Planet M. Night Shamalamadingdong is hot and barren, and Kirk's wig is short and gluey. You can tell it's an early season episode since he hasn't yet ripped the shag carpeting from his trailer and pasted it to his scalp.
Upstairs, Uhura is behind the wheel of the Enterprise. Starfleet apparently hasn't figured out yet that chicks can only be trusted to man the radio, ugly up sickbay, carry around clipboards, and -- if duty demands it -- perform naked geriatric fan dances.
Bones is all excited to see a dame he once dated. She's living on Planet M113 (you sunk my Klingon battleship!) with her husband where they're digging up ancient artifacts from an unrealistic desert set constructed in about five half-assed minutes on a Paramount sound stage. The only exciting items they're likely to find in that used cat box sand will be the empty Coke can some Teamster dropped earlier that day, an ancient script from three days ago where Shatner went through and crossed out everybody else's interesting dialogue and appropriated it for himself, or DeForest Kelley's acting school rejection letter.
The dame shows up and we see from McCoy's perspective that she still looks young, from Kirk's perspective that she's old enough to perform a hip-breaking Starfleet fan dance, and from Ensign Expendable's point of view that she's a sluttier Marilyn Monroe. Ensign Expendable leers at her and says that she reminds him of a hooker he once knew from Wrigley's Pleasure Planet, which is a better name for a planet than X69, but still needs an X in there somewhere.
Only high-ranking officers are permitted to drop their drawers and chase every skirt they see around the coffee table, so Ensign Expendable is sent outside to guard the Styrofoam walls without supper. The old dame is out there looking like his young dame from Wrigley's Spearmint XXX Naughty Pleasure Planet, and when she tells him she's got some interesting rock formations she'd like him to excavate from under her blouse, he abandons his post and trips like an officer over his pants as he shuffles desperately after her. (Does the Federation exist just to get all the sex addicts off Earth, because guys in Starfleet show less discipline than guys in San Francisco bath houses. Or -- you know -- so I've heard.)
Ensign Expendable turns up dead, which comes as a real shock to me. I thought for sure he'd retire an admiral forty years from now. Instead, he's got a bad case of rosacea and a jellybean in his mouth.
McCoy's old squeeze claims Ensign Expendable ate the alien jellybean even though she told him it was left over from Easter two years ago and was covered with dust and pocket lint, and it killed him. She also wants salt, if it's not too much trouble. I can't quite put my finger on it, but there's something fishy about this face-changing, ensign-luring, salt-licking space dame. I must be wrong though, because the highly trained Starfleet team, unlike me, doesn't think we should toss a net over her and poke at her with sticks until alien goo dribbles out.
Up on the ship, Bones discovers that the red polka dots all over Ensign Expendables face aren't an allergic reaction to a dusty jellybean, and that all the salt has been mysteriously sucked out of his body. Kirk says that the salt disappearing from Ensign Expendable's body is a mystery and that he doesn't like mysteries because they give him bellyaches. What mystery? McCoy's squeeze wanted salt, Ensign Expendable's salt is gone. There are only two damn dots to connect, Ellery Queen.
Kirk goes down to the planet with Ensign Expendable #2, who I'm sure figured he had it made when he didn't draw the short straw in the first five minutes of the show and thought he'd stay alive at least until next week right up until Spock came and dragged him out from under his bunk where he was hiding. McCoy's old squeeze immediately kills Ensign Expendable #2 and not only manages to change her shape so that she looks just like him, she manages to duplicate his voice as well. It'd save on paper and pencils if in the future the Enterprise jotted down only the aliens who can't change faces and come up with Rich Little voices to look and sound exactly like members of the crew.
McCoy's squeeze gets beamed up to the ship looking like Ensign Expendable #2, then goes running around feeling up everybody she meets for a pinch of salt. She gropes Uhura in the hallway looking like Billy Dee Williams and sounding like Barry White, then she gooses Yeoman Rand looking like Robert Redford. She's supposed to be an intelligent alien from a dead species, but it doesn't occur to her geniusness that rather than alert everyone to her presence on the ship by fondling everyone she meets, sucking out their salt and leaving a trail of bodies with red suction cup marks all over their faces, all she has to do now is wander down to the kitchen and ask for a box of Morton's. Some species are so stupid they deserve to die out. I'm looking at you, dodo bird.
For no real reason, Sulu is hanging out downstairs with a bunch of plants, one of which looks suspiciously like a glove with flowers on it sticking up through a pot. It even has five fingers that open and clench just like a hand. I'm betting it was sold to Sulu by a green alien with googly eyes and no legs who lived in a garbage can.
Sulu's five-fingered puppet plant is afraid of Ensign Expendable #2 and starts screaming out of its cuticles, so he runs from the room before he can fondle Sulu's junk.
(Interesting outer space culinary fact: In the future, celery still looks like celery but has red leaves for some reason and starship captains eat crunchy plastic board game pieces for lunch. Now back to our story.)
For some reason Bones is tired but can't sleep and Kirk suddenly sounds like a pusher for "red pills" that have no name, are stuffed in a giant unlabeled bottle, and look like "Hot Tamales" theater candy. Kirk keeps saying, "C'mon, man, they the bomb" and "all the cool Starfleet officers are doing it" until Bones can't take the peer pressure anymore and tries one just to fit in.
While stoned Bones conveniently naps, the alien chick takes his form and starts running around the ship yelling "dammit!" and "he's dead, Jim" to allay suspicion while she sucks the salt out of everybody.
Okay, so that's salt, Lubriderm...maybe a nice hair brush. Wait, I'll get a pencil.
Kirk and Spock head back down to the planet to get Mr. Archeologist, who has a phaser for some reason. I'd have thought in the enlightened future that guns would be banned for civilians so that archeologists on abandoned planets in the middle of nowhere would have to call the cops and then wait three years for them to finally show up to get the Romulans to stop sodomizing their long-mummified corpses.
Kirk accidentally bumps into the ancient stone ruins which shift like Styrofoam and look for a second like they're going to fall apart. Also, the archeologist apparently learned how to be an archeologist from watching old Earth Indiana Jones movies, and instead of being careful around irreplaceable ancient ruins, blasts the crap out of them.
They get the archeologist up to the ship where he says that McCoy's old squeeze really died a year ago when the salt monster ate her, and that the alien impostor is the last of its kind and when she's gone her species will be extinct like the buffalo. Since we currently have more buffalo than we know what to do with stomping around this country befouling all our nice clean plains, I figure Starfleet makes eating a buffalo a day mandatory. This theory is supported by the massive guts of Scotty, Uhura and Shatner in the movies. Actually, it also explains what really happened to the humpback whales, since it's well past 1987 and right now we've still got tons of them crapping in our nice, clean oceans.
The alien chick shows up wearing McCoy's head at the big meeting where they're trying to figure out what to do with the salt-sucker. He suggests that they be nice to it, leave out bowls of salt for it at night, sing lullabies to it (if the red pills don't work), and be generally nurturing to it and supportive of its life decisions. Captain Genius is, of course, not suspicious in the least, and sends Bones off to requisition some Crayons, construction paper and glue to make a card they can all sign to say how much they all love alien salt-eating chicks, but with a drawing of a heart in place of the word "love."
The salt lady still hasn't figured out there is probably salt and pepper sitting out with the ketchup on the tables down in the mess hall, so instead she eats her archeologist pal.
The salt chick shows up in McCoy's quarters, where he's been buzzed on magic red pills all day long. She says everybody is out to get her and only he can save her and -- unrelated to recent events and definitely not suspicious in any way -- does he happen to have any salt packets left over from McDonald's stashed in his dresser drawer?
Kirk shows up and tells Bones to shoot the monster, but Bones is still tripping on those red bennies, man. Spock shows up and beats the crap out of a woman yet again. For the number of times he's beaten up women in this series, the Paramount wardrobe department should have given him a blue tank top or at least a blue T-shirt he could roll his cigarettes up in.
The salt-licker gets zapped with a phaser a few times and turns into a furry toilet plunger-faced monster with a fishing net dress and suction cup fingers. So you dodged a bullet not marrying her, Bones, because she let herself go even worse than most dames after they get that ring on their suction-cupped finger.
The boys manage to kill the metaphorical buffalo, and they all regroup at the end on the bridge happy as can be, except for Spock who for some bizarre reason is wearing a Hello Kitty Band-Aid with glitter on it stuck to his head.