First Aired: December 8, 1966
This is an interesting episode, and I don’t think there’s another like it, certainly not in the original Star Trek
series, anyway. The idea – that a former mass murdering dictator can hide as an actor – comes from a more innocent age. Whilst Kirk uses the computer to compare photographs of the two men and track the fact that the history of the actor doesn’t exist before Kodos
the executioner vanishes, I don’t think the writer understood that such technology would ensure that such a deception would be impossible. I don’t hold that against the episode though.
There is a nice cameo in this episode from Kevin Riley, who was last seen in The Naked Time earlier this season. He is in this episode long enough to get sung at by Uhura then have an attempt on his life (he is one of two remaining people who can visually identify Kodos, the other being Kirk). Riley was a potentially fun character, but I don’t think we see him again after this episode. Which is a shame.
Kirk and Kodos do not really meet until well into the episode, and by that scene the audience pretty much knows that Karidian is Kodos. The scene where Kirk makes the actor read out the speech that Kodos made as he sends 4000 people to their deaths is excellent. I like the fact that the actions of Kodos are not black and white – had a rescue ship not arrived early, then his actions would have saved the lives of the rest of the colonists, and he would possibly have been declared a hero. He’s not an “evil” bad guy, he has been judged bad by history because of the way things played out. I like that distinction.
I also like the twist at the end, the fact that the murderer (as I said, of the nine that could have identified Kodos, only two, Kirk and Riley are left) was not Kodos, but his daughter trying to protect the identity of her father (he didn’t even know that she knew about his past).
It’s better than most. In fact, the way it plays out and the intelligence of it come from a later time – this episode would not have looked out of place in one of the later Trek shows. And yes, that is meant to be a compliment!
Crew Deaths: 0
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 19
First Aired: September 29, 1966
Stewart Moss (Joe Tormolen)
Bruce Hyde (Lt. Kevin Thomas Riley)
William Knight (Amorous Crewman)
John Bellah (Laughing Crewman)
Writer: John D.F. Black
I am very familiar with this episode for two reasons – firstly, I like it, and secondly I had not realised how similar the Next Generation remake (The Naked Now) was!
Also, this is the first episode of the run that has all of the season one regulars in place – Uhura, Rand, Sulu, Scotty, Chapel, Kirk, Spock, McCoy – all are there. And it’s so cool to have them!
The plot moves along at a nice pace, and there is time for some enjoyable, and funny, character moments, but as their situation gets more serious, as the ship stops working and the planet starts to break up, there is a real sense of tension, even though you know in your heart of hears that they are going to survive. It is great watching everyone going bonkers, with only a few people remaining sane. The frustration on Shatners face as Kirk has to deal with the degenerating situation are great, Sulu going mental with a sword (surely one of the most iconic images of any character within the show) is a lot of fun, Kevin Riley taking over engineering and demanding ice cream and singing over the intercom is also funny when it could have got annoying. We also find out for the first time that Chapel has a thing for Spock.
One gripe – there is a Captains Log that says, and I quote, “…our need for efficiency critical, but unknown to us, a totally new and unusual disease has been bought aboard.” How the hell can you do a Captains log that basically says “however, unbeknown to us…” It just sticks out. The Captains Log cannot be used to communicate something that the Captain does not know at the time. It’s just bollocks.
Generally, this is a fun episode, the only part I was not convinced by was the last few moments where Kirk and Spock fight and this somehow cures Spock and he thinks up the formula for a “never been done before” cold start on the Enterprise engines and it causes them to go back in time in a way that is not at all relevant to the story and serves it in no way whatsoever. Yep, Kirk does the timewarp a few years before the cast of Rocky Horror! It is a slightly hokey ending that lets down an otherwise thoroughly enjoyable episode.
Crew Deaths: 1
Total Crew Deaths So Far: 17