The Enterprise is on an 8-day supply mission to Colony Beta VI. Along the journey, the ship encounters a rogue planet in a "star desert" and described as being "in some sort of light warp" (preventing it from being detected sooner by the Enterprise).
Without the time to really stop and investigate it, Kirk orders the planet to be recorded for a future exploration mission and to continue with their original heading. When Lt. Sulu attempts to enter a course around the planet, he suddenly vanishes from the bridge. Kirk also vanishes moments later.
First Officer Spock believes that the two must have been taken to the mysterious planet below even though sensor readings indicate the planet's atmosphere is lethal to most forms of life. The Enterprise then receives a strange message on a viewscreen in blackletter writing, "Greetings and Felicitations!", after the Enterprise responds, a follow up message is sent "Hip hip hoorah. Tallyho!"
Spock orders Chief Medical Officer Dr. McCoy, along with Lt. DeSalle and geophysicist Karl Jaeger, to form a landing party and conduct a search. The landing party beams down and finds the area to be a lush and breathable environment, contradicting Jaeger's original scans that the world was barren and couldn't support life.
They also come across what appears to be a medieval castle constructed in the middle of nowhere. They find Captain Kirk and Lt. Sulu immobilised, just before discovering a brash and impetuous being who identifies himself as "General Trelane, Retired" who soon returns Kirk and Sulu back to normal. McCoy's medical tricorder does not get any readings from Trelane and according to the scanner nothing is there. Trelane invites everyone to stay as his guests on his world he calls Gothos and discuss his favorite subject: the military history of Earth.
Spock, meanwhile, manages to locate the landing party in a minute zone of breathable atmosphere, and beams everyone, except Trelane, back to the ship by locking onto every detectable lifeform in the area. Unwilling to let his guests leave, Trelane makes an appearance on the Enterprise 's bridge. He then brings the entire bridge crew back down to the planet. This time he includes Spock, Communications Officer Lt. Uhura and Yeoman Teresa Ross.
Kirk's patience begins to wear thin, especially when Trelane dances with Yeoman Ross and changes her standard red uniform into a flowing formal ball gown. Kirk and Spock both notice that their host never strays far from a particular wall mirror; they surmise that the mirror may be the source of his powers. To test this theory, Kirk provokes Trelane into a duel and during the fight he destroys the mirror and damages some strange machinery inside. It is assumed that Trelane only has this machine to manipulate matter for his amusement. The bridge crew manages to beam back to the Enterprise but, as the ship warps away, the planet Gothos keeps appearing in its path.
Kirk finally orders the Enterprise into orbit and decides to beam down. As he enters the turbolift, he suddenly finds himself in a witness stand in a courtroom back on Gothos where the angry Trelane confronts him dressed in the white wig and robes reminiscent of an English circuit judge. Trelane tells Kirk he must face a trial for "treason", "conspiracy", and "fomenting insurrection". Silencing Kirk's protests, Trelane condemns Kirk to death by hanging. However, Kirk, to stall the execution, plays off of Trelane's childish whims by presenting him with a better idea.
In order to have his ship released, Kirk offers himself as the prey for a royal hunt. Trelane gleefully accepts and the hunt begins. Just as Trelane is about to kill Kirk, two energy beings appear and put a stop to his fun. It is revealed that Trelane is the "child" of the two beings. After apologizing to Kirk for their child's misbehavior, the beings disappear along with the whining Trelane, and Kirk is allowed to return to the ship.
Later, Spock asks Kirk what he should describe Trelane as. Kirk tells him to classify him as a "small boy – and a very naughty one at that." He tells Spock that Trelane probably engaged in the same "mischievous pranks" the Vulcan did as a young boy. Spock is confused by this classification, so Kirk continues. "Dipping little girls curls in inkwells. Stealing apples from the neighbor's trees. Tying cans on...", at which point Spock expresses complete incredulity. "Forgive me, Mr. Spock. I should have known better", Kirk remarks. Spock says he shall be delighted, then raises an eyebrow before returning to his station. The Enterprise then enters orbit of Beta VI.
Errors and ExplanationsEdit
The Nitpicker's Guide for Classic TrekkersEdit
- Light from Earth somehow travelling the 900 light years to Gothos in only 500 years. Trelene could have used his powers to speed up the light.
- Spock identifying the exsistance of a disturbance, from the readouts on the navigation station instruments, that the navigator cannot see. Spock has more experience, allowing him to recognise discrepancies in the readouts that would elude the navigator.
- Kirk and Spock discussing the size of Trelene's atmosphere machine. It would take a device of a certain size to produced enough breathable atmosphere to surround Trelene’s castle.
Continuity and Production ProblemsEdit
- DeSalle closing his communicator twice. Maybe it didn't shut properly the first time.
- Todd M. Pence on Sunday, October 25, 1998 - 2:36 am: Dr. McCoy needs to work on his pronounciation of European names. Everyone else refers to crewman Jaeger the correct way, by making the y-sound in place of the j which begins his surname. But after the landing party beams down, McCoy says "Where are your storms, Jaeger?" incorrectly pronouncing the name as it is written with the consonant j. Some names have multiple pronunciations!
- mike powers on Sunday, July 22, 2007 - 7:15 pm: While watching tonight's remastered version of this wonderful episode there was an inconsistent moment in the dialogue. After the scene where Kirk & Spock theorize that Trelane must be using incredible technology to accomplish all of his things, they guess that the mirror is possibly where its located. Kirk shoots out the mirror with his dueling pistol & indeed we see machinery. Spock then says "A machine," & his tone makes him sound surprised & amazed at this revelation. Why? The scene prior to this clearly establishes Spock & Kirk stating that Trelane must have such technology, so why is he taken aback when he sees this machine? Perhaps he was expecting something more advanced looking!
- Also, does it really make sense that a machine that can do all of the things we see Trelane do, including creating the planet Gothos,can be so easily taken out by a pistol? I would think that even a phaser might not do the trick. Both Kirk & Spock remark that this technology must be vastly superior to what the Federation currently has. The Landru uber-computer deactivated Kirk & Spock's phasers in Return of the Archons, but Trelane's wonder machine couldn't even defend itself against a dueling pistol??? The dueling pistol has no electronic parts!
Internet Movie DatabaseEdit
- The early scenes declare that Gothos is in a "stellar desert" without a sun or other planets, yet Kirk later refers to "the point we first entered their solar system." Kirk is referring the the system created by Trelane.
- When the landing party first encounters Kirk and Sulu as 'specimens', Captain Kirk's eye blinks when he should have been motionless. Also, both characters' bodies move visibly. Perhaps Trelane's ability to freeze living beings is not absolute.
|The Original Series Season 1|
|Pilot episodes: The Cage I Where No Man Has Gone Before|
|Regular episodes: The Corbomite Maneuver I Mudd's Women I The Enemy Within I The Man Trap I The Naked Time I Charlie X I Balance of Terror I What Are Little Girls Made Of? I Dagger of the Mind I Miri I The Conscience of the King I The Galileo Seven I Court Martial I The Menagerie Part 1 I The Menagerie Part 2 I Shore Leave I The Squire of Gothos I Arena I The Alternative Factor I Tomorrow Is Yesterday I The Return of the Archons I A Taste of Armageddon I Space Seed I This Side of Paradise I The Devil in the Dark I Errand of Mercy I The City on the Edge of Forever I Operation: Annihilate!|