I spent most of the episode hiding my face and screaming whenever this AND THEN FINALLY THIS came on screen. Then baby Clint Howard, as the scariest Star Trek alien ever, says: "You would never have been frightened of me!" and I scream some more.
Childhood trauma gotten all out of proportion.
SCARIEST STAR TREK ALIEN EVER.
OMG A SCARY POLL!!1!
That wasn't the only thing that happened, though. This episode was much higher than the previous one in the whole production-values department, though a little too much of the show's makeup budget was devoted to Shatner's guyliner (as I recall, this is a persistent concern in classic Trek). The episode opens to a great sense of ALL BEING RIGHT IN THE WORLD, as Sulu is in the pilot's seat, McCoy is both present and UNRELENTINGLY FABULOUS, and Kirk has his shirt off for at least five full minutes.
Spock: His makeup havs been fixed, though he still shouts his lines at random intervals. He then hilariously turns on an (admittedly spastic) junior officer and says it's "quite unnecessary to raise your voice, Mr. Bailey." In Disturbing Vulcan Family Relations news, Spock rather pleasantly observes that the alien who is planning to kill them in an unrelenting, entirely obnoxious manner reminds him very much of Sarek.
Sulu: OH MY GOD, I love Sulu. I think this time through Classic Trek, it's going to be the Little Red Fangirls Sulu show. I really kind of ignored him when I was a child, and this MUST BE FIXED, because his background facial gymnastics give me immeasurable gleee. Not to mention how he spends the entire episode awesomely reading off a countdown from a clock display that is TOTALLY the face of somebody's wife's oven timer (it even has a light switch on it).
McCoy: Damn. McCoy and Kirk are both DEAD ON from minute one. Is it too early in this marathon for me to declare DeForest Kelley the most charismatic Star Trek actor EVER?
Scotty: Still no Engineering set. He's in red, though! Uhura is still in beige. When McCoy has to escort someone off the bridge, it occurred to Das Boy that there are no security officers yet. I think they're coming with the shipment of red fabric.
Uhura: Her first line is, in fact, "Hailing Frequencies Open, Sir." She practices saying it a few more times throughout the episode. She also practices looking amazingly and hilariously bored in every scene, maybe because she has figured out that she has already memorized every line she will ever have. Hey, do you think we can make Uhura into Travis's granddaughter and declare "no good lines" as a genetic disorder?
Yeoman Rand: Shut up, Janice Rand. I love that Kirk's all "They HAD to give me a female yeoman!" and McCoy's all "What, you don't trust yourself?" and Kirk's all *raised eyebrow of maybe I already did her* and I'm all "Uh, Jim, would you really want a male yeoman adjusting a napkin in your lap the way Janice just did?"
Reasons why Ship > Everything: The NCC-1701 can go to at least Warp 3 in reverse. I suppose it's possible the other ships could do that, too, and Kirk was the only one who ever wanted to. There were other important Kirk Laws of the Universe introduced here as well. For the record, if this episode was on the GREs, it would look like this:
Ship : Everything :: Poker : Chess
WTF Prop of the Episode: The crazy beige wraparound cloth they tie on in the transporter room. It's like a bellydancing sash, except all manly, because it holds your communicators. These are the sort of advancements we can expect from the Starfleet Quartermaster Division in the 100 years since Enterprise, by the way.
Things McCoy is Not: A moon shuttle conductor. (I really should have started this segment yesterday, because it could have been Things McCoy is Not: Present in "Where No Man Has Gone Before.")