So, ignoring the fact that no one in charge of making TV/movies knows how radiation works, my heart is breaking. Kirk and a handful of crew are made to age rapidly and only Kirk has memory problems.
At first he just repeats himself and fear of the truth of the situation leads him to become very frustrated with everyone around him. By the end of the episode he is made to have a hearing whether he is capable of running the ship, and — at the end — gives a moving speech which finally reveals he has no memory of everything preceding his touching speech.
He doesn’t know what he has said
as he repeats himself again.
He does not know but feels the dread
in seeing pity from his men.
He will deny the coming loss
when from himself there comes the cross.
While time likens insanity,
what might you make of such as he
who has waged battle with machine
where brute force fails and wit succeeds?
But now his very knowing bleeds.
What fate for him can be foreseen
as his past falls as through a sieve
and leaves no clue that he did live?
The worst of it is what they don’t say. The rapid aging gave a glimpse of the future. If his duty to Starfleet doesn’t get him killed first, Kirk will live to suffer Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia. First he’ll repeat himself. Then little bits of time will begin to escape him and he will become scared and lash out at those around him. The short-term memory will go. Then, long-term.
William Shatner’s portrayal of all things said and unsaid kills me. Live long and prosper.