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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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Memorable in a cheesy way for Star Trek TOS, this is a weaker season
two episode. This episode has many memorable scenes which still make it
must see Trek. Several things from this episode are used in bits in
others shows like the voice clip of McCoy saying... "Your outta your
Vulcan mind, Spock!", an obvious joke and a very good one in the play
with the word substitution using Vulcan. This episode also had a clip
that was very amusing with Kirk and his "love interest" the green
haired alien "female" in a kiss with the aliens cameltoe very visible,
this was used in a Star Trek bloopers video I saw with the Mission
Impossible theme playing in the background as the tape was spooled back
and forth, very funny! As far as that blooper scene goes, I don't see
it in the episode cut because they cropped the picture where as the
blooper reel used uncut footage, but you can see cameltoe when Kirk
lays her down after knocking her out, this blooper reel also had a
scene with a man (african-american no doubt!) shoveling coal into the
Enterprises engines to make it go! Chekov's "mate" is also a dubious
female, a precursor to todays transsexual (although a real female
actor, maybe her voice was dubbed with that of a male's) and Chekov
definitely understood this as he was hit on by this alien, also very
funny stuff. So yes, it's very cheesy and not one that would rank as
best Trek, but very memorable to watch for these reasons. Interesting
to note, there is a woman at the helm of the Enterprise substituting
for the now gone Chekov, a science officer (yellow shirt though, I
think) who assists Spock in finding the lost crew. I don't recall
another woman being at the helm, I thought that was very unique. She
comes across very professionally and I would have liked seeing her
launch some photon torpedoes in later episodes, too bad it was not to
be, but it further establishes that the Enterprise had many crewmen. 7
of 10, I'm jaded that I have watched this series so many times, but the
first time I saw it as a pre teen it definitely was entertaining, and
since it still is deserves a decently high rating.
Also, NO REDSHIRT CREWMEN WERE HARMED OR KILLED IN THE MAKING OF THIS EPISODE!
Among many other aspects of the show, I'm a big fan of the original
Star Trek's cheese factor. I'm also a fan of the fighting shows,
partially because they tend to be high on the cheese factor. The
Gamesters of Triskelion is chock full of both of those elements, but my
score is a couple points lower than it would otherwise be due mostly to
the fact that the plot of this episode isn't particularly fresh.
To an extent, writers Margaret Armen and Gene Roddenberry, along with director Gene Nelson were cruising along on autopilot. It's certainly an enjoyable autopilot, but it's not enough to garner a 10/10. Very Similar ideas can be found in earlier episodes including Bread and Circuses, Arena, Amok Time, I, Mudd, and The Cage/The Menagerie. Another slight problem is that some of the mechanics of extending the episode are fairly transparent, such as Kirk not fighting so well in the early segments.
Kirk, Chekov and Uhura are abducted and diverted a few light years away while being beamed down to another planet. They become imprisoned in a "culture" that uses violent games for sport. Through this and developments further into the episode, Roddenberry and crew are able to explore issues such as slavery, totalitarianism, and ideas of evolutionary, cultural and intellectual superiority.
But The Gamesters of Triskelion is a lot of fun for other reasons, including the fight choreography and the often-ridiculous aliens, including a Grand Poobah who looks something like Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey. This episode also has one of Kirk's more questionable love interests.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When the episode begins, Kirk, Uhura and Chekov are being beamed by the
Enterprise's transporter. However, instead of "sparkling", they
disappear and are transported by a fantastic force well across the
galaxy. The Enterprise looks for them but don't realize that the
seemingly impossible has occurred and only later does Spock play a
hunch and begin searching well beyond the transporter's range--to other
In the meantime, the three find themselves on a bizarre little world where slaves fight--often to the death--for the delight of the unseen "providers". It seems the providers brought them here to be an addition to their gladiators and to improve the "breeding stock". For Chekov and Uhura, the idea of becoming breeders is nauseating--especially since the mates picked out for them are gross or violent. However, Kirk being a super-stud of galactic proportions, goes about in earnest wooing his strange-looking would-be wife (big surprise, huh?). To get the compliance of the three, the foreman of the compound (who looks so very, very cool with his bald head and cool clothes) uses his cool glowing eyes to cause pain when they don't comply. I am a school teacher and really would love to have this ability! Later, the Enterprise find the three but because the providers are so strong, there isn't much they can do. In fact, the providers plan on bringing the entire crew down to the planet to fight in the arena. However, this awful fate is averted when Kirk accidentally makes a wager that the gambling-loving providers can't resist. Naturally, Kirk wins (after all, he is the Kirk-meister) and all the slaves are freed.
While only an average episode, one reason this stands out is due to the SIMPSONS TV show. In the episode where Homer and Barney try out to be on the space shuttle, one scene is a wonderful re-creation of a scene from THE GAMESTERS OF TRISKELION!!! However, the idiots who syndicated the show chopped out this wonderful scene!!! See it on DVD if you get a chance.
This is a fairly straight forward episode. We have here some people who
like to use other people for sport. Note the masters and those they
enslave. Note their "bodies" and how our much beloved Captain Kirk
We have intellect obsessed with competition. So much to the point of using other living creatures to gratify their blood lust for sport. Remind you of anyone or any society current or historical?
Beyond that, there's not much more to talk about. We have enslavement, gladiatorial games, a sexy alien babe, a dark ominous master "chief thrall", and some action.
It's an entertaining episode. Try not to over analyze this one because you'll just give yourself a headache. In the end Kirk pulls another rabbit out of his hat by using the gamesters of Triskelion's own psychology against them. And for all of their higher "intellect" (which proved not to be so high after all), they still succumb to basic instincts in the end.
I guess you might say that the one regret is that Kirk never came back to visit Shauna again, but hey, it's Trek.
A good hours entertainment. Give it a spin on the DVD player.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
TGOT is a legendary episode, if for many wrong reasons. (But is
cheesiness that "wrong"?) The plot is more-or-less idiotic and linear,
being a mere excuse to have Kirk-Fu fight-scenes, which no doubt
pleased the younger viewers and the NBC top echelon - both of which
are/were at about the same level of mental development. While the
aliens are silly, they aren't a match for the camp factor of the Mugatu
("A Private Little War"), or the pizza-monster in "Devil In The Dark"
(that episode always made me hungry), nor is the dialogue anywhere near
as unintentionally amusing as it is in "The Galileo Seven" or "That
Which Survives". The sets look nice, though. Perhaps I'm a little
miffed that Kirk's love-interest looks like Barry Manilow. Angelique
Pettyjohn later did porn. Funny, that, because usually it goes the
other way round: first porn and then legit acting stuff (which around
0.0001% of all porn stars succeed at).
So what else happens? Not much... Uhura almost gets raped. (But really, she should be glad they didn't send Kloog to mate with her.) Chekhov has to deal with a woman with a man's voice, and Kirk gets to argue with three pieces of jelly (yellow, green and red) that impersonate advanced brains. The irony is that the conversation between Kirk and the brains reveals that the latter are probably just as underdeveloped as the gray matter of NBC executives, hence the whole premise of the intellectually superior adversaries falls into water. The three "super brains" get duped and patronized to by Kirk in a manner that is more reminiscent of Kirk talking to his own daughters. (Well... reminiscent to Shatner, of course. I assume he talked that way to them when they were as young as these jello brains.) There is also something of a first(?) in TV, when Kirk first kisses and then PUNCHES the porn Manilow. (Perhaps Captain Kirk learned this trick from she-android Andrea ("What Are Little Girl Made Of?"), from the way she kissed and then slapped Kirk...)
Something tells me that this scene was very popular on a sub-conscious level since so many of us wouldn't have minded seeing that being done with the real Manilow.
Plus, if you're a fan of Spock vs. McCoy (one-sided) bickering, there's plenty of that here. Nearly every scene on the bridge is McCoy bitching about something, and when he tires of it, taking a brief breather, Scotty jumps in to help him. That is what is known as "creating conflict for the sake of it (the drama)", because it makes no sense that two intelligent people such as Scotty and McCoy would be so adamantly against every logical decision Spock makes.
Still, even an average ST episode is quite fun.
If you want to read "The Chapel Factor" and other "lost ST episodes", contact me by e-mail.
Three multicolored brains bring Kirk, Chekhov, and Uhura down to their planet. They have kidnapped various "thralls" to fight battles, sort of gladiator style so they can bet on the outcomes. The obviously haven't heard of horse racing or video poker. Anyway, it doesn't take Kirk long to use his many charms to gain the trust of a beautiful "Drill Thrall." Everyone wears these dog collars that allow a Ming the Merciless sort of hologram guy with glowing eyes to drive them to submission. The Enterprise is stymied in trying to locate the place where everyone is and this leads to McCoy going off on Spock, over and over. Spock finally asks McCoy and Scotty if they have mutiny on their minds. They realize they have stepped on the tiger's tail and back off. Kirk, as usual, thousands of years in the evolutionary process, manages to shame these incorporeal brains to risk it all. He puts his ship and crew on the line, confident of his ability to fight. Shahna, the beautiful woman Kirk put the moves on, is played by a former fashion model who had a limited acting career. She is quite stunning to look at. Some of this got to be kind of old hat and we have to say we've been there before.
I'd have done more with the Providers in this episode had I a hand in
creating it. They seemed to warrant a bit more imagination than three
brains with colors of the rainbow. More like the Organians who actually
try to do something constructive in an earlier episode.
As it is these three are pretty powerful wired up as they are to all kinds of computer gadgetry. Out of sheer boredom they kidnap various alien humanoid species from across the galaxy and train them as Thrals which is their word for gladiators. They aren't sexist, they like their women warriors too.
So for new warriors when William Shatner, Nichelle Nichols, and Walter Koenig go on an away mission in the transporter they're snatched mid transport and dropped light years away on a barren planet where the Providers provide for the feeding and training and other creature comforts of their Thrals and then wager their bogus currency on who lives and dies.
I guess the Thrals are above humanoids, but below Organians in the evolutionary stage. In any event Kirk appeals to their sporting instinct to get out of this predicament.
Kirk is provided one shapely trainer in Angelique Pettyjohn. But for those of us with different tastes I certainly envied who Uhura gets in Steve Sandor. My screams would have been for joy.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What a great title - 'The Gamesters of Triskelion' - I just love the
way that rolls off the tongue. As we've seen in episodes past, (The
Squire of Gothos, Who Mourns for Adonais?), members of the Enterprise
crew are hijacked in order to provide amusement for their captors, this
time as gladiators a few galaxies removed from their original orbit. It
always amazes me how the show manages to push the envelope on the old
needle in a haystack routine. This time Spock has to figure out that
Kirk, Uhura and Chekov have been transported some number of light years
away, and wouldn't you know it, he guesses right. Fascinating.
And speaking of Spock, his association with humans has begun to show some contamination in this story - he expresses hope that the Captain and crew can be found. Not the sort of characteristic I would expect from a Vulcan conditioned to pure logic. Though he did acquit himself well against the ramblings of Scotty and McCoy.
This just might be the episode that cinched Captain Kirk's reputation as the Romeo of outer space, as he actually put the move on the Thrall Shahna (Angelique Pettyjohn), she with the green pouffe hair. It was hard to decide whether she was good looking or not, but the Captain didn't seem to mind. Too bad she didn't crack a smile every now and then, it might have made a difference.
I guess it was only a matter of time before one of the characters got to utter the line in my summary above. The prize goes to McCoy, who offers just the right nuance; I wonder if there's an outtakes reel that shows the set up for that one. I'd give a good couple of quatloos to see that.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Kirk, Uhura, and Chekov are whisked away before transporting to a base
on a planet to another planet in a different star system by three
blob-beings called the providers, with high intellect, encased in a
dome far within the earth, protected by rock. Above ground, they use
their power to conduct gladiatorial games, with "punishment" collars
around the necks of Kirk, Uhura, and Chekov, forcing them to train for
a combat to entertain the providers. Those already formidable combat
warriors with collars around their necks are assigned to train them,
with Kirk trying to devise an escape plan
but how? Kirk's trainer, an
obvious lovely (with green hair and silver, scantily clad costume),
begins to submit to his romantic advances as he tells her of what
freedom is all about where he comes from, instilling in her ideas she's
never thought of. Meanwhile a slight ion trail encourages Spock's logic
to follow it, believing that this is the means behind where Kirk,
Uhura, and Chekov were taken. Bones and Scotty believe Spock should
have sent away teams to the previous planet before following what they
believe was a hunch. Those disagreements, and Kirk trying to get his
officers off the planet Triskelion, make up the plot for this episode.
Kirk having to outsmart three supposedly higher intelligent superior lifeforms is nothing new, and seeing him talk to three pulsating blogs in a dome is a bit cheesy. Kirk and Angelique Pettyjohn becoming smitten with each other is another expected development. Mickey Morton, as the "Master Thrall", looks like Ming, the Merciless, from Flash Gordon, doing the bidding of the providers with a cold-blooded presentation. As the collars dole out intense pain that brings our heroes to their knees, he looks on without a care in the world. Memorable scenes include a scary possible rape where Uhura fends off a "selected mate" as Kirk can do nothing, helpless in another cell, and Pettyjohn punished with the collar for telling Kirk about the providers. The mechanical bidding as Kirk, Uhura, and Chekov must listen in restraints, enslaved and expected to fight or die, is quite unsettling. Kirk pitted against three thralls (games combatants) with the Enterprise and his crew's lives at stake once again allows the captain to get all the glory. Seeing Spock and Bones go at it never gets old to me. This reminded me of the Lost in Space episode, "The Deadly Games of Gamma Six".
Still good to see Chekov and Uhura getting to be a big part of the action, joining Kirk, instead of Spock and Bones this go-around.
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