Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Episode Review - The Squire of Gothos (Original Series, Season 1)

For those who are new to my episode reviews, you can find the post where I establish my point criteria here.

Overview – The Enterprise is passing through a void in space with very few solar systems en route to the Beta VI colony. When the ship encounters a rogue planet, Sulu and Kirk disappear from the bridge. As Spock and the rest of the crew search for their missing shipmates, they discover them on the planet in the custody of General Trelane, the self-proclaimed Squire of Gothos. The crew then find themselves at the mercy of this powerful being who has a great understanding and fascination with ancient Earth culture.

Score: 7/10 – The Squire of Gothos is a fun romp that again pits the crew against a being of immense power. Some have since theorized that Trelane is a juvenile member of the Q-continuum, but this theory has never been officially substantiated (the novels don’t count). What we do know is that William Campbell, who will go on to play the Klingon Koloth in the classic tribbles episode, takes on the role of the Squire with a relish and infectious energy that makes him an endearing adversary. It is nice to see the crew in the beginning of the episode work without the captain, giving Spock command of the ship and he handles it well. The banter between Kirk and Trelane is lively and clever. The different failings in Trelane’s recreations are logical for the character. The story meanders a bit as Kirk and crew face and overcome one Trelane-induced obstacle after another. At one point I felt that Trelane was acting like an over-indulged spoiled child, and then the reveal at the end of the episode confirms my sentiments. So while the episode has some weaknesses, Campbell’s energetic performance makes it an enjoyable one, at least.

Relevance – 2 points. A point is scored for the salt-monster from “The Man Trap” appearing as one of Trelane’s statue decorations. McCoy does a great shocked look when he sees the creature again, establishing that he remembers the near death experience. A second point for the first appearance of Lt. DeSalle, who will return in “Catspaw” and “This Side of Paradise”.

Continuity – 2 points. Character continuity works. Of particular note, I liked how when the banquet was offered to the away team, McCoy just picked up a plate and started digging in. He is, if nothing else, a very practical doctor. Kirk also acts the way that we are accustomed to, especially when he goads Trelane. Story continuity also works out here. Where I will deduct a point is in the Universe continuity. It is stated that Trelane is seeing 900 years into Earth’s past, and yet if this is true, then based on the time era that Trelane is obsessed with, this should be taking place in the 27th Century, not the 23rd.

Character Development – 1 point. Spock is put in command of the ship as soon as Kirk is abducted. We see him come up with some ingenious strategies in getting the away team back. Both he and Kirk match up against Trelane, with Kirk usually taking the lead. There is not much significant for either of these two, however, and I wouldn’t say that the episode really advances anyone’s character much, so this is minor development at best.

Social Commentary – 1 point. As fun as Trelane is, what does the Squire of Gothos really teach us? How to deal with a spoiled brat of a kid with god-like powers? With that, I think Spock gives us something to consider when he announces to Trelane that he “objects to intellect without discipline” …” to power without constructive purpose”. Beyond that statement, it is hard to see how the story gives us anymore insight into that theme. It is simply Kirk and company trying to outwit the trickster. So apart from a few statements, there is really nothing that drives the point home. Still, it is a lot of fun to watch, even if it doesn’t give us much to think about after.

Cool Stuff – 2 points. I have to score a point for Trelane. He is such an over-the-top character and Campbell plays him with such zest and energy that it is hard not to like him. I also scored it a point for the salt-sucking monster from “The Man Trap” making a cameo and scaring the doodles out of McCoy.

Rank – Lieutenant (15 points). A very popular episode with a talented guest star in an entertaining role. While the story has some issues with keeping the pace focused, it is entertaining. While I suspect that some may want to skip past this episode, I would offer that while we may not gain some greater insight into the human condition, it is a good episode in that the story is entertaining. If you want to challenge me to a duel over it, I await your glove-slap.

If you would like to read other reviews from the Original Series, click on the link here.

If you would like to read an episode review from any of the Trek series, click the following link to get to the series catalog. If the episode you want reviewed has not been done yet, then feel free to request it in the comments and I will see what I can do.

No comments:

Post a Comment