There’s a common thread of goofiness running though most of TOS season three (even more so than your average Trek goofiness) and the way Day of the Dove wraps up is pretty silly. The episode also deals in some familiar TOS tropes: there’s a god-like being manipulating humanoids, this time pitting the crew against some Klingons because it feeds off hate. Fortunately the machinations from both manipulated parties are pretty entertaining.
The setting of a Federation mental institution seems pretty ripe with story opportunity, and “Whom Gods Destroy” does a decent job of delivering the goods. The plot is weighed down by a lot of shape-shifting business, aside from a nice culmination with Spock. A mentally ill former Federation captain that Kirk idolizes is a great idea for a villain, and there’s an interesting dynamic between Kirk and Garth when they actually get to share the screen.
The Mark of Gideon puts the sets of the Enterprise to great use. Kirk roams the empty decks of the Enterprise, and the episode is spiked with a few potent visuals like the crowd of people staring at him through a window. The plot is pretty loose, which kind of works in favor of this more atmospheric episode.
Tholian Web, on the other hand, is a solid suspense episode with a lot more structure. There’s a ticking time bomb of sorts that adds a sense of urgency to the whole affair, and on top of that a madness is sweeping through the crew. What makes this episode really click is Kirk being more or less sidelined, forcing Spock and Bones’s contrasting personalities and philosophies to bounce off each other.
This is easily the stand out episode of TOS season three. Sure, “The Enterprise Incident” pulls some pretty dubious plot contrivances, and doesn’t jive very well with the greater Trek continuity, but the episode is enough fun to watch that we don’t really mind. Plus, we’re suckers for the Romulans, and Kirk sneaking around dressed up as one is pretty entertaining.