on March 29 1968. After travelling back in time to 1968 the Enterprise intercepts a tranporter beam from a planet a 1000 light years away. It's Gary Seven and Isis the cat. Robert Lansing plays Gary and an uncredited cat plays Isis. Gary tells Kirk that he must get to earth and complete his mission. Gary needs to do something to a missile that is going to launch soon. Kirk doesn't quite believe him and when Gary escapes he follows taking Spock along.
Gary has a nice office with a computer that uses the same flashing light panel that they used for the M-5. They reuse a lot of props and this is one that I read will show up in other episodes next season. I'll be keeping an eye out for that. Teri Garr plays Gary's secretary. That's quite the dress, huh. She doesn't know that Gary is an advanced human come from outer space to help the earth people. Kirk and Spock dress casual but they get caught anyway. Kirk eventually trusts Gary and lets him scare the humans into being more careful with their nukes. This episode was a pilot for a spin off series that never got made.
Mostly an entertaining bunch of shows, though the Roman thing is kind of a repeat plot. There are only three episodes on this disc and the extra space is filled with three short interview featurettes. Life Beyond Trek: Leonard McCoy; Kirk, Spock and Bones: Star Trek's Great Trio and Star Trek's Divine Dive: Nichelle Nichols. All are entertaining and worth a look. For some reason I enjoy people talking about the stuff they made. We all know that there was a letter writing campaign after this season, the ratings were falling, there was talk of cancellation. It got picked up for a third season and I'll be getting that started soon enough.