Errand of Mercy - episode #27

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Errand of Mercy - episode #27

Post  BoG on Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:39 pm


ERRAND OF MERCY (1st season; episode #27)
Directed by John Newland // writer: Gene Coon Like a Star @ heaven Air Date: 03/23/67

This was the one - this was where we first met the Klingons. Aggressive, ruthless, sadistic... Kirk describes their society as a military dictatorship. The story has parallels to our history when some portions of Europe, as one example, were occupied by the Germans during WW2. Here, as war escalates between the Federation and the Klingon Empire, Kirk & Spock get stuck in disguise on some backwater planet when an occupying Klingon force arrives. Thematically, it returns us to the folly of war, similar to the previous Balance of Terror, which involved Romulans. The Klingon commander is Kor (John Colicos in a sinister, entertaining performance). He's not a complete barbarian; he only starts to execute populations when affronted somehow (don't smile too much).
We're also introduced to the Organians here, the local populace which seems to give new meaning to the term 'appeasers' - there are no self-professed leaders among them, but the most prominent is named Ayelborne (John Abbott).   Kirk, becoming quite exasperated in this episode, doesn't understand how anyone would fail to see the difference between his benevolent society and the slave labor worlds dominated by Klingons. He fails to grasp the correct perspective (until the ending): if he looked down and observed two armies of ants waging their insect war, would he really pick a side?
To him, ants are ants; why pick one side over the other? Now, he probably wouldn't bother to stop the ants from fighting and that's a puzzling facet of the actions of some higher powers in this episode. We can only guess as to their reasoning. Perhaps we need to evolve more to understand. A lot more.
What's a bit amazing about this episode now is its function as prophecy. Though it seemed unlikely during TOS, as the Klingons returned in several more episodes to bedevil Kirk, the predictions made here - that Earthmen & Klingons would be allies in some future - turn out to be correct! And there's plenty of foreshadowing: Kirk and Kor agree too well on their contemptuous regard of the Organians; even Kor himself, despite his amusing protests towards the end on such an impossible future alliance, states at one point that there is indeed very little difference between Klingons & Earthlings, besides minor "ideological" ones. The deus ex machina ending weakens this one a bit (Arena had similar highly-evolved interference), but it's still great, high concept science fiction.
Speaking of the ending, however, I also admire the style here, as in many TOS episodes, of introducing us to the true nature of some aliens; it's very melodramatic, with the score causing the hairs on the back of our necks to stand up a bit. BoG's Score: 8 out of 10

Extra Trek Trivia: like Kang and Koloth, Kor was another Klingon who returned in later Trek series, in Deep Space Nine; Colicos would reprise the role.  There is a famous, well written short story by a fan (published in a collection, The New Voyages, in the late seventies) which functioned as a sequel to this; in it, Kor, seeking The Guardian of Forever portal, had captured Kirk and finally used the 'mind ripper' device mentioned in this episode. Kirk ended up trapped in a past era with his mind damaged (making the story also a sequel to The City on the Edge of Forever).

RIGHT ABOVE: Gag Reel by  Spockboy (some humor at the expense of Klingons)


Last edited by BoG on Sat May 02, 2015 11:45 pm; edited 5 times in total
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Errand of Mercy

Post  BoG on Mon Mar 29, 2010 4:19 pm

CLASSIC TREK QUOTES:
Kor: "I don't trust men who smile too much..."
Kor: "Bad enough to be a military governor, but to govern a planet of sheep! Very well, round up 200 more...
____ The fools! Will I have to kill them all?
"

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