Monday, May 18, 2009

Star Trek--"The Squire of Gothos"

Today’s episode is another iconic installment of TOS. “The Squire of Gothos” is a variation on “Charlie X,” the earlier first season episode dealing with an enfant terrible The second time around is much more improved. Perhaps it is because Trelane is a spoiled brat rather than the psycho Charlie was or because the Enterprise crew exercises fewer lapses in logic when dealing with him, but I can forgive the plot similarities because of the improvements.

Trelane is obviously a precursor to Q. At least one novel speculates that Trelaine was a Q, but I have to assume the idea has not been added to the flim4d canon of Trek. I recall Q conjuring up aliens in French military uniforms in a first season episode of TNG. The act was an obvious homage to Trelane’s stated fascination with Napoleon. Both Trelane and Q share an interest in Earth history in general.

One objection I have is why superior beings have such an overt dismissal of lesser beings, in this case humans? Trelane, I can understand, since he is a child. But the parents only chastise Trelane as overstepping his bounds by terrorizing the Enterprise crew and hunting Kirk for sport. To say humans areants compared to them is not a fair analogy. Both humans and Trelane’s people possess the hiher levels of reasoning. What Trelane has done is not using a magnifying glass to fry ants, but torture something as similar to himself in intelligence as a chimpanzee is to us. Perhaps even closer in intelligence. Does that not merit a more sympathetic attitude towards Kirk, etal, which they do not receive?

I have not gotten the vibe “The Squire of Gothos” was meant to be a morality tale about human cruelty to animals, but a bit more compassion on the part of the parents would have been appropriate here. As it was, the episode was really a fun romp that is best served not trying to moralize over. Trelane was a kid who is not properly watched by his parents. He acts just like a kid would under those circumstances. It is difficult to sympathize with him, mind you, but it is also hard to consider him a villain in spite of the gravity his actions. If anything, the parents are the villains of the piece. I am curious how many Trekkers look at it that way?

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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