I’ve liked this episode since the time I saw the original broadcast. The story can be considered science fiction but I prefer to think of it as comedy.
The Enterprise is in route to some star base when in the middle of a starless void they detect a planet where none should be. Attempting to avoid it both Sulu and Kirk disappear from the bridge. Spock assumes command and even the planet has a poisonous atmosphere he beams down a rescue party headed by McCoy. They find themselves in an Earth-normal environment and enter a building that appears to be a medieval castle. There they find Sulu and Kirk statue-like in an apparent stasis. Then they hear someone playing the harpsichord and someone calling himself General Trelayne, the Squire of Gothos, introduces himself to them and releasing Kirk and Sulu to consciousness invites the crew to be his guests. But guest is just a euphemism for captive. He toys with the crew members but meanwhile Spock has located Kirk and company on the planet and beams them to the Enterprise. Trelayne shows up on the bridge of the Enterprise and returns Kirk and the landing party back to Gothos. He also adds Spock and Kirk’s new Yeoman Teresa Rose who, of course, is a fetching blonde played by an actress named Venita Wolf.
Realizing that Trelayne doesn’t intend to release them Kirk figures out an escape plan. He guesses that the device that Trelayne uses to perform the various miraculous transformations of matter and energy is hidden in the ornamental mirror in the castle hall. Kirk uses Trelayne dancing with Yeoman Ross as an excuse to challenge Trelayne to a duel. When Trelayne fires his pistol into the air Kirk diverts his own shot to destroying the mirror and the mechanism behind it. Transporting back to the ship while Trelayne is powerless Kirk orders the Enterprise depart the vicinity of Gothos at top speed but before he can warp out of the system, they observe the planet Gothos somehow in front of them again. After several more futile attempts at escape Kirk heads back to the planet instructing Spock to wait a short time and then leave the system at full speed.
Trelayne is dressed as an English magistrate and he condemns Kirk to death for treason. But Kirk convinces him that hanging would be boring and instead Trelayne should hunt Kirk for an exciting experience. While Kirk is hiding, he tries desperately to call the Enterprise on his communicator and tell them to run while Trelayne is distracted but the signal is blocked. Finally, Trelayne traps Kirk and prepares to kill him with a sabre. But Kirk knocks the sword out of Trelayne’s hand and slaps him in the face calling him a child. Just then two voices, a man’s and a woman’s, are heard and Kirk and Trelayne look up to see two shining globes of light. The voices come from these globes and they turn out to be energy beings and in fact Trelayne’s parents. They berate Trelayne for mistreating his “predators,” meaning the enterprise crew, and tell him that play time is over and he must come home. Then Trelayne assumes the tone and diction of a petulant child who doesn’t want to quit playing. He tells his parents that they promised him he could have Gothos for his plaything and that he was winning against Kirk. The voices continue to berate him and repeat, “No Trelayne,” to all his entreaties. At least he keeps repeating, “But I woulda won,” over and over again as he slowly fades away. Afterwards, the voices apologize to Kirk for their son’s misbehavior and promise to let him return to the enterprise without further interference.
Back on the bridge Spock asks Kirk how Trelayne should be characterized in their report. When Spock rejects the title of God of War, Kirk suggests a little boy, and a very naughty little boy at that.
As I stated above, I’ve always enjoyed this episode as a pure comedy and nothing else. The Trelayne character is enjoyable as a selfish petulant child who loves play acting and posturing. There’s nothing much to this story but the clash of Trelayne’s and Kirk’s personalities and even that is just a pretense to allow Trelayne to perform his tour de force. There is the pretty girl hanging around which is nice. But these things and the payoff joke at the end are enough. I give this a 9. On the Kirk side, he does a shoulder roll or two and some minor acrobatics but nothing really embarrassing so let’s call it a 9 // 2.