Review “The Squire Of Gothos” Remastered | TrekMovie.com
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Review “The Squire Of Gothos” Remastered July 25, 2007

by Adam Cohen , Filed under: Review,TOS Remastered , trackback

“What does God need with a starship?”
-
James Kirk, “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier”

I know, it’s off the map to mention “Star Trek V” in a review of a TOS-R episode, but in watching “The Squire of Gothos,” I couldn’t help but replay the moment from the 1989 movie through my head where James Kirk faces down a God-like being with some healthy skepticism.  Captain Kirk does not suffer deities kindly, especially those who abuse their power.  Be it an Ancient Greek god or a super-computer, there is a recurring theme that comes up throughout The Original Series and it is best summed up by Mr. Spock in this very episode: “I object to intellect without discipline.  I object to power without constructive purpose.”  Fellow Trek fans, this is the sort of stuff that elevates Star Trek above your average science-fiction fare.  “The Squire of Gothos” is vintage Trek.

Morning Coffee Gets Interrupted.

It’s coffee time on the bridge of the Enterprise when this episode begins.  It seems like everyone except Spock is sipping from a warm mug.  I like moments like this as it points to something Director Nick Meyer liked to inject into his Trek movies, namely the anachronistic touches of human customs set in a modern future.  The image of a coffee mug sitting on the navigation console really struck me as kitschy and fanciful.  Well, as is the case on an hour-long format, the story moves quickly as Kirk and Sulu are abducted from the bridge by an unknown power that emanates from a barren planetoid below.  Leonard Nimoy’s Spock (in this seventeenth episode of the show’s first season) takes command of the situation, injecting calm leadership among a distraught bridge crew.  Part of the reason why this series worked so well early on is that (unlike current shows that drag out character progression over several seasons) “Star Trek” sought to establish the dynamics of its characters early on.  Spock is a trusted force by this point in the series, and it keeps the storytelling tight as a result.  When the cryptic message “Hip Hip Hoorah, Tallyho” comes though on Uhura’s screen, Spock confidently dispatches McCoy and two other crewmembers to investigate the planet to encounter this intelligence and ultimately recover Kirk and Sulu. 

The landing party beams down to the planet to find even bigger anachronisms- a medieval castle and inside it a drawing room, outfitted with a roaring fireplace and harpsichord.  In the corner stand Kirk and Sulu, frozen like wax statues.  Enter the intergalactic Liberace himself, General Trelane (played with panache by William Campbell).  Trelane unfreezes Kirk and Sulu and introduces himself as a gentlemen– refined and powerful all the same, but the reanimated Kirk is immediately unimpressed. 

Kirk is a zero-sum guy and in a show of such limited time, it’s both necessary and refreshing to get right to what the hero is thinking.  Give credit to William Shatner’s performance here, as he conveys Kirk’s varying reactions.  Kirk is initially curious about Trelane and his power, but after a brief exchange, the Captain clearly makes up his mind: he wants to get as far away from this megalomaniac as possible.  Kirk sees the “crazy” in Trelane’s eyes and Shatner’s deft acting helps the audience find comfort in our own growing skepticism towards the flamboyant squire.


Campbell as The Squire – The host with the most

This scenario is what I refer to earlier as “vintage Trek.”  The Wikipedia article on this episode identifies a thematic trend in TOS called “dystheism”– the belief in God’s existence but not in His being wholly good.  While Trelane is not presented as the Judeo-Christian God, Kirk is not enamored with superior power in any form, which clearly parallels that theme.  Other TOS episodes go further in this direction, but consistently we see Kirk has a concrete set of values and priorities that he refuses to abrogate in the face of so-called all-knowingness.  Gene Roddenberry’s moral/secular humanist hero is strongly present in Kirk.  Looking back to when I first started watching this show as a youth, I can see how my attitudes towards organized religion and dogma were partially informed by the humanist hero of Kirk.  This is not to say that Star Trek is anti-organized religion, as I’m sure one could just as easily point out that the show regularly destroyed false gods and golden calves in all forms (and thus bolstered organized religion).  But that’s the beauty of this show– it gives varying points of view room to breath.

Trelane quickly devolves into the pathetic, lonely brat that Kirk identified in his mind early on.  Trelane abducts Uhura and Yeoman Teresa Ross to the surface, ogling them without pity, and ironically embodying the very thing which he accuses Kirk and his crew of possessing, namely “the very soul of sublime savagery.”  There is some nifty writing here, courtesy of Paul Schneider (“Balance of Terror”).  Little twists of dialogue and economical set-ups move the story forward, developing a tension-filled showdown between Kirk and Trelane.  Campbell and Shatner face off well, eclipsing the cardboard scenery with theatrical performances (see the courtroom scene for the show’s true crescendo). And when Kirk finally decides to confront to Trelane, he affirms his status as a hero– one who is willing to risk his life to protect others.  Before Trelane can kill Kirk, two glowing spots appear on a nearby rock. Naturally, these are Trelane’s parents.  They call off Trelane and promise Kirk that they will punish their rambunctious child for mistreating Kirk and his crew.  But there’s a tinge of Trelane’s superiority underlying his parents’ tone (yet another subtle shade by Schneider).  I picture your typical old-fashioned aristocratic couple, embarrassed by their son’s behavior towards “the help.”  And the voice acting, while obviously dated and cheesy, brings the point home regardless.  Kirk attempts to ask Trelane’s parent’s about their origins and powers, but he’s blown off as they disappear (probably to play Pinochle with Q’s parents).


Even gods get scolded

“Cat and Mouse” Never Looked Better!

The remastered effects greatly improve this episode.  CBS-D gave visceral movement to the “cat and mouse” scene where the Enterprise attempts to escape Gothos– with the planet repeatedly appearing in the ship’s path.  I found myself leaning side to side in my chair as I watched Gothos zip by the bridge’s main viewscreen.  That’s some mighty good FX work!  Now, I’ve read comments on this site by some readers stating the hand phaser shots are inconsistent from episode to episode.  I agree that uniformity would be helpful, but I take CBS-D’s work in its entirety and I am extremely impressed and grateful for the majority of what they’ve done up until this point.  This episode in particular benefited greatly from the new Gothos shots. 


Gothos never looked (and moved) so good

Beware The 40,000 Year-Old Virgin

Trelane starts out as an overpowering foe but by the episode’s end he is revealed to be an immature loner lacking friends and social skills.  This motif is used repeatedly throughout the series but starting in the show’s first season, “The Squire of Gothos” is truly one of the classic Treks.  Revisiting its poignant themes about power and free will was a worthwhile experience.

 

Adam Cohen is the editor and mastermind of the sometimes funny The Jack Sack, a "24" (humor) site.

Comments

1. dalek - July 25, 2007

Excellent review. Not an episode i remember fondly, but one having read your description of merits i’d never thought about before, I’m up for a rewatch. Thanks!

2. lou - July 25, 2007

I wish that CBS would put more space between episode that are basically alike. last week Charlie, this week Trelane.

they did it before with the Nazi episode then next week the gangster episode.

I know Trek was guilty of recycling plot devices, but can we not point them out so obviously

3. toddk - July 25, 2007

He’s Not a Child! He’s 34! Melllvar’s Mom correcting fry regarding facts in ” Where no fan has gone before”

4. Jeyl - July 25, 2007

I for one liked this episode and I was greatly saddened that Trelane wasn’t related ot the Q race. I will always love John De Lancie’s performance as Q, but I can’t help but see Q as a more mature and villinous version of Trelane.

However, all was not lost. They actually made a sequel to this episode in the form of a game called “Star Trek: Judgement Rights”. Even actor William Campbell returns to the role as Trelane which is a real treat. And in this episode of the game, Trelane now emulates the first World War and his parents are no where to be seen in order to stop his bad ways. It even features a space battle between Trelane in his WWI Biplane against the Enterprise which is quite goofy. It also has a great ending to it where Kirk demands that Trelane take both of them to a much more realistic depiction of a war trench after a battle. It’s a pretty dark and uneasy setting that gives Kirk the level he needs in order to explain to Trelane that war isn’t always a glorious thing to behold and take for granted in a way that Trelane dipicts it and it’s never really wanted.

Pretty good stuff. There are multiple ways to end that chapter of the game, but the trench one was my favorite.

5. DavidJ - July 25, 2007

#2, yeah I was thinking the same thing. I always liked Gothos, but seeing it right after the more sophisticated Charlie X, it looks like kind of a cheap retread.

And frankly I think it’s a stretch to use Gothos as any kind of statement on religion. Kirk doesn’t trust Trelane because he’s clearly a dangerous and unpredictable alien with incredible powers. I doubt he saw him as any kind of “god.”

6. Lord Garth Formerly of Izar - July 25, 2007

Nice review Adam. Where have you been?? I miss our resident science officer

7. Kev - July 25, 2007

Good show and review. “Kirk is a zero sum guy” is usually quite true. Watching this after not having seen it for many years, I almost thought it was a classic Twilight Zone, with a generic space crew. Meant as a compliment. The powerful beings in TOS kind of made the stories interesting because the crew wasn’t always top dog, as in most of the other series. Both Q and the Borg became parodies near the end. They (TOS) had to scratch their way out of trouble.

8. Kev - July 25, 2007

…not “All Good Things”, very good.

9. Adam Cohen - July 25, 2007

#6 Thanks, man.

I’m back from a long summer of traveling. You’ll be seeing more of me, don’t you worry :)

10. CmdrR. - July 25, 2007

I don’t agree with those who have suggested the Gothos is a retread of Charlie. I think you get that because CBS-R played them back-to-back. Come on, this is 1966 TV. There’s a huge appetite for Man v. gods (small g) stories in a post-Vatican II (big V) America.
I think that later Kirk v. god stories (esp. Apple and Adonis) suffer from sheer repetition, but I don’t get that feeling with Gothos, Charlie or Archons.
Since, as you point out, it’s such a common theme in TOS, I wonder if JJ might throw in some omnipotent being/puter/thingie for Kirk to rail at. (As long as it’s not a giant face.)

11. Anthony Pascale - July 25, 2007

another fine review Adam…thanks

I have always been curious as well about Roddenberry’s seeming obsession with superbeings. He has them in the pilots for both TOS and TNG and in the two movies he was most involved with TMP and STV…and littered throughout the series. Not sure what his message was…but he sure thought a lot about it.

Squire is not one of my faves but not on my badlist…it good fun effort…the new effects in this episode though really do make an improvement in increasing the tension levels for the ship scenes.

and a planet with some new colors…thanks CBSD

12. ety3 - July 25, 2007

One oddity I noticed in the episode.

At the beginning during “coffee time,” Spock is standing by DeSalle’s console and he’s speaking to Kirk. Mid-sentence, he’s looking down at DeSalle’s console and he reports to Kirk that something’s in front of them.

Kirk asks the navigator – DeSalle – to confirm, and he says he can’t! Spock was looking at that very workstation and DeSalle didn’t see what Spock did so plainly a moment ago?

My only thought is that it was written with an eye toward Spock being at his regular science station, but on the day of shooting, they decided to block the scene with Spock loitering at the navigation station. While it gives a nice, fresh dynamic to the bridge interaction, it makes DeSalle look like an idiot ’cause he can’t read his own display.

13. GNDN - July 25, 2007

“…played with panache by William Campbell…”

Rare, Spock-like understatement. Nicely done.

14. Robert Gillis - July 25, 2007

I believe Peter David’s book “Q-Suared” established that Trelane is a Q.

15. Izbot - July 25, 2007

I was a little disappointed that a new wide establishing shot of the castle was not added in the Remastered version, similar to the new castle shot in Catspaw or exterior beam-in shot in Spock’s Brain. When the crew suddenly notice the castle we see the shock on their faces and hear a loud fanfare but all we get is an underwhelming shot of a door. This was a lost opportunity to really give the viewers an image that would’ve lifted the episode by expanding on its otherwise threadbare exterior planet set.

16. Lord Garth Formerly of Izar - July 25, 2007

Brother Adam, Your timing is impecible, you came back at the right time. I had to buy diapers for the next couple days flood of info we are about to recieve.

17. last o' the timelords - July 25, 2007

Kirk to Apollo “We find our one God quite sufficient, thank you”. (A very remarked upon comment back in the Sixties’.)

Kirk was no secular humanist and displays the skepticism of one of the faithful when confronted with someone claiming to be a god.

Don’t know what religion he was, but Kirk has a faith. AND his very name means ‘church’. Dwell on that!

18. Al - July 25, 2007

I thought DeSalle couldn’t confirm it as Gothos was there and then not there

19. Lao3D - July 25, 2007

Great review!

I’m always an advocate of new matte shots, and agree it would have been a nice addition, but the planet chase made up for it. I’m just glad I wasn’t the only one leaning like a ninny during the scene!

20. Bart - July 25, 2007

Q was a more mature version of Trelane, so was TNG a more mature version of TOS.

The coffee… wow, they had coffee in one episode. Picard had tea all the time (remember? earl grey, hot…) and as I recall Janeway couldn’t start her day without a pot of black coffee on her desk.

21. JC - July 25, 2007

Trelane just kind of reminded me of a flamboyant insecure man who acted out his insecurities on the men he envied.It’s a case of a delusional egomaniac with too much power who treats others as objects.I see Trelane as a masochistic homosexual and as someone in a state of arrested emotional development

22. JC - July 25, 2007

Sorry meant to say sadistic.

23. THEETrekMaster - July 25, 2007

Great review!

24. Ro-Dan - July 25, 2007

14.

“Q Squared” is a Star Trek novel and thus, non-canon.

25. Rastaman - July 25, 2007

“I see Trelane as a *sadistic homosexual and as someone in a state of arrested emotional development.”

Homosexual! haha what the hell gave you that impression?

For one thing, Adam’s comment that he was “ogling” Uhura and the yeoman is completely accurate. I don’t remember him ogling Sulu or Kirk. Also, and more to the point, he’s an omnipotent energy alien who probably doesn’t even have genitals to begin with!

Your vilifying of homosexuals by comparing them to Trelane is not something I agree with. As for him being sadistic and emotionally arrested, I whole-heartedly agree.

26. JC - July 25, 2007

Just a character study.that happens to be part of the mix I see.Just like most people see Liberace( including the author).I didn’t know it was prohibited to speak about villans with this feature.I guess all villans are heterosexual to you.

27. Kevin - July 25, 2007

>I have always been curious as well about Roddenberry’s seeming >obsession with superbeings. He has them in the pilots for both TOS and >TNG and in the two movies he was most involved with TMP and STV…>and littered throughout the series. Not sure what his message was…but >he sure thought a lot about it.

Aye, but as far as STV is concerned, Roddenberry had little involvement. His role was just a technical advisor. In fact he didn’t like STV and it’s said that he even considered the movie (the book uses this word and not me) hypocriphal (non-canon). His letters written to the producer about the script are in his biography.

>I believe Peter David’s book “Q-Suared” established that Trelane is a Q.

Yes sir. Not exactly canon, but it’s still a good read.

28. Kevin - July 25, 2007

I think Trelane is more flamboyant than gay. If anything, he’s really just a big blob of green energy… who knows how they even reproduce.

29. DavidJ - July 25, 2007

By that measure, Koloth had to have been gay too, since he was played by the same actor in almost the same way. lol

30. JC - July 25, 2007

29.I think Trelane used flamboyance to mask his insecurity.Deep down inside He didn’t know who he was.He was just barely holding it together.That’s one reason for his envy of Kirk.Trelane was delusional great while Kirk was the real thing.It’s a case of resentement-the green eyed monster that mocks the meat it feeds on.

31. Rastaman - July 25, 2007

“Just a character study.that happens to be part of the mix I see.Just like most people see Liberace( including the author).I didn’t know it was prohibited to speak about villans with this feature.I guess all villans are heterosexual to you.”

Let’s see … we know he’s flamboyant and he’s sadistic, so he MUST be gay too.

Suggesting he’s gay is pretty far in left field given how he treated the females. Your suggestion is so far out in left field it seemed a little homo-phobic to me. It appeared to pigeonhole homosexuality as a negative characteristic associated with flamboyancy and sadism. If that is not what you intended to imply, however, I’ll take you at your word.

As for your second baseless assumption, I definitely don’t think all villains are heterosexual. Quite the contrary, Star Trek does have a history of implying alternative sexual orientations are a vilifying characteristic. Just look at Mirror Universe Kira from Deep Space Nine. Only in such an “evil deviant universe” could Kira be so promiscuous and appear bi-sexual?

Star Trek (and some Star Trek fans) needs to look more closely at how it addresses issues of sexual identity.

32. Xplodin' Nacelle - July 25, 2007

Re: #4

Maybe Q is Trelane’s Grandfather?

33. Dennis Bailey - July 25, 2007

It wasn’t Roddenberry per se who had the greatest fascination with “god-like beings” as plot devices during TOS – it was Gene L. Coon. He used non-corporeal creatures with magical and near-infinite powers in “Arena” and “Errand Of Mercy,” two of the eight TOS episodes for which he’s credited under his own name for teleplay.

Roddenberry, by contrast, used creatures that could be described as “god-like” in the superiority of their technology and/or mental powers in only two out of twelve TOS scripts for which he was credited with the teleplays – “The Cage” and “The Savage Curtain.” Both the Talosians and the Excalbians were flesh-and-blood (so to speak; the Excalbians being a bit on the stony side) and were much more limited in their abilities than Coon’s near-deities.

“God-like aliens” start popping up in Roddenberry’s stories as deus-ex-machinas later, when trying to recreate “Star Trek” in the first motion picture or in the pilot episode of “Encounter At Farpoint.”

Coon was long dead by then, and it’s rather as if GR were looking back at some of the most popular episodes of TOS – most of which were written by other writers like Coon – and adopting tropes that either resonated with him thematically or that he thought contributed to the first show’s success.

As far as Trek V is concerned, of course, not only is it true that his input there was limited but that he argued vociferously against the whole “Enterprise meets God” storyline and was less than enthusiastic about the eventual watered-down version.

34. Dennis Bailey - July 25, 2007

Kirk’s actual line in “Who Mourns For Adonais” was:

“Mankind has no need for gods. We find the one quite adequate.”

The second sentence was added at the insistence of NBC Standards and Practices.

35. Captain James B. Quirk Trek Modeler - July 25, 2007

Excellent review Adam. Thank you!

36. Dennis Bailey - July 25, 2007

#26: “Just a character study.that happens to be part of the mix I see.”

Except that there’s no reason based on the material to think that Trelane is homosexual. The only overtly sexual behavior he displays is toward the female Enterprise crew members.

That a viewer might identify Trelane’s foppish behavior with a camp gay stereotype and conclude as a result that the character was *intended* to be homosexual is an observation on the stereotype itself and on the viewer in question, not actually found in the material

37. 4 8 15 16 23 42 - July 25, 2007

Didn’t anyone tell the writers about how Deus Ex Machina is a fatal error of dramaturgy?

38. Adam Cohen - July 25, 2007

Overacting does not equal gay behavior. If that were the case, shouldn”t the Enterprise’s Captain be raising eyebrows too?

Trelane’s biggest failing was that he was out of his element when it came to human behavior. He really was a social idiot. Kirk picked up on this early on and exploited Trelane’s ineptness to his advantage. Kirk played armchair psychologist and managed to cause Trelane to beat himself. What was rewarding about that strategy was seeing it develop over the course of the episode. By the time Kirk decides he’s going to take down Trelane, you had the feeling that he knew precisely what buttons to push. Sure, Trelane could have wiped out Kirk with the blink of an eye, but he didn’t. That’s a testament to good writing and strong acting for making that set-up so satisfactory in the end. Kirk is so very good at the mind games.

P.S. Thanks to everyone for writing their comments. It is my pleasure to read your reactions and thoughts to this episode.

39. JC - July 25, 2007

I don’t recall how He treated the females.I bet ,however it was probably in a degrading manner.Which supports the fact that He’s full of self loathing.Probably to prove something to himself.Remember He had a big issue with his identity ,being very jealous of other men.But anyway that’s my assesment.

40. JC - July 25, 2007

Um Yeah,Adam.Captain Kirk had a great fear of commitment.(and Shatner’s a bit of a ham)I hope someone doesn’t get on my back about being a heterophobe!(shatnerphobe)

41. JC - July 25, 2007

Um Yeah,Adam.Captain Kirk had a great fear of commitment.(and Shatner’s a bit of a ham)I hope someone doesn’t get on my back about being a heterophobe!(shatnerphobe)

42. Ralph F - July 25, 2007

Actually, I was only half surprised they didn’t have John De Lancie redo the dub of Trelane’s “father” (or both; it would have been short order to rewrite the parents dialog as a single voice). I guess that would have been pushing things a bit far. Still…

43. gorgon - July 25, 2007

sweet episode!

sweet review!

thanks.

44. defender of the fey - July 25, 2007

Trelane’s behavior is typical of the way late 18th century “fops” or “dandies” behaved (according to contemoprary description). They were not any more homosexual than posers or players are today. As #36 has pointed, his behavior is foppish rather than homosexual.

What’s the difference? Well, for one thing, “homosexual” is not a mannerism, a character trait or a way of talking, moving or acting — whereas fops and dandies behaved according to a strict code of behavior.

End of lecture. But he sure did act gay. (not homosexual).

45. CmdrR. - July 25, 2007

Trelane couldn’t have been gay. Judy Garland wasn’t born until way after the 19th century.

46. Dennis Bailey - July 25, 2007

I thought Campbell was great in this, BTW.

47. THX-1138 - July 25, 2007

That randy, foppish, non-gay, megalomaniacal, not a Q, child of green omnipotent energy beings bastard!

And that was a great review, Adam. I have also enjoyed the insightful views from the other posters. THIS is what this site is all about, to me.

(Were they green? I forgot during my opening sentence.)

48. THEETrekMaster - July 25, 2007

Foppish, yes…Gay, no.

He did have a fascination with women…unless he was just overcompensating….lol

49. Donnysan - July 25, 2007

Mugs? Yeah, if by mugs you mean “styrofoam cups”

50. Adam Cohen - July 25, 2007

Touche, Donnysan.

But Trelane’s castle was styrofoam as well…

51. Major Joe Ely Carrales, CAP - July 25, 2007

Sexuality, to exist, requires the physical ability to “have sex.” Trelane, was can assume since his food and drink had no taste and his fire no heat, was likley not “flesh and blood.” I think he is rather a “hollow” vision of a person.

I think pasting Trelane as homosexual because he is “acting gay,” is a bit of a stretch. I’ve know many flamboyant types that we far from being homosexual.

Let’s not forget that Trelane is a childlike mind maintaining a caricature of late-18th Century early 19th Century. I think that Campbell took that caricature “over the top.”

52. Trekkie33years - July 25, 2007

Trelane gay? Sadistic? Sheesh…
He’s supposed to be a CHILD! He acts like a bratty 6 year old playing with his favorite toys. Or did we lose sight of his fit at the end? I’ve seen (and unfortunately heard) kids in resteraunts behave EXACTLY the same way. Even with the girls he is, at best, simply wowed at having new and different toys.
It is illogical (heh) to assume that an energy being that has assumed human form would define sexuality in a way even remotely similar to humanity. It is even more unlikely that such a being would behave in a way consistent with cultural stereotypes. It is not possible to psychoanalyze an alien intelliegnce- certainly not one more advanced as a child than our own species is as adults.
All that aside, I LOVE this episode. Campbell is so much fun to watch!
As for the Q/Trelane relation. I’ve always felt that the two characters are the same character. Trelane is about, say , 6, whereas Q is more like 20.

53. Major Joe Ely Carrales, CAP - July 25, 2007

52. Trekkie33years – July 25, 2007

I agree, my little girl, when playing with her toys, will create elaborate scenes. Then, quite quickly, become irate if her toys “do not behave” (meaning if one falls over or if someone else messes with them)

She can also, if something better comes along, lose interest in it just as fast.

An alternate ending I would “buy” would have been if…right at the end of the hunt, Trelane suddenly stops…look around and dissapeared. Then Spock would come on the communicator informing Kirk that a Klingon Battle Cruiser just entered orbit. Kirk just stands there…asks to beam up. Then, we see the Battle Cruiser start to explode…then “freeze” and reverse.

Then, on the Bridge of the Enterprise, as Kirk is getting ready to run. Trelane’s Parents arrive and explain it all and have Trelane appologize.

54. Captain James B. Quirk - July 25, 2007

Everyone is trying to say that Trelane is not gay, OK, but. When I first saw this is the 60′s, he sure reminded me of the pervert down the street that all of the kids were warned to stay away from. Still to this day, when I see and old episode of television on TV Land and Cambell is in it, I still can’t but help think that he’s gay. Perception oftne becomes reality, or so I’ve been told. And yes, he does remind me of the overly *flame on” gay hairdressers that are on cable today. Sorry but there is such a thing as gaydar and mine goes off when I see Cambell.

55. Buckaroohawk - July 25, 2007

One of the things I always found most surprising in this episode was Kirk’s very animated description of cold-blooded murder to Trelane at the end of the trial scene. Of course, I realize that he was trying to bait Trelane, but his line about murder being “thrilling” and “fun” must have raised a few eyebrows back when this episode first aired.

In fact, in other episodes Kirk almost seemed to regard the more negative aspects of the human condition as a badge to be worn proudly, not tucked away and hidden. An interesting side of his character I’d never really thought about until I watched this episode again.

Anyway, I’ve always wondered what NBC, the censors, et al thought about that particular line.

56. Toonloon - July 26, 2007

Great review.

Its a shame that yet another good discussion about TOS is sullied by thinly veiled intolerence of homosexuals. I’m sure Gene would be proud. :(

57. Dennis Bailey - July 26, 2007

#54: “Perception oftne becomes reality, or so I’ve been told.”

You’ve been told wrong, unless the “teller” simply meant that an individual’s perceptions affect their own behavior toward others – which can sometimes influence their treatment by those around them. A lynch mob’s “perceptions” about guilt can create real violence – those perceptions cannot influence the reality of their victim’s guilt (or lack of same). Such a proposition is errant nonsense.

” And yes, he does remind me of the overly *flame on” gay hairdressers that are on cable today. Sorry but there is such a thing as gaydar and mine goes off when I see Cambell.”

Then your alleged “gaydar” is as real as flying saucers from Venus. In this case you’re just engaging in unjustified stereotyping.

58. Ralph F - July 26, 2007

Gay, yes. Homosexual, no. Don’t forget that the definition of gay didn’t equate itself to homosexuality ’til after the mid-20th century. Up until then, it meant happy, flamboyant; that sort of thing.

Loved watching Campbell in this episode, especially with the 20/20 hindsight of the TNG Q continuum.

I may get slammed on this, but I always thought Voyager (which I have to admit I rarely watched) hosed the Q (and, to a lesser extent, the Borg) the way TNG hosed the Klingons. I mean, TNG gave them some depth but went too far.

59. billy don't be a hiro - July 26, 2007

“Everyone is trying to say that Trelane is not gay, OK, but. When I first saw this is the 60’s, he sure reminded me of the pervert down the street that all of the kids were warned to stay away from. Still to this day, when I see and old episode of television on TV Land and Cambell is in it, I still can’t but help think that he’s gay. Perception oftne becomes reality, or so I’ve been told. And yes, he does remind me of the overly *flame on” gay hairdressers that are on cable today. Sorry but there is such a thing as gaydar and mine goes off when I see Cambell.”

That’s about the most ignorant thing I have ever read here.

“Its a shame that yet another good discussion about TOS is sullied by thinly veiled intolerence of homosexuals. I’m sure Gene would be proud.”

Gene seemed pretty content to ignore the whole subject, on TOS and TNG.

60. marbpl - July 26, 2007

Dennis Bailey:

Rodenberry’s first attempt at a Trek film script in 1975 was titled THE GOD THING. Kirk encounters a being claiming Godhood 14 years prior to STV.

61. Trekkie33years - July 26, 2007

I find it very base to attack people as homophobic because they do not agree with the critique of Trelane as gay. His sexuality is simply not addressed in the episode– no more than the sexuality of any small child would be an issue. Contextually, Trelane is asexual- he is, as revealed at the end of the episode, a child and , in context, a small child at that. Small children are rarely sexual.
I believe that most of the people disagreeing with the initial observation here are not saying Trelane is not gay due to their hideous bigotry, but rather due to thier observation of the show. There is absolutely no basis in context for the assertion. The show, as a matter of fact, asserts that Trelane is a bratty, precocious child with god-like abilities. He behaves very consistantly with that. He no more homosexual than Charlie X is a rapist. Both are complete innocents with no experience and behaving as such. CONTEXT is far more important to performace and written art than some one’s observation that Trelane is acting is a fashion consistent with ignorant and gross stereotypes of homosexuality. Or need I remind you that Takei is gay, and yet Sulu is not AT ALL flamboyant.
I therefore submit: the observation that Trelane is gay, based purely on his “flamboyance” is extremely bigoted. STEREOTYPE is innately bigoted.
As for Roddenberry’s stance on homosexuality, he is quoted as saying that for all we know Riker is bisexual (!) because sexuality is NOT a part of Star Trek. Obseession with sex and stereotypes and labels is a modern failing that has long since been left behind. This was Roddenberry’s stance for the duration of the entire show.
Star Trek is about a future where racial, gender, and sexual stereotypes are IRRELEVANT NONSENSE. For all we know, every character on every show is openly bisexual. It is not an issue. Kirk never says, “Spock- you’re a Vulcan- you’ll beam down with me, and you too Bones, since we’ll need a white guy. Oh yes, and we’ll need a black woman, so you, Uhura. And Sulu- since you’re Asian and quite obviously gay why don’t come along. No pun intended.”
Of course, maybe he should have. Then this pointless debate would be moot. Sigh.

62. Buckaroohawk - July 26, 2007

Oh for heaven’s sake, can we get off the gay thing. It’s a total non-issue.

Trelane was written as a foppish, aristocratic nincompoop, and that’s how he was played.

It doesn’t matter in the slightest whether or not William Campbell is gay himself. He’s an actor and he played the part perfectly. End of story.

You all should know better than to get into discussions like this. They never lead anywhere. No one’s perceptions will be changed by anything said, and it will degenerate into personal attacks and name-calling.

Leave those who are ignorant to their ignorance and let’s get back to the subject of this thread; the episode and the remastered FX.

63. JC - July 26, 2007

59 Trelane could’ve been a pedophile too.considering the fact that He was a grown man who was emotionally 6 years old and not mentally retarded.He didn’t strike me as a pedophile though.Pedophiles cannot relate to adults.They are in a state of arrrested development although thier bodies are mature and they are sexually active.The fact that the poster said he,as a child, was told to stay clear of this person and it reminded him of Tralane makes sense.

64. Dave - July 26, 2007

Speaking of effects, the Gothos planet effects were great for sure. The random flashes in the atmosphere seen in the exterior shots were a nice touch illustrating the violent atmosphere. This effect added consistency to Yeager’s analysis of the planet as one being swept by tornadic storms and McCoy’s noting their absence (“Where are your storms Yeager?”) upon beaming down, which subtly demonstrates the power of Telane’s planetary influence. Unfortunately, both of those references were cut for this edited broadcast.

65. Toonloon - July 26, 2007

#59 “Gene seemed pretty content to ignore the whole subject, on TOS and TNG. ”

That’s not specifically true. Isn’t he on record as saying he would have liked to include that. Just because he is subject to modern day television standards and practice doesn’t mean that he was “content to ignore the whole subject”. Whether he was being truthful or not, he did say that he couldn’t have a woman second in command of the Enterprise for The Cage. That to me suggests having aspirations to me more broader minded but to have your hands tied by the social morays of the time.

66. Toonloon - July 26, 2007

#63 “Trelane could’ve been a pedophile too.”

Hey JC! If you want to use big words for small minded views, why not use a dictionary to look up the spelling too and while you are in the junior library, why not look up how to use punctuation correctly when typing?

67. Adam Cohen - July 26, 2007

Memory Alpha has a good “primer” article on Star Trek and religion:

http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/Human_religion

Like I alluded to in the review, my own personal skepticism towards organized religion was given some degree of guidance by watching Star Trek as a kid. This is not to say that Star Trek was anti-religion, but by providing me with heroes that halped me shape my own values, the show had a profound impact on my developing world view. Star Trek is a very moral show– the stories are about making difficult decisions and standing your ground in the face of tough opposition (or even death).

68. earthclanbootstrap - July 26, 2007

“Not that there’s anything wrong with that…”
as Jerry once said, but to change the subject:
I’m curious to see whether anyone else thought that the pre-credits teaser looked a little off compared to the rest of the episode in terms of the quality of remastering?

69. THX-1138 - July 26, 2007

I think I had said earlier that I appreciated what the posters were contributing in regard to this review. As far as the apparent homophobic remarks are concerned, I take it back.

70. earthclanbootstrap - July 26, 2007

^ I apologize if I in any way implied anything like that, it was not my intention at all, THX-1138. By way of a joke about a Seinfeld episode I was merely trying to steer the discussion towards a more technical aspect. It just seemed to me that the pre-credits teaser was a little darker than normal, the ship flyby seemed VERY grainy and there was some noticeable gunk above the bridge viewscreen. But oddly enough, it all seemed to clear up at the opening credits. The only reason that I asked about it was that I am more than willing to admit that it could have merely been “faulty ocular perception” on my part.

71. billy don't be a hiro - July 26, 2007

“That’s not specifically true. Isn’t he on record as saying he would have liked to include that. Just because he is subject to modern day television standards and practice doesn’t mean that he was “content to ignore the whole subject”. Whether he was being truthful or not, he did say that he couldn’t have a woman second in command of the Enterprise for The Cage. That to me suggests having aspirations to me more broader minded but to have your hands tied by the social morays of the time. ”

David Gerrold’s “Blood and Fire”, written for the first season of TNG, when Gene was calling the shots, nixed from production, never produced, never aired. Gene’s call. An opportunity to put his money where his mouth was and Gene passed. That says a lot to me.

72. Trekkie33years - July 26, 2007

Has anyone ever read the script for Blood and Fire? I’m honestly curious. It may be that it was passed up as poor quality. If so, can someone tell me how to read a copy of it?
Of course, Roddenberry hailed from a time that unfortunately still maintained homosexuality was a psychosis. Perhaps he was not comfortable with it until after the creative control for Trek was firmly out of his hands.
All that aside, I wish to reiterate: Squire of Gothos is one of Trek’s greatest episodes and Campbell was one of Trek’s greatest guest stars. His performance in this episode is awesome. I love his absolute glee at the thought of a murderous hunt! My favorite scene: Trelane’s all Japanese-ing it up for Sulu, who turns to Kirk and asks, “Is he kidding?” I laugh every time. A truly wonderful episode that stands as testament why the Original will always be the best. (In my opinion).
I really wish I had seen this in remastered, but where I live, they play it at, like, 3 am on Saturday, sometimes. It sucks.
I hoped for years that a remastered Trek V would be made with Trelane being found on Sybock’s planet. How cool would that have been? (Of course, I’m the only Trekkie on Earth who enjoyed Trek V, so I’m probably alone on hoping that). Imagine Kirk, McCoy, Spock, and Sybock walking in awe to the giant blue figure…
Only to hear, “Tally Ho! Captain! It’s been SUCH a long time! How have you been?” :)

73. Adam Cohen - July 26, 2007

#72 Trekkie33years

I quite enjoyed Star Trek V myself as well. I understand its faults, but it has some fantastic qualities to it as well– things that get largely ignored: the dynamic between the Big Three was fantastic, Sybok was an interesting villain/adversary, and the movie felt like a genuine return to the TV series in a lot of ways. Oh, and Jerry Goldsmith’s music… blissful.

74. last o' the timelords - July 26, 2007

{{34. Dennis Bailey : Kirk’s actual line in “Who Mourns For Adonais” was:

“Mankind has no need for gods. We find the one quite adequate.”

The second sentence was added at the insistence of NBC Standards and Practices.}}

Thanks I stand corrected on this quote. Having been alive when that first aired I understand NBC wanted to CUT that line. It upset a lot of small minds even then.

The corrected quote reinforces a point. Mankind has no need for more than gods (plural) meaning the One God, if read literally.

I always felt that Trek fairly showed all sides of religion, warts and all. Not the casual Christian bashing that resonates in critiques these days.

Some being waltzing around claiming to be a god should be looked at skeptically by the faithful AND the seculars.

75. Dr. Image - July 26, 2007

#73 Adam- YES! I agree on all counts.
STV was also simply entertaining, and that’s what it’s all about.

76. Trekkie33years - July 26, 2007

Hey! More than just I liked Trek V?! Wow!
One thing that I always felt was waaaaay overlooked was Lawrence Luckinbill’s fantastic performance. You may not agree with Sybok as canon, but come on- Luckinbill was GREAT!

“I always felt that Trek fairly showed all sides of religion, warts and all. Not the casual Christian bashing that resonates in critiques these days.

“Some being waltzing around claiming to be a god should be looked at skeptically by the faithful AND the seculars. ”

I cannot agree with you more. Religious intolerance or intolerance of religion- both are still interolerant ignorance!

77. THX-1138 - July 26, 2007

#70
It was not so much your comment that I found disappointing (particularly from a group af fans that should be more “enlightened”), as it was the people who seemed to display a bit of ignorance and a touch of intolerance regarding Campbell’s foppish portrayal of Trelane. I try not to point fingers directly at posters, rather I was actually trying to shine some light on the poor direction the thread was going. Of course, there is nothing wrong with having an intelligent discourse about how Trek handled these so-called “taboo” subjects for the late 60′s. I just don’t recall homosexuality ever actually coming up overtly in any of the episodes.
Now politics and religion? You betcha’! Although I steer clear of bringing them up, I guess that was one of Star Trek’s main storytelling goals. That to introduce hard topics hidden behind the veil of “science fiction”. That old poster still rings true:
All I needed to know, I learned by watching Star Trek.
Well maybe not all, but it sure got a 5, 6, 7, 8, year old boy to thinking on things that otherwise would have never have entered his mind. God complexes, messianic leaders, inter-racial relationships, the very concept of the fabric of space and time. Pretty heady stuff to learn, or at least be made aware of, by a TV show.

78. Toonloon - July 27, 2007

#71 “Gene’s call. An opportunity to put his money where his mouth was and Gene passed. That says a lot to me. ”

And that makes all the other huge steps forwards that he made in a time when it was bold and unpopular to do so unimportant?

:?

79. JC - July 27, 2007

Ironic that while Gene Roddenberry used the framework of his show to expose false gods (Star Trek 5;for example)He also has been lauded as the leader of a Star Trek cult

80. neal - July 27, 2007

Always loved this ep, but watching it as an adult it sort of surprises me how angry and rude Kirk and crew are. I mean, their mission is to seek out new life, make contact, learn. Well, here’s this obviously sophisticated form of life. It is strange creature, bizarre, totally whacked. Why are they in such a rush to get somewhere else? Here is what they’ve been seeking out, just lands in their lap, a new discovery to explore and document for federation science. Instead, here’s Kirk making challenge and getting all uptight! Even Spock is insulting. Why aren’t they both simply standing back and observing, learning? All this anger! Maybe it was the caffeine.

81. billy don't be a hiro - July 27, 2007

“And that makes all the other huge steps forwards that he made in a time when it was bold and unpopular to do so unimportant?”

No, that’s your assumption based upon what I said.

What I’m saying is that, for all the credit he gets for being a visionary and ahead of his time, when it came to the gay issue, he was all talk and no action. He liked having the image and reputation of being a progessive thinker, but when it got down to brass tacks, he passed and refused to put a script into production that would have put his money where his mouth was. Gene did not do well by David Gerrold, on that matter and several others.

82. Commodore Z - July 27, 2007

Star Trek New Voyages has produced “Blood and Fire” with David Gerrold in the Directors’ chair, so we should be able to judge for ourselves if we agree with Roddenberry’s call in not shooting that episode 20 years ago.

83. Major Joe Ely Carrales, CAP - July 27, 2007

80. neal – July 27, 2007

Yes, they are there to seek out new life, but not if it means their own death.

Think of the Scientists from the 1950s Sci Fi Films that protected destructive things in the name of “science,” that were clearly dangerous or destructive to human society. There were some in Trek as well, namely Dr. Crater, that protected the Salt Vampire because it “was the last of its kind.”

Trelane was a threat to the ship, he also made several actions that cause the reaction from the crew…

1) He kidnapped Kirk and Sulu

2) He held the landing party againt their will

3) His comments about the phaser “killing millions”

4) The cat and mouse game.

5) his unchecked god-like powers.

Their best hope was to get away, to preserve their lives.

84. planettom - July 28, 2007

Was that a stuffed Salt Vampire in Trelane’s foyer?

You’d think McCoy would have said, hey, I briefly dated one of these a few episodes ago, before it tried to de-salt me.

It’s curious how Trelane goes from his knowledge of Earth being “900 years in the past” (which would be the mid 1300s), to suddenly producing “Alexander Hamilton’s dueling pistols”, which are some 450 years later, 450 years in the past.

85. Kev - October 24, 2007

Dystheism may not be the right label. The super-powerful beings in Star Trek are more like Clarke’s Third Law beings, not supernatural at all, but beyond our technical ken.

Roddenberry had thoughts of humanity getting itself to that point someday. Remember when Wesley Crusher went off with the traveller.

If there is any underlying spiritual dimension to Star Trek, it is something more like a Pantheism or, at most, a Pandeism, there being no hint of a real activist God of the Abrahamic faiths type. Then again, you’d think the Q would be Buddhists.

86. Scot - October 14, 2009

In post no. 39, JC said:

“I don’t recall how He treated the females. I bet, however, it was probably in a degrading manner.”

Quite the contrary. Trelane wanted to act the part of the cultured and debonair gentleman with Uhura and and the yeoman. One nice little bit was when, upon seeing Uhura (and assuming her to be “a Nubian prize, taken on one of your raids of conquest”), he studied her features for a moment and said, “She has the melting eyes of the Queen of Sheba, the same lovely coloring.” Sort of an early version of “Black is Beautiful.”

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