Among the many accolades awarded to the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 must be the one of "most hijacked ship in Starfleet" and today, we have another example of that occurring. We also have yet another example of Captain Kirk using the power of lurve to win the day.
I hope Picard isn't like this in TNG.
We're straight into the action here with a teaser seeing the main three along with two red shirts - well, a red dress in one case - beaming down to a flowery planet after receiving a distress call. We can go into full meme mode here:
IT'S A TRAP!
A bunch of aliens-in-human-form from the Andromeda Galaxy use a belt-mounted paralysis field generator to freeze the landing part in place. Their goal - to use the Enterprise to return to their galaxy, something that will take 300 years even with their modifications, then come back with an invasion fleet. This of course is something that Kirk cannot allow, but dealing with these people will be more difficult than just a prison break out. When they try that, Red Dress and Red Shirt get turned into plaster cuboctahedrons. The alien leader crushes one of them, killing Red Dress, while Red Shirt (who is also black) is turned back to normal.
So, they need another plan.
The title of this episode indicates where we are going here. After another plan fails and they cross the energy barrier around the edge of the Milky Way (first I've heard of that one), they realise that their captors have taken human bodies... but are not used to human sensory inputs.
Thus, we get a massive distraction operation. There are two lady aliens, both dressed in backless outfits more appropriate for Love Island and Kirk decides to basically seduce one by repeated kissing on the lips. This one is massively trope-y and arguably the weakest part of the episode, because it has been done at least twice before.
Spock plays 3D chess, McCoy gives an alien stimulant injections... and Scotty, in a manner that goes into Scottish stereotyping (although to be fair, heavy drinking isn't limited to that culture), engages one in a spot of binge drinking with the aim to put him under the table. This last is actually the funniest part of the episode, but all the regulars bar Sulu (who again isn't in it) get good material.
The aliens, except for the sexy female, are well played and they pose a real threat, making the way the situation is dealt with more satisfying.
Eventually, Kirk manages to drive the alien leader into a jealous rage and after some more Kirk-fu, persuades him of the need for a peaceful solution.
There's a lot of standard Trek tropes here, but this episode - which was extensively redrafted from the original darker concept - uses most of them well. Most of them.
While not the most original episode by a long chalk, this is largely well done, fairly tense and pretty enjoyable.