Saturday, February 23, 2019

The Savage Curtain

TOS Season 3 Episode 22
Air Date: March 7th, 1969


Conducting a geological survey of a system, the Enterprise encounters a planet completely covered in volcanoes with no chance of life. Yet their sensors do pick up indications that there is life below. Then with a shimmer on the view screen, they see the image of Abraham Lincoln appear sitting in a chair floating in space. He tells Kirk that he is Lincoln and requests to be transported aboard. One of Kirk's heroes is Lincoln so he tells his crew to wear dress uniforms and transports him up.

Spock notices that just before starting the transport, it appeared as if Lincoln was a rock creature but once aboard he was human according to McCoy. After talking to Lincoln he convinces Kirk and Spock to transport down to the surface where a patch of Earth like land appears. Kirk decides to go, and when they arrive they are greeted by Surak, a Vulcan who was known for bringing peace to the Vulcan people and his teachings led to Vulcans repressing their emotions.

Then a rock creatures called Yarnek appears and tells them that they want to learn from the Federation a foreign concept of good and evil and more specifically, which is stronger. Four subjectively evil people appear, Genghis Khan of Mongol, Colonel Green who was a warlord in the mid 21st century earth, Zora and Kahless a historical warrior of the Klingon empire. Yarnek says if they can win in a fight they are free to go. Kirk refuses so Yarnek ups the stakes and threatens the Enterprise.

Both sides make a camp and start building weapons out of the branches and shrubs at their disposal. But Surak believes he can come to a peaceful solution and goes to the other four. They instead take him hostage. Spock hears Surak call out in pain asking for help, something that Spock knows a Vulcan would not do. So Lincoln suggests he flank the group and rescue Surak while Kirk and Spock create a diversion. This tactic does not work and when Lincoln finds Surak dead, he himself is stabbed in the back.

Kirk and Spock then fight the four and when Colonel Green is killed, the others all flee. Yarnek then declares Kirk but that he learned nothing about the difference of good and evil as they fought the same way, using tricks and deceptions. Kirk said it wasn't the fighting that was different, but what was being fought for. The evil group was fighting for power and glory, effectively for themselves. While Kirk, Spock, Lincoln and Surak were fighting for peace and to save people, sometimes sacrificing oneself to do it. Yarnek understands this and lets the Enterprise go.


In this episode two characters that are important to the Star Trek universe were introduced. Surak, the Vulcan who is known as the "Father of Vulcan civilization". I am going to see if he is mentioned again in future series, I suspect Tuvok mentioned him and I was just ignorant on who he was. The other character is Kahless who is mentioned many times in TNG, DS9 and Voyager and there is even an episode where Worf finds someone who claims to be Kahless himself.


"Do you still measure time in minutes?" - Lincoln
"We can convert to it, sir." - Kirk

"There's no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy. There is nothing good in war except its ending." - Lincoln

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