Ouch, here we go again. It seems that the original series of Star Trek cannot avoid revisiting the cliché of Kirk and friends kidnapped by beings with higher powers who can do anything they want. I’m fed up already! In The Gamesters of Triskelion, Kirk, Uhura and Chekov are kidnapped by aliens who turn out to be three colored brains, superior life forms who left their bodies behind to be something more. Let me add that they weren’t extremely successful at that since something physical continue to exist, and above all kidnapping random life forms, dressing them like ridiculous space gladiators and making them fight with polystyrene weapons betting on the outcomes doesn’t seem very superior to me. In fact, this is also the take-home message of the episode and the argument used by Kirk to return to the Enterprise!
In short, it’s an episode like the various The Squire of Gothos, The Apple, Catspaw (and even Metamorphosis): it’s either a powerful (but childish) being, or a computer, or some medieval wizards, or a sentient cloud… but at the end of the day it’s always Kirk not accepting being at the mercy of anyone and being rebellious throughout the episode until he manages to free himself and his crew. For the sake of argument, let’s say I can accept the repetitive plot. Still, I would like to see at least something to make me appreciate the episode! In this case, though, there’s little to be found. Apart from a few involuntary laughs due to the ridiculous relationship between Kirk and the weekly love interest Shahna (Angelique Pettyjohn), and the fighting on planet Triskelion with the big Kloog (Mickey Morton) and Lars (Steve Sandor), nothing tickled my interest or my curiosity.
Needless to say, I endorse and admire the condemnation of slavery that emerges so clearly from this episode! However, the message is so trivial and poorly executed that I really can’t recommend this episode to anyone. If you’re trying to compile a best of the original Star Trek series, you can safely keep this one off the list. Ciao!
Previous episode: The Trouble with Tribbles
Next episode: A Piece of the Action