First it was a placebo promising beauty. Then it was a planet of fembots (some pleasant, some less so, all sexist). Now a compound you rub into your skin to make anyone of the same sex become your friend and anyone of the opposite sex your lover (because 1960s heteronormativity).
There are two things of note in this episode: Spock’s reaction to the drug, and Spock’s non-reaction to the drug.
Christine Chapel falls for Mudd’s sales pitch and tries his love potion on Spock who has a delayed reaction. He goes to Bones and Kirk for help but then is immediately made alert by the prospect of his darling Christine being in danger. When he catches up with Christine he can’t stop calling her “Darling” and cuddles her so much that an exacerbated Kirk calls him out for not being able to keep his hands off her.
And Spock blows him off!
Yet we learn in the final frames — from Spock — that “a few moments of love paid for with hours of hatred” when everyone who was affected at some point by the drug (including Kirk and Spock getting all buddy-buddy) except for Spock goes from doe-eyes to hell-fire at the drop of a hat. The which makes me wonder:
Perhaps it is the Vulcan way to control their emotions (even the “hateful” side effects of the drug’s withdrawal), but love is the one thing that will not be denied. Think about that time Spock was going through Pon Farr and was totally about to put the moves on Nurse Chapel until they were interrupted by the ship’s arrival at Vulcan.
It’s something to consider.
Intoxicated once before,
I found a love that had been lost —
without the gain of even score —
which for a day I did accost.
My blood on fire once before,
I did consider saying more
before I had to walk away,
and walk away, and walk away.
My lips unfettered once before
did seek you in your tenderness
and wish you comfort, nothing less.
My lips unfettered here once more
wish you could hear the words you crave
when free of hate but not quite brave.