Star Trek TOS – Episode 13 – The Conscience of the King

I think my computer has reached a state of equilibrium equivalent to that of The Simpsons’ Mr. Burns; all of the viruses are keeping each other in check. 😛

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An actor is accused of being a mass murderer and dictator. For some reason, nobody really questions these accusations as much as they probably should.

Click the picture for a full summary from Memory Alpha, the Star Trek wiki.


Oh, look, ’tis but the play of Macbeth. Good to know that they’re still suffering through that in the future. (For the record, I enjoy reading Shakespeare, but I rarely enjoy watching it performed. It’s usually awful.)

Turns out, Captain Kirk was brought to that planet because some guy thinks that the lead actor is a mass-murderer. It turns out that both Kirk and the guy, Thomas Leighton, were two of nine people who have seen Kodos the Executioner.

Leighton throws a party for the Shakespearean troupe, and Kirk attends. He sees a beautiful blonde woman, and immediately gravitates towards her. It turns out, she’s Lenore Karidian, (quoth the raven…) the daughter of Anton Karidian, the actor accused of being Kodos. Kirk turns on the full-out charm. He invites her to come back to his place to “look at his etchings”.

They take a walk outside to have smoochy times, and they come across the body of Leighton. DUN DUN DUNNNN!

Kirk calls the captain of the ship that was scheduled to pick up the actors, and tells him that he will take care of getting the actors to their destination. Lenore beams aboard the Enterprise asking Kirk to ferry them to their next destination. He agrees in exchange for a performance. A private performance in the VIP room with the way Lenore is dressed.

Kirk goes over the list of eyewitnesses of Kodos’ tyranny. It turns out that Kevin Riley, who we last saw singing songs and annoying the crew in the episode The Naked Time, is one of those witnesses. He orders him to be transferred to Engineering, which makes Spock suspicious.

Kirk takes Lenore on a tour of the observation deck. Things quickly get sexay.

LENORE: And this ship… All this power, surging and throbbing, yet under control. Are you like that, Captain? All this power at your command, yet the decisions that you have to make…

Smoochy smooch smooch.

Spock does a search of his own on Kirk, Riley, and Kodos.

SPOCK: According to our library banks, it started on the Earth colony of Tarsus IV, when the food supply was attacked by an exotic fungus and largely destroyed. There were over eight thousand colonists and virtually no food. And that was when Governor Kodos seized full power and declared emergency martial law… Kodos began to separate the colonists. Some would live, be rationed whatever food was left. The remainder would be immediately put to death. Apparently he had his own theories of eugenics… He was certainly among the most ruthless, to decide arbitrarily who would survive and who would not, using his own personal standards, and then to implement his decision without mercy. Children watching their parents die. Whole families destroyed. Over four thousand people. They died quickly, without pain, but they died. Relief arrived, but too late to prevent the executions. And Kodos? There never was a positive identification of his body… There were nine eye witnesses who survived the massacre, who’d actually seen Kodos with their own eyes. Jim Kirk was one of them. With the exception of Riley and Captain Kirk, every other eye witness is dead. And my library computer shows that wherever they were, on Earth, on a colony, or aboard ship, the Karidian Company of Players was somewhere near when they died.

Spock, P.I., at your service.

Hey, look, it’s our old friend Riley. He’s bored in Engineering. He calls up to the rec room, where Uhura sings him a song. With his back turned, somebody sprays something into his drink. Look out dude! It’s Windex!

"My dad believed in two things: That Greeks should educate non Greeks about being Greek and every ailment from psoriasis to poison ivy can be cured with Windex."

I’m wondering if it’s the glass or the lighting, but in one shot, when he first lifts the glass to his face, it looks like his drink goes from plain milk to chocolate milk. I wonder if anyone else noticed that and thought the same.

Riley takes a drink, begins choking, and ends up in sickbay. He’s alive for now, but someone is trying to kill him.

Spock and McCoy confront Kirk.

SPOCK: Even in this corner of the galaxy, Captain, two plus two equals four.

Spock, it is well known that 2+2=5 for large values of 2. 😛

Kirk and Spock are in Kirk’s quarters and hear a phaser on overload. They begin searching for it frantically, and Kirk finds it and throws it in the garbage chute. Now, if it had the power to take out an entire deck, why would you throw it in there? Unless the garbage chute goes directly outside. Litterers!!!

Kirk confronts Karidian, who evades the question of whether or not he is Kodos. Karidian begins acting more and more like he knows what happened.

KARIDIAN: Kodos made a decision of life and death. Some had to die that others might live. You’re a man of decision, Captain. You ought to understand that.
KIRK: All I understand is that four thousand people were needlessly butchered.
KARIDIAN: In order to save four thousand others. And if the supply ships hadn’t come earlier than expected, this Kodos of yours might have gone down in history as a great hero.

Does the ends justify the means? It does to Kodos.

Riley overhears McCoy talking about Karidian and Kodos in sickbay. The play is ready to begin. Riley has stolen a phaser and is on his way to assassinate Karidian. Kirk sneaks backstage and sees Riley. He talks Riley out of killing him. But Karidian has overheard.

KARIDIAN: There was a voice out of the past haunting me, torturing me. There was another part I once played long ago. I never told you about it. Now that same curtain rises again. The time has come.
LENORE: No, Father. The time will never come. Tonight, after my performance, the last two who can harm you will be gone.
KARIDIAN: What are you saying?
LENORE: There were nine. Now there are only two, and they will be gone as soon as I. Don’t look at me like that.
KARIDIAN: What have you done?
LENORE: What had to be done. They had to be silenced.

Wow. If you want to see another take on this, watch Dexter, season 4. A crazy girl murdering on her father’s behalf. It’s amazingly disturbing.

Lenore is obviously batshit crazy. She grabs the phaser from the security officer, runs onstage, and fires at Kirk. Karidian steps in front of the beam and is killed instead. Good job, ya dingus.

Lenore has lost it completely. She’s on a one-way trip to a padded cell, courtesy of the Enterprise.


Ya gotta watch out for the crazy ones.


I’m going to rate this one Lieutenant Commander.  2.5 out of 4 pips. I liked it a lot more than I expected, especially the twist at the end.


See you tomorrow,

Captain Painway


3 Responses to Star Trek TOS – Episode 13 – The Conscience of the King

  1. Steve says:

    I enjoy this episode… it has one of the rare glimpses of civilian life in the Star Trek universe and it wasn’t a huge story that had the fate of the universe in the balance. As well I like the depiction of life on the Enterprise, O’Reilly being transferred, the crew on the Rec Dec. As well as a few new locations on the Enterprise, such as the never-seen before or again corridor above the shuttle bay – with window (which is why they keep the windex onboard) and the ships theatre (which is of course the redressed engineering set).

    As well for fans of the new Battlestar Galactica – they borrowed the name “Astral Queen” from this episode (it was the ship that ditched the actors) – in Galactica it was the prison ship that Tom Zarek was on.

  2. Denim says:

    Hey, HEY! It been 2 days….I miss…..:(

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