The past comes back to haunt someone and it is Kirk who has to decide the persons fate. Originally broadcast on December 8, 1966 this is Conscience of the King.
Captain’s Log Stardate 2817.6
After visiting a planet to examine their new synthetic food efforts, Kirk is informed by an old friend that a local performer may in fact be the infamous Kodos The Executioner who committed genocide on the Earth Colony Tarsus IV several years earlier. After the death of his friend, Kirk becomes Determined to get to the bottom of this. Kirk begins to investigate and arranges for the acting troop to have to depend on Enterprise for transportation so he can get closer to the acting troop. Kirk soon discovers that one of his own crew was also an eye witness to the events on Tarsus IV. Taking Lt Riley with him, Kirk learns that 7 of the 9 eye witnesses have died and, interestingly, each time this troupe was nearby. Kirk soon becomes involved with one of the actors, Lenore, but when Riley is nearly poisoned, Kirk begins to suspect something is going on.
After investigating, Kirk discovers that Karidian is in fact Kodos but he has been trying to reform from his past, however his daughter, Lenore, has been killing anyone who might be a threat to her father’s secret. In the end, Kodos saves Kirk from being killed when Lenore attempts to murder the Captain. Lenore is escorted off to be taken to a psychiatrics facility having clearly lost her mind.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
While this episode wasn’t really a popular one when it first aired, this is one that really dives deeper into James Kirk’s past. In this, we learn that Kirk spent time on a failed colony and actually witnessed the slaughter that took place on Tarsus IV first hand. Not only that, but this was a singular event that helped shape the Captain of the Enterprise to be who he has become. I find it interesting that, even though this singular event was one that helped define Kirk himself, even his closest companions, McCoy and Spock, are unaware of these events. In a way, not only did the tragic events on Tarsus IV help shape Kirk, this very episode helped to shape the friendship between these three that would become one of the most important trinities in the Star Trek universe.
While this is not a very action packed or alien filled episode, it is one of the best singular stories on it’s own providing some actual tension on board the ship with a genuine threat to Kirk himself that is not just a beast or a starship battle. I love how much of this episode brings into question of the identity of Kodos himself with even Kirk, who was a witness to the atrocities, doubting that Karidian is in fact this infamous war criminal. It is when Karidian himself reveals that he has tried to put his past behind him that you realize that he is trying to atone for his sins in some way, however, this attempt has only corrupted the one person he loves, his own daughter. It is a tragedy for sure, one that is truly a mirror to the acting troupe itself performing Shakespeare for the galaxy at large.
Overall, this is a significant character building episode that really informs the future of many of the characters aboard the Enterprise while also establishing a significant backstory for the Captain of the Enterprise. It may be a slower episode, but story wise, it is one of the best.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- Nichelle Nichols gets a chance to sing again and she is quite wonderful as usual.
- Kirk orders a Double Red Alert, which is not very common.
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: The Galileo Seven
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Late To The Game 12/29/2021
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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