The Squire of Gothos
|"The Squire of Gothos"|
|Star Trek: The Original Series episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1|
|Directed by||Don McDougall|
|Written by||Paul Schneider|
|Featured music||Alexander Courage|
|Cinematography by||Jerry Finnerman|
|Original air date||January 12, 1967|
"The Squire of Gothos" is the seventeenth episode of the first season of the American science fiction television series, Star Trek. Written by Paul Schneider, and directed by Don McDougall, it first aired on January 12, 1967.
In the episode, a powerful being torments the crew of the Enterprise.
On stardate 2124.5, the Federation starship USS Enterprise, under the command of Captain James T. Kirk, is on an 8-day supply mission to Colony Beta VI. Passing through a "star desert", the ship encounters a rogue planet previously hidden from their sensors. As Lt. Sulu attempts to enter a course around the planet, he suddenly vanishes from the bridge, and Kirk vanishes a moment later.
First Officer Spock assumes that the two must have been taken to the planet, 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!", followed by "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 unexpectedly finds itself in a lush and breathable environment. They also come across what appears to be a medieval castle, within which they find Captain Kirk and Lt. Sulu, immobilised, along with a humanoid being who identifies himself as "General Trelane, Retired", and invites everyone to stay as his guests on his world which he calls Gothos. McCoy's medical tricorder cannot detect this person.
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. Trelane, however, appears on the Enterprise's bridge, and brings the entire bridge crew down to the planet, including 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 19th-century ball gown. Kirk and Spock both notice that their host never strays far from a particular wall mirror; they surmise that the mirror is 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. The bridge crew then beams back to the Enterprise, but, as the ship attempts to warp away, the planet Gothos keeps appearing in its path. Kirk finally orders the Enterprise into orbit and decides to beam down.
On the planet, Kirk finds Trelane seated on a courtroom bench, dressed in the white wig and robes reminiscent of an English circuit judge. Trelane reads charges of "treason", "conspiracy", and "fomenting insurrection", and then, silencing Kirk's protests, condemns Kirk to death by hanging. Kirk, however, points out that Trelane could find a more stimulating alternative. Trelane suggests that Kirk be prey for a royal hunt, and Kirk agrees in return for the release of his ship. The hunt begins, and Kirk is eventually cornered at the castle entrance, but remains defiant. Suddenly two energy beings appear and call out to Trelane, ordering him to "come along", and lecturing him for his misbehavior. He then disappears, and the two beings follow after apologizing to Kirk, who returns to the ship.
Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club gave the episode an 'A' rating, describing the episode as "one of TOS's most deservedly iconic hours" and noting it as "wonderfully structured". William Campbell's guest star role was described as "demanding, energetic, and endlessly delighted with himself."
Kirk tells Trelane that the latter has been observing events that occurred on Earth 900 years earlier. Trelane mentions the Alexander Hamilton duel from 1804 and a Richard Strauss composition from 1880, and this has been interpreted as suggesting the episode was set in the 28th century at the earliest. However, later episodes and films placed Star Trek in the 23rd century.
The similarity between Q and Trelane inspired writer Peter David to posit in his 1994 novel Q-Squared that Trelane is a member of the Q Continuum, and Q is his godfather. In the novel, the name "Trelane" originated due to an alternate version of the young Q-entity operating among three "lanes" of alternate timelines simultaneously.
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