Monday, January 14, 2019

The Conscience of the King

TOS Season 1 Episode 13
Air Date: December 8th, 1966

You are a leader of a colony of eight thousand people and your food supply was mostly destroyed by a fungus. You only had enough supplies left to keep the people alive and new supplies won't arrive in time? This was the dilemma that Kodos had to solve when he was governor of Tarsus IV twenty years prior. He chose to have half of his people put to death so the other half could survive long enough to get the new supplies. He chose who would live and who would die based on eugenics, basically the stronger people would live and the weaker would die. After he had the four thousand killed, the replacement supplies arrived early which meant that nobody had to die, but only in hind sight. Kodos ended up dying by being burned and only a handful of people ever saw his face.

Twenty years after this massacre, Thomas Leighton, one of the people that had seen Kodos' face was watching a play and the lead actor was Kodos. He calls Kirk using a ruse as Kirk also had scene Kodos' face and he wanted Kirk's help. When Kirk arrives, Thomas is killed leaving only two people that had seen Kodos' face alive. Kirk and Lt. Kevin Riley whose parents died on Tarsus IV.

After some investigation Kirk callenges the actor who finally admits he is Kodos but denies killing anyone since. It turns out he wasn't the monster everyone thought he was and that he was put into a scenario with an impossible choice and even though he made the wrong one, he was trying to save lives. They soon discover that it is Kodos' daughter that was killing the ones that knew what Kodos looks like and in trying to kill Kirk, Kodos jumps in front of the phaser blast.

This episode was the last one that Grace Lee Whitney starred in as Yeoman Janice Rand. There was a lot of speculation why she was removed from the cast. Some say it was that they didn't want Kirk to have a love interest though in her autobiography she says that she was sexually assaulted by an executive of the show. She never says who but she feels that is why she was fired.

It isn't the last time we see her character though. She reprises the role of Janice Rand in the Star Trek movies, and even in a flashback episode of Star Trek Voyager.

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