Director: Don McDougall
Writer: Paul Schneider
Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, William Campbell, DeForest Kelley, Richard Carlyle, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, James Doohan, Michael Barrier, and Venita Wolf
Composer: Alexander Courage
Air Date: 1/12/1967
Production #: 6149-18
After Sulu attempts to maneuver the Enterprise around a rogue planet, both he and Captain Kirk are abducted by a powerful but petulant being named Trelane (William Campbell). In spite of his ability to replicate 18th century Earth castles and other gothic artifacts, Trelane lacks the omniscience required to update his anachronistic collection. As a result, Kirk realizes that Trelane can be outsmarted through old-fashioned ingenuity and manipulation.
By pitting an erudite adversary against a starship crew, “The Squire of Gothos” serves as an excellent precursor to the Q-themed episodes from Star Trek: The Next Generation. In addition to its possible influence on later Star Trek installments, this entry presents a more intellectual approach to the “Charlie X” premise from earlier in season one.
Though many Star Trek fans will recognize William Campbell for his portrayal of the Klingon named Koloth in The Original Series and Deep Space Nine, Campbell’s performance as Trelane is equally praiseworthy for its amusing combination of striking elegance and childish behavior. Shatner’s onscreen interactions with Campbell likewise result in a series of humorous and intriguing sequences that showcase the unique talents and quirks of both actors and their characters. Whereas Captain Picard would often lose his patience when confronted with Q’s infantile antics, Kirk maintains his cool from start to finish, allowing him to eventually gain the upper hand over his own similarly modeled nemesis.
Several minor inconsistencies with previously established canon are present in this narrative.
Like many Star Trek episodes and movies, “The Squire of Gothos” presents a fascinating analysis on the dangers of intellect without discipline and power without constructive purpose, to borrow Mr. Spock’s phrasing. For all his pseudo-sophistication, Trelane, like Q, squanders his extraordinary powers on foolish games in order to quell his boredom. While it’s difficult to parallel this with a real-world example, perhaps there is a lesson to be learned regarding the importance of putting acquired knowledge and innate talents to decent use, lest they end up wasted on frivolous or damaging pursuits.
“The Squire of Gothos” is an entertaining piece that once again demonstrates Kirk’s brilliance at handling bizarre situations. Though not quite as profound as certain episodes of a similar nature, this offering should appeal to any Star Trek enthusiasts who prefer refined humor over the juvenile comedy of other lighthearted stories.
Overall Quality: 9/10
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