Utterly Star Trek Review

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Star Trek 2.25 (Bread and Circuses)

Cast:
William Smithers(Capt. R. M. Merik)
Logan Ramsey (Claudius Marcus)
Ian Wolfe(Septimus)
William Bramley (Policeman)
Rhodes Reason(Flavius)
Jack Perkins (Master of Games)
Max Kleven(Maximus)
Lois Jewell (Drusilla)

Writers: Gene L. Coon, Gene Roddenberry, John Kneubuhl

Oh Lord protect me from another bloody Earth based culture.  This time it’s the Romans, only the civilisation never fell, and this planet is a contemporary version (at least, with the 1960s) of what that culture would become.  We even find out that ancient Roman times have the same history – Caeser etc, that only changed when the Empire never fell.  So at least it’s not based on a book that some berk dropped on an away mission.

So, I am already yawning at the total and utter unoriginality of the concept.  Then we find out that their leader is actually Merik, the Captain of a ship that vanished six years ago.  It turns out that whilst on the planet Merik met a Roman, who convinced him that no other planets should know about this one.  So Merik orders his own people down, and those that could adapt still live in the Roman culture and the others are all dead.  Merik orders Kirk to get all of his people to beam down, which of course he resists.  I don’t buy Merik and his behaviour, once again we have a StarFleet Captain behaving in a way that is just not realistic.

The one thing I do quite like is the character Claudius Marcus.  He has clearly learned about StarFleet from Merik and knows about things like the Prime DIrective, so it is quite a good moment when he talks Kirk through his options and, with some smugness it must be said, discounts them all as against that Directive.

Then Kirk and company end up fighting on a live TV Gladiator fight, and whilst the cliche of the fight is annoying, I like the fact that it is shot on a bad set (that is meantto be a bad set) with canned applause and a live commentary!

Another good moment is the exchange between Spock and McCoy in (yet another) prison cell.  It is basically an argument, with McCoy having a go at the fact that Spock has no emotions, yet Spock reveals (in a non emotional way, of course) that he is worried about Kirk (who is not in the cell with them, but shagging some blond beauty).

Whilst the idea behind the episode is a hokey Trek cliche that, frankly, is starting to piss me off, it is managed much better in this show.  Good dialogue, some nice ideas and a couple of really good characters rescue it from being a stupid mess like, say, Patterns of Force.  There needed to be less episodes based on Earth cultures on this show, but of the few that get away with it, this is one of the better ones.

Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 43
Score: 7/10

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April 22, 2008 - Posted by | earth based culture, rogue captains |

1 Comment »

  1. Great review and, for the ‘parallel development’ episodes, “Bread and Circuses” also rates highly for me.

    Comment by DPC | May 13, 2010 | Reply


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