2/27/12

Star Trek: Asterisk "The Conscience of the King"

Vital Information
Series: The Original Series
Episode: S01E13
Air Date: December 8, 1966
Written by: Barry Trivers
Directed by: Gerd Osward

Premise
Anton Karidian, the leader of an acting troupe, is accused of being Kodos the Executioner. And it doesn't help that people start turning up dead.

Review
According to Star Trek, there are three things that are timeless: Mark Twain, Shakespeare and The Beasty Boys. And Anton Karidian just wants to fight for his right to party. But Thomas Leighton will have no part in that. He's convinced that the leader of the Karidian Acting Troupe is actually Kodos the Executioner, who, as governor of Tarsus IV, executed half of the planet's population due to a food shortage. And that's pretty much half of the episode right there.

Much of the rest of the episode is littered with various scenes of Kirk turning on his A-game with Anton's daughter, Lenore. When Thomas Leighton ends up dead, Kirk decides he needs to study Anton more closely, so he offers to take the acting troupe to their next destination, and Lenore takes it as a chance to get to know her better. You see, Leighton was one of only a few living people who could identify Kodos. The others being Kirk and Riley, who are conveniently serving on the same ship. Kirk recognizes the similarities between Kodos and Anton, but this was 22 years ago; he has to be absolutely sure. I mean, it's not like the death penalty is at stake here. He didn't visit Talos IV, after all.
Just killed a few million people.
Well, since Riley is one of the people in danger of being killed by Kodos because of his ability to recognize him, Kirk orders him down to engineering so he's out of the way. It's important to note that the last time Riley was in engineering, he started his own radio program and broadcast it out to the whole ship with him singing old Irish songs. To prevent him from doing this again, he is served a glass of non-alcoholic milk. Well, that doesn't help a whole lot because while he's being distracted by Uhura singing over the comm, Consuela comes in and sprays Lemon Pledge all up in his glass.
No... no... Riley afuera.
Riley passes out from the poison and spills his milk, but he doesn't cry about it. He's immediately taken to sick bay and Bones is able to bring back to the land of the living.

In the middle of all this, Kirk is being secretive and Spock is trying to figure out why. Spock confides in Bones that he believes Kirk is trying to find Kodos and that Riley is a connection. Well, when Bones enters this into his log, Riley hears it. Now he knows that the man who killed his parents is alive and well and on board the Enterprise. So, loose cannon that he is, he grabs a phaser and goes after Anton.

Meanwhile Anton and the whole acting troupe are in the middle of performing Hamlet for the officers in the ship's theater. A small exchange for taking them to their next destination. While Anton is busy playing Hamlet's dad's ghost, Riley sneaks up behind the set and waits fro him to finish. Meanwhile, Kirk has been alerted that Riley knows about Anton and goes to find him. Anton finishes, Kirk finds Riley, Lenore comes up and tries to tell daddy that she has been killing people for his own good, and Kirk suddenly loses interest in her.
Why are all the good ones either taken or crazy as a bat?
In a rage, Lenore grabs Riley's phaser and tries to shoot Kirk, but Anton jumps in front of him and she hits him instead. Anton dead, she weeps over his body and makes a long, drawn-out performance of mourning her dearly departed father. And when Kirk has had enough of listening to the insane ramblings of a crazy woman, he takes her to sickbay. Driven completely mad by the death of Anton, she believes that he is still alive and performing for cheering audiences.

Overall Thoughts
Kids, revenge is never the answer. As Hamlet taught us hundreds of years ago, so Kirk will teach us in the future. This episode is a classic and tells a timeless tale. Not so sure of the acting involved, but the writing! Oh, the writing!