The Enterprise is approaching a planet that somehow has gone completely unnoticed up until now, like some kind of backwoods hick planet. While bringing the ship in for a closer look, Sulu and Kirk are unceremoniously teleported off the bridge and down to the planet’s surface. There isn’t any kind of effect to indicate this, not even the usual Alka-Seltzer fade-away when somebody beams down, they just disappear without so much as a “doink” sound effect. If not for the dramatic music, I’d have assumed there was a bit of film missing in the reproduction.
The people still on the ship are hailed by the planet, who speaks to them in olde English font and says things like “Felicitations!” and “Tallyho!” So Kirk and Sulu, it seems, have been kidnapped by a race of spacefaring 17th century British dandies.
McCoy and two flavor-of-the-week lieutenants form a search party and head down to a bubble of breathable air on an otherwise unlivable planet. They also find a medieval castle, naturally.
In the castle they see Kirk and Sulu, apparently frozen in stasis, or at least trying very hard not to move. They also meet Squire Trelane, who dresses like he was rejected from Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Using every British colloquialism that ever existed, he welcomes them to his planet, and he frees Kirk and Sulu from their living statue hell.
He explains that he’s been monitoring Earth and imitating its culture, so he’s thrilled to meet real humans. Except that he’s been looking at the Earth of the past, since he’s 900 light years away, watching them through what must be a pretty big telescope. That fact that he has teleportation and terraforming technology but doesn’t understand the speed of light is a biiiiiiiit of a stretch.
The Enterprise crew beams back up and escapes Trelane for about 30 seconds before he teleports them back down. He entertains his captives and shocks even the Enterprise crew with his racism. Even Spock is a bit pissed off at the guy, which is like Ghandi calling your mother a whore.
Trelane uses his god-like powers to make one of the women dance with him while the men mostly drink and do nothing. Kirk thinks he can use Trelane’s outdated idea of chauvanism to his advantage, and employs his own, futuristic idea of chauvanism. He snatches the female crewman away by the arm. “THIS is how you disrespect women!”
Kirk challenges Trelane to a pistol duel. Trelane agrees, and apparently misunderstanding the point of a duel, demands that he gets to go first. He fires his shot at the ceiling, and Kirk fires his shot at a nearby mirror, making them the two worst duelists in a millenium. However, it seems Kirk was really aiming at a machine hidden behind the mirror which is the apparent source of Trelane’s power. The Enterprise crew takes the opportunity to beam back up to the Enterprise and haul ass away from the planet.
But Kirk and company are barely onto the space freeway when the planet reappears directly in front of them, blocking the way. Realizing they can’t escape, Kirk goes back down to the planet and arranges a “Most Dangerous Game”-type scenario with Trelane, where he volunteers to be hunted in exchange for his crew’s safe escape.
After a long and awkward fight scene with lots of unnecessary rolling, Trelane has Kirk cornered in a cage he created out of energy, which seems unsporting. But just as Trelane is about to kill Kirk, Trelane’s parents, two balls of pure energy, appear to pick him up. Trelane drops his accent and starts acting like a 1950’s elementary school boy. The orbs of light ground him from making any more planets and let Kirk go with an apology.
I wasn’t trying to be funny just now. All of that really happened.
This episode took a turn I wasn’t expecting, and I was pleasantly surprised. Ignoring all the plot holes, like what, if anything, Trelane’s machine actually did if he was a being of pure energy anyway, this episode was pretty enjoyable. I demand more sentient clouds of pure energy as main characters! Bring on new crew member, Ensign Lemnoch, the vapor with a Texan accent.