April 17, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Weekend Trek “The Gamesters Of Triskelion”

Kirk, Uhura, and Chekov find themselves forced into the role of gladiators!

There are a few moments from “The Gamesters of Triskelion” that have become part of the pop culture consciousness.  There is, of course, the gladiator fights and the disembodied voices making wagers.  But when I watch this one, I just think much of this episode was made to allow William Shatner to overact while gasping and run around shirtless.  There’s a bit of that stuff here.  It’s not a bad episode, but at the same time, I don’t know how memorable I would label it.

It’s mostly kinda weird.

While on a routine mission to check in on a planet, the Away Team of Kirk, Chekov, and Uhura vanish from the transporter room.  Scotty hadn’t even turned the machine all the way on yet.  Naturally, everyone left behind thinks it’s a transporter malfunction at first, and acting captain Spock does his standard investigating.  What humor the episode has, I noted, comes from McCoy and Spock bickering a bit on the Enterprise.  Each man gets a lick in, with Spock saying he picked up hope from humans and McCoy noting Spock asked for advice for the first time ever, and that scared the good doctor.  But mostly Spock finds and follows an ion trail back to the planet Triskelion.  Once there, the rest of the crew…sits around and watches the rest of the episode play out.

Yeah, we have more godlike beings to contend with.  This batch is mostly bored.  There’s nothing to do, so they steal sentient beings from everywhere.  Once captured, the prisoners become thralls to the Providers.  Thralls fight for the Providers’ amusement.  The Providers make bets on the thralls and…why do all powerful disembodied minds have or need money?

That’s the sort of stuff that gets to me.  There’s no reason for the Providers to have any use for quatloos.  How much do they have anyway?  I get they need something to wager.  It just seems weird.

Also weird is how Kirk thinks simply getting out of the thrall quarters can lead to freedom for himself, Uhura, and Chekov.  Of course that doesn’t work.  That leads to more of Kirk gasping in pain.  That’s some Grade A Shatner Ham right there.  It’s not as if Uhura and Chekov are any less hammy here, but Kirk is front row center on screen whenever it happens.  And all that happens between attempts by Kirk to romance his female alien trainer.  She has green hair in an obvious wig and a costume made of what looks like tinfoil and good intentions.

Seriously, how did that thing not fall off?

Now, just telling Kirk he’s a slave isn’t going to go well for anybody.  Of course he’s going to fight back.  He won’t sit still until he finds a way out, and he does so by using the Providers’ biggest trait against them: he makes a bet.  Humans, Kirk claims, are the biggest gamblers in the galaxy.  Let Kirk and his team defeat an equal number of thralls in combat, and everyone goes free and the Providers don’t gamble anymore as they teach the remaining thralls how to form a society.  If Kirk, Uhura, and Chekov lose, then the entire crew of the Enterprise becomes thralls.  That plan almost works.  The only real wrinkle is Kirk has to fight three on one alone.

Oh, and his green-haired honey is the last thrall.  She surrenders when Kirk pins her down.  Then she wants to go with him, but he tells her she can’t.  She has to stay behind and form that society.  Maybe keep the Providers from getting too bored.  And considering how awed she is by Kirk and company beaming away, she definitely wasn’t ready for space travel.

So, yeah, seems like a basic episode.  It’s a popular one if for no other reason than the gladiator fights.  Kirk confronts a trio of disembodied brains.  What can I say about it?

How about how curious I am how this all turned out?

Yeah, I know original Star Trek didn’t really do too many if any follow-up episodes.  But a return trip to Triskelion might have been interesting.  How did that society turn out?  Did the Providers find a loophole to go back to causing more trouble?  Is Kirk’s latest love interest Shahna a leader in this community or just one of many?  How many thralls were there anyway?  Casting problems being what they are, we only saw about a half dozen.  Were there more?  Can you make a society from that few people, especially considering Kirk killed two of them in that fight?  Did that one guy try to assault Uhura off-screen?  Sure sounded that way.

But these are questions Star Trek would ultimately poise but not answer.  And that’s probably too bad.