First Aired: December 8, 1966
Arnold Moss (Anton Karidian)
Barbara Anderson (Lenore Karidian)
William Sargent (Dr. Thomas Leighton)
Natalie Norwick (Martha Leighton)
David Troy (Lt. Larry Matson)
Karl Bruck (King Duncan)
Marc Adams (Hamlet)
Bruce Hyde (Lt. Kevin Thomas Riley)
Writer: Barry Trivers
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