Sunday, January 20, 2019

The Squire of Gathos

TOS Season 1 Episode 17
Air Date: January 12th, 1967

Imagine if you had absolute power. Now imagine you were only 5 years old.

The Enterprise while travelling through a space desert (an area with very little interstellar objects) come across a toxic planet without a star. When they try to avoid it, Sulu and Kirk disappear off the bridge. The Enterprise start scanning the planet and decide to send down a search party using respirators. When they arrive the air is breathable and there is vegetation.

They quickly discover a castle and when they enter they find Kirk, Sulu and an alien named Trelene. Trelene seems facinated with Earth history, or well as he thought it was, Earth present. He is 900 light years away and was watching Earth's development but that means he is seeing earth as it was 900 years ago. He thinks humans are barbaric creatures that are constantly going to war (kind of accurate). And it turns out that Trelene is all powerful. He can make things appear out of thin air. He made Uhura play the harpsichord even though she never played before.

Kirk surmises that while Trelene is powerful he also makes mistakes and therefore can be beaten. He tricks Trelene into a pistol duel and uses it to destroy a machine that they suspected gave Trelene his powers. But it turns out not to help. Finally Kirk convinces Trelene to let the Enterprise go if they have a fight to the death (which Kirk can't win). But Trelene was dishonest and didn't let the Enterprise go. Just when you think Kirk is done for, two energy forms appear out of know where and scold Trelene as parents would scold a child. Trelene has a temper tantrum and is taken away.

This episode appears to be a common theme in The Original Series. The Enterprise regularly encounters aliens that have powers that appear godlike to us. In 1994 Peter David wrote a novel called Q-squared that proposed that Trelene was actually a member of the Q continuum.

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