Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 1 Episode 13 – The Conscience of the King

This episode is essentially a murder mystery story.  Kirk is the detective and the members of the crew and a band of traveling Shakespearean actors are the props.  The leader of the acting troupe is suspected by Kirk of being a mass murderer who slaughtered four thousand of his citizens where he was a colony leader.  The only surviving witnesses who can identify the murderer are Kirk and Lt. Riley of the Enterprise.  The biggest complication is that, of course, the suspect’s daughter is a buxom blonde that has caught Jim Kirk’s eye.

Other than the love interest, which is slightly tedious, the Shakespearean motif is relatively amusing, with chunks of Macbeth and Hamlet slung around at slightly appropriate moments.  Spock is alarmed by the Captain’s secretive and erratic behavior and McCoy is his usual contrary self.  Outside of the plot we are regaled with Lt. Uhura singing something Star Treky and we are given one last walk through by Yeoman Janice Rand on the bridge.  Apparently she was fired shortly before this episode and this was her swan song.  A pity.  She was pretty.

The plot and the love story resolve themselves as the guilty receive poetic justice and madness and death are the fruits of murder.  I’d give the story a 7.  Shatner has almost no opportunity to perform any tumbling, bare chested gymnastics or over the top histrionics.  I’ll call it a 1 on the Shatner mockery scale.  That a 7 // 1.  Not too bad.