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"Star Trek: The Squire of Gothos (#1.17)"
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Reviews & Ratings for
"Star Trek" The Squire of Gothos (1967)

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16 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Intellect Without Discipline, Power Without Constructive Purpose

Author: Bogmeister from United States
7 July 2006

An apt description by Spock of an all-powerful fop into whose clutches fall the crew of the Enterprise. This was one sector of space our starship should have avoided: first Sulu & Kirk simply disappear off the bridge; a landing party follows them to the surface of an unknown planet and encounter Trelane, a seemingly aristocratic man dressed in attire from an Earth of many centuries past. But he demonstrates abilities of someone or something far beyond human and doesn't register on McCoy's medical tricorder. The officers manage to escape back to the ship but, like some bad cosmic penny, Trelane keeps popping up. He brings them all back, including some female companionship, to continue his games. The dilemma now takes on elements of 'The Most Dangerous Game' out in space and there's an exasperating, even infuriating aspect to the crew's utter helplessness before such unbridled power.

What really makes this a great episode is the memorable performance by guest star Campbell as the overpowering but not all-knowing alien. His character is obviously an early version of Q, who was introduced 20 years later in the pilot for the TNG series. Trelane's confrontation scene with Spock stands out among all the strange drama which unfolds. As usual, Kirk quickly begins to look for possible weaknesses in his new nemesis, despite being quite outmatched. The answers to exactly what or who Trelane is are right in front of us the whole time so, when we do learn the truth, it makes complete sense in view of Campbell's pitch-perfect acting. He indulges himself constantly, preening before some unknown audience, remarking on things with a flair which is infectious but not quite right - we can't quite pin it down at first, but there's something missing here. Every few minutes, his tone becomes sinister and the crew now appears to be in serious danger. In a way, you can't take your eyes off him, always waiting to see what he does next. Actor John de Lancie captured that similar tone as Q on the Next Generation series.

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

God of war, or naughty little child?

Author: Blueghost from The San Francisco Bay Area
3 June 2009

What is it that compels two factions to engage in conflict with one another? What propels them to a state of warfare? An exercise whose only product is the destruction of life? How can sane and mature men engage in such a practice? The "Squire of Gothos" examines a possible explanation for this proposition. Kirk and crew must escape and evade a wandering planet controlled by a being who has all the respect for life that a sadistic child might when it levels a magnifying glass and sunbeam at an unsuspecting ant. Said child gets a sick thrill out of this. But can we blame the child? Does it know enough not to do what it is doing? It is, after all, an undeveloped mind--not having reached full maturity. But is this really an excuse? Excuse or no the author of this episode offers it as a possible explanation to the fascination of warfare by a certain kind of adult. The child reads or hears tales of gallantry on the battlefield, and wants to act "grown up" by mimicking said deeds and his heroes. But, because he is a child, he knows not the peril of the bloody pastime he hopes to partake in.

All boys (and some girls too I guess) went through the period of playing "cops and robbers" or "war" prior to adolescence. For some people that little boy never leaves. Sometimes that's a good thing. Sometimes it's bad. "The Squire of Gothos" is slightly farce by sending up a caricature of the proverbial brave yeoman on a 18th or 19th century battlefield. Trelane is a parody of the idolatry that surrounded and generated the myths of battlefield heroics, and shows the audience the absurdity of lionizing the image he portrays.

What's worse is that Kirk and the Enterprise are powerless to stop him. The episode becomes fairly symbolic and drives home a very poignant message near the end. It is ultimately a parental responsibility and obligation to their fellow man to raise and reign in their child and his behavior.

Were it only that simple when it comes to armies clashing on the battlefield.

Science fiction at its thematic best.


p.s. the "Q" comparison is apt, but is really a minor cog in a much larger clockwork of symbolism.

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9 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant idea, but still not one of the best of TOS season 1

Author: mstomaso from Vulcan
13 March 2007

General Trelayne is a super-being who wants to play a little game with the crew of the Enterprise. A lot of extremely unlikely and nonsensical stuff seems to be happening, and Trelayne seems obsessed with the human practices of warfare and murder. He seems to need to experience what he imagines to be a thrill and has created a human environment (though a few hundred years out of date) in which to play out his fantasies. The environment is subtly inauthentic, and the crew immediately begins to spot the inconsistencies. Pretty soon it becomes clear that Trelayne is not just an immature god, but a very fallible one. Regardless of how you feel about this one, stick around for the Twilight Zone-like ending. It is well worth it.

As many have pointed out, Trelayne's character inspired the more developed and amusing on-going character Q - and you can see in John DeLancie's construction of that personality more than just shades of Campbell's Trelayne. It is fun to compare how the four captains we have seen coping with Q all deal with him so radically differently.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Similar to, but much better than, "Charlie X"

Author: intp from United States
2 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This episode had many similarities to the earlier episode, "Charlie X"; it involved an immature brat with immense (but not infinite) power. But the story was handled in a much better fashion here.

Here, the "brat" (Trelane) is indeed very powerful, but his power is mediated through external devices. That, alone, was a large improvement over "Charlie X", where the source of the punk kid's powers were almost totally unexplained.

Here, Trelane's motivations, while juvenile, are readily understandable; he wants to 'play' and have 'fun' with his 'pets', failing to appreciate that they are intelligent beings with thoughts and feelings of their own. Trelane is closer to an 'innocent' who actually doesn't seem to understand or fully appreciate, yet, that his actions are wrong. Charlie, on the other hand, seems well aware that murder is murder-- yet he casually commits it, all the same, when someone isn't "nice" to him, which is far more sinister. Trelane is certainly very annoying, but just doesn't seem as malevolent as Charlie.

Here, Kirk and Spock did a good job in exploring all alternatives. First, Kirk tried reasoning with Trelane. Then he staged an almost successful escape, with Spock's help. Then, he stalled for time for his ship. While it is true that, in the end, he was only saved by Trelane's parents, he at least did what he could, under the circumstances.

And, of course, the ending was more satisfying. This episode didn't have a "happy" ending, exactly, but it was certainly less of a downer than the ending in "Charlie X".

I've seen this episode many times as a kid, and it holds up surprisingly well, all these years later.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

"You will hang by the neck, Captain, until you are dead, dead, dead!"

Author: Max_cinefilo89 from Italy
11 June 2009

The Squire of Gothos is one of the "sillier" episodes of Star Trek, and therefore one of the most entertaining ones. The entertainment factor is, generally speaking, fueled by the stand-off between William Shatner and the episode's hilarious guest star, William Campbell.

During an unspecified routine mission, Sulu suddenly vanishes into thin air, and Kirk follows soon after-wards. Spock immediately begins looking for his missing colleagues (and, though he'd hate to admit it, friends), while the two stranded crewmen must deal with the mysterious, all-powerful, flamboyant Trelane (Campbell), the self-proclaimed Squire of Gothos, a being capable of creating or destroying anything he wants through the sheer power of his mind.

At first sight, the plot may seem recycled from previous episodes (honestly, are there any sci-fi shows that didn't feature at least one God-like character), but that feeling vanishes pretty quickly thanks to the script's winning use of exaggerated humor, all conveyed through Campbell's deliberately camp performance: his Trelane is essentially the Trek version of a spoiled child in the body of an adult, while his ignorance-fueled curiosity for the human race (his knowledge is quite limited) probably served as inspiration for Gene Roddenberry when he came up with the character of Q for the Next Generation pilot, some two decades after this episode aired.

In short, the key to appreciating The Squire of Gothos is this: "silly" doesn't necessarily equal "bad".

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

The God Complex...

Author: poe426 from USA
11 June 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A recurrent theme throughout the original series was the close encounter of an e-t "god." Just prior to THE SQUIRE OF GOTHOS, the crew of the Enterprise had encountered CHARLIE X- and, in both pilots (THE CAGE and WHERE NO MAN HAS GONE BEFORE), there had been "gods" (in THE CAGE, telepathic e-tees; in WHERE NO MAN HAS GONE BEFORE, a Man made God). Perhaps the most interesting aspect of each of these gods (or, at least, the BEST of them) were the actors who played them. One of my favorites has always been the flamboyant, foppish portrayal by William Campbell. At once petulant and sinister, Campbell's Trelane is a god to be reckoned with, a childish Being with the Power to kill with but a single nasty thought or an eyebrow-arching frown (or a flick of the wrist). The antique-cluttered set is the perfect setting for Campbell's performance: we see the artifacts from a dozen cultures (including an apparently stuffed specimen of the "salt vampire" from the episode THE MAN TRAP, which Trelane casually disintegrates when trying out a "new toy"- a phaser). Another one of the episodes that helped make STAR TREK a memorable series and the backbone of a billion dollar franchise.

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Trelane The Playful Lunatic

Author: Rainey Dawn from United States
4 January 2017

Season 1, episode 17. The Enterprise is on a mission to Colony Beta VI to bring them supplies. Along the way the run across the rouge planet Gothos. Lt. Sulu and Capt. Kirk disappear off the ship. Spock takes command and sends a crew down to investigate when they receive strange messages from the planet. The investigative team find Kirk and Sulu almost statue-like. Trelane appears and claims to be studying them and wants them to stay as his guests - highly insisting they are rude for wanting to leave him to go back to their ship. Trelane seems to have special powers that will not allow the crew to leave and a mirror that he does not like to get far from. He's also very playful and mischievous -- a very naughty boy. When they find a way to beam aboard the ship, Trelane appears on the bridge to find out who this Mr. Spock is that helped them to escape back to the ship. Next Trelane brings Kirk, Spock, McCoy and a couple of others down to as his "guests" once again. It's up to the captain and crew to find another way to escape this playful lunatic.

This is one of those fun episodes that is likable but not the best episode of S.T. TOS. I rather like the quirky episodes quite a lot.


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Child's play

Author: mhubbard-54657 from United States
3 January 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

One of the weaker episodes. A "non-life being" we can't comprehend has grasped the ship, apparently for it's own pleasure. It has peered back through time and light years to create an Earth- like presence, however it has miscalculated a number of centuries.The crew beams down, enter a castle and meet a foppish man . They are alerted to problems with reality when the roaring fire isn't hot and the food and wine taste like nothing at all. Kirk soon realizes that the mirror is a key to the alien's power and destroys it. The being turns out to be some kind of mirage, actually a child of supernatural parents and thankfully Kirk prevails in a match of wits. Kirk and the ship are able to escape. James T Kirk, as usual, overcomes obstacles due to his quick thinking, but I would probably not watch this one again.

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Star Trek: The Original Series - The Squire of Gothos

Author: Scarecrow-88 from United States
9 September 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

God-like blatherskite, Trelane (William Campbell, who is a hoot), has created his own world, Gothos, with the power to transform matter into energy and vice versa, willing Kirk and Sulu (and later others from the Enterprise to suit his fancy and whims) to his made up castle with artifacts filling it from Earth's past (among other species collected as furs and statues and flags to model around the walls, shelves, and floors of his self-made abode). He is basically a child looking to amuse himself at the Enterprise's expense. But Kirk and company (even Spock who doesn't find him fascinating as much as "interesting") tire of his nonsense quickly, but finding a way to escape him will be quite difficult. William Campbell is essentially a precursor to John de Lancie's Q. He has great power and is quite mischievous and dangerous to boot. But like Q, although there are threats that could endanger Kirk and company, despite the powers available to Trelane he's so childish at times and silly there is never any doubt that he'll eventually be a foil due to not taking the humans seriously. Despite the advantage afforded to Trelane, Kirk is cunning and clever…and fortunate that Trelane has "parents" who have to scold their child for his immature games. Honestly, I thoroughly enjoyed Campbell, and seeing how his behavior annoys and irritates the Enterprise crew makes for some entertaining moments. It is an "exhale" type of comic episode often found in series when the leads have often dealt with intense, terrifying, or complex situations which leave us quite drained. For instance, this episode came after "Galileo Seven" when Spock had to endure the perils of command, dealing with debating crew members with him during a heavy ordeal, questioning his leadership. Although Kirk once again has to outwit a "superior" being (sometimes despite having powers that cause humans to be disrupted and disturbed of activities and duty, aliens and beings with advanced abilities might still be put in their place or convinced that "inferior creatures" have their merit, deserved of respect and perhaps not altogether worthless), he has help when it appears he has little place left to turn. Campbell has quite a showy part as the chatty nuisance who wants to "play with his pets", creating whatever he wishes (like a spare courtroom set with Kirk on trial or a jungle for which he'll hunt Kirk for "sport") and forcing the humans to do certain things (he can take them from the ship and place them at a dinner table, "urge" Uhura to play the piano or freeze Kirk and Sulu into wax sculptures) with just the wave of his hand or think it so. The fun of the show is seeing how Kirk will shake his confidence and embarrass him. Spock even being rather bothered by him is especially funny; the scene at the end when Spock asks Kirk what Trelane's being should be considered in the Enterprise library, it is most amusing. Phyllis Douglas, as a yeoman also taken to Trelane's castle, is stunning in a period dress, leaving Kirk rather gobsmacked when she asks permission to change back into uniform. Kirk and Trelane actually dueling it out is surprisingly athletic and even physical at times (the sword is often avoided by Kirk through the use of a thick stick or through exertion by stopping his hand). Light-hearted romp was actually penned with an anti-war message! The similarities between Trelane's species and Q are striking. The fact that Trelane gets all giggly about humans as a war species, looking back at centuries prior, speaking about Napoleon and referring to Hitler through imitation, when first introduced, really sets up how artificial and surface he substance at all as Spock muses.

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Campbell steals the show

Author: Fluke_Skywalker from United States
7 August 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Plot; The crew of the Enterprise find themselves at the mercy of a tempestuous, seemingly all-powerful being.

Probably one of the more iconic episodes from TOS, and it's all thanks to a tour de force performance by guest star William Campbell as Trelane (The titular Squire of Gothos). Campbell takes a juicy, well written role and absolutely sinks all 32 of his teeth into it. Though the ending does provide an amusing twist, it's also a total deus ex machina that keeps the episode from completely sticking its landing.

- Campbell also appeared in another famous Trek episode, as the Klingon Kioloth in "The Trouble with Tribbles".

- The character Trelane is notably similar to that of Q from The Next Generation. So much so that writer Peter David canonized him as a member of the Continuum, with Q as Trelane's Godfather in his novel Q-Squared.

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