Star Trek: Season 2, Episode 16

The Gamesters of Triskelion (5 Jan. 1968)

TV Episode  |   |  Action, Adventure, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 978 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 5 critic

Kirk, Uhura and Chekov are trapped on a planet where abducted aliens are enslaved and trained to perform as gladiators for the amusement of bored, faceless aliens.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Steve Sandor ...
Jane Ross ...
Victoria George ...
Dick Crockett ...
Andorian Thrall
Mickey Morton ...


Kirk, Uhura and Chekov find themselves suddenly transported light years across the galaxy to the planet Triskelion. There, they are trained as thralls, slaves who engage in gladiatorial combat for the pleasure of the Providers, three faceless beings who amuse themselves by wagering on the outcomes. Outfitted with collars that inflict pain for disobedience, the thralls are submissive and pliant. Kirk eventually challenges the Providers to a wager that will either result in freedom for all or a lifetime of slavery. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Release Date:

5 January 1968 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The look of the character Galt was modeled after Ming the Merciless, the archenemy from the Flash Gordon comic strip. See more »


In the opening fight scene, Kirk's position changes on the bench between cuts. See more »


Shahna: You... you risked bringing their anger on yourself. Why did you do it?
Captain James T. Kirk: It's the custom of my people... to help one another when we're in trouble.
[he kisses her passionately]
Shahna: And... And this... is this... also helping?
Captain James T. Kirk: [smiles] You could call it that.
Shahna: Please... help me once again.
[and he does]
See more »


Referenced in The Wizard of Speed and Time (1988) See more »

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User Reviews

Gladiatorial School for the Enterprise Crew
6 November 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It's time to set aside the philosophy and kick some behind with your weapon of choice; this is gladiatorial combat, boys and girls, 23rd century-style. Kirk and two key officers, Chekov & Uhura, are shanghaied from the good ship Enterprise while about to beam down and whisked a dozen light years away to a planet ruled by so-called Providers, disembodied prime brains whose only means of diversion is kidnapping various aliens for their amusement as space-age gladiators. This could have been a serious indictment of slavery, represented by those intense collars-of-obedience, but, despite Kirk's seething display of resentment as he finally rips his off near the end, this episode is best known for its cheese factor rather than any deep commentary on such a provocative issue. If anything, it reminded me of a typical, action-oriented episode of the "Lost in Space" TV show - cheesy and somewhat laughable. It's best remembered now for the outfitted gladiatrix Shahna, played by actress Pettyjohn, who went on to adult-film roles.

There are a lot of different aliens on display in this one, with the usual limitations of the make-up FX back then; to get a truly distinctive alien in the sixties, they would cast a giant actor (Morton), for example, but Ruskin as Galt manages to be truly alien in a creepy, eerie fashion, sometimes seeming to glide along rather than just walk around. Overall, it's average escapist fare, with sometimes silly dialog, Shatner over-emoting ("You're Killiinnng Herrrr...!") and not much thought put into such issues as what these all-powerful brains do with their version of money, quatloos (I assume, hearing their betting frenzies, it's their version of monopoly money), boiling down to a final combat where Kirk breaks all the rules and wins anyway. It's also typical of the episode that Kirk spends a lot of time seducing Shahna, his, uh, drill thrall, in almost touching scenes, but ends up clocking her. Despite the cheesy entertainment, for my quatloo, the best scene is on the Enterprise with Spock, McCoy and Scotty. There, Spock shows he's ready to be a full time commander when McCoy & Scotty try to team up against him.

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