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Star Trek - "The Squire of Gothos"

Season 1, Episode 17 TOS

By Tom BakerPublished about a month ago 3 min read
The Two Williams: William Shatner and William Campbell in "The Squire of Gothos"

Greetings and felicitations!

"The Squire of Gothos" is an extraterrestrial Liberace (redundant?) who sits at an old-fashioned Eighteenth-century harpsichord and kidnaps the Trekkers so he can reap hallucinatory mind control hijinks on them, in much the same manner as "Next Generation"'s "Q" (actor John de Lancie, who puts one in the mind of a cross between Howie Mandel and Jello Biafra) would do, decades later, long before anyone even THOUGHT about having a "Star Trek" spinoff series.

While the Enterprise is exploring a strange new world in the form of a planet that outwardly seems to be inhospitable to life, Kirk and Sulu disappear from the Bridge, and Spock receives a weird message on his viewscreen: "Greetings and felicitations," and "Tallyho!" Spock and McCoy beam down with some stock Enterprise crewpersons and find a medieval castle. Inside, Kirk and Sulu are frozen, immobile. The "Squire" (Actor William Campbell playing "General Trelane," hereafter referred to exclusively as "The Squire") introduces himself and claims to have been studying Earth's history for "nine hundred years." His food is tasteless and so is his wine. McCoy's trusty tricorder can't determine if the Squire is even alive. Kirk begins to bejabber the extraterrestrial tyrant and a female crew member, Yeoman Teresa Ross (Vanita Wolf) gets made over into an Eighteenth-century courtesan, but without the tremendous hoop skirt. The Squire, who doesn't especially strike one as being someone overly fond of the female sex, makes her dance the minuet with him, which she seems to quite enjoy, I might add (I imagine them Enterprise boys is all work and no play), but then James T. starts in on the ol' "aggravate the alien menace so that it gets wound up like a cheap clock and explodes" routine, and they all beam up and everybody is happy again.

Hold up.

Kirk gets beamed back to the Squire's unpleasurable amusement park cum mental torture chamber castle/planetoid, and put on trial by His Majesty, who has donned an old-fashioned English wig and robe, and, no Kirk gets no barrister to argue his case. Predictably he is condemned to DEATH. DEATH. DEATH. (Did I make myself plain enough?)

Already Spock, the ever-observant Mr. Nimoy whose ears were antenna picking up the love vibrations of the cosmos (though only during the Pom-Farr mating season depicted in the episode "Amok Time") has TOLD El Capitan that the smoldering embers in the fireplace are cold. It's all an illusion dig? (I would argue the same can be said of anything in this world of ever-shifting impermanence, and so would the Buddha.)

Spock has already mouthed off to the Squire, "I object to you. I object to intellect without discipline. I object to power without constructive purpose." Okay, that's not the way to win friends and influence people. But Spock seems beyond caring. Kirk, condemned to death in General Trelane's kangaroo court suggests instead that there must be a more sporting alternative to hanging. Trelane, who has earlier mentioned the duel of Aaron Burr (Arthur Desmond would have loved this guy) suggests a "classic hunt." This is a WRONG MOVE, and James Tiberius has to whoop up on him.

Star Trek - The Most Dangerous Game

The Squire gets his sword broken. Earlier, his magic mirror of alien power is shattered, revealing weird mechanisms behind it. Spooky.

But even spookier are the two beings that look like floating, diamond-shaped flat-screen TVs who are apparently "Mom and Dad." (Or, at least some facsimile thereof to the second or third degree.)

They scold the erring tyke right properly, and he begins to whine like a little bitch, "Aw, gee, Mom and Dad, you never let me have any fun." It becomes apparent that General Trelane/The Squire is an overgrown little tyke, a "terror of the toybox," and that he was just having a wee bit of fun exploring his oversized, living puppets--all the better to understand himself. Aliens, AI, and the Living God may all be about the same business.

Time To Come In, Trelane

The "Squire of Gothos" is an extremely popular episode of TOS and a tremendous lot of fun. Watch it again if you haven't already seen it.

Now, Tallyho!

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About the Creator

Tom Baker

Author of Haunted Indianapolis, Indiana Ghost Folklore, Midwest Maniacs, Midwest UFOs and Beyond, Scary Urban Legends, 50 Famous Fables and Folk Tales, and Notorious Crimes of the Upper Midwest.: http://tombakerbooks.weebly.com

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  • Randy Wayne Jellison-Knockabout a month ago

    Another blast from the past I haven't watched in ages. Thanks for lifting this up, Tom.

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