3.64 : The Tholian Web.


Non Bio
Staff member
Jan 5, 2001
Way on Down South, London Town
The one where Kirk is missing and presumed dead, while Tholians weave an energised "web" of tractor field filaments around Enterprise.

After beaming aboard the USS Defiant in spacesuits, the landing party returns, minus Kirk, who is stranded aboard the other ship, as it vanishes into a parallel dimension. Spock is able to calculate the frequency of the "interphase" between universes, and at this time, they will be able to rescue Kirk, if his oxygen supply lasts. The Tholians claim this region of space and attack, disturbing the fabric of space and prolonging the time until the Defiant next appears.

One of the best parts must be the viewing of Kirk's last Will and Testament.

'Star Trek' won an Emmy Award for effects for this episode.

Should Stripe ever get any more Trivia Questions on Kirk's safe combinations: This time it is (numbering the buttons from left to right) 5 4 3.
okay - i saw part of this episode a few months back --

i need to get back in the ST groove --

and remember Kirk being out of phase w/ the Enterprise - but i don't think i saw all of the episode b/c i don't recall them getting Kirk back --

i'll have to wait for it to roll around again in the schedule ---
This seems to me one of the best-written Star Trek teleplays, a show much better than the dismal average for the third season. For one thing, the script does more than usual with all of the regulars; it's not just a Kirk show or a Spock show (although Spock's character is handled exceptionally well in this one). Second, the idea of the disturbance in space-time that stresses both star vessel and crew physiology is interesting. The Tholians' appearance and their web are bizarre, an interesting departure from the too-common "aliens" who are obviously human actors in Theiss clothes. The dissolving starship, the apparitions of Kirk, etc. are eerie, at least at first, although eventually the Kirk ones come perhaps too frequently. The resolution of the show is perhaps a bit protracted. I appreciated how the theragin-derivative potion is developed by McCoy & Co. through plain hard work. This really was a science fiction teleplay. Nice not to have another episode with corny "aliens" popping into and out of visibility, etc. The ending is unworthy -- the silly McCoy-Spock complicity in the deception about Kirk's last orders -- obviously done to amuse the audience. Thing is: it does amuse the audience.

"The Tholian Web" could have stood with some of the best of the best (first) season. From the third season, one might discard most of the shows without much regret, but not this one.
Last edited:
*Coughs from dust that formerly covered this thread*

Good archaeological thread dig here , Ex. ;) I have to admit "The Tholian Web" is one of my favorites, also, and for much the same reasons (although I hadn't really contrasted it with the rest of the 3rd season).
It's strange how Spock says (I think) "ah...the celebrated (?) Tholian punctuality", when they attack exactly when they said they would. Until then I had thought the Tholians were unknown to the Fedaration, but apparently they have had some contact.

But yes, this was a very good episode. I always wished we had seen more of the Tholians
I've wondered about that Spock remark too, for the same reason you mention.
Just watched this one again & enjoyed it. One of the best ST scripts, I think. It really sounds like science fiction. The ticking-clock suspense element that was used in so many episodes seems justified in this one and pretty deftly used. The outbursts of violence don't seem simply cynical bits to keep the audience interested, but reasonable effects of the space-time disruption. Through multiple watchings one never frets about just what the point of the Tholians' web was!

A real plus was the music, such as the quiet, eerie bassoon theme. I've been thinking that the series in general stands out over against a lot of 1960s TV in having music that holds up well. I love the McGoohan Prisoner series, but some of the incidental music for it certainly shows its age.
Last edited:
I agree about the eerie music and also about the "point" of the Tholian Web. I also wonder why more use wasn't made of the enigmatic Tholians, to concentrate instead only upon the Romulans and Klingons who were much more ordinary villains.
I did like the way this episode led to an Enterprise episode.
Just watched this one again. It does hold up well most of the time. The bit in which Scotty slopes off to get drunk on Scotch and the nerve remedy is unbelievable -- the crisis is still upon them and the engineer's expertise may be essential not only to the effort to secure the captain but for the crew to survive (and for that matter, a drunken binge under any circumstances is unlikely to be acceptable aboard a starship). However, from a dramatic point of view it's like the drunken porter in Macbeth -- the audience probably needs just a little quick dissipation of suspense after so much has been cranked up, but yet the danger is not resolved -- so it makes sense in that way.