Shakespeare seems to be a common theme in Star Trek, especially The Original Series and The Next Generation. William Shatner did train as a classic Shakespearean actor after all. Well, here is an episode where Shakespeare is on stage, literally.
Season 1, Episode 13: The Conscience of the King
Original Air Date: December 8, 1966
Planet: Planet Q, Benecia
Featured Alien: None
Main Cast: Kirk, Spock, Uhura, Rand, McCoy
Main Guest Characters: Anton Karidian / Kodos (Arnold Moss), Lenore Karidian (Barbara Anderson), Lt. Kevin Thomas Riley (Bruce Hyde), Dr. Thomas Leighton (William Sargent), Martha Leighton (Natalie Norwick), Lt. Leslie (Eddie Paskey)
Things I Noticed
I find it difficult to believe that there is famine on an Earth/Federation colony at this time. It may be possible, but I’d think it’s highly unlikely.
Odd that Dr. Leighton has half of his face covered by a black fabric. I’m sure cosmetic surgery is so advanced at that time that his original appearance could be restored, including a prosthetic eye that would function normally. Again, I understand this is due to the fact that this episode was made more than 50 years ago.
When Kirk called up information about Kodos and Anton Karidian, the computer made a lot of mechanical clicks. Weird.
Kirk is unusually smooth with Lenore Karidian. But then, this was just an act, I think.
As Kirk was walking on the bridge, it sounded like he was walking on a wood floor. I’m pretty sure it was, being a cheap set.
When Spock said his father’s race (the Vulcans) didn’t drink alcohol, McCoy said now he knows why they were conquered. Since when were the Vulcans conquered? This just confused me.
McCoy refered to Lenore as a creature. A bit of sexism here?
First time we see the observation deck above the shuttle bay. There are windows, too!
I think this is the first time Kirk kisses a woman! In previous episodes, he’s resisted because as a Captain, he’s pretty much married to his ship.
This is the second and final time Riley appears in a Star Trek episode.
The return of the 20th century spray bottle! This time to poison Riley’s milk. And of course, the ugly gelatin food appears again.
They used tape film for recorded audio. That’s not even used today.
McCoy inadvertently let Riley know about Kodos. It seemed rather careless. He was right behind him!
The acting company’s set is made of wood. Maybe they wanted authenticity. Or it’s just the material the Star Trek set designers had to use.
Kirk and Spock compare paper printouts of the Kodos’ and Karidian’s voice prints side-by-side. They actually used their eyes to compare the voice prints! That is an incredibly inefficient way to do it. Use the computer!
Who in their right mind would continue to quote Shakespeare after they’ve killed their father? But then, she did seem crazy.
Leaving Benecia at warp 1. Warp 1 again. Slow!
Way back when I used to watch Star Trek as a teenager, I was never impressed by this episode. I wanted Klingons and Romulans. Not Shakespeare. But after watching this episode as a 40 year old, I have a completely different feeling about it. I like Shakespeare. But that’s not why I like this episode.
I felt that the acting was pretty good in general. Sure, there was overacting by Shatner a bit (the scene with Lenore in the observation deck was a bit over the top) and some extreme overacting by Barbara Anderson as Lenore Karidian, but it was otherwise well done.
One thing I don’t get is why Kirk didn’t just confide in Spock and McCoy that he suspected Karidian of being Kodos. But I guess it’s possible that he didn’t want them to be subjected to disciplinary action if the transport of the Karidian Company was completely against protocol, and that Kirk was just on a wild goose chase.
The story had a decent amount of suspense. Is Karidian actually Kodos? Would Riley be killed? I thought that was done pretty well. Overall, I enjoyed this episode.
What did you think of this episode? Was Anderson’s portrayal of Lenore over the top? Did you think Karidian regretted what he had done? Let me know in the comments section below.