Wednesday, June 17, 2009


From Wikipedia:

"The Conscience of the King" is an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series. It is episode #13, production #13, and aired on December 8, 1966. It was written by Barry Trivers and directed by Gerd Oswald.

The episode takes its title from the concluding lines of Act II of Hamlet: "The play's the thing/Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king."

Overview: Captain Kirk crosses paths with an actor suspected of having been a murderous dictator many years before.

More here.

I like this episode a whole lot more than I probably ought to.

After all, it's pretty clunky and over the top--it's got Kirk's first Enterprise love affair, which, like most of his other Enterprise love affairs, is utterly unbelievable. Lots of stuff that would make me cringe during any other episode. Lots of back story holes that you could drive a truck through. A guest actress who couldn't act her way out of a paper bag.

Yeah, I ought to hate this one. But it's the Shakespeare episode.

That's right, the Shakespeare episode. And, you know, I'm an actor and all, so...did you know that William Shatner cut his teeth doing Shakespeare on stage in Canada? That's one of the main reasons he was hired to play Kirk: Roddenberry wanted a larger-than-life individual to sit in the captain's chair, and Shatner was that in spades. So "Conscience of the King" all comes together for me in very weird ways. I mean, the scene where Kirk confronts Karidian in his quarters is stiff and wooden, as far as acting on screen goes, but so formalistic and rhetorical, something of a duel between old school North American Shakespearean actors, that I just fucking love it. I love the sense of tragedy, the great man who falls because of his own hubris. I love the semi-poetic dialogue. I love the heightened emotions, the desperation. And it's all in space!

And it's also got Reilly's second and final appearance, which is worth noting whether you like the episode or not. They really should have given that guy a permanent job. And like his last appearance, "The Naked Time," Uhura sings. And there's a phaser set on overload, which is always cool.

I mean, you may hate this one. But I always seem to keep coming back to it. Check it out: