Thursday, October 16, 2014

Star Trek: The Conscience of the King (1966)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils Star Trek episode The Conscience of the King (1966)

I promised to do this on Doctor Who: A Town called Mercy post. While watching this episode, I realized how much I had forgotten of it. I didn't say anything incorrect in that post. Point just wasn't as clear as I remembered, but it was there.

This is from first season of original Star Trek. Things haven't yet locked and characters weren't what we are used to. Captain Kirk and Doctor Bones looked really bad in this episode. Bones was drinking during shift and Kirk acted like terrible leader. This has one of few Uhura's musical numbers. There was one other in other episode. I don't remember if there were more of them. Uhura's role was later reduced into point Nichelle Nichols almost left the series after first season. But Martin Luther King talked her into staying. One of those things which show how important show original Star Trek was.

Episode is detective story of finding out if a travelling actor is really governor Kodos, who killer half of 8000 member colony. That happened twenty years ago. Only nine persons actually saw Kodos and are able to recognize Kodos. I am not getting into problem of how 3991 survivors never saw their governor. It was never explained, but it is not important here. Kirk is one of these people, who saw Kodos. Others have died while the actor was near.

Episode doesn't keep mystery mysterious very long. Kirk isn't sure, but everyone else and evidence are sure. I remembered good man doing bad things angle was more clear. Everyone except Kodos seems to think he is evil. They just see 4000 dead people. Colony had disaster and people were doomed. Kodos made decision to kill half of the colony to give other half change to survive. How ever salvation ships came earlier than they expected and killing of half of the colony was unnecessary. If salvation ships came when they expected them to come Kodos would have been hero. At least he thinks that. No one else seems to think so. No one else haven't had situations, where they had to make similar decisions.

A Town Called Mercy reminded me of this episode. After seeing this I have to say  A Town Called Mercy studied the theme better. Here only Kodos understands his decision and his reasons to make the decision. Others, Kirk included, only see him as killer of 4000.

At time of shooting Star Trek hadn't yet stabilized its form. This felt like it was more individual story than part of Star Trek continuation. It gave characters history that didn't feel correct. Events of the colony happened 20 years ago.  Kirk and another crew member, who was there, felt too young. I mentioned 9 persons who had seen Kodos. Crew member was really young during events of the colony. How he had seen Kodos when 3991 other survivors had not?

Episode was quite uneven. Kodos story was interesting. There were too much scenes which just added the length. I remembered this to be much better. I only remembered Kodos and couple scenes. It has flaws, but it is still good episode. I watched HD version of this episode. CGI Enterprise didn't feel right, Why they didn't use original effects? Other scenes looked great thought.


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