Monday, September 21, 2020

Star Trek -- Season 2 Episode 16 (The Gamesters of Triskelion)

I often look at old movies and wonder how they got away with such low standards.  I realize that times change.  I also realize that budgets were often limited.  Star Trek was no exception to this.  They had censors to worry about and a network that wasn’t too fond of spending money on the show.  This led to some rather unusual episodes, at least by today’s standards.

The Gamesters of Triskelion was one of the odder episodes, looking back.  To start, Kirk, Chekov and Uhura are kidnapped while beaming down to a planet.  They find themselves on a planet where similarly abducted people are forced to compete against each other while unseen masters bet on who will win.

Meanwhile, Spock is able to quickly deduce which planet the landing party was taken to.  He debates with McCoy as to the validity of his conclusions, but sure enough, Spock is correct.  Kirk bets the fate of his crew against his freedom in a battle and wins.  It’s a bold move, to be sure, but there are still a bunch of episodes left and they’re not going to be on Triskelion.

My big complaint is that it seems way too easy.  Yeah, there’s something about an ion trail and it makes sense that there might be a cloaked ship, but that could mean anything.  It also seems unlikely that a captain would risk his crew’s freedom like that or that he’d even be given the opportunity.

It’s also said that the remaining captives will be allowed to form their own society.  There’s no talk of maybe returning the people to their home planets.  Some, like Shahna, were apparently born and raised there.  I suppose some of the population wouldn’t know where they came from.  Even if they did, they might not have anyone that knows them.  However, there might be a few.  There was at least on Andorian.  It’s conceivable that there would be some Federation citizens on the planet.

My big question is why they would abduct three bridge officers?  If some lowly ensign went missing, no one would notice.  The series killed off enough security officers.  But to take three people that the Enterprise is certain to come after?  And to make sure that someone notices?  That seems very bold, indeed.  It seems like it would be wiser to wait until the landing party was on the planet’s surface.

This is one of those episodes where, as bad is it was, it might have been nice to see what becomes of them.  It might be nice to have an episode of Star Trek: Picard or Star Trek: Discovery where someone is from Triskelion.  Then again, I’d probably be just as happy forgetting about it.

IMDb page


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