Sunday, 29 March 2015

My Random Journey Through Trek #29

Star Trek
Errand of Mercy

The political situation between the Klingon Empire and the Federation is breaking down and hostilities are imminent and the Enterprise has been assigned to make contact with the people of the planet Organia and secure it's strategic advantage for Starfleet. Soon after they arrive a Klingon fleet is detected and Kirk leaves Sulu in command with orders to retreat and rendezvous with the fleet and return when the numbers are more evenly matched. Spock and Kirk meet with the Organian council who seem unconcerned about the threat of the Klingons but once they "invade" the council open their world to the Klingons but go along with the ruse to hide the identity of the two Starfleet officers. Of course Kirk and Spock are not going to idly stand by and let the Klingons get away with anything they want so they destroy a munitions dump and even though the interrogation of Spock reveals nothing the surveillance installed by Klingon security eavesdrops on the council and they and the Captain have their fundamental difference of opinion on how to handle the Klingons.
Kor the Klingon commander arrests these two "rebel Organians" and is then surprised when their true identities are revealed and he himself shows respect for his Starfleet opponents and disgust at the Organians for revealing them. It then comes as a surprise when Ayelborne the council leader releases Kirk and Spock which results in the execution of 200 of the native population and that provokes the boys to launch an attack on the Klingon base of operations and capture Kor.

Faced with the slaughter of many on the planet and the fleets of the two factions about to engage the truth of the Organians is revealed, they are not what they seem and change from their physical form to beings of energy who take control of all military assets and proclaim to both the Klingons and the Federation that they will not be allowed to fight. Kirk and Kor both express their right to determine the path their people will take but it seems the Organians have taken the ball with them and for now there will be no galaxy wide conflict.

I'll openly admit that Errand of Mercy is one of my favourite episodes of Star Trek pretty much from when I first watched it on the BBC (exactly when that was I don't recall) right through to having watching every episode of the franchise most more than once. I like the idea that a galactic wide conflict is a sum of it's parts and events around one planet has the potential to alter the path of events. It was also gratifying and it won't be the only time we see that there are worthy opponents for Kirk amongst the rival powers and while they may operate with different moral and ethical codes they have merit. Kor for example respects the capabilities of Kirk and Starfleet and would love to face the Enterprise in open battle but of course he is also capable of slaughtering hundreds of non-combatants (as is the Klingon way). John Colicos is fantastic as Kor and while we don't see him again in the original series he dons the ridges for three appearances as Kor on Deep Space Nine.
We have the right....
Errand of Mercy is just a good episode of the original series, yes we have to overlook a few things to make everything work but nothing new there although the bouncy cell floor was a laugh and the strange looking crates the Klingons used to hold weapons. I wasn't quite sure what to make of the Enterprise and her sensor suit, the initial Klingon vessel get to within weapons range before the automatic defences systems engaged, however Kirk, Spock and Kor all deliver and we even get some decent screentime for Sulu in command of the Enterprise. The episode also gets raised above it's compatriots as the Organian Peace Treaty is referenced further both in the television series and in the novels and for me having extra content always adds to a televised episode.
Rating 10



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