The Rewatch: 17 Court Martial

Series: Star Trek (The Original Series)
Episode: 1.20 Court Martial (1-19-67)
Rating: 2/5
Redshirt Status:  0/22

Notable Guest Stars:
Percy Rodriguez – Commodore Stone. Guest starred on several tv series.
Elisha Cook
–  Samuel T. Cogley – played a minor character in The Maltese Falcon
Joan Marshall:
Lt. Areel Shaw. Guest stared on many television series throughout the 1950s and 60s. 
Richard Webb
– Lt.Cmd Ben Finney .  A common face in Westerns, and the star of Captain Midnight.
Alice Rawlings –
Jame Finney.  Ms. Rawlings was a frequent guest star on the Patty duke Show

Review:

This episode was one of the weakest in the series so far.  The plot has many holes, and the science doesn’t always hold up. Since Ben Finney has never appeared before, we really don’t have any connection to him.

The episode’s premise is that Ben Finny has died during an ion storm after his pod is jettisoned.  Kirk, due to computer evidence, is brought to court Martial under the charge of causing his death.  As you can well imagine Kirk manages to win his case, although this is because Finny isn’t dead at all.

The episode is vague in awkward ways.  We have no idea what the pod is (other than, assumedly, a pod shaped something), or why Ben Finney would be needed in one.  Ion storms seem like something you would avoid or send a probe into study.  For that matter, Kirk’s console usually has several communications buttons on his console, but in the video log has it changed to alerts and jettison pod. 

I also find it odd that a computer is considered a prime reference.  Especially as they have already established that the possibly of equipment failure is there. Considering the actual people were stating that Kirk would not have done it, had not done it, yet they believed a computer record and failed to check if it had been altered.

Also how did altering the video of kirk affect Spock’s chess programing.  I would assume it was two separate files.  And I could understand the white noise thing (maybe) if McCoy attached something to each person, but just holding a microphone to a body doesn’t make sense.

Interesting Notes:

  •  Directed by Marc Daniels
  • Written by Don M. Mankiewicz and Steven W. Carabatsos
  • First evidence of Starfleet JAG corps.
  • Two examples of uniform variations.  Kirk has a wrap around top, and Lt. Shaw has a uniform with a longer skirt.

Pros:

  • An insight into Federation/Starfleet policies
  • Seeing a woman in a uniform that looked much more practical than the miniskirts/skort

Cons:

  • Science doesn’t make any sense
  • Plot has many holes.

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