Kirk VS the People on the episode that originally aired on February 2, 1967 This is Court Martial
Captain’s Log Stardate 2947.3
Kirk is accused of the accidental death of crewman Benjamin Finney who believed that it was Kirk’s fault that Finney had never had a command of his own due to an incident years prior. During the trial members of the crew are questioned and Kirk even has to face Finney’s daughter Jame, whom Finney named after Kirk before their falling out. It is soon discovered that Finney has faked his death in order to get revenge on Kirk and has been hiding on the ship. Desperate to kill Kirk, Finney begins to cause the ship to lose orbit. Kirk convinces Finney to stop his actions when Finney learns that his daughter Jame is on board the ship. Finney is placed under arrest and the Ship continues on.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
At it’s core this is very much the traditional ‘court room’ story not unlike that of Perry Mason. Sure, it leads up to a life and death situation with Finney turning out to have gone insane, but unless you are a fan of the court room drama format, this is an extremely slow paced and plodding story that is more drama than action. Now that is not a bad thing as, while this episode is a rather slow one, it does give us a great character study for Kirk and how he chooses justice and honesty above all else. If anything, this episode shows us that Kirk is indeed beyond reproach and, even when offered an easy way out of a situation, he does not accept it. I do find it interesting that the Starfleet of this time period is more willing to sweep issues like this under the rug than have a potential for public disgrace. This heavily implies that the Starfleet of the 23rd century is already facing an early corruption from within that would only get worse with time, despite their insistence of being a Utopian society that does not condone such things.
Overall, this is a great character focused and world building episode that really sets the stage for the Kirk we know and love. He is a man of strength, integrity, and honor above all else. Even in the face of horrible odds, to himself and his career, he remains resolute. Not only this, but his crew know this and do all they can to support him in every way. If anything, this episode is the true start to showing us just how close this crew is and why they would go down in the records as one of the greatest in Starfleet.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- I find it interesting that Kirk’s command chair has a jettison pod button right below the red alert button. This implies that they jettison quite a number of pods. However, why would it be so close to such an important button and why on the command chair?
- Spock is identified as a Vulcanian in this episode which would later be retconned to just Vulcan.
- We never officially learn what happens to Benjamin Finney. It is implied that he received help for his madness somewhere off ship.
- This is the first appearance of the Dress Uniform in the Star Trek franchise.
- Red Shirts dead: 0
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 Menagerie Parts I & II
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Late To The Game 1/3/2022
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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