Captain’s log: stardate 5718.3
Whom Gods Destroy was penned by Lee Erwin and Jerry Sohl and had it’s first broadcast on 3 January, 1969.
The Enterprise arrives in orbit around Elba II, which serves as an asylum for the criminally insane. They have arrived on a mission of mercy, they are carrying a serum that will serve as a cure for the remaining inmates.
Unfortunately when Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and Spock (Leonard Nimoy) beam down, they are taken hostage by a former starship commander, Garth (Steve Ihnat), who has seized control of the asylum.
To add to the threat Garth has somehow learned to shape-shift, which caused his insanity. He can imitate anyone, and with Kirk in his hands, he plans to take the stalwart captain’s place and leave his prison once and for all.
But Kirk and Spock didn’t beam down without a plan.
Familiar face, Keye Luke, plays the governor of the planet, and an old friend of Kirk’s.
Like a lot of third season episodes I had not seen this one a number of times so it ended up being a fun watch. I love that Scotty (James Doohan) has command of the Enterprise, and seems wonderfully comfortable in the role as he interacts with McCoy (DeForest Kelley), Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) and Sulu (George Takei).
The other fun thing is getting to see Shatner and Nimoy play variations of their characters as Garth impersonates them. Seeing Garth as Kirk throw a tantrum that his escape to the Enterprise is foiled.
Of course, Kirk pays for obstructing Garth’s escape. Garth puts him in an agony chair, similar to the one seen in Dagger of the Mind, and tortures the Captain, who, of course, refuses to break. That doesn’t stop Garth from taking out his fury on others in the asylum.
It’s rather sad in terms of script writing that it’s easier for Kirk to figure out Garth is posing as Spock, than it is for Spock to discern Garth as Kirk. It should have been incredibly easy for both characters, considering their friendship.
Despite that, I rather enjoy this episode, and it’s fun to see Kirk square off against himself, and Ihnat is wonderfully manic as Garth.
Captain’s log: stardate 5730.2
Let That Be Your Last Battlefield aired on 10 January, 1969. It was based on a story by Gene L. Coon, writing as Lee Cronin with a teleplay by Oliver Crawford.
A lot of sci-fi can be subtle in its commentary on social issues. This one is pretty blatant. Racism is stupid.
The Enterprise picks up a stolen Starfleet shuttlecraft. Within is an alien that is half-white, half-black named Lokai (Lou Antonio). Kirk and company soon discover he is being pursued by his mirror-image, Commander Bele (Batman’s Riddler – Frank Gorshin).
The chase has gone on for 50,000 years, the hatred, perhaps longer, based solely on their appearance.
When the two come together to fight, extraordinary powers are revealed and it’s up to Kirk, Spock and McCoy to help them realise how inane their racist arguments are.
Like I said, not too subtle in its message.
As a child, even I understood the message. And as I have often said on our show, Trek is the show that showed me that things like racism, sexism and prejudice, are, well to keep in line with the blunt message of the episode… stupid.
It says more about ourselves if we subscribe to these prejudiced beliefs. Are we so scared of one another, seeing them as an ‘other’, something less than ourselves that we have to demean them, enslave them, degrade them?
Generations were taught this hatred, and as we’ve seen it’s still prevalent today, despite some posturing, and hope for a better tomorrow. And to this day, it’s something I’ve never understood.
Bele and Lokai have chased and hated for so long that by the time they return to their home planet of Charon they are presented with a stunning revelation.
On a lighter note, Kirk, Spock and Scotty set the auto-destruct sequence for the Enterprise a note of continuity that will play all the way up through Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (but shouldn’t they have updated it by then like they did with the rest of the ship?).
Next week, the Human Adventure continues…