Star Trek: Season 3, Episode 14

Whom Gods Destroy (3 Jan. 1969)

TV Episode  |   |  Action, Adventure, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 823 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 2 critic

Kirk and Spock are taken prisoners by a former starship captain named Garth, who now resides at, and has taken over, a high security asylum for the criminally insane.



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Title: Whom Gods Destroy (03 Jan 1969)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Steve Ihnat ...
Dick Geary ...
Andorian Inmate (as Richard Geary)
Gary Downey ...
Tellarite Inmate


The Enterprise travels to the planet Elba II, home of the last asylum for the criminally insane, to deliver a serum that should cure all of its remaining inmates. Kirk and Spock beam down to the planet's surface where all seems in order, but they soon find the inmates now run the asylum, led by Garth (at one time a starship Captain, whose exploits were required reading at the Academy). Garth, who's learned how to shape-shift, can take on the appearance of anyone, including Kirk or Spock. In the process of learning this ability, he lost his sanity. Garth plans to pose as the Captain, beam up to the Enterprise and take over the ship, but Kirk has a roadblock set up to overcome. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

3 January 1969 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The title is based on a quote by the Greek playwright Euripides (484 BC - 406 BC): Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad. See more »


Governor Cory explains to Kirk that Garth can change his appearance at will due to the control of his body cells, that does not explain how his clothing changes as well. See more »


Garth: I may have you beaten to death.
Marta: No, you won't, because I am the most beautiful woman on this planet.
Garth: You're the only woman on this planet, you stupid cow!
See more »


Referenced in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Replacement (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

The inmates have taken over the asylum
5 July 2014 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

I read some of the other criticism of this episode and some feel it was a rehash of a season one episode that I haven't reviewed yet. That may be so but this particular episode is a favorite of mine because of Steve Ihnat's broad and somewhat overacted performance. This is not criticism of Ihnat but his part of former Starship commander Garth is a role that calls for it. Actors love playing crazy people because they can chew the scenery like mad and overact to the max and no one will criticize because that's what the part calls for.

As Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock are about to embark on an away visit to a prison planet to deliver medical supplies, they suspect something isn't quite right. William Shatner arranges a code signal with James Doohan before he beams him and Leonard Nimoy back on board.

That proved to be a wise precaution because when the two beam down the prison and it's a prison for the criminally insane. The warden/governor of the planet Keye Luke has been overthrown and Steve Ihnat has taken over. This former starship commander is as mad as the mad hatter and also has developed shape shifting abilities. The inmates have taken over.

He's got ambitions just as mad people do, to take over the immediate universe with the Enterprise at his disposal and his ability now to become Captain Kirk. But there's that signal code that Shatner arranged with Doohan. Can't do much until he's on the Enterprise.

Ihnat completely takes over this story and dominates this episode. His performance is very similar to the one he gave in Madigan as an absolutely nuts criminal. There are very few performances of the criminally insane on the big and small screen to rival what Ihnat did in this story and in Madigan. He was a great talent who died too young.

It may be a rehash, but absolutely see this one for Steve Ihnat.

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