7/9/12

Star Trek: Asterisk "Whom Gods Destroy"

Vital Information
Series: The Original Series
Episode: S03E14
Air Date: January 3, 1969
Written by: Jerry Sohl and Lee Erwin
Directed by: Herb Wallerstein

Premise
Crazy Captain Garth holds Kirk and Spock hostage while he takes over the asylum and tries to commandeer the Enterprise.

Review
Kirk and Spock beam down to the asylum and are greeted by a man who introduces himself as Dr. Cory, the governor of the asylum. They are there to test a new serum that could revolutionize modern psychology. But first, a tour! Dr. Cory takes them along some of the force field cages and introduces them to an Orion girl who insists that Dr. Cory isn't who he says he is. But she's crazy - what does she know? They walk on by and get to Captain Garth's cage. And in Captain Garth's cage is Dr. Cory. But, wait, Dr. Cory is taking them on the tour... BUT WAIT, the tour guide shimmers and turns into Captain Garth!! Laughing maniacally, he introduces them to the REAL Dr. Cory, who is helpless inside of the cage.

So, the inmates have taken over the asylum. Captain Garth, who now insists on being called Lord Garth, lets out all the crazies and the Orion girl immediately runs to his side. A regular Joker and Harley Quinn, this duo is. The shield surrounding the asylum doesn't allow Kirk to call back to the Enterprise or beam up. They are stuck unless they can get to the control room. So Lord Garth locks him and Spock up and then uses his shape-shifting abilities to turn into Kirk and heads to the control room.
Like a Captain.
The real Dr. Cory explains that Captain Garth learned regenerative powers from beings on Antos IV who used these powers to heal his mangled body after a crash. He soon learned to enhance these powers to take other forms. So, as Kirk, Garth goes to the control room and asks to be beamed up, but then Scotty returns with a chess move that Garth was not prepared for! Without the ability to return the correct move, Garth can't verify his identity as Kirk and so is denied entry. So that means it's time for dinner!

He holds a lavish dinner with all the inmates, Kirk, and Spock and tries to get the chess information out of Kirk. After failing to get his way through pleasure, he switches to pain. He brings out a rehabilitation chair that he has modified to cause pain. First he uses it on Dr. Cory, but when Kirk still refuses to give in, he uses it on Kirk himself. And Kirk still refuses to give in. Furious, Lord Garth gives up and puts Kirk in a separate room where he is visited by the Orion girl, Marta.
The one on top always wants something.
In an obvious attempt to get the chess move out of Kirk, she tries seducing him at first. When that fails, she takes out a knife and attempts to stab Kirk. And that's when Spock comes in, pinches her and saves Kirk! Huzzah! The two of them make a dash for the control room and contact Scotty. Just as before, Scotty asks for the chess move. And then Kirk becomes wary of Spock. He asks Spock to give the return. Spock says Kirk should... Kirk insists... And then Spock shimmers and turns into Lord Garth. Garth insists that Kirk only doubts him because he has not yet had his coronation as LORD Garth. So, in a lavish ceremony with a gold carpet, the asylum inmates crown Garth as lord.

Garth now thinks he can get what he wants from Spock because Spock is a logical man. So two of the inmates go to fetch Spock who appears to be unconscious in a holding cell. While they drag him off, he hops up and pinches both of them at the same time, knocking them out. Meanwhile, Kirk and Garth are in the control room where Garth has just killed Marta as a demonstration of the explosive substance he invented. But when Spock comes in, Garth has turned into Kirk. The two Kirks fight for a while, but when one of them says to shoot both of them, Spock knows which one to shoot.
It's the one crazy enough to believe a chair would make a good hat.
Having chosen correctly due to the fact that only the real Kirk would sacrifice himself for the good of the rest of the crew, Spock observes as the stunned Garth morphs back into himself. The threat eliminated, a security team beams down to return all the inmates to their cells. And then they bring out the rehabilitation chair one more time. They use it on Garth to erase all of his memories in the hopes that he will forget his insanity along with everything else in his life. The amnesiac Garth asks Kirk if they know each other, Kirk denies it, and Garth is lead away. And they all lived happily ever after and learned a valuable lesson about psychiatric care.

Overall Thoughts
This is a pretty great episode which contains possibly the best Kirk/FakeKirk fight outside of the movies. Garth is a very interesting character and I kind of wish we could see his entire story; what lead him to insanity. Regardless, though, inmates taking over the asylum is always good for a fun time.