Whom Gods Destroy (Star Trek: The Original Series)

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"Whom Gods Destroy"
Star Trek: The Original Series episode
STWhomGods Destroy.jpg
Asylum inmates Marta (left) and Garth of Izar
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 14
Directed by Herb Wallerstein
Teleplay by Lee Erwin
Story by Lee Erwin
Jerry Sohl
Featured music Fred Steiner
Cinematography by Al Francis
Production code 071
Original air date January 3, 1969 (1969-01-03)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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List of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes

"Whom Gods Destroy" is a third season episode of the original science fiction television series, Star Trek. It is episode #69, production #71, and was broadcast on January 3, 1969. It was written by Lee Erwin, based on a story by Lee Erwin and Jerry Sohl, and directed by Herb Wallerstein. The title is based on a quote often misattributed to Euripides: "Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad."[citation needed] This episode was withdrawn by the BBC in the UK because of 'sadistic plot elements' during the initial run in 1971 and was not shown until a repeat run in January 1994.

In this episode, Captain Kirk faces off with a demented shape-shifting starship captain determined to control the universe.


On stardate 5718.3, the Federation starship USS Enterprise arrives at the planet Elba II, an inhospitable world known for its very poisonous atmosphere and underground asylum for the few remaining Federation citizens that are criminally insane. The Enterprise brings with her a shipment of a new medicine that will at last cure the insanity.

Captain Kirk and First Officer Spock beam down to the facility with the shipment of drugs and meet with the facility director, Donald Cory (Keye Luke), who oversees the treatment of fifteen of the most dangerous mental patients in Federation custody. Along the way, one of the inmates, Marta, a mentally unstable Orion female, warns Kirk and Spock that their host, Dr. Cory, is not who they think he is.

They soon discover the real Cory is imprisoned in a cell, put there by the impostor, who is none other than Garth of Izar (Steve Ihnat), a former starship Captain and one of Kirk's personal heroes. Garth's crew had mutinied against him when he had gone insane, the result of injuries in a rescue mission. Aliens from Antos tried to teach Garth just enough shapeshifting abilities to heal said injuries; he taught himself complete shifting. Garth tried to attack Antos before his crew rebelled.

Garth imprisons Kirk and Spock and tries to beam himself to the Enterprise masquerading as Kirk. He plans to use it to track down his mutinous crew. When Chief Engineer Scott does not receive a certain countersign passcode from "Kirk" (the countersign to "queen to queen's level 3" is "queen to king's level 1"), he refuses the beam up order. A force field is in operation which prevents Scott from attempting a rescue.

Garth later invites Kirk and Spock to a dinner where they hear Marta recite Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 which she claims she wrote herself. She then performs a strange "exotic dance" that Spock compares to a dance performed by Vulcan schoolchildren. In the meantime, Garth boasts about his incredible career as a starship captain, bragging that he has charted more planets and catalogued more star systems than any other man in history. Later, Kirk appears to confirm this point by reminding Garth that he was an admired and prototype starship captain. He fishes for Kirk's pass phrase, but Kirk doesn't fall for it.

Garth tries to get the code by torturing Doctor Cory and Kirk. This fails. Marta's seduction attempt of Kirk fails when Spock subdues her. The duo, Kirk and Spock, communicate with the ship. A concerned Kirk has Spock give the code but he cannot, as he is actually Garth.

Kirk is subdued again. The crew on the Enterprise learn they cannot break through the shield without killing many innocents. Garth puts on a coronation ceremony, declaring himself "Master of the Universe"; the other inmates are delighted. He states that he will be successful, more than others in history, such as Alexander the Great, Caeser, Napoleon, Hitler, Lee Kuan, and Krotus. He kills Marta, whom he has named consort, to demonstrate the power of an explosive he has created. Spock disables his guard, acquires a phaser and finds two Kirks in the control room.

Spock attempts to distinguish between the two by asking: "What maneuver was used against the Romulans near Tau Ceti?" One Kirk replies "the Cochrane Deceleration", but the other points out that it is a classic battle maneuver any good captain would know. The two Kirks begin to fight, but eventually one of them tells Spock to stun them both — to ensure the safety of the Enterprise. Knowing that only the real Kirk would make a demand like that (putting the safety of the ship ahead of his own), Spock stuns the other Kirk, who is revealed to be Garth.

With the matter resolved and Garth back in custody, control of the station is given back to Dr. Cory. The experimental drugs are administered to Garth and the other inmates who begin a long road to recovery.

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