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My ongoing mission: to watch classic television fifty years after first broadcast...
Another week, another red miniskirted yeoman coffee waitress. I didn’t catch her name. Perhaps Kirk knows, perhaps he doesn’t care. Kirk and Sulu suddenly disappear from the Enterprise bridge after a mysterious planet is spotted. Some other crew members beam down to rescue them, and they all end up in this castle, which turns out to be a fake one created by a fake human calling himself Trelane.
Bones is even spikier than normal this week, being quite rude to Spock I thought. For a series that seems to be preaching tolerance, McCoy shows a lack of respect for the Vulcan point of view. He’s different to you McCoy, he doesn’t understand human emotion, try to be more understanding or get over it!
The Squire (i.e. Trelane) is terrible. I mean the acting. I don’t know where that odd accent comes from but he has an annoying way of speaking. And he appears like a psychopathic Elvis impersonator. He’s also completely obsessed with combat, war, weapons…
The captain mentions that there are women aboard the Enterprise and the Squire is immediately interested. Why does he assume that the women will be beautiful?! The crew comes up with a plan. They spot that the mirror seems important to Trelane so Kirk challenges him to a duel and shoots the mirror instead. It shatters, angering Trelane, and they beam back to their ship. My immediate thought was that if he can just snatch them the way he took Kirk and Sulu, then surely he could just do so again immediately. But I tried not to think too hard about that. Maybe he really has to psyche himself up for that and it takes ages and lots of energy.
The line “You’re all dead men, especially you Kirk” made me wonder if it’s possible for Kirk to be more dead than the others. As the mirror shatters there are these comical Hanna Barbera style sound effects. In fact I’d swear they actually are Hanna Barbera effects.
Kirk tells the crew that they are going to put “a hundred million miles” between them and the planet. I note that future space travel will be measured in miles, not kilometres, rels or parsecs…
Anyway Trelane just beams himself aboard and then takes the crew back with him again. Including the token beehived yeoman with few spoken lines, and Uhura.
Kirk appears back on the planet in a sort of court room with an ominous noose shadow in the background and Trelane is now dressed as a judge. This is more effective than the irritating squire.
There is further fun and games as back in squire mode he makes the yeoman dress up and dance with him, and the “nubian prize” Uhura is encouraged to play some music (how did he guess she was musical?). She smiles, enjoying every minute of being a puppet musician. It reminded me a bit of the Doctor Who story from early last year The Celestial Toymaker in which a similar God-like being conjures up items from thin air and makes his captured victims play games for his amusement.
I was just thinking that the Squire appears to behave like a spoilt bratty child, and I find that sort of character quite annoying. He’s a really bad loser and gets in a temper very easily when he can’t get his own way. Sure enough, it tuns out I was right. Trelane’s parents appear in the form of floating patterns of light and put the naughty boy in his place. “Sorry about our boy” they tell Kirk, “you’re free to go”.
They return to the Enterprise where Kirk once again ends the episode by baiting Spock because of his alien differences. “I bet you used to get up to all sorts of schoolboy pranks”, he sort of says, “oh no wait…you can’t understand the appeal of having fun and creating mischief because you’re only half human.” Yeah, bit racist.
And did I like it? Well it was ok. The twist resolution was quite Rod Serling / Twilight Zone, and I have a soft spot for this story because of having read the novelisation as a boy (in the future of course!) But to be honest, watching it now…not one of my favourite episodes. I don’t think I have a very high tolerance level for petulant bratty American man-boy-gods with peculiar accents I’m afraid. Hopefully there won’t be any more like that in Star Trek…