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The Savage Curtain

Review

Series : The Original Series Rating : 0
Disc No : 3.5 Episode : 78
First Aired : 7 Mar 1969 Stardate : 5906.4
Director : Herschel Daugherty Year : 2269
Writers : Gene Roddenberry Season : 3
Guest Cast :
Arell Blanton as Lieutenant Dickerson
Barry Atwater as Surak
Bart La Rue as Voice of Yarnek
Carol Daniels Derment as Zora
Janos Prohaska as Yarnek
Lee Bergere as Abraham Lincoln
Nathan Yung as Genghis Kahn
Phillip Pine as Colonel Green
Robert Herron as Kahless the Unforgettable
Stunts :
Bill Catching as Lincoln's and Surak's stunt doubleBob Orrison as Spock's stunt double
Gary Eppers as Surak's stunt doubleJerry Summers as Green's stunt double
Phil Adams as Kirk's stunt doubleTroy Melton as Genghis Khan's stunt double
Moral :
Good vs Evil : Good with alway prevail over evil even though it may lose a few good men
YATI : Lincoln is mightily impressed by the technology of the Enterprise, commenting on the likes of the transporter to Kirk. Yet he walks through the automatic doors as if he's been using them all his life.
Worst Moment : Abraham Lincoln floating in space.
Body Count : None, technically. Simulations of six historical characters are created and destroyed.
Factoid : This episode is the first appearence of Surak, the Vulcan who turned his species toward logic, the first appearence of Kahless, who will return as a clone of the original complete with head ridges in TNG, and the first appearence of of Colonel Green, who was seen in a recording in Enterprise's "Demons".

This episode is a nominee for the DITL "Worst of Trek" award.

Quote : "There's no honerable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy; there is nothing good in war except it's ending" - Abraham Lincoln to Kirk

Plotline

Abraham Lincoln appears flaoting in space before the Enterprise (!). Understandably surprised, Kirk accepts the former president aboard the ship and gives him a guided tour. Lincoln invites Kirk and Spock to beam down to Exo III, a planet utterly hostile to Human life except for an unexplanable "oasis" spot on the surface. The invitation is accepted, and the officers beam down. They are met by an Excalbian, a silicon being who informs them that his people wish to investigate the Human concepts of good and evil to discover which is stronger. The good are to be represented by Kirk and Spock, Lincoln and Surak of Vulcan; their evil opponents are Ghengis Khan, Kahless the Unforgettable, Zora and Colonel Green. The aliens threaten to destroy the Enterprise in a matter of hours unless Kirk wins the battle.

The two groups skirmish on the surface, improvising weapons from whatever materials are to hand. Eventually Kirk and Spock manage to prevail, and the Excalbians release them and free the Enterprise to continue on its way.

Analysis

A pretty absurd episode even by season 3 standards. The idea of Lincoln in space breaches the limits of credibility right from the start, and it's never really recovered. True the idea of powerful aliens experimenting with other cultures (as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water...) is a reasonable one. But you have to question their methods. For a start, they are investigating Humans (specifically "Earthlings", actually), but only three Humans are featured in the opposing teams. With a Vulcan, a half-Vulcan, A Klingon, and a whatever-Zora-is amongst the group how is this an investigation of Earthling philosophies? Plus, do they really expect to learn anyting from one single encounter? Their sample size seems ludicrously low. And they seem to be trying to judge the concepts in a very limited fashion. What if the good side are inferior physically or in planning, but more than make up for it by co-operating with one another in building a more productive society that can overwhelm evil with more advanced technology or greater numbers? This is absolutely plausible, but such an advantage is absolutely negated in the type of test the Excalbians arrange.

Overall, a very poor episode.


Copyright Graham Kennedy Page views : 2,521 Last updated : 9 May 2010