The Conscience of the King - episode #13

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The Conscience of the King - episode #13

Post  BoG on Wed Mar 10, 2010 8:48 pm


THE CONSCIENCE OF THE KING (1st season; episode #13)
Directed by Gerd Oswald / writer: Barry Trivers  Like a Star @ heaven  Air Date: 12/08/66

This suspenseful drama in the future is an example of a Star Trek episode where Capt. Kirk temporarily and voluntarily abandons his usual mission, exploring, and goes off on a personal vendetta. This didn't happen too often; see also the same season's Dagger of the Mind and a later season's Obsession. This episode is more similar to Obsession, because it's very personal in this one. On the surface, it may seem trivial because larger questions concerning the galaxy and the Federation are placed aside, but we become fairly involved in Kirk's private quest here.
The episode is basically a mystery: is a traveling Shakespearean actor (Arnold Moss) just what he seems to be or is he really the ex-governor of a failed colony, where, 20 years earlier, 4,000 people had been put to death on his orders? Kirk, as a young boy, was one the survivors of the massacre and one of the very few people to have seen this 'Kodos the Executioner' in person. We are left guessing for most of the episode. Will this turn out to be a false quest, a morality tale on the pitfalls of revenge? Or will this suspect truly be revealed as a mass murderer, causing Kirk to send him into oblivion with a shot from his phaser?
This episode also has an interesting set design for a futuristic house on another planet and a nice rendition of a song 'Beyond Antares' by Uhura (Nichelle Nichols).

I would think guest star Moss had a field day with his role in this one; his specialty in real life were Shakespearean plays. He acts out Macbeth here, the story of which carries eerie parallels to the character he plays in this episode, and Hamlet, which parallels scenes in the actual episode. His voice is deep, rich and almost hypnotic, and his confrontation scene with Kirk as they parry verbally remains one of the better dramatic scenes during this Trek season. The first season emphasized serious, even somber drama, more so than in the later seasons. Barbara Anderson, as his daughter, also holds her own in an eerily beautiful role.

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The episode is filled with nice touches - catch the very brief one as Yeoman Rand (Grace Lee Whitney) passes Anderson's character in the turbolift, and they exchange glances. Whitney quietly left the series at this point - note that this brief scene was her silent farewell. It's also telling that Spock, for all his usual annoyance with McCoy, runs to him when he notices the captain behaving in an edgy, unpredictable manner. There's a key scene with Kirk, Spock and McCoy which sums up this trinity's relationship - they gain strength & wisdom from each other - and, in certain rare situations, Spock & McCoy need to team up - not against Kirk but to aid him.
 
 Finally, we have crewman Riley (Bruce Hyde) back again in his second and last appearance (after The Naked Time). It's an ironic form of justice that Riley ends up demoted to the lower decks in the engine room, where he caused all that trouble in his previous appearance. A rather haunting conclusion caps this foray into space intrigue. BoG's Score: 7 out of 10.  Some SPOILERS below:
Extra Trek Trivia: the title of this episode is from Hamlet, Act II, Scene II. The planet in the early scenes of this episode is simply named Q (no relation to the Q character on TNG). The background music during the cocktail party in an early scene is a lounge version of the Star Trek theme. Remastered trailer:


Last edited by BoG on Sat May 02, 2015 10:36 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Conscience of the King full episode

Post  BoG on Sun Mar 28, 2010 8:06 pm

CLASSIC TREK QUOTES:
Great Quote, from McCoy: "What if you decide he is Kodos? What then? Do you play God, carry his head through the corridors in triumph? That won't bring back the dead, Jim!"



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