Friday, May 15, 2009

Star Trek--"Court Martial"

Up until this point in the series, Kirk has been presented as an extraordinary man who has defeated a nearly omnipotent being, resisted brainwashing and a mind altering disease because of his emotional attachment to his ship, outwitted centuries old children, and had every attractive woman in the galaxy after him. The guy is almost inhuman. So when the idea that he would face a court martial for negligent homicide comes up, one would hope we might see kirk’s fallible side.

No such luck. As far as creating dramatic tension is concerned, this episode ranks right up therewith “The Conscience of the King.” I will also give the episode props for realistically portraying a court martial proceeding. I was even impressed there was a black commodore and a dedicated female prosecutor, even though making her an old flame of Kirk’s was unnecessary. Ethically, she probably should have recused herself. Regardless, both proved trek was willing to rise above cultural standards of the day.

That is about all I can say positively about “Court Martial,” however. It would have been great if Kirk really had been in a spot where a crewmen he had bad blood with died because of one of Kirk’s decisions. It would have shown Kirk has to make uncomfortable decisions which may not be the right choice. Leaving it up to the audience whether irk did the right thing or not would have added dimension to his character. Maybe he is not so perfect after all.

But no. It is a frame up by Finney for no other reason than Kirk is the most wonderful man ever and he is jealous. Ruining his career would be the perfect revenge. Except what was Finney planning to do after faking his death? Once it was known Kinney was alive, Kirk would be off the hook. Sure, Finney was a nut, but that is a real copt out. The whole situation ends in a trademark fistfight at which point the episode becomes a complete train wreck.

The idea had a lot of promise. If it had been a legal drama, perhaps one without any clear resolution whether Kirk’s actions were justified, the episode could have been great. At the very least it would have added some color to Kirk. We have already seen from ‘The Enemy Within” he reliesa lot on his dark side for much of his decision making. It would have been nice if the writers had explored the idea further.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

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