Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Errand of Mercy

From Wikipedia:

"Errand of Mercy" is an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, and was broadcast on March 23, 1967. It is episode #26, production #27, written by Gene L. Coon and directed by John Newland. This episode marks the first appearance of the Klingons.

Overview: At war with the Klingons, Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock attempt to sway the incomprehensibly placid population of a planet to their side.


So, of course, I really dig this one. First appearance of the Klingons, and all, featuring a really good adversary for Kirk, Kor, played by the great
John Colicos, a Canadian stage actor who ended up playing Baltar in the original Battlestar Galactica series back in the late 70s. Good Kirk and Spock stuff, especially in a nice scene where the two manage to break into the Klingon headquarters to take Kor hostage, with Spock constantly stating and revising, as they move closer to their goal, the odds for their being able to do so. And the pacifist leader of the planet they visit is a lot of fun, too, an old school actor with dignity and presence. It's also the episode where Spock says "pure energy," the phrase immortalized in some techno dance hit from the mid 80s.

But it's not really worth watching if you're looking for what makes the show great. "Errand of Mercy" is essentially an episode about kicking ass. I mean, it's dramatically interesting in that the whole thing is about being right on the brink of total war, with it all being scuttled at the last moment by the deus ex machina of a superior alien race. But the superior life form as god-in-the-machine works much better, I think, in "Arena," and Kirk's bloodlust, while always welcome, is a bit too much here, as he practically begs the peace loving Organians to resist their Klingon oppressors.

Don't get me wrong. I love this episode. But I'm a Star Trek nut. I don't know that a non-fan would get as much out of it as I do. But who knows? It is a lot of fun. Lots of shooting and fisticuffs.

Go watch, at least, the first five minutes. If you don't like it, so what? We've got "City on the Edge of Forever" on tap for next week. That one ought to blow your mind.

"It would have been glorious!"